Saturday, February 03, 2001

Hidden Value

The shadow of the earthquake still looms large over our consciousness. GS and MKS are the only people I know who have returned after a vist to the area and I hear they seem quite numbed by what they saw. Though the damage and devastations are of an unimaginable scale, one redeeming feature which sets Gujrat apart, as commented by many participating in last night's BBC - QTI and many other newspaper columnists, is the tremendous sense of community and self-reliance displayed by the people of the state. As Daniel wrote in his NT dispatch , the familiar site after any such devastation is the sight of helpless people waiting for assistance to arrive. But, in Gujrat people seem to have taken their fate into their own hands. Everybody - rich, poor, middle-class - is "doing something. Women are cooking meals for those who have lost their homes; men are using their bare hands to move concrete slabs to rescue people; doctors are volunteering medical services and even bankers are trying to help by raising money. It is this grain of character, I suppose, which makes Gujratis one of the most enterprising people, successful anywhere in the world and also explains why Gujrat is one of the most prosperous states of the country. There is a lot the rest of South Asia can learn from them.
Surfing though read the preview of a new book published by the Harvard Business Press called: Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People. Sounds very familiar - though the examples quoted are mostly American - Cisco, Southwest Airlines etc. The authors say that, most companies have gone on an overdrive on attracting and retaining "star performers" ignoring how to foster the creativity, drive and ambition of the 'ordinary' current employee. So, we have more instances of companies today where 'extra-ordinary' people deliver below 'ordinary' results.
It seems one of the pre-nuptial functions (Paka-Dekha - roughly the Bengali equivalent of Sagai ) was held at 66 Hindusthan Park. Amma wasn't impressed and not any wiser until she received an autographed copy of her book. Not knowing what to do with it she called up to check - whether we would like to have the copy or it would be in order for her to give it away to Banshi-pishi or someone who may like to read it.