144 Monday Musings- Contra thinking
They say markets exist because two people look at an event or numbers or facts and have exactly different views. If everyone would agree on everything, there would only be buyers or only sellers, in which case there would be no markets. Two TV commercials on air right now are yet another instance.
After the recently disastrous oversees tours, first in England and then in Australia, the world cup winning Indian cricket team has its scrip at its lowest in the recent times, leading some to question the very notion of invincibility of the team not long ago. Pepsi has come out with a brilliant theme, 'Change the game' where an obvious cricket aficionado in Ranbeer Kapoor is trying to get a soccer loving young kid to switch to cricket - and in the process gets a rebuttal about the hollowness of cricket and the utility of other games, in this case being soccer. Change the game the campaign exhorts the ad, obvious appeal to our seriously jaded, jolted, disappointed and disillusioned Indian cricket fan. On the other hand the aircel telecom ad has MS Dhoni comforting a young child that in the eye of defeat and fall from grace, there is a need to pick up the threads of efforts and begin the climb on the road ahead again. This is what some would call contra thinking. Two marketers have looked at the same event and taken contrarian view.
Managers are asked to take a view on things for a living, and often two of them take contra view. Some take a traditional view, the common one, the popular one, the obvious one - others take a slightly bold view, the uncommon one, the unpopular one and the not so obvious ones. Only time tells which way the cookie crumbles, till that time the fate of managerial success hangs from a thin fibre. The oscillating fortunes makes for dangerous living, but who said managerial life is for the meek. I doubt if there is a clear verdict, if one better than the other conclusively and universally. Managers must have, on one hand, a vast body of traditional wisdom, of what has worked in most circumstances, what one would classify as universally applicable principles, undeniable truths, maxims that would work more often than not - and yet hone their instinct to know when to be audacious in their attempts, courageous in their leap, adapting, adopting and experimenting with the new and modern, something which may be experimental but instinctive. Taking a contra view can be a risk, but sometimes not taking a contra view is bigger risk.
Is there an escape from taking a view - I guess not. Each time we take a view of things, it will be nice to remember that on exactly the same issue, there is contra view that someone would have taken or would take. So what’s the way out - well that I think can be yet another musings.