Thursday, October 29, 2015

CSR 2.0!

In 2003 we had a complete mad Hindi movie in bold strokes of action, comedy, underworld, satire and what not Hindi Masala calledWaisa Bhi Hota Hai – Part II’, which means ‘It Happens THAT Way Too – Part 2’ (For the enthusiasts, it had the popular song ‘Allah ke Bande’ by Kailash Kher). A very common (and obvious, if not witty!) first reaction about the movie’s name was, ‘Are, the director has forgotten to make the first part, it seems!’, the reason being, it would have been logical for the First movie to have the name ‘Aaisa Bhi Hota Hai – Part I’ 'English - 'It Happens THIS Way Too – Part I’. When the enthusiasts in the first bracket above (although not many of them!) watched the movie and got the hang of it, they discovered the 'creativity' behind the name as it was intended.

Both Arshad Warsi and the Creative debuting Director Shashank Ghosh could not save this ‘a little out of the box’ and ‘a lot out of the way movie’ and none of them bothered the outcome even then. So what is it with me to bring a 12 year old outdated Hindi Masala movie into the discussion? Neither Arshad nor Shashank got anything out of this bizarre effort 12 years ago, so it is needless to mention that I am definitely NOT looking forward to some ‘Long-term Capital Gain’ here…! I was reminded of the movie by a weird term I heard recently… CSR 2.0! “2.0?” I mean what…?
The technology-freak society obsessed by the Microsoft way of life just loves to have numbered versions of anything without reforming (or even understanding fully), forget rectifying, the previous versions. And that was okay as long as Bill Gates, who turned 60 yesterday, had his way with that version game. Being the most incredible business brain around, there is no denying of the fact that Bill certainly has nailed it to create wealth in a most legitimate, economically viable and environment friendly (‘Windows’ is an environment, remember?) way and adding the Social element with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to complete the package. However, upgrading to a newer (latest) version is the biggest concern of the global Window-ers against which Global Warming and Acute Disparity looks distant and manageable; sorry Bill, no offense!

Anyway, that is not the point of the discussion and I do not intend to hurt the world’s richest living person on his birthday, it was just the analogy of versions (‘2.0’) that brought it up. I do understand the need of sequel or evolution of any theory or practice but the conventional wisdom and common sense says that before starting Second Round of anything, you must finish the First Round appropriately. (Ask any ‘Self-proclaimed-expert-of-everything-after-8-PM’) I mean how can you start emptying the bucket while it is being filled? Or even replace the original bucket with a new bigger, stronger one, for that matter, without examining and fixing what’s wrong with the older one? Even the ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ principle of sustainability doesn’t allow it!

...Farmer Joe was in his car when he was hit by a truck. He decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible for the accident) to court. In court the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe. "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?" said the lawyer.

Farmer Joe responded, "Well I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the...." "I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted, "just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'!"

Farmer Joe said, "Well I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road...." The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."

By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule Bessie."

Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other.

I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans.

Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes.

Then the Patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me. He said, "Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are you feeling?”...

Many times Context is more important than the content. To understand other’s point of view, you must listen to the whole story and show some empathy. There cannot be versions or percentages in human cognition of the situation and considerate reaction to it. I haven’t seen or met a person who is 99% honest or ethical to the 'acceptable' level. Anybody can be honest or dishonest, ethical or unethical 100%, in pure Black and White, not in shades of grey! Similarly there cannot be Versions of fundamentally essential principles of any faculty. If we say that inquisitiveness is a basic principle to acquire knowledge, could the curiosity be divided into grades? Only school classes could have standards and grades, not ‘curiosity’, which is the root of all knowledge-base.     

The CSR is an essential way of doing business and Culture that needs to be cultivated in the DNA of any organization. It is neither just another Management funda nor a buzzword to throw around at conference tables or in corporate dinners. Moreover, it is neither an afterthought that is reactive but must be a vision that is proactive. It’s already being suffocated with the ‘New form of PR’, ‘Strategic Branding’, and ‘Image Building’, and alike camouflages which would never work. Unless and until the CSR is not understood in its spirit and intent, no reinvention or reform in any form will ever work except for those proposing it. An old maxim says ‘there is no point in reinventing the wheel…!’ and, between the lines, it reads ‘…if you have not understood the concept of a wheel!’

The bottom-line is, no matter how you clad any object with whatever material you have or can borrow for a while, it will never make a permanent impact on the original form of the object unless you are trying to reshape it while it is in the process of formation… just like a clay pot. While the clay is wet and the wheel is spinning, you can mould it the way you like it. Once it is dried and baked it would crack and fall in pieces with any effort of reforming.

So for now, I would appreciate if the Leading Management Gurus preaching CSR 2.0 could forget about the '2.0' and facilitate the transformation of CSR from concept to culture for the organizations all around the globe. They might just find some interesting insights in due course for themselves, who knows? Way to go…

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Invincible at 73!

45 Years of Magic on Silver Screen from Babu Moshaya to Wazir, this Living Legend Star of the Millennium turns 73 today. Always larger than life, Big B has more commitment, influence, power, versatility and fan-following than all the heroes of today put together including his own son. This is neither because of sheer luck, background or network nor only persistence and tenacity, but 10% the combination of all of these and 90% disciplined hard work he never ceased to put in, no matter what the assignment is! The most (and probably the only) punctual celebrity (in its truest sense), Big B puts himself in the character to live it’s life which makes Babu Moshaya, Amit, Ravi, Vijay, Azad, Arjunsingh, Shahenshah, Sarkar, Bhutnath, Buddhadev, Bhashkor and even Harish Mishra in The Last Lear, equally convincing. 

No silver screen in the world will ever witness such a range from a single Actor (that’s what he prefers to call himself, by the way!) and that’s why we look forward to watch him for many more years to come as HE is the only Superhero who does practically impossible things on the screen and we like to believe it that they are doable! Besides that, he is the icon of aging heroes as he has graced the AGE with both his off-screen and on-screen presence (Chini Kum), remember Paresh Raval’s face when he learns that Ghaspoos is in love with Tangdi Kabab and so does she?

Big B has carved himself such a niche, not only in the film industry but in millions of hearts all round the globe as well, that is interestingly reflected in one of his most popular dialogue – ‘Hum janha khade ho jate hai line wahise shuru hoti hai…!’ It will be like that for years to come, we believe! 

Wishing all the Health, Grace and Wholesomeness to Big B on his Birthday, we thank our most beloved ‘Bachchan’ and look forward to celebrate his 100th Birthday with same zeal, enthusiasm and optimism! Way to go…

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sustainable India...!

Friday, October 2, 2015


“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”

With the Volkswagen scam revealed, the fundamental question and concern has brought the discussion of CSR and its application on the table, particularly because of Volkswagen’s CSR Ranking! If the Corporate(s) are using the CSR as either ‘Strategic’ branding tool ONLY or to escalate the profits by hook or crook to meet the En-Forced CSR burden, will it not defeat the purpose?

3BL or TBL or 3Ps is a popular concept relevant to CSR that is more like a ‘classic’ that everybody discusses about but no one, except critics, actually reads/watches. In my Theory of Triangle, I have already tried to explain the characteristics and significance of a triangle and the nodes mentioned in it could be replaced by the 3Ps comfortably, without compromising any rationale or principle of the theory. My hypothesis using the analogy of geometry of the triangle states that no matter how you stretch the lines of the triangle, the sum of all its internal angle will always be the same, i.e. 180 degrees. There is a mutual understanding between the angles of the triangle to contract or expand in response to the change in their counterparts.

ToT stands true because Geometry [or any other pure science for that matter] never deviates from its principles. However when human intervention is assumed it becomes inevitable to anticipate and accept deviation (from ‘a little’ to ‘mammoth’, mind you!) from the all the principles, values and beliefs. And no superhero can even stabilize; forget stopping or reversing, this journey of the Economic Growth pointed by an ‘Upward’ Arrow. ‘Thinking out of the box’ is the method of finding an escape when all four sides of the box are closed tight. It takes creativity to discover that a box, in fact, has 6 sides not 4 and any one of the six is always ‘Open’ if you look at it from a different perspective!

So let’s get creative, think out of the box [‘Doughnut’ actually as put by Kate Raworth] and look at the TBL or 3Ps as Triangle Balance between People, Profit and Planet toward Sustainability by adding ‘Purpose’ at the center. If we can train our minds to focus on the ‘Purpose’ of whatever we do and cross-check it with the basic philosophies of Human Life – ‘Is it worth it?’ and ‘At the cost of what?’; most of the Principles, Mandates, Directives and Goals would start bearing fruits immediately without any enforcement, I believe…!

Remembering the Mahatma on his 146th Birth Anniversary today, I would like to share the list of Seven Social Sins, sometimes called the Seven Blunders of the World that he published in his weekly newspaper Young India on October 22, 1925; exactly 90 years ago and I don’t think any CSR is beyond it if we could add our new-found insight of the central ‘P’ regarding the TBL as the Eighth entry to the list… 'Activity without Purpose!'

1. Wealth without work.

2. Pleasure without conscience.

3. Knowledge without character.

4. Commerce without morality.

5. Science without humanity.

6. Worship without sacrifice.

7. Politics without principle.

Hoping to follow Mahatma’s footsteps, at least for his principles of Trusteeship with reference to the CSR, I would prefer to pay him Homage today by his own quotes that are extraordinarily dear to me…

‘To believe in something and not to live it is dishonest…!’

‘The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed…!’

Way to go…!