Organisations need Warrior Ethos - Views on News from Equitymaster

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Organisations need Warrior Ethos

Dec 12, 2008

The Warrior Ethos are four principles of conduct extracted from the Soldier's Creed. Soldiers at borders are either protecting boundaries, driving out those who try to evade or at times are giving a tough fight to regain the lost piece of land. Like soldiers, the activities of organizations are for a cause. There are many differences in the nature of operation between the two. Their interests are also very different. But some similarity also exists. This similarity is in terms of attitude. Organizations also struggle to protect market share, increase penetration or gain lost market share. Thus, to some extent the concepts of Warrior Ethos are also applicable to organizations. They being - Place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit and I will never leave a fallen comrade.

  • Place the mission first - This implies the organizations' vision and the moves to achieve the same. Set a mission and then live by it.

HDFC Bank, a new generation private sector bank can be cited as an appropriate example. While the bank has been gaining market share and growing its business, it has not comprised on its returns to shareholders or service to customers. The bank is clear about its mission, goals and understands how to achieve the same.

  • I will never accept defeat - Organizations need good leaders. Leaders who will not get traumatized by a few events. Even if organizations are facing problems they need to identify mistakes, rectify them, learn from the same and move ahead.

An example of this would be Dr.Reddy's. In FY05, the company faced a difficult time as the pricing pressure in the highly competitive US market thwarted its revenues and a high R&D expenditure put immense pressure on margins. The company, however, bounced back by forging an alliance with venture capital firms for its R&D programme and by striking authorized generic deals for two big products which considerably enhanced its performance in FY06 and FY07. Infact, Dr.Reddy's strategy of forming a separate vehicle for R&D influenced many of its domestic peers to follow suit.
  • I will never quit - There may be situations when organizations may be left with no hope. In such difficult times, the management needs to act responsibly (keep its head above its shoulders). It needs to retrospect on its strategies, keep its goals in mind, stand by its correct views (not mistakes) and take necessary actions (formulate new strategies).

For instance, Infosys, in the aftermath of the dot-com bust, took initiatives that helped it to weather the slowdown. It also helped the company move towards a higher and sustainable growth in the future. The company rapidly evolved its global delivery model. It built its physical infrastructure to accommodate its large manpower base and de-risked its revenues from a single large geography and some particular domains. Even during the current tough times, the company is spreading its wings across borders and across verticals to hedge revenues and sustain growth.

  • I will never leave a fallen comrade - This implies that an organization must value its assets. Growth of any organization is dependent on the resources that are put to use and how effectively they are deployed. During tough times, organizations tend to resort to hasty decisions such as retrenchment. The move builds up insecurity and confusion among the existing staff as a result of which they cannot be a productive asset. Instead of downsizing, reshuffling work to improve productivity could turn out to be a better alternative.

Further, they need to take care of suppliers and customers. Customer service should not be neglected. In fact during downturn, a service oriented industry besides taking utmost care to hold on to its existing customers, should ensure timely payments to suppliers, re-negotiate contracts etc. Lost confidence is difficult to gain.

An example would be Trent Ltd, which is evaluating options such as monetizing properties to solve the problem of cash crunch. As of now the domestic retail sector has not announced any layoffs. Infact, Pantaloon Retail is reshuffling staff to improve productivity.

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1 Responses to "Organisations need Warrior Ethos"

Vinay

Aug 4, 2009

Pantaloon has laid off many employees. It has continously retrenched people including me last year.
It is high time Government Intervenes in the matter of Layoffs.

Vinay

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