Sunday, March 15, 2009

Desi Human Solutions

Most people in Indian Merchant Navy are wary of one particular breed of Technical Managers(aka Superintendents) . And that is the Indians themselves. It is humorous to find that quite many of us are aware of some problem existing in our management approach, although we believe that it is in someone else among us but not me.
We realize deeply that the Indian style of management focus a lot on exacting hard work from people, so much that where there is no work, we begin to feel uneasy for not getting opportunity to do our most cherished thing..the hard work!
It is agreed that all the arguments that would stand in favour and against our desi notion of Hard Work, ..(Hard work key to success, Hard work can win all battles, Foreigners do more hard work than us, ....and so on), the idea of slow and easy approach is completely abhored by our such the (someone-else-)Managers.
My close friend just now rang me up from China, to tell how hard his life has become, on the same ship on which I had an enormously wonderful and comfortable life, only because the Indian managers are looking after it, which was under the Taiwanese during my tenure. His complain, indeed, has been realized, accepted and humoured by many others too.
I think the concept of business and its big picture with relation to the technical and operational managements involved, is poorly understood by most of us. And this poor understanding occurs because of the fact that we Indians are born, lived, trained, and taught to always believe in 'Hard work'. Those of us who grow-up to realise, or even by some vile chance practice 'Luxurious life', quite often turn out to be the better players of technical management.
While reading one passage on cultural slips of Indians, I was thinking on the effect of the concepts on Vrat, Roza,(fasting), and TirthYatra (the pilgrimage), and self-abstinence in our culture. We believe that the more the human body is tortured and put to rigorous 'hard work', the closer it gets to find a reward from its maker. Ok, for the sake of good health the belief may be holding good, but for the purpose of solution-finding for any problem, it is not good to think of the approach of putting more regulatory checks, managerial pressure, or retributive measures, to obtain a solution. A technological approach should also be considered, which is, i agree, little difficult to be thought for us, Indians, because our Technological Institutes and not yet quite ready to take-up problem solving for practical problems. They are rather too busy in teaching their students.
Anil Kakodkar's, the chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, statement on the use of Tech Institutes to attend to the problems of Industries was much awaited in this regard. The circle-round result of the shortfall of the referral method led to our Desi managers never being able to think of technological solutions to problems. The widely sought solutions mostly are the human solutions of reprimanding, scolding, pressurising, or making unusual new rules.
The Japaneses, and other Hi-Technology nations have a traditional approach of looking for the technology-related solutions to the same set of problems. And even in that, they often choose to go for a real hi-technology, instead of our desi approach of 'affordable' and 'improvised' solutions.
Very recently, I was reading something on the west's rising interest in the approach of getting the human-solutions, in which they are now focusing on how to become more relaxed and easy to overcome difficulties like 'forgetfulness', and 'unrested'. This is very much different from our approach of desi human-solutions, where we focus on harassing some human to solve the problem where the technology could have worked instead!