Lobbying for Growth

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The 5-30 a.m. beep from his wristwatch woke up Anurag Saxena. In characteristic style he jumped out of bed and headed for the bathroom only to stop at the door. Memories of the previous day came rushing back and Saxena realized that there was no need to hurry. Yesterday he called up Tim Leed, director for India and West Asia of the New York-based Denver Instruments, to say that he was quitting the company. “Wait for a day Anurag. We can talk about this again tomorrow,” was all that Leed said. Twelve years ago, Saxena was the brightest star at Denver Instruments India, company manufacturing office equipment. He was than the sales manager of the western region, which account for over 50% of Denver’s turnover. It was his sales acumen that made Denver’s foreign parents optimistic about its plans for India. Whenever the monthly sales figures were faxed to New York, accolades poured back. Saxena’s counterparts in other regions watched his performance with unconcealed amazement and secretly envied his abilities. Saxena was workaholic. Week after week, He calculated the deficit in his target and scanned the territory map to figure out where the balance would come from. He poured over the targets of his area salesman, watched every order minutely and pushed his team till it was delivered. Not that they resented his pushing and chasing. All members of the sales team had worked with him closely to know that Saxena thrived on the pressure his job created. When sales target slipped, his paranoia was at its height. For instance, when rival co. Remlen India launched its brand of printers; Saxena quickly assessed his own region’s performance. He examined the status of orders in each territory and groaned when he saw that Pune was lagging. “What is the problem with Pune?” he asked Sharad Dani, the area salesman. “There’s been no cyclone, no rains, no transporter’s strike, no power cuts, and then what is it? I am coming with you, we need to push Pune, Saxena declared summarily. Dani grinned. “I am doing ok, Anurag. I’ve 8 orders and Breckel electronics’ order is also coming, “he said. “So is Christmas,” thundered Saxena. “I’ve been hearing about Breckel for too long. We last heard from them 3 weeks ago. Sorry, I must go with you,” it worked. That week, Dani finished the sale with Breckel. The days turned into months and months into years as Saxena pushed orders, arranged demonstrations, wooed clients, closed deal and painstakingly inched toward his goals-both of sales as well as personal excellence. All this required hectic traveling though, Saxena was virtually hoping from one town to another. The mixed cuisine played havoc with his ulcers. But bigger loss was in his desperations to meet targets, Saxena slowly got distance from his family. A quite silence developed between his and his wife while tours filled the void he had left in his son’s math lessons. All this hurt Saxena, but hardly had the time to feel the pain. One day he would make up with them, he was sure. If appreciation was lacking at home, it was more than made up by his boss.Sudhir Rai, the general manager of western region.Sexena was the blue-eyed boy Rai had groomed as a traniee.Later, Saxena graduated from customer service to sales manager while their relationship improved with time. Overtime Rai empowered Saxena to work in other line functions. So Saxena got involved in factory operations and marketing also. This transgression of sales function bothered the other line managers, but they knew the region depended on him. Every quarterly results only reinforced his ability as a salesman.Rai wasn’t the only one enamoured by Saxena.The managing director, Vasant Jain ,openly lavished praise on ‘this bright young lad of the western region.’ Even down the line, Saxena was very popular. He could motivate a sales team to put in their best and achieve even the most impossible of target. Saxena loved selling. He allowed a standard lapse of time for every...
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