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).
23 Apr 1985
I enclose herewith copies of two articles taken from the April 1985 issue of "International Management".
Both articles deal with the matter of "change".
Ian Christian generalises about the resistance-to-change prevalent in the British Industry and how Margaret Thatcher is pushing for the idea of "Survival of the Fittest" under the conditions of free competition, In her grim battle on the question of closing of unprofitable coal-pits, she seems to have won the first round and established the principle.
But winning battles is not the same thing as winning wars! -especially "wars of Ideology" - ways of thinking and behaving which call for change of attitudes - on part of both the Victor and the Vanquished.
And the first change in attitude is that there are no winners and no losers.! In a war of ideology everyone must come out of a winner !
And this is what Hirashi Shinto (President) seems to be attempting at NTT - the giant domestic telephone monopoly of Japan which becomes "privatized" this month. Very aptly, the article calls it a "revolution in consciousness". And at one place the article says,
"In a Shinto-inspired cleanup and paper-saving drive, employees last year destroyed 6,600 tons of superfluous documents, emptying 940 file cabinets and lockers. They have also been ordered to curtail their use of paper and photocopies, which last year came to 1.2 billion sheets. That's worth $ 60 million and would reach almost 100 kilometres high if stacked".
Our own success at destroying 50 tons of superflous documents at Powai last August, can at best be considered a "superficial" comparison between what seems to be happening at NTT and what we are attempting at Powai.
As I carefully read and re-read the article, I got an impression that what NTT is engaged in is changing the very organization - culture -and in the process involving all of its 3,30,000 employees!
Let us hope, we too can find ways to involve all of our employees at Powai for whatever change of culture we badly seem to need to usher us in the 21st century. And let us further hope that those of us who do find such "ways" will go out and experiment, and not allow frustrations to hamper their enthusiasm - because the worst bankrupt is the man who has lost his enthusiasm.