When I started my role as the Regional Manager of East India, I was tasked with improving performance and sales KPIs. This was not just for a single branch – it was for the entire region.
It was undoubtedly a challenge, on a scale that was previously unknown to me. Thankfully, with the support and trust of my bosses, I was able to step up and overcome the obstacle. I managed to streamline operations in the different cities, and was even recognised and rewarded for my efforts!
At Philips, the bosses put their faith in you to go ahead and make an impact.
One of the biggest and most memorable milestone in my career was overhauling the distribution channels in Kolkata. The Kolkata branch is the biggest in the region, and it was not meeting organizational expectations.
After 3 months, I made the decision to engage alternative distributors with better reputations and higher distinction in the industry. After restructuring the channels, performance in that branch improved, and results have been consistently strong since. It's been amazing getting to actually see the positive after-effects.
However, though this same issue is seen across other locations, it differs in scale and context. Right now, we face this challenge in south Bengal, and as of now, we are yet to reach the end solution for that branch. I am not discouraged, of course, and my goal is to achieve success by the middle of next year!
The Unexpected Provides Opportunity for Innovation
I believe that we must be open to different ideas in order to attain different results, instead of sticking to old ways and expecting things to change to our needs.
At Philips, innovating is a key skill to have.
During monthly town meetings, not only do we gather to discuss progress in each of our areas and region, we also make time to present and listen to new ideas. We encourage and reward teams that take on risks and come up with novel solutions to tackle novel problems. It's a learning opportunity for everyone as we go in-depth into each step of the problem solving process and encourages idea generation.
Our work in India epitomizes innovation in many ways as well.
During my first assignment as People Manager, my team and I realised that the payment collection process in place was highly inefficient and led to late collections and payments. Working closely with the finance team, we designed a brand new procedure that made the collection of cash receivables faster and easier, reduced the amount of payments that were overdue, and lessened strain on the manpower on both sides.
Innovation is not just about inventing new things – it can also come in the form of re-inventing old methods.
Working with Different Perspectives
Managing a regional team like mine appears deceptively simple, but our diverse dialects, cultures and characteristics makes it a challenge to strike a balance and keep everyone together.
People can be unpredictable, and keeping an open-mind is key. The quieter ones must be given the chance to speak as loud as the more outspoken ones, the experienced team members may have the strongest background, but must also be able to re-align their mindset with new directions, and even I have learnt to take time to hear the team out before making a decision.
Although our team is small, we utilise each others unique point-of-views and team up to excel.
Experiencing Success Together
What truly matters is when all the hard work and effort culminates into creating a great working environment and leads us to success. As hard as we work, we make sure to celebrate our triumphs, no matter how small it may be.
It is truly encouraging to be surrounded by a good team and heartening to see your leaders and colleagues doing well. Everyone moves together in the right direction, against all odds, and through going through new experiences.
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