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Pride And Purpose

We keep hearing and reading about how pride in what you do and the purpose behind what you do can be a source of great happiness and which may pale in comparison to the tangible material factors beyond a point. When you bring this pride, passion, and purpose practically every day to your job, then your entire perspective around your work changes and you don’t look at your work as just work. Organisations around the world are realizing, this is the element that they have to emphasize on to have an edge in the marketplace when it comes to their talent and customer proposition. Empowered, engaged employees can influence customer outcomes and make customers keep coming back for more.

I recently had an experience as a customer/citizen which exemplified this belief. Here was an employee who took so much pride, interest and care in what he does, that he did leave me a with a WOW feeling. This was at the RTO (Regional Transport Office) in Mumbai South a place which normally does not get associated with customer centricity. In fact, I dreaded going to the place because of the notions around how the staff in the office behave and how typically things get done in a government office. You are pushed from one counter to another counter, nobody takes ownership, nobody would even glance at you let alone smile. the physical appearance of the place will be anything but swanky. With that negative image in mind, I approached an agent who reinforced these beliefs so that I sign him up. For these perceived hassles, he was quoting almost 10 times the official rate of the service. That’s why middlemen and agents in India have such a promising business model as they play to these perceived hassles of the middle and upper middle class. We want to be spared from such travails.

I decided not to fall for it and go see for myself if that’s how things happen in a government office. I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the place was chaotic, teeming with people ( mostly agents) and the look and feel of the place screamed laxity and inefficiency.

I decided not to fall for it and go see for myself if that’s how things happen in a government office. I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the place was chaotic, teeming with people ( mostly agents) and the look and feel of the place screamed laxity and inefficiency. I went to the first counter to be politely told to move to counter no 12 and that’s where I met this gent who ushered me with a warm smile, any day better than those fake smiles you get when you walk into a 5-star hotel or restaurant.

He studied my application, neatly arranged all the documents I had attached, told me in a gentle and polite manner that one document is missing and he felt sorry that he could not process the documents and I had to come back again. He gave me options of other alternate documents and how that could suffice. He told me the reason why that document is mandatory. All through this, I could sense he was at ease, focused on the tasked at hand, and brought a relaxed intensity to his job.

The icing on the cake was when he waited for me to come back with a photocopy of another document even though he was to go on his lunch break. These are his words, “As a customer your time is precious, my lunch can wait” I was like is this really happening?

When I came back it took less than 10 minutes for him to stack up all the documents, make an entry in the system, and give me an official acknowledgment. This service was rendered for just Rs. 150 and to think the agent was quoting 1500 bucks!!!!

I asked for his name and for a snap and said I want to write about this positive experience and make others aware of it as well. He politely declined and said in Marathi which I am translating “ Sir I have been doing this job for the last 15 years and I have 7 more years to go, I get great satisfaction when I am able to close queries and not make a citizen come again to this office. Time is precious.” That’s my purpose and I feel good when people smile back at me and say “ can this really be happening in a govt office?

Profound words indeed. Come to think of it, this man in his 50’s has been working here perhaps with a meagre salary, not the best of working environments, not much of growth and learning opportunities, no fancy food courts and indoor arenas and yet he is an engaged employee basis the purpose and pride that his job gives…

Since the RTO does not sell anything I won’t go back to them to buy anything, but will certainly encourage everyone to give it a try to visit the office next time you have some work and hopefully you meet a passionate employee like the man at counter 12 . You will save a ton of money as well!!!

Srihari Balasubramaniam
Srihari Balasubramaniam
SRIHARI resides in Mumbai, India and is an experienced leader with 17 + years leading teams, influencing outcomes and creating business impact in the areas of Service Delivery, Customer Engagement, Transitions, Quality and People Engagement having worked with some premier organisations in India. Srihari strongly believes that's it's your people who will create value and great customer outcome and make them keep coming back. He is focused on influencing this aspect and create the intersection point where employee experience and customer experience meet. He has been able to demonstrate the linkage coupled with process rigor and governance in the last few assignments resulting in enhancement of key business metrics. As a student of Psychology, using the concepts of Positive Psychology in understanding human psyche and behaviour at the workplace, he has been able to leverage this for tangible business outcomes in terms of elevating customer experience, revenue growth and enhancing employee experience. Srihari has also been as a student of Spirituality and Yoga, introducing and applying concepts around holistic wellbeing, team work, virtuous and strength based leadership at the work place with his teams focusing on bringing out the true potential of the team. He believes in a "Learn it all" approach and have been consciously Re-learning newer dimensions in technology around AI, Robotics, Analytics and Areas of immense interest to him which is in the field of Psychology and its applications, Spirituality, Yoga and Vedanta.

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