Lessons from the Past 103: The Protective Umbrella - and More Benefits
Beyond the many benefits that the corporate umbrella gives us, and which were outlined in a previous article , there are even more that one can list out, like:
Group Insurance 
It is a form of group insurance. The individual may perform poorly for some time, but the company goes on. The company has the ability to keep cruising along even with some poor performers on board and thus carries all passengers. The work and risks are shared. If advertising agencies have to be paid by the marketing division, the finance division can be expected to find the money to make the payments, even in a tight money situation. It is the same with the production and other departments. Each one plays a role and it is an orchestra that finally produces a symphony.
The lone player or a small combo tries to play solo. At best, he may use a synthesizer and produce a five-piece band music but he carries the total load. When he stops playing, the music stops. There is no one else to handle another part of the function, to hold his hand, and to cover for him to provide support. 
Yes, we have come to an era of downsizing and delayering and business reengineering. The VRS virus can catch any of us. But on one’s own, one already starts with a downsized operation. The only further downsizing possible is to close down!
Readymade Social Environment
With so many superiors, peers and subordinates around, the corporation gives a readymade social environment. One meets others at games, at drinks, and at dinners. Wives meet other wives and one’s children meet other’s children. Large establishments such as steel, cement and aluminium companies have colonies of their own. The interaction there may be even closer. At times, there can even be an overdose of interaction. But it is there to partake of, nevertheless. 
In your own business, such social interaction within the group is minimal. The numbers, variety and choices are missing. The kaleidoscope of group formations and reformations is not easily possible. Many try to remedy this by joining the Lions Club or such service organisations. To an extent, they succeed. But this does not entirely substitute the easy social intercourse of those who work against the backdrop of a common organisation. 
A Plan for Retirement 
Have you ever seen a cartoon of an old decrepit doctor in a wheelchair examining a patient with a stethoscope? Such individualists and those in business for themselves seldom plan to or successfully retire. Like old soldiers, they just fade away. Or die with their boots on.
The corporation allows the individual to slowly disengage himself and plan for retirement. The larger the number of people, the concept of delegation, of succession planning, of empowerment- all help to ensure a smooth transition, for the company and for the individual. Despite this facility, many corporate executives do not plan for retirement; and this is their own fault and a sin of omission.
The single individual or small businessman has to make a far greater effort to disengage and to plan for retirement. Most times, he finds the effort so great, that he uses the ostrich technique- he buries his head in the sand and ignores the reality. 
To those who can and will fulfill the criteria for successful entrepreneurship- good luck!
To those many others who will work under the protective umbrella of the corporation, a message- take heart, enjoy yourself and appreciate the protection from the sun and the rain!
(Excerpts from The Winning Manager by Walter Vieira   Published by Sage/ Available on Amazon Earlier articles by Walter Vieira are available on www.moneylife.com)
 (Walter Vieira  is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of India- FIMC. He was a successful corporate executive for 14 years and then pioneered marketing consulting in India in 1975. As a consultant, he has worked across four continents. He was the first Asian elected Chairman of ICMCI, the world apex body of 45 countries. He is the author of 16 books, a business columnist and has been visiting professor in Marketing in the US, Europe, and Asia for over 40 years. His latest books are ‘Marketing in a Digital/Data World’ with Brian Almeida and ‘Customer Value Starvation Can Kill’ with Gautam Mahajan. He now spends most of his time on NGO work and is presently Chairman, Consumer Education and Research Society, India)
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