Amith Prabhu: Securing a better future

29 Feb,2016

By Amith Prabhu


This is probably the only column I will write on February 29. Because the next time February has 29 days the last day will be Saturday and Thursday. Not sure I will change my day of writing. And definitely not sure I will be writing beyond 2024.


Well, a once in a lifetime date calls for a once in a lifetime column. Today also marks the 12th anniversary of 12 others and I starting our formal career in Public Relations at one of the finest management trainee programmes that we were the first to sign up. The Associate Learning Programme at what was then Genesis Public Relations.


Earlier this month, I wrote about Leaving a Legacy and Creating an Impression. And last week I penned my thoughts on the Universal Service Obligation in Public Relations. All these put together make for a potent mix of ideas that the veterans should run with for the future of the business.


I still do not understand what stops the largest and most powerful association of practitioners from wanting to replicate an Associate Learning Programme community-wide. Just imagine if the 30 PRCAI members made an investment of Rs 1000 a day or Rs 3.5 lakh a year over five years to produce 150 talented business managers. This is what ‘made of great’ consists of.


We hear whines of new recruits not being upto the mark. How will they get any better if we do not invest time and resources collectively to make them get better? It requires thinking beyond traditional ways with innovation and courage.


If we look carefully at the services business in India, two or three players in the airline business got their act together and left Air India far behind. Similarly, two or three banks and a similar number of hotel chains got their act together. Unlike what it was five years ago, it is difficult to count a third consulting firm which has produced talent that is to swear by.


When will we build a McKinsey among Indian PR firms? How will we secure the future of the business? What is the succession plan at the macro level that we have set up for ourselves?


All of this needs taking a step back and immense amount of reflection. Every good plan requires swift execution. Opportunities do not keep coming back. Time is running out and great minds need to come together. If we believe that we are creating great talent as an individual firm, that talent will not stay forever. Great talent in consulting firms are usually offered more lucrative deals at in-house departments. The vicious cycle grows and mediocrity thrives.


I wish we all wake up and smell the coffee and put on our thinking caps. We can only secure the future if we start now. For tomorrow will be too late.


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