1The job: To begin with, I love the Tata AIG way of doing business. Very often marketers are expected to concern themselves with spending marketing budgets. While in other places this could come with a implied lack of responsibility for the results, Tata AIG’s approach is different. Every marketing dollar spent has to demonstrate a clear return on investment (ROI) impact. This means the job is much more scientific and hence more interesting. Another enjoyable aspect is that if you have a credible business case, you get all the freedom you would need to execute your plans. Senior management involvement, and that too as a team working in a close-knit environment towards improving customer and shareholder value, makes synchronisation of marketing with other functions very smooth.
At the same time, here are some things that all Indian companies could learn from other work cultures. Indian workers could learn time and project discipline and also effective use of workplace humour from western workplaces. Asia-Pacific work cultures place a high premium on detail and accuracy and I think Indian workers could absorb these traits too.
2The weekdays: A typical workday would begin at 9:30 am. I would have normally formed a plan for my day before reaching the office. The first thing that I like doing is catching up with my team members with informal chats about how their evening or weekend was and setting priorities for the week or day. This informal conversation, peppered with humour, is very important for me to have a good day at work. It makes the team want to come to office and also start the day on a pleasant note and with clear intentions to complete tasks or close meetings, discussions. As far as possible, I avoid setting up meetings before 10:30 am and use the early part of the day to clear any pending emails, documents to be written or reviewed, etc. Between meetings, I call for flash reviews of tasks or use the time to work with the team on designing a plan or structuring an activity. If I am not travelling or having any meetings outside, lunch is almost always with the team (and no work is discussed over lunch). As we head to the evening and as all worklists get checked off, the team again has informal interactions about work concerns — what we should be doing the next day, week or