The Meaning of Work

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All people at the work place work, that is, do their job; but how often do we think of how our work is in alignment to the business goals and organizational vision of our company. The question is do we work for work's sake or are we focused on business.

Let me narrate an experience I had in trying to book a holiday with an agency and how two people in the same organization behaved in two different ways. We will also look at what my decision was as a potential customer, pertaining to the travel booking. Last month I decided to go on holiday to Hyderabad along with my family and called up a travel house to make a booking at one of the star hotels in the Ramoji film city. The person who attended the call, Anand (name changed) seemed to be in a tearing hurry to give the information to me and disconnect the call. He said there are two hotels in the film city, one a five-star and the other a three- star and when he last called them there were vacancies in both; but if I have to make the booking, I will have to visit their office with the cheque or cash; and the rider was I need to reach his office before the rooms got sold off. I tried to convince him that I have been a regular customer and that he can take the booking and I will make sure that the payment reaches him. He was however very clear that he can only make the booking once he get's the payment. I called him a couple of times later, to know the status and also in the process to convince him to accept my proposal. But he was very clear, straightforward and not rude. But at the same time didn't appear friendly or supportive; nor did he seem really interested in grabbing the business.

 

The  ultimate meaning of work should be not merely to be occupied but to increase business as much as possible.

 

 

In the mean time, I started my search on the internet for hotel bookings and got some real good weekend offers from star hotels in Hyderabad. However I thought of making another attempt to get a booking at the film city and again called up the agent; but this time around, I called another person Uma (name changed); as I remembered having contacted her for a holiday I had taken earlier. At the outset I found the approach very different, she did appear to have all the time to listen to me and offered to check out the availability of the stated hotels and she even went ahead and upfront offered bookings in other hotels in the city. Well, it was the same organization I called but the experience was definitely different, the feeling very good. Uma didn't wait for me to follow up, but was proactive and returned the call stating that the hotel booking was going chockablock; however she came up with some more resorts, which I was not keen; she hung up the phone stating that she will continue to follow up with the hotels in the film city. I went ahead and made another booking, and just an hour later Uma calls back, stating that there is a cancellation in the 5-star hotel at the film city and she is holding the call from the hotel for me to respond. I had to just say yes and the booking would have been made; buy then I had made another booking, so what I could do was just to thank her for the offer.

 

I had to quote this anecdote to drive my point of view of how two people in the same organization can view work differently; both for sure are dedicated employees and in fact Anand seemed to be more busy than Uma, but Uma acts like an ambassador of her company and she knows the ultimate meaning of her work, which is not merely to be occupied but to increase business as much as possible, to ensure that potential customers are not lost and to keep customers happy, and to ensure that they come back.

 

Having stated my view of Uma and Anand, I am not sure how exactly these two people are viewed and how their performance is rated. For all you know, all calls to this organization may be routed through Anand and he may be indeed on records getting more business for the organization; but how does one capture the missed opportunities and the loss of current customers returning with more business. That's probably the reason why Dr. Deming say's that Management by Objectives (MBO) which focuses only on results is no good. He goes on to say, "People operating under MBO will perform only enough to look good to their supervisor. They will avoid doing more". He says that the answer to this is Management by Planning (MBP), which focuses on process and not outcome.

 

We should be able to look at all the process under the Quality Management System and define the processes clearly and have regular audits to see consistency of process in the organization to meet the organizational goals. Surveys and customer feedback is yet another way by which management can identify gaps in the organization.  n

 

Pradeep Kumar E.T. A Master Black Belt in Six Sigma , is the Country Manager- Operational Excellence with Tyco Electronics Corporation India Pvt Ltd. Feedback can be e- mailed to pradeep@businessgyan.com

 

Issue BG83 Feb 08