I like to listen to motivational CDs on my way home from work. Joel Osteen is a personal favorite. I have spent many hours in my car listening to Pastor Joel and loving every minute.
Last week, I happened to be listening to the radio when a song from my past was being played. Alpha Blondy’s song, Sweet Sweet Fanta Diallo, brought back poignant memories of my childhood. The lyrics of the song had always puzzled me because it seemed that the end of the story was left hanging and I was always left wondering what became of the characters.
Listening to the song again, I had that same feeling of puzzlement. Only this time, the questions were different.
For those who are yet to hear the song, it’s a haunting melody about the sad demise of a romantic relationship and the price to be paid for love gone sour. As melancholy as it may sound, it is a beautiful song.
In the song, the author describes Fanta in glowing terms and we get a picture of a vibrant young woman who exudes confidence and youthful exuberance, and just like the author, we like what we see. Regrettably this phase is short lived. As the song progresses, Fanta meets dire straits and disappears out of sight.
Hearing the song again made me think of the “Fanta’s” I have met in the course of my career.
Can you think of any Fanta figure in your work place? He would be the employee that hit the ground running but got stuck somewhere along the way. She could be the member of staff who was once vibrant but now is disillusioned and as a result performs way below her maximum potential.
What drives great employees up the wall? It could be a zillion and one things but usually it’s unfulfilled expectations and broken promises which were made implicitly or otherwise.
As the song progresses, the author discovers Fanta wasted and worn out at the “psychiatric hospital.” He admits his culpability and belts out a repetitive soliloquy, “Now I know I did you wrong.” After the belated admission of guilt, I cannot help but wonder if the author tried to make amends. Did he attempt to work through the recovery process with her, or did he just engage his audience in a repetitive monologue to assuage his guilty conscience?
The questions that plague me from the song are very relevant in today’s work environment:
- What could the author have done to drive Fanta crazy? What do organizations do, or fail to do, that could cause their high performing employees to disengage?
- Was author willing to be part of the healing process or did Fanta’s condition mean the end of their relationship? Can a disillusioned employee be persuaded to trust the system again?
- Could Fanta be redeemed? Can a stunted career be revamped and can lost credibility be restored?
I am interested in hearing your thoughts.
There will always be friction and casualties in the employment relationship. How we deal with them determines the whether the outcome is positive or negative. Are your HR policies and practices counterproductive? Do they push otherwise top performers to the wall and send them on a downward spiral to career asylum? I hope not.
This one’s for my Dad who passed on three years ago.
About the author: Tamkara Adun works for Schlumberger Nigeria.
Photo credit Wikipedia