Dominic CostaBir, Director, HTI, shares a tongue-in-cheek account of the Management & Adventure Program (MAP) he conducted for Team Azure Hospitality.
"Dominic, this time around, expectations are higher and we should be around 70." That's Pankaj Kant, Head HR, offering a friendly warning-cum-threat-cum-veiled suggestion (want to back out?) while we discuss the second outbound team building exercise for Azure Hospitality. Earlier, Rahul Khanna, Director, and I discussed the plan over carrot juice in Khan Market, Delhi. The discussion was like any other with him 70:30. Rahul speaks 70% of the time and you listen 30%. The balance 30% of the time, Rahul repeats himself to make up for the 30% of the time you weren't listening. Bottom line: "Motivate the team to think beep BIG, beep beep collaborate, beep beep beep beep claim ownership beep beep..."
* Replace beeps with colourful English and Hindi words.
Cut to when we're stepping into the venue: Noor Mahal, Karnal. My assistant trainer Andy looks at the opulent and imposing structure and asks, "You sure they'll allow you in?" That's HTI - we motivate each other. Just like when I'm about to start the program, Rajat (my other assistant trainer) looks at me clad in a tight Tee and jeans and says, "Aren't you going to change?"
Deep Chand, CEO, my fiend (and friend), philosopher and snide, threatens: “You better end by 6 pm.” We scrap over it and he settles for 8 pm. But Day 1 of our Management & Adventure Program (MAP) ends on a high by 9 pm. The teams are engaged, energised and as in all my programs; enraged - sometimes with the opposing teams, but mostly with me.
Day 2 and they scarp over team names and taglines (part of the program - understanding human/ animal behaviour). I swear I didn't make them scrap, but I know I'm being blamed. Then on to the grand finale - wild tasks involving creative and fun photos, a poetry featuring all teammates, and a short Bollywood movie in which a girl should propose to a male member - must have romance, comedy, action and drama. The teams have a field day. The best actors are Twinkle and Adiba, while Rahul and Subodh display their creativity.
While screening the final photos and AVs, Team IT didn't disappoint - nothing was ready. Kabir Suri, Director, stayed his usual calm self and blew a valve or two. Then he closed the program egging the team to, "...Focus on product consistency and personalised service. That way, we all move towards the BIG picture - IPO in about five years and ESOPs for the ones who stand with Azure on this fun journey!"
Naturally, I got a lot of compliments but only about my physique (Rajat, that's why I need the tight Tee). But Jayanti Duggal, Director of Kitchens, offered between morsels of ras malai, "Amazing program, Dominic." Relieved, I said, "Coming from you, it's a big compliment." What I meant was: Thank God I got at least one. On the bus back, Pankaj said, "You covered everything - motivation, think big, merger... Great program, we learnt a lot and it was fun!" I guess that meant I get to keep my job.
- Dominic CostaBir, Director, HTI