Friday, 10 October 2008

What's There in Designation or Job Title?

Veronica Bhatia has been working as Manager-HR with the Berries Smartphone Private Limited (Indian Unit of Berries Smartphone Inc.) since March 2010. In her role, she is heading SIX members HR Team of India. She is having dual reporting. Functionally, she is reporting to Tony Gottlieb, Vice President - HR based out of Corporate Office and Headquarters of Berries Software Inc. (BS) in New York, USA. Administratively, she is reporting to Arminder Dhillon, MD, India of BS.

Berries Smartphone Inc is having its presence in TEN countries - USA, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, India, China, Philippines, Germany, and France. The company is headed by John Richardson CEO of BS. He has been supported by FOUR Regional Vice-Presidents and THREE Functional Vice-Presidents. They are: VP - North America, VP - Latin America, VP - Asia, VP - Europe, VP - Finance & Accounts, VP - HR, VP - R & D. There is Country Head for each country designated as Managing Director or Country Manager. Country Head reports to the Vice-President in his region. Country Head is supported SIX Departmental Heads one each for Finance, HR, Sales & Marketing, Production, Projects and Customer Service. In India, these Departmental Heads are designated as General Manager, so there is GM-Finance, GM-Sales & Marketing, GM-Production, Program Manager, GM - Customer Service and Manager - HR. Together they form local leadership team. Global Leadership Team does not interfere with local structure and designation nomenclature. Functional General Managers are supported by Deputy General Managers (DGM), Assistant General Managers (AGM) and Managers.

GM - Finance and Manager-HR have dual reporting - Functionally to respective VP and administratively to Arminder Dhillon. Veronica is handling end-to-end HR (Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Development, Organization Development, Compliance, etc.). She is also managing few global HR interventions. She is having over 15 years of experience in HR. In the year 2012, after her 2nd Annual Performance Review, she requested Arminder to change her designation to Assistant General Manager - HR. She didn't want any additional compensation or benefit. She reasoned it with a fact that employees with similar work experience are AGM's or DGM's and in front of them she feels junior or little. Arminder said, "Veronica, I have no issues with your request. However, I would like you to consult Tony before making any changes".

Veronica sent an email to Tony for change of her designation from Manager to AGM. In response, Tony sent her a Skype meeting request for following day titled as, "Please Discuss". In the meeting -

Tony: Hello Veronica. How are you?

Veronica: I am fine Tony. Thanks for asking. How about you?

Tony: I am fine too.

Tony: Veronica, I read your email several times but couldn't understand the essence. Will you please take me through?

Veronica: Tony, I am looking for change in designation. Employees with similar experience as me are AGM's and DGM's in India. Sometimes, it appears difficult to communicate with them as they treat me as their junior, though I am heading the HR and also part of local leadership team. I like my role very much. There are challenges as well as lot many opportunities to grow and learn. My compensation is absolutely perfect as I am getting paid at par with other functional and department heads.

Tony: Veronica, you have such a senior role. You are an important member of Global HR Team. I don't understand why you want to be "Assistant to General Manager". John will neither like this nor approve this. He will get upset when he will read Assistant to General Manager (AGM) in your email signatures. If Arminder wants you to be able to sign some documents in his absence that can be taken care of but that don't require change in your designation.

(Veronica was thinking, "Assistant to General Manager" what is that? Where it is coming from? I don't want to be Assistant to General Manager.)

Veronica: Tony, I already have the authority to sign Appointment Letters, Bank Cheques, Bank Guarantee, Official Documents, etc. It is not about authority. It is local hierarchy and social cultural issue. In India, AGM is considered as higher in hierarchy than Manager. My compensation is already at par with existing AGM's and DGM's, so changing a job title should not be an issue.

(Tony was getting irritated. There was clear gap of cultural communication and understanding).

Tony: How Many AGM's are there?

Veronica: Our MD is having FOUR GM's. There are FIVE AGM's and ONE DGM in Sales. TWO AGM's in Production. And there is ONE AGM and ONE DGM in Customer Service Department.

Tony: (After a long pause). I am surprised that India have Functional Manager's titled as General Manager. Shouldn't General Manager is someone who oversee various functions? In this case, Arminder is General Manager because he has overall responsibility for managing both the revenue and cost elements of BS's income statement also known as profit & loss (P&L) responsibility. Therefore, technically all of your functional GM's are Managers. There cannot be functional GM's. It is in contradiction to management norms. All your current manager's reporting to GM's are Team Leaders. You are Manager. Technically and logically, you are above AGM's or DGM's.

(Veronica was in shock. She didn't know what to say.)

Tony: Although I will not ask Arminder to make changes in job titles and reporting hierarchy, however, since you're reporting to me (I am responsible for your performance and growth), I will not approve your request for changing your job title to "Assistant to General Manager.

Veronica: In that case, should I suggest something?

Tony: Yeah. Please carry-on.

Veronica: Can we naturalize my designation? Can we make it something like - Country HR Manager or Senior HR Consultant or Senior HR Business Partner? It will free my mind from all tensions related to job title or promotions, etc. I will not ask for any promotion.

Tony: I think Senior HR Business Partner is good because that is what you are exactly doing. You are partnering with leadership team in India to ensure organizational growth and effectiveness of Human Resources of the company.

Veronica: Thanks Tony. It was an enriching conversation. Thanks a lot.

(That was end of their conversation).

Immediately, Veronica sent an email to Arminder with a copy to Tony regarding change of her job title to Senior HR Business Partner. With this email she also moved out of the rat race of hierarchal promotions in India. Now, she could only move vertically and her next targeted job was "Regional Manager HR - Asia".

Do you think job titles or designations really matter? I don't think so. In this case, Veronica was one among the top-15 highest paid employees (out of 350 employees in India) of Berries Smartphone, India. Her role was impacting 350 employees. She was handling global HR assignments. She was coaching leadership team in India. In this case, job title was just a job title. It is span of control, and scope and impact of role and compensation that should matter the most. I have seen employees with job title as Manager but impact of their role is nothing morning than that of a Graduate Engineer or Graduate Trainee.

What are your thoughts? What you would have done in this case? Does job title matter to you? What's there in job title or designation?

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

How Sales Enablement Programs Help to Maximize Efficiency and Boost Profits

Proper Program Applications

Using powerful application tools such as the sales enablement program, sales teams become more interactive and effective, and with proper usage of the application, the results are apparent. Success with the sales enablement program could give companies the confidence to apply this application to future sales and marketing promotions. These programs have been written specifically for use with mobile devices like laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc., which are often used in the field by sales representatives. The program has been specially designed to be easy for clients and customers to understand and also easy to navigate. Some of the features have been designed to enable the user to gain access to vital information about customers like their organization, contact details, their products, etc.

Boosting Sales

The whole concept of using specially designed sales enablement programs is to change the way traditional sales were done and move into the future. For many companies and businesses, this might be very hard to accept, because they are so ensconced in the old ways, that any new concept may not be acceptable. It is only when their sales slide downwards, because other companies are using more progressive digital methods to enhance their sales that they may change their mind, but often it is something accepted too late. The success of sales enablement the success is quite tangible and can be measured in its effectiveness through better interaction with customers; optimization with improved response time to problems; and efficiency by instant reaction digitally without the usual manual way of doing things.

Positive Pharma Marketing

A big plus point about these applications is their versatility and how it can be easily adapted for different spheres of industry, especially in life sciences like medicine and pharmacology. Customer relationship management or CRM is a strategy that can be used to study details about good customers' needs, and through this businesses are able to build a strong relationship with their best customers. Based on how digital marketing companies design the programs, it has been found to be very effective for Pharma sales and marketing companies; some of the biggest international pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott, Allergan have turned to these customer relationship management programs and have been completely satisfied with the success.

Marketing activities using this innovative technology has proved beyond doubt that a dedicated sales team can certainly highlight their bestselling products for massive sales increase.

Author has many years of experience in content writing. He is the most celebrated and acclaimed author in financial sector. His many articles have appeared online and he is cited for his work. Now he is providing information on pharma sales and marketing as well as the sales enablement.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Even Elon Musk Uses A Mentor

Even Elon Musk uses a mentor. Just like all the top CEO's, he also has a sounding board for ideas.

Elon Musk uses mentors by surround himself with very bright people like Larry Page. They were friends even before Larry Page found venture funding for Google. Every good CEO surrounds himself with people who give feedback, positive and negative. A mentor or contemporary is in the unique position to give negative feedback without being fired. This is why you'll also see many CEO's with a mentor of some kind. A mentor can be a single person, a business peer group or a group of friends that are in similar positions. Any or all will do. This is why even Elon Musk uses mentors. Should you as well?

Running a major business, I found that there are few people within the company that are willing to voice their true opinion to the CEO. Many are afraid that any conflict will ultimately result in losing their job. But only when you can speak freely do you do justice to yourself and the company. Only then are you truly contributing. This is why every CEO need a mentor outside of the business.

A CEO needs a sounding board for ideas, concepts and thoughts. Companies are in constant flux, the market is always changing and the challenges facing a company vary all the time. I was a part of the Cincinnati Executive Forum and I found the meetings invaluable. The illustrious Jim Johnson (Wiseco, Garrett) headed up the meetings and it never failed but I always left the meetings knowing better where to lead the company I ran. As a part of this group, there was an owner of one of the largest architectural firms in the US. When 2008 came along, he already saw the writing on the wall. He shared his thoughts of what was to come and I took action based on his outlook. He had just laid off 80% of his employees as the design business had dried up completely. The next week, I laid off 250+ people.

This was far more than I had planned but I had gotten a glimpse of just how bad the recession could get. Thank goodness for being a part of this executive group and having them as a sounding board for my business plans.

Without it, the company I ran would have surely gone under. By taking drastic action early, we had the time to get ready for the recession and we were ahead of the curve financially. Every CEO needs a mentor or a person acting as a sounding board. We don't know it all. Do you have the right people around you that challenge you?

Can they challenge you without repercussions? Do they share their thoughts without ulterior motives? If you don't have this, look around you for people who can fulfill this function for you. You're not asking for a favor, giving advice is just as much fun as getting it. Especially if it helps your business thrive! Success is addictive in any form.