Who wins in the Mindtree saga? (Business Standard)
From Raag Malkauns to Guernica, from the splendour of moon-landing to the first gush of waters in Aswan dam – all have been constructed to evoke a sense of uniqueness, unusual human achievement, and beauty that heighten our inner sensibilities. Organizations are somewhat like that – the lifeblood for many, saviours for others, but above all termed beautiful or ugly based on how they conduct themselves and evoke the inner sensibilities of employees, customers and shareholders.
As a former independent director of Mindtree, the value of the beauty of its organizational culture, which is in the eye of the beholder, is not amiss. Organizations, like musicians, become the persona of the raag that they are singing. Manufacturing has its own beauty, its own sound of music on the shop-floor but is very different from that of an airport or a retail store selling only designer perfume. So are the mindsets, hearts of people, and characteristics of organizations that inhabit the deep corners of their different customer organizations. It helps them deliver accurately. That makes Mindtree and L&T fundamentally very different. One is amazed as to how can such a capable organization like L&T not see this dichotomy. Its argument is that Mindtree could be kept as a separate entity.
Wanting to keep Mindtree separate is an implicit recognition of Mindtree’s cultural uniqueness and a prayer to the winds of time by L&T. Innovative organizations safeguard matchless cultures, instead. Acquisitions are done to synergize with existing offerings of firms; to strengthen or enter new areas, platforms or geography; find new customers for its products; keep parts of the acquired organization, perhaps the digital in the case of Mindtree, and to sell others to increase its own value. Never is it to grow the acquired organization more than itself – well sometimes it does happen when one wants to shed one’s own organizational cloak and take on the persona of the other! Most organizations that have been forcefully acquired in the last few decades be it Mannesmann or RJR Nabisco or AOL etcetera, don’t exist anymore. So why would Mindtree?