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SHERENE, a marketing lady whose job takes her to meet people from all walks of life, runs an outfit dealing in millions of ringgit.
To get her boys and girls to achieve their annual targets is never an easy task.
She can't be a slave driver. Neither can she be a laid-back boss whose staff works at rabbit pace. She also can't allow her team to run wild and be distracted by the slightest excuse.
Her team must work closely together, develop and nurture ideas, and execute them with precision and finesse. At the same time, results can be achieved by knowing the right people, and by pushing the right buttons.
So, brainstorming, caucuses, away-days, retreats -- you name it, Sherene has done all these. Frequently and regularly. And being marketers, her staff cannot do anything without their mobile phones.
Very often one mobile phone will ring which has to be answered; or another staff member will be sending or replying to short text messages. All these can distract the sessions and distract proceedings.
But Sherene wasn't going to be defeated by this. She brought along a big box and made her staff deposit their mobile phones into it! There were initial protests but Sherene stuck to her guns and got it done nevertheless.
And she changed the 15-minute coffee break to that of coffee break cum hand phone break! It worked! The smokers had their puff, the caffeine-addicts had their shot, and the mobile phone dependents had their lines (and lives) restored.
This has then become the order of proceedings in subsequent brainstormings. Even when one leaves the phones on "silent" mode, there will still be distractions. So, it's better to quarantine them for a while.
Mind you, a roomful of 30 executives can easily yield 50 hand phones, excluding iPads and other smart gadgets. Today's motto of survival appears to be -- never leave home without your mobile phone!