We all know what transparency means, and if you have been following the news, then you are aware of how popular and important the topic of transparency currently is to governments around the world. Transparency has been a conscious theme for our TEM Lab team in Guatemala, especially since we are working with the Ministry of Economy. We all agreed that in order for our project to be a success, our client and intermediaries in Guatemala needed to work with us in a transparent way. But, let’s pause for a moment… did we forget to include someone else? What about us? Did we think about how we were going to work transparently?
Our client raised the point in so many words – and had the right to do so – that our team needed to put more effort into working transparently. We were so caught up with making sure that our client and other project stake holders were acting in accordance with our definition of transparency that we missed another important stakeholder of our project…ourselves. Our team forgot to consider our client’s definition of transparency and whether we were meeting it. Although we may all agree upon the definition of transparency, our expectations as to how to be transparent have proven exceedingly diverse. We thought that transparency meant to make sure that we communicate as much as possible with our client though progress updates and weekly meetings. For our client, having us work on a daily basis in their offices and having the opportunity to come chat with us at any given moment was really all that was needed.
This realization is the result of some major self reflecting across the team. The level of intensity from our first week to the second week of our TEM Lab project increased exponentially. Fortunately, the intensity of our second week is what has forced us to take a step back and reflect.
After 280 hours of prep-work, I knew that this project would push each member of our team to grow professionally and personally. Project management and implementation, negotiations, cross-cultural relationship building, leading people, and a cultural excursion to Mayan ruins are the experiences I imagined that we would reflect upon at the end of our 5 weeks in Guatemala…but not all in one week!
What will the next three weeks teach us?