Below is essay question and my draft, it's surpassed the word limit by 200 words. I was too wordy in telling the story, could anyone help condense the paragraphs 2,3,4,5 into a much shorter story without losing the context. Thanks so much in advance!
"List one of your most significant professional or organizational accomplishments.
Describe your precise role in this event and how it has helped to shape your management skills. Please limit your response to two, double-spaced, typed pages."
One of the most significant accomplishments in my professional career is that I successfully established the SOP (or Standard Operation Procedure) for a consulting project, both to implement and optimize the project process, when I worked with ***, a market research consulting company.
In early 2007, a major Singapore client was transferred to me. The project was to conduct a nationwide survey in 24 cities of the country. Effective implementation of the survey involved the close cooperation of 3 internal operation teams. As the project leader, I was responsible for overseeing the whole process to ensure that each team would fulfill its duty and collaborate well with the othesr to complete the project within schedule and without compromise in data quality. Not long after the project was kicked off, however, some issues arose. The project was way behind schedule, and there was an unusually high sample drop rate of 7%: the normal drop rate is around 4% (a sample means one respondent’s interview data).
After investigation, I found that some teams were more responsible than others on the data quality issue. What was worse, the 3 teams were not working well together. Every team complained to others about their irresponsibility in checking data consistency. For some steps of the project procedure, each team’s responsibility was not clear. When an issue arose, they just shifted the blame to other shoulders instead of finding a solution. I realized that the problem in the project was not completely due to the unclear responsibilities of each team, but also to a lack of team spirit among the team members.
After detailed research on the project, I developed an in-depth understanding of the procedure. With the help of other team members, I drafted an SOP for the project. In the SOP, there were detailed instructions and job responsibilities for each team on each step of the project. In addition, the procedure was optimized with more data checks and less chance of data errors. The operation teams, however, didn’t like the idea of this SOP; they said to me that I should spend more time on business development rather than worry about concepts that had no practical value. Most of them were older than I, which only added to the challenge of earning their respect.
I tried to approach the team members in a different way, I went to lunch with them every noon, and I played badminton with them every Saturday night. Gradually they became open with me, and I began to understand their problems. They actually welcomed the new procedure, which would prevent data quality issues. But the new procedure would call for more work for every team, and each team already had a heavy workload: people would be happy to be off duty by 8 pm every day. It was not surprising that they tried to shift the responsibilities to others, which seriously hurt teamwork. Getting support from my boss, I held a meeting with the company management. I gave an impressive presentation on how the SOP would greatly improve the data quality of our project. Though more human resources would be needed to implement it, the benefits far outweighed the cost. Finally the management agreed to transfer two people to be dedicated to our project. This would greatly lessen the burden on each person. By doing this, I won trust and respect from everybody. With sufficient resources, the operation people were happy to cooperate with the SOP.
It really worked! After two weeks, the dropped sample rate decreased greatly, data quality was improved significantly, and we finally completed the project within the original schedule. Our client greatly appreciated our excellent work on this project and commissioned us for another two major projects, which enabled us to reach the revenue target two months early. An the annual dinner, I received the “Art Award” of the year for my operational excellence and a business increase of 28%. During the feast, I proposed a toast to all the team members, because I knew the award was not only for me but for all of us.
This successful year marked a change in the maturity of my career development. From that time on, I began to believe that I could make a significant impact on an organization by motivating others to work as a team and to take initiative for innovation. I honed my communicate skills: I can now be understood and supported by other people, whether in a lower rank or higher. More important, I gained a broader understanding of management. Management is about efficiency and execution; leadership is about influencing people and effecting change. I believe this project demonstrates my capacity for being both an effective manager and an effective leader. This has reinforced my confidence in being a team leader and allowed me to be successful in other regional projects.