When dots con­nect

Sun.Star Davao - - BUSINESS - Stella ESTREMERA saestremera@gmail.com

In a mix of self-preser­va­tion, health con­cerns, and just long­ing for less stress, I de­cided to end the life I have lived through­out my whole adult­hood and try my hand as a cul­ture of­fi­cer of a small Davao-based real es­tate de­vel­oper.

Why here? First, be­cause it’s small and eas­ier to trans­form. Se­cond, there is no one as crazy as I am to ex­per­i­ment on trans­form­ing the cul­ture of a work­place in­stead of just look­ing at the hu­man re­sources other than this com­pany. HR work wouldn’t en­tice me. It’s too wrapped in pro­ce­dures and poli­cies. Plus, be­ing a cul­ture of­fi­cer is yet an un­trod­den path in this tiny patch on Earth.

What does it take to be one? Prob­a­bly the long and wind­ing path I took to get here. There’s the 15 years as edi­tor-in-chief, which meant a decade and a half of head­ing a fast-paced, un­pre­dictable, and ever-chang­ing work en­vi­ron­ment full of heart­breaks, threats, har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, liv­ing on the edge, com­ple­mented with end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­act and com­mu­ni­cate with a vast spec­trum of peo­ple from the poor­est and pow­er­less to the wealth­i­est and most pow­er­ful, plus 8 ear­lier years of do­ing the same but not hav­ing the ti­tle, plus nine much ear­lier years to hone my craft and build a name. Ar­chi­tec­ture, my course as a col­lege stu­dent be­fore I stum­bled into jour­nal­ism as a ca­reer made me un­der­stand the lan­guage of builders. In be­tween was a short course in the Lan­guage of Busi­ness at the Asian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment where I got a dose of how they do it there (drown­ing in tons of case stud­ies and do­ing sim­u­la­tions) but for a pe­riod short enough to keep my san­ity (and money) in­tact. That taught me to un­der­stand ... the lan­guage of busi­ness. Matched with the end­less math sub­jects in ar­chi­tec­ture, it taught me how num­bers look in the money form and not just in mea­sure­ments.

I capped this by be­com­ing a le­git­i­mate Com­mu­ni­ca­tion grad­u­ate just this year.

Bottomline, it’s about en­hanc­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and un­der­stand­ing within the com­pany, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion and un­der­stand­ing of the forces and sit­u­a­tions that af­fect the in­dus­try -- the real es­tate, the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. It’s stim­u­lat­ing the slow cul­ture that builds trust and open­ness, proven to build stronger, more re­silient, and rel­e­vant hu­man or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Have I stim­u­lated your cu­rios­ity enough? You can ask me more.

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