Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Don't Look Down

I worked on a project with a brand I handled and have come to love since day one at work almost 11 years ago. It turned out to be hugely successful that the execution of our team was deemed better than the other countries in Asia. I was on a high, albeit a short ride, and I think it's because I've missed that feeling - that sense of accomplishment and the delayed gratification that came with it. 

We've had several other projects before this but all of those were mired by problems, exposing weaknesses in the system, challenging our leadership and testing the mettle of our people - some of whom, unfortunately, did not live up to expectations. After that string of near-misses, I was determined not to screw this particular project up and committed to handle it personally instead of endorsing it to a manager and an executive. Suffice to say it went well. I learned a wealth of things that I wouldn't have given a damn about, hopped between airports, endured the traffic and the dirty air in Manila, and struggled to hear through the thick accents of the people we were dealing with. For weeks on end, I soldiered on until it was necessary to involve the rest of the office. I could not have done it all if it weren't for the great support I got from my colleagues. From the superiors who willingly took on the load I had to sideline to focus on this one, to the young professionals who were fast learners and handled their responsibilities efficiently. During that three-day period, I saw our team work at its best and I was reminded of the Perceptions that I've always known. The fire was back, spirits were up and the momentum was so there. 

Of course, something had to happen that brought me down from the high, and I wasn't able to bring myself back to it. Hurtful words were exchanged, bringing to question the sincerity of the intentions and all the actions that came with it. I was bawling in the presidential comfort room at the airport on day two, forcing myself to stop when I realized I had been inside for some 20 minutes. Why couldn't we have just enjoyed the ride, up to now I still could not comprehend. The conflict was resolved a few weeks later, but it still could not bring back the moment that was lost. 

All is well. At the end of the day, I'm still proud of what our team has accomplished. I'm proud of my colleagues. I sent messages to each of them to make sure they knew how much I appreciated them and their work, and it also felt good to see them bask in the glory for being recognized for their individual contributions.

What I learned from this experience is that no matter how given it is that people are good and no matter how many times they have been told that they are doing a good job, we should not hold back on showing them over and over again how much we appreciate the dedication, hard work and sacrifices that were made to deliver a job well done.

Because sometimes, the only thing a subordinate really needs after a long period of working her heart out is a good, sincere pat on the back from the people she looks up to, and not a weak, customary fist bump that's half 'good job!' and half 'goodbye!'.