Worst Leadership

During a retailing course while I was studying bachelors, we were supposed to do a project on selling; the basic idea of the project was to sell products to a target group which was limited to college students who usually were from the age group of 18-25, the skills and strategies that were being taught on selling were to be implemented to gain customers from the target group within a limited budget and a competitive profit was to be generated.

We were divided into group consisting of 5 members (3 male 2 females), I was not elected as the leader but being the first one to organize the group and come up with ideas and strategies that would help us achieve the objective made me leader by default. I had been leading mates in earlier projects and presentations. Earlier I had been efficient in structuring and motivating group members and instructed them to work in a disciplined way and fulfill the requirement of any task that had been given.

In order to be competitive we had to come up with products which would be our competitive advantage over others. In other words the products offered had to be unique and the ideas should strictly entertain the target age group. There were numerous views discussed by the group, each members’ content of cognition was different than others. Final decision made was to sell customized T-shirts; every customer could choose their design or phrases to be drawn on shirts for any color of a t-shirt with a low price and to hire a cartoonist who would make cartoon sketches of customers within 20minutes.

A week before the project started I divided the group according to the responsibilities they had been given. They were divided into operations, finance, sales and designing. The first step was to design the stall and make it attractive to gain customer’s interest. Next step was to search for supplier who could print any customized design on t-shirts at a low price and a cartoonist who would accept the offer to take part in the activity. The advertising campaign had started and we posted charts with customized t-shirts hanging along with cartoon sketches of celebrities.

The tag line focused on the word YOU! To reflect that each requirement would be fulfilled according to individual needs. Finally the day when the project started and we were all set to take orders and entertain customer’s requirement in the best way. The first day sales were higher than expected. The promise was low price and delivery time. For the t-shirts it was 2days as the project only had to last for a week. Each t-shirt requirement differed from other in design, color and size.

All the requirements were gathered and after we consolidated a target amount of t-shirt orders the first day, the operations team who was responsible to take care of the production of shirts and delivery on time. Surprisingly, each t-shirt required an extra effort in order to be made by custom requirement which increased the time required for production and delivery. The supplier refused to take more orders as the production stages were time consuming whereas our demand was low delivery time. Our aim was to arrange as many customized shirts as we could which was not facilitated by the shirts supplier so well.

So I considered consulting another supplier to lower the burden of shirts to be produced, which would possibly increase the production to meet the daily requirement. The issue of the delivery was resolved to a certain extent but the cost of each t-shirt increased as the transportation cost and the price offered by the second supplier was high. Even though the cost of each t-shirt had now increased we could not increase the price the second day as we promised to offer shirts at low price, there were more orders for t-shirts now and it seemed hard to deliver previous orders on the delivery time promised.

Eventually Third day because the cost of t-shirts had increased we doubled the price for each t-shirt and sketches to overcome the loss made in t-shirts, which resulted in fewer orders and the target was not achieved. The existing customers were expecting their orders to be delivered which was not possible yet. Fourth day we did not receive any order for t-shirts neither for the sketch. The first delivery of few shirts was made but customers didn’t seem satisfied. Sales were low towards last two days and we delivered the shirts ordered in the first three

days. We only received orders for t-shirts and sketches during the first three days of the project, but because of only having one supplier for the production of t-shirts we could not keep the promise for a quick delivery. Even though we consulted the other supplier the issue was not resolved because that made it necessary to increase the price, which followed to losing customers. We could not prove to be the most efficient in sales and operations and the project turned out to be a failure.

The group members were not well satisfied with the project because the goal or the target that we were supposed to achieve was not accomplished. In spite of being personally not very satisfied, I made the group members realize that the objective of the project was not achieved in terms of customer satisfaction. Profit might not be achieved too well but the project gave us an opportunity to work as a team and experience situations we might face later in life. The project in spite of being a failure changed our perspective of facing situations.