A great inspirational anecdote, from the House of TATAs.


Every day top executives of Tata Motors used to take lunch together but from some days, Sumant Moolgaokar used to take his car and go out during lunch hours and come back as soon as the lunch break was over.

There was a grapevine that he was offered lunch at a five-star hotel by some dealers of Tatas. One day when some executives followed him during the lunch break, they were surprised to see that he stopped his car at one highway dhaba, ordered food for himself and sat with the drivers of trucks who were eating food at the dhaba. He discussed with them what was good and what was bad in a Tata Truck, jotted down and came back to his office. He used information to improve upon the experiences of drivers of Tata trucks. Such was Sumant Moolgaokar’s zeal for improving the Tata Vehicles.

Tata Sumo is the biggest corporate tribute paid by any company to it’s executive. Su stands for Sumant and Mo stands for Moolgaokar in this brand name.

The above anecdote is a wonderful example of how gossiping and grapevine can create such misunderstanding even among some of the wisest and responsible senior executives in companies known for good governance.

As a lesson from the above anecdote, it is very important to discourage the tendencies of gossiping, for it disengages and brings about a lot of cynicism in an organisation.

Recently a joke became prevalent in social media, “a Principal called upon a topper to give him the recognition in the morning assembly, while he was facilitating the topper, three students climbed the stage and challenged the principal saying that the person who topped has 96%, where as the three students combined have 98%, therefore they should be the ones to be facilitated instead of the topper.”

The above joke was about coalition governments being formed in various states in India, where minority parties coming together end up forming the government. It may be a joke, but also points to the fact that we can’t allow the cynicism and mal-practices in politics to adversely impact the professional practices of the corporate world.

The corporate world should lead in ethics, which starts with the way we think and communicate. Lets us not jump to conclusions and mislabel our colleagues. Like they say in judiciary, to convict an innocent weakens the judiciary system greatly.

It is important that we avoid the consumption of sensational news. Being exposed to over sensationalism, will make us more prone to participating in rumour mongering. Rumour mongering is caused by us, when we indulge in gaining vicarious pleasures at the expense of our colleagues or fellow employees. It may start as “harmless” allegations disguised as humour, behind the individuals “back” but soon gains momentum and ends up becoming harmful. Let us practice humour without rumours.