Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pinnacle Shall Run

"You want me to what?” I asked, stunned.
“Not you. Pinnacle”, he said matter of factly. I rolled my eyes. It was my favourite pastime these days. “Can you explain what exactly you want Pinnacle to do Karan?” I emphasised each word because really, he was annoying.
“Please?” he stressed, smiling.
“Karan” JS glared.
“Please” I said, not smiling at all.

“All right then. I think it’s crucial for Pinnacle to acquire GFG as a client. First of all, it will do wonders for Pinnacle as an agency. Two, it is great for SRP which is a part holder of Pinnacle because we’ll be in the know of what his moves and plans are, and also of his deals with other airlines. Three, since this idea comes from SRP, maybe the revenue earned could be used to buy back shares held by SRP easing the cash flow problem. Four, if he does become Pinnacle’s client, then we could strike a deal with him, and swing things in our favour.” He looked so smug, so pleased with himself and his great ideas, which by the way weren’t great at all, it aggravated me even more. This meeting was traumatic enough for me as it is. I mean we were supposed to be voting on selling Pinnacle. How could he barge in and bring up something that wasn’t even on/in the agenda? I suppose he could, because he was a part owner and he was Karan after all, but it was still bloody unfair. I realised he was looking at me for a reaction, like most others in the Boardroom, so I stopped the mental rambling and began the verbal one.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea at all. One, you shouldn’t be talking about a company’s reputation and image I think considering how you are jeopardizing yours. Two, since when does Pinnacle do what SRP tells it to? Three, you want us to buy back our own shares? Are you crazy? How is that good for our image? Four, it’s not a cash flow problem as much as it’s a cash crunch one. Five, wasn’t one ‘good’ deal enough that you want one more? Six, whatever happened to Client Confidentiality? Oh wait I have more to say, seven, wasn’t this supposed to be a meeting on voting to sell Pinnacle?”
“Come on. Be a little open to his ideas. We can decide in a little while.” Vishal’s efforts to calm me down failed as always, but only because Karan had to add, “You’re problem is that you can’t deal with change. You can’t accept anything new; can’t think beyond what you’ve already thought of. You can’t change your mind once you’ve made it up and you don’t let anyone else change it for you.”

His eyes told me that he wasn’t talking only about the BOD meeting, but I brushed those thoughts away. “You think I’m incapable of accepting change? I just agreed to leave the agency to become a negotiator at SRP. I just agreed to give up my damn job which FYI I love very much. And I just agreed to give up my company to save yours and you tell me I’m incapable of change? That’s rich.”
His voice rose, and now we were both screaming at each other, “Yeah I say that because you don’t even want to spend a few minutes analyzing my suggestion which by the way is a good one.”
“If I didn’t analyze it Karan, how do you think I came up with my seven points of concern?” I lowered my voice, wanting this argument to end. I was fed up and I was also regretting my choice of words.
Quite obviously he didn’t want the same, “Seven points of concern? You ripped it apart and don’t try to deny that and please don’t disguise it as concern. Is there honestly nothing redeeming about it?”
“Yes or no? Is there nothing redeeming about it?” He insisted I answer, and I did, “There is. But…”
He cut in, “Then I think it is worthy of a few more minutes of discussion. Let’s hear what the others think of it.” He turned and looked at Vishal and JS, both of whom seemed extremely tired of our constant bickering, which had escalated from being on a monthly basis, to a daily or even an hourly one.

JS looked at Vishal and then said, “Why don’t we all listen to a little more about Karan’s idea and then we can take a call on what we want to do?” He looked at me with a reassuring glance, that seemed to say that everything will be okay though for the life of both of us, we didn’t know how. Karan walked over towards the big screen and one of his many assistants, -Yes, of course he had an entourage. Why would you even doubt/question that? - started the ppt. I was irritated again. He didn’t have the time to talk to me, no wait he practically ran away from me, but he had the time to make fancy floral powerpoint presentations for his stupid senseless supposed ‘solution’. Men, I thought, mentally rolling my eyes. Okay they weren't floral, but I hate presentations.

He began his presentation with a charm and a style best suited to award show hosts. The title slide of the PPT had GFG’s picture and a picture of a target. Juvenile much?
“As is quite clear by the illustration, I believe GFG must be our next target. We must try everything we can to get him as a client; it must be our foremost objective and I will give a detailed explanation of every reason why I believe so. Firstly ever since the announcement of his new invention – the Green fuel which was made ten days ago, he has been in the news world over constantly. He has refused most interviews, and is being very secretive, to add to the mystery I suppose and sources say that he does not have one official representative yet. It is rumoured that he is planning a press conference next week and it is crucial for Pinnacle to get in touch with him somehow or the other before that happens. The Pinnacle connection most importantly will help Shall Run Planes in obtaining information about his dealings with other airlines and his plans for the future and we can certainly hope to get an advantage when it comes to signing a deal with him.”

I sighed softly and began doodling again. It was hard to listen to things I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be a part of this meeting in the first place and now thankful though I was to him, for postponing the voting, I still wasn’t thankful enough to want to listen to all the nonsense he was spouting. I wasn’t thankful enough to even want to listen to figure out if it was nonsense or not, just like my thoughts currently.
Less than a minute later Vishal pulled the pencil away, “You know you want to listen. Don’t be stubborn.”
I whispered back, “It’s not being stubborn Vishal. I’m just so tired. It hasn’t been an easy day; it hasn’t been an easy decision. I spent the last two days oscillating/vacillating between both our choices for the vote, unable to stick to one decision, and that’s ridiculous because I’m the one who suggested the sale.”
“It isn’t ridiculous at all. And I know how much Pinnacle means to you, but you should accept the fact that it is an equally difficult decision for all of us as well. And Karan is trying to help, even though I know it doesn’t feel that way. His approach may be wrong, but he means good. So listen.”

I smiled at him. He was right, like always. At some point in the five years I had known him, he had matured so much. He knew what to say when and how to get all of us to cooperate. He just knew. He had grown up. And we, me and Karan, we were the same- two stupid people who'd never be able to figure it out.
Karan stopped his speech abruptly and said, “I don’t know why you aren’t listening but you should. This is a good thing. I’m trying to save Pinnacle.”
Vishal jumped to my defence, “She had a doubt about his next conference. We were sorting it out Karan. Just go on with it.”
But of course he couldn’t let go, “Do you realise how good this will be for Pinnacle’s image? Leave aside Shall Run for a minute. Keeping SRP apart, this guy is the client to have right now. Do you have any idea what it will do for the company? Because this guy is huge right now and you cannot not capitalize on that. If you get him, Pinnacle is set, for life!” He looked at me, stressing on the parts where it was awesome for Pinnacle.
I wasn’t falling for the bait, “Do you have any idea how bloody controversial this is going to be?” I know I could have been nicer, but I’m me and it had been an incredibly long and painfully annoying day.
He chose to respond with the clichéd, “Any publicity is good publicity.”
“I have never advocated that.” Two could play the matter-of-factly game, I suppose.
“But I have.” He grinned.
“Clearly.” I snorted, and I ended up rolling my eyes again. There wasn’t a week where he wasn’t in the news for some crappy thing or the other. Generally most gossip revolved around his many 'Plus Ones' to every social do he attended and how long those 'relationships', if you can call them that, lasted. So I wasn’t surprised to hear him advocating any publicity is good publicity. No, I'm not jealous. Honestly.

He continued, unaware of what was going on in my mind. “Anyway moving on, I would like to point out the fact that the biggest advantage Pinnacle has right now is the fact that we haven’t been chasing him and hounding him like most other agencies and media units. That might raise the respect he has for us. We must go after him strongly but he mustn’t realise that. To him it should look like a soft, bordering-on-disinterested, we-are-awesome approach.”
Oh so he was framing strategies now? Acquiring-Client Strategies? Who did he think he was? JS seemed to have read my mind or maybe he just had the same opinion, because he cut in, “Karan, no strategies now. We just need you to illustrate why you think this is a good idea and you’ve done that. Strategies can wait till we actually reach a decision on the implementation.”
He obviously didn’t seem to mind his father’s interruption. Father-son bonding had reached a new level these days. Sometimes it seemed like they were programmed to work the same way, react the same way and that was a recent development. JS added, “If you have anything else to say about this Karan, now would be the time.”

“I’d like to end by stressing on a very important point again- Separating Pinnacle and SRP, that is irrespective of SRP and its troubles, you have to admit that he” Karan paused for effect, and pointed at the screen which was now displaying a big blown up picture of GFG, and then continued, “is definitely an asset for Pinnacle, that is if they can get him.” That last bit was obviously aimed at me, even though he was pointedly looking away. His attempts at trying to manipulate or coerce me in the disguise of a challenge failed because I wasn’t as stupid as he thought I was, even in times like this when I couldn’t think. Or maybe he just wanted me to think I was challenging him so I would get irritated. Okay I’m over thinking this again. That was my problem where he was concerned.
JS then got up and ended the meeting by postponing the final decision to the evening because we all (read me) needed time to think about the new developments. The BOD was set to meet at 6 again and in the meantime we were asked to forget everything else but Pinnacle, GFG and Shall Run Planes’ approaching and sadly rather inevitable crisis. Karan and JS left together, involved in a rapid, serious discussion presumably revolving around the GFG and any developments that may have taken place in the last 6 hours.

Vishal, Shekhar, Sanjana and a very subdued me walked away from the room. A gamut of emotions had taken my brain hostage, and I didn’t have it in me to process what the others were saying. The relief and the joy at not having to sell Pinnacle, at least not now had taken complete control of me.
And if only I had known what lay ahead, I would have sold Pinnacle that very moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment