Tomorrow is Christmas day. Maybe Santa come with a surprise or, you are maybe gathering around with some of your loved ones. Seems to be a good time to tell a story.
This is the tale of two women who live in a big city of a big country, not very far away from where you are now.
Both of them hold a good position in a very well-known company, and they are about to close this year before going on holidays. Late in the evening, almost no one is still at the office. There are many things still pending, and they cannot yet call it a day.
One of them, María, needs to take care of the new year’s operations plan before going home.
This has been a quite difficult year – she thought. We reduced our workforce and the ones remaining took over. Our customers are as demanding as always and there will be a stronger competition next year. Our people are exhausted, and we don’t have money to hire. They feel we have failed, and they don’t trust us anymore; they don’t realize we didn’t have a choice. If we hadn’t laid off those people, the company wouldn’t exist today. No. I don’t have enough people to do this planning. We can’t do it.
Picture it. María’s really getting down. She used to love her job but, now she simply run out of ideas. It is like a big black sad cloud is above her head. And it seems there is no way out.
She was just about to give it up when Teresa comes out of the blue. Teresa was surprised someone was still at the office and just came to have a look. She is very clever, always optimistic and has a great respect for María. Teresa holds a great superpower: she is able to accurate read people’s feelings.
So she was there looking at that big black sad cloud above of María and wondering what is happening.
Are you OK? – she asked. You seem hopeless.
No, I am not – María said. You know. We have all these problems with the business. This year has been dramatic; our operations cannot work with these numbers. I can’t do it.
Teresa looked at her and smiled. Do you believe in magic? – asked quietly.
What? – María almost shouted – Are you crazy? I have no time for silly things.
No, I am not. This is probably the most magic time of the year. Do you believe in magic? – insisted Teresa.
María was puzzled but Teresa’s smile was so real that she relaxed a bit.
Imagine you really do whatever you need to solve this – Teresa continued. What will the business look like? Picture the future!
OK. Let’s play. Next year, we are more competitive. Our workers are more specialized, and the company has invested in technology that makes us better. Therefore, we are able to overcome many obstacles. Moreover, when they see we are investing in our future, their trust grows. There are many opportunities there for us, waiting. With these changes we can make the most of them – María smiled.
And what do you need to be able to take all the opportunities? Teresa smiled back.
Well, I need help. I need to have onboard the workers representatives and also our financial director. I know he probably buys in the idea if we can show him some results in the first quarter– the big black sad cloud transformed into a kind of shy ray of light.
What can you do before Christmas to go there? – asked Teresa.
Well, I could send a proposal to be discussed first thing when we’re back in the office and meanwhile prepare a plan to be shared with all the team. We will need to change, but I think I can count on some very committed people. We can do it! – María started to type madly, focused on the screen.
Great! – Teresa stood up. Happy Christmas, María! And walked out the room.
After a while, María realized Teresa has been gone. She will need to look for her to say thank you. After all, she had got her own Santa this year. In the form of a woman helping her look to the bright side of life: the opportunity in the problem.
At the end of the day, magic exists. And it is inside every one of us.