piątek, 27 marca 2009

Goodbye Hai Phong

So our 4-week-assignment is overL It’s hard to believe how quickly time passed by here. So much happened and we are all coming back home with incredible experiences.

It was so nice that before our departure we have had visitors: our interpreters, some of our clients, and all the staff of the hotel came to say goodbye us. Goodbye was pretty emotional for some of us as really strong relations ships were built. And we will see how much it would be possible to keep in touch.

Hence we moved to Hanoi for the last 3 days in Vietnam.

czwartek, 26 marca 2009

Why do you always smile....

So there is our last day in Hai Phong….. Our assignments are almost over...... Where are the 4 weeks spent here.....

In the morning I have worked with my interpreters in the hotel finalizing the report with results of our work and our proposals. I’m not sure how much from my suggestions will be introduced in the future but I have enjoyed working with my client even my time was really limited and it was pretty difficult to get deep understand of current company situation.

After lunch I had a brief meeting with my client presenting him the report and handing some IBM gadgets. We will still meet tomorrow before my departure as HR manager and director will pass the hotel to say goodbye. It looks that so many people are coming tomorrow to see us before we leave Hai Phong, it might be emotional morning.

My last afternoon in Hai Phong I decided to dedicate to my interpreters so we spent long time going on their motorbike around the center, visiting a few places and having long conversations.
It’s always been interesting to see how local people are surprised to see me a foreigner on the motorbike in the company of two Vietnamese girls. Most of the people are so friendly; keep on smiling and saying constantly “hello”. I usually smile a lot but here I’ve got used to it even more and I like it:-) Today even my interpreter asked me why I’m constantly smiling but it’s so natural here and I have no doubts that back Poland it will be not so frequent:-(

środa, 25 marca 2009

In a bedroom with Napoleon

I have had another day spent with Monica by her client and have to admit that it was very productive day. The main contact persons from client are already pretty confident with my presence there and today we have managed to have long sessions related to HR management, roles and responsibilities in the company, employee’s motivation. Director seemed to be vey keen on learning more about our proposals and hopefully she would manage to implement some of our ideas. It’s a new company, most of the staff is really young but hopefully they will manage to build stable SME.

And after lunch it is a time for a nap - it is practiced by all the employees, and as company is located in a pretty big house a part from office space, kitchen there are a few bedrooms. I was sent to the director’s bedroom, sharing bed with her, interpreter, Monica and having picture of Napoleon above our big bed. Without any doubts we needed the recharge of our batteries to continue intensively in the afternoon:-) And also afternoon turned out to be very productive, having presentation on job description, making short interview with director.

The director’s pink Lenovo laptop

Continuing farewell dinners we were invited by one of the client for a kind of indoor “barbeque”. Another interesting culinary experience, making your own food on the “homemade” fire and having a chance different kind of food that normaly I even don’t know the names.

wtorek, 24 marca 2009

Farewell dinner with VCCI and interpreters

The last week of our assignment seems to be flying very quickly and each day is fully occupied. Today as my client was not available due to busy schedule and the director still being on the business trip in Ho Chi Minh City I decided to join Monica on her assignment and help her to meet her client’s requirements. And I was very happy of my decision as it enabled me to enrich my knowledge of another Vietnamese SME:-)

Thus we spent morning with Ms Hang, director and it was very interesting to see how she firstly was establishing relationship with me and trying to get confidence from my presence. Even though we have earlier met on a few occasions, it was our first-time-encounter at the professional level. And with time passing by, the relationship being built we moved on towards coaching session and we enjoyed very much sharing our thoughts and giving her some tips for managing the company. I found it crucial to have a chance to support her as in country like Vietnam it’s not easy for women to be running their own companies.

And in the afternoon, in the spirit of our Vietnamese experience, it means being always prepared for unexpected and ready for embracing surprises we went to …… hairdresser to have a one-hour-head massage and hair staighted. Very interesting experience, enriching our cultural knowledge:-)

And to finish our interesting day, in the evening we have invited our interpreters and representatives of VCCI for farewell dinner to celebrate our cooperation during our assignment in Hai Phong. We still have 3 more days but slowly we do realize that our assignments in Vietnam are almost over. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time passed here.

poniedziałek, 23 marca 2009

Always work on building relationships

As were informed last week that director of the company is still going to be on the business trip on Monday we decided to work in the morning from hotel and continue in the office in the afternoon. Firstly we had scheduled a meeting with secretary and provided some tips and small training on customer service skills. She is a newcomer in the company and still struggles to figure out her way of working but it was very nice to see how eager she is learn new things. Hopefully she would manage to implement some of our ideas in her daily tasks.
Afterward we continued with the session with HR manager.
And what a nice surprise to learn that they are just implementing one of my ideas related to salary that I proposed on one of the first days. But it wouldn’t be a typical day on our assignment if we wouldn’t have to face a situation in which our flexibility would be testedJ This time it turned out that even the director was supposed to be back on Tuesday she would not be back in the office before Friday. So we may not to meet her again and we would have to present the report to HR person.
We finished today presenting HR manager and some of other team members the content of
SME Toolkit ( www.smetoolkit.org) and it was very fascinating to see how much they were enthusiastic to look at the different areas available on the website. I was very glad to observe it because I think it’s a great source of data that they might be able to use in the future. Especially that partially it is available in Vietnamese language but I emphasized that it might also useful to check with original version only in English if there are not more resources. I did on purpose with intention if they need any help on translations, my interpreters might still stay in touch with them.
I’m learning to foreseen how important it might to be to build good relationship at the different stages so if there is anyway I can also help my interpreters why not:-)

niedziela, 22 marca 2009

Halong Bay tour

We have managed to spend our (the whole team being together) last weekend on private relaxing tour in the mystic atmosphere of Halong Bay - (literally: Descending Dragon bay) a UNESCO World Heritage site located 1.5 hours drive from Hai Phong.
The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and more that 2000 isles in various sizes and shapes.

So Saturday we spent chilling out on the boat, admiring the beautiful islands on the way to the bay where we stayed overnight and we visited Titop Island - little island that Got its name from Ghermann Titov, a former Soviet Union hero that visited an island with Ho Chi Minh.

On the island we climbed 400 steps to top to breathtaking view to the bay as well as me and Monica decided to go for the swim this year:-)The first jump into water was pretty difficult but later on it was much better. The only problem I found was that water was so dirty, some rubbish floating on the surface. Generally it was seen all the way during our cruise that Vietnamese have still long way to learn and put into practice more attention to protect their environment. I hope that being on UNESCO heritage list will help to protect this incredible area and different parties will be aware that if they don’t look after it there will be no way in the future to earn money on the tourists coming there.

And than back on the boat we had delicious dinner consisting of some varies meals (sometimes I have impression that I keep on eating all the time in VietnamJ But on the other hand except of few occasion food is really delicious) and afterwards we enjoyed interesting conversation about cultural differences related to relationships, marriages – especially learning about arranged marriages in India.

Sunday morning we visited a floating village and immense Hang Sung Sot cave and later on we could delight in the empty bay after most of the boats that stayed overnight in our neighborhood went back to the city.

P.s And Sunday evening being back to hotel very nice opportunity for more sportJ We practiced again shuttle cock game and afterwards a few of use played tennis with general manager and director of hotel. I haven’t played tennis for 15 years!

środa, 18 marca 2009

Yes, I have eaten Crickets.....

Continuing the “tradition” of invitations for dinners or different activities helping us immerse into Vietnamese culture this time was my client turn:-)
Hence we had dinner in nice restaurant overlooking small lake almost in the center of Hai Phong and meal consisted of the various starters and hot pot. Among starter the most “exotic”, bizarre were fried (barbequed) crickets!!! I have eaten them!:-) I admit that I had difficulty with the first one but the next ones were really ok. Proper sauce and no problem:-)
To be honest I didn’t think that I would ever dare to eat such insects.

The second part of the evening was truly karaoke experience and we had so much fun, everyone took part so actively singing:-)

Some Karoke performances:

And Tineke with special dedication for you:-)