Pumped Up with Team Spirit and Other Epiphanies

Today I feel electric. Like there's a kind of pumping rhythm pulsating in my veins saying "Things will get done. Things will happen. Things will follow through."

This morning I had to face a man and tell him he needs to leave the job he's held for 7 years because of an offense that he has done. It was painful and I'm not even sure if writing about it right now is a breach of confidentiality but no details or identity will be revealed. This is just an HR person's introspective space so that strength can be rejuvenated after dealing with quite an emotional interaction. I don't know how other HR people can do it. I don't know how they are completely able to balance motivating people at the same time enforcing discipline.

Then again, I'm still young and I have so much more to learn.

After that I had to shift gears and meet with a consultant to talk about Internal Communications and how to jump start the initiative and get a huge following. It isn't easy. It feels like an internal PR related stint. I prayed to God that I'll be able to pull it off. But the insurmountable obstacles of culture, interactions, and everything else rolled into one simply make it hard for me to see the light. Yet I keep walking until I hit the middle of the afternoon and find out some news that additional initiatives will be added on to my accountability.

If I shifted to 3rd gear, receiving this news makes me push to 5th. But I am grateful that even with all these things added to my plate I was able to pretty much carry on quite willfully. Conscious that I needed to remain positive all throughout.

Yes, I'm remembering diamonds.

One thing I like about pressure, I realized is that I start thinking of all these crazy and unorthodox ideas unwritten in any of my management schoolbooks. Well, I haven't found them at least in there anyway. So I do something different. I am asked to increase my capacity in one area without hiring an expert to deliver the service. Most of my staff are young and none with the length of experience that I need to save day. The next answer is resourcefulness. I changed from managing them in a functional manner to a task force orientation. Similar to innovation group dynamics done in IDEO, I pull the knowledge from my intellectual stack of old MBA cases and make the decision.

In HR jargon I say, "Employee Relations, Training & Dev't and Employee Communications will now be looked at as solutions to HR related issues. They are no longer merely functions. They are interventions. Look at them that way and open your minds. So how all 3 of you are related to one another. List down all the HR related issues and think about these problems one by one. Group them together and classify their possible solutions to be either be ER, TD or EC."

They look at the board and furiously copy all the things I wrote. I don't even know which framework I pulled it out from but given my instinct on the current climate in the organization, more heads thinking about problems that can be solved using those 3 interventions is better than 1.

"Set aside a time every week at least 1 half day to brainstorm. This means, clearing out all your ad hoc activities and managing your time. We shall now play on your strengths. You are either a report writer, a thinker or a mover." I point to each one of them and call out the strengths I have observed. "Use your knowledge of your strengths and work together acknowledging these strengths in each other. In that way, you will progress faster."

The aim is to speed up our response time in handling HR issues of which we have a humungous stock.

For a moment there, while I paused to sip from my coffee cup, I was taken back to 2005 sitting in the living room while 2 of my friends from church bring me a similar problem. "We need to resurrect the youth apostolate but we do not know how." I teach them about the Johari window and playing on each others' strengths. Knowing what buttons to push so that things move forward. I find myself in a different creative flow but similar to creative processes in art such as conceptualization and design. I suppose that's why Harvard is quite hot on the new buzzword "Design Thinking".

The Google Talk alerts are now coming in succession. And it's time weave myself back into the lives of people asking me for help. Time to answer questions about the SNS Challenger project which is picking up at the right pace. Tracking the mysterious canal in Old Manila has been a really exciting experience. It feels like a treasure hunt (I'm not sure how many times I've said that to people). I'm amazed at Google Earth and how that particular piece of technology just makes it so much easier and makes the metaphor of navigating through "Sea" in the world wide web feel more appropriate. It really depicts with great parallelism the voyage of 19th Century HMS Challenger.

Somehow all this human interaction used to be a tiring and heavy thought. But something is slowly changing. Pursuing something purposeful this season of my life has helped me keep my heart in the right place enough to not let it be weighed down.

Thank you God.


  1. I'm going to link to this post on my Facebook wall...

    Also, I added you to my BlogRoll :-)

  2. Hi Alexander! Thank you for the affirmation. I just started writing again and I'm hoping to make it a little bit more consistent. I struggle with day to day work challenges and it has made an impact on my ability to balance my creative life. :)

    Will add you to my BlogRoll Too!


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