Saturday, March 2, 2013

How Do You Face Challenging Moments At Work

(An essay I wrote during a job interview/exam in 2011, when I was still in Manila.)

TWO SITUATIONS challenged my stead recently and I'd like to share how I aced my career life's scorecard by playing like a cool cat and allowing professional maturity to prevail.

First off would be our company's plan to revamp the old web page for our physical malls. It was a long story of unnecessary layers of pride and office drama. It felt like I was in the middle of two conflicting poles that will never meet since we had two approving officers with opposing views. Making things worse was the waiting game, because designs had to go through a process at the Advertising Department. After submitting six wire frames and mock-up pages, gaining that positive stamp appeared to be getting a long way.

Since I was up versus time crunch, I had to move forward and make decisions instead of being a dead weight, while waiting for the designs to come back (after forwarding to the Designers' Department my seniors' feedback). Backed by my understanding of what my seniors wanted to see and fusing their views with what I believed will work for the company, I did a collaboration with a Web Developer, who was also well-versed in Web Designs.

At the end of the day, I submitted the designer team's work and my experiment. Surprisingly, my seniors (Both Vice Presidents, who are based in the US) approved the latter. And today, the web page or mini-site is live and running and gaining awesome web traffic.

It felt good because the approval made me feel that I did great. That although the shortcuts to change normally don't get sweet endings, my taking the call stood out like an exception. The success of that project felt like a soothing side effect when you listen to some gut feel.

The other challenging moment that moved me was when some close co-workers started to leave the company. It was difficult to see them go or to turn down offers from their companies but my plain reason for staying was I see myself in a better position if I will hold my ground. There will be better opportunities but that will be in the future. While I can't question their desire for greener pastures, I can't buy their reason for leaving which was the lack of employee development programs in the company.

My philosophical take on this is that employee development--as the main ingredient to ensure an organization's continued success--is a shared ground between the employer and the employee. It is about discovering competencies necessary to keep the company's growth going. It is also about exploring an employee's natural strengths and taking relevant steps to push the real change to the surface.

From the employer's perspective, it's about defining the upward mobility or career path for the employees and establishing a reward system. Companies do these by really focusing on whether someone has the potential to go two or three levels beyond where he is today. The way to go is by customizing a developmental plan tailored for each employee where abilities, motivations and growth opportunities are highly-factored in.

Employees, on the other hand, respond positively when they have clear expectations and are guided by specific strategies that they believe can help them maximize their potential and will improve their performance. They view "employee development" as a platform where they can embrace measures that will help them correct difficulties that interfere with productivity and their overall effectiveness. They also see it as an avenue where they can enhance skills required for decision-making, priority management, resource development, effective communication and task completion through effective delegation.

I believe I have correctly answered the question but I would like to add that my answers have somewhat of an academic feel to them and that I believe there should also be other considerations when facing odd situations: empathy and encouragement ought to be on top for example, in a leadership form that could be akin to "tough love," because it is people that one is dealing with and should always be placed with utmost importance, not just textbook issues and answers. I believe that's what maturity means. Knowing what matters more, for now and in the long run. That is how I faced events. With high level of professional maturity and sense of optimism.