Sunday, March 11, 2012

What happens to us during a crisis?

This month was 'hellish' - in true definition of the advertising world.  We have had two pitch presentations and two events and everything that's equally important but not in priority (at the moment) in between.

But we survived and with one more coming up this week, we will survive.  At moments like this, we know the team is super exhausted.  Everyone is stretched and maxed out - suppliers, clients inclusive.  Everyone is in their jumpy mode, frustration surmount, irritability sky high.  Due to work and partially due to lack of sleep.  Personally I think it's impossible to tell anyone to control their frustration right now because if we could in this kind of situation, we would have been gods or Ghandi.  I would suggest that we understand better where the frustration is coming from, when we receive it and work it out as positively as possible.  But  DO NOT, I repeat, do not return fire.

Admittedly, unabashedly, ashamedly, I too whined out loud and thank God for a trustworthy ear.  Last week was pretty intense and it made me realize a couple of things:

1) How important it is to work in a team.  We had a challenge and some people whom I never expected, rose up to the occasion and beyond.  These people weren't 'helping', they were true additional value to the team.  And to them invisible heroes, I'm eternally grateful.  Shows that when you need help, ask.  The resources are always there, don't blame anyone for lack of assistance when you have not ask in the first place.

2) When there is competition, there is greater motivation to improve our quality of work.  Yes, if you ask me, competition is tiring.  Work or personal, if you have to constantly prove yourself, it can get a little exhaustive.  But sometimes, positive and meaningful competition can really bring out the best in people.

3) It's more important to be committed than to be seen as important.  Especially in client servicing, there is no glory when it is personal glory.  When you are committed to the client, you will be happy because the client is.  That's called job satisfaction.  But if you're sucking up to the client, then it's called 'sucking up to the client'.  Personal glory has no space in team spirit.  When you truly deliver your words, no human being can be fooled.  Likewise when you can't.

4) Never trust something entirely unless you've seen it or touched it.  Do not succumb to heresy and rumours.  No good decisions can ever come out of inaccurate information.

5) In times of crisis, it's important to be 'emotion-less' and stay on facts.  "You've got it wrong" means "You've got it wrong, but now let's get it right".  Don't let your emotions decipher meaning that's absent from what's being said.  It doesn't mean, "We're blaming you".  Be solutions focused, don't muddle your head with unnecessary feelings of 'hurt'.  Now it's not the time to discuss 'what I feel...'.

6) When the situation calls for it, S-T-R-E-T-C-H.  It will do you good and it will do the team good and more importantly it will do your relationship with your team, great.  Trust is built in times of crisis, not in times of peace.

7) When your boss is stressed because he has too many fires to fight, be a solution.  Step in and take a bullet for him.  I know we're not born heroes but it will help everyone collectively if the emperor's throne stops shaking.  If all of us pick a fire and keep focus in distinguishing it, we will get all the problems solved a hell lot faster than having a few headless chickens running around, trying to spit on some bonfires.  If you can't do that then step out from the line of fire.  Bullets are blind.

One more week and it's the launch of one of our much anticipated campaigns.  May not be for you, o-ad-people-who-have-millions-to-dispense, but it is for us - because the value of putting the campaign together is worth much much much much more than the profit and media commission we may earn.

So... here's to a great turbulent week ahead.  The human spirit is designed to rise above adversity.  And that is what we will do.  To all of us.

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