Audit Your Managers' Skills & Attitudes

Audit Your Managers' Skills & Attitudes

Recall the classic Sholay and the Thakur putting Amitabh and Dharmendra to an acid test to see how "fighting fit" they still were. Well, here is an examination paper of the YWCA which you can give to your managers with the following suggestions :

  1. Take 30 days. Consult. Ready Copy.

  2. Buy books. Give a Rs. 1,000 budget, per participant

  3. And then, tell them to present the answer paper in 30 pages. It should be professional.

  4. Make the required copies and give to each participant, to study and think about.

  5. Give marks. You will be able to upgrade your knowledge too!

  6. Hold a one-day seminar. At a good place-not in your offices.

  7. Give "Mini MBA' certificates to those who pass, and to the balance give another 30 days to shape up or ship out.

  8. It will cost you money. It will cost you time. Yes. But you will be able to sharpen the mental axes of your people.

  9. This may not be the best way, agreed, but get going to improvise to meet your special requirements.

Question Set No. 1

  1. The marketing scene in India is undergoing transformation. List the major changes that you think have taken place during the last five years. What will the marketing scenario look like in 2000 A.D.?

  2. What is marketing and what is selling? High - light their differences taking any product as an example. Illustrate your answer with the help of the various principles.

  3. You are manager of a TV shop in Lajpat Nagar. What steps will you take to sell more TVs in your area?
    lllustrate your answer by developing a cost-benefit analysis of your suggestion.

  4. You want to buy a refrigerator for your home in May and you have only Rs. 6000, while the market price is around Rs. 12,000. How will you go about buying it?

  5. What are the factors influencing customer behaviour when buying a motorcycle or a scooter? How do they differ from the purchase of toothpaste? Give the reasons for making your purchase decisions.

  6. What are the principles of Advertising and Sales Promotion? How different are they for industrial goods and consumer durables? Write your views using the goods of your choice as examples.

  7. What is meant by service after sale? What are the prerequisites for attaining customer satisfaction from service after sale?

  8. "The Customer is the Bos. He is the profit; everything else is overhead." Comment on this statement. Elaborate how competition can enhance consumer welfare.

  9. Is competition good or bad for us as consumers? Give your views based on your experiences and exposure.

  10. You have to sell yourself for a job opening at a car franchise. Do your "SWOT" analysis : your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities and your threats. Why should you be hired?

Question Set No.2

  1. Our economy is opening up. More foreign brands are coming in. Is it good or bad for us as consumers? Give your views, preferably with specific examples.

  2. What is meant by channels of distribution? Give details of these channels around two products of your choice.

  3. What is niche marketing? Give details through examples in India or abroad.

  4. Give factors influencing consumer behaviour in the purchase of an automobile. What are its implications for the management of the company?

  5. What is the difference between consumer products and industrial products? What are the factors according to which products are classified in these two categories, and how does this influence channels of distribution? Give examples of the products.

  6. What is a product life-cycle? Give examples. How can you prolong the life-cycle of Coca-Cola?

  7. What is the role of packaging and branding in the selling of products? Give your experiences and exposure.

  8. What is the role of direct, indirect and personal selling? How can this be integrated, le us say, in the selling of management books

  9. Advertisement and Sales Promotion: describe its role in our economy in 1996 and 2006. Give examples of good and bad advertising and sales promotion.

  10. How will you handle a difficult customer in a motorcycle shop? First put yourself in the shoes of the shopowner and secondly in the shoes of the customer.

Inspiring Group Management

Gaining the buy-in of a committee or group could be one of the toughest sales any management faces. Gaining the agreement or commitment of one person is difficult enough, but accomlishing this with a whole group is usually even more complex. When selling to a committee, we may not know what kind of support we have from all the individuals, even if we have met with them individually (and hopefully we have!). And who knows how they've been influenced since we saw them last, even if it was yesterday?

We'll review the process of a group presentation step-by-step, from 'initiation' to 'close'. The steps are Initiation, Objective Identification, Presentation, Benefits Clarification, and Close. We'll suggest approaches that we and a number of our clients have found far more effective than more traditional approaches.


In this phase, we plan to present an idea, program, or product to a group. Involving the people and getting them to communicate is our primary objective in this initiation phase. We also want them to participate in a positive way. When we do this early in the meeting, people tend to drop their defences, and open up to more possibilities. They also become involved and focused on the meeting and objective. As soon as possible, we want each of the people to be fully present and attentive to our subjective.

One key is to use an effective question to start the meeting. We want the question to encourage positive comments. We want people to open up, not shut down, so the question should be on the right side. While it is okay to have them start thinking early in the meeting, we don't want them to have to think too hard! Some questions you could ask are : You have come a long way in this project. What do you most appreciate about how you have handled the process? Now that the team is formed, what are you particularly looking forward to about this project? etc.

Objectives identification

In this phase, objectives need to be identified from each individual's personal and current perspective. They need to be probed until the individuals agree that there are no more fundamental underlying objectives or issues. We cannot deal with them if we do not know what they are! List the issues or objectives as specifically as possible on a flip chart.

Use this list directly in the actual presentation that follows. Explicitly ask for agreement every step of the way. The question might be something like : What are the three most strategic or critical elements that you feel need to be addressed in this situation? Or, what aspects of this situation do you feel are most important to the success of the project? How would those issues, if resolved, support the organization in moving towards where we want it to be?

Write the objectives or issues as specifically as possible on a flip chart (which you'll also use for your presentation later). It is important to identify the elements that are important from each individual's perspective. Then we need to probe until the individuals agree there are no more underlying issues or objectives. Obtain explicit agreement to the list. Ask each if they agree that these are the critical areas of interest. When the list seems complete, verify that nothing has been left out. Now and only now are we ready for the actual presentation.