Why this Article?
This article is aimed to bring some smallest changes in our lives which may lead to long lasting impact on the whole organization we own, we lead, we serve, or the organization where you are holding some managerial or leadership position. Not only for leaders and top management, but these small changes may even prove to be very effective for all those living on this earth. No matter what level what position you hold in any organization, but I am confident that if taken seriously, this discussion can really go a long way in changing our lives forever at workplace and in society.
The Inspiration for this article:
The inspiration to write this article came from a talk delivered by ‘Bryan Stevenson’, a criminal lawyer in America fighting for justice to poor and the talk was hosted on TED.com and received standing ovation from all the listeners. He said one sentence which touched my heart very deep. “We will ultimately not be judged by our technology, we won’t be judged by our design, we won’t be judged by our intellect and reason. Ultimately, you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat their rich and the powerful and the privileged, but how they treat the poor and underprivileged, because it’s in that nexus we will actually begin to understand WHO WE ARE.”
Having said this, let’s begin the journey of change with small steps.
Human Behavior Based on you position:
Start with a simple Question, remember the days when you were a simple living person, not holding any great position in life, not at any level, may be doing job for some few thousand rupees per month as a junior or some small position or struggling in life for a break or good job or setting up good business. Also try to remember the behavior of people around you at that point of time. Now, at this moment (20th May, 2014), wherever you are, try to recollect how the same people have started behaving with you. Wait for a moment to realize the difference and go ahead and read further. I bet you have already realized what I wanted to convey.
Yes, our behavior with people changes with their progress and their social status, their income levels, their assets possession, their wealth statements. The position they hold matters to us!!!! (In fact, lately with the breakthrough in technology and advent of materialistic world around us, now it has started to matter much more than before, so unlucky we are to live in this kind of world, we are going farther from our inner human character, do we even try to realize this?)
Are we being human:
Am surprised to see the different type of world around me. Are we still human? I feel lost sometimes and sad too. Anyways, my point is that we have evolved as ‘Human Beings’ but we forgot what it means ‘Being Human’. Our brains became smarter but our hearts became dumber as the time passed. We say that we have evolved. I don’t think so. We have still long way to go.
Let’s try to think what small change we can bring in our life.
I wanted to write an article about a small but touchy experience that I had. I go a small restaurant ‘Chhaaya’ located in Fort Area, Mumbai almost everyday where I see many waiters every time, some or the other comes up to me and takes order every day. One fine day I thought out of my human qualities that let me ask name of that waiter and he did not even understood the question itself. He asked ‘What?’, I said little loudly “What’s your name? He said smilingly “Bajrangi”. At that time I understood that nobody asks him his name, nobody is interested, and hence he did not understood my question. He must have thought am ordering him to bring something. He is so used to be treated as servant that he forgot that somebody may even ask him his name. The article I wanted to write was titled as “HE IS NOT A WAITER, HE IS BAJRANGI”
And that day onwards, he smiles at me every time I go there and his behavior is totally different with me than the rest of the customers. Does than ring a bell in you about human behavior? Am not a behavioral scientist but I don’t need to be a behavioral scientist in order to conclude that “The small steps towards an attempt to becoming human again worth much more and has effect much wider than the incentive programs, talent management programs, knowledge seminars, motivational lectures, pay packages and all those stuffs that we do for our employees. What we need to at this moment is organization wide cultural change”
You may ask, “Rajesh, How we can do tha?” I knew it, and thank God I have an answer to your question. Now let’s think what we can do and how we can be the change we want to see.
Where Can we start:
(i) Let’s treat each and every person equally as human beings (regardless of the title they hold on their business card, or Job titles, or size of their pocket),
(ii) Smile at them without thinking what position he must be holding, what income he must be earning, lets throw away that mask we wear every day.
(iii) Forget what others will think about you when you talk with goodness to those working below the line. It’s none of your business what others think.
(iv) Wherever you are in your workplace, treat everyone as human beings. All of them including your colleagues or subordinates or peons in office or pantry boys or sweepers. (On a lighter note, it’s always compulsory to give smile to your boss, but when you try to give smile to somebody below you, do it genuinely without any pressure. That will precisely define the character of your soul).
It will make you feel great about yourself. I felt being human again when I asked the name of that waiter. It made him feel good about himself, and in the process you will touch the hearts of other people. And winning hearts of people is very important for your successful life and successful organizations. (Why Narendra Modi became Prime Minster? Do you think it’s just because of the development agenda?, No, he shown the world that he genuinely cares for human beings. He won hearts before winning the position). People won’t mind bringing you to the top if you are good at winning their hearts. The secret to inspiring other’s actions is winning their hearts.
(v) Whenever you go out in hotels or restaurants for eating or any other places where people serve you, give smile to those who are serving you. Tell them good evening or good afternoon. (Surprise them, your simple acts of kindness may make someone’s day, you never know). Wish them a nice day. These all are small acts of kindness which makes us feel human again. There are literally ‘N’ number of ways in which you can do that. Just email me in your reply those innovative ways in which you did this or you can think of doing this.
These moments are precisely the moments that make us feel the spark of soul and bring real joy and happiness. So, after all what we do for others is nothing but what we do for ourselves. What goes around comes around. Law of Karma works precisely.
Now, what precisely can be an organization wide impact of these simple things? Once you spread a good idea around, people starts feeling it. Just like a disease spreads our through virus, goodness also spreads like a viral fever. At whatever level you may be working, there will be at least one or two persons below you. Start being nicer to them, be human again. Slowly, you will realize the change in their behavior towards you. Slowly people around you will start realizing the different you (don’t stop if anyone criticizes you or becomes skeptical about you being nice. This reminds me of a famous Quote which said “No monument has ever been built in this world in the name of Critics”, so don’t think the criticisms are important).
There is No Quick Fix:
Don’t think something will happen overnight and your organization will become great in a year or two. It takes time to spread new idea of Being Human again but we have come very far from being human that it may take some time to reach back that old stage of humanity.
This reminds me of a nice poem titled “Keep the eyes on the prize, hold on”.
Determination to change our life and our organization is the responsibility of the leader. Things won’t be as easy as we assume it to be, but it’s worth working for, it’s worth putting in little more. “Sometimes, working on a bigger purpose will make you Tired, Tired and Tired. But, that’s the reason why you need to be Brave, Brave and Brave”
I will conclude this article with closing remark “Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on”
1. TED TALK of Bryan Stevenson
2. TED Talk on Why good leaders make you feel safe
Written by CA Rajesh Pabari, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org