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  • Adil Malia

'Eye of the Storm'

Calm seas need only navigation skills. Only turbulent seas nurture and foster tenacious die-hard sailors.

Markets are like the turbulent seas. Steady spells do not test the real fibre of leadership. Nor its tenacity. Uber growth markets are super fast, neck-breaking, mind-blowing, turbulent, volatile, scary and in a way, destructive potentially. The effects are akin a terrible thunder storm or a tornedo. Only super sailors survive and thrive. One will therefore have to learn to sail differently 'through the eye of the storm'. It's only then that winners can hope to emerge and gain from the bounties that generally follow such turbulent markets.

Business leaders in all industries are being buffeted on all sides by destructive forces of changes in the market. The strong head-winds are not helpful nor the tail-winds continue to push. In such markets, rigidity becomes the quintessential enemy. Rigidity anyways is the big enemy of change. Flexibility is the only friend. To thrive and survive such markets, leaders will have to attempt high-stake parachute jumps for their Companies. But leaders need to remember the basic lesson of a high stakes parachute jump, rigidity can only break your legs. Flexibility helps you to survive and thus win another day.

Seasoned sailors know that every storm has its own eye. It is only through this eye that you can sail through the storm. Leaders who are insightful and who are able to read the tacit signals from market behaviours will be able to successfully locate the 'eye of this storm'. Their flexibility, experience, knowledge and leadership may then see such Corporate Skippers sail their Cos through the eye of such storms.

Search for the eye of the market storm does not unfortunately have detailed supporting navigation maps nor sophisticated radar systems to help its location. It relies heavily on different leadership asks. Not the same type as sought in steady market times. War leaders are uniquely wily and built differently than Peace time Managers. These unique asks are :

👉Maniacal Mavericks and Leadership Resilience...turbulence creates turmoil. The winds of change destroys everything that was steady. Resisting forces fight the attacking forces of change. This battle creates destruction. There exists total chaos. It is in this situation that the real resilience of the leader to fall and rise and break and recreate new and untried business models, styles and concepts that is most called for. Maverick leadership sails through such tough and uncertain seas. The forces of conformism will resist the voice of dissent that challenges the mindless continuation of past patterns into future times. For this he will have to be a master of many mutinies.

👉Blowing the Positive Fire of Passion..... Passion creates strong emotional bonding that's good news. But the bad news is that it also foster blind 'mindless' following. You need oodles of Passion to survive when the ship seems like sinking in troubled times. Rats who were pretending to be Lions, hide and escape at such times. But the problem with passion is in its mindless conformism and resistance to any change or introduction of unorthodox methods and patterns. Leader - 'Turbulence time Hero' has the dual task of retaining passion and yet at the same time isolating and neutralising the element of mindless conformism from this composition.

👉Flourishing Gut-feel...turbulent times have no time tested remedies. The visiting tumultuous guest has no favourite recipes. Solutions are untested. Inner prompts will have to be relied on for action. New remedies will have to be tried out. This requires a unique skills set to muster collective strength that flourishes the gut feel that finds the unorthodox way- through. Keep the same dream in turbulent times but build a new bridge.

👉Rewarding Agility and Flexibility. Give up if it doesn't work in war. No time to repair guns in the battlefields !!! When old business models and strategies do not work out, quickly move to newer options and fast enough. Great many empires have crumbled trying to continue doing things in the future merely because at some time in the past, maybe it worked. Look at this history and narration of agility of Samsung in turbulent times

If it's not working, 'Change'

1- In 1938, Lee Byung-Chull launched Samsung in South Korea as a grocery shop.

2- In 1940, due to tight competition in the grocery segment, Samsung abandoned grocery for producing and selling of noddles.

3- In 1950, Samsung abandoned production of noddles for producing of sugar.

4- In 1954, Samsung left sugar and started a woollen mill in Korea.

5- In 1956, Samsung abandoned woollen mill and started selling Insurance and securities.

6- In 1960, Samsung left selling of insurance and securities for production of television - the black and white television. Not colour television.

7- In 1980, Samsung switched to telecoms, producing telephone switch boards.

8- In 1987, Lee the founder and owner of Samsung died. The company now broke into four independent companies- department stores, chemicals & logistics, paper/telecom and electronics.

9- Same year, Samsung decided to focus on international investing, investing in plants & semi conductor facilities around the world.

10- In 1990, Samsung delved into real estate abandoning international investing in semi conductors. Samsung built the worlds tallest buildings: Petronas Towers Malaysia, Taipei 101 in Taiwan

11- In 1993, there was heavy recession and Asian markets went belly up, Lee's son who had succeeded him as the CEO of Samsung began downsizing, selling subsidiaries and merged the rest.

12- With the merging of the electronics, engineering and chemicals division, Samsung became the worlds largest producer of memory chips.

13- In 1995, Samsung switched to liquid-crystal displays and over the next 10 years became the worlds largest manufacturer of flat screen television.

14- In 2010, with liquid crystal displays becoming competitive, Samsung launches a 10 year growth strategy, with smart phones being a key focus.

15- In 2016, Samsung is worlds largest mobile and smart phone maker, outselling iPhone two to one.

Samsung sales today is over $250 billion and produces a fifth of South Korea's total exports.

Don't be afraid of change. If you don't change, you become insignificant.

👉Pumping Envisioning Energy...Turbulent Time leaders will have to keep pushing on-the- ground short term innovative fight-back remedies. However, the cannot forget that unless the aggregated interest and consolidated energy is focussed on to a new Vision that shows the new Direction, the ship will keep going round and round and will not move in any particular direction or destination. He will have to design the new vision and pump in consolidated energy to have all hands on the deck to back navigating new route to the journey.

👉Sweating Serendipity. Praying hard is crucial. Some fighters don't know how they survived. Serendipity is a good answer. But they certainly sweated their luck and thence succeeded. Can't just keep waiting for luck. Prepare to maximise it, when it arrives.

Fighting turbulent times is about taking charge, coronating Maverick leadership, retiring pensionable ideas, unleashing Google generation and having fun as you do it.

Remember times are turbulent for you because you are a champion of old wars. It is not a new world for the new born. Somewhere your mind-set and market conditions have lost their tuning.

#Leadership #Organisationalskills

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