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Back with my journey over the years……
I joined CCL in April 1999. Three months later, in July, it was discussed that a new team would be launched. It would have brand new products and all new staff. It was a major decision and was slated to have very important implications for future.
We started working on selection of products. The selected products were assigned to product development department and submitted to Ministry of Health for registration. Team structure was designed for a fifty strong team. It meant fifty medical reps with field managers and sales managers.
During November, an ad was placed in leading newspapers for team hiring. The interviews were conducted at every major city where field managers were to be placed. In about a month, we were able to finalize the team selection.
Product manager worked on developing the promotional folders. Strategy, Themes, contents were discussed and designed.
Basic training was scheduled for the last week of December 1999. The team was slotted to be in field on January 1, 2000.
One critical factor was distributors. We went from region to region and invited all existing CCL distributors. We informed them about the team launch, and the products they will do. We gave them the choice to accept or decline the third team distribution. If they declined, we would go to some other distributor. Happily, all of them insisted to take the third team.
Everything happened synchronously. From product development to production to promotional materials to team arrival to training to launch; everything was completed on time, as per plan.
It was a huge task which was completed on time and satisfactorily.
I shall talk about this team’s performance later. It is important at this point to look at the factors which worked right to help accomplish this project.
- Idea was well conceived. I understand the management had developed the idea of launching a new team much before I joined the company. Obviously, they had the historical perspective of the company which I didn’t have. I was simply asked to do the project and I did. I did not have enough understanding of the company situation, but I had no reason to dispute the idea. By and by, I could see that it was a well-conceived idea, rooted in deep analysis. It was a risk also, but a calculated one.
- Senior management worked as a team. The management including the CEO and Director Marketing worked together with me on this project as a team. We traveled to meet distributors and held interviews together. Presence of executive management increased the confidence of distributors. Personally, it helped me a lot. I was still making myself informed about the company culture and past. Working together helped in product selection, product development, registration and every other step was taken and done on priority.
- Marketing team worked with commitment. When the project was rolled out, one product manager was assigned to it. Later, a new product manager was hired for the new team. He had very limited time, but he worked tirelessly. Couple of promotional folders were received on the day of training, directly from the printer. But it was on time and it was a great job done. Training manager prepared well and conducted training sessions enthusiastically. In fact, training sessions went late in the evenings due to interest of participants, and no one was upset. I made it a point to attend the training session almost in its entirety. I could see everyone’s performance and got invaluable insight into each individual’s personality and performance. It was critical as I had to work with the team directly.
- The organization worked as a team. It is a rather rare occasion that all departments would work as a unit to achieve an objective. True, that there is a rhetoric about it and that the effort to do it always on, but the outcome remains elusive. I must acknowledge that at that time, I felt that the entire CCL stood behind this plan and they all facilitated, even if they had to go out of the way.
The launch of a new team with new products was a bold step but it paid off in short term and long term, in many ways……