Strategy & Business Article: Saving a Crisis-Ridden Company

Saving a Crisis-Ridden Company After massive fraud was discovered there, Satyam Computer Services survived by helping its employees focus on their emotional trauma. by Priscilla Nelson and Ed Cohen A senior executive of a scandal-rocked multinational computer services company broke down in tears during a session with his leadership coach, devastated that he had given more than 10 years of his life to a company whose CEO had been caught in massive fraud. With just a year to go until reaching mandatory retirement, he had invested most of his savings in the company’s stock, which was now worth next to nothing. Another of the company’s managers, 50 years old, received a call from his father urging him to leave the company before his own reputation was further tarnished. A young supervisor realized his impending wedding was at risk when it appeared he might lose his job because of the scandal. “The rug was pulled out from underneath us all,” one of the executives said. “We felt forced to heal rapidly so we could help others to heal. I broke down and wept; not once, but several times.” Read...

Tatas should have identified a successor 15 years ago

Organizations rarely develop leadership pipelines or plan successors in advance. This is compelling them to import leaders from other countries, says Ed Cohen, executive VP, Nelson Cohen Global Consulting, who is in India to attend the HR Leadership Congress India. In an interview with DNA, Cohen, who helps firms grow their leadership pipelines, talks about how the Tatas should have started searching for a successor 15 years ago and how firms should draw inspiration Indian cricket team on leadership. Excerpts: When it comes to succession planning, where does Indian Inc stand? The Indian market is growing fast, but succession planning is too short. Organisations should plan leadership needs looking at longer time periods. They should look at 10-20 years from now and evaluate their leadership requirements for those periods. They need to look for leaders who can build and sustain relationships and create trust so that people are ready to work with them. There is too much buzz over Ratan Tata’s successor. As far as Tata’s succession goes, they waited too long to identify a successor. They have the founder’s syndrome, wherein the founder looks at the business like his daughter and therefore wants the perfect husband for the daughter. They should have identified someone 15 years ago. Look at GE. Ten years before Jack Welch retired, they identified six potential candidates and groomed them and finally one of them, Jeff Immelt became the CEO. Tatas will have difficulty in transitioning, as people will have to connect with the new head. When Narayan Murthy retired, he transitioned into the role of chief mentor. Ratan Tata needs to move into...

What Business Needs

When John Reed, longtime chairman of Citicorp, accepted the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Executive of the Year award in 1999, he ended his acceptance speech by challenging his audience of elite academics. Download...

Weather This Storm, Prepare For The Next

We are faced with what is being described as an economic downturn, although some see it more as a free fall with no idea how close to the ground the parachute will open. Download...

Celebrity leaders are passe

In our “surplus society” corporations depended on celebrity leaders who acted as brand ambassadors. These corporations leveraged the dynamic persona of one or a few individuals who provided the „face‟ of the company. Their presence, strengths, whims, fancies, and peculiarities shaped and symbolized these organizations. Download...

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