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Ambi pens leadership lessons in his latest book

After ‘Nawabs, Nudes and Noodles’, adman MG Parameswaran is back with his ninth book ‘Sponge: Leadership Lessons I Learnt From My Clients’ that talks about the important learnings from his clients

MG Parameswaran aka Ambi is back. After his last bestseller ‘Nawabs, Nudes and Noodles’, the adman has rolled out his ninth book, ‘Sponge: Leadership Lessons I Learnt From My Clients’, which pens all lessons he learnt from his time, both as agency guy and client.

Ambi, who has over 40 years of experience in the field of advertising and marketing, says people always assume that he has spent all of these 40 years in advertising.

MG Parameswaran

“I started my career in advertising in 1979 with Rediffusion Advertising. I moved to marketing in 1982 and stayed in marketing and sales till 1989. I got back to advertising in 1989. So, it is a myth that I have spent all my 40 years of work life in advertising. Almost 33% was spent as a client. I have, therefore, seen both sides of this equation,” said Ambi.

Sponge is an attempt to present the interesting conversations Ambi had with the doyens of the corporate world, in an easy to read, anecdotal form, he says.

“This book has been something that has been in the cards for a long, long time. I have seen advertising professionals and even professionals from other fields say nasty things about clients and customers. There is obviously a love-hate relationship. I wanted to see if we can revitalise or reframe this relationship. And when I did my CEO Coaching certification at CFI, I realised there could be some valuable lessons that I could share with my readers around the concept of Active Listening, Deep Observation and Emulation of Behaviour. This book presents a unique Sponge Framework with six specific stages to become a better Sponge,” said Ambi.

Through his new book, Ambi wants people to understand that one can learn a lot from their customers and associates if only they are ready to listen and observe.

Speaking about the only challenge he faced while writing the book, Ambi said, “The challenge was to distil the learning and linking it to a management concept. I had to dig into many of my old and new books to find the appropriate reference. But I just heard back from a young executive who bought the book yesterday and managed to finish today. He said that reading Sponge was like reading 12 management books in one shot. That is a high compliment I think.”

With nine books under his belt now, how does he avoid the risk of repetition?

“The way to avoid repetition is to ensure each time the framework is different. My first six books were academic in nature, full of theory and cases. Two of the books were joint efforts with industry and academic colleagues. The last three are meant for the working men and women. So there are less on theory and frameworks, more on anecdotes and incidents. So, I have tried to tell stories and linking them to higher order concepts. Since each book has its own lens, I think there is very little repetition. ‘For God’s Sake’ was about religion and marketing. ‘Nawabs, Nudes and Noodles’ was about changing society and how advertising is reflecting this change. Sponge is about how we can become smarter and better if we learn to listen and observe,” said Ambi.

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