StoryBoard: TATA nano

Had a chance to see the new TATA Nano commercial today (Yeah finally back to the good old times when I used to watch The Big Fight, for some time!). It is in fact a perfect ad! Hats off to the creative agency. The advertisement starts off with a girl awaiting the arrival of something – in a small townish environment with folk music in the background.

Then you catch the glimpse of the bright yellow Nano, wading through the small by-lanes of the picturesque town, photographed by everyone. A chowkidar wishing his master, and well saying ‘Badi Hai’, still leaving the impression of possession of car being a status symbol to the growing Indian middle class – giving a master touch to the ad. Finally the ad ends with the girl putting up a anti-omen dot on the car with the whole colony watching the bright yellow bird!

While many of my colleagues here disagreed that it was a great ad, to me it was perfectly executed. It has touched the right audience. Come on – if the ad had to reach me or anyone with whom I discussed, it would have been totally different, probably as an alternate to the looting by the autowallahs of Bengalooru or as a weekend lazy drive solution on serene roads for time-pass. For a mid-sized family in a small town/ Class B cities – the target for Nano, the ad seems apt and has hit the point. For some time, I thought Tata Nano would come out with an Ad on the quality of the car etc…., but no they seem to have decided to touch the heart of their customer.

The Ad is available on Youtube – The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hCnzB5rvgY

This Ad is sheer pleasure when compared to another one in which some dulha throws money at everything acting like a change machine – such a crappy idea to sell your ATM facility! While, I might not be looking for a Nano class car, I definitely enjoyed the Ad. Now its upto you to Enjoy!

Following a Leader

One of the first acts of leadership – even Rod, seconded this (or rather it was the other way round), is that you must first learn to be a follower! Quite a few of my friends disagree on this. But well, I kind of feel the truth is yes. May be you are not following a person, but you are pursuing an institutional cause which both you and the person together ought to pursue. So you follow either the cause or the person.

One of my professors Dr. Venkat, has been teaching us Transformational Leadership and the Power and Influence in organizations. If you do not understand all the three, you make a mockery of yourself. A few of my friends argue on righteousness – Adhering to moral principles! Wow – when you cannot define what morality is how can you define what moral principles are? Too heavy a word to use? Transformational Leadership (I forgot the article which quoted it: my LIP materials are out of reach – So will update the source as soon as I reach them!), is a combination of idealized influence – where managers are role models, inspirational motivation – where leaders motivate the followers, intellectual simulation – where managers encourage innovation, individual consideration – managers act as coaches and advisers to associates. While many of my colleagues here have desired to kind of disagree that such kind of a leadership would work – which many would not accept in the public, some are not willing to realize that it takes time for this work! It definitely cannot happen overnight.

The reason I got this into the picture is, I have read many articles (Thanks to Dr. Venkat), from a leader’s perspective, but from a followers perspective, the leadership completely fails if the follower fails to recognize the presence of either of these factors or fails to acknowledge their presence. This is happening in one of the cases which I am practically observing from the past two days (I would like to maintain the privacy of the individuals involved). If the follower fails to realize the motivation they are getting from their leader or fail to recognize a source of motivation, if the followers fails to see the seed sown for innovation and leader effectiveness in promoting activities and finally, if the follower gives up on the advice and the coaching given by the leader – I doubt if this would work!

What is left open in the end is how and when do followers realize that there is an increased sense of collective identify and common mission and what is the ideal time for them to realize it in a short-duration program?

Moving on, there has also been an occasion of leader-self sacrifice, which has been suggested to be an effective act of leadership that communicates a leaders dedication to the collective good (Van Kippenberg and Van Kippenberg, 2005 – in the Applied Journal of Psychology) – but again how long do you think the leader’s sacrifice will be sustained for the collective good? Would the leader be missed later? – May be yes. A sacrifice of position by a leader, may push him or her out of the horizon, then what is the use of the gained trust if that results in a system going down? – Debatable.

If leaders have the option to choose a follower, then I think the follower must mostly be selected on value congruence – if time is a factor. The value systems going together may probably result in ease in achieving a collective goal.

GMAT Essays

Thanks to Manoj, Adi who had mailed their essays for review and a few more who visited the Great Lakes campus in Manamai, His Laziness, finally decided to list out how he scored a 6 on 6 in AWA and rocked some B School essays last year (Yeah do not ask the rest of the scores, you may stop reading the post right here :)). So here it goes, as to how I had planned out my essays to ISB, Great Lakes, Nanyang and well to the almost applied NUS. Credit to Mrs. Shyamala Shankar, Gokulam, Mysore also for her inputs at various stages (I mostly bunked the classes I had picked up with her, but sad that had to do it, a choice between la franciase and the queen, and finally settled for the french kisses (Jokin!!!) – Missing ’em has not added much value as I am not using french anywhere – even on my resume! to show off)!

Most of the B School/ GMAT/ GRE essays are either issue based or argument based. Some are open ended, but mostly can be fit into either of the two! So here is my take on how to fill your pages up…

Issue based essays:

If the question is an issue based one, read the stimulus which presents the issue carefully considering every aspect.
– Take your stance or position and jot down the points for or against the issues with clear examples
– Jot down the words relevant to the issue which will add clarity/ variety to the essay
– Restrict the essay to 4-5 paragraphs max. Usually you will have a 300 word restriction.
– Structure paragraph 1 with your general stance on the issue and your comments on the subjects as such
– Paragraph’s 2,3 and 4 – start with a topic sentence to introduce your argument or point in-favor or against and substantiate with relevant examples
– Paragraph 5 – Sum up your essay with words that reinforce your position with conviction
– And finally proof-read!

Argument based essays:

If the question is based on an argument, read and spot the topic and scope of the argument
a. List out the conclusion(s)
b. List out the evidence available supporting your conclusion
– Sum up the argument in your own words
– How does the argument use its evidences – are there any assumptions, gaps between evidence and conclusion.
– Under what what circumstances can these assumptions be valid or improved
– Is there anything relevant that has not been discussed?
– What would make the argument stronger or valid?

For execution, again split up into 3-4 paragraphs. Lengthy ones may not prompt the reader to pick the prime points.
– Let the first paragraph flow in with general comments and assessment of the argument
– Let the next 2-3 state the reasons or the evidence presented for the conclusion and critique them as weak (if they are) and load with the assumptions made. Question the words and expressions used (From my past practice essays lots of them usually follow this pattern)
– In the final paragraph give suggestions to improve and strengthen the argument whereby the conclusion can be made more forceful and credible.

Cheers,

Amar – http://www.amarharish.in

Finally a Website

Thanks to Kapil, my former teammate and one the brainiest people I have met, I have got a site of my own – http://www.amarharish.in. (Kapil runs his own firm ALC Excel, in the education sector and also runs his own domain hosting service) Nice to see my old team go places, and yeah Bonne Voyager Naveen… Let u face the same music that we did over there ;).

I bought the domain name from Rediff, but so pathetic is their service that I had to use Kapil’s servers to redirect them to my blog! I had sent quite a few requests to Rediff and well, my query on redirecting the URL without authentication was probably never understood or their technology did not allow me to do it, which probably would be one reason that I would recommend others not to go for Rediff hosting (I should have trusted the mouthshut reviews)! They would probably suggest me to shell out another 2K and buy their hosting space and move my blog there which I would not do. Will rather wait for my one year with Rediff to get over and move over entirely to Kapil’s services.

That’s the story so far! Yeah so patrons, you can now access this blog through – http://www.amarharish.in

Yeah and some stories in the offing over the coming weeks on me (Sounding Welsh?) blog:

– An M&A analysis of the near past or the Ben&Jerry Unilever case. Working on one of ’em.
– How attitudes change at times of crisis – Need another 2-3 weeks at least to see people reacting to situation and need to go home to pick a Freud book from my mum’s library