Mr. Lau in Hubei and Mr McDougal (from Cincinnati) are about to sign a contract. The contract is for 200 million dollars over the next year.
Mr. Lau has one more request. “I have a son who I would like to work in your company. Keep an eye on him and perhaps he can go to US to learn English.
Mr. McDougal thinks: I cannot trust this guy. He is totally corrupt.
Mr. Lau thinks: I cannot trust this guy. I give him 200 million dollars business and he does not value our relationship.
Khun Chumsai has resigned
(Khun is an honorific before a Thai name)
Reggie Pennington (a Brit who heads Thai and Singapore Office) called me in Tel Aviv and asked me to come to Bangkok as soon as possible. Chumsai “Pine” Mookjai, (a key account manager) has resigned. Reggie is totally dependant upon Pine to complete the Sales Cycle of the new product, which has being going on for 2 years.
Reggie told me that the hard working Pine has now accepted a job at the very client Reggie is selling to. Reggie told me he was totally surprised. Pine was working as usual and had no complaints.
Allon booked a week trip to Bangkok and had 15 meetings with Pine. Pine explained that several issues contribute to his desire to leave.
1-Reggie has no time for small talk. So he must really care only about the business and not about the people.
2-When we work late, Reggie never asks us out for a drink after we finish top chat, but tells us to go home and spend time with our families.
3-Reggie invited Tom, the product expert from corporate HQ, to meet with the client; we planned the meeting in a taxi on the way to the client, so I understand I was marginalized.
4-At the client meeting, Tom spoke with a loud voice and said he was “convinced” that the roll out would be “seamless”. That caused me huge embarrassment.
5-After the meeting we debriefed, again in a taxi. “They talked so fast that I could not contribute. My role as their “yellow face” is over.”, and he smiled with anger.
James Wight is the Head of R&D in a San Francisco based software company.
James has all his remote site managers in town for a three day planning session.
Igor heads the Ukrainian site, Jean-Jacques heads the French site, Haim heads the Israel site and Oya heads the Japanese site.
The US based senior VP of HR, Valery White, asked to address James’s global team. As Val spoke, James took a call to distance himself.
Valery made 5 points.
- There is a need to use politically correct terminology: chairperson, not chairman; parenthood, not motherhood; utility, not man-hole; sexual labourer, not ho-ho; not BC but BCC.
- Managers should not smoke with workers in front of the offices on the sidewalks, to avoid giving a poor leadership example.
- Terms like Mister, Sir or Boss are not aligned with the egalitarian culture of the company.
- HR is your business partner. There is now a call center in Tirana Albania at your service.
- Even within an office, all emails need to be in English only. In the dining hall when a corporate guest is present, only English should be spoken, “in the spirit of globalism.
After 20 minutes, Valery took a short “bio-break”. When she returned, no one but James remained. James’s call lasted another hour.
Tel Aviv based start up TVS purchased a US based competitor USC in the field of IT marketing services for bloggers.
TVS is fast innovative, sloppy, undisciplined and years “ahead of the curve”. Their product line is super sophisticated, yet not fully stable.
USC is solid, stable, close to the customer and moderately innovative. Slowly they were losing market share.
TVS fired all USC US-based developers and retained the sales force. The US based sales force was reticent about pushing “your half cooked crappy products” into “our sophisticated customer base”.
Slowly but surely, TVS replaced the entire US based sales force with ex pat Israelis, who were more willing to take risks. And take risks they did, losing two thirds of the US based clientele in a year!
In Taiwan and China, TVS quadrupled their sales, without “ex-pating” one Israeli. The Taiwanese and Chinese complained that the Israelis were risk evasive and slow.
Victor from Raleigh NC had a twenty minute call with his global team.
Here are his main messages and talking points:
1) Given sagging performance, expect to put in extra innings in the next few weeks, till the quarter ends.
2) We are the bottom of the ninth, and if things don’t get better, it’s gonna be bad news.
3) If the team will focus on selling the product road map, it’s going to be a can of corn.
4) Jane’s new idea in her email “Breakthrough” is out of the ball park. From now on, this is way to proceed.
5) If we all do the best, we can get out of the hot box.
Paul in London, Jean Marie in Québec city, Paco in Mexico City and Angela in Aberdeen sat quietly though the meeting.
Archie in Boston texted his boss Victor after the call: “home run”
Au urgent meeting was convened to discuss the ramifications of the 2 week delay on the “go live” for the project which was to impact 50,000 users in Australia.
Invited to the meeting were Arthur from the Australia (the account manager), Arturo from Mexico, Erez from Israel and Tim from Germany.
Tim came into the conference room 5 minutes early and asked for the (semi existent) agenda.
Erez called in to the meeting because he had to take his kids to a school play and one could hear his wife castigating him in the background: “why don’t you go and live at work”?
Arturo came in an hour late, asked everyone how things are going, and just as the meeting was coming to end, said, “I have a few important issues that are not on the agenda and impact the estimation of readiness for deployment”. Arturo then communicated really bad new. Arturo suggested that Arthur “bargain for an extension”.
Account manager Arthur maintained his cool until Arturo suggested bargaining for an extension with Australian client. “Listen mate, you can bargain in Mexico, but not in Australia!” Arturo fought back and Arthur got furious and lost his cool. Erez said: “This is the first time I see you care about the delay, Arthur; we can help you by working weekends!”
Tim mentioned that the plan would need to be adjusted to reflect reality. “We need to be transparent” stated Tim, who seemed irrelevant in the semi Levant.
Helmut, Igor and Bowei discuss process with Samuel from Salt Lake City
Samuel is a change consultant and coach, based in Salt Lake City; he has bagged a job from a Miami based firm operating in Germany and Asia.
There are acute issues of working around the purchasing process. People in remote subsidiaries contact vendors who supply of the basis of email commitments, and Finance is then forced to pay due to local regulations.
SAP has been introduced, but folks work around the system; compliance is low.
Samuel has interviewed 3 people to find out why there is such a low level of compliance.
Helmut from Germany, who is on loan as a SAP consultant, claims that there is “no consequence” to by passing the system.
Bowei from China claims that he gets great prices in his oral and semi clandestine dealings with vendors with whom he has been working the longest time and using SAP would only “drive the price up”.
Igor from Russia claims that “ve don’t trust the system”.
Samuel, the global consultant that he is, agrees with Helmut. There is a need for consequence for non compliance.
Samuel failed to produce any change; another consultant, who name starts with A, was hired.
A Chinese-American expat was sent to China and after a year, he severed China from SAP, in coordination with the CEO.
Russian-based Igor was transferred to the Dutch office, and, removed from his vendors and under intensive scrutiny, he began to trust the system.
Michael Wu is the new EVP for Israel & Singapore Offshore R&D Division in San Jose.
Avi is the Head of the Israel R&D centre. Since Michael’s appointment, Avi has been in constant contact with Michael’s boss, with whom he studied at Stanford. Avi shows no responsiveness to Michael’s email and when Michael gives marching orders, Avi argues.
Michael hired Naomi, a coach from Billings Oregon. Naomi flew to Israel 3 times, met with Avi and planned an intervention called “Mutual Adaptation is a Changing Environment” ; Avi showed up for two meetings and then checked out.
Michael then hired a consultant who was brought up an educated in North America, but was also Israeli with a long military career. Michael had a one hour conversation, which was “ten times more expense than the hourly rate paid to Naomi”,yet proved very effective. One month later, Avi was fully aligned to Mike. Avi respected Michael and said “we have come a long way”.
Here is an email Mike sent to the consultant,
It has been a month now since we spoke and you guided me how to deal with Avi.
I was very reticent about inviting him to fly in coach class on Wednesday to San Jose for a half hour meeting with me. I was even more reticent about telling him that “if you mess with me one more time, you’re fucked; now my friend, let’s close this issue and move on-followed by lunch” during which I give him a major project! But it worked. We are well aligned. And as you mentioned with bluntness, he was neither offended nor intimidated.
Thank you so much.
Travel policy has now been changed; business class is permitted only for the second trip each quarter.
Charles from Ohio complains but adheres to the policy. He has started looking around for a new assignment in the company where no travel is needed since “Nickel and Diming it” is not his style.
Edna from Tel Aviv has requested an exception, “unless the first trip is more than 6 hours”. She is presently trying to change company policy, bombarding the corporate with emails and threats.
Ratana from Huahin Thailand can not understand what all the noise is about, she said. Ratana started a job search that very evening, since all her trips are gruelling 19 hour flights to New York.
Abhay from Delhi has a friend who works in corporate travel. Abhay orders his first quarterly ticket at the very last second, on flights where the coach class is full, and as per corporate policy, get an upgraded flight, “if the flight is a customer visit”, which it always is.
Paul, the legendary North American product evangelist, was sent to France for a week to train the 5 top French technical presales folks.
Paul emphasized three points:
1) Project TOTAL and full belief in the new product
2) Exude enthusiasm
3) Stress the fun of the product to minimize justified criticism
The French folks were to undergo three days of training.
Paul went home to Baltimore after day two and “shot off” an email that there is a morale problem in the French office, which over analyses and critiques the product more than the competition.