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The Sleeping Tigers

The Sleeping Tigers
A Revival Story

First Edition
  • Rana Som - Executive Chairman, Bengal Birbhum Coalfields Ltd (BBCL)

October 2017 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

Public sector enterprises in India represent massive state investment, tested technology and quality manpower, but in many cases, their true potential is not realised and they remain sick, under-utilised or stagnant. What they lack is possibly entrepreneurship and vision, which comes from good leadership. This book narrates the story of the revival of two big public sector enterprises. The author served as the chief executive officer of both the companies and shares his experience of their turnaround. 

Hindustan Copper Ltd was a loss-making entity for many years.  By 2003, the company’s accumulated losses crossed ?7 billion. From that position, the company was turned around; it posted a net profit for the first time after 90 months of continuous loss. The author talks about the strategies, efforts and initiatives that brought about the miraculous turnaround of Hindustan Copper Ltd. The company which was to be sold at ?100 million in 2003 now has a market capitalisation of more than ?60 billion.

The second part of the book is about National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (NMDC), which, unlike Hindustan Copper Ltd, had not been a sick company. It was a profitable company with good fundamentals; however, it suffered from complacency and therefore stagnation. How NMDC moved from stagnation to growth and diversification and ultimately realised its full potential is a story of awakening, hardship and success. 

Part I: The Story of Hindustan Copper’s Revival
The Task Assigned
The Years that Preceded
Opportunities Unfold
The Decline
Action Begins
New Strategy
Settling In
Struggle Continues
Process of Stabilisation
Lessons Learnt
Part II: NMDC—The Sleeping Company Turns into a Giant
A Great Company
The Journey Begins
NMDC Expands into Steel Making
When Marketing Became the Key
Struggle to Expand
Managing People
Community Work
Lessons to Remember

An abundance of publications have been written on the blueprints of organizational excellence; many of these examples are no longer valid today since quite a few of the mentioned enterprises no longer exist. This book gives a practical insight of a manager who has persevered to make things happen, devising winning strategies into genuine sustained results of two troubled organizations. A must read!

Alberto Hassan,
Former CEO Orinoco Iron, Venezuela, Founding President of HBIA & IIMA (International Iron Metallics Association)

One of the rare books on corporate turnaround stories in the Indian ecosystem—must read for practicing managers on how to lead through adversity and break corporate inertia to maintain excellence. First-hand account of the miraculous growth journey and cultural change of mammoth National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL)—both Public Sector Units, make it all the more exciting.

R K Sharma,
Secretary General, Federation of Indian Mining Industries (FIMI)

A fascinating insight into the challenges in managing diverse companies to success from radically different positions. The author speaks with authority and insight about how to achieve a turnaround in fortunes, not just for a failing company but also for what appeared on the surface to be a successful company.

Mr Jim Lennon
Former Chairman of Commodities Research, Macquarie Capital (Europe) Ltd

The Sleeping Tigers is a fascinating story about the evolution and turnaround of two of India’s most significant public sector undertakings—Hindustan Copper Ltd and National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. I have had the pleasure of meeting the author Mr Rana Som when he was Chairman of NMDC. It would be easy to assume that the book is a specifically Indian story, but in truth the lessons that come from it are universal. Government-owned enterprises the world over struggle with the fact that they operate in a highly constrained environment which can put them at a disadvantage to their private sector counterparts. The constraints are financial, political and cultural, and the resulting impacts on the organisation are often negative— demotivation and feelings of powerlessness among management and employees, stagnation, resistance to change, inability to innovate, ineffective decision-making and failure to thrive. Mr Som’s book shows us that these limitations do not need to be so. The story of the turnaround of Hindustan Copper Ltd and National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd contains important lessons that are relevant to all organisations, in particular the need to honestly evaluate strengths and weaknesses and to adopt strategies which leverage the strengths and deal with the weaknesses. Mr Som’s book also reminds us that in any organisation, whether public or privately owned, change is ultimately driven by individuals. In government enterprises, it is not always easy for individuals to promote change from within, but those who are resolute and fearless can succeed in doing so. 

Peter Jarosek
Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australia

The stories of the revivals are evidences of how important leadership is in any organisationbe it private or public.

Raghabendra Chattopadhyay,
Former Professor of Public Policy and Management, IIM Calcutta

‘…must read for practicing managers on how to lead through adversity and break corporate inertia to maintain excellence.’

R. K. Sharma,
Secretary General, Federation of Indian Mining Industries (FIMI)

An effort by author Rana Som to generate hope among all those who nourish the notion that PSEs do not have any future, and if they are sick, they should be consigned to the oblivion… The takeaways from the book includes a very reassuring contention that the trade unions are not un-manageable. Another key takeaway is that no expansion should take place at the cost of core competence.


Millennium Post, 21 January 2018

Through this book author has put before all the interesting case studies form which managers can take out many leadership and management lessons. When people in organization rediscover and re-establish their inner strength with focused approach to achieve the defined goal, how things tur around in the business organizations, one can get to know form this book.

Business Manager, 11 May 2018

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ISBN: 9789386602107