Everything old is Project New again


Telstra is undergoing a transformation project, but is that news? Isn’t Telstra always undergoing some sort of change program?

I worked for Telstra for 18 months, had four managers and was eventually retrenched when my job was replaced by a role that seemed remarkably similar. It’s an experience echoed by a number of people I’ve met. I saw two or three rounds of redundancies and experienced one cultural change program which, many would say, did diddly-squat.

On today’s Twisted Wire, Len Cooper, divisional president of the CEPU’s Communications Division, says more job cuts are inevitable. He says the telco has been running redundancy programs for years but needs to pay more attention to increasing productivity through better teamwork and removing a culture of fear.

He’s right about that. When I was there, the workforce was split between those scared of being retrenched, and long-timers who welcomed it because they knew they’d get a good payout. Unfortunately, it was always last-in, first-out. Some of the old deadwood was more expensive to get rid of.

David Hayvatt, who comments on the industry in his Anything Goes blog, says the telco needs to start behaving less like a vertically integrated incumbent if it is to become an effective customer-focused retailer. Perhaps a voluntary structural separation could be the best thing for the telco. It could engender the right culture and position it well for successful expansion overseas.

You’ll hear Cooper and Hayvatt on this week’s Twisted Wire, together with a few facts and figures that seem scary for Telstra shareholders. Perhaps that’s why their shares are worth so little these days, because there is only one direction for the company’s revenue and profit lines.

First published on ZDNet

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