On a recent business tour to Australia, I had an opportunity to work on an assignment that had many vendors, contractors, subcontractors as well as housekeeping and facilities staff who were all part of a massive project to get into operation a brand new facility under extremely aggressive timelines. There were numerous challenges along the way but the various teams involved managed to pull off the project successfully on time.
On my travel back home to India,, a solid 24 hours including flying time and overlays, I had a chance to ponder over the facts that made this project a great success. I have worked on projects all my life across the globe but this one was certainly different considering the fact that at no stage did I feel that the project was off track or that any part of it was destined to failure. It was kind of stress free atmosphere when compared to the projects with such magnitude.
Let me note down a few that really were the differentiation:
- The greatest differentiation for me was the respect for individuals. I did not come across any instance where a vendor, contractor, sub contractor or housekeeping staff were treated differently irrespective of the work they did, level of priority, level of complexity or level of authority. Everyone high up the rank or at the bottom of the rung were equal and their contributions were appreciated. That is what really made the atmosphere stress free.
- Along with all the work happening at such frantic pace, the teams had time to have a lot of fun, the little packets of food and the coolers in between made a significant difference to the morale of the team.
- Anticipating and collaborating: One incident that comes to mind is this and there were lots of them during the project: One morning, I saw the head of the technology operations for the country unpacking some boxes and arranging components in different boxes. I asked him what was he up to and his response came as a pleasant surprise. He was utilizing some spare time he had to arrange these components so that the vendor supposed to do this was able to get some of their work reduced. That’s something I have rarely seen from very senior people.
The biggest lesson was the respect the team had for all professions, from a janitor to the lift man to the senior executive, all were treated the same. In fact on one of the train journeys one of my friends from Australia remarked, “You will not be able to make out who on this train is a CEO and who is a waiter at the local eatery”. If only all the countries in the world practiced such culture, the world would be such a great place to live. Its definitely something I have learnt and will pass on to my children as well.
Give respect to earn respect!!!!!