An event that made a great difference to my career and life was the first time I took up leadership responsibilities.I had left ETTDC in May 1982 to join HRL ( Hindustan Reprographics Ltd), a wholly owned subsidiary of HCL which later merged with the other constituents of the HCL group to become HCL Ltd Reprographics Division and then as the Office Automation Division in HCL infosystems Ltd.
The team I inherited was a small one comprising Harish Muthana,Thomas George,Vikram Astha ( who didn’t fit in and left in about three months ) Sanjeev Saxena,and our sincere & dedicated secretary Edna D’mello. Later Anil Sondur joined the team.We where the Micrography Sales Team of the Western Region.I was the District Sales Manager ( Western Region).It was really Harish & George who formed the early team, their earlier Boss had been asked to leave for indifferent performance and both Harish & George where on extended probation with just three month to perform or go .
We struggled as a team for a 4 to 5 months with out a single order but we knew we where on the right track and results where round the corner.We stuck together as a team and also stuck to the task on hand.Then the first order came in from Vulcan Lavel,Pune, and soon the flood gates opened with order after order, all strictly as per terms and with 30% advance. Securing orders at these terms was never considered possible at that time.We ended the year way above plan or expectations. To everyone’s surprise the Western Region performed better than the rest of the country by a very huge margin. Harish & George become loyal,trusted and highly rated salesmen in HCL, and grew within the organisation.I still keep in touch with Harish and a little less frequently with George.I was recognised very quickly after this performance and was promoted as an ASM and shortly thereafter as an RSM with responsibility of West & South Regions.
At HRL I finally broke out of my shell and recognised as a key performer for the company.These early years in HRL were the learning ground for establishing my leadership style & traits. Later in my career I led bigger teams with more responsibilities in HCL and Xerox. My leadership style and the approaches I took worked for me by and large.Looking back I could have done many things differently.This is natural as we learn and evolve as we progress in our career.
There is a lot I can share about leadership styles,my wins and losses,what worked what didn’t, what were effective traits and what not so effective.This I will leave for future posts.
Although I was recognised as a performer way back in 1983, I continued to be reserved and diffident and unsure of my self. It was after many more years and several outstanding victories that I came to terms and tamed the demons within me. This too is material for a different day and time.