A European manufacturer and I were at a medium-scale automotive parts manufacturer’s factory.
The Receptionist requested us to proceed to the Managing Director’s room. There was a board on the door stating:
PLEASE REMOVE FOOTWEAR
Both of us removed our shoes and entered the room. I observed that the MD was wearing his shoes and wondered whether the European visitor had noticed this.
After we completed our discussion, the MD invited us to see the factory. We first visited the Quality Control Department. Again, there was a board on the door stating:
PLEASE REMOVE FOOTWEAR
Both of us removed our shoes, but it appeared the MD had not read the board.
As soon as we entered the Production Department, the MD offered us cigarettes, which we declined, despite both being smokers at that time. The MD started smoking. I noticed the European visitor was concealing a smile as he saw the prominent NO SMOKING sign!
As we were driving back after our visit, the European gentleman stated that he was shocked to see the MD openly breaking rules in his own factory. How did the MD expect his employees to follow the rules that he himself broke? I replied that, unfortunately, this was a common occurrence in India. Bosses created rules for their juniors, but did not themselves follow the rules. Strangely, the juniors seemed to take this situation in their stride.
The European manufacturer and I had similar experiences in a few other factories. The European gentleman could not digest this. I explained to him that we had no choice but to put up with this if we wanted to do business with these customers.
We see this happening everywhere.
Bosses expect their juniors to follow rules, but do not themselves follow the same rules.
Parents expect their children to follow rules, but do not themselves follow the same rules.
You and I are these bosses.
You and I are these parents.
As bosses and as parents, we think it’s normal.
But, as citizens, we are outraged when we see politicians breaking the rules that we are expected to follow.
Rules are for the ruled, not for rulers.
When we are the ‘rulers’, we think it’s normal.
When we are the ‘ruled’, we are outraged.
Will we ever realize that rules are for all, the ruled and the rulers?
Or will we continue to believe that, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”?