Financial Times

Solving office problems through Management Theatre
By Lakwi Perera

U.L. Pamawardhana, fondly referred to as 'UL' walks into office dishevelled and flustered. His tie is at an angle, he spills the contents of his folders along the way and he is late for work. He is the general manager of ID10T Systems, and that is the beginning of another chaotic day at office for UL and his team. Meetings are late, appointments are missed and contracts lost, all because of the chain of events set off by UL and his chaotic habits.

Into this scene walks in two consultants who have been hired by UL's superiors to look into the problems disrupting the smooth functioning of the company under UL's lead. This was the setting at the Fast Track time management programme, which was launched recently at the Lionel Wendt InfiNova Management Theatre under the Third Wave Umbrella.

The concept, which is probably the only one of its kind in the world, and a definite first for Sri Lanka, is a fusion of corporate training programmes with theatre to make the experience more enjoyable and less boring, the organizers told The Sunday Times FT previously.

The premiere saw the who's who of the corporate world in attendance, laughing at the antics of Indu Dharmasena and his team who were acting out the part of UL and his subordinates and pointing out their errors in the interactive session. Problems plaguing every office, such as bad time management, incompetence with new technology, fear of delegating responsibilities and micro management, lack of accountability and many more were depicted through the theatre aspect of the training programme. Some audience members were seen nodding or smiling to themselves when they saw a characteristic in UL that they could identify with in someone they knew.

Stefan Moraes and Sanjeev Jayaratnam, who played the role of facilitators, identifying the problems and finding solutions for them were the “consultants” hired by UL’s superiors to streamline the workplace and make it more efficient. Audience participation was sought at various stages, with the members of the gallery asked to point out any problem areas that they could identify and how they could be resolved. The team of Moraes and Jayaratnam, with the help of the audience then worked their way through each and every shortcoming that was identified. The audience was provided with dockets of diagrams and charts that would help them plan their time so as to make maximum use of it, bringing in the corporate training element of the programme. The facilitators had a solution for each problem and finally they showed how, with time and better time management skills, UL and his team work like a well oiled machine.

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