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MANAGEMENT LESSONS FROM MOVIES

(‘ROCKET SINGH-THE SALESMAN OF THE YEAR’ AND ‘3 IDIOTS’)
By Dr. Poonam Gupta, Associate Professor, Commerce Department
 
Some films absorb you instantly as they are relatable in recent times. The two recently released movies, ‘Rocket Singh – The Salesman of the Year’ and ‘3 Idiots’, fall in such category.
 
The first one gives us useful lessons on business and the other provides lessons in life. Both the movies have already caught the attention of Management teachers and students and have become interesting topics for class-room discussion.
 
Some of the learnings distilled from each of the movies  are :-
 
ROCKET SINGH – THE SALESMAN OF THE YEAR
 
Harpreet Singh (HP) is a B.Com graduate who wanted to make it big in sales. He wants to become a salesman and so joins AYS Computers. Things start to screw up when the honest HP refuses to give up his ethics to close a deal.
 
He then starts out on his own parallel company by using company resources and convinces his colleagues to join him. He achieves success based on values and ethics. Some of the business lessons from the movies are :
 
1)      Take Risk - Even Spiderman Takes Risk :- Always be ready to take risk and guard your partners. Taking initiatives and playing with the risks is what makes the difference.
 
2)      Minimize Expenses When You Start A Business :-  HP did not go out and build a flashy office for his company. Though, using his employer’s office is a breach of contract and amounts to dishonesty.
 
However, the message is clear i.e. ‘Minimize Expenses In The Beginning’. Some basic Infrastructure is good enough to make a humble beginning.
3)      Small Is Beautiful :- In the beginning, a business a small organization can do things better, faster and more creatively than the big competitors in the industry.
 
4)      Pick Up The Right People :- Recruit for talent and aspiration and not for fancy degrees and communication skills.
 
HP picked up his office chai wallah (peon) as a partner as he was talented and brought New Strength in the company.
 
Even zero has a value. The lowest person in the Organizational Structure can do wonders if put at the right place. When HP took his office chaiwallah as partner to finish a big order delivery on time, he matched talent with job description, which is important for success. Thus EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is more important than I.Q.
 
5)      Cultivate People And Build A Great Team :-  Organizations seldom cultivate people and just treat them as workers who fetch them orders. They forget that it is actually the people inside and not outside who decide their fate.
 
HP realized this and took his associates as partners who were genuinely interested in serving.
 
Thus, humans should not be just treated as Resources and Capital, rather as a team member.
 
6)      Create Positive Work Environment :- Organizations should make work environment safe and respectful for everyone.
 
HP once warned his technical associate to behave well with the receptionist.
 
Positive work environment should be built by reinforcing trust, mutual respect, sharing and caring.
 
7)      Customer Is The King :- Three S’s – Sales, Services and Supports are three pillars of a successful business.
 
HP gave guarantee of service 24 X 7 and was even ready to sell his scooter if things go wrong.
Don’t sell to client what you have, arrange everything what client needs and build a great team.
 
8)      Values And Ethics Can Be Drivers :- Values and ethics form the base of HP’s business model. If organization encourages its sale and marketing teams to bribe the clients’ employees to take orders, it is in fact, plowing the seeds of dishonesty in its own organization. 
 
Values and ethics should be depicted in the organizational culture and in the behavior with the client. HP created a loyal, trustworthy and honest team which won the confidence of the client with its commitment and philosophy of free service.
 
Thus, following values and ethics may get you more business.
 
9)      Brand Depicts A Culture And Is Not Just A Logo :-  HP’s Rocket Sales Corporation was bought by AYS Computers and it tried to use the name and logo for obtaining business. However, AYS fails to deliver on customer expectations and sales figures came down drastically.
 
Clearly, Brand is built upon the philosophy and culture of an organisation and is not just a logo.
 
10) Keep Yourself Informed :- Great Organizations keep their eyes and ears open to scan the information regarding prospects, competition and the market influences. 
 
HP’s immediate boss Nitin told him ‘if salesperson cannot read the paper in reverse, he is blind.
 
In the business, right information at the right time is the key to success. The final message is loud and clear. “To be successful in business one Don’t need to invent anything new, just do things  Differently.
 
 
3 IDIOTS
 
This movie not only questions our education system but also the motive of doing higher education. Nowadays, students are pursuing higher studies like Engineering and MBA as they want to earn more and more money, keeping aside their real interests and strengths in life. It is time for our educators also to wake up, as some of them  transform the most interesting subjects into painful experiences. Parents sometimes also ruin the childhood of their kids by trying to achieve their personal dreams through their children. To achieve this, they pressurize them which further moves them towards suicide.
 
Thus, this movie has something for learning to all students, teachers and parents.
 
Dr. Shailes Thakkar from Ahmadabad Management Association has prepared a very interesting presentation on “Management Lessons from 3 Idiots”. Taking cues from his presentation, some useful lessons are reproduced here.
 
A.        LEARNING FOR INDIVIDUALS :-
 
1.       Strive For Excellence - Excellence always creates  success. Never run after success. Strive for excellence and success will chase you.
 
2.      Follow Your Passion – Very often we go by the set standards of the society and ignore our real passion A person who has a passion for photography walks into an Engineering College and ends up becoming a mediocre engineer, while the photography  industry loses a good photographer.  When passion becomes your profession, satisfaction, pleasure and job and love will be the outcomes which will surely lead up to excellence in life.
 
3.      Live And Enjoy The Present – In the rat race of earning more and more money, we tend to either crib about past failures or worry about the future. Instead, if we choose to focus on doing our day to day work with enthusiasm, we may end up positively influencing the future.
 
4.      Live Life Fully :- Life is a gift of God to the mankind. We should live it fully and happily. Never think of dying before the actual death. Living for today will help you overcome the pressures on head for tomorrow.
 
 
5.      Simplicity Should Be The Way Of Life – Our Indian culture, history and family structures stresses on simple living and high thinking. Desires have no end. Thus life should be need based and not want based.
 
Adopting simplicity in life itself will reduce the burden of earning more and more money from your head.
 
6.      Learning Can’t Be Acquired By Rote – Though memory and regular study have definite value in learning, intelligence can’t be acquired by rote. With artificial intelligence, one can earn a good living but can’t prove oneself to be genius.
 
7.      Help People And Make Good Friends - A good friendship creates a long lasting relationship. In the movie, Aamir helps Joshi and Madhavan in choosing right careers and in turn they helped him to get his love back in life.
 
Helping creates an everlasting bond not only between friends but also with anyone we help. It increases confidence, sense of security and helps to grow as a person.
 
  1.  LEARNING FOR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
 
1.       Performance Review Should Facilitate Growth – While the tests at the end of a semester are a good way to evaluate a student’s knowledge of the subject, they should not spread the fear of failure.
 
When tests become end themselves rather the means to assess knowledge, the whole motive of learning is lost. The students just tend to concentrate on how to cross the hurdles of examination. Instead the performance review should be mentoring the students on what the gaps are and how they can do better.
 
2.      Institutional Head Should Show Flexibility – Dean of the Institute in ‘3 Idiots’ shows very typical leadership. He has his own principles, values and ideology, and he leads the whole institute accordingly.
Now, the time has arrived when this type of leadership should be replaced by flexible institutional heads who care about relationships with his students and thus cultivate positive study environment.
 
3.      Education Should Inspire And Not Despair – Current education system is developing pressures on student’s head to the extent that some students move forward towards suicide.
 
Knowledge can’t be imparted at the cost of life. It is time for educational institutions to wake up and develop such methods of imparting education which creates curiosity and inspire the students to develop their talent and reach new heights.
 
4.      Effective Measures Are Required To Control Inhuman Ragging – The movie clearly gives the message that our higher education institutions are breeding grounds of inhuman ragging even when strict government rules exist against it.
 
Effective system to prevent if must be installed by the institutions. Youth should also be encouraged to neither or give ragging.
 
  1. LEARNING FOR PARENTS
 
1.       Allow Children To Make Their Own Choices – Most of the parents in our country consider themselves superior enough to decide career path their child should follow. In the process, many a times, they forget to consider the real interests of the child. As a result, parents themselves make their children handicapped in their abilities for the rest of their lives, ruining their future.
 
Though it is true that parents can be good mentors but they should see that the child is choosing a path for which he is passionate himself rather than fulfilling the parents’ dream only.
 
2.      Parents Should Be Shock Absorbers And Not Stress Boosters – The movie clearly depicts that parents pressurize their children by making them realize their responsibilities again and again (like the marriage expenses of the sister or overcoming the poverty of the family) and thus forcing them to take the extreme measures. On the other hand, a positive, healthy environment in the family may help the child to make better choices in life.
 
Nothing about the above lessons you may find new. These have been told time and again in various forms at various places.
However, important is that how we improve our living by using and incorporating at least some of them in our lives. 
 
Most useful and interesting is the philosophy of life depicted in the movie “ALL  IZZ  WELL”.
 
 
 
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