Recession is Gone!!! Indian Economy will show the way!!!

So I would like to believe after reading this morning’s headlines. It took only two “historic” days to make the recession disappear.

The victory of Congress on Saturday and monday morning the Indian Economy is rocking.

Everything is linked to stock market and how it performed!! It sure has raised optimism of people to a new high.

To quote a few headlines:

Sensex Gives Manmohan a 21-ton Salute – Soars 2,111 points, sharpest One-Day rise ever by any index in the world.

Will help India Inc raise capital, fund projects

India Inc to loosen purse strings for infra projects

Rupee, bonds surge riding mkt euphoria

A minute makes India world’s best market

I better sharpen my brains because hey… there is going to be demand for my expertise all over again! After all when everybody is on a high and making money… I, the pragmatist guy, who believes in working hard and smart.. can also make some!

Today’s headlines remind me of the way things were a year and half back… Market was going up, up and up… people were spending money like nobody’s business and it seemed that India Inc was going to be the darling of the world and the whole momentum of the world economy was going to shift to India.

And then the American Economy collapsed and helped us awaken to a rude realization… The sun still shines out of  US’ a** (By the way… I am a conspiracy theorist who believes that like in the movie “Wag the Dog”, the whole recession in US was a manufactured one to ease the “Change” for Democrats…. You do need an issue to fight on.. dont you?

And let anyone deny this.. because India Inc has been crying itself hoarse that they have been hit badly by what happened in the US..

Wonder if any Newspaper can juxtapose the kind of headlines that were happening  when stock market had touched 21K?

The headlines wont be very dissimilar in their tone and manner…

We as a culture have started looking at even financial transactions to give us instant gratification!

Investors make Rs 3.6 lakh cr in a min … hell I dont even know how many zeros in that… And did they really make this money? as in money in their pocket??? Of course not.. if they did… then there would have been a run on the BSE!

While I dont want to be party pooper or prophet of doom, I do believe certain pragmatism is required.

We all have learnt some very hard lessons in past year and half and lets not forget them by what happened in min yesterday.

And lets not also forget that this government has to prove that it can provide stability… Watched the news last night… already the politics has begun (Congress does not want Montek as FM…. they want a politician! hell why politcian? how can his credentials match up to Montek’s?)

I will wait till the budget to see what reforms will this government provide (now that they cant blame their partners for holding them back).

I want to see if we are really independent of what happens in US

I want to see if the India Inc would really put money where their mouth is and walk the talk (its very easy to get in the newspaper by making relevant noises… after all our attention span is not what it used to be and we would soon forget who said what)







Can Corporate India learn from Mumbai Indians debacle?

Sports analogies have long been used in corporate world… Most have been about team, motivation and excellence. But is there a lesson to be learnt from the campaign disaster for Mumbai Indians?

The most expensive buy… A bunch of talented experienced and rookie players. A captain who is an icon and can supposedly make the nation come to a standstill with his performance… and yet they faltered… all the strategizing and planning amounting to nothing. Well actually something.. a spot above the other over hyped team called Kolkata Knight Riders!

How many times the corporates have made the same mistake. Get into a business… Believe that putting together the best management team with a highly visibility leader would take them to the top…

The best management consultants are called in for strategy and then the company goes nowhere… Rifts happen, leader is questioned… the consulting organization is not paid their fees and the whole project is stalled… I bet this would sound very familiar to many… it does to me because I been there… part of the team which just disintegrated.

How can a person who has been a great individual performer can ever be a leader. And especially when there has been a history of poor performance as the captain?

Too much  of strategy is also not a good thing. So many matches where one was left wondering if the Mumbai Indians had a strategy for winning or losing?

So many players were left wondering about their role…

And to top it all… the leader did not exactly set the field on fire now .. did he?

The lesson here for the corporates is that all that glitters is not gold. Environmental factors are far more important in deciding the strategy. And more importantly you need the right players in the right spot (not necessarily the best players)

And of course the biggest… the best performer is not necessarily the best leader. The fact is when the right team is in place, you dont need a leader even… Look at Delhi Daredevils – It didnt matter who was the captain… they kept winning. Because the thinktank had all the right ideas and the right people to exceute… Reputations did not matter… Imagine Glenn Macgrath warming the bench almost the entire tournament. I bet they will unleash him in the semi finals!

The point is that as an organization we cannot let primma donnas or past reputations dictate our decisions. Knowing who is right for what role is very important… Its the end objective that needs to define everything.

People who read this blog are welcome to add or rip the analogy apart…

Pfizer teaches how to be a responsible Corporate!

“Pfizer Will Give Away Lipitor, Viagra, Other Drugs to Jobless

Linda A. Johnson and Matthew Perrone

May 15, 200″

Just read the above article!

Ok so it might have started as a corporate gimmick (PR would go to town with this one) but the fact is that gesture itself speaks volumes for someone in Pfizer who thought about it and managed to persuade the organization to implement it!

How many organizations have come forward with such an initiative in US? (there might be but we in the world have not heard about them and we sure need to). A great initiative which sends a message out that the organization cares. And these are the consumers who will become loyal to the the corporate brand. They would become the evangelists which every brand aspires for.

It is the organizations themselves who can help the economic turnaround. Raising the level of optimism in a larger social set up would have a positive effect on the environment. Essentially you need to show you care.

Slap on the face of those though who made the people jobless! When company lays off people.. a month or two months salary is given and the person is erased from the organization. What happens to that person… how will he survive… how will his dependents survive.. is absolutely no concern. And by the way I have heard of such things happening in organizations which have won awards for best HR practices! But if only they sat and analysed and figured that only if they let go of profits for a while.. if only they let go of the prices for their stock… if only they took a decision which would help people… Imagine the goodwill and loyality they would generate!! and of course tonnes of PR which would get that stock price rocking again anyways…

The move by Pfizer sure is not purely altruistic one. The mileage would be immense but hey.. if it helps the common man in the long run… I am all for it

Now how many organizations in India can do the same?  I bet none! most would be busy padding up their reserves.

Why some businesses are “recession” proof?

I wont stop buying a toothpaste.

I wont stop buying groceries.

I wont stop communicating.

I wont stop commuting.

Businesses that cater to certain needs in the market place would never see drastic drops in their volumes. Yes there would be a drop but only marginal. In most cases though, growth pattern is maintained.

Indian Telecom is a good example where service operators are constantly adding new numbers. And falling ARPU is not because people have stopped using or reduced their usage.

Read yesterday that Automobile market grew in India. So obviously people are still buying cars and bikes.

And contrary to what airlines might say, spend some time at the airport and you will notice that crowds have not gone down.

Neighborhood grocery store still does good business.

However, there are always some organizations or brands that seemingly dont do well even in the recession proof sectors

Hero Honda is doing well… Bajaj is not.

Maruti is still leading the pack.

Retail formats are suffering, grocery stores are not.

Jet is supposedly in trouble and low cost are doing well.

A scan on Travelguru indicates that average room rates have not come down.

Is there a mantra that some know and others dont?

Its pretty simple actually. In times like these, an average consumer will not take risk and strong brands will continue to do well. Times like these, the buying decision is driven by the principle of minimising risk. Of course in some of the categories even that doesnt matter.

The sectors where recession impacts the most is where speculation prevails. And that of course led to the economic melt down. Real Estate, Finance and Investing and the entire eco-system that got bloated around these sectors.

And then businesses which thought they knew it all and were not much in tune with what the consumer was really looking for. Glowing optimistic reports are taken at face value and reading between the lines is kept for the period when things go wrong. Hindsight…

Business is not about here and now. Business is about modelling around the upside and downside. In an upbeat economy… no one wants to talk about downside and of course in a meltdown… even the media wont talk about any upside (and there would always be upsides)

A simplistic view this… minus any jargon and profound thinking.

And every company that is cutting down investment on their biggest assets – Brand and people… they will lose out in the long run..

What Me worry?

 picture courtesy -
picture courtesy -

I don’t have to worry about the future.

It is in the safe hands of the great corporate leaders.

Leaders who pretty much have no clue about which way the economy is going to swing a year from now. If they dont have a clue, then how can anyone expect me to have a clue about where I will be a year, three years or five years from now! And all HR people in the organizations… please remove this question as a ‘must ask’ question from the list of questions for potential candidates.

Read the statement from Mr Tata in this morning’s newspaper and I am left with a boggled mind! If only they had known about the possible economic melt down!

While I have great respect for Mr Tata, his statement pretty much symbolizes the business thinking of corporate India. Or for that matter Global Corporates too.

Back in college we used to have case studies on how to evaluate complete environment for business decisions. Current environmental conditions as well as possible future trends… It used to get drilled into us. But I guess… like all things theoretical, even this goes out the window in real life…

When JLR was bought, the signs were there. Global automobile industry was not exactly in the pink of health… Probably  Mr Tata’s think tank was oblivious to that or blind perhaps (takeovers I guess give a great adrenalin rush). And I am absolutely sure that there would have been few voices which would have been against the deal (and they are probably having a laugh somewhere in corporate gulag)

But the point here is that if a corporate like Tata’s can make a mistake (and owning up does not make a difference) then why blame other corporates for any kind of myopic view.

And ending this post on a funny note… this morning’s newspaper also ran a story on the respect that Indian corporates elicit in the world. Tata’s are number 11!