Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back from Africa

I am back from my trip to Kenya and one of my tasks was to keep an eye out for signs of capacity building and technical assistance relating to management and leadership. The quick answer is that I saw none, although I really asked around.

The greatest example was when the Ministry of Health was giving me a tour of a facility. They were very adamant about showing me the new printing press that they have received, replacing the old one from 1978, which was discarded. They had a room full of poster paper ready to print and so I asked when all of this was going forward, they stated that the operator was not educated in the new printing press operations and the closest place to be trained on it was in Denmark. They were working out how to get him to the training in the next millennium. The new printing press was an item that was really fancied by a senior manager and purchased at the end of the fiscal year with dollars needing to be used.

They all acknowledged that decisions like this were common and so I asked the obvious question: "Is there management training or coaching for your leaders". The response from a woman in the back was, "No but they are good and coaching and training us." She got an evil eye from a couple of her co-workers.

Some parallels to our work in the USA but it was apparent that in the area where I was, executive leadership needed some coaching and the idea of coaching them was foreign. So was I.

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