WHEN YOUR MANAGER IS A ‘VEGETARIAN SHARK’ !
Have you ever wonder if you had a chance to ‘face to face’ with a shark in the sea, would you know what is it hunting for? Your blood or your heart?
Actually, this situation is like the competitive market of Advertising agencies nowadays, when every company is ‘scenting and hunting’ for their clients’ wallets by any ways without ethics and consideration. But don’t worry; there is still a ‘vegetarian shark’ that just wants to make clients be her friends! Her name is Vu Huynh Phuong Anh, she has been an Account manager of Square Direct Communication Group in Ho Chi Minh City for 2 years. Square Group was established in 2005 by Vo Thanh Trung, Tran Ngoc Tuan, Nguyen Mai Hien, and Pham Hoang Thai Nhiem as four founders starting their business with Event Management and enlarging to IMC, PR and Promotional Marketing. At the very first sight, I was deceived by Phuong Anh’s appearance as an unapproachable and glacial girl but I was wrong. When she enthusiastically shared her 5-year experiences before applying to Square Company, I changed my mind and was absorbed by her unique working styles and the way she acknowledges problems.
Do you choose the job or Does the job choose you actually?’ she said, “What you learn from University may be changed in the way you can’t image, it’s called profession fate.
Vegetarian Shark’s working styles
For Phuong Anh, working with more than 10 companies in 5 years is not adorable and proficient like I think. It’s just because of her reckless and unsubmissive characteristics, as we named her – “shark”. Interestingly, her major at Hoa Sen University was not Professional Communication but Sale. Phuong Anh jumped from Sale manager to Account manager without hesitation and flinch because “one important thing is that we have to make our disadvantages become our advantages by giving yourself a chance to try”, she stated. The experience from Sale department in Grey Global Group in 2010 brings a lot of benefits for Phuong Anh to manage her current team. She thinks that the leaders or managers are people who inspire and motivate their members to work effectively based on the structure of agency. Leadership/ Management is having our ‘own organization’ and creating the ‘tectonics’, in other words, the solid foundation before collaborate with each other. Phuong Anh is one of the live witnesses of an unconventional manager because she doesn’t expect her team to be her reproduction/ copy but creative creators (Kimberly, p. 480). Moreover, Buddhism is one of the important factors that influence the way Phuong Anh deal with her internal aspects and clients. “Soul” is what she called the centre of our vibration which passionates and creates the positive energy to acknowledge problems in any circumstances objectively. This girl has the characteristics of a transformational leader as well. According to Podsakoff (p. 115), this kind of leader/manager is described as optimistic, passionate and visionary. Those outstanding features can spread like a ‘wildfire’, when it does, leaders and members can engage and fuel cohesion more effectively (Hemlin, p. 203).
‘Choppy sea’ in her life-work
When I asked her for the real scenario in Advertising agency environment, Phuong Anh shared the most unforgettable memory related to Sam Sung’s event last year that her company would never want to face again. Everything was going on the right track until the opening day of event on 20th February 2013. Square had some problems with the supplier of the venue that they rent for. This guy didn’t allow Square to set up and let Sam Sung hold the event. No one in the company knew how to solve this disastrous problem because Sam Sung already announced for their VIPs and beloved customers the time through emails and social media. Money was not the only big problem but the reputation of both companies and their relationships with customers. Unfortunately, Account team was the representatives for Square to negotiate with Sam Sung and Phuong Anh had to do her best. Don’t let anyone disappointed, Phuong Anh persuaded Sam Sung to delay this event back to 2 days, besides that, instead of converting the losses from Sam Sung to money, Square would add more values for their client by organising a live show with the attending of celebrities to gain attention and mobilize Square’s own human resources to promote for Sam Sung event. This inventing option for mutual gains from Phuong Anh helped Sam Sung calm down and agree to keep working with Square. In other words, Phuong Anh saved face for her company without breaking their relationship with the customer (Fisher, 1991). At the end, Square proved that they could keep promises and fixed their mistakes successfully. The rest of those things were history.
Thao Dang, a member of Phuong Anh’s team, said that ‘Phuong Anh always knows how to bargain and negotiate in the best way that satisfied both Clients’ and her company’s interests.”
Phuong Anh added that “Sometimes money can’t buy our bosses’ and client’s happinesses but working with heart and soul”.
To sum up, client management issues happen and rotate every day; a good client manager knows how to clarify and build relationships with members of the client team who have strong impacts in purchasing decisions (Kimberly, p. 479). Furthermore, client managers should prepare and improve communication plans to keep clients up to date with developments of the company so as to maintain their loyalty for a long term. Besides that, before entering any negotiation with client, he/she must prepare for their BATNA (Best Alternative of the Negotiating Agreement) and determine what their company really wants, as stated from course Power Point for COMM2384 Client Management, because “He who sees through life and death will meet with most success” (Unknown, 2013). In my perspective, I agree with the honest sharing of Phuong Anh and she is one of my inspirations in pursuing my dream of Account manager in the future. “Always try to treat people the way you’d like to be treated”, she said.
Total words: 996
Fisher, R &Ury, W & Patton, B 1991, Getting to yes: negotiating agreement without giving in, 2dn, Penguin Books, USA.
Hemlin, S., Allwood, C. M., & Martin, B. R. (2009). Creative knowledge environments. Creativity Research Journal, 20, 200–209.
Kimberly S Jaussi, Shelley D Dionne. Leading for creativity: The role of unconventional leader behaviour. The Leadership Quarterly Leading for Innovation Edited by Michael D. Mumford Volume 14, Issues 4-5, (August-October 2003), Pages 475-498.
‘Negotiation Principles’ 2013, course Power Point for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 3 September 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.
Podsakoff, P, Mackenzie, S, Moorman, R & Fetter, R 1990, ‘Transformational leader behaviors and their effect on followers’ trust in leader, satisfaction and organizational citizenship behaviors’, Leadership Quarterly, vol.1, no. 2, pp.110-135.