An old Turkish proverb says, when a clown moves into a palace, he doesn’t become the king; instead the palace becomes a circus! That’s exactly what happened in the case of a futuristic behemoth that we are going to discuss ahead. Many clowns together pulled down a palace of possibilities & what could have perhaps been a wonderful saga of success.
The hard truth of life remains irrefutable that we are nothing but products of our choices. However when an individual makes wrong choices, they pay for it themselves. But when a leader makes wrong choices, there is too much at stake apart from the possibility of the failure of the organisation itself. Error of judgement, shortsightedness, lack of agility, decisive paralysis, inflated egos, petty politics, misguided competitiveness, failure to walk the talk, are various knives that stab the soul of an organisation from within .. causing internal bleeding leading to eventual demise.
I would like to share series of such cases that are glaring examples of leadership failures. In today’s part, let me take the example of Yahoo. According to me it’s the cherry on the cake of leadership stupidity.
In 2002, Yahoo was ruling the roost. They had the opportunity to buy Google for $ 1 Billion. But their leadership kept dillydallying and by the time they made up their mind, the price had shot up to $ 3 Billion.. And Yahoo felt that the business model if search engines wasn’t worth the investment.
In 2006, Yahoo could have bought Facebook for $ 1.1 Billion, but their leadership refused to budge over $1Billion. Eventually they lost Facebook for the sake of saving $10 Million.
In 2008, Yahoo refused Microsoft’s takeover bid for $44.6 Billion. Yahoo’s leadership kept refusing to develop a market realistic foresight and analyse business trends & capitalise on possible opportunities. They acquired Flickr, but failed to ride the social media wave. After letting go of Google & Facebook, they bought Tumblr for $1.1 Billion. They yet again failed to turn this acquisition into a profitable one inspite of investing hundreds of millions of dollars into it.
Subsequently Yahoo, in 2017, as a result of the series of leadership failures, poor business choices, lack of vision and foresight, was sold for a little less than $5 Billion.Google just about two decades after Yahoo’s blunder in evaluating its potential, became a $2 Trillion company. Just about 15 years after Yahoo lost Facebook in return for dillydallying for $10 Million, Facebook is worth almost $1 Trillion today.
Those leaders who were entrusted to helm Yahoo by its gullible shareholders eventually were left with nothing but egg on their faces instead of potentially owning a possible $3+ Trillion company, notwithstanding overlooking lost business opportunities from successfully capitalising on Flickr & Tumblr. The palace of Yahoo ended up becoming a circus as the Turkish proverb forecast for such circumstances.
The tragedy with most of the laws across the globe is that appropriate punishments are defined for visible crimes, yet there are no suitable punitive proactive measures defined for lack of foresight in leadership and lack of maturity of leading capabilities that lead to destruction of careers, possibilities, murder of dreams and potential future of not only the organisation but thousands of deserving who got ignored and never got their due. For what was the outcome of a series of leadership failures in this case is the visible obliteration of a behemoth organisation but I dread and shudder to imagine the outcomes of the leadership behaviours of such incapable people on the hundreds and thousands of people under them, who also would have been led by their similar incompetence and whimsical inactions.
How many dreams would they have murdered with their business immaturity. How much potential would they have throttled with their lack of foresight and dillydallying nature. How many wizards would they have strangled with their indecisive inabilities. How many futuristic minds would have been shut down as a result of similar failure in predicting the possible future… How many lives would have been silently ruined in the shadows of their bloated incompetent egos and small minded pettiness.
There is no record of this untold saga of unforgivable crimes that must have been committed day and night in their corporate corridors. Many a bright possible future would have been choked to a premature death… for a leader who could not steer the team to its potential, undoubtedly wasn’t fit to decide the fates and future of the men and women whose future they held to ransom in the cage of their empty minds.
If those hundreds of thousands of unexpressed voices were ever to voice out their plight, the scale of the valuation of the blunder would be beyond the comprehension of any trade/fiscal calculations. For undelivered dreams and potential when trampled under the weight of incompetence and immaturity, cannot ever be sufficiently evaluated and compensated.
The clown can potentially make the circus cry in silent agony. Yahoo has shown such an unfortunate possibility.
Will return with another compelling case study in Part 2.
Till then… Charaiveti Charaiveti