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Old 27th May 2011, 12:25   #46
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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A generations sacrifices (not literal) is needed for a revolution.
But here it's multiple generations that are squeezed.
When the Maharajs were ruling us, Indians slogged like no other. Did that improve their standard of living?
When the Corporates are ruling us, again the average Indian is squeezed. For what?
I don't think any of our succeeding generations will be any better, unless this mentality of getting work done for peanuts is forgotten.
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Old 27th May 2011, 12:31   #47
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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But here it's multiple generations that are squeezed.
When the Maharajs were ruling us, Indians slogged like no other. Did that improve their standard of living?
When the Corporates are ruling us, again the average Indian is squeezed. For what?
I don't think any of our succeeding generations will be any better, unless this mentality of getting work done for peanuts is forgotten.
it not about how much money one is making or not making. It is about a work culture. It is about commitment, it is about ethics.

We Indians pride ourselves on our 'word'. It is more about that.

When i said a generation needs to sacrifice for a nation to develop i mean't look at US, post WWII, everyone dived down into work - look at the result.

cheers
ac
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Old 27th May 2011, 12:45   #48
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

Maybe this is a bit , but if we are talking about nation building the hard work by the entire generation needs the correct direction.

Only impetus will not help unless steered in the correct and desirable direction. Who else would know this more than us petrolheads

If not, this will only lead to more of a gap between the haves and have nots
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Old 27th May 2011, 15:26   #49
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Acc to reports 3 Indian worker = 1 Japanese person. Its because Japs work diligently, honestly and employ best practices.
I worked for a Japanese company for 11 years. Two reflections, not only from my observations, but from my Japanese colleagues too:
1. Japanese don't admit mistakes.

2. The ethos is to employ more people so that the work gets checked and checked and checked and checked... so, in the end, there really are no errors.
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If there is a commitment to meet a deadline - I would move mountains to meet the deadline. And if you cannot adhere to the deadline, you should make it clear at the beginning, that you are not capable of doing it.
Who sets the deadline? Because if any boss thinks I'm going to cover his uninformed promises to others, he's wrong!
Boss: I've told them they can have this in two days.

Me: This is a week's work, you had no right to tell them it would take two days.
It's one of the differences between good and bad management. Good management does not run by bullshit; good management looks after its staff. If someone could show me that these two items are stressed in MBA courses, I'd have a lot more faith in the management of today's companies!
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Old 27th May 2011, 15:29   #50
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Who sets the deadline? Because if any boss thinks I'm going to cover his uninformed promises to others, he's wrong!
Boss: I've told them they can have this in two days.

Me: This is a week's work, you had no right to tell them it would take two days.
It's one of the differences between good and bad management. Good management does not run by bullshit; good management looks after its staff. If someone could show me that these two items are stressed in MBA courses, I'd have a lot more faith in the management of today's companies!
I have also seen a lot of people making schedules assuming people will work weekends or nights.
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Old 27th May 2011, 18:20   #51
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

I have almost 6 years experience of dealing with Britishers in top accounting & consulting firms in UK. The work culture in UK is different as compared to India. They are come early (to work in sunlight & save energy) finish off the work to max extent in the available 9 hours, & by 5.30 pm they pack bags & leave work as if any curfew has been imposed.

It is only the NRIs, East Europeans, other Asians, etc, who work beyond the normal office hours. On Fridays, since most of the top companies are run by Jews, who attend the Friday Shabbat, & leave office around the half day, & the whole staff merrily leaves after that. There is no response on business e-mail or over phone (& they do not share personal phones & e-mail ids) even if we try to from Friday Noon (UK time) to Monday morning.

Guess they have wonderful weekends when we are toiling on their behalf. But, this is only in the case of bigger corporates, where the top honchos are drawing bonuses for work done by middle & lower level management & blue collar workers.

The situation, on the other hand, is quite different in India. I have personally seen how hard the Top Honchos of a top Indian Telecom company work. They are in office beyond normal hours normally discussing performance & growth strategies with their team. Add to this they used to be in office much before 10 AM be it rain, fog, or anything.
A classic that I have heard about the biggest INDIAN SETH, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, is that when attending office meetings & discussing business deals, he can sit at a stretch of 8 hours easily without having food or taking breaks for even nature calls (impossible... but supposedly true). Not to forget the amount of homework that he, & his team ought to have done for the meeting/ deal.

What Mr. Ratan Tata is referring to is the fact that the Britisher at the top are more into enjoying the comforts of the position than putting efforts to justify their pay-cheques/ bonuses.
I bet, this year when JLR has earned good profit courtesy Tata's business skills (what even Ford could not manage to do over years of ownership), the top honchos would start demanding hefty (unrealistic) bonuses. I guess, this is a pressure tactic used by Mr. Tata to counter the same.

But, this is fact that is being admitted in closed circles, due to which none in UK has opposed the same ferociously as one would have admitted (compare this with Jairam Ramesh's comment on IITs/ IIMs in Inda).

BUT, NOWHERE MR. RATAN TATA HAS SAID THAT YOU NEED NOT TAKE OFF ON WEEKENDS & THE ANNUAL LEAVES, WHICH EVERY BRITISHER ASSUMES HAS BIRTH RIGHT TO.

He has just pointed out few changes that could be required in the attitude of top British Manager towards daily work.
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Old 27th May 2011, 20:03   #52
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

Working longer hours does not necessarily mean being more effective
or 'On-desk lunches' don't make someone effective at work either -

Fact of the matter is - some people like to work, some don't -

IMHO Ratan Tata called it as he saw it - and kudos to him for that

With regards to work life balance, I've seen people people with two jobs manage a healthy balance

Boils down to efficiency & effectiveness- I suspect what RT really meant was that the middle management is ineffective...
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Old 27th May 2011, 21:21   #53
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

I guess there is lot of overthinking going on about Ratan Tata's interview or statement being misquoted by the magazine. They have even published the response statement by Tata for their article.

However, we should look into the context - The comment was made a few years ago when these companies were not doing well. Tata had to say what he had to say to whip them into shape. May be this statement scared some folks to take work more seriously and now both the said companies are doing better and we can safely conclude that Tata's statements worked.

With that said, IMO it is the companies' responsibility to have the right people at the top to make sure work is being done efficiently and on time. Working late to solve an urgent problem should be the excecption and not the norm. The companies and workers both have to be honest for what they employ and what they work for respectively. In most foreign conuntries things work as per procedure to a fault and in India people are adjusting to a fault. Both should change for the good.

Last edited by gshanky : 27th May 2011 at 21:22.
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Old 28th May 2011, 10:39   #54
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Originally Posted by CARDEEP View Post
A classic that I have heard about the biggest INDIAN SETH, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, is that when attending office meetings & discussing business deals, he can sit at a stretch of 8 hours easily without having food or taking breaks for even nature calls (impossible... but supposedly true).
No human can concentrate for more than 5 hrs continuously.
Even Indian railways doesn't allow it's train drivers to work for more than 5 hrs at a stretch.
Either this is a cooked up story to inspire everyone else work to like a chained slave, or a PR story to portray him as a real Rajnikanth.

An example of human limitations.
Burnout? MNC boss, 42, dies after exercise - Times Of India

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Old 28th May 2011, 10:47   #55
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Originally Posted by ac 427 View Post
I think Ratan Tata is Spot on.

A generations sacrifices (not literal) is needed for a revolution.

Acc to reports 3 Indian worker = 1 Japanese person. Its because Japs work diligently, honestly and employ best practices.

Acc to me, sacrifices have to be made to devleop a nation, work-life balance is important. But a 'Commitment' is more important than that. If there is a commitment to meet a deadline - I would move mountains to meet the deadline. And if you cannot adhere to the deadline, you should make it clear at the beginning, that you are not capable of doing it.

Life is important, but if everyone starts thinking about 'life' who will work ?

And if 'life' is so important - use the US work timings - get up at 5, reach office by 7, work till 4 or 5 and enjoy the evenings.

hence acc to me Ratan tata is spot on. Work or get fired.

cheers,
ac

I agree with your point about making it clear at the beginning that deadlines cannot be adhered. But the very fact about Indian IT companies is that inspite of being aware of actual project estimations, the sales guys, in order to generate wins, go down significantly on quotes by reducing estimations. Ultimately employees end up putting 14-16 hours dailay + weekends. This is true with most of the Indian IT companies barring Infosys. Infosys never goes down on their estimations no matter if business is lost. Read somewhere that Mr Murthy clearly states that he doesn't want employees working for more than 8-9 hrs a day.
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Old 28th May 2011, 11:01   #56
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Infosys never goes down on their estimations no matter if business is lost. Read somewhere that Mr Murthy clearly states that he doesn't want employees working for more than 8-9 hrs a day.
Yes, he has said that numerous times.
Lot of companies are learning the merits of that, and have started to discourage people staying late. IMO this habit of staying back late is purely an invention of the 'young unmarried employee' of this decade. It's a habit which they carryover from their college days. Wasting time when they have it and studying for exams at the last moment (late hours). The problem is majority of the employees in IT firms are young and it will take another decade, (when the average age of an IT employee goes up) for this habit to become negligible.

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Old 28th May 2011, 11:46   #57
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Yes, he has said that numerous times.
Lot of companies are learning the merits of that, and have started to discourage people staying late. IMO this habit of staying back late is purely an invention of the 'young unmarried employee' of this decade. It's a habit which they carryover from their college days. Wasting time when they have it and studying for exams at the last moment (late hours). The problem is majority of the employees in IT firms are young and it will take another decade, (when the average age of an IT employee goes up) for this habit to become negligible.
I doubt if that will ever happen (the habit to become negligible), since all the IT companies hire freshers to work at the lower levels (even I was one of them 5 years ago ). Its going to be transferred from generation to generation. When we become senior managers, we ourselves will expect people to put in more work hours I guess (I'm not being a hypocrite here) due to the sheer pressure from the top management to deliver.

Ultimately its the 'BELL CURVE' that matters most to everyone at all levels. It's the competition that makes people burn the mid-night oil even if they do not wish to.

On 2nd thoughts, even companies (IT or Non IT) are pressed by competition. I guess its the 'BELL CURVE' even at that level, being one of the top 5% of the companies in the eyes of the customer, or lying at the lower ends of the Bell.

Its a vicious circle.
Consider for example a Telecom company in India which is already reeling under pressure for meeting revenue targets due to cut throat competition. Add to that Number Portability. As a customer I opt for Number Portability, the Service Provider in a bid to retain me throws out goodies in terms of rental waiver for a quarter etc (Its a fact and happened with me). This would happen with a lot of subscribers adding to the revenue pressures of the organization.

The Telecom company would try to maintain its profitability margins in two ways
1. Explore new means of generating revenue
2. Reduce Costs

Point no. 2 has a cascading effect in the following manner
1. Reduce Employee cost (since that is a major part of the outgoings).
2. Reduce IT spend (ultimately acts as a differentiating factor for IT Vendors).

Ultimately IT companies (read IT sales force) are forced to adopt measures to reduce their bids (again Bell Curve comes in here) and again the IT company needs to maintain the profit margin. So we are at the point again where we started our discussion.

I guess this was just my analysis for a particular industry and we could have similar analogies for other industries too. I'm not against any 'Sales Force' or not for them, but am just expressing my views about how competition has forced organizations to create differentiating factors.

I guess globalization has its own advantages and dis-advantages (in all countries). The 'World is really Flat' these days and Ultimately one's life is a matter of his / her own choices. Whether one wants to be a part of the 'Rat Race' or be on his own.
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Old 30th May 2011, 13:02   #58
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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Maybe this is a bit , but if we are talking about nation building the hard work by the entire generation needs the correct direction.

Only impetus will not help unless steered in the correct and desirable direction. Who else would know this more than us petrolheads

If not, this will only lead to more of a gap between the haves and have nots
+1.
Blindly adopting western work ethics can be disastrous for us. What required is the correct direction.

Someone above quoted an example of US post WWII. I donít think we particularly need to follow US to build our country. I agree that we can learn many good things from them but it is also a well known fact that too much of hard work put in by their big corporations (aka Greed in this case) has resulted in financial catastrophe (so called GFC of 2008). Ironically, after 60 years of hard work US finds itself neck-deep in debt.

IMO itís the direction (end result) which is more important than the number of hours spent in office.
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Old 30th May 2011, 16:57   #59
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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When i said a generation needs to sacrifice for a nation to develop i mean't look at US, post WWII, everyone dived down into work - look at the result.
This is slightly OT - Germany / Japan could have been a better examples, because these countries literally rose from the ashes after the WW2 defeat. I think US, being victorious (and also for being away from the war zone) was far better off than other countries and it witnessed one of the biggest booms known as "Golden Age of Capitalism". The post war generation in the US (a.k.a baby boomers) is considered to be lucky because their lives were much better than their previous generations. On the other hand the allies tried to exploit and de-industrialize Germany and Japan after the war, yet within few years both these countries rose to great heights. Kudos to its people, I think there is a lot for us - Indians - to learn from this.
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Old 31st May 2011, 17:53   #60
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Default Re: Tata comments on British Work Ethics ! But what of Work-Life balance ?

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This is slightly OT - Germany / Japan could have been a better examples, because these countries literally rose from the ashes after the WW2 defeat. I think US, being victorious (and also for being away from the war zone) was far better off than other countries and it witnessed one of the biggest booms known as "Golden Age of Capitalism". The post war generation in the US (a.k.a baby boomers) is considered to be lucky because their lives were much better than their previous generations. On the other hand the allies tried to exploit and de-industrialize Germany and Japan after the war, yet within few years both these countries rose to great heights. Kudos to its people, I think there is a lot for us - Indians - to learn from this.
Well If you know US pumped in some 30 billion $ in West Germany under marshal plan post war ( would be around trillion in todays terms) similarly Japan benefited from Korean war effort and open access to US market post war.
Anyway that does not undermine the great human capitol which Japan and Germany had but just tells why West Germany was rich and east was not.
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