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).
14 Aug 1986
A NEW CORPORATE WORLD
"The sad thing about many older and tradition-bound American Companies is that they may recognise the need for innovation as' a matter of corporate survival but not know how to go about getting it. Accustomed to setting-up controls and to avoid risk, they may have forgotten how to permit experimentation. Used to setting policy at the top, they cannot easily free the levels below to contribute new ideas".
Later in the book, Rosabeth does speak of a few American companies that not merely "permitted" experimentation but had a definite policy to "encourage"—Innovation and "invite" ideas from the bottom-most levels. These companies were greatly successful.
In case you wish to read this book (with all my underlining and remarks in the margin - for me reading a book is a kind of dialogue with the author.!, please phone me, or send me a small note.
One such successful company is "AVIS-RENT-A-CAR". In the June issue of "Kirloskar" magazine, Anand Bhave writes about this company - (you will have to tolerate my translation from Marathi to English!). Apparently most of the thoughts expressed by Anand seem to have been taken from a book titled "Further-up-Organization". If anyone has a copy, I would like to borrow please.
Although, I do not agree with all that has been written by Anand in his article - "A New Approach to Organization", (enclosed), it is nevertheless thought-provoking. Leaving aside Anand's attempts to glorify Townsend, in Avis, there are glimpses of the same innovations which Rosabeth considers essential to a company's survival and growth.
When we, at L&T, ourselves are struggling with our Economy Drive, can we learn some lessons from AVIS, and make innovations a corporate life-style rather than merely chance-incidences ? Can we liberate ourselves from ideological strait-jacket to chart a new course ? Those who call their vehicles "space-SHIP", - can they cross the galaxies ? Can we forget past experience and change our Terms-of-Reference?