Leaving the Agora team was one of the toughest things I had to do. The words, tears, flowers and gifts from the teams in various outlets, office, warehouse and distribution centre was simply heart-warming. I never realized I had made such an impact in the hearts and minds of over 700 team members over the 3 years I led them as their CEO.
After being in Team and Leadership Excellence consulting for 10 years, subsequent to 16 years in corporate life for 16 years as Director for Keells Foods and Keells Super, I took on a new interesting challenge as the CEO of the Agora Supermarket Chain [owned by the highly diversified Rahimafrooz Group] in Bangladesh in July 2009. This was a secondment from Sensei International where I continued to remain as a Partner and Senior Management Consultant.
This was a 3 year assignment to prepare the company for Rapid expansion. I took over this assignment for 3 reasons; Firstly because Agora was close to my heart as I helped start it as a consultant in 2001 and hence I considered Agora my own baby and I wanted it to be successful. Secondly because I wanted to validate the guidance I give so many companies around the world as a consultant, by being in the hot seat for a while. And thirdly because I respect the Rahimafrooz Group and the family that owns it for running a company driven by ‘Values’ using ‘world-class’ management methods.
My dream was to make Agora a world-class company, the pride of Bangladesh and I write this blog with a mix of emotions that include happiness, sadness, fear, pride and hope.
Firstly I am extremely happy that we together created a company with a positive work culture that was built on the ‘Ultimate Aspiration’, ‘Values’, ‘Agora Aponjon Promise’ [Aponjon is the Bangla word for ‘dear one’ or ‘near one’ and this is the promise we deliver to our ‘guests’ or ‘Aponjon’], quality policy, good leadership, supportive team work and passionate team members. We also made the company profitable building on this culture and taking measures to improve the brand image, value to our guests, business knowledge, planning and execution. We also invested in a brand new state of the art distribution centre, new outlets and a new ERP system [SAP and WINCOR NIXDOEF]. All this helped the company to become profitable for the first time in my first year in office and become a leading revenue and profit contributor of the Rahimafrooz Group [the group that owns Agora an many other companies] providing better benefits and promotional opportunities to Agora’s team members.
Continue reading “Liberating Passion at Agora – Leadership lessons Learnt as CEO of Agora over the last 3 years!”