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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

How not to “fire” a team player …

From the Facebook page of Vice President Leni Robredo

…  or  a Vice President in this case.

This shook my world early this week: Vice President Leni Robredo resigning from her post as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), this after she received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco that President Rodrigo Duterte asked her to desist from attending Cabinet meetings starting Monday, December 5.

In her resignation letter, Robredo cited the following:

Of course, the camp of the President scrambled to explain their side. While some are doing damage control as usual, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that considering Duterte and Robredo’s political differences, he thinks the Vice President was fired.

And that appears to be the case, since the Vice President has been vocal about her criticism of the President’s war on drugs, sexual attacks against women, reviving the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and most especially, his granting of a hero’s burial to Ferdinand Marcos.

“However, as your duly elected Vice President, I will not allow the Vice Presidency to be stolen. I will not allow the will of the people to be thwarted. I will continue to serve the Filipino family and fulfill their dream for a better life,” she said in a statement.

Unprofessional

The Cabinet is like an organization which also has to observe rules, regulations, protocols. A government run liked a corporation or enterprise (a truly organized corporation or enterprise, headed by a true leader in the person of a CEO) will run well if it learns to embrace differences for the common good. But of course, politics rules.

What irked me the most is how unprofessional the administration is in relaying the desist order to the Vice President—seriously, such serious order to be conveyed only via text message? Text message!

There is such a thing as regular one-on-one meetings between the people manager and the team member, or in this case, the giver of the order (in this case, the President) and the recipient of the message (Vice President) where they could have discuss pressing matters between them.

Both camps cited irreconcilable differences. We thought early on that they could work together since they espouse some causes, like housing. But still, as a real leader, you will do your very best to rally your team behind your vision and mission by understanding where they are coming from, and how you both can compromise or negotiate for a greater interest.

When I had an opportunity to lead a team, and faced with the challenge of uniting them, especially understanding the defiance, indifference from my second-in-command, I exercised everything in my power to relay to the person how we must work together. That it is OK that we agree to disagree, but we must act together for the benefit of the team, for us to deliver results. When the one-on-one meetings and necessary interventions did not work, I had to stand firm, heavily, and talked to the person with the presence of an HR officer to clear things, and documented the meeting and laid down a a set of deliverables the person must accomplish within a specified period of time (I chose not to have a “formal” performance improvement plan since it would not really look good on the employee’s 201 file). And if these were not met, the option then was to let the person go.

Those mouthpieces of the administration, please, get your act together if you want the President to really look good. But some mouthpieces of the administration have a point in saying that the Vice President, and other Cabinet officials for that matter, is the President’s alter ego. That they should have set aside their differences for the sake of the country. That she could have positioned her opposition in a manner that would not be antagonistic, or defiant of the Chief Executive (well, it is a matter of perspective, to view it as antagonistic or defiant).

Or that she could have waited for a little while to truly speak her mind. But the Vice President has her own mind. And it did not help that the position she is holding now was, and still being groomed for the President’s bet, Bongbong Marcos, who lost the vice presidency to Robredo and still contesting it.

 

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a text message, quoted the President as saying: “It is with a heavy heart that I accept the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo.” Granted this is true, but as a leader of the nation, he could have done better in working with the Vice President. And the Vice President as well.

I met so-called leaders who could not face me or their employees and instead sent their second-in-command to relay the message. This is why I have not wasted, and will not waste an opportunity to lead because I was at the receiving end of this ill treatment from these apparent leaders. Because people will work with you if you really do your very best to work with them. You may have differing beliefs or personal differences, but you can agree to work together for a common cause.

Duterte assured Robredo that she will be able to finish her term as Vice President. We will see then.

And let this be a lesson in leadership for us all.

Email ma.lynda.corpuz[at]gmail.com for feedback.

How to be WWW (Wonder Woman at Work)

SNOBBY? Yes, sometimes, but mostly, when I work, I really work, as evident from this screenshot from a televised Asia-Pacific Economic Conference presser in 2015.

I vowed to have a new blog post every Monday.

The past three weeks though were chaotic. And all for the good reasons. That my blogging is not on schedule.

Yours truly is working with three clients at the moment for four projects (I have two projects with one client).

The following are my current roles:

  • I am media consultant for a  universal bank’s corporate responsibility initiatives in the country
  • I am also consulting editor for a multinational professional services firm’s foreign-funded project in the Philippines
  • I am project / manager and executive editor for a book project of one of the country’s fast rising entrepreneurs
  • I am communications consultant for personal branding and social media management of that same entrepreneur

I am very thankful for the trust of these clients. My years of work as a business editor was the main reason why I have these opportunities now (for one, I applied for the consulting editor position and my editorial experience proved valuable for the role).

Networking also proves valuable. (I got the book project and the communications job through my former columnist, who happens to be a friend of this entrepreneur. And I would not know about it if I did not show up in this columnist’s event where my Italian friend’s company is one of the major sponsors. And the Italian invited me to be there. I e-introduced the columnist and the Italian early this year.)

My social media presence also helped me to stay in touch with my connections even if I have been out of the media job for four months now. I got the bank project because one of its officials reached out to me via LinkedIn, and asked me if I would be interested (and approvals needed to be secured for this to happen).

Thus as their consultant, I see to it to be on top of their needs. They have different needs that require my expertise. A balancing act on my part indeed.

Consultant vs Freelancer

First, the definitions.

When I was younger and starting to make a name as a business journalist / editor, I was freelancing (of course, with knowledge of my bosses then from my full-time jobs), mainly working on a story or press release basis, until the next similar assignment comes along. These are mostly non-competing with my companies or not similar with what I was doing as a full-time writer / editor.

But over the years, I have accumulated experience across media (from print to online); branding, corporate communications, marketing, sales support (through IBM); social media management (through Rappler.com and entrepreneur.com.ph). I, with help of course, learned what works and what not. I have learned to identify what a client needs versus his / her wants in line with his / her communication requirements.

And such, in a nutshell, makes me now qualified as a consultant because the clients look for detailed guidance on a particular area, which I may have the expertise they need. The projects are more extensive and there could be “mini-projects” within these projects. And a consultancy could be long-term  or an ongoing commitment, again, depending on the client’s need. In some cases, a consultancy could lead to a more permanent employment.

Balancing act

Now, how do I attend to all the requirements of my clients? These three are my basics:

Be honest

They know that I am looking for something temporary where I can contribute my expertise, as I am still looking forward to return to a more regular corporate, executive-level job. They know as well that they are not my only client. As a personal rule and out of decency of course, I do not take in a client that has a similar or competing interest with my current clients.

Prioritize 

At the onset of a new week, I start a weekly email thread with each of my clients (except for one which has no need for this). I detail in the thread what are the pending tasks on my end from the previous week; follow up on tasks or deliverables from their end.

I also inform them as well what is my schedule for the week (there are clients who are quick to set a meeting with me, and the likes). Thus, the remaining client/s, unfortunately or not for them, have to do with whatever schedule I am free.

If they need to get in touch with me urgently, I also advise them of my soonest available time to take their call (as on most days, I am in meetings and traveling from one client office to another).

There were occasions as well that a client would cancel at a short notice and would want to meet ASAP (they probably forgot that I already informed them of my schedule for the week). So I have to gently remind them that this is my week’s schedule so far, and if they are OK, meet instead on a weekend (but as much as possible, we confine the work on weekdays).

Eat the ugliest frog

There are clients who have very urgent and important tasks, meaning, a matter of life and death for them. So I will review it ASAP (I have become a pro in using my iPhone 6S for emails and documents), and work on it as soon as I can.

I attend to such tasks from each clients depending on which is needed soonest or which is the most difficult thing to do — a time management hack of eating the ugliest frog first (in real life, I do not like frogs though).

Still normal

Overall, there are days that are relatively normal. There are days that are crazy. But work is work and I have been known to be a professional and a task master so I deliver quality outputs by always going an extra mile.

Thank heavens not only for these opportunities, but also for heaven-sent people (family, friends) who understand the demands of my job (way back when I was an editor).

I am blessed as well that I have a very patient date, who in the past days was cool to wait for me until I am done; who understands that for my caliber, work is work; and truly understands my work and my lifestyle because he has busier work and lifestyle than I am. That when we are done with our work for the day, we treasure and spend our time together really well.

So, if I can do all these, so can you. We can all be wonder women and men if we know what matters to us, to the people we work with, and to those who are for us and with us no matter what.

Email ma.lynda.corpuz[a]gmail.com for feedback.

(UPDATED) CEO defined

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

 

(UPDATED) A Facebook connection shared an article early this week from a national daily about a telecommunications chairman’s “non-negotiables” in his company’s search for a chief executive officer (CEO). He temporarily assumed the CEO role about a year ago.

Citing that 2016 has been an annus horribilis (a year of disaster or misfortune) for the company, thus the next CEO should be “ready to die” for  the company, he said.

He has to be ready to die for the job, give up his family. Those are my strictures. Work over family. Period. If I could see that in that person, you’re it. You know, there is always a price you pay for the life you choose,” he said.

The reactions on the article my Facebook connection found the famous Philippine corporate leader’s remarks appalling, in light of efforts of more and more companies to strive for work-life balance or holistic employee life, in the hopes such efforts would lead to employee happiness.

As long as you say yes to a major responsibility, it is given that on occasions, the family or other things that matter to you take second or last priority. To say such in public is a turn off to those interested for the job. On top of the company’s reputation, the behavior of its leaders / managers were suddenly put on the spotlight.

At the same time, I see this Chairman / CEO’s point that indeed, there is always “a price you pay for the life you choose.” And he would not be considered successful, a maverick in his field, if not for the things he had to give up to deliver business results.

I can relate to such when I became an Editor in Chief (an executive level role in the company): the pressure was unbelievable; there were occasions I was going home when it was already early morning the next day accomplishing not only editorial tasks but also social media management, among other things; there was a lot of catching up in terms of hitting the week, the month’s targets; on top of making a team work as a team.

But I did not do it alone. My lean team helped. So the success I achieved as an executive is the success of the team as well. It was a teamwork.

A CEO, while calling the major shots, will not be as effective as he / she should be if his / her team is not behind the CEO. On top of making his / her company successful, the CEO must also look after himself / herself.

Thus, the CEO is always pressured to strike a balance between delivering business results and looking after his / her people’s welfare. Addressing such welfare concerns of his / her employees would result in their valued support to the CEO.

Despite such remark, this company will surely find its CEO: he / she must really want the job to do so, and pay the price of a life he / she will get into.

Until next week for a new post. Email ma.lynda.corpuz[a]gmail.com for feedback.

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