Sunday, October 19, 2014

Important findings....and its not about the money!

One thing I have learnt for sure, what our small institutions need is basic skills, much more than money. Sure, money opens up new opportunities, and is the first step - but exploiting those opportunities is the bigger need. This means they need our time more than our money. This means a big difference can be made within the current situations everywhere, by people like you and me, without having any great level of skills.

Here are my observations on what has helped the most, and its not just the money:

  • They are so caught up in daily challenges that it becomes difficult to stand aside and look at the bigger picture. Life is difficult and they are already trying their best. 
  • Setting up processes helps. Setting up and enforcing simple processes around meeting, capturing MoMs, setting deadlines, owners helps
  • Distributing tasks amongst other teachers, students too helps. Lightens the head's workload, and increases involvement
  • People are ready to contribute, but usually are waiting for an opportunity
  • People are afraid of making mistakes, especially when doing something new. So need to be made comfortable with it
  • Talking about prioritizing when there are too many things, planning a schedule for the chosen things helps
  • Just talking about 3 solutions to a perceived challenge helps. Showing that we can solve 50% if not 100% of a problem helps. Shows that we can keep moving forward
  • Hierarchical structure is a challenge that makes opening up difficult. Need to have people open up with their difficulties before we can discuss solutions. Everybody needs to know that its ok to talk about challenges, as long as we can work together towards a solution
  • Some things need to be shown by example(eg. Talking to a difficult, aggressive parent) This instills confidence that the problem is not as difficult as we think
  • Helping to separate out issues from people. Basic stuff in corporate, a very big thing in normal Indian community. Blame games are the norm. 
  • There is a LOT of heart that's waiting to be tapped. Something we 'corporate' animals would think as 'too nice'. 
  • Talking freely and coming up with ideas on the spot often is a first time experience for many. Shows that the same things can be done differently. This opens up dusty doors. 
  • Involving all stake holders helps create a sense of community and responsibility. 
  • Simple things like clarity in vendor negotiations that cost unnecessary delays, money disputes....and of course blame games
  • The pace of work improves more by action and example, than by talk. The difference a single laptop can make is huge - and am still waiting for one. 
  • More about instilling a 'How we can move ahead' mindset as compared to 'Why we are stuck' mindset. And this is not possible unless there is access to an outsider perspective. 
Small things, big difference. 

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