Winning as a culture

Donald Trump, then a former television anchor and a candidate for President of USA, said in a campaign speech, “There will be so much winning, you will be tired of winning.”

I asked only one question to Mr. Bahal in my first ever meeting (also my interview back in 2018), “Adfactors is far and away the largest consultancy in India, what is next for the firm? What are you aiming for?”. I half expected him to respond with platitudes of purpose, mission and the greater good. But instead, I got a clear answer, “Becoming a 1000 crore company.” At the time, the communications consulting firms were cumulatively at INR 1,200 crore, so this number was decidedly otherworldly for me. I probed further, and he explained how the company would get there. I left that meeting with just one thought in my head – Adfactors PR is going places, and I want to be on the ship.

Fast forward four years, I went from a fan to a follower and finally a believer. This is our daily existence in the firm. We wake up every day with one thought in our minds, a singular focus – winning. At Adfactors PR, we do not tire of winning we do not get enough of it. Winning takes multiple manifestations, as we understand it in this 25-year young organisation.

Winning means caring for the clients we work for and wanting to go above and beyond the brief if the business objectives demand it. Caring enough that it is not about the delivery on the scope but driving towards the best possible outcomes. Client centricity is driven as a way of life well beyond just a principle of work to be applied for client delight. Empathy for the client helps us anticipate, understand, and care beyond contracts and agreements. Winning their hearts through great work.

Winning means not revising revenue targets downwards. Growing even if by 1% in a once-in-a-century black swan event, that spared no country, much less no business. We came together as one organisation to bolster all our business. We added business that we could to shore up the 1% growth to maintain an uninterrupted growth of 24 years, followed closely by an increase of 34% in the next year. Winning is a belief of fighting your own battles, not looking around for justifications.

Winning means protecting your own at all costs. Every employee was guaranteed that no jobs would be cut, ensuring that the organisation was the refuge while everything around them was changing and uncertain. They were going beyond just salaries and into personally supporting colleagues that needed medical attention, ensuring telemedicine for all and taking care of mental health and fitness through Yoga in a locked-up world. Winning is when you do it together out of love, not fear and concern.

Winning is looking into the future and recognising the need for strategic changes. Gearing up for a digital-first world, getting every single employee up to speed with digital marketing, learning blockchain and fintech, and public policy. They are adapting workflow and team structure to bring in digital offerings for clients. Adding new practices of Social Impact, Frontier Technology, and ESG. Making early investments in people and empowering them. Winning is never remaining static.

Winning takes everyone to row in the same direction. Standing shoulder to shoulder with each other because 1200 Adfactorites are stronger together than the next ten agencies. Strength in collaboration – if it sounds cheesy – then my favourite food item is grilled cheese toast. There is always somebody who has done it before, can teach you, knows someone who can connect you, will work together with you, and will spend another hour with you to win—celebrating every single win and acknowledging the effort of every individual, celebrating the win together and often. Winning is never done alone.

Winning is never sitting down and enjoying it for too long. Every win only lets you see the summit even clearer. Every year in our Annual Change Meeting, Madan sir charts the journey ahead without patting himself on the back. Winning is about recognising that winning is the goal, not the success of your goal in the infinite game with yourself.

Winning is not the opposite of losing – winning is a philosophy of life, the philosophy of Adfactors PR. Every loss makes one smarter for the next time. In 25 years, Adfactors PR has lost enough to get stronger and wiser. With each new challenge, we will lose only to come back and win.

I am not tired of winning, and none of us Adfactorites. I look forward to 25 more years of winning.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.
This article is part of a SILVER JUBILEE series by Adfactors PR commemorating their 25th year in the business of Public Relations.

Chennakeshav Shenoy
Chennakeshav Shenoy is Group Head at Adfactors PR

Currently building teams that are focused on communications on corporate reputation with a target on Fintech, Private Capital, Banking and Financial Institutions, Chennakeshav has, in the past worked in a wide gamut of sectors ranging from Cement, Infrastructure, Financial Services, Chemical to FMCG.

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