The Importance of Being Transparent in Business and Life

The day before yesterday, when I reached office, Pranav and his assistant Ganesh were waiting  to meet me. It is their company that we have been using for fulfilling our maintenance related services. Pranav had spoken to me last Saturday too, about a grouse he had.

He was upset that Mathan had used the services of one of their staff a few times for electrical and plumbing jobs without the knowledge of his company. I listened to them and promised to revert to them after checking with Mathan. Fortunately, he was unwell and was on leave that day.

Mathan had told me earlier that he was using the services of an ex-employee of Pranav. I should have checked with him immediately if he had talked to Pranav about the matter. I was not alert enough. We as a company appeared to have stooped low in this matter.

Yesterday I spoke to Mathan about this matter and told him that even if the employee had left the services of our vendor, we should have had the courtesy to inform before using him to complete a job.

For about 3 years, from around 2004 to 2007, when our staff strength was high, we used to recite the Service Square Pledge, during our morning meeting / prayer. The pledge is:

We promise to bring a smile on the customers face each time through a strict compliance of: 

Quality, Commitment, Value for money, Honesty and Timely service. 

This pledge was and is very important to me personally and have striven to uphold these values. The problem comes when we are selective in the implementation and upholding of the values. Whether it is in the way we maintain our statutory records honestly or in dealing with the money of customers transparently, we should be above board. If we do not walk the talk in all aspects, it will be very difficult to convince the employees about what the Service Square Pledge actually mean.

Organizations develop certain character or grow into their unique cultures depending upon how values are espoused and practiced. Organizations which have enabling cultures practice the values which they preach. Resorting to short cuts will only lead to pit-falls and complications.

It is also not easy for a person running a business to profess certain values personally and something totally different in his business. Such splits will create imbalances in his business as well as in his personal life. Life cannot be compartmentalized.

Similarly, I as a parent cannot afford not to practice the values I preach to my daughter. Our good and bad acts – even those done very secretly – bubble unknowingly to the top sooner or later. Life is a great leveler. We all create our heaven or hell on earth, through our actions, in our life time.

It is precisely this aspect of authenticity that haunts me as I prepare myself to embark on transforming people through training. I know I could use sweet, clinching words to convince people. Being a living witness to those words and my ability to embody them in my life alone will bring about change in others.

Becoming aware of what goes on in my mind is the precursor to inviting happy changes in my own life.



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