Some days are really fun at work. Some days, as is for everyone, quite hectic.
But on every Thursday, when we have our continuous learning session, we all perk up and there is an excitement in the air. All of a sudden we all grow a pair of restless feet and there is this energy in the air that contagious. For today’s activity also, it was the same.
Subodh Patil, our Customer Aquisition & Negotiation Manager, was leading this activity session. And it was supposed to be simple and complicated at the same time. We were calling it the game of head-banging. Well, not literally, but it involved using our heads, both figuratively and literally.
Now, let me introduce this week’s activity leader to you.
Subodh’s idea of a long vacation would surprise you, as this workaholic absolutely hates vacation. He feels that he needs to work 3-4 hours everyday.
Subodh agrees that he doesn’t lead a balanced lifestyle (at least not for the time being), but he loves the freedom to do what he wants to do as and when he wishes it. He has a pet peeve, he hates food and finds it very boring. This extrovert likes to wander about, go on long and short drives to places unknown and has earned a nickname because of this behavior – “Bhatakya.” But his happy place is not somewhere, but someone really close to his heart. She is his daughter, Hrudaya, whom he loves to the moon and back.
Subodh has already fallen head over heels for the wonderful work culture at our office. For him, it is Freedom to act, to learn, to listen, to participate in meaningful group discussions, the sharing and helping nature of the team that stood out for him.
The props for Subodh’s activity were paper cups, a ball, and a cello tape. The cello tape was used to tie the cups to each team member’s forehead. The game plan was that we had to pass the ball to the next team member (back and forth), but was not allowed to touch the ball. We had to pass the ball via the cup only. Subodh had us make two teams play the game. The team that accomplishes this feat in the shortest time wins the game.
So the game started. And though it looked simple, it was not. A slight movement was enough for the ball to not make its way home to the next person’s cup. We did not find success each and every time, but then one of the teams made it. All of us loved the game – it involved team bonding on an altogether different level.
Then we moved over to the next part of the game. This is the best part of it. We all gather around after the game and share our learnings. After all, that is the key objective of these continuous learning sessions. At such sharing, we all come to know what each one of us has imbibed during the session. We get to how different or similar our learnings are. For most of us, it is also a time, when we apply it to real-life personal or work situations and find ways to overcome issues that we face in these areas. And this one another such session.
For a couple of team members, the learning was that the aim should be clear. For a few others, it was patience, and a couple of others, it was learning the art of observation, or imbibing information wholeheartedly.
But the best learning came from Vivek, our Founder. For him, there were two lessons. He explained it very well – the person bending down to pass the ball is the leader of that activity and he/she has to bend down to pass on the ball. The one who was passing the ball was the leader and the one accepting the ball was the team. So the leader has to be humble to bend and pass on the instructions in a team. The other lesson was that a team cannot have two leaders – it creates chaos. During the game, when both – the person trying to give the ball and the one who was trying to receive the ball – made efforts together, it created chaos and the ball fell to the ground. So as a follower, the person receiving the ball has to be still and be led by the leader to be successful while playing the game. That was a beautiful lesson in leadership.
Thank you, Vivek for imparting this lesson and thank you Subodh for giving us the opportunity to experience it first-hand.