No sermon tells us to define a list of values for others. We should practice what we preach and leave it to those interested to follow.
It has become a fashion for almost every company to define its ‘core values’, with a lot of pomp and show on its launch—as if, the growth of the Company depended on it. But unfortunately, our heavenly egos, biases and hypocrisies start puncturing this balloon to a wall hanging.
Any culture, said or unsaid, in any organisation be it family, society or business conglomerates, percolates down from the single source sitting at the top of every pyramid. If I tell my subordinates to maintain integrity, their memory will immediately recollect my earlier hypocrisies. How can they be honest if the reports, facilities, authorities, taxes and speeches used by me have been known to contain manipulations? How can I tell them to be prompt if my table is clogged with pending decisions?
No sermon tells us to define a list of values for others. Let me practise it first, others can pick it up and feel free to follow it genuinely. The black sheep get automatically cornered. Gandhiji preached a lot of values, but he always practised what he preached. Thus, he developed such a tremendous morality that even violent riots would stop to make him withdraw his fasting.
In a manufacturing plant, the HR head was a regular drinker. He used to throw off-site evening parties and conduct meetings wherein alcohol was served. He used to manage and influence the union leaders by offering them alcohol. Empty alcohol bottles within the factory premises became a common sight for the sweepers and cleaners. Instances of accidents, sicknesses, poor-productivity, and alcoholism-linked personal, social and financial abuse at work and also at the homes of the employees became common.
However, when another HR head, who was a teetotaler, joined the establishment, he was able to gradually eliminate this menace through his own convictions and countermeasures. People, in general, were in appreciation of this de-addiction drive.
The biggest abuse of ‘core values’ is evident while dealing with the cases of important individuals or favorites. In such cases, the tough questions are always avoided while the easy ones and personal prejudices are mostly entertained.
It is true that a business organisations aim to generate wealth. So, one should not expect them to indulge in ‘moral policing’. But from my personal experiences, I can be sure of one thing— ‘Values’ do enrich our personal, social and corporate lives. Of course, a lot of patience is needed!
(The author is Plant HR Head, Hero MotoCorp. The views expressed in this article are those of the author in his personal capacity.)