Challenging Interaction during Working with a Person or Group I was too inexperienced to take over the management of my mother’s company when she had to take a long break after a serious stroke. The company needed immediate attention. Management-buy-out model was found to be the most efficient solution to get through the crisis as all the managers would be interested to take the company over. But the primary challenge in putting this idea into practice was to communicate it within the group with fullest of confidence and I badly lacked an expertise in the area. I did extensive reading about Management-buy-out model, but it gave only a vague direction which was inappropriate for plan execution.
I had a good circle of friends who were specialized in Finance and they directed me to finance advisors. Through the consultation I gained ample understanding on the subject. The need of an efficient liaison work was realized, as I reckoned that my age factor may make the senior managers doubt on the integrity and maturity of the idea. Even a sincere effort from my side to convince the management would have proved to be a pity show as for them I was too young to think so big.
Meanwhile a negotiation and interaction with the family regarding the pricing of the company was also not my piece of cake. So I solicited the help of a very loyal and influential female mature senior manager to do the extension work. She efficiently did the liaison between the management team and my family. Another milestone in the process was the share buying capacity of managers. Bank loans were the possible option and for the same the local governing bodies and the bank management were to be assured on the feasibility of the loan proposal.
I realized that the relevance of the company as a socially responsible entity both in terms of tax contribution and local employment generation would attract the interest of the local bodies and banks in funding the project. The fact that the ongoing success of the company would be important for the local economy also was brought into their notice. Again I needed a mature voice to take this message to them.
I could successfully mobilize a friend of my mother, who was the deputy chair of the Entrepreneur Association to visit the municipal government together with me. The endeavor succeeded in making best of the results. The management took over the company ending up good for them, my family and the community as well. Though the lacking factors like financial expertise, influential maturity and others were on higher count in my case, I could successfully manage to make the interaction with the team effective by timely interventions and suggestions.
A direction was given to the convincing process by me resulting in effective take up of the company. Factors as resources, inspiration, knowledge and integrity gave the right punch and direction to the interaction process aiding an achievement which was believed to be beyond my capacity. Essay 2: Please tell us about a time when you defended your idea. (500 words or less, limited to one page) It was my idea to make my family invest in one of my friends’ company which was selling international educational products.
When the mode of investment was considered, a detailed cost benefit analysis revealed Valuation Adjustment Mechanism (VAM) as a safer option. The mechanism insists the company to allot more shares to the investor in case of non achievement of a set income target. The decision of the family members however was based on a security point of view. I was of the concept that if conditions like VAM was forced on an emerging company, it would do nothing better than to discourage the hard working employees and would question their efficiency.
This would directly reflect on the growth of the company. The challenge was to defend this idea amongst the family members who were in a rush for profit. The only way to execute it was to convince the family members on the growth rate projection of the company. How ever I could take them to confidence not to hurry in making the investment and to closely monitor the company’s working pattern for the next operational year. The relevance of investment as a long term deal and the fact that the allied business principles cannot be compromised against the magnitude of the incentive was made clear to them.
I defended my stand on the point that the leading product of the company was still to make its place in the Chinese market. I could successfully take them along with my idea to wait till the next market cycle before investing. The investors closely associated with the company for the next one year which could give them a trust in the company’s capabilities, qualities and execution. The company was meanwhile soaring towards excellence as the team worked hard.
Now as the stage for investment came, I still didn’t want the VAM implementation as that would have hurt the team’s enthusiasm and the company’s corporate development. More over the team deserved a long term success. I arranged a meeting between the company’s top management and my family members to discuss possibilities of an alternate collaboration. This communication enhanced the feeling of trust amongst the investors on the prospects of the company. Another interaction with the Vice President of an American University, who was one of the company’s partners, enlightened the investors on alternate possibilities than VAM.
I also added educational resources ensuring the capacity building of the investors which diversified their concept of investment. Finally the family not only made up their mind to completely skip the idea of VAM implementation but also added a marketing budget to alleviate the negative circumstances that year. Our perfect cooperation enabled the company to become an industry leader and acquire a Hong Kong VC investment. Our returns had been steadily growing there after. Integral ideas when defended with reasonability and flavored with resources resulted in the motivation of the team.
This gave the team a single direction to work out the idea to perfection. Essay 3: Please tell us about a time when you executed a plan. (500 words or less, limited to one page) In 2007, I was appointed as Manager of a technical team in IBM with the plan of renovating the existing Standard Translation Planning and Management System’ (TPMS) and developing a Next Generation TPMS. ‘Translation Planning and Management System’ (TPMS), is a tool for managing the IBM globalization and localization process.
The previous version of the generation system which was set as per the standard protocols of the related technology was developed by a team of engineers from Egypt and it failed poorly with regard to utility, steadily affecting customer satisfaction. After an extensive research into the technicalities of the older system, and upon taking the opinion of the clients, I could detect four major drawbacks of the previous system. They were ‘very slow performance’, ‘lesser customer utility’, ‘too complicated advanced features’ and an ‘unfriendly user interface’.
A shift in focus from the technology standards to very practical customer friendliness was analyzed to be the basic change needed. The primary attention in the architecture of the new system was to select tools as per user’s requirement. On a customer based investigation, some users required the replacement of ‘desktop application’ with ‘web application’ so as to enjoy a clean application added with the ease to use. As the others’ concern was system response time, they opted for desktop application which was faster than the web application. A trial to integrate the requirements of this wide range of customers gave us the thought of blending both the applications which was quite new to the knowledge base and expertise of IBM.
The product was to be formulated based on practical mix of both the tools. The challenge was to bridge the standard framework and the practical architectural tools. The effort started with a feasibility study and I gradually led the process of prototype development. A consistency in the team was ensured by constantly inspiring them and I developed reliability among them as a leader.
The capacity building of the team was also taken care of. Finally, we invented a desktop web-client architecture which ensured both system response speed and an incredible user interface. Then on, the efforts went in the direction of reviewing the product and ensuring utility. I initiated a quality assurance group of 29 user representatives from 16 different countries who were brought into confidence to evaluate each step of the innovation. Upon their advice, I amended the system and took off some complicated advanced options. When a challenging plan was executed with a well directed leadership, it resulted in an innovation which well went with one of the three core values of IBM: ‘to make innovation that matters’.
Research, Customer oriented approach, team work, inspiration, effective leadership all worked in harmony to make this plan execution a successful venture as the product proved to be cost efficient, reputed as the most efficient system and created 87 percentage satisfied customers.