The inside stories often. But Andre was unable to moot change, for then Jignesh asked him to talk to Belani — the dead end street.
At the end of two months of the market launch, the products had not moved much. Every target had failed. Belani had an all India team of territory managers, ASMs, field support and so on. Many of these had worked at slightly lower levels in the MNCs and had gained great finesse in sales and distribution. Belani hired them at the same remuneration with a decent designation thrown in. His menu of MNC FMCG brands was the best experience these boys and girls could get.
Belani knew, as did Kloop, that if he lost three brands, he would lose his people. For Kloop this was a big risk but a risk they could hedge on because they had Bawafrom Singapore keeping a close watch on Belani’s business. If Bawa thought he was soon handing that charge to Andre, he had another think coming. For the distance between Andre and Belani was growing. And he said to Bawa and Haney, “This guy is a lala-type (leaving it to Bawa to interpet for Haney in the US); he is high risk…!”
But when Andre had said this several times, Haney grew anxious and asked him to hire four regional sales managers (RSMs), so that he could oversee the four regions better. Besides, this was the best insurance Kloop could buy against Belani’s nebulous team. The new four RSMs were good back up.
End of the fourth month, growth was far from inspiring. Andre was having abad time with Belani. “He is simply lax on targets,” he said. Belani for his part blamed efforts behind building new markets and the competition. He even said that breakfast habits were changing because people were not really in favour of milk.
Bawa in Singapore turned upon Andre, “But we hired you. What are you doing? You are accountable for managingthe risk!”
Six months passed and the market barely opened up to Kloop’s cereal — a range of 9 different variants. Kloop USA was now getting restive and turned the heat on Bawa in Singapore. He, in turn, called B&T’s Raghuveer Singh who said Kloop needed to look at five years and not just the first year. “Let us do a plan for three, then five years and examine.” Haney in the US, meanwhile, was wringing his hands. His stance did not change: if India did not achieve targets this year, they would close down India, hence a three- or five- year plan was just academic. But Singapore was disheartened. For them, India business was key to their happiness. The numbers came from India! Belani and Andre were often at
each other’s throats. If Haney and Bawa demanded performance, Andre threw it back at them saying they have hired a lame duck (in Belani), and “he was hired before I came on board!”
Funnily Bawa in Singapore did not even know that the distributor and business head were not meeting each other! It happened thus that when Bawa called Belani, he complained, “Your CEO does not even know the way to my office! ”
And then, all hell broke loose. Andre claimed Belani was never there when he called, and thus they served their anger back and forth.
Raghuveer Singh watched all this with great disconcertment. “Do I like Andre or not, is not even an issue,” he told an anxious Bawa. “Finally they are all bodies who get paid to work. Belani gets commission, Andre gets a fat remuneration and both have very clear job descriptions
and delivery parameters. They had both jolly well work!” He realised the problem of slow growth lay in the widening chasm between Andre and Belani. “Capability is not at all in question. Neither Andre’s nor Be- lani’s. Both are seasoned players but both have missed the road to each other. Belani is a hardened market man. He does not need English or an MBA to play the market successfully. He is seeking support and endorsement of his moves. Same for Andre. He is excellent a sales manager. Somewhere he does not understand that his plan and Be- lani’s plans are near identical. Andre needs encouragement. Don’t shove him into the dog house.”
One day, Raghuveer walked into Andre s office and said, “Andre, let us address current issues. There is no one magic solution. It has to come from discussing. The way forward is fixing responsibility, accountability and if Belani has to take a rap on his knuckles, then rap his knuckles we shall.”
Bawa was happy rapping anyone’s knuckles. Meanwhile Raghuveer sat and drummed up 30 ideas that Kloop India could work on to accelerate growth, excite the market, play with consumer joy. He sent this document to Andre. But Andre who had likely turned hopeless, wrote back to Bawa and Haney to saynone ofthese were tenable or workable. A furious Bawa shot back a reply, “This is your responsibility, show some action! Take ownership and set the agenda for the meeting. If these 30 are bloomers,