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Unexpected Learning Experiences

Blog | Life and Leadership   |   January 27, 2017

by Celine Chong

In my three months with ROHEI, I found myself growing in unexpected ways. (Horizontal is not one of them, in case you are wondering.) One of the biggest insights I gained is that you have the ability to control your learning.

At the start of my internship, I was asked what I hoped to gain from my time here. I knew that experiences relevant to my university studies were important. But I wanted to be open and flexible, and not be boxed up by what I thought I should learn.

Stepping into new territory

Setting goals and having a focus keeps you on track, but at the same time we grow by being flexible and willing to adapt, willing to be challenged and try new, unfamiliar things. I realized that doing projects beyond my experience portfolio expanded my mind and my learning experience.

Expanding your range

My boss shared with me a piece of wisdom I felt perfectly expressed the power we have in our learning journey. He asked, “how much experience does five years of doing exactly the same work quantify?” When you master only one type of task, you are left with very limited capabilities. But when you continually seek to find new ways to do what others would leave as a routine, that broadens your learning journey. In this season, I experienced learning in alternative forms beyond just technical and/or tangible work. Through observation and conversations at work, whether in meetings or programmes, I learned so much by watching how my bosses and colleagues practiced people management skills. Their leadership styles varied yet key qualities allowed them to work like a synchronised orchestra. I saw that working as a harmonious, effective team is just as important as doing your work well.

People-centricity in action

At the first department meeting I attended, the creative team’s bi-weekly get-together for updates, I made a lot of observations. It was very different from meetings I conducted and attended before. We first went in a circle to share about how we were doing. This simple pre-meeting ritual struck me as a method for the team to grow in unity and more importantly, extend appreciation, care and interest to each other beyond our working relationships. I soon connected the dots and saw how such practice flowed from the top management. Our weekly staff devotions provided a platform for our management team to address ROHEI as a family and for anyone to take the microphone and share whatever was on their heart.

By the second meeting, I noticed the way my department head had adopted different communication styles for the varying personalities. For instance, a staff with a quieter personality wasn’t constantly being forced to be expressive. The culture of trust was evident when he knew that she would speak up when she was ready. I drew this scenario parallel to my group experiences at poly where the mindset most of us had were that contributions were equated to verbal expressions. This culture of understanding and being versatile was prominent. ROHEI’s company’s culture made me reflect on what it means to be a servant-leader to those around us, and how I can improve myself in team settings.

Onwards and upwards

Now that my short stint in ROHEI is coming to an end, I decided to consciously adopt a spirit of boldness in my reflection process and understand that sometimes the backseat, actually gives you a front row perspective.We are all looking to move forward and even more importantly, upwards. On a graph, the x and y-axis are always correlated. In our learning journeys, this axis can represent our quality of work and experiences. Let’s challenge ourselves to not settle and just go with the flow, but continually seek to move forward and upward.

ROHEI’s workplace culture inspires me to have that kind of impact wherever I go— hope, joy, courage, and purpose.  

Celine is an incredibly outgoing young lady—she has more extrovert energy than the entire ROHEI creative team combined. To see her in action, watch #AskRachelOng Episode 12 on our Facebook page.

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