“Pride of one’s company and prejudice”- 27 August 2013

In spite of the state of the art technology and very well trained technical or marketing manpower, the company’s products were not selling well in the marketplace. Somehow, the customers often found some or the other flaw in the product. So, slowly, sales dropped and revenues became scarce to come by. Naturally, this was a matter of worry for the Board of Directors. Sales were not dropping rapidly, but they were on a slow but sure decline.

When the Board discussed the issue, one of the Directors, a young man in his late thirties, came up with an outlandish-looking idea. He said, “Friends, the problem is not with our technology or with our marketing team; it is with the way we look at our own product. I suspect, we, the people working in the company, do not feel proud of our own work. The reasons could be any, but I feel that this is the sore point. If we address ourselves to the issue, we will arrive at a credible solution. Unfortunately, we take a dim view of our own products, and in such a situation, the marketing team can achieve only a limited success, which does not bring in enough revenue”.
This forceful presentation made its impact. The Board met for long hours and wondered about a possible solution. The solution was: Instil pride about the company and products in the minds of workforce. That will make an appropriate psychological impact on the sales and marketing teams.
This was certainly a complex mission, but the Board asked the young Director — Abhishek — to take up the challenge.
Abhishek was more than happy to try to achieve that actually looked impossible. Instilling pride was, certainly, an abstract goal, and how can the management succeed in it? — was the question. But Abhishek was undaunted. He set in motion a game-plan which he chalked out with the help of some people who formed his new core team.
The plan was elaborate but simple. Through a series of internal contests, the core team selected quite many people who had emerged winners. They were given sumptuous prizes. This led to some people getting more involved in the company issues because celebrations of their success had sucked them into the emotional inner circle of the organisation.
Through contests, training programmes, and celebrations of even small successes, Abhishek started drawing more and more people from the workforce to the winners’ stable. The effect was obvious: The winners felt proud of themselves and slowly of the company that recognised their talent.
Of course, there were some who did not win internal contests and felt disgruntled. Abhishek identified such persons and established a personal connection with them. His counselling plus confident manner had the right effect on the workforce. For, slowly, the number of disgruntled staff started coming down.
This was the point Abhishek was waiting for. He urged the Board of Directors to enhance the wages at all levels only marginally as a symbolism. That cleared the atmosphere all the more and the marketing team started realising its potential to make more effective efforts to spread the market for the company’s product-line.
All this did not happen in a day, of course, it took several months before the plan started having the first positive effect. But then, who says, rejuvenation is an easy process? In fact, it is an extremely slow and very difficult process that tests any management’s patience.
When Abhishek was asked why he launched the plan to create an army of winners, he said simply, “Look fellows, the thought is simple. Owing to several reasons, the staff is quite likely to start harbouring prejudices against the company. If those prejudices are not tackled, they grow menacingly. That was what was happening in our company. We realised that if we wanted our people to feel proud of the company, their prejudices will have to be removed first”.
The statement was simple in words but complex in meaning.



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