Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Intricacy Without Delicacy

Jamie folded her arms across her chest. The mood in the meeting room was becoming thick with tension, “We have been tolerating this immature behavior for some time now”.

“I totally agree. I think we can use this incident as an opportunity to make the change,” replied Terence. Already feeling a trail of sweat trickling down the back of his head, he continued, “I do see your point but it’s not like we can control our customers”.

All this is good finding but can we go on with the training? It’s almost 5pm…

“Yes, we don’t control the customers but we can teach them, educate them and share with them the problems we face when they do not co-operate with us,” interjected Lynn who suddenly became animated with life.

Suddenly Carrie felt the need to cut in as well, “It is so ridiculous when we have to reject back the orders just because their order is short of 1 or 2 pieces”.

Terence’s hands were both on the table now, “I see your point but who are we to educate our customers, we cannot just tell them what to do”. He chanced a glancing look to his side at Amber and continued, “Besides, we need to also try to understand their ordering system. They consolidate the total quantity from all outlets into one single order and more often than not, these numbers are not round figures and they do not have a system or program to round up the numbers”.

Great! This is going to take longer than expected. I thought this was supposed to be a training, how did it become a discussion now? When will this end?

“But can’t you tell them that for us, we have a minimum order quantity and everytime the order is short of 1 or 2 pieces, it gets rejected and this affects our customer service”, added Michelle with a scoff.

“It’s true you know, Terence. We are talking about our KPIs here. This is something that can be easily controlled and solved,” uttered Erica in the most innocent manner.

At this point, Terence was hoping that Amber would add a few words here and there to support him. Isn’t she part of his team anyway? But to his dismay, she continued to sit silently beside him.

“But I don’t see why we can’t solve the problem from our end. We can easily manipulate the orders upon receiving to round up to the nearest number as well”, retorted Terence.

Guys, guys! Stop it please, it’s past 5pm now and we are still going nowhere with this. I think I have to take this into my own hands. Should I intervene? Use subtlety? How do I make this end?

Jamie began again and this time with less aggressiveness in her tone, “We can manage it on our end but it is too much unnecessary work”.

“Non-value added as well”, said Lynn.

“Imagine you have to manually edit the orders line by line in the system. How many orders we have in one day from this customer?” queried Michelle.

“About 20 orders for one region…” declared Nina.

“So that is about 100 orders in total!” stated Jamie.

“That is why it’s so much work. Daily, do you want to key in 100 data points?” challenged Rachel.

That’s it. I know what to do now. I’ll just throw them off in a different direction that will lead to the conclusion I want. I can’t take this anymore. This will work.

“I guess that is a lot of work,” Terence conceded.

I saw my chance and started, “I think this is a good discussion. This is definitely an opportunity we can explore for both sides. We need to solve this, so will we be organizing a separate meeting for this?”

Immediately, everyone stopped the discussion and realized the time is past due and we have severely moved off topic. “Let’s follow up with this another time, we need to get on with the training first”, announced Jamie.

Ahh, the power of subtlety and sincerity!

The rest was history. How simple it was. Sometimes it is in front of us but we missed it. Sometimes we must recognize a problem for what it is and act on it but do so with the right state of mind, the right resources, the right commitment and the right timing. If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.


Anonymous said...

this is hilarious.... guess all of us feel this way whenever meetings get unbelievably lengthy and unproductive... but hey, urs even worse... it's a TRAINING... not a meeting?!! *patience DOES has its limit* .... chill... Just tell urself this... "NEVER let yourself to be one of those folks... coz 10 yrs down the road, you'll still be at the same position in the company... and NEVER progress... "

J said...

bro, i like this post somehow! awesome! different from your usual philosophical entries, HAHA! no offense yea ;) entertaining and to the point. you handled the situation well too. sometimes these types are just so so bloody annoying! aptly named title too, lol!

Han said...

Unbelievable lengthy, unproductive, and nerve-wrecking. I wonder at the countless images I flashed through my mind, of myself pulling each strand of hair off my scalp! Next time must put into the title of the invitation e-mail in caps, TRAINING!!! LOL! Wow, 10 yrs from now is a looooong way to go but I'll keep that in mind ;)

Btw, who are you?

Bugger! Damn offensive wei! Haha! Can't imagine what's it like having you in the same meeting room man; have to deal with nerve-wrecking situation and the nerve-wrecking YOU! HAHA! Glad you "could" like this post :P

Kelly said...

this is nice narration..the ppl r real names? or names have been changed to protect their identity...and modesty!haha!



Lian said...

HAHAhahahaAH! when I read this I cannot stop myself from laughing so hard because I thought when I changed jobs, I would get away from this type of culture there but little did I know it is the same where I am now. [shakes head] poor poor terence, get beaten down by all the girls in the room, not even his amber was helping. HEY! you were the only other guy in the room right? stand up for your brother lar, LOLOL! nice one ;)

Anonymous said...

Fren, I'll reveal my identity the next time I see you.. :) 10 yrs down the road may be LOOOOOONG way to go... but with such attitude like your 'colleagues', sad to say... I doubt anyone can progress far wherever they do...

Han said...

Yes, the names are real and my name is Obi-Wan ;) LOL! Modest indeed, haha! OMG! I like what you said, "pretending" to be ignorant can solve the problem, hahahaha! Nice one, girl.

I guess it is inherent in our Malaysian culture lah...nothing much we can do. Poor Terence indeed. Hey, doesn't mean I was his only other gender ally in the room, I should align myself with him right? Besides, which sane man would wanna team up with a poor hapless man like him and get shot down by a room filled with estrogen? It's suicide by default.

You must be like the 3rd or 4th "anonymous" grazing my comment boxes that wants to play this guessing game with me, LOL! Ok then, I really do hope you will reveal yourself when next we meet. I am guessing we meet often ;) Btw, give my colleagues some benefit of doubt will ya? We were discussing a legacy issue that was close to our hearts, people tend to get emotional and defensive easier :)

Ree said...

fuuyohh! somebody damn sneaky, ganas and cekap hah. not bad not bad, got what it takes to be a future leader very soon, Manager hor? hahahhha! i also can't stand my colleagues who always like to drag meetings long long.

bad enough we all work in mncs already, some more have to tolerate all these stupid things. damn fai ah!

must learn from you, must learn, lol!

Han said...

Sometimes, super FAI man! Haha! But I not as sneaky or ganas as you lah, maybe more cekap only, LOL! Eh apa ini? Always call me that, it's not even my nickname k! ROFL! Hearing your own share of stories, I think you more power lar, I SHOULD learn from you ;)

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