Lockdown Lessons: What SYSKA CMO learnt about Agility, risk mitigation, multitasking

India is emerging out of an over two-month long lockdown – a period that has changed our lives, behaviours and the way we conduct business forever. The lessons that we have learnt during the lockdown period and our experiences during the year so far, will help us navigate a world that we had never imagined. It has been a trying time for many of us, with everyone working from home and having to adapt to a new way of working and living. Adgully’s latest endeavour – Lockdown Lessons – is an attempt to present the key learnings that India’s business honchos have learnt and imbibed, and which can help the industry navigate the new normal better.

Amit Sethiya, Chief Marketing Officer, SYSKA Group, shares with Adgully the many lessons that he has learnt during the lockdown period - including being agile, acquired leadership, risk mitigation and the importance of having an emergency fund for any eventuality. 

Also Read: Lockdown Lessons: A big lesson on differentiating between ‘Need’ and ‘Want’

What are the key lockdown lessons as a professional during the lockdown period?

Lockdown period has only reinforced the fundamentals of being a professional, which needs to be demonstrated irrespective of the situation and location.

It is important to take the cognizance of the fact that we need to be available for the organisation for at least the stipulated time as per the formal protocol. Certain household chores that come by being at home should be planned basis your time commitment towards job deliverables on strict disciplines. Time is still a scarce resource and more so during such demanding times like the one during this pandemic around us.

Agility is the key as communication, co-ordination, decision and execution will fall flat if agility is not infused in every element of our professional advancements.

And additionally, since all our professional accomplishments encompass team work, it is equally imperative to ensure that we maintain team bonding and motivational levels among work members.

Please tell us some of the key takeaways in terms of life lessons from the lockdown period?

Risk mitigation is the first and foremost thing of utmost significance when we refer to this COVID-19 lockdown period. I think this has taught us to take out time for ourselves in our busy lives to at least revisit our health first, because as they say, where there is health, there is harmony. And if we want to extend this harmony to the different aspects of our lives, be it personal or professional, this is mandatory. Speaking professionally, since our offline business transactions were impacted significantly, it was required to pay special attention to our online customers and devise strategies in such a way that even during these ongoing turbulent times, they stay updated and continuously engaged through carefully crafted contents which were relevant for our TG.

Multi-tasking to the T: Second most important aspect which I feel is worth sharing here in this context is multi-tasking, as during these times while working from home, this aspect of one’s personality was really put to the test and challenged to reveal the best out of ourselves when it came to still matching up to certain significant deadlines and even attending to things in between on the professional front.

How did you manage and achieve work-life balance while working from home?

Fitness/ news, work, entertainment/ family: The day typically started with a disciplined routine pertaining to the fitness aspect by flexing my muscles to prepare my body and mind for each coming day. I have always ensured that I chart mine and my team’s tasks in such a way that even while working apart, we were still able to manage things in time while being in isolation for these many days. Plus, the day ended by spending quality time with my family, which in turn helped me in relaxing and rejuvenating for the day ahead.

Acquired leadership: I would like to share an interesting example of acquired leadership during these challenging times posed in front of everyone due to COVID-19. These are the times when you get an idea spontaneously, which sets an example for everyone around. On these very lines, I took the initiative of planning and creating a common messaging group with my society neighbours not just for our daily essentials such as groceries and other necessary items for our households, but also for everyone who were included in my plan. The idea was to ensure minimalistic movement of each member within the team on turn basis, wherein, all others were supposed to communicate their list of essentially required items on this common platform, and one person was entrusted with the task of going out and getting all those things for everyone from the nearby shops. This resulted in mitigating the risk of everyone going to the same shops to get the said items just for their households, as in this case, only one person was required to get all of them for everyone.

It has been more than two months since the lockdown was enforced. How are you gearing up for back to office mode?

Planning the manpower in terms of office attendance basis the prescribed orders from the local civic authorities, adherence to safety protocols for myself and the entire team, weekly VCs with agencies (media, creative, PR) and ensuring that we minimise human to human contact during our usual business hours.

Any lessons that you picked up in financial management from the lockdown period?

Don’t underestimate the importance of an emergency fund as many of us were caught off-guard by the lockdown and have been unable to work or even earn a salary during the lockdown. These circumstances have been unprecedented, but are exactly those in which an emergency fund is most effective. Hence, I recommend setting aside an amount equivalent to three months’ earnings in case of times exactly like the present, such as a sudden loss of income. These savings can be invested in a low-risk income fund or money market fund so that the risk of capital loss in a market crash is small, and the funds are easily accessible. The importance of having an emergency fund has surely been brought home by the lockdown.


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