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"If Leaders Cannot Be Influenced, Influence the Person They Trust"

Kaushik Sarkar, Senior Vice president, Finance & Commercial, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions

Kaushik Sarkar, Senior Vice president, Finance & Commercial, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Kaushik Sarkar, Senior Vice president, Finance & Commercial, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions

What was the problem you were grappling with?

I took up a role in the automation division of an organisation, which was responsible for the process automation business (PAB). There were other established players in the sector and the PAB's growth was a problem. Since the business's margins were negative, it was managed by another team, the projects division, as well. Both had very strong leaders. Though they professed a need to collaborate, they fought tooth and nail. Slowly, a sense of confusion started eating into the organisation.

Who did you approach and why?

I approached everyone and no one. While crisis coaches and mentors are necessary, sometimes it is important to assess the ground reality ourselves and steer oneself towards those solutions.

What was the best advice you ever received?

Understand the environment you operate in, as well as the participants in the problem. In my case, it was the two leaders. The best way to obtain a good knowledge of any leader is through his/her executive assistant. So, if leaders cannot be influenced, influence the person they trust, to begin with. Once the base work is done, try to influence the top layer and earn the confidence of the whole team.

How effective was it in resolving the problem?

We could fix most of the problems by restructuring our offerings and bringing in cost savings through various measures. We also managed to build a trust coefficient among the associates, which was crucial. The business turned around in three years.