mercoledì 5 novembre 2014


Maybe, probably, I could have mentioned in passing that I took a Master course. Oh, who am I kidding, I know I totally PESTERED you.

And not your average Master, no sir, not the ones you pay a gazillion dollars, five days of intensive training, piece of paper, and then bye bye, so long, nice meeting you.

No. It was an amazing Leadership Development Program for young talents, kindly brought to me by the bank I work for. All expense covered, yes. Of course, you have to EARN it. So, three months of selection process, five steps, doubts, insecurities, I don’t know if I will ever get in, there’s no way in hell that I will get in, Iaia in super-annoying mode to anybody that had the misfortune to be in my closest circle (hi, mum!).

Veeery surprisingly, I GOT IN (wild dancing, celebrations, howls of joy, drunkenness).


At the end of the program I was thinner than ever, below my average 50 kilos, tired and sooo exhausted. I was so weak that I got a very high fever while I was on holiday in Turkey.

Let me explain. I’m not talking about eight hour lessons, no. I’m talking about eighty young people, all working for the Bank I work for, superselected, that cooperate together to develop projects sponsored by Top top top managers (Hyper Top. Just a step below GOD. They work for him, yes).

Us, with God's little helper.

To recap: you work your ass of for nine months, with people from all over Europe, that you didn’t know before, on a subject you know nothing about, in English. Ah, of course you also keep your current job, we don’t like easy things, do we?

You call them by phone, by Skype, you mail them, you Whatsapp them, always on and off a plane, the deadlines, the time is never enough, and you’re scared because you don’t think you can manage everything, the lingering feeling of incompetence, and WHY THE HELL a day has only 24 hours, I need at least 45, and a secretary, please. You and your group became blood brothers. One day you love them like crazy, the day after you want them incarcerated in the darkest prison and throw away the key.

Your boyfriend kindly informs you that you are seeing them more than you see him. Ahem, yes, so what?

You have to pay a price for every goal you reach. Well, for me, it was worth it. And it’s totally irrelevant that my colleagues, after seeing the pitiful state I was in, bluntly refused to apply to the program.

But, whatever, let’s get over with the introduction and let’s get straight to the point. Here’s what I’ve learned:

TALENT IS AS TALENT DOES, or, in other words, it’s not talent, it’s hard work. Let me explain. Success is not the norm. Success is the exception. When you try to do something new, the norm is that you fail at it, the exception is that you succeed. But if you believe you can do it, and you train for it, and you try again and again, it’s highly probable that you will succed. The trick is simple: believe, believe, believe, and work really hard.

Work, work, work.

LISTEN. Team working is very similar to being part of a couple. There are no people that are “Made for each other”, and the “Happily ever after” is a stupid myth. Are we different, yes? Since we are different, it’s normal and logical that we have different opinions. You talk to each other, you discuss, you even fight sometimes. But if you are stuck on your opinion, and you show it off like a prized possession, without giving a second tought to the others’, it’s natural that the group is going to fuck up spectacularly. So: listen, LISTEN CAREFULLY to other people’s opinion, really try to understand their point of view, and most of all, COMPROMISE.

USE THE OTHER PEOPLE. Were you waiting for a Wall Street-like speech, “Greed is Good” style? Sorry to disappoint you guys, not gonna happen. What I mean is that everybody has skills. Yes, you, too. You just have to leverage on what you another person does best, and let them do it. So you can concentrate on what YOU do best, and be a top player for the group. If you insist on multitasking, either: you fuck up, or: you don’t express your full potential in what you really can do.
For example, my favourite German is The Ultimate Excel Master. To me, Excel is BLAH. So, you, adorable German guy, develop the developable, and I, creative and bubbly Italian, work on the catchy slogan to sell our amazing, fantastic, superduperfabulous product.
My God, so many cultural stereotypes in one sentence.

The Hungarian, the Italian and the German. Nope, not a joke.

ALWAYS IMPROVE YOURSELF. Leverage on your skills, yes, but be aware of your shortcomings. My Precision has gone shoe hunting along my Punctuality and my Detail Orientation. “It’s all good” it’s my motto. Do I have to accept it? NO. This kind of program is created to push you, to improve yourself, to let you admit your weaknesses, see them, ok, I see them, and Bring. Them. Down. My goal for this year is to became precise and neat. Will I achieve it? Mmmmhh I doubt it, but to succed, first you have to fail, so I will try hard. (My favorite Croatian girl, Nelly, will teach me. Maybe)

EXPRESS YOUR OPINION. Is something bothering you? Say it. You think you have a great idea? Say it. You don’t like the PowerPoint presentation? SAY IT. In a nice and kind way, without hurting anyone. No, “This sucks” is not a nice way. But think about it, your opinion is worth something, and you have the right to be listened to. Maybe peopleare going to laugh at you, it’s a risk you have to take, but maybe you really had the genius idea that is going to change the path of the project. Coco Chanel loathed the whalebone bustiers. So she invented the tailleur. She was laughed at, she scandalized people, she changed the history of fashion forever. Why can’t you?

Like creating an AMAZING LIVING SLIDE.

DIVERSITY IS GOOD. After nine months of coexisting with a Turkish guy, a Croatian girl, an Hungarian guy, a Rumanian girl, and a German guy, it’s clear to me that opinions are relative. Women think different from men, project managers think different from sales, AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON GERMANS AND ITALIANS. Is it bad? Absolutely not. Of course, it makes finding a solution a more difficult process, but in the end a many brains are better than one. Why? Because everybody is starting from their own point of view. If you like something, it doesn’t mean that other people like the same something. EVERYBODY IS ESSENTIAL.
How do you do it? By communicating with people. Talk, talk, talk. Pros and cons. Discuss. And in the end you reach a solution, that nobody could have thought about on their own, and it’s PERFECT. Or almost perfect, from a German point of view. There is always room for improvement, in a German’s opinion.   

Best. Team. Ever.

Ok, that’s all folks! Probably I forgot a lot of things, and I will edit the article, but for now, that’s it.

Talented kisses to whoever likes, comments, shares this article, but most of all, to whoever likes my Facebook page.
As you probably already know, I’m quite stubborn, and this blog is my beloved little project. INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!

Lots of love,

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