Around 5-6 years ago I acquired land in my village in Rajasthan, and employed Modaram as the caretaker. He was introduced to me by my uncle. I had written a post on Modaram in 2015 about how an illiterate man from a rural village made me realize how much one can learn from his experiences and learning from nature. It was titled “Learning The Best Business Management Practises From An Illiterate Farmer”.
I knew he was smart and intelligent, but it was when I spent two days with him I got to know, that this man who had never gone to school could demonstrate all the practices you learn in a top Business Management school. He also displayed the true meaning of responsibility, accountability and ownership. Over the past years Modaram has given me many examples of his brilliance, below is one such example.
As we have good water supply on the farm, everyday close to 100 cows visit to drink water, from a distance of 4-5 km. The idea of cows visiting the farm is sacred to me. Keeping in mind the principle of ‘atithi devo bhava’, I asked Modaram to procure grass for the cows. For few days there was no news from him except asking for an approval to employ two grass cutters at Rs.300/- per day. I wondered why, but told him to go ahead. What followed, to me, was nothing short of a ‘Procurement Model’ taught in B-schools.
Modaram went directly to the source to purchase grass, made a deal, cut away layers of middlemen and made a big saving. The agreement was that he would get the grass cut and loaded into the trolley. And this is how he explained it to me. “1 row has 8 grass beds and each row of grass costs Rs.1000/-. The cost of 1 trolley of fodder from the market is between Rs.5000-6000/-. The grass which we purchased, the trolley became full in 3 rows itself, which means a total cost of Rs.1000 x 3 = Rs.3000. As per this calculation we have made a saving of Rs.2000-3000.”
I was totally taken aback. He could have easily gone to the bazaar and purchased the grass at a higher cost. But he spent time, effort and did his homework well without any personal gain for himself. I still am waiting to see an employee taking such responsibility, accountability and ownership of what is assigned to him.
Even if I make a large business deal, nothing gives me more satisfaction, than to be able to quench the thirst and hunger of these beautiful cows. And Modaram who understands the value of money makes it all possible.
PICTURES FROM THE DAILY ROUTINE AT THE FARM
Opinions in this piece belong to the author: Ramesh Kumar Shah
Ramesh Kumar Shah is the founder of the RK Group, founder of RK Trust (rktrust.in) and co-founder of Harvard Business School Angels of India. Apart from being a businessman, he is keenly involved in making as much of a difference in people’s lives as he can, most recently through the Let’s Mask India initiative, that provides a free mask to all the residents of Bangalore.