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

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.

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