Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have chosen the cud chewing camel, as my BRAND for this post. A BBC news report showed the world map and the countries fast slipping into recession, right from Japan across Europe to United States, red areas sweeping the world.

They showed red on the world map, and something twitched in my brain, and I visualized barren desert, that is economic wilderness sweeping the world.

Although India is not slipping into recession, as of now, the repercussions are being felt. We cannot like an Ostrich keep our head buried in the sand, and wish nothing will effect us. Grim economic facts are hitting at us each day. For ordinary businessman like us, it is very hard to digest, as to what has happened , all so sudden.

Just a few months ago, order books were full, rate of return was marginally good, stocks were giving good profit. Expansion and diversification was on agenda, and now every thing seems topsy turvy, for no apparent lapse on our part.

The rich economically vibrant Savannah lands populated by highly qualified and high salaried MBA and Financial Whiz Kids, is slowly turning into economic wilderness, and all their expertise and high sounding theories and strategies are unable to stem the tide.

WHY ? The Corporate world is populated with the World's best brains, we are always in awe of them. They have mastered the Theories of Relativism, utilitarianism, universalism, have given and attended lectures on Corporate Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility.

They have talked and discussed at lenght on COSCO (Control Smart Approach) The Sarbanes- Oxly Act 2005 was there to regulate Executive Conduct Rules and Financial Accounting Rules in the US.

What happened, more important why it had to happen ? The Blue Chips across all sectors of business and industries, became red herrings, within a matter of months.

Were the lessons learnt at premier Business Institutes were to blame for this debacle ? MBA's had spent years in getting acquainted with Marketing Analysis, Organizational Behavior, Economics, Finance, Quantitative analysis, Strategy Planning etc:

Synergy/ Ansoff Matrix/ Beta/ The Efficient Frontier/FRITO/SWOT Analysis/ Segmentation Variables /Goal congruence/APCFB Model had been discussed, and expertise acquired for implementation.

Acquiring the nuisance of Keynesian Theory - Monetarist Theory helped in getting hefty pay packages.

Why then the same people who are at the helm of the affairs of the Corporate world, failing to check the economic tsunami ?

After reading all this, you must be wondering what I am aiming at, what I am trying to convey.

I am giving the business world badly bruised and at their wits end - a new technique in Management Science that is - RUMINATING and I appeal to all those best brains being 'benched' and are in fear to getting the dreaded 'pink slip' to get cracking, as you are the ones who can come up with something extraordinary, that will save your organisation and your job.

It is high time to bring back into focus, to think over and over again, like 'ruminants' (camels, cows etc:) who bring back the undigested food back to their mouth from their stomach - the first part of the total four compartments, which is called 'rumen') By so doing the food is digested fully.

Now is the time to think over again as to all that has been learnt, and where did we go wrong.

All the theories and strategies, and business models are inherently good, but what went wrong.

Now if we start RUMINATING in earnest, we will come to know, that what has be learnt at the Business Schools and else where is not to be faulted, but a few unscrupulous amongst the corporate world, managed to acquire power, greed made them totally blind, and things got out of control.

As this concept of RUMINATING is in a very nascent stage, and I am not an expert, I appeal to those, who may have cared to read this post, and may be interested with this new idea, to help in carrying this concept at the next level, by your comments, feed back and suggestions.

I have been RUMINATING on the recent developments, and the first fully digested thoughts, I take the liberty to share with my readers.

There is no fault with the Business Theories and studies, the fault is in the total moral deprivation, of the few who have managed to reach the top. As one sage has said -' By the light of the candle, one reads Scriptures and another morally deprived, forges a document. The purpose of the candle is to shed the light'

So moral deprivation has to be addressed first and foremost, and this can be achieved through Spirituality. Special courses in spirituality and social responsibilities, should be undertaken. Future business Managers may be made to live and interact with underprivileged people, for at least 3 months, so that they can fully imbibe, understand and learn how these people eke out a living, and live a life of contentment and happiness, in spite of limited resources. How they overcome deprivation and challenges of life.

I take the liberty to quote Dame Anita Rodrick, the Founder of Body Shop.

' Since leading Management Consultants, help take the movement mainstream, the core values, that shape ethical business practices have become compromised. The power that big business wields over governments, has resulted in both the governments and businesses, becoming far too obsessed with profit and economic growth' (quote ends)

Ethics, moral values and social responsibilities have taken a beating. Some Corporate cultures are so engrossed with amassing wealth, building up assets, etc: that the analogy of male Crustacean (spider) given by Jacquess Loeb, who cut off his abdomen, while it was copulating, but the gallant continued undisturbed, as apparently all its sensory capacities were absorbed in another direction.

Poiret tells a case in which the female bit off the head of a male mantis, as soon as it appeared, but the decapitated gallant, went through with his reproductive functions, as if nothing had happened, and the head was of no use in love. (Book Ref: The Pleasures of Philosophy - Will Durant)

I request the readers to ruminate on the above analogy, and reflect on the conditions of the present economic meltdown, the corporate culture that has evolved through these past years, and once the thoughts are properly digested, one will surely find a way to make a 'turnaround' for the better.
A case in point, is the dressing down recently received by the titans of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, by the Congressmen at Washington DC , when they flew from Detroit each in their own private jets.

Congressman Gary L Ackerman had no qualms in telling the pampered executives who still seemed to out of sync with the grave realities that ' There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington DC, and people coming off them with tin cups in their hands'

The trio listened in stoic silence as, whether they regretted their decision, we do not know.
Chrystler's Robert Nardelli, showed sagacity and wisdom by accepting a $1 remuneration, under these troubled times. However, Richard Wagoner of General Motors and Alan Mullally, missed an opportunity of a lifetime, by not committing themselves.

Had they done so, they would have lead by example and may be all the top ranking Directors and senior level executives, would have agreed to sacrifice, if not all, some part of their exhorbitant yearly remunerations. This in turn would have sent positive vibes to all rank of employees, who are dreading retrenchments.

Being the first post in this segment, it is in a nascent stage, and I know there are very bright, intelligent and qualified people, out there, who can do brainstorming and come out with winning solutions, so that this Corporate caravan can safely without much loss, overcome this wilderness.

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