If I tell you that you can fly, would you agree with me? This is the first question I asked the audience at the Sales Master Class at The Radisson Blu Water Garden In Dhaka Bangladesh on the 20th of October, when I started presenting at the day event, ‘Unlocking Sales Potential’. There were some instant ‘yes’ answers and a few others said ‘no’. The point made by this question was to get the audience thinking about the unlimited potential we are blessed with. With the realization that we can fly in an air craft and aircrafts been made by people using god given brains and resources opened up the minds in the room to the possibilities yet untapped.
When I received an invitation from the Yunus Centre to attend the Social Business Day 2012 at Sarvar Bangladesh, I was excited at the prospect of listening to a man who is one of a kind. I had heard of Prof Muhammad Yunus many years ago and had once met him at the Dhaka Airport Business Class Lounge where we had an interesting conversation about the quality of leadership in Bangladesh. Professor Yunus is a Nobel Lauriat for introducing Micro Credit to the world. After its amazing success in Bangladesh, it has been adopted in many countries around the world including the United States of America.
I was also intrigued to know that NASA astronaut Ron Garan will be the key-note speaker. While getting an opportunity to listen to an astronaut was interesting, I never knew the significance of Ron Garan’s presence, his relationship with Professor Yunus who also invented the concept of Social Business that also spread around the world in the same manner micro credit spread.
It was amazing to discover that Ron Garan took Muhammad Yunus’s book; ‘Creating a World without Poverty’ with him during his 5 1/2 month in space. The book therefore travelled 65,340,224 miles in 2,624 orbits during 164 days in space together with Ron. Ron Also took with him the Bangladesh national flag to honour the motherland of Professor Yunus.
Sri Lanka’s future is in good hands! This is the feeling I had as soon as I walked into the ballroom of Colombo’s Galadari Hotel on the 17th of March 2012. This feeling became stronger as the day went by to see the enthusiasm with which the 270 CIM students participating in the conference absorbed the wisdom dished out by the 4 Chartered Marketers of the Chartered Institute of Marketing [CIM] who had reached the top in organizations and the panel discussion that followed.
Deepal Sooriyaarachchi who spoke first outlined what it takes to be a ‘Future Proof Marketer’. He talked about the importance of knowing your strengths and improvement areas and making sure that marketing is the right profession for you. Then he went on to talk about the importance of knowing your job, profession and the company well so that you can market your products with confidence. Managing your career with the 4 essential steps of learning, mastering, managing and leading was highlighted as one of the essential requirements. Knowing your team was highlighted as essential for success as it is vital to have good team work for success. To top it up it was important to know your market and the world we operate in. While all of these aspects were important, I felt the key message was the need to have a firm set of ‘values’ and live by them remembering that we are human and we need to add value to humanity all the time.
I first attended the Asia Retail Congress in February 2011 where I had the privilege of accompanying the Managing Director of Rahimafrooz Superstores Bangladesh, the operators of the Agora Supermarket Chain to receive the retail excellence award.
I was delighted to be invited to be in the advisory panel of the Asia Retail congress 2012 and to be a speaker as I had lots to share from my experience of making Agora a winning supermarket chain during the last 31 months as the Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of Rahimafrooz Superstores.