In August 2005, I undertook a competitive Strategy Assessment engagement for a global transportation and logistics major. The decision to hire A.T. Kearney was made at a regional level. The appointment was opposed by the management of the Indian entity. As the sole India based consultant on a project spanning 13 countries I had no management cover. In the kick off meeting itself I had to respond to the clients query of “How will you add value when we have not been happy with the previous work your company has done for us?” This project entailed self-management, client handling, development of deliverables, presentations, setting up of and interaction with a client team.
During the course of the project I organized interviews with senior client personnel, industry experts and management of other global players. Working my way up from junior level employees, I was able to establish credibility with senior management. Simultaneously, I worked to formulate a complete picture of competitor strategies across product, pricing, location, channel and timing parameters, and their implications for the client. This required leading and supporting the client team on a day-to-day basis, both remotely and on-site.
In the interim, having played a key driving role in the Thailand module I flew down to Bangkok for three days to bring the module to completion and make the final presentation to the client. A principal flew down for the final presentation to the regional and country management . The presentation was delivered by me, upon my request. Twenty hour workdays interspersed with flights and location changes were well worth the effort. Both presentations went off extremely well with a hitherto hostile client now impressed.
This to me was an inflexion point in my career, a point where I took responsibility, worked independently and went ahead as a mature consultant to deliver beyond expectations. This instance added to my confidence that I have the savoire faire to function...