2018-19: THE YEAR OF THE FALL – What do you learn from it and what your next generations should learn too… ( lessons for business owners, employers, and employees)

2018/19 saw the end of many powerful people and companies in the corporate world and business in India. Many well known persons and not so well known persons have lost face in the recent few years. What is the lesson to all of us and to the future generations? One does not need to be a Philip Kotler to understand or write about this, but anyone with extensive working experience across organisations can certify that the following is true…..

1. Lessons to Promoters, Shareholders, and Owners:

a)Never bank upon one person in the organization. No one is so great that he or she can do what the others cannot. Actually, do not overrate anyone or glorify one person.
b) Build a team of good people and good successors.
c) Train many of your staff well so that they can take up a bigger responsibility at an overall lower cost.
d) Build a brand name, do not build only individual strengths or select employees.
e) Develop all round resources. Do not allow people to build power centers. Do not allow key people to play politics.
f) Keep a close watch on your key employees – Are they ensuring the above 5 factors or are they also playing politics that other good people leave and they become indispensable.
g) This is the time of disruptions. New technology can put your business our of gear. Keep in touch with younger generations to learn new stuff.
g) Your HR head has to be as strong as your Operations head. Also, check if your HR head / team is hand in glove with the Operations head? Do not have an ornamental HR team, but have a real policeman’s approach here.
h) When your organization is doing very well, ensure that you build teams to balance strengths and share powers. If you are diversifying or openings new businesses, ensure that all is not controlled or dominated by one person.
i) If a lot of key people leave your organization, start acting fast and find out the reasons.
j) Never divert from the core competency of your organisation.
k) Do not rely on one external auditor, one consultant, one due diligence officer, one accounting head. Otherwise they could exploit the situation for the benefit of a few employees.
l) Ensure all the above people in K above, understand the domain of your business and not just balance sheets. Do they understand the idiosyncrasies of your business area or are just balancing figures and amounts on paper.
m) Do not value only hi-fi qualifications, but value commitment, hard work and longevity and trustworthiness of your employees too.
n) There is nothing to replace proper experience, no piece of glorified paper from any University can replace experience. Note that a person may be an excellent technocrat but he may be a poor marketer or a poor leader.
o) Ensure that you build leaders in your organization and not politicians and power mongers. Ensure your key team members build proper teams under them which you could use in the case of exit of some top people.
p) Do not overrate any particular academic degree. Ensure people know a wide range of skills. Check on the core competency of employees, and do not assume that they know other functions and that they have adequate leadership skills besides domain knowledge.
q) Intense competition and globalisation could turn your company redundant or its services or products irrelevant.

2. Lessons to employees:

a. When the going is good, you never know when there could be a fall. So prepare for a bad patch when the good patch lasts .
b. Its the time of outsourcing- you never know when you could not be required.
c. Build multiple skills.
d. Retirement age in the private sector is slowly coming down from the late ’50s to early ’50s, so plan for an early exit.
e. Know that you succeed more due to the strengths of your organization and less because of your personal capabilities. Know where you stand and know that in most cases organisations make people and in a fewer cases, people create businesses, but they in most of the time cannot create organsatiozs.
f. Do not invest in hi-fi expensive properties if you are doing well today as you never know when that could be a great burden later . Invest carefully. Or you could be worried about your EMIs for a long long time
g. You are as important as the seat you hold. People respect your chair. Once you are out of that chair, no one gives a damn.
h. High fliers or those who are successful in organisations must know that if possibly they were to get into business themselves, they would be failures, as doing business is extremely difficult and being part of large successful organisation is relatively extremely simple. In many cases incapable people survive in large organisations only because they flow with the success of the organisation.
i) Know your core competency and try to work around that. There is too much of a competition from thousands of academically qualified people, as capable as you, and a lot of street smart, not so qualified people.

3. Lessons to All

1. Money is not everything. There are a lot many things to do in life other than money or wealth or acquisitions.
2. Focus on building goodwill and relations and network with good people.
3. Everything that goes up comes down ( not just airlines ) is a simple thing accepted across many cultures and religions across the world.
4. Family ties, relations and transparency in person and business life is of utmost importance. No amount of wealth can replace these things. Money spoils relationships too.
5. Do not defer enjoying a good life till late in life. You may not be there or not have the wealth or have the mindset or the health to enjoy it in later life. Enjoy sports, exercise, travel and meet friends on a regular basis.
6. Eventually, you do not stay in a 2/3/4 BHK, but stay within your 250 cu.cm. brain and mind and in your thoughts.
7. Eventually, you need 6 ft x 4 ft space to spend 1/3 rd of your life ( sleeping ) and that has to be a proper sleep.
8. You need one simple car to move around and 3 square meals a day to live well and a roof over your head to be happy..
9. Have friends and time spent with old friends has no substitute. Nothing can replace the great feelings of being with old friends and relatives and no amount of property or wealth can replace relationships.
10. A lot of your success is based on fate and luck as well, not just your capabilities and hard work The latter do not change, but the earlier ones and government rules do ! ( demonetization, tax net and competition )
11. With changing wealth creation patterns, government rules and regulation, and the aspirations of the next generations, all your investments may not turn out to be perfect ones.
12. Donate – need not be money always, could be knowledge, could be guidance and counselling. Contribute to society and poor people around you , mentor the under privileged. This is also a way of wealth creation.

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