Sunday, September 12, 2010

Riding through turbulence

He was directly involved in one of the most striking cases ever of corporate crisis and renewal. Ed Cohen, Satyam’s former chief learning officer and now a global leadership and business transformation expert, along with his former colleague Priscilla Nelson, bring out corporate crisis management at its best in their book, Riding the Tiger: Leading Through Learning in Turbulent Times. Set against the backdrop of the extraordinary revival of crisis-hit Satyam Computer Services, the book tries to provide insights into how people should react, respond, and lead during turbulent times to achieve organisational renewal, spurred by leadership through learning. In conversation with Garima Pant, the authors share moments from their Satyam story. Excerpts:

What was the first thing that struck you after the Satyam scandal broke?
Priscilla: Shock, disbelief. The first state was denial. We didn't want to believe it. We thought it was some big joke out there or some catastrophe. It was sort of a 9/11 kind of a situation, on a different level, but very much like that. I remember being in the office and watching the TV screen with Raju's face on one side and the stock ticker on the other side. And we had a good deal of money invested. And we could see the stocks crashing and it felt as if blood was draining out of our body.

Ed: I was in the States when the news broke and the first three days I didn't sleep at all. And I kept convincing myself that when I finally go to sleep I was going to wake up from the nightmare. I just didn't want to believe and kept thinking that we're going to wake up and this is going to be not real. And Priscilla was here and so it was more real for her. She had the press to deal with. I had decided to take the night off, very rarely have I done that. It was very ironic, because I had said that anything that happens tonight can wait until tomorrow, which wasn't.

Full interview here Financial Express

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