Monday, June 08, 2015

A vitriolic CXO exits, what next for the team ?

The Hindu scriptures and mythology teach that in the end good always wins over the bad or evil; I am sure that other religious books and local historical tales give the same lesson to one and all. Sayings like “You reap what you sow” or morals from fables such as “what you give comes back to you” are timeless and have been seen and experienced. The corporate world has also seen its share of rise and fall of corporate heroes and villains who rescued or trashed a company with their antics, not counting the indelible scars on the culture and people.

He was flooded with messages when one such malevolent head rolled recently; congratulatory, and messages laden with relief and happiness, calls for rejoice, and finally voices of hope for the future. The team had suffered the tyranny for what appeared to be an eon, giving up hope of salvation; some left for whatever options they could fine, some without. Emerging from the oppression the team called to seek his interest in returning to lead them once again to pinnacle of achievement and glory that they had dreamt of during his leadership.

The havoc created by the malicious being had infected the entire company across layers and had also spread to some of the partners who were bewildered by the unilateral and at times irrational decisions. No one knew his source of power which seemed absolute with no observed opposition to the bullying leading to speculation. His large coterie of spineless and visibly sub-optimal talent revelled in derived supremacy despite their lack of results. Casting aspersions and restricting every move, he ensured the exit of the leader who had brought respect to the team.

Heads rolled when the business failed to benefit from the random decisions of the nepotistic person; it was easy to blame the old team labeling them incompetent for the new strategy that he had outlined. Survival instincts of remaining members made them shed personal and professional pride acquiescing to the absurd while waiting for salvation. With passing time the famine of results began to surface the shallowness and lack of domain knowledge or skills; buzzwords and bravado were inadequate cover for performance that made mediocrity look good.

Karma finally catches up and it did in this case too validating folklore and restoring faith in the defeat of nefarious elements ! Eventually the Board and shareholders saw through the fa├žade albeit after much damage was done; he was stripped of self-bestowed powers and side-lined from various functions he had taken under his wings. From the shadows emerged some of the trusted members who had given their entire working lives to the company with sweat and blood that raised a sense of balance and relief among the survivors.

On their request, he met some of the team members privately and advised them to forge ahead with the plan that he had set for the enterprise; after all it had the endorsement of the management and the Board. Nothing had changed on the ground; some of the projects that had begun during his tenure had seen success, others taken up by ardent followers of the fallen had nothing to show except excuses for what did not work. He asked them to realign to the new old leadership and their work ethos to create magic that they were capable of.

He had attempted all that he could, appealed unsuccessfully to the leadership who were cowering due to the acidic lashing from the vitriolic power hungry person. It had taken huge effort to emotionally detach from the dream and vision that he had nurtured to life; it was anguishing and painful to see the plan being shattered, the team being bullied by minnows, their spirit broken. He had stayed connected to the team through their travails. His heart wanted to go back and finish the broken unfinished castle, his mind chastised him not to.

The team needs a savior; should they seek their mentor or find their own way through the broken path ? The team can survive without him though they would thrive with him on their side. Organizations have resilience which allow them to bounce back most of the time. Does the saviour need the team to bring back days of glory for the team, the company and himself ? What if the demons of the past were still not fully exorcised ? History teaches us that Organizations have recalled past leaders to revive themselves and they have recreated the magic !

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