Life is a journey so I will begin by relating a few stories about what happens on the road.
A few months ago the VP TQM was driving me down to my client’s office in Ahmedabad. We were having an interesting discussion on the importance of discipline in sustaining quality initiatives.
I must share a few stories about how I was taught “management by foreman Durai Achary. Durai was a short lean gentleman with a long grey and white beard. He was very proud of the fact that he came from a goldsmith family. I had just joined the camp as works manager, fresh from IIT, Madras. Durai was very respectful but skeptical of me.
Recently some of the TAO Knoware consultants were invited to work with the students of one of the prestigious B Schools. The students in the agricultural stream of the B school were talking about their careers and concerns. Many of them were very cognizant of the ill effects of the use of pesticides and other chemicals used in vegetable and fruit farming. The fact that these sprays are used regularly from the early stages of pollination and fruiting means that they get into the fruits and vegetables and cannot be removed by washing or other means!
During an executive retreat that I was conducting, one of the participants who had worked fairly intensely with himself, came up with an interesting question. "We spend a lot of time and effort doing 5S on the shop floor and workplace. This is very good, but, we don't think twice about the way we treat people. Is there any way we can work where there are no hurts, indignity and dehumanising?"
For about a decade I have been doing “Learning Adventure” programmes (OBT with a focus on learning about organisations and challenging oneself). Our culture does not encourage “adventure” as part of growing up in the school and college years. This often creates severe limitations in otherwise competent managers. When faced with unfamiliar and potentially dangerous situations they panic instead of “digging within to discover new levels of courage and resilience”.