Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A long short story....

It was a glorious day in June, 4 years back when the Super 6 who were supposed to save the Magic Kingdom met at a fancy palace called the Ritz …A and B were old dogs and A was the ruler of the Magic Kingdom, and B was his right hand man managing finances (ouch! The coffers were dry and the subjects impatient). C had been travelling for long and needed a place to land; D was a savvy sales person, who agreed to wheel and deal for the Magic Kingdom. E had a loosely goosey title – developing and fostering relationships and not to forget F who was very skeptical of the going ons but decided to tag on for the ride

Month 1 – The first meeting with the supreme council proved that the coffers were indeed dry and the super 6 needed to beg, borrow or steal to fill it. They decided to beg and borrow…F created the Market Segmentation, Value Proposition and Roadmap while C said there were no resources to implement the above created roadmap. D was trying to hire some guys while E did some purposeless wheeling and dealing. Clearly, the Magic Kingdom was being ruled amidst “Absence of Trust”.

Month 3 – The 2nd meeting with the supreme council, D had an absent sales funnel and was the butt of all cruel comments. He wanted to speak out about the mismanagement by A & B but clearly did not due to “Fear of Conflict”. A and B meanwhile were subtly engaging in backstabbing of C through F behind their backs.

Month 5 – F was trying to close some partnerships which would help the Magic Kingdom produce additional stars and wands which would help D sell. However, A did not empower F to close those deals, instead throwing forth artificial barriers. There was a “lack of commitment” on his part to take risk and increase the gain. F grew frustrated and stopped trying to make a difference.

Month 8 – D threw in the shovel, when he realized there would be no wheeling and dealing in the magic kingdom and due to veiled conflict with E…he took a more lucrative opportunity and moved on. A happily took on the role of wheeling and dealing, which he was pretty bad at – remember the reason he hired D was because he couldn’t wheel and deal for 2 years (and blamed the failure on everyone else but himself)…which my dear friends was clear “Avoidance of Accountability”.

Month 10 – There was open conflict between C and F with E with no clear path forward – the supreme council pointed at the empty coffers. During yet another long team hugs, the Super Six which was now the fabulous (or not so) five realized that the pipeline was empty, and so were the coffers. A clear “inattention to results” had let to the Magic Kingdom to a worse state in Month 10 than it had been before…E and F soon had terminated contracts (there was no money to pay their high salaries and I guess they were heaving secret sighs of relief to be leaving). This was when the supreme council decided that they needed to shake up the power structure and old dog A needed to go…

This Cinderella story does not have a happily ever after – of a successful IPO or buyout…it is the story of a company that could have had a happily ever after but after a long painful existence went down the death spiral despite having a product with all the pre-requisite buzzwords (cloud, SaaS, enterprise…), a nascent/growing market and a fabulous set of customers…what could have worked for this company was if the Super Six had put the needs of the company before their individual teams & needs, set clear targets and executed vs. all the internal guerilla warfare which led to a dysfunctional team. I wish someone had given the Super Six this… Food for thought – isn’t it?

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