employees is one of the key mantras
that Legere says has guided him
throughout his T-Mobile tenure.
Internally, the company got rid of
metrics that incentivized employees
to dissuade customers from leaving
T-Mobile for another carrier in favor
of setting employee goals based
on customer satisfaction and more
Adopting a new, more customer-centric strategy has paid off. Since
2012, T-Mobile has more than doubled
its customer base, from 33 million to
nearly 70 million. It has also deployed
a nationwide 4G LTE network that now
covers 315 million people, a number
that stood at zero in 2012. And in
its biggest move to date, this spring
T-Mobile announced it is merging with
Sprint to form a new company called …
T-Mobile, with Legere remaining at the
helm. Before the deal can be finalized,
it will have to be approved by the
Justice Department, which will review
it for antitrust violations.
Today, T-Mobile serves as an
example of an organization that
recognized the need to disrupt itself.
In order to not only survive but
thrive, the company had to instill a
mindset that change should not be
feared or loathed. Instead, it should be
embraced. T-Mobile’s willingness to
move away from industry conventions
is what distinguishes an agile
organization, but shaking things up
externally is only half of the equation.
The workforce must be willing to
shake itself up as well.
The 3 A’s of
BY KEVIN OAKES role as “The Un-Carrier,” T-Mobile
has become a disruptive force in an
industry in which it was once nearly
Legere and T-Mobile’s 50,000-plus
employees built that reputation with
bold moves—both internally and
externally—to execute a stunning
turnaround for the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless-network operator.
Externally, T-Mobile ditched the
long-term contracts and eliminated
costly global roaming fees that had
long been commonplace among
wireless carriers. The impetus for such
changes, Legere has said, was simply
asking customers what they wanted.
“Shut up and listen” to customers and
In 2012, T-Mobile was flailing. Losing customers at a staggering rate, the company had just seen its proposed merger with AT&T derailed, was ranked last in customer service and market share among its competitors and was about to be left in the dust in a quickly evolving wireless industry.
At that time, John Legere was just
months into his tenure as T-Mobile’s
president and CEO, and a relative
unknown among corporate leaders.
Today, most know Legere. He has
cultivated rockstar-like status as an
audacious executive who is anything
Internal disruption, led by HR, can help companies
cultivate external success.