My friend from the US recently sent me this interesting piece of information by email
“Project Management – a lesson from the Americians”.
“The project was, reconstruction of an old bridge located above the important and busy interstate freeway 405 – a 12 lane highway. The old bridge was to be demolished and a new one reconstructed. After working on the logistics for nearly 8 months the authorities decided that this project was to be executed between 15th July, 2011 to 18th July, 2011 in a total time of 53 hours. There was a heavy penalty of US $7200 per hour on the contractor if the work was delayed. The traffic was to be completely stopped on the freeway during that period. The public was duly informed through all the newspapers and TV channels and asked to stay at home that weekend or take alternative routes and diversions as recommended. The work began on sehedule and all demolition was complete inside of 24 hours. About 800 trucks removed 4000MT of rubble in record time. Fresh reconstruction of the new bridge was then done in the next 24 hours. Freeway 405 was opened to traffic in 38 hours, 15 hours ahead of schedule. The Metropolition Transport authority gave a bonus of US $ 3,00,000 for the early completion”.
Reading this news item was like a whiff of fresh air on a hot sultry day. Each day when I read the newspaper, I have to literally search for news that motivates me. The rape of a bar girl, the murder of a gangster and the endless politics and battles of the more corrupt vs the less corrupt and other useless trivia dominates the print. All this gets more importance than an inspiring life saving act of bravery or a monumental test of human endurance or creativity. Today we are truly living in a fickle superficial world thriving on frivolous materialism and irrelevant sensationalism.
The great frescoes, paintings, sculptures of the Art renaissance, The Tajmahal, The Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids were all built in lesser times without the aid of computers or the latest earth moving equipments. Fiery inspiration, burring passion, focus and persistence went into the making of these wonders of the world. Daniel Goleman has defined emotional quotient EQ as zeal enthusiasm persistence and ability to motivate oneself continuously over prolonged periods of time. EQ seems to have been certainly higher in those days when we were not dependant on technology.
During my visit to Rohtang Pass, I once saw a board put up by the Indian Army after completion of the civil work. It said, “Difficult one day, Impossible one week, Miracle one month”. This is called missionary zeal and this is what went into the record breaking feat of freeway 405 repair. This is in sharp contrast to the dug up roads and unfinished flyovers in our metros and national highways.
Today there seems to be a chronic deficiency of visionaries, statesmen and philonthrophists who can, not only dream but execute those dreams. Our great minds and the new generations of our Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis are far too much embroiled in commercial controversies and considerations which impedes them from giving their brilliant best.
Way back in the 70’s I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. T. M. A. Pai, the founder of Manipal University and campus the hub of quality education near Mangalore. He said that he was always “Inspired By Life” and inturn inspired all those around him and so the slogan of Manipal University is “Inspired By Life”.
So, whoever we are businessmen, professionals, students, teachers, bank employees or just ordinary citizens doing over daily chores, cocooned in our comfort zone of I, me and myself, we must get inspired by life to do extra ordinary feats by using the fuel of creativity and capability to contribute to a modern and a progressive society.
DR. KISHORE NADKARNI.