Friday, November 5, 2010

How to blend diverse management cultures

Kaz Petrosky was the head of sales. His ancestors came from the Urals in Russia but he is a naturalized US Citizen. He was on deputation to India and ran his sales team like the US Army. His team was disciplined and very sales focused. When they are given a target, they have to go after it like war had ben declared. It did not matter what it cost or who came in the way. You just went ahead until the victory was all yours. They were ethical in what they did but were mercenary like. They believed that rules were meant to be broken and relations bent at will to get the job done. They were all very focused, sure of their financial figures and up to date in the facts that mattered. Speed and surprise were the name of the game and the sold like it was an extreme adventure sport. They worked alike a great team, consulted each other, partied together and went about their work and life in a no nonsense and business like. Kaz was very proud of his team; he rewarded them well when they delivered the results. As long as they met their goals, Kaz was completely hands of and gave them full freedom.

Louis Camino, headed manufacturing. He was a quint essential European of Spanish origin. Very soft spoken and always well dress in his three piece suit, he was meticulous about meeting, reports, schedules and protocols. Every activity was planned well in advance and life happened like clock work, all on time per scheduled time. He was focused and time conscious; met people only by appointment and went about his work in an unhurried and purposeful way. He too hated surprises and relied upon methodical working, detailed documentation and maintained a factual historical record of everything as if someday he may be required to reexamine the history of how he functioned. The team in manufacturing adopted his work style.

Hitoshi Kobuse, is a quintessential Japanese. As the Head for customer Service,work is religion for him. Accordingly he cultivated a team oriented work culture where everybody was equal. He believed in keeping his team fully knowledgeable on all the products technically that required every one of them to attend training programs regularly, make intensive research and present proposals for simplifying work and generate savings. He rewarded people’s effort to publicly announce and track the incidence levels of problems and recognized their efforts at problem solving. He made hero’s out of anyone that recovered a lost or annoyed customer. He never behaved like a boss, he was a coach.

Ravindranath is a profit conscious and bottom line oriented Purchase manager. He was relentless in negotiating opportunities for waste avoidance and cost reduction. There was a popular joke in the office where a beggar took pity and donated his days collections of coins after meeting Ravindranath! He had cultivated a solid reputation for demanding justification for every paisa invested. His motto was: if you do not survive the short term, there is no long term. So, focus on managing profits at any cost; even if it meant overcommitment because people have short memories anyway.

The CEO was perplexed by the sheer contrast in the styles of the four key managers at work and wondered if he can get them to subscribe to a common work culture. We must value diversity, no doubt; but wonder what is may be costing the company?


1 comment:

  1. This is based upon a real life anecdote from my time in Modi Xerox. an assignment that was a turning point in life for many. I reminisce this experience with fondest gratitude every Diwali. Happy Diwali for all my followers.