150 150 Kamal Karanth

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20 NOV , 2014
One of my occupation hazards is frequent flying. However in recent times it has allowed me to pen a few lines like I did this piece on a MH (Malaysia Airlines) flight to Delhi. I have been flying MH for the past 10 years with no fuss. But now, all that has changed – I have a new routine to adhere. I have to reconfirm to my mom and wife soon after landing that ‘all is well’ no matter how late I arrive at my destination. Well, all said, I know that my family have their reasons and those reasons in the recent wake of things are real (when at one point those very reasons taken for granted!)

The day MH 370 vanished, I was on a plane from USA to Bangalore and when a Bangalore bound MH 192 crash-landed in KL, I was to take the same flight from Bangalore to KL; and when MH 17 crashed for a reason beyond belief, I was taking an MH flight to Bangalore on that very same evening! My connection to MH has been coincidental as you can see but now this gives my family much concern and every time I fly MH.

But then, beyond my family, we all get paranoid on these fixations, don’t we? If we feel this, imagine the families of casualties and employees of Malaysia Airlines who are confronted with these series of unfortunate incidents that has and is continuing to traumatize their lives and that of their family in a manner we will never can imagine! Losing a loved one, a trusted colleague and a valued customer is bad enough…losing more than one is devastating! And then there are talks about customers shunning the airline; the steady loss of profit for the airline which is now seeking turnaround; and the loss of livelihood for the employees of the airlines and its chain of suppliers and vendors. These are indeed tiring times for Malaysia Airlines and add suspicion, hurt and lack of trust to the equation – the word ‘agonizing’ comes to mind!

I can relate to the feelings of MH employees in a twisted way. In my career, I’ve been a part of many biz units which were in turnaround states. During my tenure in those units, I received as much encouragements and also huge bouts of disbeliefs. As much as organizations/leaders knew the importance of having those biz units turned profitable, they also placed caveats/ controls which very often brought moments of grief.

The first time I took on such an assignment, the organization placed me with much fanfare as I was a star performer and it was glamorous for my bosses to say “Kamal’ will turn around the business in 6 months.” Unfortunately, when 6 months went by with no magic in sight, I was reduced from being a hyperactive participant in conferences to someone who hardly spoke. To make matters worse, I also attended quarterly reviews only to see the businesses I had left behind doing well while the one I was undertaking performing dismally!

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