Tip #427: Persevering Through Interruptions in Jordan

 “The average American worker has fifty interruptions a day, of which seventy percent have nothing to do with work.”  W. Edwards Deming

As you can tell from my previous Tip, I’ve decided to alternate my travelogue Tips with more focused training Tips. So, this week, we continue with my Jordan experience.

What a busy and hectic day this was. I met with Maha D., Fadi, and Ghassan to coach them on presentation skills. They are all bright, articulate, very pleasant and gracious people who sincerely want to become better presenters. We had a good session of several hours-if you don’t count the innumerable interruptions by staff with questions, and IT person to figure out why my laptop wasn’t receiving any internal email and couldn’t communicate with the printer, grantee meetings, preparations for a big symposium tomorrow, a visit by the acting Chief of Party Kareem, and multiple crises in regard to attendance and materials for the train the trainer. After 2.5 hours of this, we finally locked the conference room door!

Then I worked the rest of the day on lesson plans for Product, Price, Place and Promotion, as well as making major revisions to the first day lesson plan on Situational Analysis. I’m used to working at my home office without any interruption for long hours on end. Working in this office, where Lina had continual questions about materials and logistics and Maha D. had continual questions about attendees and class size, was like looking at a strobe light!

The biggest train the trainer crisis was that some grantees or donors (I’m not sure which, but they were high mucky mucks) insisted on attending the program and Mona said that we should increase the number of participants to 35! Lina, the office manager, thought that it was a simple matter of bringing in another table. I had to show her the math- that we could barely manage 10 videotaped sessions in one day.

So the next thought was to have a third train the trainer and for me to stay another week to facilitate that. After that somewhat stressful possibility was raised, then the word came that the office staff should not attend the training. Maha D. has not sent out any confirmations to any participants for the training that starts on Sunday because she doesn’t know how many people to allow in that session!

If the office staff cannot attend the train the trainer, then I made a poor decision with the presentation training session this morning. I only took them through content and activities that do not occur during the train the trainer, saying that they would get the rest at that program. Now I’m going to have to figure out a time to give them the rest of the content- assuming the final decision is not to allow them to attend the train the trainer.

I have to tell you about Fadi. He is a blogger and maintains the office website. He also conducts training on social media. Besides this, he is an actor and a published author- of a book dealing with Violence against women in Jordan!!! He was at a book club meeting last night and the women who took great offense at his apparent attack on their culture, their religion and their values, were very vociferous. The women who appreciated his book reportedly snuck out rather than staying to defend him. The poor guy.

I asked him why in the world he would be surprised by the angry resistance. He agreed that he should have anticipated it, but had enjoyed a warm welcome at a previous book club.

May your learning be sweet.



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