Tag Archives: Chairman

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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The Chaos – 3

“I am very busy today. I need to wait for the chairman’s call on my intercom, so I can’t really get up from my seat whole day today”

 “Hope the chairman does not call me today between 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm when Rahukal will be on”

 “I have been told to wait until 9pm this saturday…he will call me for a personal meeting”

 “I have asked the telecom guys to divert the incoming calls to my office intercom on to my mobile phone…so in this way I need not always sit in the chamber while waiting for the call of the chairman”

 Such dialogues kept sprouting from CEO’s mouth for more than a week. I did sense the frustration and helplessness which most of the times quickly transformed into anger. He was always in an irritable mood, but, at the same time, tried his level best to be in convivial mood. Most of the times, anger got the better of him. He started having very less official interactions with the factory.

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The ants had become completely silent these days. VN (the ants’ leader) and his colleagues were very increasingly becoming worried and stressed due to the tug-of-war between VP and CEO. VN has always been obliging both sides with free information. While CEO thought that VN is loyal to him, the recent episodes of leaking of information to the factory have made CEO very alert. So these days the ants have been on the receiving end of CEO’s anger.

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There was an overseas customer visit. VP usually accompanies B if the customer meeting happens in the office. This time, I learned, that VP had been told not to come. Only B came. is VP being kept away from sales and marketing? if true, this is a positive development.

Another pleasant surprise was in store!. I was also called to join the meeting with the customer. I did provide security to B by talking minimally in the meeting. Later in the evening, I was told to come to the party on that evening, planned for the visiting customer.

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Then finally, the expected call came. CEO was told to meet the Chairman, but not alone, but along with the VP. VP came down from the factory the next day. CEO read the Hanuman Chalisa (a devotional verse on Lord Hanuman) more than once. Before going for the meeting, the VP called me to discuss about some unfinished, ongoing tasks. For the first time (since the day of joining), he started the conversation with “Good afternoon..hope you are getting quick replies from the factory these days….if there is anything pending, please bring into my attention”. Surprises’ Galore! There was a flavour of love and affection in his voice.

why is the change? does he want me on his side? or is it a reaction out of fear that CEO may win the war? Or is it the showing-off of quite confidence that he will emerge stronger from this shake-up ?

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There were many rumours around what happened in the mega meeting. I had no way of knowing the facts. Two main players involved – CEO and VP – had differing versions. Obviously, no one can go and ask to other two participants – (tea drinking) Director and the chairman. Let me only present those which I think were facts or near facts (at the time of writing this) :-

(1)     The purchasing manager was told to continue reporting on buying decisions to VP. So CEO’s attempts to influence purchasing decisions in a big way have failed.

(2)     The proposed tour of CEO to USA and the Latin America was cancelled without any clear reasoning.

(3)     I started getting frequent phone calls from the VP and the conversations are becoming more and more cordial

(4)     The Ants have less and less interactions these days with me.

(5)     The Cartel’s reaction to Chaos is yet unknown.

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 When I met the CEO on the subsequent day to the meeting with the Chairman, his body language was diffident. He did not reveal any details about the “big” meeting. I did not want to look inquisitive. It was within my functional domain to ask about his cancellation of the proposed trip to US. His answer was very evasive. It went something like this – “tongues will wag if I travel now…already the impression is that I just travel overseas for the heck of it….whatever work started have to be finished…so let me give it a miss this time… “  The sentences he uttered had everything in it – disppointment, agony, anger and revenge feeling  – except of course the coherence, which was missing. Licking his wounds?

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 chaos

noun
chaoses, plural

  1. Complete disorder and confusion
  2. Behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions

 

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The Chaos – 2

The big Noodles brand confirmed a big business with us. It took weeks of arduous efforts and follow-ups to close this business. We had to go through several rounds of sampling and our guys could not get it right. Just at the point it appeared that the customer is losing interest, somehow by miracle, the production manager submitted the right sample! I must thank my stars.

The big business did not enthuse many. The day the business got confirmed, I contacted the VP to tell about it and to ask to him start production. He just blasted me on phone “sitting in the office, you create confusion….I need to be told 3 months in advance about new orders….you don’t give me any plan…and suddenly call one day and say that the business is booked”. I had no clue what he was trying to say. Does he not want to execute the business? Or is his jealousy over my success speaking?

CEO got very much excited. He was excited so much that he called all and sundry in the factory to work on this order, except VP. Why was CEO avoiding to talk to VP?

The Director congratulated me for this business, but then also instructed me that I should make sure that the order is executed without hiccups. So I was advised that I should ‘sit on the head” of the VP on daily basis. CEO’s lack of communication with the VP and the Director’s strange instruction did hint at something.

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On a Sunday, CEO spoke to me on Phone from somewhere from Sonipat. He said to me that he was on a survey accompanied by the supplier RNC. On Monday, when he met me he talked like Sherlock Homes. He proudly boasted that he has discovered a scam being authored by VP in collaboration with the Purchasing Manager.

The company had entered into a purchase contract with a farmer in Sonipat area for supply of some raw material. RNC (the supplier) got to know from his sources that the person whom we have contracted with is not a farmer, he is actually a trader. On hearing this from RNC, CEO suspected something fishy and decided to travel to the area himself. His investigations have led him to believe that VP and Purchasing Manager are getting a cut from the trader cum farmer. CEO said that he is in possession of some documentary evidence to corroborate his finding.

Soon there were murmurs all around of imminent disciplinary action on VP. I wondered how everyone in the organization is in the know of it. I always thought such things are done in total discretion, since there is a senior manager is involved. While having lunch with one of the ants, I learned CEO had boasted of his investigative skills to everyone in the office. Factory guys do have a couple of eyes and ears in the office in the form of Ants. It must not have taken much time for this rumour to reach VP’s ears.

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In one of my daily morning meetings, CEO told me that he is going to meet the Chairman (The man who owns the company!) in the next few days to brief about VP’s activities and get sanction to remove him. Can’t the Director himself give him that sanction? I asked him. The reply was: If anyone above the Manager level is to be dismissed, the Chairman’s formal approval is required.

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Next few days, CEO did not turn up. He was hospitalized for some stomach related ailment.

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On one of the days when CEO was in hospital, VP came to corporate office unannounced. I heard later (from the Ants) that he had an audience with the Chairman along with one of the Cartel Members. The information was that the Chairman had met with VP for 30 mts and listened to his grouses against CEO’s style of working. It is also alleged that a dossier was handed over to the Chairman, listing the ‘mis-deeds’ of CEO. It was not clear if he had complained against the Director.

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The CEO who was recuperating returned to office and went into a huddle with the Director. What transpired from then on is not very clear.

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CEO did not call me to his chamber for morning meetings for a few days. Whatever I wanted to discuss with him on business matters were all done over phone. His Secretary mentioned to me that he has sought time with the chairman, but he has not got time. The CEO kept waiting for the Chairman’s appointment.