Greetings from PMI Bangalore India Chapter!
During last month, in a sudden move, Tata Trusts replaced Cyrus Mistry as the Chairman of Tata Sons. Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata was chosen interim chairman and a selection committee was set up to select a new chairman within four months. This was a surprise to most of us, especially for those who take great deal of interest in following corporate news. And the breaking news hungry news channels, got their fodder for next one months at the least. Immediately reason, justification, expert opinions started making the rounds and anybody and everybody had an opinion to offer. Sacked unceremoniously, a "shocked" Mistry levelled a series of allegations against Tata and contended that he was relegated to a "lame duck" chairman.
Tata recently made an announcement that his removal was absolutely necessary for future of the group. Some speculate that there was a clash of cultures and management style, whereas others feel there was a concern over the erosion of long-held 'values' and the reversal of certain policies and practices. The remark presented above are not my personal opinion but are the related news sprinkled all over the place in the media. I am in no position to comment on who erred on the wrong side. However as a Project Manager and a leader working in a corporate world for a long time, I could get few "Lessons Learned" from the above episode. Like we are always told that perception is reality. How your stakeholders perceives you determines what happens to you. Probably Mistry was not able to carry the stakeholders along with him or align them with his 'definition of change'. Probably there was too much of 'culture' clash between the old guard and the now-sacked Mistry's leadership team. As leaders we need to first check if our management and stakeholders support what we think is 'right things (e.g. strategy) to do'. It may not yield the desired results, esp if the organization structure is huge and complex, if we execute the "change" without obtaining their buy-in or aligning with them. One might argue, that another strategy would be to change the 'stakeholders', make them aligned, before executing the change.
Another "Lessons Learned" is it costs a lot of money and 'goodwill' if there is Mis-Hire or Wrong Hire. The more senior the level of Mis Hire, the more is impact. A lot of resources were put behind finding a successor of Ratan Tata - something not many companies and even group can afford to do. When we hire we typically look for 'business competencies' in the candidate but recognizing the ability of the candidates to adjust with the eco system of the company and key stakeholders is important. These 'behavioural' or non-technical aspects, that can lead to Mis-hiring should be an important criterion to look for in the candidates during hiring. It may be a case that Mistry was incompetent, but is may be a case that he did not fit well with the company culture. At this point we are not sure how the thing unfolds in due course of time, but as Project Managers, it definitely provided some good insights into how to manage things in corporate world.
Thanks and Best Wishes,
Soumen De, PMP
Technology Support : : Ramesh Chandra Pathak, PMP
Murali Santhanam, PMP
Namita Gupta, PMP, PMI-ACP
Rama K, PMP, PMI-ACP
Shikha Vaidh, PMP, PMI-ACP
Soumen De, PMP
Sujata Sahu, PMP