The Art of Professionalism
Muslims do have money, no doubt, there are many poor too. Those who have money may have set up institutions, educational, business, in healthcare, media, banks or other welfare NGOs which are contributing to the good of the community. Big glass towers, decorative office spaces, schools, colleges, hospitals, NGOs can be seen scattered across different States in the country. There are negatives and positives in these institutions. But one rather glaring and visible quality seems to be the total lack of etiquette, professionalism and discipline in these institutions and organizations. While human resources may be in plenty in the community, sensitivity and a sense of duty, work ethics like punctuality, keeping the word of promise, inter-personal relations with the employees or even the customers, seems to have disappeared and is slowly vanishing in a majority of the organizations and institutions.
From messy official record keeping to thrown-around files, from scattered tea-cups to laid-back attitudes, our institutions show no signs of waking up to the realities of the world around them. There are living examples from whom Muslim organizations can pick up lessons in discipline and management. Take the Mumbai Dabbawalas, a business, driven by people, not technology.
Like time and tide, Mumbai Dabbawalas (tiffin carriers) wait for none. That’s how they are able to make 16 million deliveries per day. Their management skills have won over the likes of Prince Charles. Mumbai’s 5,000-odd dabbawalas have been in action for over 125 years now and have now become part of Mumbai’s culture. They deliver nearly 2,00,000 lunches everyday and on time, without any technological support. They have also been awarded an ISO certification for accuracy.
Work ethics, punctuality, manners, etiquette, by etiquette, not the external dress or outfit one wears, but the basics of dealing with each other as human beings. There is a lot we can learn from the west about these issues, rather than all the time condemning them in our mosque sermons.
We may produce MBAs, graduates, software engineers, experts in academics, journalists and other professionals year after year in thousands, but it is also important to give them grooming lessons in the aspects of work ethics, discipline and etiquette, that is so important in any work place.
And more than anything, to imbibe these qualities, one has to swallow one’s pride, one’s ego, one’s feeling of superiority and stop looking down upon those who do not follow the same faith as lesser beings. This is not asking for too much! After all, when our Prophets were so modest and humble, the least we can do is to follow in their footsteps.