February 6, 2020

Urgent call

Customer visit

Building a strong team

The hug from the homeless man

What a terrible feeling...

He traveled to the US on business for a very important meeting. And definitely it didn't go well. To be honest, he was feeling lonely since he took the plane in Brazil. But now his emotions got so much worse... He saw the expressions in the faces of the executives, it was clear that they didn't like the results. For any reason, he was not able to lead that quarterly review accordingly and will be held accountable.

The way back to the hotel was full of blame. And there was nothing he could do to try to fix things, it was all said and done at this point. So many negative feelings... Although he knew he was being harsh on himself, he couldn't avoid it. Looking into his pockets, he found a few bills and coins still left, a total about seven or eight dollars. So, instead of going to his room, he decided to keep walking the streets around to spend the money. In his prayers, he asked for God, Jesus and the angels to be close. Maybe cheer him up a little bit.

"Hey you"! He turned around and saw a dirty beggar, a thin young man, calling for money. He gave him all the bills and coins he had in his pockets, everything. Oh! That homeless man got so excited with those dollars that started talking and talking. He liked that unusual situation and listened to every single word. The dirty man told him about a city nearby - "maybe you have heard about it". He said he didn't - "I'm a foreigner, don't know the places". The poor man then explained that such city was his hometown and promised to take him there for a ride someday. He laughed, that sounded funny. 

The conversation proceeded for quite some time. But suddenly the beggar started to stare deep in his eyes. Somehow he got paralyzed. The surroundings seemed to have faded like in a dream, as if only the two of them existed. He noticed that, even missing a few teeth in the front, that beggar's smile was surprisingly bright and beautiful. In a fast move, the homeless man got closer and hugged him unexpectedly. It was a long tight hug. The human touch they both needed. It helped him remind that even the most important things at work don't really matter in life. In a couple of years, he would not remember the meeting anymore. "But for sure I will never forget that hug..." - he thought.

Later that same day he took his flight back home.

Work-life balance

psalms 23:4

Influencing leaders over the weekend

His performance review happened on Friday. He received an important feedback. Or, in a more modern way, his boss pointed out an opportunity for his development. In this case, he needed to increase his influence skills. His role involves leading top executives, even though he is low in hierarchy. Persuasion is key.

Right after wrapping up the conversation about development and getting back to business, his boss asked him to work over the weekend. They needed to finish that project no matter what. But for that, the executive director of the other business unit also needed to finish his part. His boss was crystal clear about it: - "talk to him, do whatever needed".

Still on Friday, he sent a text message to such executive director, asking for a status. On Saturday, no answer. Same thing on Sunday morning. In the afternoon, he decided to call: - "sorry to bother you, but have you seen my message about the project"? The executive director asked: - "what message"?

He explained everything to the executive director. Spoke for a couple of minutes about the strategic vision of the project. Quantified the importance of it for the company results. Reminded him about the deadline agreed weeks ago. At last, talked seriously about the expectations of the board and the attention given to this topic by the president himself. This project is the main pillar of the growth plan. The executive director, bored with all that information, said: - "I'll read my messages tomorrow".

Concerned, he insisted: - "please, it's critical for you to send me your part today, otherwise we won't be able to finish the project on time". Not bored anymore, but angry, the executive director said frankly: - "never call me during the weekend anymore". And hung up the call.

He felt uncomfortable. Deep inside, he made that call against his principles. He wouldn't be happy to receive a business call on Sunday either. Anyway, he will keep on trying to develop his influence skills. From now on, during business days only.

Intelligence quotient

What do you want to be?


That day he had to build three power point presentations. He was late, his itchy skin was not allowing him to concentrate. Worse, he was itchy right there in his private parts. As he couldn't stand anymore, he called a dermatologist, scheduled for the same day and drove fast to the appointment.

The doctor was an old lady already. After a few initial questions, she took her magnifying glass to examine him. Serious?! Yeah... She didn't hesitate. It was embarrassing for him indeed. After looking very closely at his private parts, she got to a conclusion: - "allergy"! Take this medicine every time you feel like scratching.

He came back home thinking... Never had any allergy, what would be the cause? His smartphone vibrated. He received a text message from the office asking about the power point presentations that were still to be finished. Immediately, he felt like scratching. He laughed*. So much work to do and he was literally scratching his private parts. It was clear for him now. He had power point allergy.

*In Brazil, when someone is neither working nor doing anything useful, they say the person is "scratching his private parts". It's an expression widely used in the country, in Portuguese of course.