Let me begin by immodestly stating that we in India are destined to become remarkable, almost on top of the desirability heap. And given a choice, a number of people in the West do want to be here - the place you are in. Thank your stars that you are where they want to be.
That said, there is a lot we could learn from the West (and there is a lot they could learn from the East). I haven't included the economics-dependent skill-based harder areas like craft and production quality or stuff like specialist practices. This list is about the softer attitudinal issues that we need to soak up and practise.
1. God is in the details and so is the Devil
If there is one thing we could steal from the West, it should be this. We do have 330 million gods. We do need to get into the details.
2. We do love our clients. really!
The ability and the investment in building trust and extensive deep contact points to handle complexity and uncertainties with a fine balance of informality and professionalism is worth aping.
3. The sixty-minute cabaret
I am not talking of the pitch, but the pitch process. As an industry, we must extricate ourselves from this vicious bitter pitch pitch bitch cycle of pitch>>win>>lose>>pitch. However, until we as an industry have the guts to say “Thanks, but no thanks”, let’s learn the pitch process from the West and practise the practice of persuasion.
We do need to learn to value a commitment given and respect time. It is fundamental to being a professional. Well, I don't need to talk about how urgently we need to learn this.
5. Less is more
A coherent argument doesn't need a 200-slide presentation. We do very often forget that strategy is blindingly simple common sense. And there are quicker and simpler ways to reach the nose. The English are very good at cutting the crap.
6. Call a spade a spade
When we react, our every compliment hides a criticism. It’s our very own diplomatic way to proceed, without crushing the creative spirit. The Americans are good at cutting the crap.
7. Lean mean lunch-chasing machine
We do need to unlearn our talent to disguise unemployment and keep to the bone and muscle.
(Sandeep Vij is Chief Executive Officer at DDB Mudra.)