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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lets change roles for a day or two

On the founding day of the school each year something interesting used to happen. Senior bhaiyas and apus used to volunteer to take up roles of various regular teachers in our classes and attempted to teach us regular subjects such as maths, Bengali, science etc. They wore white aprons, as usually worn by teachers and put their name badges as well, to make it look like more professional and real. We used to thoroughly enjoy this welcome change and we knew that the 'one day teachers' also loved this change of role atleast for a day. They realised how tough it was to manage a class of some odd 40 restless, shouting, screaming pupils and at the same time educate them on basic principles of numbers, nature and life around us. They must have also realised how rewarding the feeling might be to in the teacher's shoes for a day and to gain that authority and respect from a full packed class of juniors. Time passed by, but the principles remain same I guess. And that made me ask today if any Bangladeshi company has this culture of role changing from time to time for atleast a day sometime in the year?

Does it ever happen that you walk into the Grameen Phone Customer Service Center say in Gulshan-2 or in Bashundhara City and see Oddvar Bhai (GP CEO) at the counter serving day to day customers? How about coming across Mamun Rashid uncle at the Citibank reception for a day? I guess Rubaba apa could pretty well try being a call center agent for a day and figure out herself how challenging or rewarding being a female call center agent might be, especially if she greets the caller by saying 'Grameenphoney apnake shagotom, ami Rubaba bolchi, bolun apnake kibhabe sheba ditey pari?'. Similarly I guess it must be a good feeling when Akku Choudhury approaches your table at Pizza Hut and asks you how the pizza was or attempts to take your order himself. How about Doma mama (Banglalink CEO) being one of the tea boys for a day in Banglalink and running around kitchens and floors of Banglalink to serve foot-formayesh from other sirs, madams, bhaiyas and afas.

I guess many of our corporate high-ups become too firewalled by their knowledge, busy schedules and ornamental designations that they fall prey to being isolated from lower or mid ranked employees. If the so called intellectual untouchables sometimes perform these corporate stunts once in a while, it does create an impact atleast to new employees to some extent. In the end of the day, all should realise that the person is never greater than the work itself. So there is no harm in finding out how it feels in each other's shoes. And for us simple consumers, its a delight for a day to know that these think-tanks of companies are, far and foremost, meant to serve us only, they have a primary role to serve and interact directly with ordinary consumers from time to time, along with their usual routines of closed door high profile meetings and hotel parties and foreign trips and giving lectures on business management around universities.

It would be nice to know examples of this happening already in Bangladeshi companies. If it does happen in where you work, share it with us here. There might be examples there for others to follow. Lets wear the teacher's apron for a day, lets get to know how a big company is run with apparently small but important roles played by staff who you don't meet perhaps in years. Lets do the job wearing their hat for a day or two.

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