Responsibility is the price of freedom!!

August, 2019

Hi Folks

Since times immemorial, stories have been the best form of communication. Even today. Even with fb and whatsapp. The medium is different but stories well told have always worked. Whether grandma’s bedtime stories or stories from our epics or panchatantra or jataka tales or aesop’s fables or from our freedom struggle, stories continue to inspire and entertain. We have seen how corporate communication has also embraced story telling as a powerful medium to connect with employees, vendors, customers, society and the world at large.

Despite knowing that facts tell, stories sell, I was pleasantly surprised to read the following story in the most unexpected place …….guess where…..?? Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Continuing Professional Education for Insolvency Professionals) Guidelines, 2019 (we have carried this in the IBC section below). I couldn’t believe a regulator has actually used a story to drive home the point about continuing education :

“There was a woodcutter who had been cutting wood for years. But he never got a raise. Others who joined after to him were getting raises every year even though some of them took rest in between, and some others took off for weeks. He met his boss with resentment. The boss replied: “You are cutting the same number of trees today you were cutting five years ago. How can we give a raise?” The woodcutter went back, worked harder, put in longer hours, but not much improvement. He consulted his colleagues and learnt that they took five minutes break each time after cutting a tree. Still they cut more trees. How? They use those five minutes to sharpen the axe. Some of them use tools sharper than axe. The woodcutter realised his folly that he had never sharpened his axe for years, nor tried to use sharper tools. He sharpened the axe and the productivity improved; he got a raise. He learnt to use mechanised tools and productivity improved further. He got further raise.”

What a way to highlight that “An IP needs to continuously upgrade himself through CPE (Continuing Professional Education) to remain relevant and provide value added services. He needs to attend today’s work with today’s technology.” It is true for all of us, whether fresh or experienced, whether through stories or other means. For the so-called seniors, the sharpening includes removing the rust first – unlearning and then relearning without comparing the old. This is the toughest part when old memories refuse to die !

Continued learning has nothing to do with age. Deirdre Larkin from Johannesburg took up running only at 78 and at 86 is the fastest half-marathoner in her age category, with more than 500 medals to her credit. My uncle who passed away at 98 (about whom I have written several times earlier) continued to read about nuclear energy with interest and even wrote a research paper at 96. A super-senior citizen with whom I work very closely is a labour law expert and even today is enthusiastically analysing the new Code on Wages Bill at 75+. How can I not mention about another 75 year young cancer survivor in my group who is staging a play next week along with other young crew members in their 60s & 70s ?☺ Message is – continue to sharpen your axe – if required, use new tools too.



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