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▼ BROWSE ISSUES ▼
Issue 25

Gogu and Mișu’s Old Man

Simona Bonghez
Speaker, trainer and consultant
OTHERS

"Holy crapping crap!" Misu burst spitefully. Spitefully, only for those who knew him very well, otherwise - to a stranger - it would have seemed a mere observation, shared calmly but in a deep, whispered voice. Obviously, Gogu was not the case. He looked at Misu, dumbstricken, as he couldn"t believe that somebody had succeeded to get - Misu! - out of his usual mood of remiss understanding and utter detachment from the whirl of the surrounding world. However, it seemed like, finally, the impossible had occurred and the whirl had managed to hook him too, Gogu said to himself, somewhat spiteful.

"Holy crap", emphasized Misu, still calmly, but a little more clearly this time. Gogu could no longer help himself:

"Troubles, Misu?"

Misu raised his eyes towards Gogu, smiled warmly to him and agreed:

"Well… there are a few problems…" That"s incredible, he would be capable of smiling even to the firing squad, thought Gogu, and added some more wood to the fire:

"Annoying problems?"

"Yeah, I wanted to tell them a thing or two… but I"m over it now. It"s just that I don"t know how to solve this."

"Well, let me hear about it, maybe together we can work it out", offered Gogu, driven by curiosity.

"Look, you know that Chief has appointed me project manager…"

"I do", Gogu interrupted him, "the whole company knows, you have driven us crazy. If you wake us up at night, this is the first thing that comes to our mind." He noticed Misu"s deeply offended figure and went on in a warmer voice: "Come on, tell us, let"s see what the problem is."

"You know that this project is different…"

"All projects are different; that"s why they are called projects", Gogu couldn"t help saying.

"It"s good that you"re smart", said Misu ironically, but since the topic was much too important to him, he decided to ignore Gogu"s remarks and to go on. "You know damn well what I meant: that compared to our usual outsourcing projects, this one - which launches a new product - has entirely different characteristics, other requirements, other limitations; it"s not only about development, but there are also marketing issues. In other words, it is much more complex."

"Listen, if you are to begin again from A to Z, and confuse me with the complexity, the stakeholders and so on, please go sing at another table".

Misu"s face expressed utter perplexity: "What do you mean?" He spoke at a slow pace, trying to catch the meaning of Gogu"s words. "What does singing have to do with it?"

Oh, brother, he never learns, thought Gogu, where did he grow up, on a sheepfold? "Ha, ha, ha", he found himself laughing aloud, to Misu"s complete stupefaction. On the sheepfold, indeed! Ha, ha, he couldn"t stop laughing. Misu couldn"t understand the reason for Gogu"s healthy laughter, but he guessed that it somehow had to do with him. So he crossed his arms over his chest, showing that he was expecting clarifications. Which he waited for quite long, as Gogu took a while to stop.

"Ok, I"m done, Misu, sorry, it won"t happen again; do go on."

It turned out that the problem was not complicated at all - some people had made some mistakes with the advertising leaflets -, but it had aggravated due to the delay in solving it. The approach had not excelled in diplomacy, the communication was done exclusively through e-mails, and their tone had become more and more severe as the mail ping-pong was prolonged. Things had derailed far from the problem, the last e-mails resuming to threating people, the source of discussions and the problem itself being already forgotten.

"And now I come and ask you, Gogu, how do I solve this problem?! As, in the meantime, the rest of the project went on, and we have the official release three days from now. The online ran smoothly, but the live presentation also involves all these leaflets… Oh", he had a deep sigh, a sigh coming from the bottom of his Transylvanian soul, which could not understand how some words could cause you so many problems.

"Hi, hi… Did you actually think that it was all over and you can consider the project closed? Ha, ha… Misu, don"t you know that saying: the first 90% of the project take 90% of the time, and for the last 10%, you also need other 90% of time… ha, ha…"

"Listen, Gogu, I may not know this one, but I do know the other one, the one saying that I need 42 muscles to frown, 28 to smile, but only 4 to stretch my arm and punch you in the face."

Gogu quickly looked at him, but calmed down, as Misu was still with a smile on his face. Yeah, when he no longer smiles, we will all be in trouble, Gogu thought, trying to figure out his chances when faced to a possible Misu locomotive, and quickly concluding that no one should wish to ever make the giant Transylvanian angry. A giant who knows, however, to play so easily with the kids. Gogu remembered the holiday that had just ended. And then he had the revelation!

"Listen, Misu, do you remember how you played the castellan who repaired his fortifications before the enemy"s assault, last week?"

Slightly surprised by the turn of the discussion, Misu quickly came back to himself and happily, but also proudly, nodded in approval. They had been together on holiday, to the seaside, Misu"s first contact with the Greek sun, turquoise sea and white, shinning sand. A situation had occurred and Misu"s wife was forced to stay at home, but Gogu didn"t have the heart to deny his son the holiday the little one had been dreaming about for months. So he asked Misu to join them. And what had been a random invitation, turned into a great holiday for Misu and the kid, who had a lot of fun together.

Misu remembered the scene of repairing the fortifications in the Greek sand and his face brightened.

"You mean to say that what worked with your son might work here, too? Well, that"s right, of course it would work; wait a second, I know exactly what I"ve got to do…" and he returned to his computer, totally ignoring Gogu.

"More exactly, what is it that he did with your son?" Gogu saw Chief a second before he made his presence felt through the whispered question, as he didn"t want to disturb Misu. It"s not that he would hear anything, once wrapped up in his things, you can fire a gun by his ear and he completely ignores you, thought Gogu, then he continued aloud:

"Well, I was having a hard time getting the kid out of the water, but he was like no and no, "cause that"s why people go to the seaside, to bathe. And I tried everything, talking nicely, threatening, we ended up screaming (me) and complete ignoring (him), ugly words (me), just wait till I tell mother what you said (him),… a true war. And in the middle of the fight, I hear Misu, with his calm that drives us mad, telling my son he needs help with his wonderful sand edifice, that he can no longer manage alone to build the fortification, or a defense wall, whatever. And my son instantly gets out of the water and starts to work. It was not until five minutes later that I recovered from the shock… Obviously, in the evening, I had my share of introduction to child psychology, in the vision of Misu/ Misu"s old man."

"Hm… not bad, this vision," smiled Chief. "I suppose we"ll also have our share of Introduction into the vision till tonight … Keep me posted."

***

The introduction to the vision, however, came much later, namely in the meeting of project closure, about two weeks after the official release of the new product; a successful release which brought congratulations to the entire team coordinated by Misu. In the meeting, Misu asked each member of the team to talk about three things: what they think went well, what didn"t go well and, finally, what exactly they would do differently, were they to start the project all over again. The Chief wanted to know how they solved the wrong print problem, thus triggering the vision:

"It wasn"t such a big deal. People were upset they couldn"t understand each other through mails, who was to blame, who said what and what they requested, where the bottom of things was and whom should we punish. My old man taught me to find out only what the problem is and try to solve only that. It was not my problem to find who started what, but to find a way to get the right materials in time for the release. So, I wrote a nice e-mail, asking them to help me keep the date announced for the official event and to send the correct materials directly to the expo area. Which they did, and I thanked them for that. That"s pretty much what my old man taught me: he used to say that people react quicker to a help request than to an indication…"

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