Disposable Teams in Unstable Markets – Gift of the New Economy


Two major finance Powerhouses announced a retrenchment of around 70,000 people in the past 2 months. An IT giant and an Industry Benchmark laid off 50,000 personnel and news from the Telecom Industry isn’t that bright either. There is an emerging new culture of “Disposable Teams” and a “Throwaway Mindset”. Financial uncertainty is becoming the new “Given”. I guess the culture of disposable products that ushered in the 1980’s has slowly crept into our daily lives. It had started with disposable diapers, razors, contact lenses, writing instruments etc. We also got used to the fast food culture of take away meals and the instant drinks. Everything became fast and impulsive and somehow we lost the sense of permanence. The “Fast and Furious” pace of things has been unprecedented and the core focus of Business Houses and Corporate has significantly tilted towards shareholder value and company valuation simply avoiding any concern for the actual building block, “the workers”. This has naturally caused a permanent sense of anxiety in the workplace and has to be addressed by the responsible stakeholders. Brands are under pressure and the marketplace is becoming cluttered by the day. Even Top Universities are under funding stress and are literally ‘Hunting” students for enrollment in their Executive Programs so we can well imagine the status of standard businesses. So here are a few tips for both individuals as well as Managers to ponder upon:

Employees: Keep your CV’s up to date and make sure that you have the seasonal format. Keep reading articles on the development in your field of work and if possible try to flirt with the idea of changing your field of expertise as well. Enrollment in online programs is a great way “to sharpen the saw” as Dr. Covey mentions in his Seven Habits. Please keep in mind that the world is changing and no one could have imagined a 30$ per barrel of crude oil even last year this time around. Apple share prices have gone below 100$ and the consumers have started to dilly dolly with options after the not so great performance of Iphone 6S. This is not a doomsday scenario and I am not trying to create an end of times story but just look around and the colossal failures of giants should get people on their toes. Networking is another aspect that isn’t explored well mainly because we think that our comfort zone is secured; The other reason being that we are shy to approach people who are unknown to us. I can assure you that the people you are trying to see are also trying to meet people like yourselves so please give it a shot. The final tip for you is to write, create a blog, use “Pulse” as a medium to reach professionals and there are no good or bad ways to write. You won’t imagine the kind of response that you will receive but the magic to this is to be persistent. In the end please do not sit on your laurels and explore; there is a great world out there outside your cubicle.

Managers: Empathize; everyone knows that the businesses are under a lot of pressure but “If you treat every problem as a nail then the only tool you would ever use would be a hammer”. Many companies have missing “Visions” and have no idea about their direction. When Managers are unsure than its extremely difficult for them to guide their teams and this creates a domino effect of demotivation. Just look at what’s happening to Yahoo, an Industry reference now heading in some unknown direction and the latest news is that it’s about to shed 10% of its workforce. Saudi Arabia announcing the intent to IPO its National pride ARAMCO is another indication of bad future planning, keeping too much emphasis on just one resource thus failing to develop an alternate Industry. Harassing team members to endlessly produce results as a pretext of saving their jobs is becoming mainstream in some Industries. Remember, your team is what makes you successful and an endless turnover of your people would never take you to the next level.

I live in Dubai and recently the banks have laid off around 1000 people across the country. The reason being a major default by SME customers. These customers had hedged their bets on the clearance of sanctions of one of the neighboring country and when that didn’t happen they had no recourse but to abscond. In the absence of Bankruptcy laws the only available solution for defaulters usually is to leave the UAE. A continuous hunger for results drive people like these bankers to take risky decisions and in turn the customers also place their bets without any checks and balances. We have to slow down and be careful before taking any actions as every action effects a life and more people associated with them.

Enjoy Life…..

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