My previous 5 newsletters have described cultural reasons why OFS sometimes work mindlessly.

Today is about solutions.

When I asked my team why this problem exists, I didn’t ask for solutions, I just sought to understand the problem.

A bunch of my team members also offered solutions. A lot of it has to do with decreasing the power-distance or with dealing with the power-distance. Decreasing their fear is baked into their solutions. These both also create more of a family feeling.

These are direct quotes from my OFS.

  • Acknowledgment for their great work to level up their self-worth/pride but not overdoing it. A simple gift matters, it could be anything, food or coffee mugs will also mean a lot. Sometimes, when I worked in an office I’d put 500 pesos discreetly on their desk telling them (only if they asked) Santa had come early to those who put on a wonderful job
  • I think you already did this before, but maybe giving rewards to people who contributed more than their expected role/responsibilities? Either cash or non-cash (experiential rewards)
  • Sometimes work may get boring, but if people see dynamics on their job, maybe that will motivate them to think/work better?
  • My main point is that incentives in the workplace help employees feel that their extra contribution is valued.
  • Filipinos need more understanding on their job roles, what’s the scope, oversight and responsibilities.
  • Most Filipinos love to talk, chat and even gossip about a lot of things not related to work, that keeps most of us happy and have fun while working on a task. It also helps lose the edge and stress. Usually in the vernacular but sometimes it also works in english, It’s important to have a sense of humor and remain respected.
  • Getting a little bit personal, but not going to the extent that we tell them what they’ll need to do and how to go on with their lives. Empathy is greatly appreciated.
  • Talk about food, experiences and dreams. If they open up about their love lives, just go with it and don’t judge, just give them support and suggestions to resolve things.
  • Quality assurance is important, but what makes QA work is there are designated people in charge to call out mistakes. When we know we are allowed to call out mistakes or know specific people are allowed to, it’s fine. We respect the “law”. For some reason, I always understood that [team member] checks my work. She makes me fix my edits. I never took that personally. I just thought that’s how it was. I don’t know how you trained her, but she’s straightforward. She’s the best example of how it’s not cultural. She’s not afraid to correct me.

There’s a lot going on here.
It’s unlikely that any one of these is going to solve all situations.

Before you respond to me and tell me all your problems (which…is actually fine), I don’t really have all the solutions. I can just tell you what they said will work (this email) and what I’ve done that I’ve seen work (Thursdays email).

John

PS. If you have thoughts about this I’d love to hear it.