A historic moment in the making
The date was January 11th, 2020. It was a historic moment for Chillibreeze – the day we inaugurated ‘The Village’- a new facility of ours - and I was there! Well, some might disagree, about this company event being a historic moment for us, so let me share my story.
Building people is our core strength
Over the years, Chillibreeze has provided opportunities to different team members by creating roles which best fit their capabilities and skills and they were able to excel in these different roles and responsibilities.
In 14 years, Chillibreeze has launched three ventures, Zizira, Muezart, and The Chicken Wagon. These units have benefited the unemployed youth of Meghalaya. Now, the people of Shillong are starting to have faith in private companies. There are very few private companies operating in our region and those that are there seem to exploit the work force rather than build their potential and show them a bright future. Not surprising that in the Northeast of India people’s faith in private companies is low.
Story behind us building ‘The Village’
As I was saying, Chillibreeze has launched three ventures and each of these have achieved a lot.
But the biggest accomplishment of all, according to me, was the construction of ‘The Village’ at Umshing, Mawlai, a small village in a remote area of Shillong. It signifies putting down roots. It gives me, and I am sure a lot of people, hope that Chillibreeze is here to stay.
Here is a little back story on the construction of The Village…
Our CEO Ralph’s initial vision for The Village was to create a new and healthy workplace for Chillibreeze team members to enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings while they worked to serve our customers.
It could have been contracted out, but the team was enthusiastic to build it themselves. So, that is what we did – build it ourselves. Ralph designed it along with a few team members who pitched in with their ideas. Most of the team members who worked on its construction had never picked up a shovel before in their life. But knowing the purpose and thanks to their eagerness to learn, they accepted the challenge. With grit and determination, The Village building was successfully constructed. Here is a video which captures the various stages of the construction.
As the construction progressed, we had more and more ideas on how we could use The Village.
Right now, we are using it for growing organic vegetables for the employees, as a processing space for Zizira’s turmeric, and as a large space where team members can enjoy recreational activities and conduct team-building exercises. The last option is now on hold, thanks to social distancing norms.
A new amphitheatre for our all-company annual meet
In the last week of December 2019, we decided to have an all-company event at The Village. With about 110 employees, we knew that the building was not the ideal place to hold such a big event. The team brainstormed and they decided to build an amphitheatre like structure in the campus, just below the building, so that we could host the event without any glitches or discomfort and enjoy the open space.
The team worked non-stop on the construction, and on January 11th, 2020, we had our annual company meet. In less than two weeks a new amphitheatre was ready! In the image below you can see what was accomplished. Though it is not fully completed, we were still able to relax and enjoy the show.
A meet that was special
On January 11th, 2020 we kicked off the all-company event with the inauguration of ‘The Village’ campus. It was a beautiful ceremony; we had team members share their experience of what they had learned during the construction and how much pride they had to see the fruits of their labor and the beautiful building standing in front of them.
The meet started with an announcement of our goals and objectives for the year 2020. We also appreciated team members who went above and beyond in the year 2019 with their roles and responsibilities.
It was a long event. We had a little childish fun too - ragging the team members who were to present their team’s goals and objectives by making them dance on their way to the stage. We also had the team from Aizawl, our new branch, join us for the event, via Microsoft Teams (a really cool tool that helps you connect with people virtually).
The day for me was so inspirational, hearing the different team members speaking about what they wanted to achieve for the year, their plans to develop their skills, and of the team members’ they are working closely with every day. The most exciting was the little victory stories of the different teams.
Why I think it was a historic day
What was historic was that we hosted the event in a facility that we had put together ourselves, we had our new Aizwal branch participating virtually, and there were so many inspirational success stories to share. Everything about the day was magical and seemed touched by the hands of the Lord.
We are learning and evolving as a company. Recently the whole company read and discussed a wonderful book called ‘Conscious Business’ by Fred Kofman. The book was an eye-opener for us - not just professionally but also in our personal lives. I will be sharing the impact this book has had on the company and me in my next blog.
We ended the event with a group photo. We all gathered at that stage with happy thoughts and with high motivational spirit for the year to come.
One thing sure about the future – we will be players
Little did we know then that in 3 months we will need to work from different locations, keeping social distance. Now most of us work from home. The Village too hosts a few people – and they are enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds the facility.
We will treasure the time we spent together in The Village on that January day. Who knows? When we will be able to host another such event, thanks to the social distancing requirements? Though we may not be in the same room, as a team, we have the collective drive to persevere and emerge stronger, living what we learnt from Conscious Business – not to feel like a victim of circumstances but to be a player.
For now, we do our part, Stay home and Stay Safe.