Town Hall & some life lessons

I work for an e-Commerce startup. There are a lot of things I love about my company and about the way we work. Most of all, I love the concept of having a Town hall, once in a month.

Town Halls are informal public meetings within a company where typically a general business update is given to all employees, to bring them on the same page w.r.t to organization’s goal/focus areas for the next few months. Other points in the agenda for a Town Hall meeting could be Rewards/Recognition (appreciating good talent/work), cultural performances from employees, introduction of new joinees, Quiz questions about the company’s key metrics, et cetera.

Yesterday, for a change, our HR team had organized a Town Hall outside Office, in a club, open air (These gatherings till date used to happen within Office premises).

During the Q&A session with the CEO and CBO, one employee raised an interesting question. “Hi, I am a part of the xyz team. Like all teams, we put in our 100% at work. But there are cases where all our efforts go waste because of *some business related technical issue*. It becomes difficult to accept at times, about this injustice done to our hard work”

To which our CEO replied, “Hi X, I understand your pain. I’m sure we can solve this problem through *some solution*. I would like to make the scope of this question a bit more wide so that everyone sitting here can relate to it”.

He looks at the entire audience now, and continues. “Like X, all of us might be facing day to day situations where despite giving our 100%, things might not go our way, because of factors that are not directly under our control. My only piece of advice is this. Please understand that the world around you is imperfect. It is always going to be. The only way to stay sane in this chaotic world is to give it your all for things that are under your control, and stop worrying about things that are not in your control.”

“I always take this example. Consider a nurse working in an emergency first aid ward in a hospital. Every single day, she might be facing cases like people who met with accidents because of drunken driving, because of not wearing helmet/seat belt, etc. When they come to emergency ward, she has to give 100% attention to the task at hand, which is giving immediate first aid to the patient. At that point, she cannot think or crib about why the patient didn’t wear a seat belt or why the patient drove under the influence of alcohol. These are things that are out of her control and distracting thoughts at that point in time.”

“Same goes with all of us. The Marketing guy only needs to think about getting more Visits to our website. The Logistics guy should only think about delivering all our x lac orders within promised date. All our energies should be focused on how better can we do the job that is directly under our control. Only if we are extraordinary and dedicated to our work can we demand the same from our peers. And trust me, if all of us do this, the world would be a better place”

I think his talk made a lot of sense.

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