Campaign India Team
Apr 29, 2009

Anant's blog: The world is, indeed, flat

The first time I was ‘affected’ by riots or terrorism was when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. My cousin is married to a Sikh and, as a consequence, I was terrified for their safety till things settled down.I was worried on 9/11 as New York is home to a number of my ex-wife’s closest relatives.7/7 had me in a tizzy as my brother works in London.

Anant's blog: The world is, indeed, flat

The first time I was ‘affected’ by riots or terrorism was when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. My cousin is married to a Sikh and, as a consequence, I was terrified for their safety till things settled down.

I was worried on 9/11 as New York is home to a number of my ex-wife’s closest relatives.

7/7 had me in a tizzy as my brother works in London.

The Mumbai train blasts were the worst. My daughter called me up, as was her wont, to tell me she had reached Churchgate station and would board a train in a few minutes. This was at about 6.30 PM. By 6.40 PM, I learnt of the first of the blasts on a train which left Churchgate. Then another train, another and another, all ex-Churchgate. It was a couple of hours before I could make contact with my daughter. She was safe.

For me, it was the most tense couple of hours of my life.

Then we had 26/11. A friend died in the attack. Another was fortunate and managed to escape.

The Bali blasts didn’t affect me. The Madrid bombings didn’t. The earthquake in China didn’t. The swine flu doesn’t.

To affect me, someone I know has to be affected or I have to be affected, if you get what I mean.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been having conversations with my colleagues at Haymarket on how things are in the UK and in the USA.

In a word, it’s tough. Recruitment advertising, the mainstay of a lot of our B2B publications, has disappeared. Display advertising is shrinking.

It’s more than tough, it’s very tough.

Yet in India things are still good. Most of our titles are performing as well as they were before the downturn. Autocar India, I understand, is, amazingly, ahead of revenue targets.

The story will be similar at advertising agencies and media agencies with multinational roots and linkages. India is doing well while Europe and the USA are in a mess.

And it’s April and it’s time, traditionally, for appraisals and increments.

And managers tell their teams that it’s very tough this year and they will have to make do with nothing extra or very little extra.

And do their teams care?

They don’t. Because they’re doing well. They’re writing revenue, they’re making profits for the Indian arms.

They need to care. And management needs to help them care.

To be able to care, there is a need to understand clearly the situation in the rest of the world.

More importantly, there is a need to make employees understand that they belong to a multinational company, a large family with members spread across the world.

There is a need to understand that part of that family is hurting, in trouble, in danger.

There is a need to feel for that part of the family that is affected by the economic meltdown. That they need help and support at a time like this.

I need to be affected.

Why are most employees in MNC agencies and companies such as mine not affected? Because they don’t feel part of a bigger family.

The next few months are going to be very tough as well.

It’s time professionals in senior management made life easier for themselves by sharing facts and figures with their employees. Make them understand the size of the family that they belong to; find a way for them to feel that they are, indeed, part of the family; let them know of the pain that someone far away is feeling.

Then they will care.

And life will be easier to deal with.

This is a provisional post with instinctive thoughts. With help from your opinions, I’ll tighten it up. How do we deal with this situation where India is outperforming most of the world and, yet, employees in MNC Indian branches have to make sacrifices and adjustments for the greater good of a large organization? Please write in; let this become an extended conversation.

Source:
Campaign India