On Jan 20th Sudheendra Kulkarni writing in The Indian Express wrote an interesting piece titled “The Toyota Way to Nation Building“.

But it is from Japan that we can truly learn a deeper philosophy linking manufacturing and the making of a great nation.

Mr. Kulkarni writes to go onto summarise the 14 Toyota Way principles. Then on Jan 27th Mr. Kulkarni goes onto apply the “Toyota Way” to political parties that are concerned about problems within and genuinely desire long-term growth to further expound on how they could profit from them.

Having been very closely associated for over a decade with the rise of the Indian I.T. Industry, Offstumped got thinking on if there was such a thing as a “Infosys Way” or a “TCS Way” and what lessons could one draw from them.

An Infosys has had many firsts in Corporate India starting with the ethical pursuit of wealth to wealth creation for employees. Infosys has also stood for a high bar on Values and Corporate Governance. Going to extraordinary lengths to keep out kith and kin of the founders from inheriting Executive Office, Infosys has also lead the way on a Culture of Merit and Performance while repudiating the all pervasive Culture of Entitlement.

With so many firsts to its credit, Infosys at a Corporate level may have subverted the dominant paradigm but why then arent we as a nation celebrating the Infosys Way ?

Perhaps the answer may lie in the kind of things that Infosys has set about to make its hallmark. While Governance and a Culture of Merit at the Corporate level stand for a refreshing change they dont go far enough to characterize the soul of the Infoscion. Sudheendra Kulkarni in his piece on the Toyota Way talks about

little is done to enthuse, empower, involve and reward the ‘small’ man in the achievement of big organisational or national objectives 

He makes an important point. Having personally experienced the heydays of the Indian I.T. Industry when wealth creation and wealth sharing saw the Indian I.T. worker persevere with a sense of purpose, it can be safely said that for a Infosys Way or a TCS Way to emerge it clearly must put the Infoscion or the TCSite at its heart.

It is perhaps the lack of this missionary zeal that does not see us celebrating the Infosys Way. There was a time during the late 1990s when the Indian I.T. Industry saw sparks of that missionary zeal when history was being made across the globe and the Indian I.T. worker saw in his professional contributions a national cause. That phase however has now come to pass and with it the Soul of the Infoscion or the TCSite is diminishing. As these firms experience the pangs of exponential growth they will continue to be ever more challenged in defining and sustaining what the Infosys Way or TCS Way must come to mean.

For such a Infosys Way will not just have to reflect Corporate Values but it must come to mean something tangible for the individual, something which every Infoscion can relate to, stand for and feel inspired and motivated by. It must mean a larger cause or a deeper philosophy as Sudheendra Kulkarni puts it that sparks a Missionary Zeal in the creation of great Institutions and a great nation.

Offstumped closes this piece with this quote from Mr. Kulkarni’s piece

 If we want to build a New India in the 21st century, isn’t it high time we enshrined the Indian equivalents of wa, hansei and kaizen in a nationwide drive for a New Work Culture in governance, politics, business and other spheres of public life?

Originally posted here


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