Growing Wings


Another significant first was moving away from home for my first job ,at ITI Bangalore.I stayed as a paying guest ,took my own decisions regarding my time ,activities etc etc .It was as if the butterfly was finally breaking out of the  cocoon.But as I said before I wasnt a very brightly coloured butterfly nor did I seek to fly far far away.I largely remained insecure & uncertain of myself and this would continue for several years till I came to terms with my self,nevertheless this was a very significant land mark .I grew up by leaps and bounds and thoroughly enjoyed a life of my own.
I stayed with the Thomases ,Suzy and Ipe and there two little children Miriam & Ipe Jn.They where a wonderful family to stay with and I felt at home and comfotable with them .Had most meals with the family had to share the toilets and was almost part of the family!! They had a wonderful easy going and uncomplicated attitude to life and in certain ways I must have been influenced by their living style .I also wanted my own freedom and privacy which they gave me,allowing me to live my own life the way I wanted to .This and the fact I was away from home gave me a really great feeling and I shook off some ,if not all, the shackles that bound me for so long.
 

The winning formula


If I consider what lead to our victory there would be several reasons , here are some of them.I had a burning desire to win having risked a lot in resigning from a cushy job in ETTDC to join HRL, and could be sacked for inability to fit in or perform.This strong desire to win rubbed off on Harish & George .They needed it as they where on an extended probation.

My training in the management school at IIMB to think and work in a structured way was helping me a lot in the long gestation micrography sales cycle.We also strictly followed the seling cycle.The team placed their trust in me and followed my work way , in turn I took full responsibility for performance .
I carried no baggage from the past and went about the task of securing orders with enthusiasm and hope.Harish & George may well have had reservations in the early days , how ever I kept at it and some where along the line they must have realised we where on the right track .
We discussed all tactical issues regarding each case every day,including on Saturdays role plays of what our customers objections maybe .These daily tactical discussions and the movement we could see in several cases must have lead to a growing confidence in the new methods I had introduced .Harish also had a big part to play as I felt he also believed in the structured and thoughtfull work way.I was often told when I was taking over this team that Harish would be difficult to handle .This was an error of judgement by my managers .He was a great influence in our successes.
I was in regular touch with my Manager in Delhi ,CR Ramesh.Then my manager and later to be a life long friend .Our lives would intertwine in a mystical way as we lived through our lives .I would have much to say about Ramesh & Jaya , his wife, later on .This frequent communication helped convey the feeling that we where on the right track and our adherence to the recommended sales strategy only helped keep faith in us.This positive communication also helped our team stay on track and accept my leareship and directions.If Harish & George had not cooperated with me or choose to leave we may not have succeeded as they carried all the knowledge of customer contacts , the lay of the land etc.
There was a human side to why they hung in and helped .I believe I set up for them a caring and result oriented environment .We even had our fun moments together as we went off on picnics & outtings together .We got to know each other and what we saw of each other must have been appealling both ways .We alll needed each other and needed to succeed .  

More First’s


The next significant first that made a great difference to my career and life was the first time I took up leadership responsibilities .This was when I left ETTDC to join HRL ( Hindustan Reprographics Ltd) part of the HCL Group ,which later merged with the other consituents of the HCL group to become HCL Ltd Reprrographics Division and then as HCLOA Division now part of the HCL Infinet organisation.This was in May 1983.
The team I inherited was a small one comprising Harish Muthana,Thomas George,Vikram Astha ( who didnt fit in and left in about three months ) Sanjeev ,later Anil Sondur and our sincere & dedicated secretary  Edna D’mello .We where the Micrography Sales Team of the Western Region .I was then 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 good 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 openned with order after order all strictly as per terms and with 30% advance .Never considered possible at that time.We ended the year way above plan or expectations, infact the Western Region clocked business more than the entire rest of the country by a very huge margin .Harish & George become loyal trusted Salesmen for HCL and grew within the organisation & where rated very highly .I still keep in touch wirh Harish though I have now lost touch with George.I was given instant recognition by being first promoted as an ASM and shortly thereafter an RSM with responsibility of West & South Regions.
This was the arena where I finally broke out of my shell to be recognised as a key performer for the company .This was also the learning ground for establishing my leadership style & traits .I went on to leader much bigger teams with much more resposibilities in HCL and Xerox and by and large my style worked well for me .Looking back I would certainly do many things differently ,however the basic style would remain.
There is a lot I would share about leadership ,my wins and losses ,what worked what didnt, what where effective traits and what not so effective.This I will leave for a future date . 
Though I was now a performer ,I continued to be reserved and diffident and unsure of my self .It would take many more years and several outstanding victories before I came reasonably to terms with myself.This is also material for a different day and time.

The Plan


The plan would be to recall all the very first instnces of significant events from the very earlierst days .I’m going to star twith one that may not qualify as the earliest but some thing that has always remained a very special moment for me.
This was when I moved from  St Kevins to St Mary’s and took part for the first time in  the school sports .As a tiny 9 year old I was in the ‘F’ Division .Our sports meet was at the Corporation Statium at Chennai and on the great day as I wandered around I saw a race about to start and suantered up to the starting line to get a closer look .That’s when I realised it was my event and every one was shouting out to me to join in .I stripped down to my running shorts and vest threw away the rest of the clothers and joined the particpants .And yes went on to win the event in a record time .And started off my career as an athlete at school .Went on to win several laurels including the Junior Division Individual Championship at the revived Inter School Sports meet a few years later. I was to lose out later on due to ill health and various other reasons .But that’s another story and for another day. 

Getting started


Here I am setting off on a new journey of discovery and also of enquiry … where do I head too ,what do I do.Perhaps I’ll write a book of experiences or better still document an inner journey .. from no where to enlightenment .Or a  corporate guide for the uninitiated .Maybe a blead of all these .Will give it a fictional flavour .For the moment I have loads to do and loads to worry about in the good ole corporate world .Never a moment when you dont have some thing to worry about