Sunday, August 24, 2008

IMC Journal | Part 4

A lot of my classmates from the IMC class told me that my blog helped them prepare for the midterm... well guys, like the hutch/vodafone pug ad says "Happy to help". (Just a request, if you visit the blog, do leave a comment - would love to hear from y'all!)

Speaking of the mid-term, well, it was not sinister - in fact far from it - it was a test that made u think, ponder, reflect... quite a welcome break from the mug-vomit routine. And the best part - most of think that there cannot be any one correct answer to most questions and I daresay, we are all right from our point of view.

Yesterday's class was different to say the least... (for a while I thought was back in the gaseous climes of the HR class!!) with class being divided into 4 groups and given drinking straws to build towers that would be judged on 3 criteria - strength, height and beauty. But here was the catch - one chap from each group was meet with Mirchi while the rest were given the resources (the straws) and could start building. These chaps - deemed as leaders of the groups - rejoined their respective groups and started working with us, though by then some labeled them chamchas or 'spies' (Yes - even at the MBA level, we still have the ripe wisdom and maturity of a montessary student - and you know what, class & life would be grey without it!)

So while our group endevaoured to make a straw tower (something that would tower over even Sid Srinivasan) in the alloted 20 minutes, each one of us came up with the master engineering plan and started building as if blessed by Lord Vishwakarma himself... aamra shobai raja ei rajar rajotte! (We are all kings in this king's kingdom) It was total chaos... and finally with multiple leaders and no singular thought, it was no suprise that we did not really have a straw tower. Next came branding and launching our non-existent tower. (By then some of us including me on the sly started 'fixing' it to salvage some pride)

Creativity has no bounds and this exercise proved it! T first group pitched their tower as the "love nest" for honeymooning couples in Bejing (ala the Bird's Nest stadium?) but methinks no one for the love of God would dare stay there; group two called theirs "the earthquake" - an entertainment centre under construction that would host the world's most thrilling roller coaster ride; the third group's tower was pitched as an old school cigar bar - truth is that it all smoke and mirrors! As for us, we creatively pitched ours as "Burj-e-Qaida": a symbol of revolution built for the "liberators" against the Whiteman's opression! (golper goru gache utheche re! - sorry - when I get emotional I tend to burst out in my mother tongue - that Bengali phrase can be loosely translated as "the cow in the story climbed a tree" - absurdism anyone?)

Then came the points and to no real suprise our score was Zero (hey what's there to be sad abt that - afterall that's India's contribution to the world!)

This entire exercise was an illustration of how organisations and agencies worked in real life - what are the challenges faced by individuals and teams when a brand campaign is launched. It effectively illustrated how the leadership Style was important for achieving a common vision and ensuring productivity - - how there must a certain Structure in the group to get the desired results (too many leaders with no followers or vice versa and we come down like a house of cards) - - that there must a System (chaos theory doesn't quite cut it here) - - the Staff ie the employees can make or break a campaign and everyone must be on board when the campaign is being executed - - Skills of each employee must be optimally utilised - - and finally there must be a Strategy to hold it all together. Indeed Strategy is the glue and blueprint of any campaign (and I daresay for anything one wants to achieve)... all of these would mean that the team is built upon a certain set of Shared Values (and that's an Olympic achievement).

The following diagram captures the essence of the exercise: