I am blessed. I think, I can say that. Otherwise, how could each stumbling block I faced in last two years become a stepping stone for me? I lost my job one and half years back, I thought I would never get a pay as good as that. But then I got another job, which paid me better than the previous one. Interestingly, I was wallowing in self pity for most of my notice period and attended only one interview. I wouldn’t have hired me based on my interview performance. But then, I got the job. Guess the transition time? It was three days.
It was a very small company. I was reporting to the only manager. And suddenly disaster struck and we were not able to pay the employees and continue next month. And the only manager I was reporting to, decided to throw in her towel. Guess the time she served notice in the company? Three hours. Eleven clueless employees and I didnt know whether we would get the salary for the days worked or what we were going to do the next month. Since I was the next person to my manager, all the eyes were on me.
So, I decided to ask. Well, that doesn’t cost anything. So I called up our client and asked for one month advance. And to double my salary. Guess what? It was approved in five minutes and we were able to function again from the next day without (any major) hiccups. I thought such things came to me naturally. At my age, people are dying to be their own boss. The dream of running a company remains a dream for few people. But here I was, running a small company and patting my back for the job well done. Little did I know, that I was in for a crazy journey.
Since I gave my word to the client, I was all charged up to work and bring results. But I failed to understand that what motivates me should not be the reason for motivation for other individuals also. Being a small team, it showed. In a very bad way. I was not able to communicate well and then there was deadline issues. As a team, we were not able to prioritize what we want to do for a day, a week or for the month. It was killing me slowly. I realized, when the blessing runs out, we need a helping hand.
Make no mistake, I didn’t believe in the training programs before. I always felt it was like a day or two off, where I can go somewhere play some games and listen to lecture, come back and do the same shit again and again. But this time, it was different. I was suddenly the management. And I know what I wanted from a training company. I rejected lot of companies which came up with work-life balance presentations and time management presentations. I wanted somebody who can tell us, how to go to where we intended to go.
One company stood out. They didn’t offer any training for starters. It was a big relief. I didn’t have time to spend. Remember the crazy time sheets I had to send every day. So they gave all my team member 90 questions to answer. I heard that, this was how top management people were recruited. After collecting the answers, the training company went silent. They came back after a week and gave me 11 words for the eleven people. The words were simply what motivated them. For one, it was stability and for the next one it was money and for the next one it was challenge. And I was asked to assign and pair people in a certain way to get results.
All I had to do was change some seating arrangement. Things worked like charm. We were meeting deadlines. We were getting appreciation. The technique that was used is called Enneagram. It was a basic personality test, which help us to identify what kind of personality we are and what we want to become in our hearts and how distant is that from our current position. These are big words for me so I just simply started calling it “The Magic”.
And then, things fall apart again. It was no one’s fault. I lost the place I was renting. I reduced the fees to the client to bare minimum but he still wanted us to work for him. Work from home was the only option. I thought it would be very difficult managing people in remote areas, with each one having their own problem. Whenever bad luck falls upon us, we dont know what we were/are blessed with. I gave “The Magic” treatment for people only once. Now the eleven people are working at their home, far away from each other, but they still clock the necessary 480 minutes and with seamless co-ordination. The lesson I learnt?
1) Don’t under-estimate your team members.
2) When in doubt, ask
If you want to know how the Enneagram actually worked for me, you can ask in comment section or email me, I will be more than happy to share the information and tip you to ask the right questions.