Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 26 – “Thinking beyond the Dots”

My dear young friends,

reconnect 26-1There is an eye opening puzzle invented in Harvard some 60-years ago which eludes even the most tenacious problem solver. The puzzle is as simple as this: Can you join the given 9-dots by 4-straight lines without lifting your pen?

If you already know the solution, it is O.K. If you are attempting for the first time and if you can’t do it in a couple of minutes, please read the following story if it can provide you with a clue.

reconnect 26-2Mr. Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1-Jan-1997 to 31-Dec-2006 was in his Nursery class. Once his teacher made a cross on the white Board with her marker pen and asked “Children what do you see there?” Some one answered ‘The Holy Cross’, some other said ‘Red Cross’, yet another said ‘Sign of Addition’. The teacher unhappily said “Don’t you all see a big white Board first and then some sign on it”.

Even after this clue, if you do not find a solution then please click here.

I can cite a real life example of “Thinking beyond the dots”. There was a great rush for Maruti-800 in 1985. Being the first lot, there was a word floating in the market that this lot will have original Japanese engine. It was made known that the cars would be allotted by lottery. I also applied but in the name of my spouse, presuming that she would be luckier than me. And the allotment came !!! I approached the Senior Manager (Personnel) of NHPC where I was employed, for a loan of Rs 60,000/-

After seeing my letter he said it was not possible since allotment was not in my name. I told him it was a family car for my HUF and my wife does not earn separately. I only file the IT return. He was not convinced and he said “It is legally impossible to sanction your loan on the allotment letter of your wife”. The matter ended and I slipped the letter in my office briefcase instead of destroying it right away.

After a few days my department wanted me to attend a meeting in Shimla. I went to Gurgaon Airport only to find that the flight to Shimla was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather. The day was wasted, I thought. It however occurred to me that having come all the way from reconnect 26-3Nehru Place to Gurgaon why not I visit Maruti factory in Gurgaon. I reached their entrance Gate and inquired about the Commercial Department. I was taken there and introduced to a gracious Muslim lady who was Dy. Manager (Commercial). I told her my problem with the allotment letter wondering if she could do something about it. She very respectfully offered me a seat and said “Don’t worry Sir; we will change this allotment letter to your name”. I asked her whether she may have to take approval from her seniors. She said no, Maruti does not discriminate between wife and husband. Within a few minutes she reminded her steno saying “a very senior man from another public sector enterprise is waiting and she should hurry up”. In a matter of minutes I got a revised letter in my name and I thanked her. She said Sir, you are our valued client.

My God ! How many things I observed in 5-10 minutes. Her empowerment, promptness, client friendliness, public sector fellowship and above all elegance of a Maruti employee!

The story does not end here. I saw in the revised letter the name of the dealer just repeated. We had contacted this dealer with the old letter and his behavior was not up to the mark. Any way with the major problem resolved, I was trying to reconcile myself. On the way back to Nehru Place, I halted at my residence in Malviya Nagar for a while to give the good news to my wife. Just before entering my house I saw a letter waiting in my letter box. It was incidentally from Maruti. It read “In order to improve our service to clients and to increase competition amongst our dealers, Maruti Management has decided that our clients can go to any dealer of their choice irrespective of the name printed on their allotment letters”.
Maruti could think beyond the boundaries of its Factory, beyond the dots of their so called “domain of responsibility”. They never blocked their vision. They could think of their clients!

reconnect 26-4Some time ago a journalist asked the contemporary MD “With so many brands on road, how do you survive competition?” The instant reply came “Except petrol, we take care of our clients in every way” The spirit continues, the legacy continues…… Maruti indeed brought India on wheels. Even today its market share is >42%.

In the words of Dr.V. Krishnamurthy who set up Maruti from scratch “Motoring in India changed forever with the advent of Maruti. The concept of customer satisfaction in the automobile sector was introduced by Maruti. A new breed of dealers and network of service centres were created. Customer orientation was a Maruti creation.”

Vision beyond the dots was primarily the reason for Maruti’s scintillating success.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)