Monday, August 29, 2005

August 29

Hello again! It's actually the 30th now here, but I'd like to share my experiences from yesterday. It was a very busy day.

I slept in yesterday and it was wonderful. It was 10 before I got out of bed. Our session started at 1pm, so I wasn't late and could catch up on the sleep I desperately needed.

Lunch was at 1. We had our group of Cadbury people and ABN-ABRO people together completely for the first time. Food ranged from Indian to Thai to Cream of Mushroom soup. I had three bowls of the mushroom soup, as it was good and very "American". I enjoyed it a lot and was very hungry, having not eaten since lunch the day before. For those of you who don't know, Thai food is very big in India. This was news to me, too.

So then the session began and finally some questions I have been asking since being told I got to come were answered.

For example, what is AISEC? What does it stand for? Why are we here? What will we do?

So, since I know now, I'll share with you.

As best as I can explain it, AISEC is a 57 year old exchange program for college age students. AISEC used to stand for something, but has recently re-branded itself with just it's name as AISEC, so it doesn't really stand for anything anymore. College students join AISEC for the international exchange and leadership opportunities it provides, as it is a complete volunteer, student run non-profit organization that completely turns it's members every three years. Cadbury and ABN-AMRO are corporate partners who help share leadership development programs with the students and often offer internships. Other international corporations who participate include Microsoft and Unilever. They offer other types of assistance whether through funding or job opportunities for "graduates". AISEC lives on university campuses, so it's a very YOUNG and VIBRANT organization. There is lots of dancing and laughing and staying up VERY LATE. The exist in 90 countries and many of the people here for Cadbury or ABN-AMRO had heard of them. It's not big in the US, so for the few American's here, this is a very new experience.

Yesterday, after we learned about AISEC, we began training for our Developing Leaders Day. We will be paired off with someone from ABN (one Cadbury and one ABN employee) to teach a room of 30-35 AISEC-er's about leadership. Our focus will be the Johari window and situational leadership. Yesterday, we learned mostly about the Johari window. To give a quick recap, the Johari window is a theory of building relationships. In any given relationship there are four dynamic stages: Arena, Blindspot, Untapped Potential and Facade. (You should think of this as a 4 block quandrant with arena in top left, blindspot in top right, untapped potential in bottom right and facade in bottom left) As you develop a relationship with another person, you naturally want to reduce the facade by sharing more about you and reduce your blindspot by learning more about the other person. By reducing the unknown, you are increasing the area of the arena and therefore deepening your relationship and trust with the other person.

In addition, we had to learn a dance. AISEC has developed a culture of dancing, so it's our job to fit it. For those of you who know me, you know I like to dance, but normally am less bashful after a beverage. The dance we will do includes classic moves like the lawn mower, vanity smurf and some fishing thing you would only recognize if I showed you. We should definitely get some laughs, I think.

Today, we have more training. We will focus on situational leadership and then head over to the AISEC party. It's a bazaar which will have elephants, snake charmers and palm readers. I'll take my camera so I can share the experience.

More to follow soon!

1 comment:

Mica said...

I read this last week, but have been thinking about the quadrant you described since then - thanks for sharing!

Safe travels home ... :-)