Vietnam – Lessons in Leadership

I lately accomplished a 22 day mission with an area charity working with youngsters with cerebral palsy (CP) in Vietnam. I used to be requested to affix their worldwide crew of well being care professionals as videographer for a 30 minute documentary our local people TV station authorised a number of months earlier. I lately simply started videotaping my speeches to good them and thought capturing tales on movies would make me a stronger speaker. Upon our early morning 3 am arrival and a brief sleep, all of us met within the lunch room as most of us have by no means met earlier than. After a short replace on our upcoming 2 week mission, our crew lead Laverne Bissky requested every of us to present a 3 to five minute speak of why we’re right here, what we count on to perform and anything that involves thoughts. I went final as I used to be filming. This allowed me to take heed to everybody’s story first. That is after I realized, regardless of our differing backgrounds, we’re all equal and collectively right here for 1 trigger, that being the kids. I got here to seize a narrative however what started to unfold earlier than me had been actual life examples of management classes. Our first gathering gave me my first lesson.

Lesson #1 – “There isn’t any I in TEAM”

In these introductions, we had been additionally requested to clarify what we consider our function or not less than what we expect our function can be. Most had quite simple quick descriptors which made it very straightforward to place the items of this mission puzzle collectively, not less than for me as I noticed our crew unfold and hyperlink collectively earlier than me.

Lesson #2 – “Hold job descriptions easy; like 2 or 3 traces”

Within the coming days as we visited totally different hospitals, met the dad and mom and their youngsters in our revolving workshops on the ground mats within the hospitals, all of us began to assist one another even within the easiest of how. As I filmed behind the digital camera I by no means noticed anybody of our crew keep put, just because that wasn’t in my job description. Everybody contributed every time wanted with out being requested. I too, regardless of holding a working digital camera, additionally lent a hand by passing one thing to our workshop leads. That is after I totally understood, we aren’t working for ourselves however the children attending aged wherever from 9 months to their mid teenagers.

Lesson #3 – “Do not restrict your contribution to your 2 or 3 line job description”

All of the whereas this was taking place, our crew lead Laverne, founder, govt director and dad or mum knowledgeable by no means stayed on the head desk for lengthy. She did not even keep within the limelight both as I caught many profiles videotaping the place she was intermixed with the dad and mom, watching and listening from the again, as if she too was there for the informational classes to take some cerebral palsy data again house together with her little one.

Lesson #4 – “Leaders aren’t at all times within the entrance”

We had been in Vietnam and we relied completely on our crew of native gen y translators who spoke superb English. Typically I heard 1 English phrase taking lots of their phrases to translate. I used to be informed that many phrases don’t have any direct translation, so transcription grew to become the norm. I started to understand that the Vietnamese language shouldn’t be a easy one to study. To be able to join I relied closely on making eye contact for a number of seconds, then smile and even nod. Typically I even gestured to point out sincerity and friendship. The place applicable I even relied on a handshake.

Lesson #5 – “Do not underestimate the ability of a smile, eye contact or a handshake”

As soon as on the road throughout our breaks and sightseeing, we had been clearly the visiting foreigners. Whether or not passing the store house owners seeking to entice us to enter or a road vendor hoping to promote us an albeit easy trinket, I at all times felt I used to be being handled with respect and sincerity. It is the sort of feeling I seldom recall experiencing again house within the west. It did not matter whether or not the merchandise was solely a greenback or 50 {dollars}. It did not take me lengthy to really feel so particular that I simply wished to purchase most something from the distributors.

Lesson #6 – “Make your buyer really feel particular”

Many instances all through our travelling mission workshops from behind the video digital camera, I’d seize Laverne having direct one-on-one discussions with our crew members. Typically I’d seize at a distance so may solely observe facial expressions and physique language. Different instances it was up shut and I may hear the dialogue. Typically it was enterprise about our instructional workshop and different instances it was shear pleasure a couple of humorous incident that we might have encountered.

Lesson #7 – “Get to know your crew members”

As Laverne has spent prolonged intervals in Vietnam earlier than, she had a repertoire of cool sights for us to see. When a transition or break was so as, we did some sightseeing both within the night or whereas travelling to our subsequent vacation spot. Throughout our travelling, we stopped for breaks at roadside markets to attempt some native fruit or snack. That gave us an opportunity to get to know one another higher on a social foundation, since most of us have simply met right here on this mission for the primary time. We even took turns choosing a restaurant every night to eat at. For higher or worse, even when one did not work out, we nonetheless took it in good humor and used the incident to construct a great crew relationship.

Lesson #8 – “Chief aren’t afraid to throw in some enjoyable”

Planning this mission was carried out by Laverne and possibly 1+ 12 months prematurely. The convenience and smoothness at which our 22 day mission ran was outstanding, in my remark. I doubt Laverne, the only real organizer would completely agree that it simply got here collectively by itself. Planning the logistics for a gaggle of 14, travelling from 13 time zones away, 5 cities, 5 motels, crew members from 3 different international locations, quite a few cabs, chartered coach, flying, visiting an orphanage and several other social stops to go to native pals comprised of previous missions, is not any small feat. Little doubt, having such an in depth relationship with ones’ personal planning, one can not help however really feel it’s good and cannot be optimized or tweaked. However final minute changes needed to be made, at no nice loss both to the good thing about the mission as an entire or to accommodate particular person crew members.

Lesson #9 – “Plans are simply plans – Enable your crew member to regulate their scope”

Most days we had a fast 30 minute debrief assembly of the times workshop actions. These would often be again at our lodge the place we stayed. We’d all meet within the breakfast room which was quiet as we had all of it to ourselves, order a drink or snack then every take 2-3 minutes to present our observations of the times progress, good, dangerous, classes realized or in any other case. Some days Laverne would chair however a number of instances Terry (the opposite Terry) would chair these debrief conferences. This may give Laverne an opportunity to not solely pay attention but additionally focus extra on the general mission content material, technique, execution and progress.

Lesson #10 – “Good leaders do not lead alone”

With Laverne having many issues to execute and comply with, she did not at all times lead our day by day spherical desk of “classes realized” and “what labored and what did not”. That is the place others of our crew additionally pitched in. This gave others an opportunity to “drive the bus”. You would not need the identical particular person do all of the main, as in addition they want a “seat within the viewers” to replicate on the day, and ask questions. I believe it additionally encourages the remainder of the crew to typically act as in the event that they lead. Truly, when our group classes broke out into teams, they did lead their very own teams.

Lesson #11 – “Good leaders are good followers additionally”

A part of our hospital workshop program was breaking apart into teams of three or 4 and visiting a house the place there resided a baby with cerebral palsy. We’d spend about an hour with the household and thru the usage of an interpreter, we’d ask the household what challenges they’d administering the particular care their little one required. Every group had 1 heath care knowledgeable who would observe whether or not any particular aids or workouts would assist the kid. Typically we may solely get into these locations by every driving on the again of a motorcycle as the agricultural streets had been typically concrete paths solely 6 toes broad. Being March meant day temperatures within the mid to excessive 30’s centigrade. On one such house go to certainly one of our well being consultants noticed a small quaint cafe massive sufficient to accommodate all of us and stated, “Let’s have our debrief right here over a cool drink.” As he proceeded, extra of us started to comply with. It was really an excellent thought as a result of we nonetheless had a 1 hour bus trip again to our lodge and by then, a lot of what every group noticed of their house go to might not have come out in our lodge debrief, most of us succumbing to fatigue of a protracted day and the warmth.

Lesson #12 – “If a crew member has an thought to execute, allow them to run with it”

Typically, concepts on the spur of the second are good, as one can see what’s transpiring and what might must be carried out or applied. It additionally provides your complete crew an opportunity to mildew and form you challenge. If it would not totally work out, it is going to nonetheless be good to notice that and why, at your day by day recap of “classes realized”. Many concepts could also be first-born and must be examined someplace and someday. There isn’t any higher a time than the current.

I got here to seize a narrative and find out about videography. I depart having the most effective seat in the home to look at first hand management classes. For me, this journey to Vietnam was positively no abnormal journey.

You must also watch my quick video tribute to our crew and our superb expertise – Vietnam is No Ordinary Journey

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