Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Losing sight of your vision

Many companies start with vision and a drive to fundamentally impact their chosen areas of products or services that they offer. The one common factor of high performing companies is that they are driven by the passion of the leaders and the employees. Of course many business books try to extract some fundamental commonalities of successful companies. After this round of turmoil many of the companies that are celebrated in these books will be in danger of extinction or severe contraction.
Yet another danger to companies from the current economic turmoil is that many good companies are in danger of becoming ordinary, primarily due to loosing sight of their vision.
In a difficult time the automatic response of the corporate organism is to police or regulate the organization in different ways. Unfortunately in the process of regulating, the regulator assumes tremendous power. And in most organizations, the regulators are not from the core functional units of an organization. Neither are they the vision behind the success of the organization. As the core teams work over time to rescue their companies in these tumultuous times, the regulators attract the lime light of the investors, since the performance of the company are “clearly not “ due to the regulators while the perceived fixes are due to the actions instituted by the regulators. Slowly but surely, the agenda of the company itself changes. Great companies have become mediocre when they got hijacked by the “regulator” managers in the company. After the hijacking the “regulators” become “activist regulators” thereby corrupting the organization and its vision completely. Finally the company turns into an ordinary company.
You know your company is changing when during expansion, issues like tax breaks and employee termination policies of a region take precedence in the decision making over the kind of core infrastructure and people you require developing your competencies and business. You know that your company is being hijacked when the leadership gets excited about expansion of non core areas over core visionary areas. You know your company has lost sight of its vision when a regulator is now running the company.