Business Today 14th January 2018 - Page 70

The Best Management Lesson I Learnt ‘Build on Trust’ More than the dotted lines that link up the hierarchy, it is the invisible lines of trust that are the cornerstone of all people policies. BY HARSH GOENKA Chairman, RPG Enterprises One of the earliest tasks given to me in my youth was to control petrol bills of drivers at home. I took to the task in earnest, made a large sheet to dili- gently capture details of kilometres run daily and fuel refilled and so on. I would then question the drivers. This went on for six months and I had systematically wasted half hour each day on this task. When my fa- ther realised what I was doing, he told me that all I had to do was to find out the typical mileage offered by an Ambassador car and educate the driver on how to keep a logbook and ask them to assess how they were faring versus the norms. Dad was using this opportu- nity to teach me the importance of setting a process and system and also a new concept, one that hinged on trusting an other human being. This apparently small bit of advice, but with a deep meaning, stayed with me and I have never let it go. Trust was an essential paradigm for my father – the way he related to his children and the way he ran his business, all stemmed from trust. Therefore, it was natural for me to imbibe the concept and trust is the abiding management mantra that I have lived my life by. At 24, dad asked me to take the reins of CEAT, and at 32, he wanted me to take over the chairmanship of the group. In my early days at managing, I would occasionally voice my dissatisfaction with certain peo- ple, sometimes second guessing their decisions and my father would ask me a simple question: “You trust him, don’t you?” Clearly, there were no halfway an- swers: dodging the question with ifs and buts would be met with a stern admonition that trust in people should never be anything less than 100 per cent. There was a time, early in my career, when our group had 15 joint ventures (JVs) with Fortune 500 70 I BUSINESS TODAY I January 14 I 2018