Zain Raj: Shares the decisions that moved him from India to Madison Avenue
Date of Show: November 13, 2020
Zain Raj: How to Bolster Your Decision-Making Framework by Understanding Your Personality
How do you combine what your head and your heart are telling you when making a big decision? Life is not a straight line, but you can’t succeed in life solely through impulsive decisions, either. Today’s guest teaches us how to reconcile logic and gut feeling to take our life and career to greater heights.
How can understanding my Myers–Briggs personality type help me make better decisions?
How can I become comfortable with change?
Is it ever justifiable to break my own rules about making decisions?
John and Paul welcome visionary, entrepreneur, and marketing industry futurist Zain Raj, who shares how understanding your personality and how your brain works can make you more confident in making big career decisions, even if some of those decisions seem to defy logic.
3 MAJOR POINTS DISCUSSED
● Listen to both sides of your brain when making big decisions. Think of your brain as being made up of two boxes. One box is gradually filled with stuff that helps you begin to understand who you are and what makes you fulfilled. This box is a function of the right brain, where “the heart and the gut talk to each other. The other box, of the left brain, is where “the head then gets involved”. When Zain decided to get involved in advertising straight out of school where he studied accounting, it was not on a whim (even if it may look that way from the outside). It was partly a gut feeling, wherein Zain knew he would have a greater sense of freedom by being involved in the advertising world. But he also realized that he had a knack for the art of advertising and, while he was never trained in it up to that point, he knew that he would build up the skills to eventually thrive in marketing. It was only a matter of time. Zain, in short, successfully synthesized what was spoken to him by both his right brain and his left brain.
● Accept change, embrace change, and grab the opportunities that follow. Change is hard, because people usually associate change with risk. The key to overcoming this is by looking into the future and accepting that the world is always evolving. Change is inevitable and we all have to adapt to these changes and, even better, capitalize on opportunities that change tends to unearth. We just have to look for those opportunities; but we won’t find them unless we come to accept and embrace change. As Zain himself puts it: “Be part of the change rather than the victim of the change.”
● Have a decision-making framework, but don’t become its slave. Zain left FCBI to start Brand XP because the former, while being a prestigious company to work for, stifled Zain’s creativity and knack for disruption as an entrepreneur and marketer. He knew it was a big risk—he was a family man on top of all that. Nobody supported his decision to leave FCBI, but he made the decision anyway because Zain was 1) looking at the long game, and 2) sure that he would have more fun and be more fulfilled starting his own company. These types of decisions should not be a regular occurrence, but you should be ready to break the rules should the time come. This particular risk paid off for Zain, and opened even bigger doors for the future of his career.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE
● Why Zain decided to go from accounting to advertising [04:28]
● Zain’s decision-making construct and a primer on the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator [8:29]
● How Zain’s wife played a role in the trajectory of his career [16:25]
● The reality of change [22:23]
● Entering the internet age [28:29]
● Why Zain left the prestigious FCBI to start Brand XP [35:23]
● Leaving the advertising world for the private equity world [38:26]
● Why does Zain embrace every career decision he has made—even the “bad” ones? [43:09]
● When you should ignore your own decision-making construct [47:15]
ABOUT OUR GUEST
A visionary leader, entrepreneur, business accelerator, investor, philanthropist and industry futurist, Zain Raj is considered a global leader in finding new and different ways to grow brands. His unique ability to unearth surprising insights and incite inspired ideas has created billions of dollars of value for his clients and investors.
Currently, Zain is the Chairman and CEO of Shapiro+Raj, a top-ten independent insights and inspiration company in North America. He is also the founder and CEO of ZedNext, an ideas incubator that takes an objective and disruptive look at trends to help marketers and business leaders realize their full potential in this data-driven, digitally-led and insights-driven world. His theories and methodologies provide clear and actionable ways to help companies deliver sustainable growth through these times of significant economic and cultural change.
He has authored two Amazon marketing and sales bestsellers, Brand Rituals™: How Successful Brands Bond with Customers for Life and Marketing For Tomorrow, Not Yesterday: Surviving and Thriving in the Insight Economy™. An evangelist for innovation and a strong believer in empowering others, Zain is a sought-after speaker on how marketers can build their businesses and improve their brand value in this evolving landscape of big-data, mobility, digitization and commoditization.`
ABOUT OUR HOSTS
Jon Kramer, Managing Director JMK Solutions www.jmk-solutions.com is a marketing services veteran with 35+ years of experience working with leading agencies, and major consumer packaged goods brands.
Most recently, Jon was the Enterprise Sales Marketing lead at WestRock, a $16B packaging and display company, responsible for interfacing with their largest clients. Earlier, he was CMO of the RockTenn Merchandising Division where he created a shopper-marketing team, and go-to-market strategies for the Henkel company. He was also responsible for providing the selling organization with insights into the evolving US retail environment.
Previously, Kramer served for 10 years as CEO of J. Brown, the Shopper Marketing agency of Grey Worldwide. He was responsible for creating the organizational positioning and strategy, and led all new-business efforts. During his tenure, J. Brown became the leading U.S. shopper marketing Agency, virtually defining the discipline.
Paul Kramer’s distinguished marketing career is characterized by a long track record of building high performance communication organizations. His expertise is a unique blend of creativity, technical marketing analysis, and a keen business sense for strategic positioning. Paul’s earlier career included being the CEO of Catapult Marketing, President and COO of Hyper Marketing Inc and President and COO of D.L. Ryan Companies and has sat on Epsilon’s Strategic Management Team.
Paul is skilled in all areas of marketing. He is especially strong in strategic planning, national brand management, marketing communications, and business development. In addition, he has a solid management foundation with accomplishments in P&L management, intellectual property, forming and maintaining strategic alliances and building business.
Today, Paul is the General Partner of Riverside Consulting, a strategic consulting company working with senior leadership to help guide their business’ success.
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