WHEN I LEAD MY TEAM TO TOP SPOT
WHEN I LEAD MY TEAM TO TOP SPOT!
During my sales career for over 2 decades now , I led numerous teams, ranging from 5 to 50 and my teammates age also ranged anything between 18 to 55 and came from various cultures , educational , socio-economic backgrounds . To say the least , it was a great learning experience with such a diverse group of individuals on daily basis. I gained so much insight about relationships, team dynamics, and most importantly, how to effectively manage varying personalities, strengths, and skill sets to bring the most out of every team member.
FIRST MONTH IN NEW ROLE
It was in Nov’07 that I got an opportunity to join a brand new MNC coy as Regional Head , which had a very strong pipeline of products . I still remember my final interview question when the M.D. asked me – “Arun – Why you want to join us” and my simple answer was “ I love your product pipeline, which has the potential to grow huge in India”
Directive given to me from the top was very clear – In all conditions achieve your targets !
From the start , I realized that I had a very short window to demonstrate my leadership skills to build Rapport and Trust with my new team( Which was already selected without my involvement in selection process)
I also knew that I urgently needed to know what will work, so the first task was to set up a meeting with my team to understand their problems and aspirations.
I stepped into the coaching role to help teammates so that they can achieve what they have planned for e.g. Funds for conducting marketing events or to appoint new dealers
Well I knew that its not going to be an easy road, The Targets allocated to our region were the highest. So I started doing one on one meetings with each teammate, to get each person’s understanding of current situation. But my focus was not much on learning how each person diagnosed the problem as on getting to know each teammate as a person.
Post this , I planned a 2 day offsite meeting at Barog Heights (Near Shimla), It was a real fun and learning 2 days, still recollect the amount of beer & hard drink was consumed in those 48 hours by close to 33 people. But my core goal was Team Building, so that everyone would own whatever solution for the business problems emerged. I encouraged everyone to express freely their frustrations and complaints.
The next day, I had the group focus on solutions: each person made three specific personal commitments about what needed to be done. As I clustered the suggestions, a natural consensus emerged about priorities for the business, to WIN ACCOUNT BY ACCOUNT in all markets that we cover.
With that vision in place, I shifted my style, assigning accountability for each follow-up step to specific team member and holding them responsible for their accomplishment.
As the group came up with specific action plans, I got the commitment and buy-in.
The best happened when we hit our first QTR target. The motivation and excitement was amazing!
Over the following months, My style remain authoritative, I continually articulated the group’s new vision in a way that reminded each member of how his or her role was crucial to achieving these goals. And, especially during the first few weeks of the plan’s implementation.
I was equally tough with few selected teammates those who fail to meet his or her accountability.
Every aspect of the team changed by the end of 2008, by that time the culture in the team improved ,people were innovating. They were talking about the division’s vision and feeling accomplished as most of them have earned high incentives. As I remember we celebrated on all occasions with families be it Holi / Diwali or family get together.
The ultimate proof of my team success was – All the Top 3 out of 4 awards category (As I remember) won by our region.
I certainly can’t make any claims to be an expert on management or leadership. But what I can do is share some lessons and experiences that I’ve had along the way, enabling me to take my mission HCN Ahead to help 1000 professionals who wants to take leadership roles in their career sooner or later .
Hopefully this will help you in your leadership pursuit to do the same. Do share your feedback or share it with others who may benefit