Hi Friends,
                                              Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.
                                                  There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"
                                       With regards,
                                       Hemen Parekh
                                       27 June 2013

Thursday, 25 December 1980

RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave).

25 DEC 1980

To:
Dear friends                 
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL

The Bible speaks of a father and his two sons.
When the sons grew up to become adults, the  father gave each an equal share of  his wealth.  There was also  some fatherly advice on how to make the wealth multiply by working hard.
It so happened  that the younger  son did not quite  heed the advice.  He was  a happy-go-lucky type  of a man  and avoided work whenever he could get away with it.
Now that he  had money in his  hands, to spend as  he wished, the younger  son  left home  and started  visiting places  of pleasure.  He squandered away all his money  and soon started begging for  food.  Half-starving, he  now realized  the good advice of his father but felt too ashamed to go back to him.
Finally, one day  he overcame his  remorse and returned  home. The overjoyed  father  ordered music  and feast to celebrate the event.
When the hard-working  elder son returned home  from the farm and learned of  his father's orders, he was very  unhappy and refused to  take part  in the family  reunion.  Here  he was, toiling away under  the blazing sun to preserve  and multiply the family-wealth and  whose home-coming is being celebrated? - the good-for-nothing vagabond!
It was now  the father's task to explain that whereas  he had greater respect  for the elder  one and  valuad his  work, he loved  both sons  equally.   The rejoicing  was to  mark the return of the prodigal  to the family-fold and to  the family tradition of hardwork and respect for  the elders.  No matter how far he  may wander, a child that returns home  by evening is not to be considered "Lost".'
On this  X-mas day, I wonder if the story  has any relevance to our own times and to our own lives !

H.C. PAREKH

Monday, 27 October 1980

FINANCIAL EXPRESS

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave). 

27 Oct 1980

To:

Dear Mr.

I enclose an article that appeared in Financial Express on 24th instant,

·              written by Dr. Pennathur
·              about his visit to Powai Works on 5th September 1980.

Dr. Pennathur has glorified our joint efforts at improving productivity thro' "Worker Participation in Management".

May be this is the way we appear to him when he compares us with what he has observed elsewhere.

But, we know that we are far from the 'ideal' picture painted by him. In the words of poet, Robert Frost, "...... and I have miles and miles to go".

Could we ever become an 'example' to the rest of the country? The thought is not only challenging, it is frightening!

Frightening because of the 'responsibility' it would cast upon us.

We would be, in that case, setting up ourselves on a pedestal for the rest of the country to watch. Can we live up to their expectations? Can we live up to our own image?

May be not - but, because of that, shall we give up a challenge?

H.C. PAREKH

Wednesday, 1 October 1980

WHAT MAKES A COUNTRY "WORK"?

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave). 

1 Oct 1980

To:

Dear Readers


What makes a country "work"?  - or,  for that  matter, what makes a Company or any other Institution "work"?

At the  cost of  "over-simplifying", I would  say, it  is the "Character" of the people and the "Ideals" they uphold.

"Britain Works  O.K."  is a  book about  the British  working class (Managers  included!) and their struggle for  a "better tomorrow".    This  "drama   in  real   life"  has   powerful characters  (both from Union and  Management) who semm  to be locked in a grim  battle of apparently conflicting "ideals" -until some one turns around and asks in each scene -
'What is right?'   
rather than
'Who is right?'

As soon as both the parties  made a sincere attempt to answer the   question  truthfully   and  honestly,   the  "apparent" conflict   gave  way  to   an  unifying  understanding   -  a commonness of purpose.

The deep  impression the  book made  on me  had to  be shared with all of you.   So, we got it  translated in Marathi.  One or two  chapters will  appear at a  time - since  there is so much to absorb !

Those who wish to  share their views/offer their comments  on what they have absorbed, are welcome to write to me.

H.C. PAREKH

Tuesday, 23 September 1980

POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE (PRC)

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave). 

Dear Denison


Policy Review Committee ( PRC )

We have been talking of open and frank communication as an essential first 
ingredient to attitude-change.

We have also said,”It is only thru. attitude change that we can bring about "Worker participation in Management".

Now look at what has been happening at the PRC ! Take last 3/4 PRCS.

How many managers said anything at all? (Quantity)

Those few who cared(dared) to speak, did they have anything worthwhile to say?(Quality

Was that an "Open & frank " (and serious) debate on issues which are grave, of far reaching consequence to the future (the very existence) of this company ? Or was that an "Offensive-defensive" win-lose type of talk (the little that did take place?) Was there an "engineering" of an agreement because people did not CARE  to differ? How many people were totally withdrawn? How many unwilling speakers being goaded into responding? How many were goody goody yes-yes? Was there "team" in search of a solution? I can go on.

 But you are a "Behavioral Scientist" and surely better placed/equipped to understand/interpret the "Communication-process". If this is the state-of-affairs at the very TOP levels of management, what do we expect to achieve at the middle and lower levels? Before we talk of participation  in decision making at the lower levels, should we not do something about participation at the top level? These people are the real DYNAMOS and  if they take the attitude of a
BY-STANDER, where will this company end-up? The trends (adverse) shown by SDK are only symptomatic-the disease is far below the surface.

You  are the doctor of company's mental health and all of these symptoms could not have remained unnoticed by you.  We need to do something and do it fast-
Before we reach a point of no return !

In the last 4 days, I have been "listening" to some 4/5  DGMS .  (a kind of attitude survey) Next week, I hope to listen to the GMS . You have your own "access" to this group (on the pretext of Post - Appraisal-Trg, etc.)

I am sure you can "Uncover" a lot of attitudes. We (you and I ) need to get together and develop a strategy of how can we bring about this openness. I hope you will help

H. C. PAREKH

Sunday, 10 August 1980

IDEAS & RUMOURS

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave).

Dear Friends                  

Ideas             .............        Yes                 
Rumours                .............        No

A few days back a worker met me and said,

"Sir,  is  it   true .that  company  is  going   to  stop  the long-service  award  as part  of  the  economy-drive?  We  are hearing all kinds of rumours".

I asked him,    

"What other rumours have you been hearing?    
"Sir there all all kinds of rumours - such as,

- Company is going to stop the sports-club, cancel annual   social gathering, stop the picnic assistance, reduce   worker-education classes and so many things like that".

For a few seconds, I tried to read his mind.  I wondered,

- Has this worker really heard these things from   someone else?                      

or

- These 'are his own "Ideas" and he is trying to only   find out what are my
views on these subjects?

There was only one way to find out - by asking him.

"Are these your  ideas or have you  really heard these from
somebody?"

"Sir, I swear in my mother's  name, I heard these from Mr. XYZ.

I slowly  walked away wondering  whether these were  the ideas of Mr. XYZ or whether he too had heard these from Mr.ABC! "

If people  have ideas  on economy-drive, why  don't  they come and tell me or send me a note?  - as 23 employees have already done? - even if it means saying "farewell to welfare!"

First thing  I will do  is to  immediately acknowledge that  I have received your thoughts.

Then I will  try to calculate  the money it will save  - which is  very difficult  to estimate  in some  cases.   But in  any case,  I  will   discuss  the  idea  with   several  people individually and  in groups.   And if we  decide to  implement your idea, will you want  me to tell everyone that it was your idea ?

Or do you  prefer to remain  anonymous and do not  wish people to know that  it was your idea because  it is likely to  be an "unpopular" idea  and because some employees may  even dislike you for suggesting that?

And is that why you  start a rumour - by telling someone else - hoping that  somehow it will finally  reach me and may  even get implemented  - without  anyone knowing  that  it was  your idea?

If you do not want people to know that such-and-such was  your idea, we  will  keep your  name a  secret.   But why  start  a rumour?

One thing is  clear.  And if  it is not clear  to some, let me make it clear.

Economy drive  will require making  sacrifices - all  kinds of sacrificies.

And obviously  people affected  by such  actions may  not like it.  It is natural to feel that way.

But  whereas  I can  appreciate  that  some people  will  feel unhappy at the withdrawal of facilities  and benefits, I don't think  anyone  of  us  will  appreciate   that  the  company's profitability  should continue  to remain  at its  present low level !

This is  not the time  to feel disgruntled.   This is  not the time  to behave  like  cowards.   This  is  not the  time  for mischief (even innocent).

This is time for Sacrifices.
This is time for Hard-work.
This is time for ideas - brave ideas.

H.C. PAREKH


P:S:    In  view  of  the  Economy Drive,  I  am  not  sending individual copies.  If you get a chance to  read this on the Notice-Board, please tell others.

Saturday, 3 May 1980

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave).


3 May 1980

To:
Dept. Heads (PGM-Group)                  

SUB : NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS


For  us the  time  is April.   (But  it is  better  late than never !. )

And it is serious business deciding

-    Where we are (data-base)
-    Where we wish to go (direction/objective)
-    Which path do we take (strategy)
-    How do we go (Tactics/Action plan)
-    When do we reach (Time/Target)
-    What shall be the guide posts  (Monitoring Progess)

But decide we must.

So how do we go about it?

STEP - I

Decide what is "our job" The job of the department (function - description) The job of an individual (job description)

Before  the  departments  can write  their  own  "function  -description", we must know the  "group functions" - the group under  GM(P).  What  is  the  "raison  d'etre"  (reason  for existence) of this group?

You will find this in Annexure A.

This  should  enable  the  department  heads  to   write  the departmental "function - description".

Dept. Heads will  meet me on  27.05.80 morning at  10.00 a.m. (C-4 Conference room) to discuss these.

Each dept.  head shall present  to the group,  the "function-description"   of  his   own   department   (use  O/H   Slide Projector).  After  all the  presentations have taken  place, we will discuss and decide if these descriptions are:

       -  Synergic     
-  congruent     
-  complimentary     

or
-    opposing
-    neutralizing
-    negating





STEP - 2

Department Heads  circulate their  function-description among the  Supervisory  Staff of  the  department, asking  them  to write down  their own  individual job-descriptions.  By  10/6 each Supervisory Staff to present  his own job-description in a  departmental meeting.  Once  again  decide if  we are  all pulling in the  same direction.   (If invited, I will  try to make myself available as an "observer").

Also use the departmental meeting to determine (write down)

CRITERIA               -   what  criteria (measurable)  would you  like others 
(mainly our  customers)  to use  for  evaluating departmental
Performances. -

DATA-BASE      -   what  data-base  exists   (or  needs  to  be created) for
Performance measurement.

objectives              -   in  light of  the foregoing  what should  be the
departmental   objectives  for   April  80-March 81.

At this stage,  you may wish to debate whether  the prevalent atmosphere  in  the dept.  is  "open"  enough for  the  staff members to  settle their individual  "objectives" right there in the meeting.  If not, in  the departmental meeting itself, draw-up a time-schedule for  individual staff members to meet you separately for settling his own objectives.

STEP – 3

Meet the  staff member to  settle his objectives.   To ensure that   the   objectives  are   less   "subjective"   &   more "objective", send out  the work-sheet (enclosed)  in advance. This is  the ACID-TEST.  For  practice, ask  your man  to rewrite  last year's  (79-80) objectives on  the sheet  and see for himself  how many  of  these withstand  this  test.  Only thereafter,  let  him  write  proposed  80-81  objectives  on another work-sheet and bring both sheets to the meeting.

STEP-4

Having settled  the objectives,  let your man  meet you  once again within a week.  This time ask him to bring with him:

A.   DATA-BASE

The  onus of proving  ACTUAL vs.  target performance  is his.   Right at  the  beginning  of  the year,  he  must convince   you,   regarding   the   existence   of   the INFORMATION  SYSTEM  and  the starting  DATA-BASE  (over which  improvements are  planned).  There  is no  way we can measure progress without co-ordinates!



And you must carry your  own navigation-instruments.  Sure, a Satellite  can track  you in  the middle  of Sahara  desert -while you  are going in  Circles all the time!  This  is what generally   happens  when  you   depend  upon   the  Computer department or the Accounts department  or the Costing Section or some such external agency  to tell you that your assistant is  "off"  his  target.   Remember   that  keeping  you  well informed   every  morning  about  the   performance  of  your subordinates, may not be one of their objectives!!

B.   ACTION-PLAN

Many Soul-satisfying  Objectives have turned  into pious platitudes  for   want  of  an   action-plan'.  Planning Commission will tell you  NOW, where we ought to reach by 2000 A.D.  - without having  the faintest clue  of where we will be  at the end of 1980!   But then Policy-makers cannot  be  bothered with  trivial  details  -  like the Harvard  Professor who  advised  the  cat-scared  rat to become  a  dog  and  got  angry   when  the  rat  asked, "but-how"?
So ask your man to write down  "how".

C.  THE GUIDE-POSTS

These are  all-familiar mile-stones - not  only you know that you  are on  the predetermined track  but  you also know how  well (or  well not) you  are doing.   Those of you who  are familiar  with PERT network,  know  them as "events"  (as distinct from  activities).  These  are so to  say,  "mini-destinations".   Along  your  "activity-track", have at least  2/3 of these and keep looking for them - and  looking at the calendar.  You  will know who needs more steam and when!

STEP - 5

Let your man  loose.  From this point  onwards, he is  on his own -  to be judged  solely by the  "results" and not  by the "noise".   Let him know  you are available  for  "guidance" -but only  if he  asks for it.   Your only  concern should  be with regard to use of unethical means  to achieve noble ends, - or  sacrifice  of departmental/Group objective  so that  an individual may achieve his own.  This is strictly forbidden.

I am  sure dfp (dgm-hrd) would  be only too glad  to help at any stage of the exercise.

                                                      


                                                                                           Annexure - A                   
FUNCTION - DESCRIPTION
ADMINISTRATION GROUP
(G.M. POWAI)

PREAMBLE

Let  us  not  look  upon  L&T,  as  a  mere  manufacturer  of machinery and equipment.

Let  us say,  India is  waging a  war  - war  for removal  of "wants"  - a  war  for  a  better  tomorrow for  its  teeming millions.   And better  tomorrow  means  different things  to different people.  For  a man who sleeps on the  footpath, it means being able to sleep inside the 96" diameter pipe!

Let us say, L&T is  on the forefront of this war  - right out at  the frontiers  of  "Technology".  7000  people of  Powai, constantly  learn new  technologies, and  where  to apply  it with ever-increasing efficiency to their own daily tasks.

These are

·     Designing new war-machines (the Equipments)
·     Preparing Production plans
·     Acquiring resources of Man/Material/Machine                                Buildings/Facilities
·     Utilizing these resources optimally
     (to)
@    Manufacture the equipments
@    Despatch/installing/commissioning the equipments
@    Servicing the equipment to keep them going
     (so that)
o    The war on "want" may go on & on
o    And such a war cannot be fought
o    with borrowed ammunition
o    The machines we make are
o    The muscles that matter

THE ADMINISTRATIVE GROUP

To the people of Powai we cater. We are the "logistics" people (The unsung heroes - if you like) we are "prominent" when absent and self-effacing if present
                                 



Our Job

Our  job is to  ensure that our  investment at  Powai remains fully productive  at all  times,  around the  clock, all  the days of the year.

And when I say  "investment" I mean all types of investment -including "people-investment" - the most important of all.

At Powai, the company has invested in     

Facilities             
(The land - buildings - equipments - utilities)     

Materials
Mfg. materials/W.I.P./Finished Goods/ Maintenance Materials

Information

Systems & Procedures
Organizatonal Manuals
Computer-based Data Management
Communication (Telephone/Telex/Mail/Printing )
People
How can we ensure that these RESOURCES  are kept "productive" at ail times?

Right from the  starting point where you  "Envisage" the need for a resource, all the way  to the final stage of "Auditing" whether a  given resource is being  efficiently 'utilized, you have to subject the  resource to various  kinds of treatment. This will become clear from the following matrix.














Type of Treatment
Type of Resource
Facilities
Materials
Information
People
1
Envisage




2
Plan




3
Acquire




4
Maintain
-    Feed
-    Transport




5
Utilize (optimum)




B
Organize




7
Develop (Train)




8
Nurture
-    Physical
-    Mental




9
Motivate




10
Audit











Clearly the "ADMINISTRATIVE GROUP" is     

Partly/wholly responsible     
Ocassionally/Permanently      
For a few/all of the "treatments"     
For one/more than one resource     
Individually/jointly with unit managers

And THAT is our job !

I  have purposely  left the  matrix  blank so  that, you  may attempt to fill it in:

1.   From the view-point of your particular section/department
2.   Using your own "self-perception" of your role
3.   Using  the  "perception" of  the  others  in Powai  (and elsewhere) as to your              
    role.                                                          

H.C. PAREKH