Home > Ideas > What makes the world go round?

What makes the world go round?

Another reunion – Jai, a friend from long time ago had come to town; he made time to visit me in the midst of a packed program. We’d met 33 years back as students, moved in the same circles and met each other regularly those days; then life happened. He moved to the big cities chasing dreams and did well in the advertising business before settling up a production house – he shoots ad-films for the major ad agencies. I asked Jai to spell out the reason for his success and got a one-word answer– Relationships!

He proceeded to explain how some events in his professional life helped him understand the value of this critical element of success.

During one conversation with a major client Jai asked the man – “How do you decide which agency would work for you on a particular campaign? What are your criteria?”

The businessman’s reply was a revelation – the answer did not include any of the following: Size of the agency, Number of Awards won, quality of previous campaigns, client list, cost of services, quality of pitch or any of the technicalities; he said – “I look for one person in the organisation who I can vibe with; I need to find one person who will answer calls, who would understand my requirements thoroughly and then run to get the job done for me … I don’t have time to chase people or to worry my head about the details. There are a million other things to worry about. This person has to be my inside man. His or her task is to ensure that I just need to see the final short-list and approve one. So my business goes to the agency that has the one special person whom I can trust and connect with!”

And to think that agencies burn the midnight oil to create 18 million color graphics backed by killer punch lines! It just takes one good relationship manager.

While we spoke the monsoon that had been playing truant since June 1 announced its arrival – it was raining hard outside and the temperature had dipped; but Jai was just warming up.

He spoke about another campaign, this time in Punjab. He and a Senior Executive from the local branch were making a pitch to the Chairman of a well-diversified company – the office was attached to the big man’s residence.

While Jai watched his colleague was making an “impressive” presentation in English – slides were being shown and some artworks created for the prospective campaign were spread out on the table. The Chairman sat motionless and expressionless while the Senior Executive provided compelling reasons for choosing his agency to run the campaign. Just then a little kid, maybe 6 years old, walked into the office screaming at the top of his voice – obviously him mom had denied him some toy and grandpa’s intervention was needed.

Without thinking grandpa picked up one of the painstakingly created artwork from the table, lovingly handed it over to the little fellow and said in Punjabi – “Sweetheart, look at this lovely picture. You play with this now and I will get you a toy after these gentlemen leave.” The little master was satisfied with this promise – he grabbed the paper from his grandpa, looked at it for a moment and then started walking away with a happy smile on his face – but even before he exited the room the artwork had been rolled into a tube and one end of it was being chomped.

Jai cringed and winced as witnessed this drama; the fruit of a week’s labour turned into play-thing!

Suddenly the local man had a bright idea – he switched to Punjabi and continued his presentation. Jai noticed a change in the Chairman’s attitude –he was no longer sitting slouched in the chair and he was more alive to what was being said.

When the Executive was through the Chairman said – “Why didn’t you say you are a Punjabi? Where are you from?”

“Kapurthala.” (Location name changed)

More excitement – “Where in Kapurthala?” and the name of a residential locality is mentioned.

The Chairman rose from his chair and came around the table to hug the agency man – and Jai said to himself: “Yaay! This order is in the bag!”

The patriarch said: “I am from that part of Kapurthala too. It’s great to do business with someone from home. Ok! Tell me now, which of these 3 artworks would best suit our campaign?”

The Senior Exec said – “The one you gave your grandson.”

“Done!” said the Chairman, “send me the papers with all the details and I shall tell my office to get in touch with you to start work.”


As they rose to leave, the Chairman turned to Jai and said – “I noticed your expression when I gave the artwork to my grandson – you wished you could wring my neck then, right? I love my grandson a lot and would do anything to make him happy; it was just a piece of paper and you could have made another one easily. I am not worried about this campaign at all – I am sure your agency can do it. An what was on that paper did not matter either. I was trying to assess whether I can do business with your agency on a long – term basis. Now I am sure that I can“.  It was an eye-opener for my friend Jai.

Those were great messages and I am sure you think so too.

Jai had stayed on much longer than he had planned for and I am glad he did. I remarked that the growth of his business was showing around the midriff too – he was candid about being too lazy to do anything about it. But he also had the largeness of heart to remember old friends and cared about relationships. Soon it was time for Jai to head back home and as warm hugs were exchanged we promised each other that the next meeting would not take 33 years.

I realised that our meeting after all these years is the result of the good times we shared in the past and the regard we have for each other. In life and in business, relationships make the world go round!


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Categories: Ideas
  1. Jamy
    June 5, 2012 at 6:49 am

    This article is so close to my heart, not just my professional life! Thanks for a great blog!! Very thoughtful message!

    • JayadevM
      June 5, 2012 at 7:16 am

      Hi Jamy, you must share the story with us someday.

  2. June 5, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Relationships are truly valuable be it in the personal or professional front.Like you had mentioned one person you can vibe with n get along well is more important than the five star rating of any company.Jay i have a very good example;when i moved to chennai and needed a gas connection urgently it was my auto driver who got it for me because he knew the IOC boss well.Everyone was surprised and wondered how such a person could do it for me????the answer was simple..the IOC boss was his regular customer a few years ago and that relationship was still maintained though there was so much of difference in the positions they held and inspite of the passage of time….

    • JayadevM
      June 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

      Hey Kathy,

      Thank you for sharing that great example about the power of relationships … A Barber, a cook or a cobbler can be of greater help than a high-flying business executive.

      Social Status, money in the bank and positions are irrelevant oftentimes …. its who you know that matters!

  3. June 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

    That was at par with one of the best from Zig Ziglar!

    • JayadevM
      June 5, 2012 at 11:04 am


      Goosebumps moment! 🙂

      That’s a big name you have associated me with … wish to make a mark like Zig Ziglar in due course!

      Thank you.

  4. Anil George
    June 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Very insightful piece, Jay! Very true, you tend to leave a few relationships in a camatose stage all too often, without the ocassional nurturing…

    • JayadevM
      June 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Thank you, Anil.

      You are right … relationships should not run to weed; we need to cultivate the right ones and permit them to flourish by providing the right inputs.

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