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Man about town

Marketing boss sets stage for collision with Josphat



The big meeting. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
The big meeting. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

So finally made my presentation last week and it went well and also gave me a glimpse at the culture in this new place.

So, I arrived at the venue of the meeting 10 minutes earlier and set up to ensure that everything was okay.

I was feeling confident about my presentation having worked with Tina, Shiro’s niece to ensure that it looked perfect.

The start time came, and the room had only two managers present. This stunned me because such behaviours would have been unheard off with my previous employer. In fact, the CEO walked in 20 minutes late and said, “sorry we are starting late, I had an important telephone call to make.”

He then proceeded to tell us about his call, “I received a rather interesting call from one of our board members, which I think affects all of us.” We were all ears as he went on, “the guy says the government is proposing some new regulations, which will have an impact on our bottom line.”

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We all looked at him not sure what to say. Even if I am a newbie in this office, I could tell that the CEO was not amused and I was soon proven right when he banged the table and said, “I am annoyed that I should be hearing such news from a board member yet we have hired managers to monitor and scan the environment so that we are ready.”

He stared hard at all of us daring us to respond to his query. I was not sure what to say because truth be told, I should have known about these developments though the key responsibility I assume rests with the Manager of Legal Affairs. It seems that I was not the only one thinking this for Head of Marketing responded and said, “with all due respect sir, I did not pick it up because I was busy preparing the close of quarter reports and for assumed the legal team would pick it up and brief all of us.”

The Manager of Legal Affairs had no choice but to respond and said, “I do agree this is our huge failure on our part — as you know we have been seriously short-staffed, and this might have slipped through the cracks. I will make this a priority and revert by the end of the day.”

This response seemed to calm down the CEO who said, “I expect that report so that I can show the board that we are on top of things.” His mood changed almost instantly when he said, “let us now hear from the new kid on the block — Josphat you now have the floor.” The schedule indicated that I had only 15 minutes to present but we ended up taking 45 minutes. This is because the managers kept interrupting my presentation with all manner of questions. At times, I was not sure if the questions posed were genuine or were an attempt to impress the CEO.

I felt consoled when the session ended with the CEO saying, “there are some good ideas that we can implement — I trust you Josphat to guide the implementation of the ideas you have suggested.”

The Head of Marketing gave her comments and said, “thanks for your presentation, it has some good ideas. However, I notice that none of the ideas touches on marketing.” I was tempted to be rude to her, but I politely said, “thanks for your feedback- you will notice that this is a 90-day plan so I intend to first focus on the strategy side of things then we can move to the other areas.”

She did not seem to be satisfied with this response and proceeded to give a 10-minute talk on why marketing is “critical for the success of this business.”

At the end of our meeting, which had overrun by two hours, my only takeouts are I need to get used to long meetings and that the Head of Marketing will be trouble.

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