When Winning Ain’t Enough

When Winning Ain’t Enough

We are a people so consumed by the act of winning and losing it isn’t funny anymore. Where has the love of the game gone I wonder? To individualistic, we only embark on gossips about fixing, or a mutiny on board with the two apparent characters Misbah and Afridi leading and hogging the limelight. We as a cricketing public or public in general are accustomed to lay blame on certain outer misdemeanors rather than look at the problem itself, that we aren’t the team we used to be, I’m ok with accepting this fact. Look at it in hindsight, all the problems we face in the country are laddered on our neighbor or some ultra intelligence agency spicing up a plan on us. Face it; we are not that important enough. When we cannot unite as a nation, why are we blaming the lads in Oceania?

As I write this, I too am hurting; as it is natural and I’m not one of them arty types who just don’t care and say why bother. Of course it bothers me, to the point of a hating innuendo. But I do not appreciate to associate with people who take it as their personal insult to lose to India, as if India is of any great importance in their lives, my life, no way. Yes, this is cricket country and we do normally feel a connect to our teams fortunes too that of our own, but it’s time to let go and have pride in other things except the frailties or strengths of our cricket team. As a nation we are consumed by glories of yore, living in a state of limbo, case in point the state of hockey is for all to see. We should accept that cricket has changed, and we are still in rewind mode.

Fans have extreme moods, and that’s good, you should be passionate, but also patient, because it is still on and if Pakistan springs up a surprise and gets to where we all hope it should be heading, these guys will just look silly. Be critical, but always have some respect and admiration for the proverbial twist in the game. Probably coming up, and if doesn’t, we shall be queuing up next time.  Wait and watch, you’ll learn something about yourself.

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Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

Every now and then we wonder what really constitutes a great mind. To me, the idea of a great mind is just a mere myth. It’s just a delusion made by pessimists. Your 1500 grams of mass in skull cannot make you great; it’s how you use those 1500 grams of mass. It takes effort and a mindset of a winner to achieve greatness.

 

A solution oriented mindset and an attitude of a winner would make you great. Edward de bono rightly framed this idea by saying “If you never change your mind, why have one?” The point is to ask the right questions when it is required. In most cases, whenever a heated situation arises the first question is who did it? And then it becomes the last question which can create chaos and haphazardness. We are always asking the wrong questions in almost every situation that always leads us to a never ending blame game.

There is another point I would like to highlight over here and that is the idea and hesitance to make mistakes. A learning mind is never afraid of making mistakes. Every other defeat should be celebrated because every mistake leaves behind tons of treasures of knowledge.

It just requires an active mind to learn from it and move on.

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Media convergence in the global village

Media convergence in the global village

The world is becoming more globally accessible, and at the same time, more convergent. By convergent I mean a world where no person or touchpoint exists in isolation; everything is interconnected and every action can potentially have an effect on everything else. Convergence empowers consumers, enabling them to take control over their relationship with everything they interact with.

Media and media vehicles have genuinely become more important to businesses these days as these phenomena have gained tremendously in their ability to influence consumer’s lives. It is reshaping marketing and its capacity to translate directly into business performance. Hence, there is huge opportunity to reinvent and elevate the role that media plays in promoting businesses. This includes creating opportunities through such touchpoints which have the potential to gather consumers so that they can be more connected and receptive to messages being sent out by brands.

And that is what is changing in consumer’s lives; connected devices connecting consumers. What we as marketers need to make sure is that brands are there when the consumer needs them. We have the opportunity to create need, but the critical fact is the point of engagement, connection and transaction are all getting closer and closer together through different forms of media; and paying attention to this can really change the way business is done.

Another dynamic is that we are moving in terms of convergence from a media world that was quite controlled, with a limited supply of vehicles that was much organised. Things happened at fixed points in place and time. We could plan it easily as well as calculate how many and how often. We didn’t know what happened, but suddenly we have to calculate so that we can supply to the world over. This translates into almost infinite choices for the consumer and infinite choices for us.

The critical matter here is how much more powerful this is, how much more influence we can actually generate and the million dollar question; how much further capability does the media actually have. We can do much more; it’s just that we’ve got to make smart choices…

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The power of perspective

The power of perspective

Perspective is a funny thing.

All it takes to change it are a few vicarious words and voila! You have a whole new outlook to a situation, entity or your beloved fizzy drink.

With the entire buzz that shrouds marketers for being the only ones responsible for changing perspectives, it’s only logical to say that every other entity around is as much of a spin-doctor. From TRP-hungry TV transmissions to brain-jacking Facebook updates, mind maneuvering is but a bitter reality. Look around and you will find anyone and everyone playing to their agenda. Be it a local

broadcasting network disfiguring facts or an international media outlet snaking information to the extent of projecting state terrorism as a right to self-defense for a country like Israel – letting her bombard a country which does not have an army, an air force, any missiles or even tanks. Rather what they have to defend themselves are 10-year-old kids, throwing stones at armored military personnel sitting inside a fortified vehicle.

We live in the so-called age of information. Whoever owns or broadcasts information, holds the influence to manipulate it as well. And we all know that information is power…

This has never been truer than in recent times. With the mass media’s rise to power and the advent of social media’s unimaginable user penetration, spilling selective and suggestive information has never been easier. Leave it to the end user to perceive as per your plans. Be it renowned news channels hammering ‘Breaking News’ at its audience or a popular talk show host using religion attributed intonations to incite ratings. All that you need to do is spark a thought into the ever-receptive minds of your consumers and let them build upon it, and in turn build confusion – from an individual to the masses. We all see it; we all hear it, we all think it. The game has changed, the tools have evolved and the need to use these tools has been enforced.

This is the war of the minds and perspective is the weapon of choice.

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IBA: A world of leaders

The IBA is one of the biggest names when it comes to leadership. Most of the graduates of the IBA are big names in the industry. Be it the President of Pakistan or the Prime Minister, all are prominent figures. One of them being Ahmed
Kapadia CEO Synergy Advertising. Mr. Kapadia is best at what He does and He has taken Synergy to new heights of success. That’s a trait of the IBA graduates, to be on top and the bar is still rising.

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Mind over matter

Mind over matter

Every now and then we wonder what really constitutes a great mind. To me, the idea of a great mind is just a mere myth. It’s just a delusion made by pessimists. Your 1500 grams of mass in skull cannot make you great; it’s how you use those 1500 grams of mass. It takes effort and a mindset of a winner to achieve greatness.

 

A solution oriented mindset and an attitude of a winner would make you great. Edward de bono rightly framed this idea by saying “If you never change your mind, why have one?” The point is to ask the right questions when it is required. In most cases, whenever a heated situation arises the first question is who did it? And then it becomes the last question which can create chaos and haphazardness. We are always asking the wrong questions in almost every situation that always leads us to a never ending blame game.

There is another point I would like to highlight over here and that is the idea and hesitance to make mistakes. A learning mind is never afraid of making mistakes. Every other defeat should be celebrated because every mistake leaves behind tons of treasures of knowledge. It just requires an active mind to learn from it and move on.

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Managing Work Pressure

Managing Work Pressure

I see time as a limited resource; no matter what we do, we only have 24 hours a day. In order to cope up with these challenges, firstly one needs to realize the hard fact that we can’t sustainably work through all of them. Realizing this would enable us to make smart choices such as prioritizing and allocating our time and energy for every task. This doesn’t mean that we should restrict ourselves at any point; we should have an attitude of a learner and a striver. The idea is to make smart choices and not to be fearful of making mistakes. A true manager trusts his capabilities and tests his natural abilities so he can overcome all the barriers that helps in coming up with a stronger mindset.

One can only enjoy his work when he has an entrepreneurial mindset for work. If you have a passion, determination and love for anything you would achieve it sooner or later. Any job would definitely stress you out if you don’t have the right mindset and measures to plan and act on it. The most important thing is to accept your strengths and weaknesses and develop a can do attitude. It encompasses responsibility, perseverance, with a focus on good work ethics, initiative, positive thinking, pro activeness and a planned vision. Importance also needs to be placed on time management. If someone is really interested in improving himself he needs to identify his strengths and weaknesses. Once you have identified your weaknesses and strengths you can allocate your time appropriately where you can bridge the missing gaps and take advantage of your strengths. Again, if you are not sure what you are doing than definitely work would stress you out. Uncertainty and doubts is a killer and a true manager has the ability and insight to see the flow and sequencing of his activities, acting on that plan is secondary.
Consider your priorities and try to discard and delegate the unnecessary and unimportant ones. Use the people around you efficiently in order to maximize results and minimize the work pressure. In a true synergy all the team members should be on the same wavelength.

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Health TV – Sidra Iqbal interviews Ahmed Kapadia

Health TV – Sidra Iqbal interviews Ahmed Kapadia
Ahmed Kapadia speaks to Sidra Iqbal in this weekly episode of Pehchaan on doing things differently, his strengths and the

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power of perseverance. He talks about the legacy of philanthropy that has been part of his family and how he will continue it forward through he Latif Kapadia Welfare Memorial Trust.

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Zakat & Donations for Latif Kapadia Memorial Trust

Zakat & Donations for Latif Kapadia Memorial Trust

Serving deprived families in the underdeveloped localities in Karachi and its suburbs since 2007, LKMWT operates through two fully equipped out-patient-dispensaries in Shah Faisal Colony and Khokhrapar (Malir). We also hold free medical camps for different diseases in the interior Sindh on regular basis. As a CSR wing of Synergy Group, LKMWT sponsors all the projects but tasks are gigantic and we need others’ support as well.

In this Ramadan, LKMWT has launched a fund raising campaign titled ‘The purpose of life is a life of purpose’ in national and social media so that mission continues effectively and extensively. For the visitors, the same campaign is attached herewith.

Click the visuals and enlarge the image to read the message. Visitors can also download the detailed brochure to know all about LKMWT.

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Manager Today – “100 Business leaders of Pakistan”

Manager Today – “100 Business leaders of Pakistan”

Manager Today has published its second book titled “ 100 Business leaders of Pakistan “ and focuses on three categories of leaders ; the first being Business leaders, entrepreneurs, Presidents, CEO’s and MD’s. The second category consists of women of substance who have contributed to education, economy, business and other fields. The third category consists of those who have tried to transform the nation. The exclusive interview and indigenous success stories serve as an inspiration to young minds who are the future business leaders by creating hope and faith in the country. The following interview of Mr. Ahmed Kapadia was published in this book as part of the first category mentioned above.

Pakistan’s Economy, Business & Finance:

 

1) We are passing through very testing times with much of political instability and law & order situation going on, what steps should be taken to turn around/stabilize Pakistan economically as well as administratively?

We need to focus on our basics such as making our institutions stronger. There is a need for a stronger infrastructure and a system where there is accountability with responsibility. All these things will be possible if effective leadership is in place. An effective leadership is owning any task that you take on. It gives focus, creates proper systems and procedures that others can follow. The same principle can be applied on a national level and even globally. Well, that’s my formula.

2) With the country sliding back into economic recession and creating extreme joblessness, how can we create job providers/entrepreneurs rather than job seekers?

We have had a history of being colonized and somehow our mindset has remained that way. People have an employee mentality that needs to be overcome. We don’t seem to know how to behave like entrepreneurs. In order to overcome this we need to create a system where people understand the meaning of responsibility. In order to do so, we need to create some sort of a body that imparts training & development in this area .There is a need to create aSchoolofEntrepreneurshipdedicated to developing entrepreneurs at the national, provincial and district levels and also taught as a specific subject in schools. At the college level, those who are already established in this area need to teach and impart their experiences and provide guidelines to those who would like to follow.

One can also focus on vocational training and have a fund that provides venture capital to those who would like to set up their own businesses.

3) We are not poor in resources but in effective managers, could effective managers and corporate governance help us deal with this dilemma?

There will be effective managers if there is effective leadership. In my opinionPakistanhas a pool of extremely talented individuals. Despite having no infrastructure, we have created the best cricket players, squash and hockey champions. However systems, procedures guidelines and merit have to be the criterion. You cannot base your systems on nepotism as this will create disillusionment and your talented resources will be driven away. We need to have an effective leadership that can distribute resources.

HR, Education and Development:

 

4) With the commercialization of educational institutes, are you happy with the quality of business graduates being produced, especially with reference to the business education?

I am totally against commercialization. The basic criterion for any business is that you must have a certain amount of passion for it. If for example you are in education, the sole criterion should not be making money but a desire to impart knowledge with excellence. Today, there are too many MBA’s – there needs to be a focus on specialists in specific areas such as media, advertising etc.

5) What is leadership to you? Are leaders born or made?

Leaders are not necessarily born – leadership can be learnt and acquired like anything in life. But to learn it you first have to realize your own weaknesses as a person. Once you have done so, the right attitude will lead you to eliminate your own weaknesses and give you the impetus to focus on your strengths. A leader is a person who can give direction, lead by example, and who has the courage to admit his own follies and overcome them. He is usually a risk taker who exudes an energy that motivates and drives other people to perform better and is able to identify talent and bring that to fruition.

6) What are the challenges for the business leaders in Pakistan? Differentiate between a good manager and a good leader.

The biggest challenge is that there is no level playing field.

If you belong to a certain segment of society, you will be able to move ahead. There is a world of difference between a good manager and a good leader. A good manager is good at carrying out tasks assigned to him and in supervising those tasks. A leader will spell out the higher goals and the vision and provide the initial direction.

7) What are the core competencies of leadership that you want to see in our new managers & business leaders?

The most important thing is to accept your strengths and weaknesses and develop a can- do attitude. It encompasses responsibility, perseverance, with a focus on good work ethics, initiative, positive thinking, pro activeness and a planned vision. Importance also needs to be placed on time management. A business leader has to be genuine and honest and must have a high sense of integrity. If you make a mistake admit it. People gauge you and if they feel you are honest and genuine they will want to follow you.

8) We are faced with a dilemma in professional ethics, how can we inculcate a sense of ethics in our managers?

One should lead by example. It is important to display professional ethics to those who work for you and come within your circle of influence. You may not be able to have a direct influence on the people outside your environment, but when you inculcate those values in your own organization, it will make an impression on those who have worked with you and they will later inculcate those work ethics in their professional lives too.

About The Company and Its Future Plan:

 

9) What is your vision, mission, core values and shared behaviors that define your corporate culture? How do you make sure that people live, act and breathe your organization’s core values?

The core values of Synergy form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves. These underlie our work, how we interact with each other and are the basis of our strategies to fulfill our mission. We believe in strong internal communication to impart these to those who work for us. We have a unique system which is a leadership empowerment committee in which the employees themselves take ownership and responsibility of different areas in the office and in doing so also learn the core values on which our organization is based. Values that we cherish include client- centrism, Integrity, equality and fairness, empowerment, responsibility and synergy itself which is collaboration and teamwork at every level.

10) Please share your key business strategies or business model that has led you to this current stature?

Our business strategy is client focused with a solution oriented approach. Our business philosophy revolves around meeting the client’s requirements. We are in the communications business so we need to provide solutions for our clients through communication. We started off as an advertising agency but now have six business units specializing in different areas of communication, so that clients are provided with a complete package to satisfy their needs.

11) Do you have the high performance team with the right skill-set, mindset and value-set to lead the business growth?

We have six business units and each of them is decentralized with their own team comprising of specialists with expertise specific to the particular unit. I don’t run all of them so that proves that they are independent, high performing and competent.

12) What are the challenges and opportunities in your industry/sector?

The general perception in this sector is that a local agency must have a foreign affiliation to prove its competence. This is a fallacy as we can deliver quality work without these credentials. It is unfortunate that people only go on perception or the image of someone they see which then becomes a veil to being able to judge the competence and ability behind it. It is ironic that advertising is a science that creates perception and you can’t create perceptions without knowing reality.

Another point that needs attention is that this industry does not have a platform to protect the interests of its members and provide solutions for their problems. The opportunities will rise as a result in the form of solutions to these challenges.

13) What are the HR challenges and strategies regarding employee retention, motivation, engagement and performance appraisals at your company?

Pakistani’s are highly talented individuals; however they are not all that astute when it comes to working in teams. The biggest challenge is to make them gel together and understand interdependence, which is a key to creating Synergy. Employee retention and motivation require commitment towards high performers, which are vital for the growth of the organization. We have developed internal systems that are indigenous to Synergy through which we reward and appraise our top performers.

14) Is training, coaching and mentoring a high priority for you, how much time/resources do you devote to this?

Yes it is of very high priority and a part of the culture of our organization. Each and every department is given training on a regular basis and a great deal of in house training is done frequently.

15) Can you share your contribution towards CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)?

I believe strongly in giving back to the society as I have seen that being done throughout my life by my grandfather first and then my father. It comes from the belief that you should do whatever you can for society rather than wait for it to happen. It is with the hope of making a purposeful life that the Latif Kapadia Memorial Welfare Trust was set up. It is a non-business organization purely established for the welfare of deprived and underprivileged families to provide them the best but inexpensive health and educational facilities within the community.

The first Medi health clinic, an exclusive health project providing convenient and reliable OPD health services was set up in Shah Faisal colony and the second one has recently been set up in Khokrapar – Malir.

16) What steps should be taken to empower women professionally? Does your company have any harassment policy?

We believe in providing equal opportunities. People are placed in positions on the basis of their competence and not their gender. Harassment is not tolerated at any level and the employee will definitely lose his job if he is making the workplace uncomfortable for females to work in. It is because of this that our organization is known for having an environment where women are respected.

17) Being the head of your organization, what are your strategies regarding succession planning and developing next generation of leaders?

We focus on structured training and development and have made our business units independent so that they can be run by a competent team with the values and philosophy of our organization.

18) Please share your best management practices for others to follow as benchmark?

We have set up a number of indigenous and unique systems in our organization that has helped in the overall performance of our employees. For e.g. we have developed a software called the “ticketing system” which is a tool to reward and motivate anyone who has done exceptional work that may be related to his/ her field or even outside of their sphere of work. This can be given by a junior to a senior and vice versa. Negative tickets can also be issued in the same manner. The ticket is associated with a monetary sum that is given as a bonus for a positive ticket and a deduction for a negative one.

In addition we have also set up a committee called the Leadership Empowerment Committee ( LEC) that makes employees responsible for certain areas of the office that may not be related to their core jobs. For e.g. a person in client services will be looking after the ambiance in the office and be responsible for it. Employees develop a sense of ownership and also have a platform to show certain qualities that they possess which are not directly related to their work. In this committee all employees are at an equal level and responsibility is not dependant on hierarchy.

In addition we emphasize on physical health and greatly stress on exercise and on well being. Keeping this in mind there is an in house gym and a cafeteria that serves healthy food.

Grooming and appearance are also given a great deal of importance.

Do you have any plans of expansion? Where do you see your organization five years down the road? Does your company envision to be Pakistani multinational

We have always been receptive to expansion; this is why in a short span of 12 years we have evolved in to a group of companies. Synergy Group is the fastest growing communications group inPakistan, which is mainly based on this philosophy. We are also exploring opportunities in other countries and are hopeful that in the near future we will Inshallah make a breakthrough in the international arena.

Professional Life

 

19) Please share with us your professional background as to how it all started?

I started with MNJ communications in Client Service and then teamed up with a colleague to open an advertising agency in a garage at home. Advertising is a passionate business and I have been fortunate to have a go getter attitude, due to which Allah has graced me with success

20) How would you define your leadership and management style?

I am result oriented and it helps when one is aggressive towards work and business. However, despite my aggressive demeanour, I am caring towards my team and respect talent. There are many examples at Synergy where I have encouraged individuals to pursue their dreams and explore new avenues of business and opportunities.

21) What has been the toughest decision that you had to take so far?

When I set up my own office in 1999 with almost nothing. It was a huge risk, as I decided to leave a cushy job for a completely unknown future. However, it has perhaps been the best decision of my life, as it allowed me develop an organization that is world class and is seen as a benchmark for how a professionally run communications business should be.

22) Define success in three key words or phrases.

Success is attitude, attitude, attitude.

23) What is your idea of happiness?

Internal satisfaction is the key to happiness. It is not easy to achieve; as there are many sacrifices that one has to be ready for. However, once you manage to benchmark yourself with high standards set by you, it is a great feeling.

24) From where do you get your inspiration, personally as well as professionally?

From any story of a person fighting adversity and has been able to fight against the odds. This person can be a fictitious character from a movie, a novel or even real life. A person who can come through a struggle inspires me.

25) What is you favorite book on personal & professional development that you would recommend others to read?

Personal favourite would be The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum . Professionally there are many books on management,

26) What do you consider to be your greatest achievement or failure?

Greatest achievement is being able to understand the value of how to create synergy. There is a long list of failures.

27) How do you manage workplace / business stress?

Going to the gym, playing cricket and spending time with my family.

28) How do you keep your work-life balance?

Honestly, there is no work – life balance.

29) Any message of hope to the young generation of managers, entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Never ever give up. It is important to realize and accept your weaknesses and shortcomings and then create or find strategies to cover or eliminate those. Thereafter, concentrate on strengths so that your weaknesses are minimized.

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