Tag Archives: Cartel

The Last word

The after-effects of the Chaos (1, 2 & 3) were not very clear. The life proceeded in the usual way – same apathy, same fool-hardiness, and same dis-interest. The chaos did not usher in any major transformation – positive or negative, except that CEO’s over-confidence seemed to have died down a bit. Again, I can’t say this for sure as I am not privy to all facts on what exactly happened in the closed-door meeting with the Chairman. I am also not aware what transpired in the various meetings organized between CEO and VP and chaired by the Director. The CEO stopped discussing anything about his displeasure with VP and the Cartel. This may be either due to his complete hopelessness of the situation or due to his complete loss of trust on everybody, including me. One thing was unchanged. He kept glued to his “saviour” – the tea-drinking director.

Initially, the VP was seen as victor, as the CEO was not allowed to perform the axing act on the former. The Chairman brokered an uneasy truce wherein both CEO and VP were told to stay in their respective domains. It was inscrutable how can VP show insubordination on CEO and how the group management went soft on VP.

The Director made a structural change whereby the purchasing function was taken away from VP and given to CEO. VP did not take this lightly. He registered his protest openly in a mail addressed to the Director and copied to all and sundry in the company. The Director and CEO rushed to the factory the next day and it was learnt that there was meeting organized in the Hotel where the Director stayed. No details were known of that meeting. This was strange, considering that over-all the staff never shies away from gossip and murmurs.

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Was the cartel really hand-in-glove with VP in his revolt against CEO? What was the tea-drinking Director thinking about the whole episode? Was he the real orchestrator of the chaos behind the screens? How would one explain the fact that the unionization of the cartel and the VP did not concern the group management? There are several unanswered questions!!! I have no hopes finding an answer to these. Even if I find it in a future date, I know the answers will be so stale that these will have no usefulness to me or anyone else. So why attempt to get all answers behind the events?

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When I read back my version of Chaos, it did not make any sense to me. There were too many gaps. There were many discordant notes in it. For the first time in life, I understood that what we see and hear is not really objective. Most of what I said, I realize came from my own surmises and biases. I did try to sound as objective as possible and wanted to re-produce what I saw and heard, but in the end, each word sounded more like personal interpretations. So in order to interpret and understand the events fully, one needs to be above the personalities involved and transcend the events.

Re-telling of any events is only an interpretation of the narrator. Any event is narrated on first person basis. The first-person oriented narration and the interpretation of events is never going to be accurate, as the characters and their motivations and perspectives are too many to be fathomed by one person in full.

The story writing is easier, as it is fully in the imagination of the story writer. Realistic events, when re-told and narrated, should not carry too much of objectivity if the events have to sound interesting. If objectivity is ever attempted without any first person point of view, while narrating the slice of reality, it just turns out to be vague and tasteless.

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My efforts on business front were going strong for the past 4-5 months. I was more confident this time when I presented sales budget for Rs 60 Million. Half the business was already secured. The stress of failing on my sales targets was not there in my mind this time. First year in a new company is always tough. While intellect accepts it, the mind still goes through the stress. Was so much stress necessary? Meeting the target was to have anyway been difficult despite getting stressed or not. So why stress at all? Peacefully and ceaselessly putting the effort without much fuss and stress was the only way. Like a seed, the effort grows into a fruit bearing tree over a period of time. So the stress was totally unnecessary……the insight this time is more experiential. So hopefully this will be ingrained in the psyche for a long time to come.

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“There are no facts, only interpretations.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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Day 32 – The Cartel and the Ants

Despite completion of the first month in the organization, I am still to become part of the team. What are the reasons? Do I not reach out to people? Have I tried that sincerely?

Initially when the environment was unfamiliar, I tried to evolve some strategy. In the first few days and on the days I spent in the factory, I went out of my way to be pally with the people there. Was I being fake? I think I was.

Subsequently when email wars started, I was wondering how to react. Now the CEO reads my mails which are on copy to him, briefs the Director on daily basis and they both talk to the concerned persons in the factory over speaker phone.  After this phone call, B, QA Manager and Supply Chain Manager are prompt in their replies. A complicated sales support system, but it works for the moment.  

The cartel (consisting of B, Production Manager, Finance Manager, QA Manager and Production Manager) in the factory appeared to me initially to be difficult to crack. It now appears that what it needs is call from the Director. I would like to reach a stage where the Cartel replies voluntarily on reading my mails. I would like to know what the Cartel is thinking about me.

Who are the weakest and the strongest link in the Cartel? Are there gaps among the managers in the factory? I spent far too less time to come to any conclusion on it.

My impression is that even CEO has not gained complete control of the managers in the factory. That’s why he makes all the calls to the factory only when he is together with the Director. Out of the people in the factory, it is only two managers with whom CEO gets along well – Supply Chain Manager (not a part of the Cartel) and Finance Manager. This could be inferred from the various meetings I had with CEO and at every opportunity he preferred to talk to only these two people, even if it is VP who will be in a better place to answer all operations-related issues.

Is VP part of the Cartel? As far as I can see, he wants to prop up B only and always like to ride on his shoulders.  He does not seem to be having any special bonding with other Cartel Members. VP senses a threat in me for the reasons best known. How to read the VP?

I would like to introduce another group of people at this stage. There are a host of support staff who sit outside my chamber (whom we call The Ants).We had already met one of them, Ms.M of Export documentation (Day 22 – CEO’s War and Love). These guys are world unto themselves, very lowly paid clerical and assistant cadre staff. Frustrated souls! They are keen observers of power-mongering managers and hook on to whoever has the power. These support staff is headed by an assistant manager whom we call as VN.

VN is with the company for more than 18 years. After serving in the factory for 8 years, he was transferred to corporate office. A sweet talker! But he seems to hold many knots with him. The managers based in the factory keep close ties with him, because he would know well what’s happening in corporate office. CEO also keeps good relations with him, because he is a distant relative of Divisional Director.  Support staff (which also includes Ms.M – the Documentation Girl) swears allegiance to VN.  

VN and his staff are generally friendly to me, but they refrain from talking anything official. Is it because they are gauging me if I am loyal to the coterie of factory manager or to CEO Or to VP? Another reason could be that they would prefer to report to CEO like they do now, so shun any deal with me fearing I may try to boss over them.

Hmm…endless list of questions! My mind is going over-board with thoughts….am I being objective here? Or am I being biased due to insecurity or fear of failure ………Let me start meditating on clear blue sky now to seek some clarity!!!!