The weeks that were…5th september – 14th October 2016
Singapore – Istanbul – Holland – France – Singapore – Shanghai – Singapore, Weekend 15-16 October 2016
He is back! After a stop in Istanbul early September on my way to Holland and France, I returned fresh, re-energised (but unshaven) from my month long, self-imposed, yearly break in my beloved France, to return to action this week. Still jet-lagging I am slowly getting back to the work routine of project travel, meetings and company management. I am lucky to have a great team to back me up and allow me to take some time off, even stepping up when unexpected events happen affecting the company and our commitments. As I write this blog I am on my way back from Shanghai to Singapore, having barely had the time to acclimatise on my return. Hopping on the plane just a day after being back. Considering that my trip was for a good client and paymaster, I had no issue to oblige, certainly after they agreed to move the meeting 2 days to accommodate my return. To me that shows respect and appreciation and hence I stepped in the plane to Shanghai with mutual respect and appreciation. I did decline a further trip to Zenghzhou Friday and Saturday for another project in consideration of not overdoing it straight upon my return and still being in jet-lag recovery. Key to survival and health is pacing yourself and this was just one of these decisions. Well I understand the clients wish to see me, I delegated the trip to my senior designer that came out with me and our local Shanghai team. They are fully capable and I am confident they will take care of their presentation to the client with verve.
The trip (or stop-over I should say) to Istanbul was not originally planned. The idea was to take a well-deserved break straight after the successful events in Shanghai to see my parents and hole up for a month in the France countryside to rejuvenate and step away for a little while from my hectic business life. However shortly before I embarked for Shanghai end of August I got a client request to come to Istanbul for a follow up meeting with the rest of the project team and likewise with this client also being one of our very loyal and good clients’ I rescheduled my trip to accommodate, since it was on the way and only pushed back my holidays for a few days. This to show that for committed and very respected clients who value and respect our work with great appreciation, you do the extra mile. For some of our clients, I may not have done this, but I deeply respect and appreciate those who respect us by accommodating their request as good as possible in the spirit of our business relation which to a certain extent borders to a great level of friendship. Time and again I am rewarded for this attitude and my trip to Istanbul turned out again to be highly successful, meaningful and productive. With everyone committed and the opening date approaching rapidly we got a lot done and resolved. This will be one of those projects I will treasure and hope to re-visit long after it has been completed if not for the friendship built up with the client.
Holland and France
The weeks I spent in Holland and France are obviously private but I do want to share the importance of slowing down once in a while. Giving yourself the time to take your foot of the throttle and allowing yourself time to reflect and most of all give your team the opportunity to proven they do not always need you to be around. While that seems contradictory, it is important to know that you have a team that can handle and take decisions without always having to rely on you. It is an important peace of mind to have! It became especially actual when mid through my break I had to (remotely) fire my recently appointed project director for discovered professional misconduct. Though it was a real disappointment, shock and unexpected turn of events on the spur of the moment, it did give rise to the team stepping in magnificently to cover for his sudden departure. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise and showed of a side to my team that was really heart-warming. It provide me with a peaceful continuation of my holiday allowing me to enjoy the sunrises, the sunsets, the country-sides and the mind-relaxing handyman works in my shed, something I generally do not have any time for! I have enclosed some mood pictures…
I returned to the office in Singapore at the beginning of the week, spent a bit of time catching up with the team, before flying off to Shanghai on Wednesday. During this meeting we were introduced to the newly appointed hotel operator who, not surprisingly, brought in their own set of requirements and modes of operation. While as a team we had developed the concept for the project, presenting it to the operator for their much needed input was crucial. Again not surprisingly the lead consultants, architect and interior designer, were not keen in changing anything major to the concept, considering the amount of work and progress already gone into it which fuelled some interesting discussions. But all good and resulting in a mutual understanding on how to move forward. A workshop is planned in the coming weeks with the ID to finalise the adapted conceptual lighting approach. Still jet-lagging, I politely declined to join my client for dinner, preferring to have a simple catch up dinner with my Shanghai team at my hotel and an early sleep. With a midday flight back today I am taking it easy re-adapting to this time zone.
Enjoy your weekend…