Solo or team learning

The days are long when you are teaching with a team. Although physically more challenging (no breaks), psychologically it is easier when you are alone. You can do whatever you want when you are the only one running a workshop but is has some drawbacks: you are not helping younger staff to learn the trade and when you get feedback, if any coming your way (less and less so when you get older I notice), it is hard to digest it as you can filter out whatever you don’t want to deal with. Working with others is hard work. There are so many factors at play, and so many decisions to make.

You have to think hard, all the time, before saying something in your team. You have to always consider whether one’s first reaction is a judgment about the other or reveals more about oneself. You have to consider whether you are all on the same page (oops, we forgot to spent some time on teambuilding up front) or pursuing different objectuves. Is there shame involved when not knowing or making mistakes? If you have ever watched Brenee Brown’s TED talks on vulnerability and shame or thought about your own experiences, you know it is a tricky thing. Now drape Asian and Africa cultures over these two and you have a big pickle in your hand.

My objectives in the kinds of workshops I do are to move people in the direction of greater self-awareness, even millimeters is fine. Many organizational and family messes come from people not being aware of how they impact others. This means I have to practice what I preach. Being self-aware is very fatiguing as you can never criticize or judge someone spontaneously. But it is so much more fun to rant about others. So I often come back more tired from a team trip than from a solo one. The good thing of teaming is that I go out more and reduce time working alone in front of a computer and ordering room service.

We went out nearly every night to nearby restaurants. For me this is a hit or miss kind of thing but for my Millenial colleagues finding a place to eat is a project that involves an internet search. They even triangulate, using trip Advisor and other sites to determine if a restaurant is worth going to. The bad places we went to where my unsearched suggestions – the good choices were based on experience, which is still my main source of information.

My DC colleagues delayed their trip home, staying a few more days in Bangkok; being all warm weather creatures this was an easy decision for them. I don’t mind the snow except when you can’t land where you want to go. I left very early on Saturday morning for a three-leg, 9000 miles and 30 hour journey from hotel to home. Thanks to the combined efforts of Logan’s control tower, our Delta pilots and the drivers of enormous snow ploughs we avoided being diverted to Albany at the last minute. I tumbled into a deep sleep at 10:30 PM. It’s good to be home, snow and all.

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