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Crisis time? Companies turn spiritual

November 10, 2008 10:20 IST

"Mother Teresa said, 'I love the light for it shows me the way, yet I endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.'

Let's put behind us the disasters, the economic gloom the world is facing today, and reach out for the stars,'' said an SMS sent by a Mumbai-based public relations agency on Diwali eve, reflecting the mood of its Indian clients, who are among the country's top banks and real estate companies.

Many other companies and their executives are seeking solace from new-age motivational gurus.

Robin Sharma, the author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Greatness Guide and Greatness Guide 2, says his company, Sharma Leadership International, Inc, has been flooded with requests for his workshop, called High Performance Leadership in Really Turbulent Times.

"Many Indian businesses have contacted us, as they want their employees to stay motivated, focused and engaged," said Sharma, whose clients include General Electric, Nike, FedEx, NASA, and Unilever.

Welspun Group recently joined this group when it sought Sharma's services. "In these trying times, inspirational talks act as motivation, open up minds, and help employees get back to work with a positive frame of mind," said Dipali Goenka, director, Welspun Retail.

Sharma has also made presentations to Satyam Computers. "These talks help boost the morale of associates, and help them realise, analyse, and achieve their true potential," said Renu Khanna, who heads Satyam Management Education.

Employees agree. "Our company has been taken over twice in the last one year. We need to keep ourselves motivated during the tough says," said an employee of a Mumbai-based business process outsourcing outfit. InspireOne, a human resources consulting and training firm, said requests for its programmes had gone up by 30 to 40 per cent.

"Organisations have moved from tactical one-off training programmes to strategic development plans that are sustainable,'' said Deepak Mohla, chief executive of InspireOne.

Shailesh Thaker, who conducts motivational sessions for companies including Johnson & Johnson, Philips, and Torrent, seconds that. "Most of the firms believed in speedy growth in last five years. But right now, their strategy is to survive and match overheads. When they do not have funds and work in hand, they are worried as to what they will do with their staff," he says.

Motivated leaders and employees are the need of the hour.

"In everyone's life, three or four times one is asked to do extraordinary things. Self-confident leaders have the ability to rise to such special occasions. We have one such special occasion today which will sort out the great leaders from the mediocre ones," says Vijay Govindarajan, professor at Tuck School of Business and chief innovation consultant at GE.

What should employees do to save their own jobs and the companies they serve? "You have enjoyed all the glory in the last four-five years, when your company was doing well. Now it is your job to stand with the organisation and keep the morale of the top management high," says Thaker.

Mother Teresa, once again, puts it the best: "I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness."

Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai