Lobbying for Growth
LOBBYING FOR GROWTH The 5-30 a. m. beep from his wristwatch woke up Anurag Saxena. In characteristic style he jumped out of bed and headed for the bathroom only to stop at the door. Memories of the previous day came rushing back and Saxena realized that there was no need to hurry. Yesterday he called up Tim Leed, director for India and West Asia of the New York-based Denver Instruments, to say that he was quitting the company. “Wait for a day Anurag. We can talk about this again tomorrow,” was all that Leed said. Twelve years ago, Saxena was the brightest star at Denver Instruments India, company manufacturing office equipment.
He was than the sales manager of the western region, which account for over 50% of Denver’s turnover. It was his sales acumen that made Denver’s foreign parents optimistic about its plans for India. Whenever the monthly sales figures were faxed to New York, accolades poured back. Saxena’s counterparts in other regions watched his performance with unconcealed amazement and secretly envied his abilities. Saxena was workaholic. Week after week, He calculated the deficit in his target and scanned the territory map to figure out where the balance would come from.
If appreciation was lacking at home, it was more than made up by his boss. Sudhir Rai, the general manager of western region. Sexena was the blue-eyed boy Rai had groomed as a traniee. Later, Saxena graduated from customer service to sales manager while their relationship improved with time. Overtime Rai empowered Saxena to work in other line functions. So Saxena got involved in factory operations and marketing also. This transgression of sales function bothered the other line managers, but they knew the region depended on him. Every quarterly results only reinforced his ability as a salesman.
Rai wasn’t the only one enamoured by Saxena. The managing director, Vasant Jain ,openly lavished praise on ‘this bright young lad of the western region. ’ Even down the line, Saxena was very popular. He could motivate a sales team to put in their best and achieve even the most impossible of target. Saxena loved selling. He allowed a standard lapse of time for every state in a sales deal. If a particular stage look longer than what he had planned, it was typical of Saxena to roll up his sleeves and do the job himself. That typified Saxena’s style of management.
Then after delivering his sales line and closing the deal, he would look triumphantly at his team and say:” That is the way to sell” The team indulged him-they had learnt a lot from Saxena. ”He is natural,” they’d say in unison. Rai too, indulged him. If Saxena wanted a particular field staffer to get three increments in one year, Rai did not protest. He was so confident of Saxena’s success rate that he had given him the license to handle his team in whatever mannered he pleased. It did not bother him that he had to battle with corporate accounts over these increases. After all he always had the numbers to back his case.
The western region led the country on every score, be it volumes, value, profits or morale. Meanwhile, Rai was made director (Exports) and shifted to the head office. Within a few months of that, Saxena was made manager (customer service) of the northern region. He hated moving away from his pet function-sales-but Rai cajoled him. “Just accept it for now. I can’t displease Jain. He will soon find something better for you,” he assured. To some it seemed as if Rai’s shifting to export has taken wind out of Saxena’s sails. But nothing had changed. Rai was closely monitoring Saxena’s career, just as Jain was monitoring his.
For, Rai was to Jain what Saxena was to him. And just as Rai has promised, within six months Saxena was made the sales manager of northern region. Two years later Jain took ill. When his condition did not improve even after three months in hospital, Denver decided to get him treated in London. There was a widespread speculation over Jain’s health and the succession issue came into the limelight. But the foreign parent of Denver was firm: the situation was too delicate for a race to the managing director’s post. After several meeting with Jain on his bed, it was decided that Rai should be made the new managing director.
But Denver International was not entirely happy about handing over charge to Rai so suddenly. Since Jain was revered and trusted, the company had agreed to go with his choice. However, as a trade –off, Pete Guyan, the general manager (operations) of Hong Kong was appointed the deputy managing director. Guyan was brought in essentially to watch over Rai’s moves. Having worked with for seven years in the western region, Rai’s immediate focus was on the regional operations. That was also the time when the southern region was in a mess with sales declining steadily and employee morale was at its nadir.
Rai’s natural choice of a troubleshooter for the southern region was Saxena, who went there as commercial manager, responsible for sales, purchases and factory operations. Rai’s belief to Saxena was as simple as it was straight forward: sort out the mess and set it right. Saxena had an uphill task to cut out for him. The field staff was unionized, there was rampant overstocking, production was lethargic and sales were on the decline. Saxena was like a bulldozer let loose. He cut inventory levels by 60%, sacked underperformers, personally visited markets and spoke to distributors.
He even froze expenditure by insisting on scrutinizing every single voucher. In short, Saxena made life difficult for the general manager, Raghu Sharma. Since he had Rai’s backing, no one dared question Saxena, who went about ‘chopping’ the tardy branch. But the seniors at the branch were critical of Saxena’s methods and accused of being over-ambitious. “He will soon take over as general manager. That’s where his sights are trained,” they said. Less than three months after he took over as commercial manager, some semblance of discipline had returned to the southern region.
Saxena managed to win over the field staff. He introduced incentives and bonuses without caring for what the agreement with the trade union had to say. He drove them to perform, challenged them to deliver, generously praised their efforts, yet did not hesitate to rap their knuckles for tardy performance. On its part, the sales team knew there was no messing around with Saxena. He knew his job and his knowledge of the region’s figures were perfect to the second decimal. Even though the whole team was behind him, Saxena planted his own men in key positions to provide him with ‘market intelligence’.
He got rid of people who could not share his passion or match his pace. Within the very first year, the southern region had turned the corner. Saxena was flooded with accolades. No matter how much they dislike him, even his detractors could not help but praise his performance. But while the southern region turned the corner, the much revered western region started slipping. In a swift move, Rai appointed Saxena the general manager for the region in place of Raman Tuli, who was shifted to the head office as a general manager. . He had a certain attachment with the region, having cut his milk teeth there as a management trainee.
When the news broke out, there were mixed feelings in the western region branch, On the one hand, many were delighted. ” Now everything will be alright”, they said. But on the other, there were quite a few who were wary of Saxena. They knew his ruthless ways and had seen them being implemented during his stint in the southern region. Worse, Saxena would now hold the senior-most position in the biggest region, which was even more frightening. ” This was always his region, He will stop at nothing to set it right” they felt. That was exactly what Saxena did.
He redrew the systems which had been diluted in his ‘absence’ and shuffled the whole brand like a pack of cards. Then he brought in managers he had personally trained in the past from outside the region and placed them in key positions. Within months, he had the whole branch ticking like a clock. A year and a half later, Rai inducted Saxena on the Denver board as the sales director. The announcement stunned many. It was indeed a very fast rise in too short a time for a man who was the regional sales manager only six years ago. During this period, managers normally moved just one rung up the ladder.
As sales director, Saxena had got a free hand from Rai to do all he could for the company. He had all the regions, the sales managers and the field staff on his side. Most of these people had at some stage at their careers worked with him and owed allegiance to his leadership. He knew their jobs and their inherent problems, having held those jobs earlier in his career. He also knew the regions and their specific needs. For the next two years, there was no stopping Saxena as he moved from strength to strength. In fact, it was increasingly becoming clear that if there was to be a successor to Rai, it had to Saxena.
But Saxena didn’t enjoy the adulation of the entire board. There were some who felt he had been granted powers far beyond his capability. But, for a company which was driven more by sales and marketing, the halo around Saxena’s head was inevitable. These directors had their own lobbies working. For instance, finance director Amreek Bajpai, who had earlier been piped to the post by Rai in the race for the managing director’s slot, was openly promoting Raman Tuli as his protege. Tuli was expecting to be promoted as director but lost the post to Saxena because he had Rai’s backing.
Tuli resented this very much and made it evident by creating acrimonious wars between sales and customer services. The following year, Rai moved to London as director (growth products) and Tim Leed, who was the director for India and West Asia, was asked to appoint a successor. Leed wasn’t a great fan of Rai and felt it was strategically necessary to break Saxena’s turf in sales. He was quite clear that he didn’t want Saxena as managing director because he was fiercely independent. Leed has always felt that India was a critical market. And to execute and achieve his India plans, he needed a loyal frontline management.
One of his first moves was to elevate Tuli as the marketing director. Saxena-Tuli had cautioned Leed-was not one to really toe the international line and was a potential hurdle. At the same time, it was important for Leed to have a totally new person, preferable an expat, as the managing director. That would not only break the lobbies but also create an awesome image which only expat leader could lend. Deputy managing director Pete Guyan was an operations man whose role had been rather understated during Rai’s tenure. It now appeared to Leed that Guyan was the right choice to execute his plan for India.
Guyan’s appointment shocked Saxena immensely. He had always seen himself as Rai’s natural successor. Peeved and hurt, Saxena unwittingly allow his displeasure to come to the fore. Whenever a broad decision required consensus, Saxena was the last to give it. For instance, when Guyan decided to review the territories in the western regions and northern region in order to increase the number of distributors, Saxena was very annoyed. He sent him a note that said: “I would advise you to with hold any such move. I happened to know both regions very closely and have really worked hard at keeping them driven.
The only reason we have managed to stave off competition there is the loyal coterie of dealers we have built there and I am not ready to upset this equation” he ended. Guyan was rather disturbed by the tone of the note, as were other board members who felt that Saxena was caring his disappointment over losing to Guyan too far and too long. One such person was Shyam Bhattacharya, the technical director, who held Saxena in high regard. ”Anurag, Guyan has turned out very well for Denver despite all over initial misgivings about his ability to contribute”, he said. The only person who supported your candidature for the managing director’s post was Rai. Everyone else, including me, felt you were much too young. This face-off with Guyan will prove major factor in your personal evolution. If you can tone down some of that ill will, you might find Guyana just as good a partner as Rai” Unknown to the two them, a new lobby was slowly building between India and New York. Tuli, who had always found Saxena as stumbling block, now began to lay tracks with Leed director. He did not lose an opportunity to keep Leed informed about his success and achievements.
At the same time, he subtly threw in asides on selling inefficiencies which clearly pointed at Saxena’s management prowess, for the lack of it. When Leed visited India for the annual review Tuli waited on him round the clock, entertaining him lavishly. Tuli’s move didn’t go unnoticed by the other board members. They resented his assumed intimacy with Leed. When he invited Leed to his residence for dinner without extending an invitation to the other directors, it wrinkled. Leed allowed this cat and mouse game to carry on but refrained from taking sides.
On the other hand, he disliked Saxena’s fierce independence. But he had also once told Guyan; “it’s not an entirely abhorrent trait. The man does have a lot of integrity”. This upset Tuli, who had begun to see himself as Leed’s choice for managing director’s post. He had begun to garner support of the branches, a difficult task given Saxena’s clout there. Also, due to his new closeness to Leed, he had begun taking shots at Saxena by criticizing his style of functioning Through all this, Saxena maintained a studied silence.
But he did mention it to Rai, long distance. Rai advised: “These are organizational wars. Keep your vision clear and fall for Tuli’s bait. ” That’s when news came in that Guyan would take over as managing director of Denver’s Singapore populations the next year. The race of the managing director’s chair heated up. Guyan was in a dilemma. On the one hand was his loyalties to Leed, who, in turn seem to favor Tuli as a managing director. But Saxena was Bhattacharya’s ally and Guyan himself was quite fond of Bhattacharya. That year, Denver did exceedingly well.
Sales reached an all time high the growth of 26% over the previous year. At the review meeting held at Mumbai, Saxena leathered his speech with eloquent praises for the entire sales team (“this will always be my team and I am proud of their dedication and perseverance….. ”) and concluded by announcing a special bonus for every salesman. Tuli was annoyed. When the party broke for dinner, he went up to Guyan and said: “it is highly improper to give full credit to sales for the performance. Are we discounting the role of marketing altogether? Saxena retorted:” it’s a question of who recognizes the efforts and rewards it, if you felt marketing has done a tremendous job, then nobody heard you give them the credit. Your speech was all about your effort, your strategy and your plan. ” Tuli resented that immensely. He called Leed and said:”Saxena must go. He’s brash, ruthless, controversial and critical. That is his only route to success. He delivers, you say, but you don’t see the darker side of his personality. You don’t see the debris he leaves behind in his path to gain and deliver! ” Leed was thoughtful he was not willing to discount Saxena yet.
He felt he needed to have time with him to assess him better. The only person whose opinion he could rely upon was Guyan. Guyan placed very high stakes on the competency of Saxena, whom Bhattacharya was promoting openly. Incidentally, Bhattacharya was the brother in law of Rai and a close friend of Guyan. Guyan has seen Saxena at work before. But he felt that today Saxena was driven by resentment than by the values which Denver stood for. He even sympathized with Saxena for having lost out in the race for managing director’s post. After all, Rai has filled him for as long as 50 years.
Even now Rai was trying to ‘remote control’ Saxena’s future. When Guyan’s move to Singapore was official announced, Leed made another important announcement: Raman Tuli would be the new managing director of Denver. Saxena was moved out of India to head the office in New York as the chief sales controller for India and west Asia. Saxena saw this as a curtail call on his career in India. In a note to Leed, he said:” it must mean a lot to you to vest me with this new responsibility. But the real action today is in India and this is where I want to be. Obviously, my contribution to the co. as been inadequate, so I must go…. ” Now as he lay in bed staring at the ceiling, his thoughts were interrupted by a call from Rai. ”Anurag, this is absurd! Why did you resign? Don’t you see yourself as a part of Denver international? Do you think that becoming the managing director- India is the height of your glory? Drop the mental barriers and see Denver as a global organization. What Leed is offering you is terrific opportunity to upgrade your sales management skills. You are a fantastic salesman and you must let every part of the global organization to get the benefit of your expertise. Don’t be blinkered.
The world is a much bigger place”. But for Saxena, who had spent 17 years winning one turf after another and building strong teams to swore by his leadership, to loss was far too great. Not becoming managing director was bad enough. But losing out to Raman Tuli was worse. SOURCE: BUSINESS WORLD 2004 Case study special (released on April 30, 2004) CASE ANALYSIS: LOBBYING FOR GROWTH Brief Background The case talks about an employee: Anurag Saxena whose career is on a fast track. The blue eyed guy commenced his career as a management trainee but now he is addressed as The Sales Director- DENVER.
His constant mentor throughout his profession was Sudhir Rai who is now the Director (Growth Products) London. Rai’s constant backing coupled with Saxena’s meticulous efforts made him achieve such a big leap within this short time span. Described as a change agent ,he was the driving force behind the rise of Denver Instruments in India but still what forced him to leave such an alluring job, the job that was his identity………… Let’s have a look how these facts of case relate to our field of study that is organizational behaviour. PERSONALITY TRAITS OF SAXENA.
The personality of Saxena can be described with support of the following points:- 1. Type A Personality. A type A personality exhibits aggressive involvement in a chronic, incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time and, if necessary, against the opposing efforts of other things or other people. Saxena was a workaholic; this work generally involved pushing and chasing. “Saxena pushed orders, arranged demonstrations, wooed clients, closed deals and painstakingly inched towards his goals. All this required hectic traveling though.
Saxena was virtually hopping from one town to another. ” He was desperate to meet his sales targets as week after week he calculated how much sales are achieved and in order to make up the deficiency (if any) he kept on analyzing every territory looking for the potential. 2. Self-Esteem Saxena is high at self esteem as once when the deal was finalized he commented “This is the way to sell. ” This shows that he has self worth and strongly believes that he has those qualities which are needed for a good sales manager. Moreover he is the star performer of the organization so others do rate him well.
He has an internal locus of control as whatever he does he attributed his own personality the reason for his success. 3. Judging. Saxena is a judging type as we see that he preferred control “If a particular stage took longer than what he had planned, it was typical to Saxena to roll up his sleeves and do the job himself. That typified his style of management. ” 4. Conscientiousness. Saxena is also high on conscientiousness as Rai referred to him as a highly reliable person moreover from lower level to Jain (Top Level) everybody considered him as the key to organizational success.
They relied on his capabilities to generate more and more sales. He always made strategies so as to achieve his targets on time. To some extent, the sales of his region depended on him. 5. Pro-Active. People, who identified opportunities, show initiative, take action and persevere until meaningful change occurs. Earlier Saxena showed resistance moving to Southern region but when cajoled by Rai he was ready to move to that part, he very soon started shuffling the whole structure of the organization and retreated only after the successful completion of all the goals and target regarding that region. . Openness to Experience. Saxena was open to experience as we can see that even being a salesperson and sales being his comfortable area he never resisted going to factory operations or marketing when his boss asked him too. That is, he accepted the challenge and came out with flying colours. 7. Self Monitoring. Saxena was low at self-monitoring as he was unable to manipulate his behaviour according to the situation. When anything went against his planning, he openly showed his anger.
When he was not happy with the appointment of Guyan he showed his displeasure and sent him a note in unpleasing tone. 8. Need For Achievement. It can be inferred from the case that Anurag Saxena had a very high Need for Achievement. He had a compelling drive to succeed. He was able to differentiate his performance and stand-out among the people he worked with. If his team was unable to perform a specific task in a given period of time, he would himself take the initiative and lead from the front. 9. Need for Power. Saxena had the desire to have impact, to be influential and to control others.
Thus, justifying his high need for power. He enjoyed being in charge and prefer to be placed into competitive and status oriented situations. He tried his very best to get the post of Managing Director of Denver indicating a high need for power. WORKING STYLE OF SAXENA: Saxena has a different, effective and aggressive way of working. He knew how to put forward the best of his employees. His ultimate aim was to achieve the sales target on time and for this, if needed, he even pressurized his work force and pushed them to generate sales.
He had the ability to motivate his sub-ordinates to put in their best and achieve even the most impossible targets. He cared for the welfare of his work force and to motivate them, he gave them bonuses and incentives as reinforcement, without caring for the agreement with the trade union had to say. He also verbally praised their efforts to give intrinsic motivation to them. . In review meeting, while giving speech, he praised the entire sales team, by saying that he was proud of their dedication and perseverance. He even announced a special bonus for every salesman.
He set high and specific goals for each of his team members and pushed them to make more efforts and made them believe that they can do it. This strategy of high goal setting was working very well as his team was able to achieve the targets wherever he was appointed. Since, he was a master in his job, his boss also had no doubt about his capabilities, and believed in his working style, by giving him full authority to handle his team in whatever way he wanted. Saxena even gave three increments to his staff in a single year, if they deserve it, but he never hesitated to scold the non performers.
And if somebody’s passion and pace did not match his own, he even threw them out of his team. SAXENA’S JOB CHARACTERISTICS: This JC Model proposes that any job may be described in terms of five core dimensions. 1. Skill Variety. It is the degree to which the job requires a variety of different activities. The job in sales field often includes moving to new places and meeting new faces. Moreover in this job with Denver, Saxena was involved in factory operations and marketing too. 2. Task Identity.
It is the degree to which the job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work. The job of Saxena can also be referred to as one containing job identity as firstly western and then southern, wherever he worked he was solely responsible for the structuring or restructuring the whole scenario and it was Saxena who was praised when the sales of the particular region were quite jubilant. 3. Task Significance. The degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives and work of other people is what is called job significance.
From sales manager to sales director, Saxena was engaged in the important revenue generating function, that was sales and it is highly important for his firm. 4. Autonomy. It refers to the substantial freedom and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and the procedures to be used in carrying it out. Rai was so confident of Saxena’s success rate that he has given him the license to handle his team in whatever manner he pleased. If Saxena wanted a particular field staffer to get three increments in one year, Rai did not protest. This shows that Saxena got full autonomy. 5. Feedback.
It is the degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the individual obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his/her job performance. Whenever the monthly sales figures were faxed to New York, accolades poured back. Hence Saxena got the necessary recognition for his efforts. Now the first three dimensions-skill variety, task identity and task significance- combine to create meaningful work. Saxena’s job which included Autonomy gave him a feeling of personal responsibility for the results and by feedback he knew how well was he performing.
This JCM in case of Saxena states that he got internal rewards; he learnt that he personally has performed well on the task he cares about. The more these three psychological states are present, the greater the Saxena’s motivation, performance and satisfaction. So we can say that he was highly satisfied with his job, but he looked forward to be on the higher rung in his organization in India. MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS: Maslow hypothesized that within each individual there exists a hierarchy of five needs. As each of this need becomes substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant.
Saxena’s physiological and safety needs were already fulfilled as he satisfied his need for hunger, thirst, shelter and clothing plus needs like security from physical and emotional harm was also fulfilled. His social needs of belongingness, acceptance and affection towards the firm and people working there was satisfied because this was his second home. But when we talk of esteem needs some deviation is seen in this part as after being sales director he got autonomy and hurt achievement but when in the end, he lost the race to Raman Tuli, his self respect was and due to this he decided to resign.
TWO FACTOR THEORY: According to theory an individual always places some internal factors as the reason for his Job Satisfaction. These factors are known as ‘motivators’. Saxena earlier was quite satisfied with his job. He had opportunities of growth and advancement when he rose from trainee to a sales director. Rai placed high responsibility on him and moreover work itself was a constant motivation for him as he enjoyed his area of activity. He got recognition in form of accolades from New York office and all other colleagues.
He had a sense of achievement in all this. But things took a nasty turn when he realized that Tuli was being given higher importance than him, it somewhat shattered all these motivating factors. CONCLUSION: Thus, we can say that Saxena was a good and effective manager, was a star performer, knew how to manage and motivate work force, sets examples by leading from the front. But he was not able to accept the failure to achieve the post of managing director of Denever, and specially losing to his rival as his self esteem was being hurt, thus he decided to quit the job.