Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Opportunity for true leadership

V S Mahesh writes quite interestingly in BS: the below paragraphs are really notable;  

  • In the event of bankruptcy, the president will forfeit all his private assets to the creditors of the company. In his book, Hasegawa cites the case of the President of Kojin, whose palatial residence in Denenchofu was handed over to the creditors of the company when Kojin went bankrupt. 
  • the top management earn much more than the lowest wage earner in a company in good times, they are the ones who take the first blows when the times go bad. Top management will normally cut their salaries, followed by the next layers in strict sequence and only finally, will the lowest wage earners be asked if they too would volunteer to reduce their salaries. 
  • The secret behind their success was that they had done what the Japanese would have done. First, their top management cut down their salaries by 50 per cent, then the administrative officials responsible for the production division cut down their salaries by 35 to 40 per cent, and only then was the income of the hourly staff cut down by 20 to 25 per cent. Not a single employee was retrenched. That the entire organization had jointly tightened their belt and seen the crisis through as a cohesive team should be obvious to anyone. This was in California and not Japan! (For more on this, readers can refer to my book, Thresholds of Motivation, Tata McGraw-Hill, 1993)
  • In the Taj Group, we knew that we were in for a bad year. Rather than taking the axe out to cut employee force, we did something quite different. We ran “cost-reduction” workshops in all hotels, where employees were asked to come up with suggestions on how to cut waste and unnecessary costs. We assured them that in the best traditions of the Tatas, we would try our very best to jointly cope with the crisis and did not threaten them with mass retrenchment. Employees responded with literally thousands of suggestions and we rode the storm jointly and came out much stronger as a team when the crisis ended. In one hotel, we cut food costs by 10 per cent, largely because of suggestions that came from the lowest rungs of the kitchen staff.

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