Exceptional work with exceptional people
It was an early February morning. I was ready, all dressed in formals and waiting at the foyer for my call . The guards sitting there looked stern and vigilant . The phone rang at the reception and the guard smiled and directed me to the lift . I jotted my personal details on the visitor’s register and waited for the lift.
In few seconds the lift landed and the doors opened. I got lucky to get in first post that a few people took their chances to catch the lift, they were all in tremendous hurry … some of them looked fresh , some looked occupied and some were busy looking at their smartphones.
I observed three things were common in all of them
They all were exuberating energy …..
They all looked smart ……. and
They all were smiling
The lift boarded onto the 10th floor and the race flew out like the Spartans of Greece , all set and marching towards their respective work stations. I was moved by the energy part .The guard present there helped me to get through the automated glassdoor , as I entered I looked back …. he was smiling ….I felt comfortable.
The office infra was dynamic , It was all draped in red and its shades , scintillating posters , herculean LEDs with some or the other information flashing repeatedly…. I could see the smartest people working all over the place , phones ringing , people talking , coffee machine beeping and the bosses in their cabin … all ready , all aggressive , all dressed to perfection as if they just walked out from a salon. There was positive energy in the atmosphere , I felt great.
I though my entry didn’t make much of a difference but I was wrong …….. for a second the LED TV caught my attention , it ran a welcome note with my photo on it , in nutshell it said – ‘Divya -Welcome to the Vodafone family’ ….. I smiled and I felt special .
While I was cherishing the same , a voice caught my attention it said – ‘Hi Divya !’
I turned around and said Hi , it was Astha from the HR team – politely she welcomed me to the organization and requested me to wait for the training and documentation formalities .The day was memorable with a bouquet from Rohit – the HR head , after a little and interesting conversation we shook hands and I was asked to hop around and meet a few people who are pivotal in the organization and they would be my torch bearers in the journey I started. I never knew Rohit was the HR- Head till I was told – he spoke in the sweetest tone and treated me with respect more than I imagined.
I would not lie but I was a little nervous , since the experiences in the last organization were a little discomforting : specially while meeting the top management , they all are generally offensive in their tone , stoic while making decisions and perception driven as they always are ……….. and then I met the veteran ‘Mr. Rajinder Singh’ – The Head of Enterprise and a genius who completely changed my aforementioned premonitions.
Over a cup of coffee he explained briefly about how the organization function and what Enterprise Business is all about , I observed keenly that he was more interested in knowing about my personal interests rather the business I have fetched in the last organization , he smiled and looked positive . I was cautious for a while and a little nervous while answering the questions prompted by him , however in a few minutes I got involved and I felt confident. Rajinder smiled on my stupid answers and helped me in correcting my thought process . He was a man of words …. rather few words , in about ten minutes he clearly walked me through the alpha and omega of the enterprise business , the facts involving in driving the business , the challenges involved and the skills/tactics required for the same.
Rajinder’s passion for numbers and his love for data was an attraction, it was conspicuous in his explanation, he never looked disinterested and never forgot his semantics. His logics were acute and of the finest qualities. He also linked my abilities and grey areas with the business and according to him everything should grow and flourish, be it the business or one’s career.
He humbly convinced me to believe that telecom sales is interesting only if you believe in the system.
I was expecting the discussion to be a little technical but it seemed a cakewalk, after I walked out of his cabin … I was a confident man. Rajinder Sir further told me that functionally I am reportee to Mr. Nitin Goyal.
I was surprised when eventually I found Mr. Goyal looking for me, with the finest set of words he greeted me …’Hi my name is Nitin’, welcome to Vodafone and my team !.... this was so far the best welcome I had, Mr. Goyal was supportive throughout the buddying sessions and taught me everything like his younger brother. He spoke less and meant a lot …… appreciated the good things and avoided the negatives. I observed he had an eye for talent and a sharp sense of aesthetics. The best part was that I observed he enjoyed every moment while working . The fellow mates are usually fond of him. He seemed handsome both inside and outside .
For two months I worked under his observation and I noticed that he was actually interested in helping me learn the system , unlike the likes of bosses who would leave their reportees to field letting the emotions at stake. He was always polite and humble throughout. He always said – ‘ All you need to do is just believe in yourself’.
I hail from institutional sales background, I have sold dreams inside training sessions, I have literally convinced people for something which exists in abstract forms that was a lot more easier – specially when you skill sets and your job responsibilities match , but in here , selling was a greater challenge as I felt . Oligopolistic market has its own drawbacks , that’s what I had learnt in masters .Nitin Sir entirely changed my thought process.
After I started my rollout in Allahabad – Nitin Sir’s regular visit kept me alive and updated, he carried something new to share and learn in each visit he made. I grew confident , I started pitching confidently .His interaction with clients gave me an insight of customer handling. His love for product knowledge and his way of putting up the things were the best things I learned from him …… I remember what he said after cracking a deal in late August – ‘Its all about presentation, be it your personal life or professional!’ , that truly knocked some sense into my head.
Post the rollout of the territory – I got to know my direct reporting manager Ms. Neha Nain – The Zonal head . Although I had reported into a female boss earlier but that was not a delightful experience to be shared , this was not the same case here.
On the very first day Neha Ma’am was confident I am going to drive my business carefully and I wonder now that she was so true , she had full faith in me and gave me full freedom to handle my business and my team my own way. Whenever I went wrong or deviated a little Neha Ma’am corrected me , rectified my errors and broke my reveries, She is always willing to help and understand me and my problems . She was the lady who took care of me and trusted my skills.I wonder she never gets tired , she always looked fresh and active , this further motivated me to be the same with my team.
The Zone gave me a lot of fresh exposure . Starting off with my National Corporate business I was a a little nervous but I kept on doing what I should have been doing and it all went pretty fine. Promoting Vodafone was never tough – with a strong brand image and a powerful network I found it a lot more easier than I thought. I kept on meeting clients, sat with them , had tea with them, took interest in what they want and winning their trust for my brand was not a very difficult task.
There were times when I faced a greater challenges in explaining the network capacity specially when the clients are over engineered about our services and network – Bajrang Goswami from the Network team was always willing to lend me a helping hand . He has helped me in relating to each and every customer over a conference call with more patience than I had.My experiences with the network team in the last Organization were different. They all put up air on their nose, they spoke less and meant less, never got involved with sales team. Bajrang truly changed my perception, I found Bajrang to be the fittest and most sportive in nature, laughed and enjoyed til he wanted, worked seriously and knew everything whats going around.He has always believed in work life balance ……
It’s an old perception that sales team and the C&C (Credit and Collection team) are always at loggerheads. Vinay Dixit/Mumtaj Khan/Anandmoy Roy/Amresh Khanna broke this perception too. I wondered when Vinay Sir offered me a cup of tea and discussed the nitty-gritties of the competition , he often planned visits to corporates with me without a second thought or uneasy gestures.Mumtaj /Anandmoy helped me in understanding the importance of Verification of the voice numbers. Initially I thought that verification was a tough thing to be cracked but I now believe in the system , it has become hassle free now. The C&C is one of the most influential department it can create perceptions about people …. As I know but mine was positive.
I got to know the Zonal Service Head – Mr. Subeer Das who never said NO to anything I proposed , always welcomed my ideas , be it service or R and R. His consent was admirable and he too is a believer of the system.Rakesh Shukla and Sumit Gulati are the best buddies I have , they always keep the momentum high with light jokes and interesting stuff to discuss. They are blessed to have a boss like Mr. Subeer Das.
I was moved by little gestures from Mr. Asghar Mehndi the M paisa Head for the Zone when he personally visited with me to my corporate accounts and took keen interest in understanding the clients and my business , although he had a pivotal role in this visit but I was moved when he personally intervened and convinced the client to believe in our services and me. All I did was to request him once – ‘Sir would you mind visiting with me to an account ? , I guess your visit will be a little influential and helpful , sir only if you have time , please sir would you ?’ …… and he replied ‘Ok kab chalna hai ?’.
I knew Raj Tiwari as my competitor for Enterprise business , Raj is one of the most professional individuals in the system , he helped me in hand holding and explained me the entire system . My team grew powerful along with his team and guidance. He too has helped me a lot by offering a strong competition and his pool of knowledge. I have seen him appreciating my efforts and experiments .
It has been almost a year now since the rollout of Allahabad territory for the Enterprise Key Account Management business , I feel proud to share that the business had grown from 0 to 250 voice+data numbers till Dec end this year , this was truly possible with intensive support from a few pivotal people I know , who believed in me and always kept me motivating throughout .
There is something common in here …. In this organization, all the people mentioned above are always willing to help ….with a smile on their faces. They are the people who create the system and are sole believers of the same. These people are the people because of whom the system is so strong and stringent. They are flexible to an extent, influential , smart workers and above all they ‘believe in themselves’ ……
They all were the change in themselves and I wanted to change and accept the change.
I heard President Obama saying once – together we can and we will make a difference.
I have a message to all the new comers who have just joined Vodafone
Believe in yourself
Believe in the system and the people in the system
Keep moving things , as you want , seek guidance , open up and talk , they all willing to talk only if you want to talk
Keep learning , never give up learning its endless , be a quality …….quality never goes out of style !
I thank all the people mentioned above from the core of my heart, they have a pivotal role in changing my thought process and my perception about almost everything ……… they all are exceptional people and obviously the work has to be exceptional.
‘for what its worth …..
its never too late may be in your case ‘too early’ ………
to be whoever you want to be
There is no time limit ……….
Start whenever you want to ……
You can change or stay the same ……….
There are no rules to this thing….
You can make the best or the worst of it …….
I hope you make the best of it………
I hope you see things that startle you ……..
I hope you feel things you never felt before
I hope you meet people …..
with a different point of view
I hope you live a life you are proud of ………
and if you find that you’re not ……
I hope you have the strength to START ALL OVER AGAIN.