Sunday, October 21, 2007

Only the paranoid survive – Part 2

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I am reading the book “Only the paranoid survive” by Andrew S. Grove, President & CEO of Intel Corp.

This book continues to fascinate me with the snippets and thoughts provided by Andrew S Grove regarding his associations and working with Intel Corp. He has written an interesting quote with regards to the time Intel Corp. was going through a change of as he calls “Mammoth proportions”.

Let me give you a brief before going into quote itself. Intel used to the leader in memory chips. During the eighties the Japanese became a major force to reckon in the field of memory chips producing better quality and cheap memory chips than Intel. Intel, being associated with memory chips since its inception was finding hard to leave its legacy as well as not being able to produce chips as good as the Japanese. Intel was losing trucks loads of money in this process. Not a good period to be in.

Intel’s then CEO and Andrew had a tough decision to me and they decided to get out of the memory chip business and move towards micro processors. A tough decision for themselves as well for the whole Intel employees. Well they took the decision and the results are for everyone to see.

When the decision to get out of memory chip business was told to its suppliers by Intel, they were surprised by the reaction. They even heard “It sure took you a long time”…..

Quote from the book

“People who have no emotional stake in a decision can see what needs to be done sooner.”

“I believe this has a great deal to do with why there is such a high turnover in the ranks of CEOs today. Every day, it seems, leaders who have been with the company for most of their working lives announce their departure, usually as the company is struggling through a period that has the looks of a strange inflection point. More often than not, these CEOs are replaced from the outside.

I suspect that the people coming in are probably no better managers or leaders than the people they are replacing. They have only one advantage, but it may be crucial; unlike the person who has devoted his entire life to the company and therefore has a history of deep involvement in the sequence of events that led to the present mess, the new managers come unencumbered by such emotional involvement and therefore are capable of applying an impersonal logic to the situation. They can see things much more objectively than their predecessors did.

If the existing management wants to keep their jobs when the basics of the business are undergoing profound change, they must adopt an outsider’s intellectual objectivity. They must do what they need to do to get through the strategic infection point unfettered by any emotional attachment to the past.”

Interesting isn’t it?

We should learn from this >> both from a personal and a professional point of view.

How many time have we seen good managers thrown out of football (soccer), cricket etc. They are not necessarily bad isn’t it? But may be the past and the emotional attachment is not allowing them to move forward as intended.

Do we have friends/colleagues in our life who can give us an objective view of the mess that we are in?

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