Sunday, 15 May 2016

UFLP SEAA CONNECT 2016: One Of The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened To Me

What a week it has been. A week ago I thought my world was so small. Nearly everyone I know are from Malaysia, I only understood about the Unilever business within Malaysia and my whole mind was thought to see just things within Malaysia.

Fast forward a week later, a whole lot of things has change. I have been lacking drive and joy in recent months, and the UFLP SEAA CONNECT Session has just recharge my batteries and got all good to go. It has help redefine my purposes in life, got me inspired, ready and connect to a whole bunch of new and amazing people. The purpose of this event was to get us Unilever Future Leader Program (UFLP) people to build our networking with the SEAA community and equipped us with the right tools to go on to be future leaders.

From Malaysia there was only 4 participants and 3 organizing committee and my biggest fear was that for the next 4 four days I am only going to be hanging out with the fellow Malaysians and no one else. I made a conscious decision that I will try not to spend as much time possible and mingle with the participants from different countries. The other participants are from other countries are from Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

We were immediately divided to groups of 10 and I was glad that I was the only Malaysian in my table. The first friend I made during the session and will perhaps be the most awesome person I met throughout the event was a guy from Philippines named Jeggy We instantly got things running and become best buds.

Our very first session of Day 1 was a team building event which I found it to be super cool because it mainly used an African drum and a couple of pipes only. We were thought of tunes and music to related that out business and showed us that everybody has to work together well to create beautiful music and if one group doesn't cooperate it will reduce the quality of the music. Just like in business, when one department doesn't do well it impacts the entire business

Next we brought to a series of leadership talks where by this successful Unilever leaders shared their journey from humble beginnings up to the point of who they are today and explained some of the key principals and things they had done to be who they are today. The questions from the UFLP were really tough for the leaders but they managed to answer the question clearly. This bit of the event opened our minds up on actually what is the difference between this leaders and us and how they look at things and make it happen

Next we were treated to an open bar dinner with free flow of drinks and allowed us to build networks among the UFLPs before we headed back in for our Cartoon Character Costume Party. Once again this has to be one of the best parties I have been to. Free flow of drinks, laughter, lip sync battle and networking. It was the bomb.

On day 2 our agenda was packed with a workshop on The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. The first day we focused on the first 3 habits and I was blessed that I got Leannerd as our coach for this session. He is the VP for HR in SEAA. A man with so much experience and expertise. He is also a certified Covey Training and the way he conducted the workshop has left a deep impact on me on how I should be to highly effective.

The last session for the day was another team building event which was based on sports. The particular highlight for me when we were asked to build a racing car using pipes and tires and race around the track. First there will be a qualifying round and the top 6 teams will qualify to the final and than the race will be a two lap race. The only twist to this was that we were not allowed to race with our cars but we had to use the car of the beside team which was only told minutes before the qualifying. Therefore we had to make do with what he had and try to get the best results. Our team managed to qualify into the final race but did not win the race. I think we got 4th, but the team that used our car won the race and I was proud that the car which we build was the only car that never broke down throughout qualifying and the race.

The final part of the day was dinner at the open bar with the graduated UFLPs. The particular highlight for me was that I did my first ever karaoke session with my fellow Philippines friends.
Lots of networking session was done that day and I had a good insight speaking to the graduated UFLP on how they made it to graduation and what to expect along the way. Another great day comes to an end.

Day 3 was fully packed with the 7 Habits workshop which I felt was the best part of this entire event. We went on to complete the balance the 4 habits and we did a lot of activities throughout the session. In this part here I would like to say a big thank you to Afra from Australia and Book from Thailand. This is for the Emphatic Listening session the Talking Stick Session. I was able to open up on things which I had been keeping in for a long time and you guys gave some very good insight about it and it was so helpful. So glad that happened.

Once the 7 Habits workshop was concluded, we were brought around to travel around Singapore and our first stop was to this super cool buffet. I finally managed to try first lobster and thanks to Jeggy and Aziz from Indonesia I had my very first Sushi. Got to admit the Sushi was good but I couldn't take much of it. Next we were brought on to an open top bus ride around Singapore heading to the Light Show which was cool with the music and the light show on the trees. (insert Video). Our final stop for the night was the River Cruise and I finally got close to Marina Bay Sands and The Malayan.

On The Final Day, we had a couple of talks but the main highlight was before lunch when we had a panel of leaders sitting on the stage and took some very intense question about the generation gap and how we can work together. It was so good to see how leaders from different generation are so eager to make things work with the Gen Y and it's time Gen Y start understanding things from their perspective to ensure a win-win situation.

Than comes the moment towards the end of the whole event. We had a quick speed dating session followed by creating an anchor which will remind us of this moment of the event and also writing appreciative notes to 3 UFLPs. We concluded the event with a sharing session on the revolutionized UFLP assessment method that is going to go live soon. It's going to be huge. We ended the day with lots of picture taking and hugs before saying our See You Again and leaving Four Accers.

The reason why I am writing this is to record down how amazing this event was and every time things don't go well for me or when I am in a struggle I can always read this back and remind my self what an amazing moment I had here and remind my self not to give and continue to be successful. Thank you Unilever for this amazing opportunity. I don't see myself as a Malaysian UFLP anymore but as an SEAA UFLP. We are a big community now and our voices are strong. We will make great changes. We are Ready, Inspired and Connected!!!