During change, each action creates a chain reaction. It's up to the leaders responsible for the change to create an upward spiral or a downward one.
In conversation with Akansha Arora - Director - HR, KFC
You walk into a vibrant, red colored store in the heart of Connaught Place selling chicken in various styles, shapes and forms and you know you have arrived. Yes. You have entered Kentucky Fried Chicken, popularly known as KFC. A well-established brand in the West that has been around in India for the last 19 years.
Akansha Arora, Director HR at KFC has been part of KFC's rapid ramp up journey in India over the last five years. An HR graduate, she pursued a course on managing change at INSEAD Singapore and is working with KFC to enable the organizations' agenda of People Capability first. She is passionate about creating a positive impact on the lives of over 10000 people who work with KFC. 30% of her time goes in travelling across the 300 + stores in India, inspiring and enabling the staff of KFC and gearing them and the system to achieve their vision of 1000 stores by 2020.
KFC amidst change
Big dreams and change are two sides of the same coin. A thousand stores by 2020, required more than an arithmetic expansion of people, structures, and innovation. Two critical and strategic change decisions were made recently.
Firstly, a shift from division to branch structure. Earlier, all three brands in India, were led under the ambit of Yum! India division and reported to the global HQ. Now, each brand reports directly to its International counterpart. So KFC India now reports to KFC International and so do Pizza Hut and Taco Bell respectively. So they all work independently under the global parent brands, to allow more active exchange within the brand. The second change is a strong shift and focus towards franchise led growth. Why? It's simple! Through franchise partners they can expand rapidly. KFC currently proposes 30% equity stores and 70% franchise stores. KFC will provide support functions to all franchise partners to enable them to integrate into a single system.
Zooming in and out
'One of the responsibilities as a change leader is to be able to zoom out and connect-the-dots' says Akansha. She explains, how the change creates a chain reaction, where implications are felt at physical, physiological and emotional levels. The organization change modifies the social defense system and weakens the support provided to individual's psychic defenses. This needs the change leaders to have the ability to think beyond boundaries and play different roles with different people - sounding board, advisor, councilor, critique. At the same time, the organizations' values and beliefs must not be forgotten. In her words 'There is a ripple effect on everything and one should be able to anticipate well before choosing the right path. People are my responsibility when it comes to impact of any change within the organization. I need to be able to find a balance between respecting organizational boundaries as well as dancing within those boundaries. Where can I stretch them and where do I need to reinforce the boundaries?' Conviction in the decision for change and providing assurance to her people is of utmost importance to her.
Big dreams go hand in hand with embracing change, that's for sure. Dreams becoming reality is dependent on the ability of leaders to embrace and implement change successfully. Akansha knows that she needs to be the change, she knows how best to dance within the boundaries and how far to stretch when required. She knows how to lead her people and achieve both her and the organization's goals. A true change agent, indeed!