Sunday, August 27, 2017

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha - A lesson for professionals

While the movie Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was marketed as a different kind of love story (more rooted in reality), I discovered that the movie also presents a lot of lessons that we as professionals can learn.
Keshav, the protagonist was faced with a daunting challenge (absence of private toilets), one of its kind that never happened in his village. But he doesn't give up and gives his best to address the issue. Consider Keshav as the organization or professional and his wife as the client in this scenario. Following are the lessons we can take away from his efforts in this scenario (SPOILERS AHEAD):
  1. Explore all options: Be it stealthily sneaking into other's house that has a toilet, with any vague excuse he could find, or driving his wife to a stopping point where a train stopped for exactly 7 minutes to use its lavatory facilities, to even stealing a portable toilet from a shooting set, he explores all options.
  2. Short-term solutions don't work: Even though Keshav was coming up with innovative solutions, each was fraught with some flaws. Having a difficult client (his wife) does push him to seek for the long term solution.
  3. Benefiting not only his client (his wife) but also rest of the village (society): Solutions proposed should be replicable and scalable and benefit the society at large. While the solution was already present, making it reach to the people in need for it is itself a challenge and something we must strive to do as good professionals.
  4. Sometimes solutions are there, but people are not ready for it: Keshav's fight was against the archaic traditions that prevented him to deploy the long-term solution in the first place. In our organizations also we might have to deal with outdated policies and processes. However striving to overcome such hurdles to deploy long-term solutions that are clearly better for the organization and the society at large is a worthy effort.
  5. Smart one-liners have high stickiness factor and using them to promote your cause is an excellent idea.
  • "Biwi paas chaahiye toh ghar mein sandaas chaahiye (if you want your wife to live with you, better have a toilet in your house)."
  • "yeh maamla shauch ka nahin soch ka hain (this matter is not about defecation, it is about our thinking)."
6. Lastly, the movie was about flushing out archaic methods that have lost their utility (since better methods are available) and moving into the future. As a professional, one must keep updating oneself about latest developments to stay in the race.

Radhe Radhe! (salutation)

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