Essay 1: Discuss a situation, preferably work related, where you have taken a significant leadership role. How does this event demonstrate your managerial potential?
As a consultant at Aquent, I lead a sales reform project consisting of 20 members in one of the world biggest communication companies. The company encountered a problem that as the 1800 sales representatives had contracted many project orders related to the network construction with a fatally low profit ratio or with a high risk, the deficit of the company had swollen to as much as 150 million dollars. To combat this problem, our sales reform project decided to implement “Project Forward”, which deliberated project orders and decided whether the company would contract them or not. My responsibility was to formulate the procedure of “Project Forward” and implement this procedure in all sales divisions.
When two months had passed since the executives announced to start the “Project Forward”, the sales performed it only few times though they should have carried out it dozens of times in this period. Encountering the difficulty to implement the new measure, I carried out the following points as a leader.
First, I led the members in the right direction to grasp a basic cause of the problem. One executive manager of the sales reform project proposed to continue the “Project Forward” by force because this measure was indispensable to the company. But I opposed to the forcing technique of him. I emphasized that to solve the problem we should stop once and grasp the origin of a cause thoroughly by asking the sales representatives the reason why they did not carry out the new measures. With the sales reform project members, I started the hearings to the 36 sales representatives of all sales departments. Consequently, I cleared the issues, decided upon the countermeasures and defined the required tasks so that the members could perform. I realized that sales representatives did not understand the goal of “Project Forward”. And I found that two other Business Process Reengineering (BPR) project was running besides our sales reform project. The sales was confused by the relation of these new processes. Moreover, holding two posts concurrently, the members administrating the council were too busy at existent tasks to manage the “Project Forward.”
Next, I created the task list required to implement countermeasures with defining the priority and assigned roles to the project members. With a high priority, we integrated the three BPR into one. We created an integrated process flow easy for the sales to understand and held jointly single meeting to introduce the new measures to the sales people. Additionally, we made the resource managers assign 2 full-time people to manage “Project Forward” in each sales division.
Finally, I led the people toward the target with motivating them. Since I believed that we could not successfully implement the measure without changing the sales representatives’ mind, I tried to change it by telling enthusiastically the purpose of “Project Forward” at the hearing and the mailing list. As a result, the sales people had ownership to the “Project Forward” and the motivation became higher and higher gradually.
By resolving critical issues, we could successfully implement the “Project Forward” with high motivation of the sales representatives. Since I have successfully taken the responsibility, which leads a project as a consultant, I am sure that I possess the nature as a leader. I want to make the most use of my nature and experience by learning knowledge, view and behavior required for a leader at XXX, and to grow up to be a true leader.
Essay 2: Describe your most challenging team-building experience. What insights did you gain as a result of this experience?
I want to combat “Digital Divide” and everyone to enjoy the profits of IT revolution equally. I subscribed for the volunteer of “IT course” from this thought. “IT course” is a national movement, which the Japanese government is carrying out. It aims at that all people can enjoy the benefit of IT revolution, and forming “IT nation” which is internationally competitive. Specifically, its purpose is to make all people use the Internet. The 54,500 million yen benefit has come out from the country for about 5,500,000 participants. I supported from starting of “IT course” to execution as a volunteer of Ohta-ku, Tokyo.
Two Ota-ku personnel and about 100 volunteers gathered in Tokyo in April 2001. We decided how to advance future “IT course”. To my surprise, the personnel of Ota-ku who should manage “IT course” did not own their e-mail address. They proposed to connect by mail, not e-mail. The administration of Japan is really behind in IT area. Since we could not communicate smoothly by mail, I created the mailing list instead of them, cut the role, which adjusted between volunteer members. The volunteer member had big deviation in IT skill, from the man who is teaching computer skills to the visually handicapped person to the old man who could just use e-mail recently. However, the desire to combat “Digital Divide” was the same.
I was perplexed because unlike the usual project members in Aquent, the 100 persons’ skills and the backgrounds were really diversified. Then, I investigated all of the members’ skill and decided team members, dividing skills equally. And until the course started team members gathered several times, since each member did not know the other members at all. The consciousness as a team has budded gradually through the meetings. I learned the importance to strengthen union in a team.
The 1st course used two days and about 30 participants gathered. The veteran man who experienced a computer lecturer and I acted as the main lecturers and the other 3 volunteers supported the students. Since many of the participants were women, I introduced how to acquire the coupon of a restaurant by the Internet. One old man of a lecturer distributed the sound and the picture, which he has made, and taught the technique to append them to e-mail. Students realized the pleasure of the Internet by our lecture.
Although each lecturer contributed to the lesson taking advantage of his or her strong point, only one person was worried because he could not much contribute. Then, at the 2nd school, I decisively asked him to act the main lecturer. Although he turned down at first, he finally accepted my offer on condition that I teach the method of a lecture before the next course. Then he finished splendidly. Since his IT skill was not high at first, he understood a beginner’s feeling and it became a very intelligible lesson. By assigning suitable role for each member, the person can demonstrate his or her power to the maximum extent.
Regarding team-building it is the most important that all the members have the same purpose. And the team can attain the purpose when each acts a suitable role and demonstrates a strong point to the maximum extent and compensates a mutual weak point. Union of a team is indispensable. I have experienced many team-buildings in the lacrosse team and Aquent’s projects. I am well acquainted with the greatness of every person’s power being set to one. I chose XXX because of its culture, which regards the teamwork as important. By gaining team-building experience in the diversity environment, my teamwork skills can fully be enhanced. And I want to use the skill for the dissolution of “Digital Divide”, which is one of my personal missions.