Read an article in HT today on the increasing need for training in the ad industry. There were the usual suspects with the usual sound bytes. To be honest agencies have woken up to the need. Nevertheless its too little and too late!
In an earlier post, I had commented on what ails the advertsing industry. Read Agency 2.0. This one's more actionable thoughts than theorising...In a 'CREATIVE Industry' training's the 'BORING STUFF' but something that's very close to my heart...I am no expert on the subject. But then my limited experience might be of some help to the young guys entering the ad world!
Tom Peters has some very interesting 'action shoes' in his book - 'The Circle of Innovation'(you can't shrink your way to greatness). Good recipe for low cost but highly effective training.
1.Big Budgets vs Big Imagination. All is not lost even if the budgets get slashed. Lack of money can be compensated by infusion of management time. Mentoring, week-end teaching, on-the-job training, training through e-mail/ web-based systems, knowledge sharing systems and other stuff can be equally effective. Training is a mind-set, an attitude not a programme.
With the right leadership, training can very easily be changed from an 'Annual Off-site Drill' to a 'Regular Pill.'
2.Best-in-world thinking. Training must be beyond skilling. It must focus on instilling bigger dreams. Larger world-views. Not merely measured by the annual cannes tally. In employee satisfaction, in strategic thinking, in the boldness of our ideas. Future glory lies in competing on the world stage. Infosys, Tatas and Reliance are doing that. Why can't we?
3.Bring in outsiders. Piyush roped in a cutting-edge Bollywood dirctor for a recent training session. With the industry's powerful network of clients, it would be great to tap into this available pool for training needs. An outsider's view always expands the perspective!
4.Think Portfolio Quality. Tom Peters says there is a need to 'Think Portfolio Quality' for all professionals. And no, he is not talking of the creative portfolio. We need to instill in servicing. planning, IT, production, finance a sense of doing superlative projects and not just routine jobs well executed.
Every employee should be evaluated on the basis of the quantity and quality of projects done rather than mere experience and the execution of routine tasks.
A planner portfolio might consist of - stellar new business pitch research and wins, A rigorous category research, white papers on the consumer/ category/ brand, use of a new technique of insight mining. Most of us are already doing it. It just needs a more aware tracking and doing! We are as good as our recent portfolio!
And lastly, we can keep on lamenting or start using the free resources that are lying in the agency-system for use. As Aldous Huxley said - “Experience is not so much what happens to you as what you make of what happens to you."
So use e-mail to reach out to people several layers above you( within and outside your company) to learn and get guidance. Use the agency intranet to augment college education. Attend industry fora to get a hang of landscape changes.(Sadly, there were just a handful of visitors at an Ad Club organised media seminar I attended few days back!).
Overs the years, I have sort of followed these two rules.
(1) It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. Harry S. Truman
and (2) A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study. ~Chinese Proverb
Till the budgets fatten, these thumb rules might help!
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