Every year, my college conducts this annual festival and some of us volunteered to make the entire festival happen. This meant that the volunteers had to divide themselves into teams. Some handled finance,some marketing,some events and the others, art. After we volunteered for the roles, we started working on getting things done and here’s a list of what I learned out of it.
10 lessons in management –
1. Finance is everything.
Yes, marketing is really nice and fun. Handling the events is really cool too. But finance is the essence of everything required to run the show. Even if you’re the marketing head, you bow down to the constraints set by the finance team. Yes, it might be the kind of job where you sit inside and do your work, but that’s going to get you some real satisfaction once the numbers add up and you make a profit.
2. Sales requires purging your ego.
The marketing and sales that we did wasn’t exactly conventional. But that is what’s required! Apart from online marketing and banner / poster advertising, which requires repetitive exposure to the thing you’re selling; the other forms of marketing were to talk to a LOT of people to sell our events; Talk to a lot of people to get them to buy the tickets. This took a lot of energy and a lot of skill to sell. This put a huge chunk of my ego to the trash because there were enough people who would tell me right in the face that it all sucks!! And I had to suck it in because an outburst from me, and the reputation of the entire festival would be damaged because of one egotistical person in the organizing committee.
3. Staying over till the end of the day; It matters.
Everyday, after every single work, the core managing committee stayed about 3-4 hours after college hours just to figure out what the financial status is, what events are supposed to be marketed, etc., and every single one who stayed behind was branded a core committee member by default. It happened because all of us knew subconsciously that he worked hard and therefore must be given some status. Eventually, he will attain glory. But, if he misses a single day of staying over, then he loses credibility.
4. Art is either extraordinary or absolute bullshit.
We were fortunate enough to have some skilled artists working alongside us; and they created art that was beautiful and directly resulted in marketing. The good opinions that the art was able to garner was enough to get the people thinking that the festival would be worth it. That is extraordinary art. The other kind of art – bullshit art does the exact opposite. It results in bad marketing. Although some may argue that no marketing is bad marketing, I beg to differ, as it only tarnishes the reputation of everything you’ve been working for.
5. You always give YOUR honest opinion.
Even if it’s brutal. Gone are the times when you think about what she’d think or what he’d think. You take the data, analyse it yourself, come up with your own proposition if necessary or agree with an existing one. This will only gain you credibility.
6. You don’t point out the mistakes when it isn’t your department.
At-least not when the core members are discussing it. It’s like speaking ill about someone else’s family right infront of them. They won’t like it. It’s their department and they believe they can handle it. What you CAN do differently is to be present on the scene and take part actively in what you want to change. This one guy wanted to market differently (marketing was my dept) and he knew I’d get pissed off if he said I was doing something a little inefficiently. So, he took things to his own hands and started marketing. I did things my way and he did things his way. Marketing flourished! And it did nothing to make me mad. We befriended each other. On a side note, I did something similar with the design department too 😛 and design flourished!
7. Flattery is the essence of people skills.
Yeah, I was getting a lot of people to buy the tickets, but there was another person who was doing significantly better. One day I stopped my work just to observe what she was doing to get her ticket sales so high. Flattery!! She used to flatter the people so much that she’d convince them that they’re the perfect ones to participate in a certain event and they’d buy the tickets. She would make sure that she finished her conversation with that person with a bright smile and a big thank you and she would assure that person that it would be TOTALLY worth it ! Marketing 101 !
8. Knowledge Is Power.
Be it marketing, finance, art; knowing everything related to what you’re selling, or what you’re proposing to the core committee, or when you’re selling. Every single detail that you miss will cost you points on reliability and credibility. You always have to be informed about everything that’s going on with your management and it’s related information, which was the ticket sales and the budget in my case.
9. Never be idle.
Unless you’ve already done your job and you have nothing else to do. You might be convinced that you’ll do your job after resting for a while. But never do that around your peers. They’ll only get the impression that you’re no good, even when you know you can do your job in a planned manner. As a matter of fact, you can get into marketing when you’re taking a break. I’m talking about ‘consumer feedback’ and ‘selling to consumers’ kind of marketing. Remember point 6 and don’t overstep your boundaries.
10. Getting the job done.
At the end of the day, whatever you do, all that matters is whether you get the job done or not AFTER making sure you follow all the previous points. Take the challenges the team is facing and get a solution for it all by yourself. It’s obviously easier said than done, but that’s left for you to figure out. Once you get the major challenges figured out, it’ll reduce the stress of the team and it’ll reduce the work being outsourced. You can’t stop the work being outsourced, but once you reduce that, you’ll gain credibility, and consequently you gain the confidence to do more than what you think you can do, and consequently you get more things done.