The lessons I didnt learn at HRL


HRL went through a very bad phase , product problems post indigenisation ,the run away success of Xerox who built an 80% market share and the increasing impatience of the HCL Senior management of which HRL became an integral part off ,lead to the sales team being over hauled , Mahesh Mahajan moved out to PCL and so did many of the sales team , Seetharaman moved to the Communication Division , PSV was no longer in charge the old management team was more or less disbanded .I as head of service now reported into PK Asija in a different division called Customer Service Division.Wing Commander Verma was made in charge of the Reprographics team of HCL.
The then HCL Senior management team was in many ways different from the HRL team .There was much less cohesion , more power centres and more tendency to shift blame around rather than take collective responsibility.The style and management culture was quite different from HRL and as HRL was seen to be loss making it was swamped by the new org culture prevailing in HCL.The service team under PK Asija  grew from strength to strength as a unified division and had the support of Mr Nadar .However many forces within the sales team took regular potshots at the service team and soon the Customer Service Division was disbanded and all of us returned to our respective divisions .Asija faced a big come down in stature and went through bad times.I returned to the Reprographics team under Wing Commander Verma and soon found myself completely at odds with his way of working .The stick that the Service Team had taken from Mr Nadar only encouraged the likes of Wingco to do as they pleased .Most systems and processes where given the go by and haphazard decisions at the whims and fancy of certain sales managers or Wingco became the order of the day.In the ordered and structured way we had built up the service team this was difficult to reconcile to for me as well as our team mates .
What was I to do?Perhaps the best thing to do would have been to sit down and talk to Wingco and arrive at an agreement on how we would have worked together .Maybe we could have found common ground and I could have gained his confidence over time. Maybe I would have failed because styles and value systems where so different however I didnt give it a serious shot.Maybe I had become too big for my own boots , may be I didnt display the humility I should have , maybe I had been too involved in the setting up of the service infrastructure and didnt see the time for change or wouldnt accept change.I was upset and emotional and even sought an interview with Mr Nadar , he heard me with patience but wanted me to find a working solutionwith Wingco .Inretrospect the right thing to do .He even asked Wingco to take me out for a drink and sort it out .The drink happened but nothing much got sorted out .. maybe I was not open enough to change .
At round this time my old classmate from IIMB ,R Shekar who was the Head of Quality in Xerox rang me up and asked if I wanted a change .This was followed up by meetings with Arvind Agarwal ,the HR Head ,Nanani the Sales Head and eventually Karl Kummer the Germain head of operations .I was enamoured by the process orientation and structured approach of Xerox and  being feed up with the un structured ways at HCL I accepted the Xerox offer to join as Service Head for the Special Business Division , a start up operation for Xerox.
So what where the lessons I didnt learn? These are best capture in the journal entry of a dairy I maintain around that time
In ’88 I should have made the following changesin my style and functioning
–Increase assertiveness and dominance
— Position my self as an industry all rounder with ability to effectively lrad a sales team
— Stay connected with the sales effort and make positive contributions  inall important   forums
—Gain acceptance of sales managers across the country and pave the way for decentraslisation
—Position my self as on par or ahead of sales managers in terms of industry knowledge
—Reach  out more to important stake holdersd of the company
In short the lessons of that time was to gradually move away from a predominant operational focus to a strategic senior management focus.Iwould continue to miss this in Xerox  as I concentrated on settling in,absorbing the new environmentand learning the ways of an MNC

Author: hari008

Business Leader , Mentor and Executive Coach with a long track record of achievement , developing high performance teams and mentoring team members who now hold responsible positions in several leading companies

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