Doing the right thing...

And risk being controversial and unpopular!

This was what was on my mind the whole week...

I am fully aware that I am starting a new career with an organization that is so rich with and at times, blindly guided by traditions and values, albeit some are old and inapplicable to the modern business world.

Should I toe the line first and get accustomed to how things are done or should I do the right thing and try to cure the department entrusted to me with the ills that are currently laguing it? Am I here to be the management's blue-eyed boy and realize their career plans for me or am I here 'to make things happen' by solving the problems that my department are currently facing?

Sigh...

Our Business Unit is a growing business; not just in Malaysia but throughout the ASEAN region and I know and truly believe that it has the potential to grow even bigger. I am not here to perform miracles but nor am I here, at least initially, to fulfill the prophecy of the management to be the first 'Bumiputra' who would make it to the pinnacle of the 100+ years organization.

It is truly humbling and flattering to be regarded and groomed as 'The One' but honestly, that is way far ahead in the future, at least as far as I am concerned. I am living at this moment and would like to do things at this moment. For me to reach where everyone thinks I am destined to be has to start with me doing the right things RIGHT NOW.

I am currently faced with a situation where, should I do what I believe is right and good for the business, I will be unpopular with some of my own staff. On the other hand, should I defer implementing the changes that are desperately needed and instead build relationships with my staff first, I am risking the chance to set the direction of the business straight and would then miss the opportunity to become bigger this year...

Man, what a situation!

I really believe that in order for us to achieve more and not just meet our annual targets, we need to re-categorize the brands as well as restructure the whole marketing operations. I don't need months to see the gap and loopholes that are preventing us from going beyond the expected results.

Of course, I could just sit still and not the rock the boat and I think we will still meet our targets. But that's not how I work... Personally, I would like to go beyond the target and I am confident that, should I implement the things that I know are right and beneficial to the business, we will go way beyond it and my immediate boss shares the same sentiment.

Normally, I wouldn't have given a fuck to what others have to say; when I strongly believe in something, I will go ahead and just do it and be responsible for the consequences. But with this, I am left with no choice but to approach the problem with careful considerations as it involves people's livelihood :(

I know I can be a bastard at times but I don't want to be responsible for sending a husband home to his wife and kids with the news, "Hon, my privileges have been revoked and my benefits have been reduced too because our new boss has completely restructured the entire department"...

Ideally, the company and the Business Unit come first but I am not that devoid of humanity as well.

Where do I then go from here?

While my restructuring would significantly affect everyone in the department one way or the other; one of them would feel the pain the most as the restructuring would deprive him of the benefits and privileges he’s enjoyed the last 10 years or so.

And making it more difficult for me is the fact that this dude is one great guy! Unlike some of the ‘kaki bodeks’, he’s genuinely a great person and was one of the first people to really make me feel welcome and wanted. Despite our age difference, he’s much older than I am, he had no qualms reporting to me and never once questioned my ability to lead the team.

To give y’all a better perspective, Nestle as an organization is guided by the Brands it owns and it is implemented from the top down. Similarly, in our Business Unit, we have Brands that are considered priorities mainly due to their importance and standing in the overall Nestle umbrella of Brands.

So, if you’re entrusted with the ‘fighting’ brand, your benefits and privileges are tied with its importance and standing. Of course, the basic pay will remain the same even if you’re transferred to the other brands but your fringe extras will change.

To illustrate this further, let’s take our Beverages Business Unit as an example. The Brand Manager of Milo will always have better benefits than that of the Brand Manager of, say, Nestvita. The benefits I am talking about here are not only confined to the remuneration but also the perceived ‘importance’ and credence of the employees.

So, if you were me, what would you do?

Really, what would you do?

Sigh…

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