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“I came upon a lighthouse” by S Naidu is a book on the personal side of Ratan Tata.
This is my 3rd lesson in the series based on my lessons from the book.
If you haven’t read the first 2 lessons, then you can do that by clicking on the below link.
Learning no. 1 – Why to Keep Your Promise
Learning no. 2 – What Can You Learn About Recruiting from Ratan Tata
It’s about how Shantanu as an executive assistant and part of the Tata Trust sees Ratan Tata as a friend & mentor.
In this post we will explore what can we learn from Ratan Tata and his core team of Shantanu & his colleagues about teamwork.
He writes that even when I did the mistake, my colleagues would cover me up as a team.
We cover our team mates back even before we cover ourselves. We would truly work as a team.
Mr. Tata complains that if there is a mistake, he can never find who amongst the four of them really made the mistake.
The point from the retailing perspective is what we can learn from this teamwork.
First one is too often, as businesses and business owners we encourage the divide & rule philosophy.
In each of our stores, we have our own set of people who are our favourites and who bring all the news about what’s happening in the store by our “insiders”.
Sometimes these kinds of information cuts across the hierarchy.
Because of this, lot of second guessing happens in the store.
After sometime people get to know who are boss’s eyes and ears. Whether you know it or agree to it, the entire business will know.
So what really happens is there is a kind of mistrust happens within the store about what should or should not be.
I am not saying that management should not come to know of bad things. But we should do it properly.
But the point which I am trying to make here is about the team who is working.
If my boss is encouraging a divide & rule policy, then I as a team leader/ manager will find it very difficult to build a team which trusts me.
Because I am always worried that somebody behind my back is telling many stories to my boss.
Some of that may be true, or some of that may be false.
If you are part of the team, you also need to build the trust amongst yourself.
There is a place, reason, logic & criteria for escalating.
If you cannot resolve the problem, then it questions your role as the person in charge.
If nothing gets escalated and finally when things become worse than it is too late.
It will become a big mess to be clear.
There are various shaded of problems and escalations.
In this post, we are focusing on how to build a team.
I am not saying we need to protect each other every time, even if somebody is making the same mistakes again & again.
If it’s an honest & genuine mistake, we condone it.
The hope here is that you won’t make that same honest & genuine mistake again & again.
But if it’s an honest & genuine mistake, then you should back up your team.
Ideal example for me is really working in pairs inside the shop.
You need 2 people to handle a consumer or a group of consumers specially when you are taking about building trust, showing high-value products.
Maybe if one salesperson can’t communicate about the product, then other salesperson should take over and complete the sale.
They call these as working in pairs.
Which is again a question of how you and your team can grow the business?
End of the day only when store does the business, when store does the sales, we all get benefitted.
In conclusion to the business owners, while you may have your own divide & rule policies, maybe there is still a need for getting informal confidential information of what’s happening in the store.
I suggest you help to build the team.
Finally, if you attempt to build the team, the team will also start working like a team.
So these are the lessons for today.
If you are the part of the team, work with the team, build the trust with each other, explain the reason we need to work in pairs, why we need to help each other out.
Everybody will have a bad day, everybody will make mistakes, it does not mean that we finger point each other and use that opportunity to get brownie points with my boss.
Please let me know what do you think about these lessons, what do you think about this book.
If you have read this book, please share your lessons.