21 Perceptions: #2 Changes – Three sixty

20 minutes of sleep in 24 hours. Or maybe less than that. 18 people, 9 hours, 3 facilitators with 1 purpose. That was 360.

Apparently, an evaluation on the strengths and weaknesses of each and every member of a team with utmost transparency. It wasn’t the original plan of the senior track but to cater what the team needs, changes had been made by the 3 over-dedicated facilitators who not only sacrificed their sleeping hour but also their time in putting so much effort to make it happen.

This post was meant to be published on that day itself. But then, it came to my mind that this was something personal shared among my team and I was truly drained to the core, so I just brushed it off. But, one of the awesome facis mentioned above actually spent time taking bits and pieces of the whole process down. It further touched me.

It was indeed the most beautiful sleepless 9 hours of my life. And I really would like to in any ways that I could, have it recorded down so that those 9 hours are relived every time in anyone’s mind while reading back.

Because I wouldn’t have done it in anyway better (or because I’m just lazy), here is what my team and I went through during Senior Track of LLDS UPM 2013:

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“A journey of HOPE and MIRACLE” by Foo Jiong Kit

Photo credit: Jeweanne Chew

Photo credit: Jeweanne Chew

If I could sum up my first senior track chairing experience in UPM, it would be “Changes”.

On paper, things looked straight forward: Identify needs, craft agenda, deliver sessions, happily ever after. Guess what, reality hit! One day before the conference, we realised there were underlying problems in the team that need to be tackled before other sessions can even happen. Changes, we made to the agenda to include 360 feedback session.

Day 1: First 2 sessions went well, then came personal & team values. Things started to get sticky as the team struggled to agree on top 3 values that everyone has ownership in. Changes, we did to the agenda again, paused the session and brought forward the 360 feedback.

As an observer, you could see how far apart the team was. It wasn’t a team, it was just a group of people trying to work together. In the 360, we went beyond the surface of problem and talked about personal experiences. Changes, started to take place in the team’s communication where they started talking things beyond work.

It wasn’t sufficient as the team refused to open up and go in depth.

Day 2: First part of the session went well with the team finalising top 3 term ambitions. Consolidation, again was the problem. There still wasn’t a solid common ground for everyone to hold on to and for the team to come to agreement. No one wanted to give in. Changes, were again required.

With time running out, the team was left with 2 options: Superficially wrap things up & complete the agenda or Go deep into the root problem & risk dragging the agenda. This was the first I saw them agreeing as a team and giving full commitment in solving the root of problem. Changes, were on the way.

While the MTs facilitated LC simulation, my awesome facis and I went hunting for energy boost to last the night. Milo, nescafe, cup noodles, chips, snacks, chocolate cake, sweets, you name it, we bought it! Changes, and preparation we made to setup for the second round of 360 feedback.

Day 2 10.50pm: After all the combined sessions were done, it was time! Everyone shared their personal values, past incidents and most painful experience. Tears were shed, minds & hearts were opened up. We went one step further into each one’s strengths & weaknesses. It took us to 4am and we have only completed 4 persons. You could see the tiredness in each of the MTs, but they were determined to make this count.

Day 3 4.00am: We stopped for a cup noodle break while some took quick naps. The team went through one of the most torturing phases, where they were so sleepy yet there were quite a lot more to go. It would have been very easy for them to just give up and completed the session half-heartedly. It would have been very easy for them to just postpone the session to some other time. They did neither, they went on with the same commitment they started.

Day 3 6.00am: Up until this point, everyone was still giving their honest inputs and feedback whenever they have. Some were so tired that they dozed off awhile, but they forced themselves back. They gave each other presence and support. This went on until the last person finished his 360 feedback, it was 7.40am.

Changes, were apparent. In the way they smiled, they react, they interact, we saw the connection. What started just 2 days ago as a group of workers are now looking more like a team. Of course, there were still a lot to be done moving forward. But if 18 people can sit down for 9 hours without sleep just to understand each other better, nothing can stop them.

If anything, this session makes them believe in the team again. They have witnessed how much each other cared for the team and how much more value they can bring to the team. They have realised it is not so difficult to talk to each other outside of AIESEC and they are not so far apart afterall.

As for us facis, it just felt surreal that we actually went through the whole night without sleep with them. It was a beautiful mistake that opened our eyes, just how much a team can improve OVERNIGHT. I certainly learned so much from the team and my facis. It also made me realised how magical AIESEC is and understood what was the missing piece since I started working.

To LC UPM, thank you for this opportunity to know you guys better and for me to rediscover my MOJO. The youthfulness, enthusiasm and love, these are rarities in the corporate world. That said, I think their two LC projects have very befitting names, HOPE and MIRACLE. This is exactly what the LC needs and something that I strongly believe this team can achieve by the end of this term.

In spite of all the changes, have a wonderful journey of HOPE and MIRACLE ahead. 🙂

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The original post is here. But you might not be able to view it due to the original author’s setting on Facebook.

I was a wreck. Totally a wreck. For some reason, we actually had two rounds of 360. The first round wasn’t on weaknesses and strengths. But because that first round simply wasn’t enough, we had all agreed to have the ‘real’ one.

After the whole team agreed on digging into it, somehow, somewhere in me started radiating fear. Fear that I might not be able to open up myself as much as I wanted to. Pure fear for what will happen to a team of  people who I really love spending time with. What if everything falls apart and we’re just somewhere in the middle down the road. I was afraid that like what our coach said; going deep into the roots could only mean two things; It breaks the team apart. OR, it brings the team together and you move on together, as a team.

I’m one of those people who you could barely see any changes after joining AIESEC. Because “Joining AIESEC, I’ve gained confidence in speaking in front of a crowd.” or “Joining AIESEC, my English has become proficient” simply does not apply to me. I wouldn’t deny that when I see those obvious changes of some other AIESECers being recognised and praised upon, it was somehow demotivating because it triggers a question in mind.

“See, people gain all these after joining AIESEC. They somehow changed and it was rather impressive, what about you?”

It was a question that haunted me for quite some time. And at times, it really bothers me. To me, it felt as if I’ve gained nothing thus far and will not be gaining anything if I continue going down the road. I guess I’m one of those people that demand quick results. Like changing a new eye cream for just two days and I want to see obvious result, else I will feel cheated. And down the road, there is always something that makes me stay a little longer. Be it MyLDS, or a small chat with someone who encourage and motivates me, or even spending time with the team, it keeps me there. Staying a little longer.

And yes; with staying a little longer, really, just a little longer, you’ll see the changes. Because everyone is different, the result you get will definitely be different.

Quoting myself during one of my sharing to my JEs: There will always be time when you feel demotivated, but just try to stay a little longer. Stay a little longer and you will start seeing the changes.

I’m glad I chose to stay a little longer despite my slow reception towards my changes. It is not obvious and I doubt it will ever be, but nevertheless; it is happening.

Scribbled,

Mich

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