image1Scene 1: You are a professional, and your environment is conducive for work. Your needs are taken care of, and you are given all the facilities (a desk, a chair, stationery, water, beverages and a peaceful environment)

Scene 2: You are in a chaotic environment in between loud discussions, banter, meetings all happening at the same place in the name of togetherness. There is always someone to disturb you, and the facilities are far from your easy reach.

In which scene do you find yourself getting more productive? You might as well say that it depends on the kind of work being done. For those that require application of gray cells, probably the former would be the choice. And for the kind of work that is boring and can only be lightened by the disturbances, the second one is preferable.

When one needs to think deep on his own and is thrown into scene 2, the output will be close to negligible. Similarly, if one needs to do a no brainer job and is put in scene 1, he might as well be seen yawning, if not nodding off.

Having seen the first scene till now in my previous organizations, scene 2 comes as a major pain to me. Unfortunately it is the scene 2 that happens in most of the manufacturing organizations in India. The reason is simple: most people are doing things they have been doing since eternity, sans any element of challenge or any excitement. I have had the opportunity to see both the worlds, and find myself uncomfortable in the former. There is a major cultural difference in the two scenes, which often represent different era.

Being a consultant, I have to think of solutions. Unfortunately my thinking happens more on my way to work and back instead of in office. And so to make myself more productive, I discovered a vending machine (I had to certify which department I was working for), and made it a routine to pick up a cup of coffee and a paper and sit in the parking lot (alone). Yet this was seen as too casual and I was asked to stop this practice by someone who tries to yield power in his domain (the so called canteen). And so coffee was out of reach. Come 4:30 pm, the canteen winds up, and you don’t even get to replenish the water bottle, leave out any beverage. This is a system people have been living with (because they have been doing it)

What kind of management encourages such practices? Perhaps only that which believes in the theory X, giving scant respect to the individual. The basic essence of such a feeling comes from the fact that companies of the pre independence era still follow the technique of the British (hum angrezo ke zamane ke…)

Management must wake up to the fact that the times are changing, and to keep up with the environment, human capital needs to be nurtured. Culture is made by people, and when people belong to the times of yore, things do not change.

I might sound somber, but I couldn’t find another place to put down my interesting experiences.

I love challenges, and the environment poses the biggest challenge in a project! I am learning from it

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