It was at HRL as the Country Head of the Service Team that I first entered the big league.This was a team that grew to be greater than 250 strong and a job that required human relations skills,process orientation,and all the related skills taught to us at the management school.I liked the role and soon got seen as a customer service professional rather than a sales professional. Be that as it may I liked the role,found it very challenging and maybe was better cut out to be a customer service person than a sales person.This has always been at the back of my mind,perhaps I wanted to be in the sales fraternity.I always said to my self that should the opportunity to lead a sales team come my way I would not be found wanting.However I was quiet and shy and did not have the usual characteristics of salesmen and people could be forgiven if they didn’t consider me for the role of a sales head.
What really where the factors that lead to my success in his role? Firstly I think I was able to see the bigger picture and fashion the service vision based on the requirements of the senior management team.Secondly I brought a holistic approach to developing the policies and programmes for the service team which my B school had trained me to do.It was unusual for a person of my background to be in customer service and I was surely way above most others in terms of strategic thinking and the ability to align the team to company goals. I guess as a leader I was head and shoulders above the others in the service team and hence quickly got to a position of unquestioned leadership within the team.I may not have found the going so easy in terms of leadership in a sales and marketing fraternity.Not rotating and getting into sales & marketing positions earlier enough in my career may have stunted my growth as a professional.
I was always a people oriented manager and this helped me win the support of the customer service team including the senior team members.I was a good role model for them and always tried to get the best out of them.Having the full confidence of the MD and other senior managers helped get me the space to work freely.I loved the freedom I got and all through my career this was a big requirement for me in any assignment.
One principle I always adhered to in my career was to align personal goals to that of the company and to steer the teams goals in line with the broader company goals.This is something I always advise any managers to do. In my professional days I was tied down to the office and I got little time for the family.My wife Deepa gave me all the emotional support I needed and took full responsibility for the family leaving me free to immerse my self in work.Was this good or bad ?? I can’t say but I’ve always found that there is really a thin line between what is good and not so good. How one conducts one self and gets the best out of any situation is the most important thing in life.I was really fortunate to have such an understanding and wonderful person as my wife.