Own­er­ship and col­lec­tive ex­cel­lence

VM&RD - - CONTENTS - Vas­ant Jante

Imet Suresh when I had gone to meet my de­signer friend at his store. Sip­ping cof­fee and wait­ing for my friend to turn up I sat watch­ing Suresh dress a mannequin. What be­gan as an idle ob­ser­va­tion soon turned into an en­grossed ab­sorp­tion of what he was do­ing. Some­how by putting in all his en­ergy and pas­sion into what he was do­ing, he had man­aged to sub­con­sciously force me into at­ten­tion and com­pel me into watch­ing what he was do­ing. It was the be­gin­ning of a fas­ci­nated ex­pe­ri­ence of look­ing at some­one do­ing some­thing and loving ev­ery minute of it. Suresh was of course obliv­i­ous to my watch­ing him, caught as he was in his work. I let the min­utes fly, glad that my friend was late. When Suresh paused in his work I grabbed the op­por­tu­nity to con­verse and that’s how I knew his name and lit­tle de­tails of his life, like the fact that he was from a small town and was in fact a tai­lor and an artist. The need to earn his liveli­hood brought him to the metro and to the shop floor of a lead­ing ap­par­els brand where my friend worked. Suresh was drawn to the job of mannequin dress­ing be­cause he said, he liked to “in­fuse life into some­thing inan­i­mate and watch the magic of it do­ing its trick.” Well, aside from suc­cinctly sum­ming up his job, which any­one else in his place would have de­scribed in a more mun­dane man­ner, Suresh re­flected a pride that was re­as­sur­ing to see in this day and age when a job is just treated just as it con­notes—a job and noth­ing more. Imag­ine if ev­ery store had a Suresh in all the de­part­ments, what a mar­velous out­come it would be. We don’t need a life coach to tell us that when we do some­thing we love, we make a great job of it! So Suresh was ob­vi­ously very good at his job. When my friend fi­nally came, I asked him about Suresh and shared my whole thought process that un­folded as I watched Suresh. My friend was not sur­prised. He smiled and said, “Well, we were lucky to find Suresh. And in fact he was our start­ing point. Be­cause from that mo­ment we de­cided that we had to find more Suresh’s or cre­ate them!” Now, that got me cu­ri­ous. “How do you cre­ate them”? I asked him. “It’s like this,” my friend ex­plained, “Very of­ten it’s not just money that drives peo­ple. There are many who want to feel that they make a dif­fer­ence to the place they are work­ing in. By shar­ing our vi­sion with each one of our store staff and telling them, ‘with ev­ery cus­tomer you greet, ev­ery speck of dust you wipe away in the store, ev­ery an­gle in which you place the mer­chan­dise you are con­tribut­ing to the brand vi­sion, you are mak­ing the store an ex­pe­ri­ence worth cher­ish­ing’ we had made ev­ery­one ac­count­able for what they were do­ing.” In ef­fect what my friend and his col­leagues were do­ing was to cre­ate a sense of own­er­ship among all in the re­tail or­ga­ni­za­tion – right from those in the low­est rung of the hi­er­ar­chy to the top man­age­ment. And this man­aged to cre­ate a whole cul­ture of ex­cel­lence. Well, it works -- the store is one of the top sell­ing out­lets for the brand. You get the point? Some of the stores we have fea­tured in this is­sue do speak of this kind of ex­cel­lence I have men­tioned and of cre­at­ing a whole ex­pe­ri­ence. Read on.

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