From one assignment to the next

I tumbled into bed right after dinner yesterday when the first part of the strategic planning exercise was completed. At the beginning of the day I was able to facilitate without crutches but as the day wore on I returned first to one and then to two crutches. By the time I came home I was very sore. People around me chided me for not taking it easy. This, of course, is difficult for me. When I am on, I am on for 200%.

All day people worked collaboratively to discern the strategic directions. Once they were done, posted on the wall and we came to the final consensus check, a few outspoken individuals, with specific agendas jumped up and insisted that their issue, now subsumed under a larger heading, would be inserted as a separate objective or strategic direction, all by itself.

It’s a tricky dynamic to manage, especially when they make their plea in Dari and by the time you understand what they are saying, the horses are out of the barn. There were moments of total chaos, in Dari. My lonely English voice, as I hobbled in front on my crutches, had little force.

Luckily the chief disagreed with the alterations that violated the integrity of the process and removed the inserted text and we returned to what we had all agreed on, about 45 minutes later, long past closing time. The energy was high and people stayed without showing signs of wanting to go home.

I think the product is good, giving direction to the general directorate, to get its own house in order and to work at getting the political and hierarchical support it needs to fulfill its mission.

We will meet again in early February to tease out some actions that can be done, successfully, in the next 6 to 12 months, assign accountabilities and a rough agenda for the next few years. The challenge is to maintain a sense of movement and the excitement and energy we saw over the last two days.

And now it is the last day of the week, when the ministry is off. This means we can tend to our own affairs in all quiet, finishing things off, writing reports. I have a proposed a one page strategic plan. At first there was disbelief but some are warming up to the idea: front Dari, back English. I also need to turn my attention to my next assignment which starts Monday afternoon and occupy me for the rest of the week.

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January 2014
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