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Friday, October 19, 2012

How do you "Take care" ... ?

I recommend a short stint in sales, marketing, business development and of late “demand generation” function as a life skill development.

An event today at work place reminded me of my taken care bit experience some time back. (Read the prelude to it if here interested)

It was very clear after a month of running around that a measly accountant held the power to delay payments. Delays in my line of business and my scale of an organization meant no salary. I had umpteen discussions/talks with our finance head as to the dependence on a single project for salary clearance and the response was the same watered down talk. We are growing, capital requirements are huge, new people are coming in. I guess he forgot to mention the new cell phone my MD was sporting and the audit observations on discrepancy in books.

Anyways, I have long since given up on futility of logic with senior management, at least at my workplace.
Mind you, my “boss” thinks it is very easy, throw money to get money. In fact in one meeting when their some observations on collections review he remarked that my accounts are always delayed, and then I gave it back to him” Sir, I would really request your recommendations on the best way. If possible please come with me the next visit”.

Silence after this sweet “request”. I never adopt a confrontational attitude. 

We all knew the implication of his visit to the customer. With the gentleness of a bull in china shop and the intellect level of a food deprived mad dog, he was categorically refused attendance in one meeting to which my MD was also a party. After that, it was an unwritten rule that he stay away from front end, and yeah he is the sales director.

My MD called me after the meeting and clearly told me that I was not allowed in my seat till payment is processed.

I managed to secure a word with their accountant and told him, to clear and we will manage on subsequent projects. The accountant a wily old man knew all the games, he refused.

So back at office I told I need cash.

The payment value is 1 Cr, 1 % makes it 1 Lakh. This approximately the loss of interest income for I think 2-3 months on a current account with OD facility. Translated, it meant if the payment was delayed by 3 months, we lost a Lakh. Conversely if it was cleared in a day or two we gained a Lakh less the taken care part.

Hence, I asked 50k for taking care. I was of half mind to shave a couple from this, but the darn pundit in me did not allow it.

Anyways it was not approved. 

Defense business was tricky, and once you resort to faster dealings route, it was impossible to go back. 

Domestic businesses did not allow that kind of margins, to take care of the % required in bribes.

Finally after a lot of haggling I got 5k.

The irony of the haggling was not lost on me. Here I was fighting to secure a bribe for a person, who in turn will pay to my company, and all I got was my monthly pay ….huh…

Cash in hand, I called the babu for dinner. He is as old as my father, has a kid my age working in an IT firm in Bangalore, yet he comes and yes he talk to me about his kid’s career plans as well.

 If it is free the mentality is to gorge.

2 beers, one glass of imported wine, a plate of lobsters and panner tikka later the babu showed no signs of tempering down. I on the other hand needed to pee a lot because of the 500 INR a glass of nimbus pani (no fresh lime soda!) which I was having continuously.

I think it was the worst dinner experience and I was tired of putting a cordial face front.

Finally it was time to leave. I was waiting for this moment only. I took the unmarked envelope with cash, and put it near his lap with a knowing smile. It sobered him down faster than black coffee, but thankfully in his alcohol stupor he did not open it.


I called for the attendant, arranged a taxi and put him on it. I waved him bye and refrained from any mention to the file. Since the cash was with him, the ball was now in my court, I could kick it any time.

Next day before 11 Am I got a call from babu that the file was cleared.

Wow :)… now that is called alcohol efficiency.