leadership is my real passion
The key works of a leader, in my definition, it is about bringing out people's potential and passion, making individuals together to achieve ambitious goals and especially it is about making changes in a dynamic world. And leadership is definitely my real passion which I have been given challenging opportunities to regularly practice and develop in management roles over last 8 years.
A typical case was when I joined Kimberly-Clark as Regional Account Manager in 2014, at that time the market was becoming tough with new competitors, the company was struggling to deliver business goals. My team consisted of four supervisors who were being viewed as lack of winning spirit and poor performers with -3% revenue growth, and their mood was depressed for months. My priorities were to build the team up and turn the business around.
In the first weeks, through personal observations, having open 1-1 discussions with each team members as well as peers and the boss, I found out the root causes of the problems. It was mainly because of lack of clear expectation and direction, lack of mutual trust between my team and functions then couldn't get efficient supports, and especially overlapped responsibilities among team members. Based on that, I quickly outlined an action plan that included restructuring team with a clear job and customer allocation; setting new standards and objectives for business result, employee behavior and capability; and organizing joint meetings and activities with other teams for better mutual understanding. Later, the proposal was presented to my boss, despite of doubts at the beginning, she then approved confidently because of the analysis based on convincing facts, and especially strong supports from my peers who I worked closely and aligned before. Finally, lead a meeting of all my team members in a trusted environment I tried to create, we admitted the facing problems and the behind reasons, then all members were engaged with the plan and agreed that we will make efforts together to turn the situation around.
Eight months later, at the end of 2014 our business showed a good result of +12% sales growth comparing with the previous year. One of my direct employee were rewarded as the best manager the year. The changes also established foundations for team members who were all promoted to higher management levels afterward. From this case, I learned that if I could create a trusted and collaborative environment for people, give them right direction with right support, then the good result will definitely come.
Another case was in my current job at CANIFA, a locally leading fashion retailer. The board of directors (BOD) planned to grow 40% in sales in 2017, and initially and strategically the sources of growth were defined from product diversification, sales channel expansion and especially opening 15 new stores. Taking the job of retail and project director and a consultant to CEO, I analysed the history data and found that the key driver of rocket growths over last years was mainly from new store openings and the focus of company was greatly for these activities. This was a big problem when most of existing stores had shown a significant decrease of average of -12% in revenue in 2016, and clearly this is not sustainable in long-term. My plan and responsibility was to convince the company to adjust the strategy and put more efforts on the current stores in 2017.
Knowing the key stakeholder could help me was the CEO who is regarded as an assertive, emotional and greatly- willing-to-change person. I had a private meeting with her to share my intention, she was happy to see new idea, gave me advices and asked for detail plan. Afterward, preparing and making a presentation for the BOD which covered the problems, new proposals as well as the solutions for better growth of current stores. Despite of many tough questions and conservative responses from some members, thank for the support from the CEO and well-preparations, it was successful. And experiencing more some discussions to clarify pending issues, finally the company adopted my plan. I found that making changes are mostly hard but when believe something going wrong, the responsibility of a leader is to make it right.