The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj Hotel

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The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj Hotel
(Rohit Deshpande at TEDxNewEngland)

Taj terror attack has become a massive psychology case study in Harvard. Not ONE Taj employee abandoned the hotel and ran right through the attack. They helped guests escape and many died . It confounds psychologists . Finally they pin pointed 3 recruitment strategies
1) Taj did not recruit from big cities , they recruited from smaller cities where traditional culture still holds strong
2) They did not recruit toppers, they spoke to school masters to find out who were most respectful of their parents, elders , teachers and and others .
3) They taught their employees to be ambassadors of their guests to the organisation not ambassadors of the company to their guests .
The results are stupefying . The armies too does not recruit toppers, they recruit people through intensive psychological testing, perhaps that is why they have one of the most effective govt organisations in the country , unlike bureaucrats recruited for being topers but suspect psychologies . This has implications on parenting too

When terrorists attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, employees of the Taj Mumbai hotel displayed uncommon valor. They placed the safety of guests over their own well-being, thereby risking—and, in some cases, sacrificing—their lives. Deshpande, of Harvard Business School, and Raina, of the HBS India Research Center in Mumbai, demonstrate that this behavior was not merely a crisis response. It was instead a manifestation of the Taj Group’s deeply rooted customer-centric culture that, the authors argue, other companies can emulate, both in extreme circumstances and during periods of normalcy. The key ingredients of this Taj-style customer centricity include: 1) a values-driven recruitment system that emphasizes integrity and duty over talent and skills; 2) training of customer ambassadors who serve the guest first and the company second; and 3) a recognition-as-reward system that values well-earned plaudits–from customers, colleagues, and immediate supervisors—over money and advancement. Each of the three elements has important features and nuances, which the authors explore in detail so that your company can take its cues.
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