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During 1993 and 1994, a very interesting development took place at corporate level.
Hoechst had three business divisions; Industrial, Agriculture and Pharma. Not much later, the corporate was split, and all divisions went their own ways. But that was later. The time I am referring to was when the entire family was together.
Hoechst HR engaged Kamran Rizvi for an elaborate people development plan. He initiated the idea of developing a team of trainers who would conduct sessions throughout the corporate. The first topics were Communication and Interpersonal Relations. Eight people were selected from three divisions; two joined from HR.I was one of them.
Kamran Rizvi held a week long ‘Training of Trainers’ program in Karachi. It was a privilege to be trained directly by Kamran Rizvi. We worked full days, enjoyed our work and developed good relations with each other. I had been exposed to training of these subjects before but Kamran Rizvi was different in his approach and handling of the subject. Our discussions opened our minds and clarified and organized our concepts.
Later, we worked in pairs and conducted two-days workshops on Communication and Interpersonal Relations. The format was that the participants came from all three division in order to build inter-divisional recognition and understanding. As ‘pair of trainers’, we divided the topics amongst us.
These turned out to be wonderful sessions. I paired in most sessions with Cyrus Magol who came from HR. Cyrus is Parsee and an absolutely loveable guy. We enjoyed our company. The participants were very receptive and magnanimous. Many participants were much more senior to us, ‘the trainers’, but they gave us their full attention and appreciated us with many kind words.
Few days back, I bumped into Hasan Naqvi who was working in Industrial Division then and attended the session. Even after so many years, he was so kind and he said again that you did great in your session. How can I pay enough gratitude to people like Hasan Naqvi? I cherish it and take it forward to others.
Kamran Rizvi himself also organized group trainings in LUMS (Lahore University of Management Sciences), which were intensive, residential programs. He graciously invited me to one part of a session and presented me a torch emblem brooch. It signified that I was a torch bearer for the organization. The emblem still shines.
Communication and Interpersonal Relations have been my favorite subjects ever since and I have conducted many workshops even after Hoechst. But this was the beginning and what a great beginning it was.
Corporate training program was a very good initiative from HR and it generated a lot of goodwill. However, the industry was changing worldwide. Hoechst also followed. The corporate was split into three separate core business units. Industrial and agriculture, went through mergers to become entirely different entities. Pharma also acquired and merged several times to become Sanofi, what it is today. The headquarter was shifted from Germany to USA and then to France, where it now.
Mergers and acquisitions are always disruptive. Disruption is done deliberately to bring good to organization, which sometimes happens and sometimes does not. The worst affected during changes in Hoechst were the common support departments, HR, Finance and Admin. The newly created divisions accepted very few of the old staff and most had to be retrenched……