New CEO in an identity crisis – the Nokia case

In light of the recent developments at Nokia I can’t resist reposting some thoughts from two years ago when Stephen Elop was appointed to the job.

Blackberry: 2002
Skype: 2003
Iphone: 2007
Android: 2008

Tons of events lead up to these milestones. Tons of tendencies lead up to the events. Contrary to “common wisdom” you can’t come to conclusions about the right course of action by analyzing milestones (too late), events (too many) or emerging tendencies (not enough data).

Somebody at a critical moment fails to connect the dots, or ask the right questions. For millions of reasons. These reasons are beyond the individual. They are more than geographical. The key is obviously not the technology; not software vs. hardware on the handset, etc.

Analysis alone doesn’t help you; it will bring you to conclusions like:
– it is the US where mobile leadership seems to be coming from ( for now) and
– software has become the center piece of the handset


– bring in a guy with a US track record in software
– focus more on the US market,
– etc.

Decisions coming from this kind of thinkin will only temporarily satisfy analysts (seemingly your audience): your stock price may go up a little for a little while because they appreciate the fact that “at least something’s happening”.

True identity crisis.

It’s clear that this is a strategic inflection point. But to continue from here on the rising curve, fundamental questions must be asked, understanding must be developed about communications and only then may the organization be realigned (including making decisions on whom to bring in to lead the change).

No public communications from Nokia indicates that the conditions are appropriate for such controlled change.