|“In 2002 a milestone occurred in the electronics industry. The market capitalization of Sony fell below that of Samsung for the first time. Why did the performance of Sony, which once dominated the global electronics industry, drop so rapidly while Samsung emerged from nowhere?”
This article is a discussion on the book “Sony Vs Samsung – by Sea-Jin Chang”, with personalized opinions from this writer based on learning derived from observations made as an Insider of a Corporation for almost 30 years, and other organizations. The learning derived from application of Number Psychology and Energy Psychology on more than 400 cases, also contributes to the views expressed in this discussion.
This Organizational Observer is keen to find out the missing piece often not mentioned or addressed by various management guru / consultant or the corporation management committee, the missing piece that possibly and more foundamently, addresses the “Rise and Fall of a business entity”, or the “Poor Performance of a corporation”, or the “Search for Excellence”.
The Concept of Cycles and Impermanence
Things do not stay the same forever. Likewise a corporation cannot stay on top all the times.
However when a successful corporation, like Sony, is over-taken by another, considerable interest is generated to the reasons behind. The book “Sony Vs Samsung” focuses on the Why-factors of Samsung’s strong emergence in the market.
However there is a general expectation that a good and successful organization should be good all the times. Likewise many management boards often carry the assumption that if this year business performance is good, next year should be better. A business entity is like a machine, it must do better and better, expansion after expansion. Such mental model can often bring disasters to the organization.
A human body cannot stay on tip top condition forever. Every system has its limit.
Everything is in a cycle, up and down, over a period of time. Today Samsung overtakes Sony, tomorrow Sony or another small unknown company overtakes Samsung.
What we aim for is to stay focused on our internal capabilities / potentials, again like in a human body, how we can learn and quickly recover from flu, and not getting into repeated sickness and diseases, or allow cumulative negative growth into cancer.
Hence with this concept of cycles and impermanence, organization can constantly raise consciousness of its internal capabilities, and potentials, which reside in individuals to be manifested into a collective positive force to proper the organization to move forward.
Organizational consciousness should also address skewed manifestation of certain aspects of potentialities like excessive and compulsive aggressiveness or conservativeness in business strategies.
We will discuss how organizational consciousness is raised (or the lack of it), how to create a self generated organizational consciousness.
The missing piece – The Soul of an Organization
Quote from the book “Sony Vs Samsung”:
“One of the key findings drawn from this book is that the performance differences between Sony and Samsung cannot be attributed solely to their strategies. Rather, organizational processes and executive leadership also contributed significantly to their performance. The author examines those contributions in detail and in doing so reveals much about each company’s approach to global expansion and their key factors for success and failure.”
Strategies, Organizational processes and executive leadership, but no mention of The Soul of an Organization.
“Simply copying a corporate culture, leadership, value system, or strategy does not necessarily lead to success, however: these properties are not themselves the success factors.”(Page 7)
If “these properties are not themselves the success factors” what then are the factors? The author Mr. Sea-Jin Chang is not specific on these matters.
Surely one can copy the properties / characteristic of an entity but not the Soul of an organization.
One can copy the style and behavior of another person, but not his soul.
Soul – is to be uniquely manifested through forms and shapes. Just copy the forms and shapes of another soul does not necessary produce the same soul. Copied forms and shapes may not be congruent with the soul of an organization.
“Traditionally, scholars in business strategy have studied either strategy content or strategy process. Studies of strategy content focus on what companies should do in order to secure competitive advantage. …. Unfortunately, the tendency to concentrate on strategy content typically leads to an artificial dichotomy between strategy formulation and implementation. It seems as though the CEO who analyze the external environments of the company and formulate a strategy. All the lower-level managers do is implement the strategies the CEO has chosen. In reality, however, companies are not run so simply. Strategy formulation and implementation often go hand in hand. Even the best strategies are useless if nobody can carry them out.”
Yes, the Soul of an Organization is not just the Soul of the CEO or the business owner, but the collective souls of the whole manifested in the current forms and shapes, producing the business results.
Again, beside strategy, is the implementation. Implementation is the collective human dynamic at play of all the stakeholders. This important aspect is seldom elaborated by management guru / consultant or strategic thinker. Like the book “Sony Vs Samsung”, the author focuses on the form and shapes for detailed study and comparison e.g. corporate structure, processes, corporate governance, organizational processes, leadership of the top, culture etc.
“The major decisions made by Sony and Samsung Electronics during the past decade did not simply originate from differences in these firm’s strategic content. They were simply rooted in their organization processes and their executives’ political behavior. In other words, the decision-making processes of these two companies can be understood only by accounting for rational, organizational, and political processes.”
“Rational, organizational and political processes” may still be in-adequate to address the Soul of an Organization. What more, there is no mention of Emotional Intelligence, but Rational. There is no mention of latent potentials of the entire organization, untapped.
Untapped potentials can be due to mental, emotional, psychological blockages to the individuals in the organization, and collectively inhibit the entity to manifest its very best.
Little mention is made on how to unblock or heal the above mentioned blockages, what skill-sets, what processes and who to do that for the entire organization.
Healing blockages on all levels of the organization : upper management, middle management and the shop-floor. The book “Sony Vs Samsun” described well the characters and personalities of both Sony and Samsung top management. Behind the characters and personalities are the human drivers : the emotions, the belief systems and the degree of beingness, which truly matter and need to be addressed.
Forms and Shapes
Like most management books, great deal of study is made on the many forms and shapes of an corporation : for example : Structures, Policies, Strategies, Culture, Governance, Systems, Leadership, Western management approach, Family management approach, … the list goes on and on.
But these are simply forms and shapes, manifested from within, the soul of the entity.
There are just the fragmented parts of the whole, but never the whole.
Form and shapes are simply manifestation of soul or what is within.
Using rational mind, many management guru / consultant believes they have found the critical few variables (certain aspects of the forms and shapes) that become the key factors to determine a successful or not so successful organization.
Forms and shapes work well in a situation and time, may work badly in another situation and time.
When forms and shapes, the many variables can be constantly changing, either reacting to circumstances around, or through deliberated efforts, attention should be on the source of the changing forms and shapes, the Soul and the Organizational Consciousness. Or else it can be a futile and stressful effort to chase after the rainbow and not that source that creates the rainbow.
Style of management is one of the forms and shapes.
In the book “Sony Vs Samsung”, Samsung management style is described as “Emperor Management” or “Dictatorship” “Fear-based Management”, which can bring disastrous business result in some organizations, but Samsung market capitalization far exceeds that of Sony.
To quote the book further:
“A thorny problem of Samsung Electronics’ corporate governance structure is the lack of leadership by professional managers, whose authority has been undermined by the Office of Secretaries.”
But it could well be that due to the “Fear-based Management”, Samsung is able to emerge as market leader at this present moment.
“Fear-based Management” as an aspect of the forms and shapes seems to work well for the time being.
In the case of Sony, to quote the book “Freedom and open-mindedness have long been the foundations for Sony’s corporate culture and organizing principles”. Such principles are most welcomed by many organizations, but Sony business does badly as compared with Samsung.
Obviously there are many other apparent factors that contribute towards Sony’s today poor performance. Recognizing that many other factors or attributes or forms and shapes are simply manifestation from within, attention should focus on the within, the Soul, the Organizational Consciousness.
Likewise, the same discussion applies in other forms and shapes, e.g. Western Management Style, Eastern Family Management Style, Governance structures, Strategies etc.
However people attention is often drawn to outside factors, forms and shapes but not within – the very heart and soul of every individual in the organization and how collectively they give rise to forms and shapes.
People attention is drawn to the what is apparent, the symptoms, the tips of the iceberg and not what beneath the iceberg.
Attachment to forms and shapes keep people busy, and continues to keep people busy and stressed.
Organizational Learning Process
Whatever forms and shapes require concerned parties to act upon. What Organizational Learning Process is in place, then, to decide and act on the various forms and shapes to be adopted, at the same time be congruent with the hidden power within, the potentialities of the collective force, that can help to manifest the Soul of the Organization, thus raise the Organizational Consciousness?
Quote from the book “Sony Vs Samsung”:
“Sony and Samsung Electronics have a great deal to learn from each other. From Sony, Samsung Electronics might learn how to transition from having founders rule the firm to letting professional managers take charge ……. Sony can learn from Samsung about how it can improve the execution and implementation of its strategies.” .(Page 164)
Such learning attempts involves not only experimenting with different forms and shapes, but raising higher consciousness and transformation of the decision makers, implementers’ inner human drivers : emotions, psychology, belief systems, the Essence and the Beingness.
Focusing only on the external forms and shapes but no alignment with what is within, the collective souls of the individuals can only produce more negative symptoms over time.
To reach and face what is within is often a scary process; long years closely guarded self-identities can become venerable. It can open up much hidden and hurt emotional and psychological wounds, or belief systems that become the security blankets of the individuals.
Organizational Healers, Facilitators and Coaches
To effect Organizational Learning Process, there is need for internal capabilities to play the roles as Organizational Healers, Facilitators and Coaches.
However, most organizations are more familiar with the roles of leaders, managers, consultants, advisers, trainers, teachers, lecturers, mentors, supervisors. Essentially these role-play rely a lot on “telling” people what is good, what need to be done, e.g. in the case of Samsung “New Management Movement – After the meeting, Lee visited Osaka, Tokyo, and London, to lecture executives and employee about the need for innovation.”
Healers, Facilitators and Coaches key roles are to listen deeply the inner voice of the other parties, prompting them to find solutions and directions from within, not directing them or telling them thing, thus unleash their hidden potentialities.
Who truly listen to Samsung Chairman, described as “emperor” his inner voice? Who coach him to bring up the “softer energy” in him to compliment his existing attributes? Likewise, for every stakeholders that can make impact to the business.
Organization facilitators are to facilitate not only on the external form and shapes to be managed, but also help the groups to get in touch with the inner true selves, to face the venerability which everyone has, and thereby bring up the best.
Organizational healers are to help to unblock emotional, psychological and mental blockages of the concerned parties, that inhibit their potential manifestation. The healers view every individual as a wholistic human being, with no separation between organizational life and individual life.
Organizational coaches are to help individuals and groups to move forward, when the healing work is done, thereby mobilizing inner energies of individuals and collectively manifest a larger force to propel the organization to a desired outcome.
Number Psychology and Energy Psychology
This writer uses Number Psychology and Energy Psychology technologies in the capacity of personal and organizational EP coach and trainer to help corporation to master the capability to manifest the Soul of an Organization, raising Organizational Consciousness and unleash the potentialities.
Interested readers may refer
“Energy Psychology Coaching Service for Corporation / Organization”
Andrew – EP Coach and Trainer