The past few days has been hectic for me. It started with a little easy going at the beginning of the week. I’ve got time to doodle a little, to have a longer coffee break and to chat with colleagues. Then came the “bomb” let off by someone who decided that a gift be presented to a minister for his leaving the ministry.

OK, I thought, just buy a gift and get it over with. Nope, came the answer. You’ve got to machine it to demonstrate your capability. What the……ok so what’s the big deal. After all, we’ve got plenty of machine and expertise.

The trouble was there were too many “cooks”. From the top guns down to the next machinist, they’ve got ideas about what the gift should be. After three hectic days of prototyping to come out the right design for the gift, we are still back to square one. Every other design were turned down by the top man. I thought can’t they make up their bl….dy mind!!! But then the gift is for a Minister.

We finally settled for a picture of a pair of crane with meaningful chinese characters written on it … all machined out on a big perspex. It was finally accepted. And it turn out to be a master piece that we treasure and proud to own by the receipient.

I reflected and I thought that the time taken to design and produce the gift was ridiculously long. Decisions after decisions were made but failed repeatedly. Do, re-do, do and re-do just to make a perfect gift for a Minister. I had wanted to stop and give up. But I did not as I was sucked in by the team spirit as we marches on. It then occured to me the importance and significance of the gift. It mattered for the decision maker, it mattered for the gift maker and it mattered to the entire team to do a good job. What if the gift is not for a minister but for a sweeper colleague. Would we place any importance to it. Unlikely!

It taught a lesson that we need to be aware of our own goals and endeavour. If we could place a little importance on what we are doing on hand, we could bring the outcome to the next level. And if the whole team places that little importance on the job at hand, we literally could move mountains. So do take that little effort to understand the significance of our work and be patient to see what that could do to your performance.