Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sleeping Giants!

There is a character in the Indian Epic Ramayana named Kumbakarna. He is the brother of Ravana the Demon King who was killed by Lord Rama. Kumbakarna is supposed to be more powerful than Ravana himself but had asked for a boon (which turned to his bane as he mispronounced his request) that made him sleep for 6 months in a row and wake up 6 months (effectively disqualifying him for being a King).When this giant sleeps-he really sleeps and when he wakes up he is extremely hungry that he eats up mountains of food (no-one dared to go near him when he was about to wake up to avoid being his snack). Why is it I am elaborating his usual there is a learning in his lifestyle to corporations I would think. A lot of giant corporations are usually on hibernation mode though several hundreds of executives travel between continents, millions of emails gets exchanged everyday and thousands of hours are spent in brainstorming, meetings, strategic plans etc. It is like in hibernation life goes on with heart pumping, small positional changes in sleep etc. Then suddenly there is a wakeup call for this giant company-either competition or business climate or technology gave them a hot rod treatment. The company roars (even if it is a bit late) and starts to move. It tries to shed its conservative outlook and most of the old strategic plans(which are usually incremental thoughts within boundaries but well structured power points) are put to dustbins. There are some changes of top management, signals to middle managers to deliver quick results and restructuring decisions affecting a lot of lower rung people. For this period of revival the company usually sheds the stricter interpretation of its principles and goes on autocratic mode. With strong brands usually the impacts are positive and they survive the pains of changes. But less stronger ones never come out of the hibernation impacts and that is why we find very few corporations more than 100 years (similar to humans). We may argue that the longest living creature is the Tortoise which is the slowest but it is important to note that Tortoise does not search for a home to sleep as it carries one. So if companies don't carry safety shells and does not recognize that it goes into hibernation then they qualify to be called as Sleeping Giants. They cease to capture the full opportunity and the ego state prevents them from believing something needs to change. The worst part is people working for Sleeping Giants are more busy than others but on hindsight realize what they did was just passing through motions. Most of these Giants gets recognized by best corporation in this and that awards further encouraging hibernation. So much for Kumbakarna Corporations...

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Gothenburg, Sweden
Still finding introspecting to find who am I? Waiting for a Guru!