Ever wondered whether small is beautiful or If Size truly does matter? Although it may seem it, I am not talking about the complex dynamics of an interpersonal relatoinship here, although such a thing would be the perfect example…
I am talking about Organisations and Corporations and the Question whether we learn something from the facts and acts that define the new Millennium. Here’s my Case, presented in three parts:
The corporation known as General Motors (GM) is the acknowledged second-largest of the world behind Toyota and owners of some really popular brands such as Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Pontiac and the now sold brands Hummer, Saab and Opel. One would consider GM to be truly a leader with amazing profits and a huge market-share, considering that it and Toyota leave all the competition behind or if they can’t, they buy it! However, GM filed for Bankruptcy on June 1st, 2009. What this says about the Health of their companies bank-books is quite obvious, they were facing a huge recession and just couldn’t keep themselves above water, so they had to let go of certain brands and certain assumptions about their market-value. GM has promised that when the company emerges from bankruptcy, it will be
“a leaner, quicker more customer and completely product-focused company, one that’s more cost competitive and has a competitive balance sheet.”
I at one time wondered what that meant and what implications would it have? Would it mean that there will be dropping of people from various levels of management in order to bring more speed into the Equation? Will it mean that GM will sell most of it’s brands which have low profit but are popular and iconic in nature such as Hummer and Opel? Oh wait, they’re already done that! So what will GM do? GM plans to emerge as a leaner company with a smaller work force, fewer plants and a trimmed dealership network. This means that they will keep fewer jobs in their overall structure till the time they can stand up on their feet and buy back the 60% ownership stake of the US government and 12.5% stake of the Canadian government. In other words, GM will become smaller than its previous avtar in order to beat the vicious fangs of recession.
Now I wish to tread on more dangerous ground. This, by taking up three examples of Religions which have become too big for their own good and have lost more than just followers, they have lost Faith…
The first is the Roman Catholic Church,representing over half of all Christians and one-sixth of the world’s population. Now, the Church has it’s biggest population in Europe, the lands of it’s origins and it’s long history. But Christianity is present even beyond those borders, all over the world, spreading to the farthest corners with missionaries taking long voyages to bring the light of Christianity to the uneducated and unblessed. It is this huge enterprise which now stands at the brink of loosing all faith by it’s followers. It is obvious the more popular a movement, more will be the people who tend to attack it. But this religion, with it’s long history and large following has now started to creak from the inside with the tendency to follow practices very often condemned by the same Church.
Similar is the story for two major Religions- Hinduism and Islam. They have a long history, both bloody and divine, but what neither of these Religions have realised is that the need for any faith to be successful is a strong leader who personally knows the thoughts and prejudices of his parish, not scriptures or complex rituals which may be interpreted differently by everyone and thus confused as faith. Indeed, it is probable that a preist in a one room church in Mongolia may infuse better faith amongst his fellow Christians than a reading of the Bible in even the most Grand Churches of Denmark. Similarly, no Pandit or Imam may claim that he is above the religion and yet hope to win the faith of people completely.
Now I wish to explore the case of a small enterprise started in the Villages of Bangladesh by a now Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus named quite aptly, Grameen Bank. The objective of the bank was to provide small amounts of money in the form of loans to poor farmers ansd workers (specifically, to the wives of these people) without asking for any Collateral. This scheme is based on the principles of MicroCredit and the concept that even the Credit-unworthy can work wonders when given Credit, that it is best when a task is done at the Grass-Roots level, for that is where all the trust rests.
I sincerely hope that all the topics discussed above be well-researched into by my readers before making any conclusions, my version of which, I present below:-
“It is not possible for any organisation to grow extremely large without bursting at the seams from internal pressure. Any real Work of Faith, Belief, hard work or finance is done best when done at the grass-roots. A single man working hard and getting paid is better than thousands working hard and yet not getting a rupee back.”
And so, it is time for all the BIG organisations, whether of Men or Machines, to realise that if you want to live through these troubled times, it’s time to break up…