Up Close W hat has not changed is
the competitive spirit that
turns winners into emotional
wrecks - lost for words - and
makes those who lose to be-
lieve they deserve better be-
cause they worked so hard that
they believe they are the best.
Winners are applauded, but the
story of the rest is hardly told.
For instance, this team of vet-
erans, all international winners.
An outside-the-podium finish
was too much to take, worse
It all began with 19 teams making presentations in still the questions from the fam-
ily on the worth of weekends
July 1997 in a makeshift hall in Hosur I, cooled by and long hours spent preparing
ice slabs propped up behind industrial fans. Between and practising. The team broke
up. Luckily, the story didn’t end
the recession of the mid 90s and the current reces- there: they came back with even
sion, IMPROVE has been a change story in the last more hard work and got back to
their winning ways. Instinctive
11 years. problem solvers, many of the
veteran teams have learned to
take results in their stride and
continue to contribute. That is
the evolved level of participation
teams reach eventually.
S uspense has been an in-
trinsic – as also cultivated
– character of IMPROVE: any
competition allows that, espe-
cially the results. IMPROVE
has also benefitted from the
pre-event hype and specula-
tion on “Where are you hold-
ing IMPROVE this year?”
and “ What is the theme this
time?”. Ever since a Miss Asia
Pacific wowed the finalists at
Suspense has been an Hosur, the next year followed
intrinsic character; there has by Krishnamachari Srik anth
always been speculation narrating his 1983 World Cup
around ‘the surprise guest this experience, there has always
year’. been speculation around ‘the
surprise guest this year’.
a story in 75 WoRDS we are asking you to give us a The most interesting stories will be published in
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Ashley News / August 2009 16
W hen everything goes per plan, it is great but what one will
remember for a longer time are some awkward moments and
the killing suspense. Like the Kodai edition of 2006, in a specially
erected enclosure by the slope of a hill. By evening, the monsoon
winds were threatening the roof. It didn’t help that the previous
night the contractor laid the asbestos sheets in the opposite direc-
tion of the wind, so that each sheet edge was an inviting opening
for the wind, and the wind played a devilish music on this virtual
keyboard. The heavy downpour provided the drums but, thankfully,
held the roof in place!
C elebratory dances got a leg-up with the top management join-
ing in. One of the most ‘natural’ dancers has been a grandfa-
ther who says he has never danced before – incredible given his
perfect rhythm! Outside the presentations, the best remembered
moments are those of guilt-free joy that satisfy the child in each of
us, moments lost in actions that will be considered abnormal in our
normal family context. It is catharsis of a kind. And memorable.
B eyond the splash in the pool and the shrieks
at the games is the participants’ mature
sense of ownership. Early this year, with reces-
sion slashing monthly volumes and working
days, there was speculation whether IMPROVE
2008 would be held at all, though there was
an announced plan to hold it abroad. That was
when some associates – long-term committed
IMPROVE participants all – came up to say:
“Please drop the foreign location plans this year.
We will do that when better times return”.
P utting the event together over the years has
been a home-grown team of volunteers who
come together once a year to form the organising
team Lego-like, soon dismantled like the Lego
pieces. The joy and the ‘enthu’ they bring to
the 24x7 task make light work of all the logistical
Guilt-free joy that satisfies the child
in each of us, actions that will be How can we replicate that one week of syn-
considered abnormal in our normal family
chronised team work and peak efficiency, rest
of the year?
Think about it.
Different Perspectives! Among the 14 entries we R&D: “The New Path to Land on the Moon”
received, we find only one Quality: “The parallelism of the path to be checked”
We had asked you to take a
fitting the bill. And that is
look at the picture and tell us Finance: “The cheapest mode to reach the moon”
what would be the instant reac- Marketing: “Land for sales in moon” nearer to railway
tion of those from the following P.U.Balaji, PD – Ennore.
HR: “Your performance track will take you to the Moon”
R&D, Quality, Finance, Market-
We really liked it. Congratulations!
ing and HR
17 Ashley News / August 2009