Monday, December 4, 2023

Learnings in the Navy

It was early in the morning and the rains had just subsided when I reached the briefing room at INS Hansa, a premier front-line establishment of the Navy, located at the Dabolim Airport in Goa. The pilots in their blue flying overalls, the observers (those who assist the pilot in navigation), the meteorological officer, and the ground duty team were assembled for the morning briefing. It was a ritual on every working day to update the pilots on the meteorological conditions, the availability of the landing facilities, direction-finding equipment, radars, etc.

The meteorological officer got up and started detailing the wind conditions, and cloud ceiling, and finally closed saying that the monsoon was good, and the rainy conditions would continue during the day. The squadron commander of the Sea Harrier aircraft quipped jovially, ‘Yeah, we are farmers not pilots so rain will do us good’. The entire room burst into laughter.

Next, it was my turn to brief the pilots about the status of the ground lighting, navigation aids etc. Even before I could start the base commander, asked me the reason for the prolonged failure of the runway lights, the previous day. I sheepishly replied that there was a power outage from the state electricity board and the standby power generator which was supposed to come -on automatically did not start. Also, the diesel generator operator had gone out and it took a while to locate him before the generator could be started. What followed next was a lesson for me to remember for the rest of my life. After the conclusion of the briefing, the base commander got up and told the entire team the need to keep the last man in the entire operation fully involved and motivated for the work he was doing and its importance, especially in the context of the power outage at the base station. Had the diesel operator known how critical his presence is to ensure the smooth functioning of the flying operations, he would not have absented himself from the spot.

In our everyday lives, we take so many things for granted for example if we proceed to the train station, to catch an early morning train. The taxi or auto driver is like a god in human form to enable us to reach the station in time. In many other situations, if we think back, we realize how the help of the man at the bottom of the ladder in any hierarchy helped us to attain our objective. So, the need for acknowledging each one’s contribution and a sense of gratitude goes a long way. It not only makes every man feel important but reflects our values regarding the dignity of labour. It is also one of the most important aspects of team building when executing complex projects. The learnings in the Navy, coming rushing on this Navy Day, helped in building a strong foundation for the future.

PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google

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