Some time ago I was leading a project that was pitched as an enabler for improving communication and exchange of information. I assembled a team representing different parts of the organization. We had a challenging and fun time defining what our task actually was. Or in other words what problem was to be solved?
We went back to the project sponsor and to the people asking, “what are the things bugging you?”. That formed a picture which is best described by “5 feet of separation”. In other words, people who were in close proximity were working – usually – well together, knew where they were up to and talking regularly. People who were seated apart further had usually no idea to which degree the other person had progressed on a task. That was true even when they were part of the same bigger project or team.
We are on holiday in Germany for 2 weeks now and I didn’t get to write my blog post as regular as previously. Holidays are a magnificent invention although it always takes a couple of days to get in the right mood. I always tend to check my email, check the Twitter feed and other work related news and connections.
One thing I believe contributes to this is my German background. When we migrated to New Zealand some 13 years ago I was greeted by a South African saying, “Great! Now we get some discipline and stronger adherence to policies in this place.” He was the quality manager at the time and fought hard for standards and consistency. For me it was strange but it didn’t took long to understand his frustration. Kiwi mentality is different. It is locally called “wire 8” and “she’ll be allright” attitude.
Nothing has surprised me more than what happened last week. We had a job opening in ICT and the hiring manager had completed the first round of interviews the week before. She invited me to join her in the second round where she had selected the 2 most promising candidates.
The first one up looked different to what I had imagined by reading the intro letter and his CV. I’m a visual type and what ever I’m reading forms as a picture in my head. So, there he was and we introduced ourselves. He seemed quite relaxed and a good dialogue came about. My objective was to learn what type of man he was, would he fit well within the team, be able to do the job and bring something new to the table.