Sami Sami Jessami!

Sami Sami Jessami!

Building a people-centric system is extremely critical. While it is important to make the organisation process-oriented, it is more important to make it people driven.


A round Eleven PM, on a pitch-dark October night, the tired eyes and the fatigued bodies of the Gentleman Cadets (GCs), searching for a ray of rest to hold on to, fell-in behind their barracks in the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), Chennai. They were undergoing their usual hunching, front-back rolls and the bathroom touch-and-back ragda routine.


Everything in the Academy, like everywhere else in the Army, happens with proper planning and clockwork precision. Getting a periodic ‘bamboo session’ from the seniors, is a muchneeded Knowledge Transfer (KT) for the GCs to keep the quality and consistency of the pedigree that ensures excellent output of young Military Leaders, batch after batch. It also helps the soon-to-be Officers (Seniors) to observe and understand human psychology from close quarters, so that they are able to coach and lead their men effectively under any circumstances.





After almost 30 minutes of ragdam patti, a statement from a Senior brought a spark in the eyes of the GCs. He said, “If you want the stars on your shoulders, prove your worth to those heavenly stars up there, they seem to be unhappy with you.”


With renewed zest, the GCs were now made to start the push-up activity, in sets of tens and the count reaching over a hundred. Just when most of them were on the verge of getting conked-off, another statement that brought a sudden surge of energy in the body of the GCs was, “Before you rest tonight, do one more pushup - for your parents, one for your course mates, one for your buddy, one for yourself. Now, how many for your company Jessami? How many for OTA? How many for the Indian Army? How many for your Mother land? Do you want to sleep now?”


Well, this made the budding blue warriors go on and on. And, the seniors smiled with great sense of amazement and pride in their eyes, with an unequivocal conviction in their mind that, ‘we are forging the finest of steel of the Indian Army in this cradle of military Leadership’.


The icing on the cake was when a Senior GC roared the war cry of the company, “Sami... Sami...” and then there was a reverberation of, “Jessami… Sami Sami Jessami… Sami Sami Jessami…” by all the Jaguar Jessamis.


The thumping echoes of the war cry in those silent nights of the Academy are still afresh in my memory, as if it was only yesterday. The Josh-e-Junoon of we Jessamis roaring our heart out, “Sami Sami Jessami”, was as if hundreds of Sukhwinder Singhs were ripping through the octaves on a highpowered loudspeaker with maximum volume and woofer.


Learnings from the OTA


Unfortunately, I could not finish my tenure at the OTA. However, the 3- odd months of training changed me forever. Initially, it was very difficult for me to come back to terms with the civilian world and I wondered then – How can a Training of only a couple of months be so effective that it transforms an Individual’s mind and body to the core?


The obvious questions in my mind after becoming a corporate citizen were - Can you push people to that extent in corporate world? Is it really possible to instil such a strong sense of connect, loyalty and pride of affiliation as an Organisational culture in the Business world?


These questions inspired me further to study Human Resource management and take up Training & Development as part of my career. In my decade long stint as a Corporate Trainer, I have not witnessed a single Training session that functions to reflect the effect I have witnessed at the OTA. However, I have come across few Leaders and their teams in the corporate world, who understand the value of Training in shaping up People, Process and the Organisation. And, trust me, they are as good as they come!


So, what is the specialty that we are referring to? What is it that ensures a special affiliation with a team / organisation wherein, there is minimum complaining and maximum trust and blind faith in the leadership? Is it actually possible to get such a loyalty from the ranks in the corporate world too? The answer is ‘YES’.


No place for ‘holy cows’


Well, it is observed that there is no place for holy cows either in war or in business. One needs to be swift, shrewd, tactful and decisive when it comes to running a company. However, there are certain fundamental things that one needs to be careful about while building a team/organisation. The bottom line, however, remains the same across sectors and companies, which is building a relationship based on ‘Trust’.


People look up to leaders and organisations who genuinely give them a chance to learn and grow. As they say, people leave their reporting Manager and not the company. It is extremely critical to be genuine and open to people, if one wants to cement a strong foundation for their Organisation. One cannot afford to be a trickster, that too, to their own folks.


Especially in case of start-ups, it is seen that many of the so-called Leaders make fake commitments to their people, in their urgency and immaturity to get things done ‘somehow’. You may think that people are unaware of your motives. But, just because people do not speak out, it does not mean that they do not understand such ulterior schemes.


Building a people-centric system is extremely critical. While it is important to make the organisation process-oriented, what is more important is making it people-driven. Majority of the organisations wonder - How can you be people centric?


You dig in a little deep into such companies and you will know that their investment on Training and Organisational Development is almost zero. The attitude of – ‘I pay - you work’, does not augur in building a robust and resilient system.


Let us draw inspiration from the Armed forces in leadership. Here’s the famous quote of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, “Professional knowledge and professional competence are the main attributes of leadership. Unless you know, and the men you command know that you know your job, you will never be a leader.”


Salute to all the Faujis and a special shout out to all the Jaguars

Sami Sami Jessami

Jai Hind.




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Keshav Sridhar is a HR Consultant & OD Specialist. A seasoned HR Professional, he wields an experience of 15 years and has worked with Google, Partygaming, Aditya Birla Group, BITS Pilani University etc. Keshav holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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