Saturday, October 4, 2014

Managing at a new Post

I'm officially 2 months into my FM Jerusalem assignment.

I landed here determined to put into practice all of the lessons I learned from being mismanaged in Gabon.
How do I ensure I don't manage people as poorly as I was?
How to I set a tone for my section that builds confidence and trust?
And how do I determine the goals for my staff....goals that go beyond just coming to work and fixing stuff....

What have been my guiding principles these first two months...???

1) Don't show up like you need to fix the place.  Some of the folks in the FM section have been here more than 20 years.  If the place was really that broken, it would have collapsed long ago.

2) Don't dump new ideas and tasks on the staff.  They have a job to do and overloading them with brilliant new ideas will do nothing but over burden them.  I have lots of ideas and I will introduce them slowly and at the right time.  I have a goal log so I don't forget them.

3) Remembering they are not as excited as I am.  This is a new city, a new staff, new buildings....for me, not them.  For them it's another day at work just as it has been for years.  I'm another in a long line of FM's.  Be enthusiastic, but not over the top.

4) They really don't want to hear how I did things at my last post.  Unless it's correcting a major problem or how I will make their jobs significantly easier, keep the "when I was back in Liberia" advice to yourself.

5) Come in as a servant boss....not a know-it-all.  My job is to help them to their jobs better and that means listening, helping, advising, guiding, and protecting.

6) Begin to look at long term goals.  I've already discovered we need to get caught up on inspections and maintenance, but I also want to look at something different and unique...what can we do different?  To be revealed in a future post...

More Posts coming...

...just been really busy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

In the heart of the Old City.

We've been exploring the ancient souks of the Old City with the kids.  This is their first experience in a crowded, noisy, busy, and dark Middle Eastern market.  For Jacci and me - this is pure fascination.  For our kids, this new adventure was a bit overwhelming.  Smells of unusual spices, loud and animated Arabic speakers, lots of people, and chest thumping Arabic songs were too much for Max.  His hand was sweaty and I could see the fear in his face.

But this is good for them.  After a few visits - an Arab souk will be old hat to Max and he'll have another feather in his world traveler cap!  I love giving my family these great experiences.

Max hides his fear very well.

Amazing sounds in Jerusalem...

I remember hearing this for the first time in 2006 in Morocco and getting a chill down my spine.  As Americans, we have a variety of reactions to hearing the Muslim call to prayer...most of which are bad.  Now, I find it hauntingly beautiful...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why I will leave here fat...

I walk or run 2 to 3 miles per day...sometimes more.  It will not be enough to counteract the gut busting effects of huge bowls of hummus....and falafels and pita bread.

Please note the Coke Zero.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My visit to Ramallah...

To some this may not seems like a big deal.  For was amazing.  The Consulate General rents a property in Ramallah in the West Bank for outreach to the Palestinian community.  It is very, very difficult for some Palestinians to cross through the checkpoints and enter Jerusalem so the Consulate General comes to them.

Ramallah is a Zone A meaning that no Israeli passport holder can enter Ramallah. This zone is totally Palestinian  controlled.  Other Zones are B (Palestinian and Israeli controlled) and Zone C is Israeli controlled.

This is one of the reasons why we picked Jerusalem as our next Post.  Not only did we want to come here for the history, but also to understand the politics.  The politics here are incredibly complicated and interwoven into everything.  I learn something about the political situation here everyday.  It's astounding how challenging it is terms of politics.

Dad, what's that?

The past few weeks have been incredible learning opportunity for our kids.  As Christians, we are the minority here in Jerusalem...far out numbered by Muslims and Jews.  It's an exciting opportunity to explain the history of our faith as well as try to explain the differences between the different groups here.

Each day the kids see or hear something and want to know...what's that??

We've been working on not pointing...