Nirmalya’s Jor Ka Jhatka..Dheere se

7 11 2016

Nirmalya Kumar, a former member of the Group Executive Council of Tata Sons has written a blog post, “I Just Got Fired“. You can get the link to his post here. The post has gone viral and has appeared in many publications.

At first reading, it is a personal account of a senior person’s firing by a corporate.  By using phrases like “No pity is needed” and “ I have nothing negative to say about the Tata group” he creates an impression that this post is not a way of complaining or hitting back at his former employers who fired him. By using “I realize that I am unemployed for the first time since the age of 18 and “Well, a bit lost, and ready at 8:30, instead of the usual 8:00, I head for my morning Starbucks coffee “, he tugs the heartstrings of his readers.

He mixes up the criticisms and his emotions, so cleverly, that you only realise after multiple readings that , this post is a subtle attack at some of the popular  beliefs about Tatas as an employer and as a business group.

Let me elaborate with examples :

  • “Despite the unceremonious and un-Tata like end”

This phrase clearly dispels the popular belief that Tatas do not follow a hire-and-fire policy. A popular perception among the employee community is that a  Tata job is very secure. By using “un-Tata”, he has brought out that Tatas are not what you think. Another aspect is that Tatas are not always graceful and dignified as they appear.

  • “What I found exceptional about the group was the kind of person that Tata attracts – unpretentious and dedicated. Yes, they really drink, as we would say in America, the “koolaid” of Tata. But I observed how hard they work, and how committed they are to the group and its values. “

This to my mind is the nastiest that Nirmalya gets. By praising the average Tata employee as hard working, dedicated and unpretentious, he gets them on his side and then he says “they drink the “koolaid” of Tata”.

Drinking “koolaid”  is an expression that is a reference to the 1978 event at Jonestown, Guyana, where hundreds of members of the Peoples Temple, a Californian cult, committed suicide by drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.

He is clearly hinting that the gullible employees of Tatas are blindly believing the cult of Tatas without knowing the consequences of their faith, which could be disastrous.

  • They deserve a great Chairman.

He could not have got more direct than this one. He clearly feels the current one is not good enough.

  • It was not as if I was fired for non-performance (my last evaluation was excellent).

By this statement, it is apparent that Tatas do not follow any performance management system, despite their claims of professional management. They also are not fair and just with their employees, if the person belongs to a different camp.

  • When in future anyone mentions me, please don’t say anything positive. Throw me under the bus to gain credibility in the new regime. It’s my parting advice.

This parting advice is revealing of the insides of Bombay House and the Tata culture. Bad mouthing the previous bosses and blaming those who are no longer in favour and around to defend themselves, appears to be a sure ticket to succeed.

Tatas in their web-site have said the ” Dr. Nirmalya Kumar, Dr. N S Rajan and Mr. Madhu Kannan have decided to explore options outside Tata Sons and have left the services of the company.”  By writing this post and titling it as “I just got fired” he is openly saying that Tatas are lying when they say the GEC members have left on their own, when actually they have been fired.

Forget about all the exalted Tata values and ethics, one of the basic value is telling the truth and even on that count Tatas fall short.

Nirmalya Kumar through this one post has created such an adverse impact particularly among existing and potential employees of Tata group, that it will take a lot of corporate communications effort to undo the damage.

  •  Posted by G.Mohan

Nirmalya Kumar has posted a follow-up to the above post titled “Just Fired, and Moving On”. 




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