PNG Jewellers in its 187 year old legacy has seen many ups and down, right from starting business under the British Rule, the 1918-20 Plague, World War 2, India’s fight for freedom, 3 different wars in Independent India, the 1991 opening up of the economy under P V Narsimha Rao, the 2008 Financial Crisis and now the Coronavirus pandemic.

My grandfather, Shri Daji kaka Gadgil, was born during one of the harshest times in history, 1915. Soon after his birth, the state of Maharashtra in India fell victim to the Spanish plague. During his childhood, Daji kaka lived on a farm in Sangli. He was given the moniker “Raan Boka” meaning wild cat for his love of the forest and roaming around at a very young age. Dajikaka also met with an injury very early on and ended up losing eye sight on one eye, making day to day living very difficult. The town of Sangli was badly affected in the aftermath of the Spanish flu and the economy was more or less completely destroyed.

 

My grandfather, Shri Daji kaka Gadgil, was born during one of the harshest times in history, 1915. Soon after his birth, the state of Maharashtra in India fell victim to the Spanish plague

 

As time passed, villagers moved away from Sangli and started looking at opportunities in cities like Mumbai and Pune. When people moved away, they would leave their most prized possessions with Daji kaka’s father at the then PN Gadgil Jewellers store under his care purely based on the trust he had developed through-out his years. A young Daji kaka was a witness to this development from close quarters. It was imbibed in Daji kaka early on that being trusted by another person is a privilege and if people have such faith and trust in you then you must stand by it and ensure that you are honest and transparent. A customer’s trust is the biggest gift that a business can ever receive.  

Daji kaka believed that while he was born during the worst of times and had faced so many difficulties in his early life, it gave him the necessary strength to face all challenges life would throw at him. He would always say that life should be like a river, flexible when needed, forceful when required and always finding its way out of obstacles and obstructions. It is my life’s greatest privilege to have spent so much time with him and have these learnings from him that have been distilled from a century of ups and downs.

He would always say that life should be like a river, flexible when needed, forceful when required and always finding its way out of obstacles and obstructions. It is my life’s greatest privilege to have spent so much time with him and have these learnings from him that have been distilled from a century of ups and downs.

 

 

From Daji Kaka’s learnings, 5 Key Values every organization must imbibe to play the long term game and navigate crisis would be:

  1. Agility:  Organizations need to be flexible enough to navigate the challenges that external factors will throw at you.
  2. Sensitivity: Organizations need to be very sensitive about their surroundings and the people that make the organization. The employees, the suppliers, the customers, stakeholders like bankers etc. Having an empathetic work culture is critical for the long term.
  3. Strength: Every company must have the necessary strength to take decisions in the face of overwhelming odds
  4. Agelessness: Organizations must not be dependent on people or external circumstance hence having a process focused and system reliant approach is most important.
  5. Accepting Change: Changing environments are inevitable hence organizations must always be change ready, always have a plan B. rely on processes and systems to carry the business forward. Everything else has an expiry date, strong values and systems are forever.