Culture Catalysts: How This Team Transformed Telco Titans into Telecom-Tech Innovators

01 March 2024

In the modern business world, Merger and Acquisition (M&A) has been a key tool for building long-term growth. According to McKinsey & Company, M&A transactions have been to the tune of 8.3 trillion US dollar during the past decade (transactions by the world’s 2,000 biggest companies only).  


Although M&A has been growing significantly, data from Harvard Business Review shows between 70 and 90 per cent of these transactions have led to failures. Cultural Clash is a cause behind how many businesses have crumbled after the completion of M&A process.


On March 1, the amalgamation of True Corporation and Total Access Communication under True Corporation Public Company Limited’s banner will mark its first anniversary. True Blog’s recent interview thus looks into the taskforce that is tasked with the mission of creating new “corporate culture” of “post-amalgamation True Corporation”. The team leaders are Chanisara Sommatiwong, Head of Culture & People Solutions and Adisorn Atikonchakorn, Head of Internal Communications at Corporate Affairs Group.

4Cs, 3 Goals, 6 Projects

Chanisara said executives were well aware that people or staff were crucial to the goal of transforming True Corporation into a telco-tech company. A study was thus conducted to develop a corporate-culture framework that will guide everyone in the company toward the same direction despite their differences and diversity. True Corporation has also compiled the Organizational Health Index (OHI) to check its organizational capabilities or four Cs namely Compassion, Courage, Credibility and Co-creation. Such corporate values have the power to shape its members’ behaviors. 

The 4Cs have defined the corporate culture in pursuit of three goals:


  1. One Team with Trust and Respect: Members are united through mutual trust and respect in efforts to drive their organization forward by blending the strengths of the two companies for synergy, development and upgrade.
  2. High Performance Organization: Members transform the company into a high-performance organization with efficiency in all aspects.
  3. Being Customer Centricity: Members prioritize customers’ needs and deliver excellent services.


The 4Cs and three goals, however, could never materialize without support from “staff”.  Aware of this point, the special taskforce planned activities to “change” staff’s behaviors under six following projects:


  1. Change Story: Communicate for change via the stories of True Corporation’s staff, which focus on promoting understanding in 4Cs.
  2. On-ground Activity: Reach out to staff, especially frontliners, with interactions designed to change their behaviors.
  3. Performance Management System: This system manages and evaluates staff’s performance.
  4. Culture Ignitor: Implement project to create change leaders or initiators among staff.
  5. Coaching Culture: Drive changes by coaching leaders at all levels.
  6. Hackathon: Brainstorm ideas to tackle challenges within a specified timeframe so as to foster co-creation culture, which promises to lead to innovations.

God is in Details

Adisorn explained that following the amalgamation, the different cultures, systems, processes, and organizational structures posed several challenges. After his taskforce conducted an analysis, it concluded that to create One Team in the post-amalgamation period, it would be necessary to prepare the right mindset. For such mindset, the first step was about “opening up”.


“It is natural that humans feel they belong to their groups and shun outsiders. Right after the amalgamation, our staff were kind of divided by True or dtac line,” he said.


The Culture initiative thus was implemented through the collaboration between Corporate Affairs Group’s Internal Comms team and Human Resources Group’s Culture team. In all, the initiative is also an example of co-creation and cross -functional work. The two teams work together to drive their organization forward with their respective strengths. Internal Comms team uses its storytelling skills in making corporate culture tangible in the eyes of staff for them to understand.


Adisorn described the initiative’s concept as “Simple Yet Subtle”. Behind all cultural activities was a strong focus on staff’s needs and an outside-in approach. The initiative did not force staff to take part in its activities. Happy Pay Day, the flagship activity, for example was held to fill staff with “happiness” and to promote “co-creation” in support of boundless possibilities. The first episode of Happy Pay Day took place last September. Held in the form of a karaoke-singing contest, the activity recruited participants from all groups of True Corp. Executives or chief experience officers of all groups led their members to join in. True Corporation’s staff were all surprised to see their executives went all out in the contest, revealing not just their singing / dancing talents but also other aspects of their lives. Thanks to the activity, the gap between executives and staff or supervisors and subordinates has narrowed. It is thus easier for staff to acquire Courage, one and the most important of all 4Cs during the transition. With courage, staff speak up, challenge status-quo, and stand firm for what is right.

“Corporate culture will not materialize overnight. To create one, we need to start with understanding. Our leaders have already shown they are ready to change and support ideas that are out of the box,” Adisorn said.


Happy Pay Day may seem simple. But behind it were much thought, careful design and systematic process to ensure executives and other participants could be themselves during the event with a human touch and readiness to share their feelings and solutions. The contest was created in a way that engaged participants in activities together for Positive Reinforcement.


Happy Pay Day has already had many episodes – including ones with Halloween: Ghost’s fun fair and Culture Play Day themes. The next episode of Happy Pay Day is upcoming. So, please stay tuned to True Blog.

การหล่อหลอมวัฒนธรรมองค์กรเป็นสิ่งที่ต้องใช้เวลา ไม่สามารถเกิดขึ้นได้ชั่วข้ามคืน ดังนั้น จึงต้องเริ่มจากความเข้าใจ วันนี้ ผู้นำองค์กรได้แสดงให้เห็นถึงการเปลี่ยนแปลงด้วยตัวเอง พร้อมทั้งสนับสนุนในทุกไอเดียที่นอกกรอบ – อดิศร กล่าว

Next Step: Sustainable Culture

Almost one full year has passed since 1 March 2022, during which numerous activities have been organized in support of the transition to a new corporate culture. They have marked a good start as staff’s hierarchy consciousness has declined paving the way for a transformation into a flat organization. Employee engagement has also significantly increased in both on-ground and online or True Connect-based (intranet) activities. As fun fills the air, it is clear that staff have been opening up to new corporate culture and DNAs.


“In my view, Happy Pay Day is a turning point. It has fostered a blend of Top-Down and Bottom-up approach,” Adisorn said.


Chanisara said the next step for True Culture was to place a stronger emphasis on Sustainable Culture. Guided by the focus, several activities and projects will roll out to adjust corporate and new talents’ perspectives. Reverse Mentoring, for example, will be held with the new generation in charge of coaching and presenting their views to executives. All supervisors will also be trained in People Skills.


The next stage will foster One “Stronger” Team to resonate with the ongoing dynamic context and True Corporation’s goal of transforming into a data-driven organization. Preparations will be made in support of proper operating model and efficient work methods. The special taskforce has now even considered reviving “Grow Love” Project to create bonding spaces based on staff’s interest. This initiative is expected to create a community of people with the same passion.


“At the heart of True Corporation’s transformation into a telco-tech company are people. So, our approach and tools will be humanized,” Chanisara said.

At the heart of True Corporation’s transformation into a telco-tech company are people. So, our approach and tools will be humanized –  Chanisara said.