A Chat with Wallace Chege, Head of Mombasa Trading

Where did Wallace begin?

I joined this great organization Car & General in September 2009 as a management trainee attached to Piaggio business. I was transferred to Kitengela in September 2010 where I served in the pioneer sub-branch till December 2011.  In January 2012, I was transferred to Mombasa branch as a Sales Manager, a position I served till March 2016. Since then, I am now serving a higher calling that is leading a young, ambitious and very dedicated team in the Coast region as the Business Leader.

What does your position entail?

Ensuring that all our 3 entities achieve their financial objectives (top and bottom line) and promoting our core values and living up to them at a personal level, that’s the only way you can influence others to embrace them. Since our shared services are centralized at the head office, I equally have to do partial human resource, security and counselling responsibilities that arise like in any other business or organization.

What are the challenges of the job?

The unpredictable county government policies which have a great negative effect in our business but has since remained stable for a while now, cost of doing business is increasingly growing making it quite an uphill task to register a decent profit as a business.

What are your accomplishments?

Well, there are several and this has been achieved through team effort, one, becoming an excess of a billion-shilling business turnover per year is our capital accomplishment, growing the two-wheeler business to a triple digit performance per month in the region and maintaining a strong lead as the number one three wheeler player in the region is equally something we are proud of as a team. This inspires me as it demonstrates that the XY generation born in the late 80’s can be trusted and deliver in leadership, the bad perception associated with this age set notwithstanding.

How would you describe your leadership and management style?

(Laughs). A difficult question indeed, I would be fair to describe it situational style of leadership, there are occasions when duty calls,  I will switch to either authoritative approach or inspirational style of management, to sum it up, I can confirm that whatever style I apply,  its intended to get the best from the team. It may not always turn out to be so, but my intention is very clear, everyone in the team has something great to deliver, and it’s my responsibility to mine it out. It   starts out quite uncomfortably at times, but we all smile at the results, I deeply immerse myself on day to day running of the business and I can tell you a thing or two of 90{688e0b9e123b8cebb4c28d471e5eddb9590af983a8cfaed14838f48e92e478f5} of our customers and transactions.

What are some strategies you have implemented in Mombasa and in what ways have they been effective in the company’s growth?

Bottom – top strategy, most effective ideas have come from the junior members who have really taught me the virtue of enhancing our dealership engagements.  Earlier on we had dealers selling one product line, today majority of our dealers are retailing more than two product lines, consequently growing our sales. Another key driver is our new culture, all our people are sales professionals first, and any other responsibility second. Other than our sales team, we equally get contribution from our housekeepers, accounts team, assemblers and even security guards; the one or two referrals from them is significant. We also undertake unique market activations, mock weddings while launching Ape Romanza, free rides during Mothers’ Day to women in county 001, valentine rides and recently Iftar dinners with our Moslem community. In-house, we equally have goat eating cum team building events where we all do the cooking for ourselves, events that everyone in the branch looks forward to.

Away from office, what activities do you engage in?

Am involved in church work, I am on various committees. I am an English football avid fan, supporting the mighty Blues (Chelsea) and am also a small scale farmer.

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