Friday, June 12, 2009

Rainy Afternoon

I attended 2 meetings this morning with the same project team members. The first meeting was with the immediate team members and we started at 8am up to 10am. We had another meeting right after with the whole project crew. People where calling in from France, India and the USA. I feel more relaxed and comfortable with the people here. It sometimes seems that I am above their petty concerns. But actually it is the atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance. I feel welcomed here in the meetings than I ever was in the past. So I have a sense of fulfillment than anytime before.

People here are more open and accepting of others. The way things work here is via meetings and consultations. Decision making is consensual and shared through out the team. I dare say that the way things where in Asia is more dictatorial except perhaps Japan. I am reminded of Japan with the way they work here despite the difference in culture and language. I think it is the reluctance to make a decision in a company like this. So people here enter a meeting without a pre-conceived objective in mind. There is relatively no second guessing and the people around the table are content to listen and contribute until a decision can be made.

In a sense, no one wants the responsibility of making the decision himself. So everyone comes in a meeting with an open mind and wait until a decision is made after a good measure of discussion. So the atmosphere is relaxed with give and take fluidity. It’s a strange contrast with the modern myths like the lone cowboy or the singular genius working all alone to achieve a goal. Maybe this works in other companies or situations, for example the case of George W. Bush who tried to go forward with his individuality. But it turned out to be a mess with that method.

But in a consensual situation with a lot of meeting, it is important to speak up. Sometimes I have problems trying to butt in and have my say. So I often have to raise my voice and say my piece forcefully so everyone can hear me. It’s a good exercise of expressing oneself and would be a challenge for my kids. Another problem I have is that I am always sleepy in the afternoon. I never had this problem in Asia. Maybe I use my mind more here so it’s exhausted in the afternoon. Its true that I always sleep at about midnight almost everyday and I do things a lot more here like driving, cooking and washing the dishes and fixing the house. Or maybe I use my mind in a more focused way than before. So it is getting to be a challenge to try to keep my mind awake in the afternoons. More coffee or tea?

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