Party time (Thomas Hawk/flickr.com)

Party time

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

“Everybody in a fun environment knows more of each other.” We interact at a human – not only utilitarian – level to form social spaces in which we can build friendships that foster and reinforce the trust we have in each other’s work. Despite frequent mission travel, when and where team members are in the same physical location, they report a variety of shared social activities, described as “opportunities to interact”. The value of such social activities is recognized as fostering trust and friendship. Social events organized more formally by the team during work hours legitimize the value of our social interactions. We also recognize that there may be times when we are not available for socializing. Photo: Party time (Thomas Hawk/flickr.com)  

Base of silo (Astrid Westvang/flickr.com)

Learning is in the network

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

“I knew them very well. That’s why it worked. Because we do work together.” We take responsibility for our own learning, yet keenly aware of the value for learning of engaging with others. It is when we find ourselves alone or isolated that we may best perceive the value of connecting with others for learning. One of the justifications for working in a silo is a very high level of specialization that requires being fully-focused on one’s own area of work – to the exclusion of others. We form networks of informal learning and collaboration in our team, with other departments in the headquarters, with the field, and with people and organizations outside the organization. Asking people is often faster than sifting through information. Technology facilitates building and sustaining small networks of trusted colleagues, large formal working groups, and more anonymous forms (mailing lists, discussion forums, etc.) that keep us …

Under the Bridge (Kim Hill/flickr.com)

Mind the gap

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

How do we establish a mentoring relationship? What do we do when we identify a knowledge or performance gap in a colleague? This is a sensitive issue. Pointing to a gap is more likely to lead to a productive process when mutual trust is a pre-existing condition. When we mentor a colleague, we rely on our relationships as peers and our shared values. We deploy a range of context-specific approaches. We use sophisticated strategies to provide support while respecting silo boundaries, personal pride, and limitations circumscribed by institutional culture. When we establish a mentoring relationship, we take a careful, considered approach, respectful of the other person’s experience and context. Developing mentoring is easier in smaller teams. Because the concept of “mentoring” implies different levels of experience, we emphasize mutual support between peers. One recurring gap is the lack of knowledge or experience in the organization or industry. Those of us who …

Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, the Navel of the World (Yulin Lu/flickr.com)

Trust

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

The strategies we use to anchor and filter rely on building trust in our working relationships. Learning together is grounded in a shared culture of openness and trust. For example, we trust each other to keep communication to the point. We mobilize different networks of trust, internal and external, based on need. This mutual trust is important as it provides for fast updates, problem-solving, and other forms of dialogue and inquiry – while limiting exploration and avoiding excessive detail. Photo: Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, the Navel of the World (Yulin Lu/flickr.com).