The week that was…21-25th August 2017
Singapore, weekend 26-27th August 2017
This week was a mixed bag with a trip to Jakarta midweek and our second company personal skills improvement workshop. With project activities steady but slow collections, chasing our clients this week was also one of our priorities. Though when I heard of the unpaid amounts being chased by one of our projects lead architects of more than 10 million dollars for the month, I realised I was luckily not to be in that situation…In this case the grass looked definitely greener on my side J. It does seem though like business is slowing down a bit in the region as we can clearly see that collections are slowing down, taking more time and new projects also seem to take longer to confirm. Some projects have also gone quiet…but then it could be also due to the seasonal effect…it is always slow in the first few month of the year and then there is a second wave of relative calmness mid-year before the action goes into an end sprint towards the end of the year. We have a few big and nice proposals out, so fingers crossed…
Sometimes we get a call out for a site visit that seems a bit over the top. In this case the client had asked me together with the architect’s boss to come to Jakarta just to review a lift cab lighting. So basically an expensive flight, day trip to Jakarta for just a half hour site review…of course with the aim to make on the spot decisions on how to proceed. We did and can now move forward but it seemed something that could have been decided in a simple conference call as both me and the architect have our local team on site for the day to day support. They had already more or less recommended the way forward, but I guess the decision had to be “”formalised” (as so often in Asia) by the bosses.
Anyhow it gave me the opportunity to use my day in Jakarta to visit my team and officiate with a little ceremony our spacious new office to which we moved recently with a celebration meal called Tumpengan, which comes with yellow rice shaped like a mountain for good luck and prosperity! Galih is doing a tremendous job with his team in Indonesia and I have full confidence they will succeed! I do not have often the time nor need to visit them so this was a nice moment to mark the occasion . I know how stimulating it is to move to a new and bigger office so it was nice to see them all excited! Like Singapore, Jakarta has a lot of potential projects ahead, but likewise faces a challenge in collections…it seems epidemic in the region…so being and remaining vigilant is key! As part of our growth plans we are looking at getting some of the key staff for training in Singapore, as we believe strongly in caring and nurturing our team for the future…
Training for the Future
KLD has embarked in providing training on all levels to support the staff and help them improve both on a technical level as well as a personal level. This month we provided a two part workshop aimed at improving communication skills. Being a good designer does not mean you can carry the message clearly to your client, so having the proper communication and presentation skills was the key focus of these workshops that ended with a final presentation yesterday. In the first week the team presented based on a brief as they would normally do to a client, it was video-taped and reviewed resulting in directives and pointers on how to make the presentations flow more smoothly and the message carried more clearly. This week, after a week of preparations, they presented (this time with me present) implementing all the advice and recommendations they had received from Mark Stuart, our brilliant workshop leader.
It was great to see the enthusiasm and the team spirit they displayed in their presentation. While there is still room for improvements I could clearly see that both the seniors as well as the juniors had grown in confidence speaking and presenting in public. Carrying this over to reality (not just the confinements of our own team) is another step, but I feel confident that the workshops will be of great help. I have to learn to step back and give them more responsibility and leadership and with time and practice they will become experts in their own right. I know they will…the workshops have given them the tools to further improve and together with our daily reality they will grow become confident communicators…after all our work is mostly about being able to communicate our ideas, our concepts and our recommendations! Once the client is on board the task is to make sure they stay on board!
Have a great weekend!