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Becoming a Company with Staying Power, with Ismail Amla, Executive Vice President of Professional Services at NCR

To reinvent yourself, you must destroy part of yourself. The only way you can do this is by embracing change and creating a culture where innovation can be nurtured and acted on.

Photo by Pickawood on Unsplash

To reinvent yourself, you must destroy part of yourself. The only way you can do this is by embracing change and creating a culture where innovation can be nurtured and acted on. Ismail Amla, the Executive Vice-President of Professional Services of NCR on how this 130-year-old company retained its staying power and harnessed the ability to stay relevant.

NCR started with a cash register but has expanded far beyond that in the years since. So how is Ismaiel helping to bring NCR’s 130-year legacy into the modern world and helping NCR’s consumers along the way? How has the company continued to stay at the cutting edge all these years?

“The pace of change of these new technologies is something I think organizations really struggle to get to,” Amla says. “The organization that are successful to reinvent themselves generally have to destroy a little bit of themselves. And do you have the leadership and the courage to be able to do that?”

For NCR, Amla is one of the leaders showing the fortitude necessary to keep moving the company forward. And this is no easy task for such a large, and far-reaching organization. It’s often believed that the larger the organization, the harder it will be to change. Amla doesn’t buy into that idea though, especially because if you don’t change, you won’t survive.

“Big organizations have clients, they have channels, they have brands, they have ecosystems,” Amla says. “There’s a lot of power of incumbency that if two organizations were starting at the same time, the big organization, in my view, would have an advantage. But what bigger organizations also have are bad culture, cultures that are too slow, skills that are not relevant, resistance to change, passive or active. And I think, for big organizations, you’ve got to think about what is it that you want to do. What sort of culture do you want to create? And therefore, how are you going to incentivize this innovative behavior?”

Once you know what kind of culture you want to create, though, how do you go about doing it? For Amla, he looks to examples from the recent past as inspiration.

“You need executives who sponsor change in organizations,” Amla says. “If you think about collaboration and you think about the Apple headquarters, which is the donut, the donut is so that you are forced to walk across from people you don’t know, who don’t work in your departments. So, you need to design disruptive organizations for collaboration.”

So how has it worked out for NCR? To find out how NCR destroyed a bit of itself to stay relevant, how it transitioned its business model, and the steps that Amla takes at NCR to keep on inventing and maintaining the company’s powerful position in the industry, tune into Business X factors.

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