Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A general manager's dilemma



I'm telling you, your days in this office are numbered!



Alex Chan stared at the piece of internal memo he received from the managing director OTT, urging him to explain the down trend report of his in charge in sales of commercial trucks and heavy machineries. The MD Mr. OTT used strong words in showing his displeasure at the disastrous figures in nation-wide sales of their various models of trucks and some industrial machinery vehicles. The memo was rather explicit in telling Alex Chan that as general manager he should detail the causes of the sliding downhill trend of the company’s former highly appraised products in earning. Otherwise he would be ‘advised’ to go into early retirement or be sent to somewhere in rural Eastern part of the nation in the deep interior of heartlands 1200 kilometers away, across the South China Sea. Alex Chan might be required to appear together with twenty branch managers in a meeting came next month to appease the wrath of the board of directors. It seemed that he was in troubled water deep enough to send out a red alert to his team of half-hearted managers.

The Meeting


Branch managers Ahmad Rosdi and Bernard Chan walked into Alex’s office meekly to greet the latter “Good morning”. Not replying to greetings was the widely known usual habit of the general manager, so the two managers just took their seats and waited uneasily. An hour followed the two mangers left with stressful faces and went back to their respective branches. The general manager had reprimanded them for poor sales and would visit their branches soon to streamline their operation.

The boss will find himself in trouble if he keeps on behaving like this. He shall face an empty office greeting him one fine day. Nobody is willing to work for a shouting tyrant.



After going through the invoices and daily sales report Alex Chan was furious to discover that Ahmad Rosdi had ordered 50 trucks from the assembly plant and sold only 8 units! One senior manager Tan Seng complained to the general manager earlier that Ahmad refused to share his stock of trucks with other branches as he was expected a big order which never materialized. An old time seasoned sales personnel CF Cheong angrily called Alex Chan few days ago that Ahmad Rosdi had robbed him of a sales by contacting directly his customer and had the deal concluded at the neighboring McDonald’s outlet. These were the obvious infringements of the correct practice of the company’s guidelines. Alex knew Ahmad had for the past few years been head over heels to be indulged at the stock market. Being a privileged race in the country he was given preference to acquire some IPO and made substantial inroad gains when they were publicly listed. Alex Chan soliloquized and murmured to himself, “Hmm, that’s why this Rosdi fellow is no more interested in his job….since he is close to 55, we’ll get rid of him pretty soon.” Shortly after Ahmad Rosdi received a letter of reprimand from the GM’s office, and that signified that his days in the company were numbered, that also meant that he would not received much in his gratuity and bonus when he retired.



Young people nowadays will not take orders submissively from an overbearing boss.

As usual Alex Chan walked into the branch office of Bernard Chan together with his trusted accountant Yap, he displayed his arrogance by ignoring everybody, set his sight at the ceiling level. “Good morning Mr. Yap!” came the greeting from one senior sales consultant Aaron. Yap quickly replied and pointed at the back of Alex Chan as he stood just at the back of the GM; but Aaron gave Alex a cold shoulder. All the staff there could not bother about the presence of Alex as they had enough of this GM’s snobbishness; after all he was there to see Bernard Chan the branch manager. A few days later Alex gave an ultimatum to Bernard to pull up his socks to place his branch in correct order. In the next three months if Bernard’s branch were to fail in its performance in sales, the manager would be “advised” to retire early as Bernard was close to 55 too.

Take that and wake up!


Vice-president of AXA General Assurance Ltd Augustine Cheong fixed a lunch date appointment with the staff of Bernard’s branch as this had been a regular practice. The branch had always supported Augustine for many years in insurance affairs. Following his usual sycophantic ethics, Bernard informed Alex Chan the GM to be present at the lunch date. Alex Chan came with Yap late and everybody was aghast about it but the haughty GM did not bother to apologize. Instead he used the lunch table as his platform to lecture all the sales staff around about their sales records. He used sarcastic and nasty phrases to tick them off: “Wisdom goes round with age, but as you fellows getting older, I don’t see improvement in your mentality.” The host Augustine Cheong quickly interrupted Alex’s conceit and told him: “Alex, don’t ruin the harmony here. We are here to enjoy some good food with the distinguished sales personnel!” Alex was dumb folded and the lunch went along amidst cheers from the host but clearly the GM was sidelined. Soon after that Bernard Chan was transferred to the Eastern rural shore of the country where the company believed that truck sales should prevail well. Unfortunately Bernard Chan suffered a massive stroke that almost took his life. With his slow but eventual recovery, he became an invalid person with difficulty in his movement and speech. A year later it was a cruel fact this bigot manager faced as he needed to leave the company in such predicament and in disgrace. Fortunately the company paid part of his medical treatment.



In an office environment, many will like to kick their boss at the ass.

During a board meeting with senior directors and the MD Mr. OTT gave Alex Chan the GM a letter of appreciation for his 20 years of undying loyal service (which was actually macabre, OTT gathered.) with the company. He too like his other subordinate managers was due for retirement at age 55. His request for an extension of 2 years was turned down.  The former Colombo Plan scholarship recipient who earned his degree in mechanical engineering from UK left the company a disappointed man. It was all mainly due to his lack of articulate attitude and ethics with human and public relations. He forgot his roots as his poor family background hailed from a small town. His self-centeredness and belligerent character killed his careers prematurely.   



This is The Boss! And he exudes real power and authority yet remains humble to his folks.
 

Alan CY Kok


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