Thomas Cook, UK is dead and so are the Dream Holidays of over a couple of million people. Millions who have trusted Thomas Cook, in my case for over three decades, are in a state of shock. How can a marquee institution like this go down? How come systems are not in place to avert a complete collapse? Wasn’t it too big to fail? Is there nothing too big to fail? Are those who get disrupted just don’t get it, or is it just complacency? With more than half a million tourists out on destinations, wasn’t any other bail-out possible for Thomas Cook UK?
If the UK Government allowed it to fail, it does mean that the government either ignored its connect with other businesses and people or discounted its impact. In both the cases, it is horrible. With more than half a million people stranded and another two million sitting anxious, saying that ‘we will get them back’ and ‘we’ve hired a fleet of planes to do that is too little too late’.
When an institution like this fails, there is bound to be layers of nepotism and corruption behind it. And definitely several government watchdogs, that were watching all this happen and probably had foreknowledge of what was about to unfold.
It is not as if solid foundation is enough; rather it is constant innovation which makes sure that a business keeps happening or doesn’t become a pale shadow of itself. Big or small, every business is quite a roller coaster ride. Having said that, business is no machine controlled game, if it goes down it may not bounce back. Kodak, Nokia, Blackberry, Yahoo, we can go on and on and we shall find the same link – innovation died. When innovation dies, just a day old business dies day after tomorrow. Howsoever big a business maybe, if you can’t be agile and nimble, best of experience and finest of managers are set to fail, every time.
For tiny, small, big and multi billion dollar corporations, especially in today’s digitally controlled and connected world, you are only as good as your last innovation.
Kodak went under as they didn’t see the film business collapsing. Nokia because they were possessive about their OS. Blackberry because they thought one word security can keep selling them. Yahoo because from leading the thought process they started tailgating it. And now Thomas Cook, they were delusional about Airbnb and its impact in the travel space. None of them innovated or innovated enough and suddenly their hearts stopped working, in Thomas Cook UK’s case, figuratively and literally.