My second week here in Cote d’Ivoire is with our team – some of the people I worked with last week and others who joined us.  The task before us is a creative one – with one large project over, and new solicitations before us, what should we be doing different? It is not easy to rethink a program that has, by and large, been very successful.  If it wasn’t for our office chief people would probably stay right where they are. We talk a lot about staying in one’s comfort zone, and how nice it is to dwell there.

The design of the week is emergent, I have a rough idea what the outcome should be and use for the overall design a methodology I recently learned, DRIVE, that takes people from Discovery, Re-alignment, through Innovation, Validation and Evolution. I am making some adaptations, aside from the translations, but by and large is provides a good structure.

I am inserting many elements of my neuroscience coaching program – mostly because I want to equip my colleagues with the tools to create a climate of trust, wherever they work. I have trained them over the years to shift from teaching to facilitating. They are already quite good at that; although from time I can see they wished things were less ambiguous and they could slide back in their teaching role, at which they are equally good, as long as they feel mastery of the material.

We meet in the basement of the office, a room that looks out over a narrow terrace and a small strip of dirt and grass where cars are parked. One of the cars parked there is a wreck. The front is destroyed, including the driver’s seat. The driver didn’t survive the accident. Each time I step out onto the terrace and look at that wreck I think of him. I asked why they don’t get rid of this horrible reminder of a departed colleague. It has something to do with transparency and accountability I gather; the same reasons why broken furniture cannot be discarded; why the hospital in Zinder had a pile of broken hospital beds sitting on its grounds – if they disappear it could look as if someone had stolen the beds, or the furniture, or the car. There must be other ways to account for broken things I wonder, especially this painful reminder of the occupational hazards of being a driver (and by extension, a passenger) on the roads in developing countries.

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November 2017
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