Corporate Resolutions

Seeing the ripples created by public figures coming out with their resolutions for the new year to much acclaim, large corporations, in time-honoured tradition, lost no time in copying a successful innovation and jumped in, with both eyes firmly shut, promising to make bigger, smarter resolutions. Sensitive to the needs of the marketplace and their employees, they promised to make these two constituencies the centre-piece of their respective resolutions.

Now, no self-respecting corporation can make an announcement of this magnitude without due deliberation. And due deliberation cannot be done in the stifling confines of an office. Large corporations, showing the way to the other, smaller ones, lost no time in arranging weeklong offsites to ponder over suitable resolutions for the year, though it was no longer new. The year we mean. In any case, when have such trifles dented the steely resolve of large corporations, especially when the resolutions are to be made at an offsite.

Companies with their head-offices in the cold north, yearning for sunny climes, booked offsites on beaches in the southern parts, the main criteria being that distance travelled should be the greatest and also that they could come back and complain about the hot and humid weather.

Great minds think alike they say. Companies with their head-offices in the sunny south, missing out on the bite of the cold and frosty north, booked offsites on mountain-tops and hillsides in the shivering north, the main criteria being that distance travelled should be the greatest and also that they could come back and crib about the bitter cold.

Many a reputation was made or marred during these week-long deliberations that were often heated and emotional, owing to the importance of the matter at hand. It often required introspection, an activity that most were totally clueless about. Many a searching question about past performance was asked and answered with a resolute “I don’t know”, regardless of who it was addressed to, putting an indelible seal of belongingness on the person answering and adding to the bonhomie that is an essential prerequisite to the success of a gruelling offsite.

Setting the ball rolling, a leading newspaper publishing company has resolved to reduce the news to less than 10% of the space available in the paper. In a joint declaration, the entire senior management has apologised to their readers and accepted responsibility for having permitted almost 20% of the space to news in the past year. In a further indication of the seriousness of their intent, they will only publish news with the clause “this was first reported in this paper three weeks back”, even if the news happened for the first time ever on that day. In yet another demonstration of their intent, they have also resolved to provide meaningless and sensationalistic interpretations to all the news published.

Their main competitor, upon hearing their resolution, has decided to shut shop. For many years they battled against gossip and pictures of celebrities, they battled against misreporting and sensationalisation of news, they battled against customer distaste for reading news, and lots more, in the interest of providing fair, impartial news to people. But this new onslaught, of creating newspapers almost without any news, has taken the wind out of their sails. They have no means of coping. “You cannot fight genius”, they have reasoned, and shut down.

Meanwhile, at another upscale resort at a nearby beach location, a leading bank gathered for their resolutions meeting, has been besieged by health issues. Not used to working a full day, unless punctuated by long lunches, leisurely coffee breaks, and deep-breathing while pontificating on the future of the financial system which never comes true, many senior staff gathered for the meeting have had breakdowns. Not known to buckle down in the face of adversity, they have stuck to the task and shifted their massage tables to the beachside so that the brainstorming sessions can continue uninterrupted. And, in a typically aggressive, though slightly unexpected move, they have resolved to fix one of their biggest issues of the past year. Under pressure for the escalating NPAs (non-performing assets, typically loans that do not get paid back), they have resolved that henceforth they will only lend money to people who don’t need it. As it requires an entirely new skill-set, they have also resolved to upend their entire management team and induct new people who will be able to identify borrowers who don’t need to borrow money. They hope that by so doing, NPAs will marginally reduce. The Central Bank has come out lauding their resolution.

The nation’s leading telco has resolved to take customer service to the next level through the introduction of a new VRU (Interactive Voice Response Unit) that does not even need the caller to listen to the automated command. When a person calls for service, he will be greeted by a command “Press any key to continue”. Naturally, the caller will press any key to continue. The next command will be “Press any key to continue”. At each pressing of “any key” the same command will be heard. Soon, the customer will not need to listen to the command to “press any key”. Development has been initiated, at great cost, on the software that will enable this facility.

A leading Call Centre, bogged down for years in the mediocrity of billing only 100% of the hours logged by agents, to the client, has resolved to break free of the pack and get out of the rut. They have resolved to ignore the voice of their conscience and bill the client at least 125% of the actual hours logged by their agents. The market has cheered. Their stock-price has gone through the roof.

A leading Life Insurance company, whose management team came to the offsite with high hopes, has struggled to make a resolution. All worthwhile things their company could do, like selling Life Insurance, have already been done. Many times over. Not willing to accept defeat, and not prepared to go back empty handed, they have finally agreed to resolve to keep spending money foolishly and keeping costs high so that employees can be constantly kept on their toes and frequently upbraided for the deteriorating financial situation of the company. Demonstrating steely intent and speed, even before departing from the offsite location, they have hired a leading consultant to run a workshop to teach employees how to spend money foolishly.

It is not that resolutions can only be made only by companies doing work. Even consulting companies were there, keeping tabs on every resolution being made and changing the language to make it their own. A leading management consulting company has come out with resolutions for each and every industry. But this company struggled to come up with a resolution for their own business. Last year they had pulled out all stops and given the slogan “the power of one” to the industry to help turn their businesses around from profits to losses. This year, after much analysis and presentations, they have finally resolved to recommend the addition of the word “global” to the name of their clients to help turn their businesses around.

Resolutions 2013

On the momentous occasion of New Year’s Day, which, to the surprise of the gathered multitude, was almost exactly like the previous day and, disturbingly, threatened to be almost exactly like the one that follows, a senior minister of the ruling party said, “Our youth, look at them, they are being corrupted by foreign influences. Just last month, everywhere you looked you could see (we think he meant hear) people talking about the Mayan prophecy of doom. Now, is it fair?”

He paused for effect and to let the import of his words sink in, as all senior ministers do so ably. After waiting long enough he repeated he made another telling remark, “Now, is it fair?”

Again, after a pause and a sip of water, he continued, “is it fair that our youth talks about the Mayan prophecy of doom and totally ignores the all the hard work we have put in to bring the world to a real and untimely end.”

Blowing loudly into his handkerchief and trying to wipe a non-existent tear, he concluded, in a rousing voice, “My resolution is to work harder towards an early end of the world. At least our country. And, I assure you, each and every member of my party supports this resolution. I also assure you that we will not be dependent on any foreign influence to achieve this goal. We are totally self-reliant when it comes to self-destruction.”

The senior leader’s words have touched something deep inside the psyche of public servants and people in the public eye. Something that was so far believed to be non-existent. We believe the closest word in the language is “conscience”. It has triggered a race for making and going public with their people-friendly resolutions for the new year.

Never ones to be left behind in the race for making fools of themselves, the Khap Panchayats, which came into the limelight with their path-breaking research into the root cause of heinous, violent crime like rape against women in which they nailed down the culprit as chowmein (read story titled “Root Cause Analysis” on, the humble Chinese dish, that was not even a suspect till then, have set the ball rolling.

They have resolved to extend their research and reasoning skills to other areas for public benefit and issue at least one diktat every month that defies logic and common sense. It is believed that they are close to their next big breakthrough which links amoral behaviour such as elopement to cellphone usage by women. Not by men. Only women. In anticipation of the announcement, Apple and Samsung have started working on the design of a cellphone that can only be used within the hundred square feet confines of a room. Their stock-prices have responded in anticipation.

In order to encourage and support “public spirit” amongst people, the police has resolved to catch offenders only after the public raises a hue and cry, takes out a protest march, gets the media involved in highlighting the issue, and threatens to shame the police for their ineptness.

Demonstrating leadership beyond the call of duty, the police chief has made a second resolution; that of taking people to task for no reason, especially if they are young and have no history of political activism or rowdy behaviour, when they post opinions and views on social networking websites, as expressing a personal opinion is a person’s right in a democratic society.

A well-known yoga guru, with a modern yoga facility in a religious town in the Himalayan foothills, has resolved to travel to the capital and participate in all protests in order that people can benefit from the healthful effects of yoga while they dodge teargas shells and water cannons of the police, while he demonstrates his signature asana (yoga position) of “foot in the mouth”.

A popular author, whose books have sold in the millions and been adapted for movies, has resolved (threatened some people say) to write a book which has content. In order that this book jar the sensibilities of as few people as possible he will write it in Mongolian. He has put this resolution in his just-released book which is called “Resolutions 2013” which sounds similar to one of his earlier books.

His legion of followers have, meanwhile, resolved to boycott all books he writes that have even a small iota of content or anything vaguely resembling it.

More are bound to pour in as the year progresses, particularly towards the end of the year.