The anecdotes and impressions continue:[See the earlier post here].
There was this prospect, a prestigious name in the Finance/Investments space stacked with graduates from Ivy schools. Where, a study in recent past showed an attrition rate of 25%+ for new entrants in the first 18 months.
The assignment under negotiation was for L1 support.
The account sales executive found it difficult to get ahead with them. Like they all do, he shouted for help from his upper echelons. His VP threw himself weight in and was properly given a third degree. He returned from the meeting with his ego badly bruised. All done not in any crude manner – more pinpricks than slash and burn. The VP was reduced to wondering if he had learnt anything at all in these years.
VP’s (and others with him) mistake: He responded in areas clearly outside his professional as well as his personal competence. Knowing the list of local wines or why the British pound rises and falls certainly greases the wheels of commerce. Only if you know them right. If you don’t they are veritable conversation quick-sands, swift and lethal as the VP found to his ruin.
Our protagonist was brought in as a last resort with no real hopes. Standing before an audience with an intimidating presence and expertise and quickly realizing there was nothing much to lose, he steadfastly refused to be drawn into any extraneous exchanges and steered the proceedings with a crowbar of tact, back to the assignment on hand. He had no compunction professing his ignorance outright on anything outside while not yielding any quarters in his area of expertise. It was established the L1 support could be arranged with less-than-an-army-of-Ivy grads much more cost effectively. His straight-shooting approach paid off immediately with the contract being awarded to his organization.
He is quick to add: these anecdotes are more to present a flavor of situations the field throws up and different approaches used by him in tackling the same. With no claims as sure-fire prescriptions for all cases.
As we talked about this and that, he had this to say about his managers at remote (read nearshore/offshore). While these appear damning and were made in specific context, I’ve seen them happen elsewhere too that I decided to capture them for some of you to check if…
– The bosses in many cases are largely spreadsheet managers without a feel for what happens out in the field. Reminds me of Liam Neeson’s words in the movie ‘Taken’: “You lost the ability to tell whether the gun is loaded; too much time spent doing the desk job”.
– ‘Do these numbers. And if you’re asking me ‘how?’ I don’t need you’ is often the unsaid refrain.
– The online discussions are such a waste – the remote guys have all the time and resources to indulge in these till the cows come home.
– When these dignitaries visit the field, they insist on being taken to my customers. When I do, they’ve little value to add. Their talk is inane, irrelevant and sometimes even self-promoting, eliciting hardly anything useful from the customer.
– They’re more apt to tell my customer how best to run his business more than hearing him out and taking it from there.
I hear many of you say ‘hey. that’s not us’. Nevertheless, it pays to be on guard.