Nokia’s Unfortunate Sauna Addiction

Nokia’s Unfortunate Sauna Addiction

OK, so maybe it’s kind of funny that the BBC has called out Nokia for the struggling mobile company’s crippling sauna addiction. That doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate concern. Because when your company’s this far down in the dumps, it might not be the right time to install a steam room in your Zimbabwe office.

Here’s the thing: it’s not just about saunas (although, again, pretty funny!). It’s about corporate culture. The company that holds fast to its extreme perks even in the face of mounting losses is the same one that’s going to hold fast to Symbian, the qualitative runt of the world’s smartphone platforms. It’s also the same one that needs a serious kick in the pants from its new CEO.

I appreciate—or at least, have just learned — that making a deal over a good steam how things happen in Finland. I even understand why Nokia might want to install the luxury in offices as far flung as Afghanistan. I’d just appreciate it more if the company were doing that while also managing to be wildly successful. There’s a fine line between “eccentric billionaire” and “lunatic”.

The point is that Stephen Elop has got a much bigger challenge ahead of him than fixing the bottom line. He’s got to implement change on a scale, starting with how Nokia executives relate with each other — and the rest of the business world. It’s not unlike what Howard Stringer has faced, with mixed success, at Sony these past five years.

If I were him, I’d be sweating bullets. [BBC]