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).
8 April 1985
Can you lock yourself "out" of your own house - even when you are holding the "key" in your own hands ?
This is what seems to have happened at IIL (International Instruments Ltd.) Bangalore, one year ago.
The owner of the company Mr. Krishnan apparently believed in the Gandhian concept of "Trusteeship". So he made all workers share-holders of the company. He must have thought,
"... if the workers own the Company (even partially), surely they would work very hard and keep it competitive"
But that did not happen!
The workers paid themselves the highest wages (for the instrument industry) - you see, they "owned" the company!
Material plus labour - cost added upto 81%. Many departments became uneconomical - sick.
So when the Management decided to close down these departments (I suppose, to save the rest of the Company!), the workers went on a "sit-down" strike!
That is what I call, "locking yourself out of your own house." it is, like punishing one's own self!
But let me tell you one thing. Competition does not give a damn whether you own the company or you are a paid employee'. If you cannot compete, you are simply finished!
And much as I would like L&T-ites to think that it is the society - the Nation - which ultimately owns this company, all that philosophical talk of "ownership" is completely meaningless unless we are productive - enough to face the competition and sell our products in the market.
And most unfortunately, when we are facing severe competition in Switchboards, Dairy-products, Chemical plants and many other products, I find some employees raising petty, selfish issues and obstructing productivity! I hope they will read this article and cooperate with the Management in making ourselves competitive. No company -not even L&T - is beyond the threat of competition.
Educating employees and persuading them to give-up unproductive practices are important responsibilities of management.
But then no one can save a person who wants to lock himself out of his own home!