Failure is not Final – Rebuilding Organisations

Failure is just a milestone and it is important to learn from it, it. Anu Agrawal and Jayati Narula (MBA II HR) explain from MBA II HR, how failure can be beneficial to organisations.

Man, being a social animal, is influenced by the opinion of the people around him. Failure is looked down upon and is criticized by the society. Failure is perceived as the dead end. And so, one is afraid to fail and to even travel the un-trodden path. But what people don’t realize is that failures are the real milestones. It is a test of your endurance and learning through self analysis. Accepting and embracing the failures always generates valuable learning of one’s lifetime.

Organisations are a reflection of society. Society is evolving and so are the organisations. Organisations are now doing the unconventional. They hire failed entrepreneurs for their invaluable experience. They have earned a courage and risk-taking ability in the tough times. Google has ascended a transforming step to reward employee failures. This liberates employees from the pressure of always being right. They are encouraged to explore the unexplored. Various drastic changes are being witnessed, not just at the employee level but also at the team level in the organisations. Teams are encouraged to take up uncertain projects by tying them with greater rewards.

And thus, it fosters a healthy organisation culture. Organisations struggle every day with the dynamic preferences and tastes of the customers. They offer alternatives and design pooled offers for attracting customers. An organisation may encounter a failure in various aspects like financial results, brand equity or in customer loyalty. Each is a humungous loss to the organisations.

But in such hard times, the leadership needs to take a fresh look at things. They might need to redefine or restore their values and reframe the strategies because the customer’s brand preference strongly determines the customer’s lifetime value. Even a product like Maggi, which contributed nearly 80% revenues to Nestle, upon failure, shouldn’t be fatal for an organisation. Though it may shift its focus and put its eggs in other baskets to diversify, it should never relinquish its faith in its own capabilities. Even when the company is failing in customer centric innovation in such demanding times, it is advisable to power through the bad times using its cash cows and to wait for the right opportunity to knock the door.

While rebuilding organisations, one must rebuild not just hard facets like strategy and assets but also the softer centered facets such as culture, talent, leadership, credibility, alliances and relationships.

There might be harder times when a company might not be able to survive the competition; it may undergo strategic alliances like an acquisition, or may need to enter a merger or form a joint venture. In such cases or otherwise, when company witnesses a change of leadership in parallel, it is imperative to not just rebuild the organisation but also reshape and reposition it, where it is usually required to redesign its customer value proposition as well as its employee value proposition.

Surely, the leadership of a company is instrumental in maintaining its internal and external parity. None of us can ever forget the recent events where Tata Motors lost its CEO Karl Slym and when Infosys had to once again return to the guidance of Mr. Narayan Murthy. At such times, not just the organisation is to be rebuilt, but also restructured in terms of organisation design, human resource planning, geographic and functional deployment. And then, the organisations should be ready to be re-strengthened through talent development strategies to preserve and nurture its intellectual property. This is bound to lead to research and innovation excellence and offers a competitive edge to the organisation.

There’s not an iota of doubt about the importance of leadership and change agents in such scenarios, but we should also understand that it is not solely their responsibility. All the stakeholders of the organisation should be equally concerned and involved. As the saying goes, “Be the change you want to see”.

Among the tales of successful surfing on the tides, there may be reasons for failure that are beyond control. And when it is outside your purview, there is no point devoting time to think about them, as you cannot change those circumstances. It is then advantageous to align your sails with the direction of the wind to reach as far as possible.

You evolve till you are alive. Till that last drop of blood, it’s worth fighting for. Failure is nothing but a perception. You might imagine yourself to be utterly lost at every hurdle on the way, but it’s never a failure as long as you survive. If you don’t die at your imaginary finish line, there is magnificent glory waiting to be attained beyond. But it requires you to reinvent yourself consistently and push yourself to that extra mile. Survive! There’s always a tomorrow!


Siddharth Gupta MBA – Batch 2018-20 Institute – SIBM Pune The self-proclaimed pundit who knows everything about nothing