Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009; teambuilding

There, it’s done. The big job of a day of team building in another culture where there were a lot of unknown factors and issues, is I believe successfully completed.

Attendance was good, only one person did not show and that was expected. The coordinator stayed the whole day and that was unexpected. The WAR grants writer came for the morning and she really helped to get things rolling by immediately identifying several serious problems in communications with the Board of Directors and their parochial attitudes. Having a common whipping boy is good to get even the most tight lipped people involved. Conversation was hard to get started as everyone was waiting for someone else to take the first step. The Batswana are generally quite reserved and polite about not putting themselves into the limelight, but the Board was ”Le Choix du Jour!”

I measured success by the level of involvement during the day and the level of discussion. My greatest fear was that I would end up having to do all the talking which is exhausting and not at all helpful to the group no matter how brilliant I assuredly will be!! The exercises and role plays that I had designed were well received and contributed to. My main exercise, right after lunch. was hailed on a number of evaluations as the best and most meaningful part of the day for them. The peace3 corps volunteer gave good feedback at lunch and I was able to make some adjustment to some cultural subtleties that I had been unaware of previously and that did help.

Towards the end of the day we were on to a lot of previously taboo topics, such as leave policy, poor and inequitable wages, lack of transparency, hiring practices and policies, personalizing WAR assets [keeping separate for personal use], personal and corporate accountability and commitment to the mission of WAR, preferential treatment and more. I had emphasized in the morning that the coordinator was there as a participant and she played that well. She seemed open to ideas and reactions and acted on several things in this morning‘s staff meeting.

There was even some agreement on follow-up work in which every staff member will contribute in writing to a committee followed by a full staff meeting discussion on several large issues like transparency.

The weather even cooperated as it was cooler than it has been and the meeting room where we worked did not turn into an oven; it was warm, but tolerable.

I went home tired but more relaxed and content.

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