Finding Your Business

In 2008, a senior McKinsey colleague shared this story with me.


Once, in a client engagement he was leading, his team had identified cost-cutting opportunities to the tune of $30 million, annually. He was excitedly waiting to make the presentation to the client CEO.


At that point, the McKinsey Director leading the engagement walked in. He told the client CEO, “I know that you and our own team are very pleased about this cost-cutting. But the truth is, we are polishing your furniture while your house is burning.”


On hearing this, the CEO’s face drained of color. The McKinsey team was packed off, and another McKinsey director was despatched to smoothen things out with the client. I admire that director for jeopardizing his career to speak the truth.


Be it companies or individuals, it is easier to focus on the small stuff instead of addressing existential questions; much like treating a pimple when the patient is having a cardiac arrest.


Case in point: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer was once worrying about ‘work from home’ instead of answering a basic question - ‘What business was Yahoo in?’ Ultimately, Yahoo failed.


That is why, instead of being busy all the time, we need to pause and reflect. Else, all we will see is pimples.

0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Why does the glass appear half empty?

Recently, on CNN, I saw this heart-rending, yet inspiring story of 20-year-old Joe Dimeo receiving the world’s first face and hand transplant. Badly burnt in a car crash, Joe’s face and arms were prac

What is Good for the Ecosystem?

Whenever some startup exit happens at a huge valuation, VCs rave about how it is 'good for the ecosystem'. And I agree. However, there is one more thing which is really, really good for the ecosystem.

The Pursuit of 'Marks'

A student's life in India is a life-long pursuit of 'marks' - from the Board Exams to IITJEE to whatever. In fact, I was so used to it that even when the race stopped, I wanted to just keep running. O

We're located in the tranquil capital of Kerala, Trivandrum. This is our address:

 T.C.5/2568(5), TJRA Nagar, 158C, Pippinmoodu

Shasthamangalam

Trivandrum

Kerala

© 2020 HabitStrong. All rights reserved.