Oftentimes how a leader reacts in a crisis shines a light on his or her values. Ratan Tata, head of the Tata Group of companies, showed he valued employees and their families as human beings following a terrorist attack on the Tata-owned Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai, India on November 26, 2008, six years ago this week. Mr. Tata had dependents of those employees who were affected flown to Mumbai and housed for three weeks. He personally visited the families of all 80 employees who were affected. He attended the funerals of those who died. Counseling was provided for both employees and their families. Loans outstanding to the affected employees were forgiven, arrangements were made and a trust fund was established so that dependents of those who died would continue to receive their deceased loved one’s salary for life, the education of their children and dependents would be paid for, and the families would receive healthcare and have access to counseling for the remainder of their lives.
Valuing people as individuals, rather than for what they produce, is the heart of a Connection Culture. As we remember the events on that horrific day six years ago, let us remember the courageous employees of the Taj who lost their lives trying to protect the lives of their guests. Let us also remember the heart of a leader, Ratan Tata, who shared in the tears of the families and who led not only with skillful hands, but foremost with a true heart.