Building A Company Without Borders: How I Am Going To Do It?

I got this title as i was reading an article in Harvard Business Review (April 2010) – How Did I Do It. Whereby the CEO of Reckitt Beckinser (RB) – Bart Becht wrote a very useful article on how he grew the company to become one of the most fearful competitors in the housing cleaning products and consumer goods.

Some facts about RB, their top managers are around 400 people and represented by 53 nationalities. They’ve spent the last 10 years building culture of global mobility because they believe it is the best ways to generate new ideas and create global entrepreneurs. The last 3 years, new product accounted around 35%-40% of net revenue and since 2005 RB has outpaced all the big competitors. Lastly, RB grows at 8% in 2009! Impressive? Yes indeed. But my writing is about me.

I had managed business before but a lot less than RB. I never really manage to convert new product to barely 20% of total revenue. I never outpace any big competitors because we are fairly a small business with limited resources. Lastly, the business last year is better than this year! And, i reversed the “How Did I Do It” to ” How I Am Going To Do It”. I believe the business has hit the plateau after years of efforts did by the founders to stabilize it. I was there when they were growing but after 4.5 years i left for something else. Today i came back after almost 3 years and attended a preliminary meeting where i was behaving as an observer than anything else. After gruelling 3 hours i realized we still face the same old same old problems. Hmmm…But this time around i can command more resources to make things work. The rest of this writing is all about “How I Am Going To Do It”.

1) Audit

I realized the importance of audit and how to do it after i left the company 3 years ago. Sometimes to learn new things you need to forget the old stuffs. Currently i think a lot of stuffs are not properly managed. Bits and pieces with everyone defending their own turfs saying this and that. Audit will help us to take stock of things. I plan to audit the clients listing, size of business, products taken, products potentials, short term and long term strategies, communication plan and current perception by the client. I also going to audit some business processes on sales, pre and post delivery, public programs, sales incentives programs and post sales. I think after a number of years without proper management, an audit is warranted.

2) Alignment

Secondly, there is a need for alignment. I think the team has been too long without someone truly interested in their well being; at  least that’s what i’ve heard. When the founders are around, they behave nicely and “pretended” everything is fine but i always believe that sales numbers are good reflection on how things are done in any company. When sales are good, everyone would be happy and work in team. Moreso there is lack of total planning from both sales and delivery team. I will take charge of this so we can align and see how we can marshal the spirit towards better sales. When everyone is busy, there will be less complaints.

3) New height

I was given the last 5 years sales achievements. Emmm..There wasn’t any big jump and it has been status quo, lingering at 2M below and above a little bit. One of the years was above 2M i think because of the work done a year before. Someone once told me” shoot for the moon, you’ll get to the stars at least!’. That’s what i plan to do. While the lingering figures are 2M, i am going to plan a battle plan for us to reach 4M. I have a lot of strategies under my sleeves, proven and tested. When we are given new height, we will quickly change the way we see things. That’s exactly what we need.

I also plan to enhance the sales structure, incentives program and marketing approach. I think there is always a better way to do things if we only dare to try and willing to change. I believe the new way will emerge if we keep testing other ways because tests are building blocks for something new. I might unfold new stuffs that have been hidden.

4) Technology and Processes

With some experiences in technology and business processes, i am going to proposed adoption of some “updated” ways of managing sales. It doesn’t have to be complex, but it should be enough to sustain the management part of the clientele. There are many business model out there that we can work out to meet the technology objectives.

Business processes come handy when technology is in place. Besides, some business processes need to be strenghten so we can increase productivity and increase trust among us. I have this idea that the purpose of business processes is to build trust instead of finding fault along those processes. Logically we create processes so we can achieve the common goal right? If we cannot achieve, we should modify or eliminate the hindrances right? But why most of the time the business proceeses are used to punish people? Let me state again, business processes is used to build trust quicker, longer and stronger.

5) Execution

One of my mentors always reminded me “it is in the execution that we usually fail”. After all said and done, i need to be able to execute it nicely. To achieve 4M is not difficult, but to do it together is the more difficult thing. I like working together lately; i used to prefer working alone because i can control a lot of resources and results. However after a number of years witnessing on how a team can make hell of differences i started to believe and advocate that. To do that we need a lot of communication, compassion and passion. Sometimes things may go astray, some comrades abandoning the ship, wrong steering and so on. I also starting to learn to take small steps at a time.

In summation, that’s exactly what i plan to do and how i am going to do it. I think the business i am in now has great potential and the brand is already strenghthened and will get better in the next 3-5 years. I can hear the cash register kaching already!! With a more focus team and better planning i think we will be able to grow the business manifold. One good thing now is ” i am back to business!”. 🙂

Brickbats please email to [email protected]