We at ABFRL, present stories excerpted from our internal newsletter ‘In Touch’, where we celebrate stories of our people and their contributions.
The journey from a store to a pivotal position in the HO is something most aspire and dream of, but seldom know how to reach. But at ABFRL, no vision is too distant for those with the will and skill to reach the top. Sandeep Rana, who is now the Sales Head North and East for Style Up and Marigold Lane takes us through his journey from a Store Manager to here over his 14+ year career at ABFRL.
Hailing from the North of India, Sandeep brings with him 20+ years of experience in the fashion retail industry, a major portion of which he spent as a frontline warrior. A Delhi University graduate, his exploits took him to various brands and countries including the Middle East, where he honed his skills, meeting customers of various kinds. He finally came home to ABFRL in 2008 as a Store Manager in North Zone.
Sandeep has always been diligent and hardworking and soon after joining ABFRL, he was promoted to the role of Operations Manager for the North Zone. His good work earned him accolades, including the Best Operations award at the Pan-India level for successive years, and more responsibilities. He rose to the challenge to lead operations in Pantaloons East Zone during the busiest time of the year, Durga Pujo.
His efforts paid off, as his team was adjudged the Best Team for Pujo with 10% LTL and National Implementation of Pujo Checklist for readiness, efficiency and optimum implementation. He moved to the Area Business Manager role in FY20 and soon started delivering stellar performance.
Through all his personal accomplishments, he never left his team behind. To ensure high employee morale and wellness, he launched several initiatives including “Store Griha Pravesh”, “Jeena Isi ka Naam hain”, “Family Day”, “Employee Wellness”, and “Baby Shower”, which eventually was rolled to the entire region. His empowerment initiatives resulted in work-life balance and improved efficiency in the region. With such efforts, ABFRL recognized his leadership skills and he is now the head of Sales for Style Up and Marigold Lane for North and East regions.
Decoding Sandeep’s career path at ABFRL
“Talent takes you to the top but attitude makes you stay there”, is the mantra Sandeep lives by. From day one of his illustrious career, he realised that alongside talent, having the right attitude is quintessential to elevating one’s career. His positive frame of mind, honing the right skill sets and a desire to act as a catalyst towards his professional productivity has helped him grow from strength to strength.
As Operations Manager, he learned from his interactions with his managers that led to a wealth of knowledge and insights. His own commitment made him determined to grow in his career. Moving from the comfort of home in the North to taking reins in the East was a difficult transition. “In East, the first thing that hit me hard was the cultural difference. The initial few weeks kept challenging me on my socialising skills. But like time had taught me earlier, with perseverance, honest intentions of mixing with people and loving them back, it was soon as delectable as the sweetest sweet. The following years presented me with a thinking hat that I always craved to wear, but didn’t quite get the opportunity. East made me an able Leader, unlocking different visions and shades, which made me a believer in moving to the next level,” he explains.
When he was elevated to Head Sales for two busy regions for Style Up and Marigold Lane, Sandeep was elated and anxious in equal measure. The role was bound to be testing; from creating SOPs to shutting non-profitable stores, no decision was going to be easy. But in this new chapter of his professional life, a determined Sandeep is steeling up to face challenges with iron hands and come out victorious.
The Joys of Being an ABFRLite
Sandeep describes his time at ABFRL as a Rubik’s Cube. Just like the toy, he says, you need to take the time and sort on challenge, or face of the cube at a time. As you sort the puzzle, other faces fall into place, and some of these solutions surprise you! There are times we solve problems without even knowing they existed in the first place, making you a better person and an even better professional in the bargain!
He loves his job because, he witnesses everyone sharing the same vision and is dedicated to the mission. This truly creates a family environment with a cohesive attitude where everybody co-exists as One Family. The autonomy and trust from his leadership is what keeps Sandeep motivated. There is pressure, but his positive outlook and learning attitude, allows him to strike a balance between work and play. Beyond all, a feeling of motivation from his managers and leaders to pursue newer challenges and projects to develop a newer gamut of skill sets has truly been his guiding star.
Strike the perfect work-life balance
The perfect “work-life balance,” is probably what we are accustomed from old Bollywood films, having an extremely productive day at work and having ample time to spend with friends and family. While it is aspirational, the world throws us into a different reality.
Sandeep puts this age-old dilemma into perspective rather beautifully for us. “Increasing our cognitive and emotional awareness gives us the tools we need to put things into perspective and determine how our priorities need to be adjusted. Asking ourselves: What am I willing to sacrifice, and for how long? If I have been prioritizing work over family, for example, why do I feel that it is important to prioritize my life in this way? Is it necessary? Is it inevitable? Our priorities often shift faster than our day-to-day time allocation habits.”
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not only important for health and relationships, but it can also improve employee productivity, and ultimately performance. He adds, “Put simply, if people don’t view work as a chore, then they will work harder, make fewer mistakes, and are more likely to become advocates for the brand. At ABFRL, there’s already a perfect balance between work and life at both Stores and Regional Offices, which keeps one refreshed and energized with high morale,” he signs off with a smile.