Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Eternal Optimist

The director for the new division that joined the company a little while ago is a really nice guy and knows the market inside out and are chummy with most of the important doctors which is a huge advantage and make things a lot easier. I mentioned a bit about him earlier. He's also one of the most optimistic people I have ever met, all news are good news or are spun in his head to become good news. For a pessimist like me, this can be a bit annoying, but since he's a nice guy I just try to keep cool.

However, coming from a local Japanese company, he's not yet completely adjusted to working in a large global company with a lot more people in different countries involved, which is fine since it's one of my jobs to help him navigate this maze. Recently he came up with an idea that theoretically could expand the potential market for one of our products quite considerably, but not realizing that it's hard to diverse too much from the rest of the company in terms of indications and such for liability reasons.

He managed to fire up Mr. Shachou considerably to this idea and the whole company was celebrating this new great idea while I had to sit there and be the negative guy telling them to calm down and that we need to check with head office that this idea is workable before we celebrate too much. They all agreed that we should check, but continued in their celebratory mood for the rest of the day.

So, I call up and discuss the issue with the relevant people in the head office, and no surprise, the idea proved to be extremely difficult to do and would result in delays that wouldn't be acceptable according to our plan.

I go to tell him the bad news (I must admit that I felt some satisfaction in that I was right all along) and when he gets the news, he staggered for a few seconds like he had gotten punched in the face but then quickly rebounding with optimism; "Ok, we can work around this and maybe we can do it like this instead?". "Ok, I'll look into it I say" and quickly check and get confirmed that neither that is possible. So I go back, tell him the bad news and again, he staggers for a few seconds and then rebounds with optimist "Ok, then we'll do it according to the original plan, that'll work fine!".

Part of me is getting pretty curious on testing where the limit of his optimism lies and see how much it would take before he gets a bit beaten down, but I'm pretty sure that he could rebound from almost any bad news I could possibly throw at him.


Tornadoes28 said...

Maybe he's thinking Outside the Box.

Or maybe he is just not experienced enough.

Or maybe he is bringing fresh new ideas.

Or maybe he is just delusional.

Who knows.

Yu Ming Lui said...

I think you're lucky to have an optimistic boss. A negative one will just pull you down in the dumps and kick any motivation out of your bones. That's not a great alternative. But have fun testing his limits :p

Mr. Salaryman said...

Please, please, please don't say "thinking outside the box". I hate that expression, it's so stupid!

And yeah Ming, better with a positive than a negative and he is pretty pleasant to work with.

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