Nakuru, Kenya. I have arrived here to facilitate a two-day Leadership Conference (Strategies for Effective Leadership) and a one-day workshop (Discovering, Developing and Deploying Your Potential) for some of our newer micro-enterprise owners.On Monday, I will also head out to go see some of these new businesses.
The town is overrun with tourists who have come for a music festival featuring High School musicians from around the nation. As a result, the room that was reserved for me by our friends and project partners at Farming Systems Kenya was given to someone else. As this individual was part of a group of 60 people who wanted rooms at this hotel, management thought it wise to delete my reservation. Of course, the long-term consequences of people hearing that they cannot trust this hotel to maintain reservations didn’t occur to them. It will.
Gratefully, another room was found so I didn’t have to set up a tent!
Today, I will begin teaching 50 local leaders. Most of the attendees will be leaders of spiritual communities. I say “teaching” but actually I will be facilitating a conversation on the topic. As most of these men and women are use to a classroom setting where the Authority on the Subject Holds Forth (with PowerPoint, of course), they will be surprised that this is not what is going to take place.
Conversations open up far more possibilities for exchanges of information and wisdom than what is possible when one person – no matter how wise and brilliant – does all the talking. This is especially the case when the speaker is from the United States and the attendees are all African. It is an arrogance of the highest order to presume that a foreigner can ever fully understand people from another culture.
How in the world am I going to know that my audience is understanding what I am suggesting if there is no room given for constant, real-time feedback? Anyway –
Today, we will begin with Defining Success.
If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know when you arrive?
If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know if you are off-course?
If your staff has different and competing visions regarding how they define success, then what do you think is going to happen?
If your community or organization has no idea or competing ideas regarding what success looks like, how many people are going to end up thinking “we have failed,” even if the leadership is happy with present results?
So. The conversation will begin with everyone offering ideas of what success will look, sound and feel like. The real fun begins when it becomes evident that “My ideas differ from Yours … but, of course, Mine are correct.” A great opportunity for pointing out that this is precisely what is happening in many of the communities and organizations that they are leading.
Stay tuned for the next post, where I will report how the day’s conversation proceeded. If everyone simply stares at me for 8 hours, I will write about the weather. It’s great, by the way: in the low 60s F and dry! Then again, maybe I will pretend to channel God and just tell everyone what they are supposed to be doing!
Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011