Hi Friends,

Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.

There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"

With regards,
Hemen Parekh
27 June 2013

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Seek To Understand

Seek   To   Understand

(  Contributor  :  H R Shenoy  )

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‘Life is difficult’.  This is the starting sentence of the book The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck. 

 ‘God knows what a complicated story a human life is and loves us despite our inevitable lapses’.  This is from Harold Kushner in the book ‘Living a Life that Matters’.

Good thing about life is that we have tools to make life less difficult and more purposeful, happy and enjoyable.  Inspiring books are one such tool.  

I was privileged to attend a training program on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey in 1994.  Since then I always had a copy on my table during my working life, would glance through it occasionally and mark lines and chapters for rereading.

This habit of ‘self renewal’ (Habit No. 7) gave me many opportunities to practice these habits with immense benefits.

Here I share a memorable experience at workplace (written in 2007, after 12 years of the incident and published now 8 years after writing).

Year 1995.  I was an officer, my main responsibility being system design for computerization and end user support.  

Software development was the responsibility of a team headed by my colleague SN Galwankar.

On 29th of September afternoon (I remember the date because next day was half year account closing) I happened to receive a call from our Head Office that a particular software was posing problem – I think it was Petrol Pump Spares Invoicing developed using Foxpro..  

They wanted a software developer to come over and attend to the problem.

I talked to young Miss X (I want to withhold the name), less than half my age, reporting to Galwankar and requested her to go over and attend to the problem the next morning.  

Later when Galwankar was back in his seat I briefed him on the development.  Our functions were always supportive of each other.

30th September.  9.30 am.  I receive a telephone call.  The girl had not reached there.  I was a little upset.  Galwankar was elsewhere.  

10 am.  Next call.  Same reason.  Galwankar was back.  He too was upset.  10.30 am.  Next call.  Both more upset.

Next morning when she comes to work, she was going to have it.  Then all of a sudden I remembered the 5th Habit “Seek to understand, then expect to be understood.”

I told my colleague, I was going to talk to her the next morning and to leave the matter to me.  No firing her!

11 am.  The girl had reached the Head Office.  2 pm.  The problem had been attended to.  We told her to go home since coming to Powai would have meant another 2 hours’ journey for her.

The next morning as soon as Ms X reported for duty, I took her into the conference room and explained to her all about the Habit No. 5 from the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. 

I told her I wanted to understand what made her report to the Head Office at 11 am instead of 9.30 am.  

“May be I did not emphasize the urgency and the time at which you were expected there” I conceded.

She put her head down and softly said “ I went to meet my fiancee ”.  

I could not help smiling.  Our discussion ended with a bit of advice to her to be more responsible in future.

After that there was such a rapport between that young girl and me that whenever I gave her any assignment she would more than willingly do it.

4+ years down the line, on the day of my retirement, she sang a song for me (she was a great singer) – the other person to sing a song was Sampada Kaluskar, both of whom had attended the TQM training program conducted by my team (lead by Late KV Mahesh, other members being late V Viswanathan, PL Negandhi and SK Todkar) and knew of my fondness for Hindi film songs.

 After the song, she said 

“Shenoy always defended his subordinates”.  

Mind you, she was not even my subordinate.


HR Shenoy, 7666128505


Co-Founder, Tejora Technologies Limited, tejora.com

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