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leadership essay - chevening
I have been working for 13 years and 10 years have been in leadership role. Almost a decade of being a leader , I have led team and worked on projects but I would like to outline one such instance out of many where I believe I have displayed invaluably what it takes to be a good leader and influencer.
In my current roles as Sr. Manager-XXX India my responsibility is to oversee the COCO stores and XXX mini stores spread across 7 state capitals. When I first took over the charge from my previous role at XXX, I was assigned the task of expansion. There were 3 COCO store and 216 XXX mini stores and I had to take the count from 3 to 10 COCO stores in a span of 8 months. This was a herculean task as this not only requires huge investment but also cross functional coordination-right from the commercial team for identification of the property to negotiating, Brand team, IT team to HR. Ideally one store had a TAT of 3-5 months which means I was asked to do the job at 3X speed. The first approach I took was to draw a roadmap- first to the last task. Then assigned task with deadline to respective stakeholders. I took the approach of demand rather than request. I set up calendar each day of the week- Monday -commercial, Thursday -Brand, Wednesday-HR, Tuesday-IT. I send out email at the beginning to all stakeholders with the business case and timeline. Since I was responsible to extract revenue from these stores I had to keep the budget & ROI for myself. I figured out the person from finance team to assist me. Every 15 days I had a presentation with the functional heads. Each store costed roughly 80 lacs and to set up 7 stores costed 5.6 crore (56 million) .The one thing I did was to stick to deadline and lead from the front. I travelled to each location to finalize with commercial. They saw me as someone who was leading and not delegating. I sat on interview with HR to finalize candidates so that they see my involvement. I connected circle marketing team with corporate marketing team through several VC and they were delighted to get the exposure. I sat down with commercial team to negotiate with vendors which was never expected. I worked every day for more than 12 hours to get this entire piece together. I went to the extent of reading the agreement with legal. Every day was a step ahead and I had my own calendar for every single day. I used to tick mark everyday on a task completed. We launched the first two stores in a record 2 months. I took a stand of appreciating each one. 5 stores were opened within the deadline but had to take one month extension for two .When I look back I realize that I build faith in people who worked together .I demanded but the demand never looked like conceit but realistic. Most important was the team work and making each one believe that it's going to happen. During this entire project I worked with senior people as well but they have seen me as leader. I could put forward my demand and I never hesitated to approach. I see people responding to my idea.
I have worked for more than a decade and I have confidence that I have lot more in me to be future leader and influencer. It is just the right knowledge and exposure that will take me a long way and chevening definitely can give me the opportunity to develop and expand my reach. I can be the leader of tomorrow and I am very poised of same.