Seventy-five years of excellence… And counting!

January 6, 2023 at 4:13 am 3 comments

The quest for excellence has remained the key factor that distinguishes the highly effective and successful organisations from that of the mundane. And for organisations driven by the ideals of excellence, success is neither a chance of circumstances nor an accident of fortune that happen in illogical regularity.  For them, success is the cumulative result of a well-articulated vision, an organisational ethos that is people-centric and a dynamic yet an adaptive strategy that propel towards well-defined business goals– goals that are to be actualised on the bedrock of uncompromising principles. It is on these touchstones of excellence, Orient BlackSwan, a publishing company of unrivalled reputation, scores handsomely and hands-down! And as the company celebrates its seventy-five years of unparalleled service to the nation, it is only appropriate to investigate and dissect the key characteristics of this organisation that allows it to contribute so immensely for the purpose of education in the country.

Stephen Covey, the celebrated author, has identified seven cardinal habits that drive individuals and organisations towards excellence and it seems that is in the complete internalisation of these key traits that foster Orient BlackSwan to the iconic status that it enjoys in the industry today. Vouchsafed by many a renowned votaries of the Stephen Covey theory, practice and the assimilation of these habits come out of a deep conviction that long-lasting success is an extension of the ingrained values and principles and also that of the choices individuals and organisations make in their everyday transactions.  And Orient BlackSwan, over the last seven decades and a half, has amply demonstrated its unwavering adherence to this time-tested traits that’s fit to be a case-study in the realm of  business excellence.

At the time when the nation emerged from the shackles of the colonial rule, the Indian education was fully dependent on their erstwhile British masters, both for the framework of the educational system as well as for the content of the curriculum. The educational materials imported for the vast Indian student population were alien to the culture of the nation and there hardly were any textbooks published within the country. It’s in this scenario that Orient BlackSwan boldly ventured into a project of creating indigenous educational content that is firmly rooted in the Indian ethos to address the varied and unique needs of the Indian students. The organisation marshalled a battery of Indian authors and content creators, entrusted them with the freedom to experiment and innovate and the result were a slew of textbooks made in India, by Indians and for the Indian students. This pro-activeness is the one outstanding quality that distinguishes an organisation of vision from the one that’s focused solely on maximising profit through perpetuating the status-quo.

For Orient BlackSwan, the purpose of being in the publishing industry is to help create a strong and self-sustaining ecosystem that would impart high standard education for generations to come. While publishing quality textbooks is one part of this objective, the organisation relentlessly strives to empower teachers with the right training and focus on up-gradation of their skills so that the classroom transactions are as effective as the content. Orient BlackSwan is the pioneer in continuous teacher training programs in the country through which many thousands of teachers are enriched by this high impact training.  Thus, a very clear grasp of the End in Mind towards creating an educated society is yet another trait that sets it apart from others in the industry.

The philosophy that the organisation upheld in all its activities is a lesson in itself for all businesses to emulate. The core values and principles are to be upheld under all circumstances and for Orient BlackSwan, these are non-negotiable. Even under the temptation of grabbing a huge business or in the face of losing a big order, the yardsticks for all dealings are always compliance to the ethical principles and no cost is too big to uphold the core values that the company cherish. This uncompromising adherence to Always Values First is indeed a rarity in current times when businesses largely run on values of convenience.

The collaborative nature of the company’s projects are so designed that all stake holders turn willing partners in the successful completion of them.  The transparency, the free flow of communication and the adaption of feedback received across levels strengthen the sense of ownership and have a multiplier effect in the success of the all organisational endeavours. When tasks and its benefits are communicated effectively, a heightened degree of confidence is created across levels resulting in evolving a Win-Win culture and that’s what exactly Orient BlackSwan has mastered in creating, over and over again!

The effectiveness of an organisation is directly in proposition to its capacity to listen and assimilate market feedback and this trait is all the more crucial in today’s fast changing business scenarios. Be it in responding to the special needs of teachers to facilitate online classes during the Covid lockdown periods or in rolling out world-class digital products that are well integrated with traditional offerings, Orient BlackSwan has been a trendsetter, only to be imitated by others. This capacity to understand and to be understood by the market affords the company to effortlessly navigate the emerging ecosystem where blended learning would soon be the norm.  

The diverse workforce, comprising of staff from every state, region and religion is yet another uniqueness of the organisation and the inclusive culture practiced at every level has stood the company in great stride.  And this diversity is only matched by the even more diverse skill sets among the staff members which has unleashed enormous synergy across functions– from designing products to creating unique data management systems!

An organisation is only effective to the extent to which its staff members are happy and content and Orient BlackSwan has gone that extra mile to ensure overall wellbeing of its members. Be it in having a five-day work culture which is still a rarity in the industry or in envisioning a pension scheme much before it was even acknowledged by many organisations, Orient BlackSwan has always been a pioneer in devising myriad staff welfare programs. A case in point here is the compulsory paid annual leave travel to all the members! These are fashioned on account of the deeply held belief that only a well rested and rejuvenated workforce with opportunity to Sharpen the Saw of their skills can deliver to their fullest capacity.

It is a privilege to be associated with such an illustrious organisation and on this seventy-fifth year of its inception, we wish that Orient Blackswan continue to serve the nation and the cause of education for ages to come!



A staff member @ Orient BlackSwan.


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