Boss, bhabhi kaisi hain? Isn’t this a common phrase doing rounds in the corporate arena ?

In short, this line reflects the corporate culture that best describe India. We might have our bosses and super bosses, but the human connect is stunning. Like everything we do, we have our own style of corporate culture. The organisations flex the regulations as per their family values. It is generally the festival celebrated by the owners that bring in the holidays and gifts. We always have a ring of family members that are Board members by default. You get to see the cheques signed b people who generally do not see at work. And when the babuji of the organisation is to pay a visit, all ladies are requested to drape themselves in sarees.

Welcome to the Indian corporate culture. Our management learnings come from a variety of sources, from people who have read Chanakya’s arthashastra to Kelloggs to Harward to IIMs. And all of them superceeding the other. It is infact this mix of varied inputs that helps us develop concrete plan B. In India, my general observation has been that the Plan B is always stronger and dependable than Plan A. It is almost like the Indian test team three years back. The opening by Viru and Gauti and Dravid, Sachin and Sourav to follow. It seems that we always keep the best for middle order. Same applies to our organisations. You will invariably find extraordinary managers but seldom would you locate exemplorary leaders. Middle order and Plan B rocks !!

Coming back to the inspirations, the owners’ family values play a vital role in the upbringing of culture. The dress to be worn, the timings to the office, the gender ratio, the delegation of authority etc are all pre determined. It is generally the family dining table which acts as a round table for key discussions. The environment changes when the chairmanship exchanges hands with generations. And then the Babuji’s visit is celebrated by Saree clad women and deep lighting ceremonies. Further, the babuji’s right hand is the one to be entertained by one and by all. If you are not what he wants, you are as good as not being there.

However, the Indian corporate culture holds stronger values for employees, vendors and clients. It is more relation oriented than just monies involved. There are instances of charity beyond the rules. Retirement is almost the only option for certain people in the organisation. Facilities like housing colonies, medical dispensaries & hospitals, schools and colleges have been witnessed for ages. Thus, corporate social responsibility for Indian firms has always carried paramount importance.

One thing that predominantly reflects in Indian corporate culture is the Bossism. Bosses are treated as super humans in many organisations. Especially in Tier-II cities and particularly in some industries, the subordinates are exploited in ways and means not unknown. They are expected to perform activities beyond the call of duty. And such people make it a point to replicate the same once they go on to be the bosses. A boss in India is treated as a BOSS only. Rarely would you see people looking upto their bosses as mentors.

OFFICE ENVIRONMENT :: We still see a lot of offices where there are common lunch tables. People still believe in a buffet with each contributing to the plate of his colleague. There are numerous ocassions, where, I did not even know what was there in my lunch box. I have congratulated my wife on preparing something well which my colleague’s mom did. We still borrow biscuits during tea time and throwing parties for no reasons. Our boss still is treated as head of the family (office family). We discuss our family life at ease at our workplaces. We will know our colleagues’ second cousins by their name and cities they hail from. We have met the spouses of almost everyone at our office premises once or more.

Customer Service is something that is not taught during a formal training session in many organisations. Reason, they already have such a strong system in place that takes care of customer service automatically. In India, do we need a training to offer beverages to anyone coming in our premises, do we need to learn to greet people when we meet them ? And the best part that exists is that even the top brass has learnt it from ages and they are not shy in rendering services to customers and business associates.

Indain credit business : Credit is one word that people across the world fear more than they ever did. It is the word they assume brought the recession, it the once thing their banks failed to control. Back here in India, in the old parts of any major city, you will find people lending money. They might not need heaps of documents to ensure recovery. Yet, there has been a spot on recovery and they have the data on finger tips. They need no calculators and computers to manage the finances. So much is the confidence that flows in our country. No wonders, recession just brushes us and not bruised us.

Networking Business : Indian networking business has been yet another miracle to have happened. Almost everyone in our country would today know atleast 5 people doing a network marketing business. Amway is a classic example that exists. We know people and we have a proximity which is stronger than any of our counterparts. Likewise, many such network marketing chains have built upon a huge integrated human network which is self sustainable today.

LEGAL COMPLIANCES : Indian firms have always paid respect to the Law of the Land or else a way to mend it. This is one area which is fast improving and rightly so. A lot of credit here goes to the transparency that our government is trying to bring in. Lot of efforts are being made to educate corporate and individuals on various compliances and legal obligations.

Advertising : Indian advertising industry is perhaps the most challenging compared to any in the world. We have a huge demographic platform and the variance in our taste and preferences is also unimaginable. We need the advertisements to touch us in a way we like. We are touched by an ad that speaks DAAG ACCHE HAIN, we are touched by Ads that said KUCH KHAAS HAI ZINDAGI mein. It is amazing how we are charged emotianally. There is a huge share of impulsive buying that exists in our country. We might go ahead and buy after a shopkeeper has said “Apki range ke bahar hai” Such is the consumer behaviour. No doubt that our advertising industry creates some Ads that are unparallel to their counterparts across the globe.

Changing Scenario :: But like all good things can be better, so is the Indian corporate culture. Things are changing but all for a good cause. We see organisations changing their logos and images. Organisations today are happier being recognised as progressive than passive. Managers are now mentors, owners are now partners, dining table discussions are now extended to the round table. Babujis are now catching a glimpse of Skirts in their offices too.

With a culture that is old and an inspiration that is new, Indian Corporate scenario is all set to reach newer milestones and heights. Join me in wishing all the very best to our corporate firms.