Berne-trump stew

I spent most of yesterday pulling together observations from my own experience, looking at executive competencies, reading my file about ‘the specialness of the public sector’ to come up with a profile for a self-assessment by the chief. She asked for it and today we delivered it. It will form the foundation on which to develop a customized executive leadership program. She promised to fill it in before the weekend and asked the UNICEF consultant who we consider part of our team, to give it to a cross-section of her staff – to validate (or contradict) her own assessment.

In the meantime she has asked to already put together a package of materials for her to work on while she travels out of the country. There appears no time to spare. I love the challenge and will spend tomorrow combing through my ‘Eng Materials’ file to put something together.

The teambuilding retreat with her team will have to happen after I have left but I will be able to interview various staff and help with the design. That too is exciting. And then there are some short workshops with various district level coordination teams that we will pilot – an attempt to help put some wheels under the coordination that these teams have to do. We received the green light for all of these.

The MSH project I am consulting to is run by an Indian doctor whose style is thoughtful and collaborative in a way I have not seen in years. He took me over to one of our partners today. It was refreshing to see how much effort he puts into aligning agendas and approaches. It effectively doubles his manpower and leaves me feeling good about carrying through what is being started. This is how things should be in the usually much more competitive world of technical assisters and developers.

Back at the hotel I watched part II of one of Donald Trumps apprentice schemes. This one is where a group of male and a group of female superstars (film, music, acting, sports, etc.) must accomplish some challenging assignments (raise money selling 10.000 pizza slices and writing, publishing and performing a children’s story all in one day). We can then watch them, as in a fishbowl, and see how they handle (or don’t handle) the stress that gets generated when you put eight prima donnas in a pressure cooker. Trump, and what I believe are two of his sons, act like A.K. Rice consultants, asking the kind of questions that bring out our survival reflexes.

It is hard to understand what compelled these famous people to engage in such an activity that leads to complete emotional undress. It can’t be money, as these stars belong to the super rich. May be it is some perverse sense of serving society (the proceeds from their assignment go to a charity of their choice).

I had just finished re-reading Eric Berne’s Games People Play. And so I was able to test my knowledge of the games. The show is full of them. There is NIGYSOB (Now I Got You Son of a Bitch), or SWYMD (See What You Made me Do), or IOTBH (I Am Only Trying To Help You). The bonus feature of having individuals speak privately (if on camera can be considered private) and candidly about what they think of some of their team mates just added to the drama – one Child wanting to talk as an Adult but speaking like a Parent to another Child who also pretends to be an Adult. In fact I saw very few Adults, and mostly stern Parents and hurt Children. I highly recommend the combination of Berne and Trump, it is a delicious stew.

1 Response to “Berne-trump stew”


  1. 1 axel March 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Clues to Sylvia’s hidden organization of information: >combing through my ‘Eng Materials’ file to put something together.>
    As in “fear” or as in English? Or something else?


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