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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The turmoil within - continues

Air India is now slowly getting back on track, yet it is still miles to go before one can relax and watch the planes fly, albeit without the need to constantly worrying and fretting.

Eight months at the helm of the national carrier has been a hectic affair. With almost everything in disarray, be it operations or engineering, public image or commercial, finance or even personnel, it was fairly obvious even to a novice like me that what this organization indeed lacked was that one magical word “leadership”. I wonder why the powers that be never appreciate this basic realization, here there and everywhere. And therefore the never ending search for solutions that always failed to deliver.

Earlier I always believed that the great indian railways was the mother of all bureaucracies, but not any longer. Here at the national carrier the ridiculousness of the process and the diehard belief therein has been carried to a mind boggling extent. And the gross failure to look after the human resource while at the same time cursing the organization for its failure to look after oneself is by itself a joke.

The market is there for the taking, yet procrastination that the company has of late come to specialize in has ensured that the failure to make hay while the sun shines is always delved after the time has passed. Our recent successes in all the new flights that we mounted has strengthened my belief in the power of the gut and risk taking, an art in which all the successful industrialists of the nation have been excelling in since time immemorial. Yet we never learnt so far!

The tremendous potential of an individual, that is often explained as “kundalini jagran” in all ancient hindu texts has also never been understood. How can an organization that loses no opportunity in deriding its own men and making them unhappy, find faults with them for lack of deliverance is what I have always failed to fathom. And it is not merely air india, similar has been my experience though on a lower scale during my stints with the lifeline of the nation or the hospitality majors at the national and state levels. Perhaps the inability to apply on one’s own self, the rules of the game that we often expect others to comply with is unfortunately the reason.

It makes me sad when the common employee is often blamed for the ills of the organization, in this case too, whereas the real reason for the debacle lies elsewhere, in my opinion on the head honcho. An organization is only as good or as bad as the head honcho, everything else is merely a symptom. A merger that really never happened and in the process resulted in a chaotic situation is at the back of all ills that we are currently witness to. And the bunch of people manning the top slots left no stone unturned in ensuring that their focus does not shift from their own selves and simultaneously shifting the blame to the men at large, an act in which they have been successful so far........ 

The role of the watchdogs is also really what dogs do. They wait and watch and jump at the slightest hint of movement and in the process create an environment where movement if any is at the peril of the mover. How can a outside agency be entrusted with the task of ensuring probity in public life, it is simply the job of the executive and if he is lacks integrity, the organization does not have a future either way. Unfortunately while in most of the peripheral areas, we continue to imbibe the western culture, we conveniently look the other way when it comes to imbibing their style of governance.

And those watching on the sidelines and passing comments or giving ideas have to be many and they are. Many of them may not have excelled in their own sphere of activities while in saddle, yet profess to know how others should be doing their job. My steadfast refusal to be the medium through which others settle scores is borne out of the conviction to run the organization my way and deliver, not how the fence sitters perceive it should be.

The mess is by no stretch of imagination a minor one, yet it has to and shall be sorted out. This time consuming exercise has to be gone through and the price would have to be paid, either way. Turning around is not an attempt, it is a foregone conclusion, despite the plethora of handicaps and with this thought at the back of our minds, we are moving ahead.