Grandpa’s way
D. S. Cheema

The Power of Human Relations
by Jyothi Menon.
Pearson. Pages 156. Price not stated.

THE book is the story of the power of human relations read through the lens of a grandfather’s wisdom tempering with practice, experience and maturity. Jyothi Menon, Head of Human Relations, Lason India, distils her personal passion for people at workplace and weaves it into a canvas much beyond the walls of her own company.

It is the story of how CEOs can transform the destiny of employees through good corporate governance by creating a human relations culture and the practice of decency, dignity, trust and transparency. The leaders in the organisations have to learn to change themselves before attempting to transform others.

Unless the employees take pride in themselves and develop the sense of ownership or belonging, self-actualisation just cannot happen, as there can be no passionate people striving for excellence. There can be no excellence without passion.

The book’s message is that leaders should get back to the basics of people’s and relationship management, if they want their organisations to thrive. The author’s narration is convincing and readable, though her warning that the book is not for the "light-hearted" may keep many HR professionals away from the idea human relationship.

The CEO in the author is keen to learn from his grandfather’s experiences and put these to use in his organisation. He goes through a learning process during his stay with the old man at a quiet, small place.

He returns to his workplace a transformed man, committed to the cause of his employees. The learned and the learner go through various realms of business like acquisition, pride building, nurturing and practicing pride, ownership and motivation or building brand ambassadors, in a series of meetings.

The personal accounts of the wise man makes the dialog interesting for the learner. Since it is a continuous story of the discovery of a CEO, it has no chapters.

Humans are unique assets and the companies of today cannot continue to treat them in the age-old ways of profit centres by just paying them and not looking after them. Especially the knowledge workers no more accept being treated poorly. The key to people’s orientation is trust, which some will abuse.

It does not mean that the CEOs shouldn’t trust their employees. The other tried and aspect is dignity and respect, which remain at the core of the HR management. There are many examples of large corporate houses where the bones of half-hearted public relations and personnel management gimmicks are scattered as proofs of their failure.

The message could perhaps be told in a more straightforward manner, without making the book only for the "tough-hearted". Heaps of management literature with the "ivory tower" approach has shooed away good professionals from using managerial common sense. It is hoped that grandfather’s wisdom won’t meet the same fate.