Friday, August 19, 2011

Domination August 2011

Domination August 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

CONFLUENCIA – 2011, Day-2

“Marketing is a mindset”

The Confluencia 2011 was concluded by a Guest lecture by Prof. Devashish Das Gupta, who is currently an Associate Professor at IIM, Lucknow and his area of specialization is Marketing. His topic of discussion was “Strategic Marketing in Contemporary era”. It was a highly interactive session and the hall was jam packed with students of both first and final year.

Prof. Devashish started his lecture by making it clear that the popular conviction of Marketing being selling is a myth but in real sense marketing is just about the mind set. He asked the class to tell various means of communication by which a company can communicate to the consumers. He got several answers like TV, radio, newspapers, social networking, words of mouth etc. but he explained the best way by which the a company can communicate to customers is the communication of values. The sole purpose of marketing is to communicate a company’s values to the consumers in a manner that he can decide what is best for him.

Next he discussed about the need gap analysis. He explained that first step of marketing is to do the need gap analysis on consumers because a consumer might not always be aware of the needs. He gave the example of Dabur Homemade, which for the first time launched the readymade spices. At that time, people were wondering why Dabur chose such a business as women had huge time to prepare spices but Dabur was visionary and since, the working women concept arrived in India, now there exist several brands offering similar products. In fact, the market of ready-to-eat products is increasing day by day which earlier used to be concentrated only in the cities like Mumbai.

Our speaker, further explaining the visionary model, told the audience that in the contemporary era, it is very important to be aware of new trends in the market. He explained how the youth concept of India is getting old and the next in the queue is Grey India, which is the consequence of DINKS (i.e. double income no kids). So, the companies need to be ready for these new trends in Indian markets. Further, he added that in this era, people are ready to pay more but the only thing they demand is quality. So, our next focus should be quality, and that should be provided to consumers at any cost. He also advised the audience to look for unique need sets in the market. He gave the example of new trend of kitchenless flats in Singapore and explained how change in trends affects the needs in contemporary era.

Next he talked about the ways of making profit. According to him, there are two ways of making profit either selling more or low pricing. And for selling more, one can either make existing consumers consume more or target new consumers. And new consumers can be attracted by innovative thinking. He gave the example of theme restaurants and theme marriages to explain the idea of innovative thinking. Our speaker also discussed about the emerging domains of business in contemporary era. He mentioned that the three most suitable business domains in coming times would be fitness, environment and security and one should be fully equipped for these upcoming trends.
Lastly, Prof. Devashish talked about the “Service Quality Model”. According to him, the service provided for a product gets integrated into the brand image. So, it is really important to provide good quality of service to the consumers. He also shared his insights for being a successful marketing manager, which are knowledge, skill set, physical health and mental health. With this note, he ended the lecture.

After the lecture, a query came from audience regarding the punchline and its use for marketing to which our speaker replied that punchlines are 100% effective when the product is new but as the product becomes older, punchlines become less effective and what matters the most is services and quality. So, if competitors are same, the main focus should be on quality of goods. At last, he concluded that in marketing, always go one by one, i.e. doing one thing at a time.

Prof. Devashish was appreciated by the audience with a huge round of applause for giving such an insightful and knowledgeable lecture.

CONFLUENCIA – 2011, Day-2

The day started with full enthusiasm and we all took our seats of the lecture room before time to have an inspiring guest Lecture. The eminent speaker of the day was Mr. Hardik Shah, presently working as an Associate Professor at Adani Institute of Infrastructure and Management. He is a passionate academician, researcher and trainer in HRM and OB area.

Dr. Shah started with his presentation on the topic “Strategic Resource Management”. The discussion started with a very basic question, “What is Strategy?”. To this Dr. Shah gave a very brief and apt definition; he explained that Strategy could be defined by three terms- Focus, Product and Service Differentiation and Cost Leadership. He then gave an important concept of Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) explaining that Sustainable competitive advantage allows the maintenance and improvement of the enterprise's competitive position in the market. It is an advantage that enables business to survive against its competition over a long period of time.

Continuing with the discussion on Strategy, Mr. Shah explained that strategy can be grouped in three levels – Corporate level, Business level, and Unit level. He further detailed that corporate strategy is basically the board level strategy which is executed at the topmost level. Secondly the Business level is executed at the middle level and Unit/plant level focuses more on actual operations.

Dr. Shah further elaborated Strategic partners role of HR giving insights of HR role in an organisation. He explained the importance of HR department by stating that today most of the public sector units( PSU) have HR as their Directors. Further stating HR responsibilities he said that following are the possible roles assumed by HR – Vision, Strategy, Goals, Policies, Process, Procedure. He finally explained the HR structure focus area by a flowchart diagram having four segments namely, Acquire, Engage, Develop and Reward.

He, then, continued his discussion on HR Strategy by stating key factors playing an important role. He explained that these four factors can be divided into four categories – Vertical Growth, Business Diversity, Talent Strategy and leadership and Culture.Next, he elaborated different strategies in HR department. First being Talent planning, he explained that the most important role of HR is to ensure quality of people hired as employees are the biggest asset of any company. Second is Aligning and Managing expectation. Third is to develop organisation structure by constantly enhancing internal growth. Last being alignment of compensation to performance. Summing up the HR strategies, he lastly explained three important pillars of HR in an organisation which were process, opportunity and people.Towards the end, Dr. Shah concluded the discussion by giving us a practical example of NTPC – Business Excellence Model 2010.

Lastly, Dr. Shah gave two important concepts of Competency and Triple Bottom Line. He stated that competency is a conglomerate of knowledge, skills and Ability (KSA) and Triple Bottom line consists of society, turnover and profit.

The discussion concluded with an open ended questionnaire round wherein all students got the chance to have their doubts cleared and finally Mr. Shah left the podium with the huge round of applause for giving such a vivacious and informative talk on Strategic Resource Management.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Confluencia 2011- Day 1 " I think therefore I am "

The first luminary to give his address was Mr. Himanshu Rai and his topic of discussion was "Negotiation". Mr. Himanshu Rai is currently a HR and marketing professor at IIM Lucknow. It was a highly interactive session with participation from the whole class which was jam packed from the beginning.

Mr. Himanshu started his discussion by asking everyone the basic definition of negotiation and how is it different from coercion. He thus defined negotiation as “It is a process of communication whereby two or more parties come together to attempt to reach agreement on one or more issues”. Negotiation is inherent in human nature. It not only happens between two or more parties, but rather, an individual also makes negotiations with himself. For example, all MBA students who have work experience have made a negotiation with themselves about leaving their jobs and taking up MBA.

Negotiation being defined, Mr. Himanshu then asked another question, “What is the prerequisite for any negotiation to take place?”. For any negotiation to take place there has to be a conflict, i.e. there has to be differences in opinions. For an individual, it is like “To be or not to be”, or rather a conflict between desire and judgement . The difference between the former and the latter being, the former is a conflict with conscience while the latter is opinions about other things. Mr. Himanshu divided conflicts into four categories, namely intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup. “Are conflicts good ?”- he asked next. Conflicts can be good or bad, or rather dysfunctional or functional. For example if we have conflict in our personalities it is dysfunctional or bad, and when we conflicts in processes it is functional because here a conflict may lead to a better solution.

Our speaker then asked a very tricky question, “What is the difference between perception and reality?”. To this he stated a quote by the great philosopher RenĂ© Descartes- “ I think therefore I am.” He went on to say that everything in the world is full of perceptions. Its “WE” humans who believe in a given perception and that is what we think is reality, i.e. what we believe in may not be the same for another individual. This is thus a conflict .The lesson to be learnt here is that we cannot resolve conflicts if we don’t accept them. Analogous to this, we may think ourselves as being very good and hardworking, but at the end of the day if you can’t convey the same to the person in front of you, you can’t get your work done. Another example is that of conflicts arising out of generation gap. Thus conflict is a matter of perception and the only way to resolve it is to acknowledge it.

After giving an insight into what is negotiation, Mr. Himanshu then went on to give the skills required by a manager to become a great negotiator. These include artfulness, diplomacy, detachedness, fair-mindedness and sagacity. An individual should have political foresightedness, ability to manage relationships and knowing when to leave the bargaining table. For example, while dealing with a regular subordinate and another subordinate whose is a nephew of a big CEO, one has to treat each kind differently because of the different weights attached to them. One has to be careful while choosing his/her words. Similarly one should not ignore the accomplishments of the opposite party. One major thing to be careful about is detachedness. One cannot afford to be angry while negotiating because it shows a sign of attachment which is not recommended. One has to be devoid of any ego and should have the ability to distinguish between the subject and the object, i.e. the topic and the person.

The latter half of the lecture was on the key steps of carrying out a negotiation. Those include goals, strategy and planning. Mr. Himanshu creatively explained goals by taking a leaf out from the book “ Alice In wonderland .“ As in the book when Alice lands up in Wonderland and comes to a crossroad she meets the Cheshire Cat. At first Alice doesn’t know where to go and the Cat tells her that then she choose any way. But then Alice says that she wants to reach “somewhere”. To this the Cheshire Cat replied that she will if she walks long enough. The moral being that without goals you will reach somewhere but is that the place where you wanted to be. It’s like even if you win a rat race you will still be a rat. But for a negotiation its importance to keep goals otherwise the other party would see that you are not serious.

Next he discussed strategy by asking everyone to divide into pairs of two. He then asked each pair to draw scenery while holding the same pen together. After the exercise he divided the class into various categories. In the first type both were trying to draw thus showing competitive behaviour. The second kind being the pair in which one person drew and then the other, thus showing a collaborative attitude. The third kind was the one in which one person drew and the other just looked on, which shows an attitude of avoidance. And finally the fourth in which one person drew while the other held on to the pen, thus showing the attitude of accommodation. Mr. Himashu then explained the same with the help of game theory.

Substantive Outcome Important
Relational Outcome Important

The last part was implementing the strategy. He said there are three major issues in implementing, namely the essentials, the desires and the give aways. For example, one can bargain for the essentials with the giveaways. Thus there can be other combinations. The important thing is to choose wisely according to the situation. The next thing is defining interests. For example, an individual wanted to sell his car for Rs. 50000 and not less. Now the buyer can bargain in two ways. Either he can say that he can’t pay or that he will pay some part of the amount then and the rest later. Now the former case shows position while the latter shows interest. It’s the latter that a person should try and portrait while negotiating. Moreover there are always alternatives. The issue is to try and find it.

Next is the art of communication. What the sender is speaking and how it is received by the listener can be entirely different. Thus it is essential to consider the opposite party, his/her culture and communicate in a manner which is understandable. There are people who take the meaning of the word literally while there are others who study your body and interpret what is being received.

Mr. Himanshu ended the address by showing a clip from the movie “Gandhi”. With the help of this clip he explained the need of having the three most important elements to negotiate, namely Ethos, Pathos and Logos, i.e. credibility, passion and logic.

Mr. Himanshu was given a huge round of applause from the participants for giving such a vibrant and resourceful address on the art of negotiation.

Confluencia 2011

Confluencia 2011 was held with the same energy and excitement as the previous years.Confluencia 2011, which was a two day event, successfully ended on 8th August, 2011.The theme of this years Confluencia was " Strategic Thinking in the Contemporary Era". Through the continued efforts of the Confluencia Team at DoMS IIT Roorkee, our students try to invite the best from various profession to enlighten our students.

Confluencia which means " a confluence of people " aims to provide the stage for interaction between top professionals from diverse backgrounds and the students. This event aims to help the students understand the upcoming trends in various domains of management and guides them in the right direction. These events are highly interactive and our students have continued the trend to dazzle the guests with intelligent questions. Thus Confluencia acts as learning platform where ideas and information is shared between one and all.

This years theme " Strategic Thinking in the Contemporary Era" aims to familiarize students with what is happening in their surroundings. The topic helps understand the students the importance of making strategies in this era of continuous changes and how necessary it is to be aware of his or hers surroundings.

This years guest speakers were as follows:

Day 1

Prof. Himanshu Rai - HR and Marketing, IIM Lucknow

Day 2

Prof. Hardik Shah, HR, Adani Group

Mr. Devashish Das Gupta - Marketing , IIM Lucknow