Through the mud

We completed the first of the two leadership development launches this week. A small group of members of the national association of pharmacists of Benin was initiated into the not-so-secrets of leadership, good management and good governance. They embarked on this path with great enthusiasm, concentration and perseverance.

We talked a lot about getting out of one’s comfort zone, about listening, about knowing where one is heading (if you don’t want to end up elsewhere) and separating facts from fictions.

This morning we dipped down into the hard labor of figuring out what a good result would look like, what data we can use for monitoring and which indicators will tell us whether we are bound for success or trying to do something undoable. There were groans, aha’s and there was much solidarity as four teams banded together to tackle some of Benin’s persistent and complex pharmaceutical challenges.

They experienced a trip through the kind of mud, something I am quite familiar with. I have learned over the years that mud is full of nutrients and serves us well, despite being hard to wade through. I have made this mud trip with people in many different countries and know to expect it. But for people new to our approach (an alternative to simple and one-sided solutions that treat symptoms only) it was frustrating. They greeted my assurances of normalcy with relief.

Our local team will continue the process during the next 8 months, now that the train has moved out of the station. I have no doubts about their ability to do so enthusiastically and competently.

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