Yeah, it has been several months since I last blogged. Trust me this silence has happened for “your” great reason. I keep traveling for work so much that I’d like to share with you here five takeaways. These are simple, yet powerful lessons I have learned from my latest community interactions.
1- If People Don’t Change, Change Your Approach
If I’m describing this takeaway, you may find it contradictory with a piece in my previous blog post! Yet, I have to admit they were not born to be “professionals”. Encountering such a time drag issue revealed to me how casual the countryside life can go. Entertainment? Screening? Nah, let me have a bath and dinner first”, they go! Therefore, on our last trip, we modified our approach to start our screening as late as 07:00 pm, and stayed overnight with villagers. And our interaction worked wonders!
2- In Dilemma, Tackle the Main Threat
Community workers are usually volunteers and independent from the local authorities. This “independence” doesn’t always look harmonious between the parties, due to their conflicts of interest. As our main cause is about the shooting and the screening in Kampong Thom, we had to deal with the prevailing party: the provincial administration. Without their approval, we would repeat the mistake of relying on our local ally in Ratanakiri. Still, I needed to warm up our community leader about our “independence” from their issues with their local authorities!
3- Kill Expectations with Clarifications
At work, we tend to define “speed” as “efficiency” and expect a certain level of performance from others. That was how crisis happened to our screenings in Ratanakiri and Kratie. With loose communication, even the ally or colleague we trust most could detour your plan. To solve this crisis, I had to face the provincial head of administration in Banlung and adjust our logistics with my colleague.
4- Passion Goes with Care and Proactivity
The harder I work, the more I realize how passion defines a person’s performance. They would bother to check on the slightest details and do their homework before “attacking” their mission. Sadly, the opposite also holds true. With this takeaway in mind, I’m learning to get only passionate people about our common causes aboard. Otherwise, most consequences would keep befalling me! I might sound “victimized”, but you should grow a victor.
5- Checklists Could Save Your Day
Call it “bad luck” as you may. My last provincial mission took a wrong direction like a domino effect! From missing a key to some road accident, all this was caused by failing to run an organized checklist. Even with this in hand, I’m learning to check every step of the way. Thing is, you’ll never know what you missed, on your distant trip. If you do, calculate the “costs” to get your lost items delivered to you!
After all the bumps popped up in my path, I am still grateful to be coming out alive of these field experiences. Now I’m moving on, these latter are growing smaller to my present life. And eventually, the communities we reached, have reported positive outcomes from watching our works 🙂