We talk about long term sustainability, but want to gain in short term. Shareholders want quick dividends as well as long term performance of the company. If reserves and surplus (R&S) are given in dividends where would company get money for growth. In such cases our actions and desires conflict. I initially thought about the Japanese currency crises in similar fashion (common cause Vs individual gain). Though later Prof Mankad told me that the reason of the appreciation of Japanese Yen could be the computer triggered buying/selling, the way people put stop loss trigger in share trading.
In operations, different departments try to optimize their performance, what happens to the overall performance? It is synergy that matters rather than the individual performance. Thats where ‘Theory of Constraints’ plays an important role to achieve global optimum against the local optimum.
I was thinking about the same for some time in a different fashion. What is long term goal of an organization and an individual? How do both the goals meet and how to build synergy between individual’s aspirations and organizations perpetuity? Why did the question arise at the first place? A branding expert told us that marketing managers want to start new brand building exercise (to gain in short term for writing on their resume – ‘I started this initiative’) and move to next level. New manager comes he/she too does the same. Short term gains are there for the marketing manager; yet for long term the brand is diluted perhaps no one knows what would the brand stand for in future. I believe, Sataym fiasco started similarly – to show the investors that Satyam is growing, numbers were made up.
Effectively, the question to ask is – how many times we look at the bigger picture? The question goes back to Why are we doing what are we doing? I recall Prof Lopez digging deeper and probing us to the fundamental reasons and the importance of asking right questions. Where does the bug stop?
In school we learnt couplets (termed as Doha in Hindi) of a mystic Kabir, one of them was –
धीरे धीरे रे मना धीरे सब कुछ होय
पानी सीचे रे घणा ऋतू आये फल होय
Literal translation (courtesy) of the same is –
O mind! everything happens at its own pace, slowly
Gardner may water a hundred buckets, fruit arrives only in its season.
I am hopeful that some day those questions would be answered and we individually and collectively would balance between the long term Vs the short term perspective. there would not be much (if not any) of opportunism. We as human beings will evolve. I am optimist, “…fruit will arrive in its season…” and we are nearing the season.