“This pandemic has taught us a lot.” A line that has been said and heard a thousand times over the past year.
Darius Jose Delgado is no different. Being a father to a 17-year-old boy, he’s had his fair share of realizations as he got to spend more time with his family this lockdown. His son Drew has grown up right before his eyes. “I had a lot of catching up to do,” he tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle.
Like any parent, Darius candidly shared that his son is a gamer. “There’s no physical interaction now. This is their platform for socialization.” But this doesn’t mean that we just let our children lose in this digital realm, Darius still tries his best to enter his son’s world by playing these video games together. “This way, I can understand and better relate with him, while he’s also encouraged to share because he knows I can relate to him,” explains the doting father.
How Darius is at home is very much similar to how he is at work. It has been a year since he took on the role of vice president and head of the Consumer Broadband Business under Globe At Home. And one of the things he tries to cultivate is a highly-engaged environment where people are empathetic and understanding towards each other. Therefore, directly and indirectly, forming stronger bonds that will lead to the overall positive performance and even success of the team.
Out on assignment
Graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce with Major in Accountancy from the University of Santo Tomas, it was but natural that this Certified Public Accountant worked in SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV). Working there for nine years, he eventually went up the corporate ladder and got to work with the internal audit division of Globe at that time.
Darius had a very smooth and seamless working experience with Globe which led to him to join the telecommunications company in 2004. “In SGV, you’re a master of a lot of things, and you’re spread too thinly there because you have to know a lot of industries. At that point in my life, I thought to myself, maybe it’s high time that I specialize in one company or one field of expertise... that’s why I accepted the job.”
But that’s not the only reason why he made this move, he fell in love with the culture of Globe while on assignment, “There was an atmosphere of openness and collaboration, of sharing your thoughts freely, and working together.”
To new beginnings
Joining Globe was not part of his plans, but it was a move that felt right. Not only was he starting a new job, he was also entering a new chapter in his personal life—he got married on his sixth month at work. “Just jump (into it). You’re never ready anyway,” referring to his decision to switch jobs.
Seventeen years have passed since that fateful day, and Darius is still with Globe. From supporting various business units in terms of strategy executions to helping them achieve optimal growth and profitability, he now leads the Globe At Home business unit. A role that he officially took on last June 2020. Though he has been in the broadband business for five years, he was still apprehensive about this move. “It’s different when you assume the position, so I was scared. But you know, I have a great team who really fosters collaboration amongst ourselves. It made it a lot easier for me to lead.”
When asked what he hopes that his team will be able to emulate, it’s seeing the value of each and every employee at work. “It’s the same in terms of importance, because you perform a specific role to complete the value chain of Globe that supports the business,” explains Darius. “I am in a better position to actually uplift the enabling groups and make them collaborate better and work towards a common goal with the frontlines.” For this business unit leader, there is no distinction. “You cannot live without each other. If you miss out on one, then you don’t get the full benefits of the entire chain.”
This also affirms Globe’s working environment—that they will always be there for each other. With regards to his most recent promotion, one that he never expected, he is grateful for the senior management’s trust. “I’ve witnessed it over the years, na hindi ka nila pababayaan (that they won’t leave you). And this (my new role) is one of their moves that actually forced my progress. Tama pala sila (They were right all along).”
Darius knew that this new role would require a lot of his time, and one of the first things he did at home was to tell his wife Jann about the new dynamics that they would be entering. He wanted his wife to understand that there’s a lot of work to do which means that he may spend less time with their family.
Then the pandemic happened, and almost everyone had to work from home. “It’s a strange way that only God can do right now,” he realized in hindsight. He has been spending time with his family by making dinner time sacred. Pre-lockdown, they would go home at different timelines. By the time he got home, his son would be done with dinner.
Now, they prepare and cook meals together. They even get to pray before meals and talk about their day—even if they’re all at home since everyone is busy all throughout the day. Like most parents, Darius took some time to adjust to the work-from-home setup. “It’s a double-edged sword, because you’re physically here but you know your brain is elsewhere. It makes it worse. We really have to balance everything.”
Growing up, Darius never saw his accomplishments as reasons for celebrations. “It’s just part of the job. No big deal for me, but to them (his wife and son), it’s different.” This was also another adjustment he had to make. “To him (his son), he has a dad who is successful at Globe. It’s like seeing and appreciating what he feels. And I have to acknowledge that feeling and honor it.”
Bigger roles also come with bigger responsibilities. And this includes the many customer service requests made through his family and friends. Darius’s answer was so humbling when he said that he even encourages it, “Let them rant to me. I’m supposed to resolve it anyway. Give me the problem so I can give a solution back.” This customer-centric mindset was instigated by their president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu.
Darius also pointed out that competition can copy their products, so how can one differentiate themselves from the rest? “We want to be known for service. If and when our customers need us, we’re there for them. That is our unique proposition—to be the best in the market.”
Fortunately, Globe is one of the industries that have been thriving in this pandemic. Though numbers were up, with Globe At Home being the leader in subscriber market share in the second quarter of 2020, this telco wanted to do more. The Philippine economy is not at its best shape, and Globe is helping in every way to boost it.
For Darius, one of the first things he wanted to focus on was how to help Filipinos families survive and thrive in this pandemic. “You have to look at the customer and where he is now. What do they need the most, and it’s definitely not just the internet,” he says, referring to offerings that offer health insurance and streaming bundles to help Filipinos get through everyday challenges.
“Gaganda ba buhay ng customer (Will it make the customer’s life better)?” is a recurring question that they ask themselves every time they think of a new service or product to offer. Because if their lives are better, the economy will be better. “It has to be linked all throughout, contributing to the economic recovery of the country. Otherwise, why are we doing this? We are blessed that the telco industry is really thriving, so we should use it and leverage it properly,” adds Darius who also noted that they are doing a disservice to the nation if they can’t tie it all together and uplift Filipino lives.
Setting the pace
One of the most important traits Darius wishes to pass on is for his team members to be enablers. Once he realized how beneficial and productive enabling efforts are, especially in the long run, he told himself, “This is what I want to promulgate.” And it starts as early as the hiring process, deciphering the applicant during the interview. “I put a lot of weight on the employee’s attitude. It doesn’t have to be the most brilliant of people, but it has to fit the culture that we want to build.” One of the things in his to-do list, upon assuming his new role, was to restructure the team. Matching them to their right roles so their team can run in tip-top shape.
For him, business results are already a given, but developing the next set of leaders is an added task that he gladly volunteered to take on. “You empower them. You model to them the right behavior, and then, you teach them, every now and then, like how you process their thinking. So that in the end, it’s them who will decide,” he continues. “You teach them to be more courageous in difficult conversations because Globe is difficult. The industry is difficult, so we need to have stronger leaders with managerial courage. It’s very important for us to thrive at Globe. Those are the things I teach to the best of my abilities.”
Darius is fortunate enough to have two great mentors. He credits being a good listener and having great patience to his late father. “He’s always there for me. It’s not 100 percent of the time that he can give me a solution, but he helped me process to a certain extent.”
While he was working in SGV, Darius would come home late at night and would be greeted by his dad in their living room. His dad would turn off the TV, even if it was an exciting French Open Tennis match, and just listen to Darius talk about his day. “I can really feel the concern, and I think I kind of imbibed that because I listen before I share my thoughts. This way, the conversations are more robust. At the same time, people feel safe that they are not judged. It’s also the perfect environment that’s really conducive for people to search for answers.”
The second one is their leader at Globe. Ernest Cu is one of the major reasons why Darius has been loyal to the company. “Ernest is a real visionary. He’s customer-centric, very practical, and he listens,” pointing out all these traits that make him value their president even more. “I uphold the same values,” affirming the decision he made to join Globe 17 years ago. This is what he wants to do now, and that is to model it to his team. “To share the blessings and benefits that I had growing in Globe. Nakinabang ako (I benefited from it), I grew because of that. That to me, is a father figure at work.”
The good father
Spending more time at work on weekdays, Darius considers his 300-plus team members an extension of his family. “They’re not just workers or employees. It cannot just be all about work,” he explains. “I make it a point to have their best interests at heart, whether it be personal, and even love life. I need to get to know my people more and to show them that I am concerned about their overall well-being. Each aspect of their life forms the whole or the totality, you can’t compartmentalize.”
Admittedly, 300 is such a big number and Darius won’t be able to attend to them all. What he does is to model it so his team can pay it forward, expanding exponentially the working environment that he dreams of. Quarterly town hall meetings are also scheduled, inviting other subsidiaries who they work closely with. “It takes a village to actually thrive.”
One of the hard lessons he learned in this pandemic was realizing what he lost, and that was the time he should have spent more with his family. “My son grew into somebody else that I don’t necessarily know. Ang sakit pala, umiyak ako (It hurts to know that, and I cried). I cannot turn back time anymore,” he regrets. Instead, he has chosen to move forward, catch up, and treasure the things that he took for granted. “It’s not yet too late. I’m still alive. Malakas pa ako, kahit namumuti buhok ko (I’m still strong, even if I have white hair)” he laughs.
Over the past months, he has been trying to live a balanced life, proving to his team that there is a time for everything, especially for self-care and for their families. For one, he has been out on a few trips with his family, even simple al fresco dinners, reminding his team that it’s not so hard to take that much needed respite. “If I can do it, you can do it,” he would tell them.
“I don’t want them to be in the same boat, and I believe the reason why God put me in this path is for me to be able to share it so people learn from it ahead of time. Otherwise, my sacrifice and my situation will be in vain. I want them to have a better life.”
Working in Globe has proven to keep everyone up on their toes, but Darius believes that there are many ways to work efficiently if we work together. He’s always open to suggestions, and worries about his team’s personal lives being affected by the pressure at work. He reassures his team,“At the end of the day, you live for your family and for yourself. We can make arrangements at work so that you don’t let go of your personal priorities only because you want Globe to thrive. I want you to thrive. I want your families to thrive. I want the nation to thrive.”