We’ve all heard of the concept of the bucket list – the things that you really want to do before you die. But have you ever thought of making a bucket list for your company? The cold hard truth is that very nearly all organisations will meet with the corporate undertakers in the end. As an example, the world’s first company, the Dutch East India company, was founded in 1602. At its peak, it employed nearly a million Europeans. Once richer and more powerful than most nations, it eventually died an ignominious death, appointing receivers in 1800. And at the other extreme, the large majority of small businesses and start-ups fail, the majority of them before their tenth birthday.
The last two decades have seen the spectacular overnight insolvencies of some of the largest businesses in the world. Some, such as Enron and Bear Stearns, were simply allowed to die a natural death. Others, including some of the largest American banks, were shepherded into the arms of larger, stronger organisations, allowing at least parts of the business to survive. In every case, those who were involved in the oversight and management of the companies in question will surely have had regrets as the new landlords or administrators walked in the door. And for many of the employees, the impact was profound, including lost jobs, lost investments, unexpected career changes and worse. Read on...