Last week we met in Orleans, France, at Pentalog’s headquarters, to launch our new Vision “Positive Tech Impact.” Breaking the pandemic video-conferencing screen, we met in person for three days, with 25 collaborators from Romania, Moldova, the United States, England, and France of course.
How would we have expected the split-screen reality we would discover?
Our plan was to formulate and share our expectations for the Vision & Mission, to create a backlog of concrete actions for the three years to come. We are imagining the future of Pentalog. The goal was already ambitious, it proved intense when erupted on our second morning together.
Our small team began on Wednesday, February 23 with “fresh air for the mind” at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, to follow the inspiring lecture by Christian Monjou, a distinguished lecturer who explores managerial issues through classic art gardens (including that of Vaux-le-Vicomte imagined by Lenôtre for his client Nicolas Fouquet). We share a special moment, out of time, in this garden, with intoxicating perspectives of complexity, beauty and political tension.
With this tour, we already had a warning that the things in front of us might contain surprises.
The next morning, the hangover of our mobile newsfeeds put us back in the present very quickly. Vladimir Putin had made this move from another century, a heartbreaking moment. Our Moldovan colleagues sitting with us learn that their country’s airspace has just been closed.
I am thinking of our Chisinau production center in Moldova, where 272 Pentalog employees and their families feel the chill of history. Finally, there are ten Romanians around me, suddenly lost in not-so-distant memories of the Communist boot.
It is 9 AM in the morning. Just as we were about to put pens to Post-it notes to describe our positive impact projects, I am confronted with the need to hold a crisis meeting. Some are standing, some are sitting against the walls, some are crammed into the doorway: they all have the dark gaze of the boxer who has taken a hit and must get up quickly.
We Come Together to Safeguard our People
It is the first and only decision that counts. With center directors from Brasov, Iasi, Cluj, Bucharest and even Chisinau (Moldova), we count individuals and their families and decide to rent a hundred apartments in Romania to accommodate employees who will be on the road, with their relatives. We appoint a team dedicated to logistics and transport. We are redeveloping production center infrastructure to facilitate emergency co-working.
At the same time, I decided to inform our customers of the situation by explaining to them in complete transparency the measures taken for humans and related projects. We are also creating an internal web page, with Q&A on the situation. And we inform that a videoconference will be dedicated to the Moldovan staff at lunchtime, where I will explain what we are doing in place for them. In one hour, everyone took the measure of the event and the actions to be taken to maintain between us this bond that has united us for years.
We are still working on our Vision & Mission…
With the urgent decisions made, we resume the seminar. Not as if nothing had happened, on the contrary. As if all this preparatory work that we had done in the previous months had finally become vital at this moment, this morning, this situation.
Our mission embraces people as a core pillar, we see that on the board. Caring for our community, these are not empty words. The human at Pentalog has been a backbone since creation. We have always taken care of our teams, their health, their well-being, and their expectations.
Until this moment, we have never been confronted with war, we do not expect such things. But immediately and as it was for the pandemic, which is still present around us, our first thoughts are for how to safeguard and protect our people.
Our Moldovan collaborators leave our small working group to race home. First, a plane back to Romania on Thursday morning, then a 10-hour trip by car to cross the border find their loved ones. The day before, they visited majestic gardens; the next day they found themselves on the edge of chaos. Today they are safe with their families. Our production operations remain uninterrupted. We continue to recruit in Moldova and Romania.
Life goes on. Life must continue, we must do our part.
In the next article, I will return to the topic of our Vision & Mission, the inspiring work we did together as a team, even more convinced that we cannot let these troubled times threaten our intention to change the world for the better.
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