The Infosys Choice: Borrowed Knowledge or Inner Evolution

“Did you read the news? Narayan Murthy is in and Kamath is out at Infosys.” I told Jack, my Great Dane and Jill, my Siamese cat. “Indians always play better in second innings.”

“It all depends on what the bookies tell them to do.” Jill shot back. “Things have changed.”

“You react to words and not to the message in what he is saying,” Jack came

to my rescue and continued, “He is hoping that the erstwhile bluest of blue chip company, Infosys, will do very well under Murthy’s leadership.”

“Yes, you got it right, Jack. Murthy is such a good leader. This is like Steve Jobs coming back to Apple.” I tried comparison. “He created history. Everybody is hoping that something similar will happen to Infy.”

“One swallow does not make a spring! Steve Jobs was not Narayan Murthy, hmmm…. the other way actually. And do not forget that times were different when Murthy led Infy.” Jill was at her analytical best. This is what I like about cats. They can take a very dispassionate view of things. Cold, if you wish to label it precisely, no emotions, no excitement in it.

“I see your point.” Jack said. “But there are several examples of erstwhile leaders coming back and performing very well. Remember Bob Simpson of Australia? He too came back from retirement, well a good ten years of retirement, and won the series for Aussies. I mean, why take a dim view of the matter?”

“Precisely.” I agreed with Jack. “Let us hope for the best. After all Infy had tasted success, so there must be something good in its culture.”

“Well, I too wish him good luck. But let us understand that times have changed. He can be a victim of high expectations. And his performance as a

leader will be compared with his own best in the past. Simpson was a very good player, but he was no Gavaskar or Sachin. Can they repeat their performances if they are to come back?”

“One interesting aspect is that Shibulal maintains his position as CEO. How will it work now, with Narayan Murthy taking over leadership?” I wondered. “I think Infy is going to be put under the microscope by the Press.”

“Shibulal is sure to find his turf eroded. Wasn’t that also the purpose of this change?” Jill asked.
“I remember the Napoleon’s story. It is said that Napoleon used to select two or three Generals to lead a battle. And then ask – ‘who among them will bring us luck?’ I feel that some people bring luck to an organization.” Jack said. “Moreover, Narayan Murthy brings his immense knowledge to the business.”

“Well, that’s interesting. Surely Phaneesh Murthy does not bring luck to organisations! Ha, ha!!” Jill retorted. “A leader, a knowledgeable leader, can only help in this journey. Infy needs to awaken to the fact that they are in a mess, and that a concerted effort, a deep desire to transform itself can only take them to the glory. The inner evolution of the organisation is the real thing.” Jill, my Siamese cat was in a reflective mood.

“Inner evolution of the organisation!” Jack said, “Well that’s a tough call.”

“Nothing in such an assignment is easy, right? Let me also tell you a story.” Jill jumped on top of the TV to get a better view of her audience now. “There was a blind man who wanted to go home from his friend’s place. It was dark outside. His friend gave him a lantern. “I do not need a lantern” the blind man said. “Darkness and Light are all same to me.” But his friend said “Yes, it is not to show you the way, but it is dark outside, and this is to make sure that others do not run into you.” The blind man thanked him and took the lantern.

But as he walked some distance a man ran into him. “Hey, can’t you see this lantern?” the blind man shouted. “Brother, the candle has already burnt out!” the other man told him.” Do you get me?” Jill asked.

“Tell me what you mean” Jack said.

Borrowed knowledge is not enough; the real thing is inner evolution.” Jill said like a Harvard Professor, earning our appreciative looks.

Picture courtesy: yourpurebredpuppy and stuffpoint