Creating a Culture of Inspired Workers

I’d like to tell you about two amazing Indian women in their 20s who both were starting their careers and trying to make a mark for themselves. On November 26, 2008, 23-year-old Mallika Jagad was overseeing a banquet at Mumbai’s Taj Hotel. At about 9:30 in the evening, she heard popping sounds. Her phone buzzed with alerts about a shooting in the hotel. Although frightened, she focused on ensuring her guests’ safety. She locked the doors of the function room, calmly asking guests to lie down on the floor. Over the next several hours, as gunshots rang out and fires raged nearby, she continued to keep her guests safe and see to their needs. Eventually, Mallika and her colleagues managed to break a window and get a fire truck to move its ladder so the guests could escape. Only after the last guest left did Mallika follow. As one guest later said, “The level of calm and composure the staff displayed was amazing, absolutely amazing.” Mallika told me she was utterly terrified throughout this ordeal, but she felt responsible and was simply doing her job. The second young woman I’d like to tell you about, Shipra Kumari, worked at the global Indian firm Mahindra selling tractors and harvesters. In 2020, a crisis erupted among farmers in the Indian state of Haryana. Their crops were ready for harvest, but because of the pandemic they lacked people to do the work. Many of these farmers were poor—without revenue from these crops, they would face financial ruin. 

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