- September 22, 2020
- Posted by: Sanjeeva Narayan
- Category: Uncategorized
Greetings as your beloved organization completes forty-two years- a journey which, as I have repeatedly emphasized on earlier occasions has been challenging, enjoyable and fruitful, but above all, engrossing.
The legendary broadcaster Melville de Mellow while commenting on AIR at the precise moment when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru dedicated the Bhakra Nangal Dam to the Nation by pressing the button to fill up the reservoir with water very poignantly remarked – “And Bhakra Nangal Dam becomes a part of history” – followed by a pregnant and meaningful pause – crisp and short comments to signify the momentous occasion.
In this context while being crisp and short is definitely not my forte and it is definitely impossible to step into the shoes of Melville de Mellow and as our 42nd year “becomes a part of history”, it nevertheless carries with it the abiding memories of the successes that we have enjoyed, the failures we have suffered and the challenges we have endured- the experiences of which enable us to make a resolve to deal with the uncertainties and anxieties of the future more pro-actively and resiliently.
The Leadership team in consultation with all of you has laid out an elaborate plan of action to bulwark the next stage of our Firm’s growth and to deal with the challenges that are anticipated in the rapidly mutating dynamics and variables of a pandemic stricken society including the necessary technological updation and equipping, as deemed fit, everybody with the requisite skill sets and domain knowledge.
In addition to that, I personally would like everybody to accept, embrace and internalise the spirit of “Innovation” which, in a way, is an offshoot of the famed Indian “Jugaad”, a concept although fraught with pejorative undertones has infinite esoteric capabilities. While over the last couple of centuries, especially in the backdrop of the Industrial revolution, standardisation of processes and systems has been the focus of all organizations (remember the insane aspiration to achieve “Six Sigma” efficiency), it bred a top-down culture wherein processes were fitted into straight jacketed pigeonholes. The said approach, while may have been in tune with the times led to the spirit of Innovation and discovery becoming an unwitting casualty.
The spirit of innovation, which is a more sophisticated term for the vernacular “Jugaad” and contrasts sharply with the structured approach so distinctly exemplified earlier, has in fact been the subject of widespread research and analysis in top Management Schools. including the Harvard Business School and is the subject of many case studies. The “Jugaad” approach, by adopting somewhat of a bottoms up approach, encourages flexible mindsets, an innovative approach and novel ways of thinking so necessary in a modern day hyper competitive, dynamic, variable and complex environment. By the environment here the reference is not only to the business and industrial environment but the entire amalgam of forces at work foreseen, unforeseen and even sudden (who could have just a couple of months ago foreseen that the world would turn topsy-turvy and almost unrecognizable affecting humanity to the most unedifying manner).
While Indians have been famous for adopting and using the “Jugaad technology” (In fact the magazine India Today in an issue, a couple of years earlier, titled “The things that make India proud” had listed it prominently as one of them), the bottoms-up frugal approach inherent in this technology has also been profitably, effectively and prudently used by various corporations and conglomerates across the world with phenomenal results and unprecedented success.
Zeroing in on our organization, the need is to inculcate a spirit of Innovation (again at the cost of multiple repetitions “Jugaad”) in our daily professional duties and work. While embracing it involves various parameters, the thing that most topically craves attention is to seek opportunity in adversity and while facing challenges. Dealing with adversity and challenges, in the modern-day context requires the ability to alter mindsets by what the famous author Seth Godin calls “edge of the box thinking” to counter effectively rapid and unforeseen changes in the external environment. The following quote attributed Charles Darwin, the founder of the Theory of Evolution very aptly sums up the conundrum:-
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
nor the most intelligent that survives,
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
To take an example, recent changes in the operating scenario of the Tax Department while radically altering the prevailing ecosystem, do provide us an opportunity to innovate by adopting contemporary thought processes, procedures and technology to unleash the creativity within and develop the requisite wherewithal to deal with the inalienably altered external environment. While this is a fairly recent occurrence, the dynamics of the present day world will witness more such developments in all fields of professional endeavour, which could not only be more frequent but also epochal – it is the dire need to recalibrate our thought processes by churning the grey matter, shaking the cranium and electrolysing the synapses to be able to forecast (wherever possible) and plan and execute strategies and actions to deal with the situations as and when they arise.
Similarly with the radical shifts in the working environments, with work from home becoming a concept whose time has come, the Auditing scenario will also undergo a major transformation with reliance on Computer Aided/assisted Auditing tools, Artificial Intelligence and other analytical tools with somewhat of an emphasis on remote audit, would replace the earlier nuts and bolts systems and processes which we had so assiduously built up and got so used to over a period of time. It is imperative that not only do we recognise the change (which to my mind is in any case inevitable) we adapt and attune ourselves to the changed scenario and anticipate events before they hit us with the force of a Tsunami.
While at my age, with somewhat of a fossilized mindset and a life about to enter into the mandatory overs, invoking the spirit of innovation and alteration of existing ways of doing work and embracing newer technologies may require some doing (which I promise and have committed myself to do), the younger team-members who form a vast majority of our organisation should embrace Innovation” and internalise “Jugaad” (in the esoteric sense) as a part of their routine and just wait to see the phenomenal results. As an organization the leadership promises full encouragement and unstinted back-end infrastructure support to imbibe, inculcate and foster the spirit of innovation.
Feel free to come forward and discuss fresh ideas that may germinate in your mind , the communication channels are always open- that could be your Eureka moment. Just remember the consequences of failure are miniscule as compared to a lifetime of regret at not having incubated and nurtured an idea which, over time, may be appropriated by sometime else leaving you with eternal regret.
Before I close is one of my favourite Sanskrit prayers from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad :-
असतो मा साद गमय,
तमसो मा ज्योतिर् गमय,
मृत्योर मा अमृतम् गमय
(Asato Ma Sad Gamaya,
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya,
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya)
Translated into English it means
Lead us from ignorance to truth;
Lead us from darkness to light;
Lead us from death to deathlessness.
May God continue to Bless us all and keep showering us with his bountiful love and we have an Innovative (“Jugaadu”)year ahead
With my best wishes on this joyous occasion (albeit in globally trying and radically transformed times).