A Chronicle of Enlightened Citizenship Movement in the State Bank of India

A micro portal for all human beings seeking authentic happiness, inner fulfillment and a meaningful life

Friday, April 30, 2010


Empty your cups and rediscover yourself” said one of the initial slides shown in the recently conducted Citizen SBI programme. I looked around for cups but found bottles instead on the table (innovative ways to prevent you from taking the statement literally). The next few slides had some thought provoking words like enlightened self interest, spirit of excellence, spirit of service and so on. I began to wonder, are these reflective words really a part of my system, a part of my cup?

But thanks to the design team, it takes the script forward unfolding concepts like tree of fulfillment, joy of contribution and many other interesting facets. Within two days, this programme touches your heart, it awakens your brain and redirects your eyes to your inner self. In the rat race today we tend to look at everyone, everywhere and everything around and afar but we forget to look at ourselves, the closest one. This programme is a wonderful concept of awakening oneself, a speed breaker in our mad rush to rush all the time.

The case studies, role plays used may be just examples but every participant could identify with it, could fit oneself somewhere in it either in personal or professional life. Each one of us has been Amar, Akbar or Anthony (characters in one of the case studies) at some point of time, in some relationship. It’s circumstantial and situational.  The case study reflected our quest at moving from Good(Amar) to Better(Akbar) to the Best(Anthony).  We have to look for the grey shades of Amar within us, in our relationships, in our behavior.  We need to set Anthony as the benchmark so that we can touch the heights of atleast Akbar.

Citizen SBI is designed innovatively to encourage the ‘citizens’ of the bank to participate actively, to act, to react, to speak up, to suggest and more importantly to reflect within.   It is an ideal sequel to the Parivartan programme which set the ball rolling by encouraging employee participation through a series of workshops seeking employee feedback and making them feel a part of the Organisational change that was happening in the Bank.   If Parivartan was Organisational Development, Citizen SBI is a step forward - Organisational Development through People Development .

This forum was used as a platform to shed our inhibitions. People came with different mindsets to the programme.   Some with apprehensions, some with prejudices and some with a positive attitude of learning something new.   For a few, it was a break from the monotonous office work, to exterminate their stress and rejuvenate themselves.   Kudos to the Design Team for structuring the programme in such a way so as to ensure breaking the ice, encouraging, mingling and cross-fertilization of groups.   This led to the spirit of team bonding, networking, and developing of new relationships with unknown colleagues.  

The structure of the programme was devised with a lot of thought put behind to ensure that there was constant interaction between teams and it did not have the monotony of a one way training session.   Listening was important but participating, interacting and reflecting was more important. The constant churning of groups, activities involving each and every person in the group was exemplary.  

As the day progressed, we felt each individual blossomed, opening up through the activities he participated in.   I remember a member in my group who was an extremely shy person, introverted, inhibited and probably low on confidence and had never participated in any formal workshops/role plays earlier. Not used to the participative kind of training made him bit queasy. The first activity that was to be carried out was to narrate an incident in your life which shows the shades of citizen in you.   The entire group started discussing, but our man's contribution was restricted to only smiling and nodding.   We could see he wanted to participate but there was something in him that was pulling him back. Dilemma of what if he says something wrong, fear of being ridiculed but an intense wish to be a part of it.

Under the effective guidance and handholding of facilitators and encouragement from his group members, he played a major part in the role play, so much so that he crossed the time limit given.   His childlike enthusiasm and new found vigor was so captivating that none had the heart to stop him and he went on and on. And at the end of the role play, the radiance on his face was full of exuberance. His face glowed under the applause he received for his performance.   It gave him immense confidence and happiness. His search for inner fruits had begun at that very moment.

The great Greek philosopher Aristotle had stated that ‘Happiness’ is the only true inner fruit that a human looks for. We do have other values like family, freedom, joy, money, status, security, growth, wisdom, truth, sense of identity and belonging, dignity and virtue.   But finally, it all centers on ‘The Happiness’ of the person, the inner fruits that he gets, the intrinsic value that he is in search of. So much of importance is given to the material needs that our intrinsic needs get overlooked. These two days gave us time to introspect, analyze the layers of façade that we have put on for years together, to question the basic purpose of our existence.    It helped us distinguish between our extrinsic and intrinsic needs, define and reset our values.

Citizen SBI is truly a positive attitudinal transformation programme.   It shows us a path towards Positive Contribution with a combination of Head & Heart which activates our left and right brain representing logic and emotions within us. Yes, at the end of this two day session I felt I had emptied my cup and got a larger cup only to be filled with inner fruits, fruits of joy, fruits of happiness, fruits of contentment and fruits of inner peace……

I have begun my journey to discover the citizen within me…

Veena Kamat
Senior Assistant
LHO Mumbai

No comments:

Post a Comment