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CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE

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CHANGE seems to be the KEY word all over the world these days.

FAO dialogue of the Reform processAt FAO, two main events just took place last week. The Organization is undertaking a deep and serious process of internal restructuring. After the IEE (Independent External Evaluation) report, which suggested many and different changes in the strategy, the approach and the structure, now it is time for implementation. It will officially start after the approval of the action plan by the member states, late this November. As you can see in the picture, all of us were invited to attend a presentation meeting organized by the Senior management to illustrate the guidelines of the FAO Reform.

Cultural Change TeamAt the same time, in parallel and due to this process, a new ad-hoc tool to promote change has been created in the house: the “Culture Change Team” is in charge of taking care of this change-of-mentality process. The first public appearance was the convocation of a voluntary gathering called Open House session, which I attended last Tuesday.

The meeting was very informal and easy, with a short introduction of the Team, which is composed by 15 people, both from headquarters and Regional offices. Second step consisted in an invitation to comment and complement in a proactive way the draft list of vision statements prepared by the Team. Lastly, a longer World Cafe session allowed people to gather in small groups of 5/6 persons to discuss for some 25 minutes how we would like the culture of FAO to be. Each group’s final report was publicly illustrated to the assembly.Cultual Change Team

In the meanwhile, the issues of change, reform and new culture are being addressed more and more also in the web Forum on the Intranet which is, I think, a good sign of commitment and willingness by people involved in the process.

Still, scepticism persists. It is clear and widespread. The question “Is this the real time for change?” came clearly out during the presentation meeting. Again TRUST came out to be the fundamental factor upon which collaboration is built. If people do not trust the leaders, than their actions, whatever they are, will be unlikely to be successful. In this regard, I can say that many colleagues, not “trusting” this trend, choose not to join the presentation meeting which had been organized by the Senior management to illustrate the guidelines of the FAO Reform.

The FAO culture people wantTo me, this need of reorganization is deeply connected to a wider change the entire world faced in the last decades, where two key factors mainly changed: transportation and communication. In my vision, in a world where space and time ceased to be strong barriers, an international organization committed to eradicate hunger and poverty in the framework of the United Nations, as FAO is, and which is fundamentally based on knowledge to achieve its goals, has to find in the worldwide scenario a completely different role from the past. In my opinion, it has to move from “supporting” Governments in the management of development activities, to “facilitating” the interaction between Governments and local/regional/international actors to work jointly on development projects.

ChangeIn a nutshell, in the future I see FAO as a facilitator of processes, at local level, and as a supervisor for strategies, at regional and international level.

As a consequence, the range of activities, skills, tools, methodologies and even type of knowledge the organization has to use have necessarily to change considerably in the near future.

Author: Luca Servo @ talksharelearn

Passionate about social media, development projects and the world. Currently, I’m supporting the Emergency Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in managing its online communication through the website, the social media and the mobile apps.

4 thoughts on “CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE

  1. There is genuine change spirit in FAO! When asked what would be the ideal of Culture change within in FAO, informal discussion groups gathered around a “World Cafe session” discussed passionately about their ideal vision of the Organization culture. Main proposals from staff evolved around two key ideas: Transparency and Commitment. Among other ideas and requests: Apllication of rules and equity for all; greater human resources and carrer management based on merit & competencies; culture of genuine dialogue across the hierarchy; work organized around projects rather than departments; ect…
    There is will for a drammatic change. Staff is committed for it. Let’s just hope it will be a bottom-up process! and that Senior management and Culture Team will truly hear the demand for change that arose from this Open House process.

  2. I attended both events, and admit I found it energising. I believe change is possible and the various initiatives in the organization are getting the motors warmed up, for us to start moving/changing.

    With reference to the role of facilitator for FAO, I feel this is more of a Regular Programme perspective. TCE instead has a very active role on the ground, and it is important to also strengthen this.

  3. Geoff Parcell, who is the knowledge management coach for the WHO, UNDP, the World Bank and the Swiss Development Agency, delivered the keynote speech at the Opening Ceremony of the recently held Share Fair 09 organized by Bioversity International, the CGIAR ICT-KM Program, FAO, IFAD and WFP.

    Here is his position about the role of International Organizations as FAO today: have a look at the answer of the question: “What were the challenges, if any, that you felt or observed during the event?” http://ictkm.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/time-to-make-connections-not-collections-words-of-wisdom-from-geoff-parcell-at-the-share-fair-09/.

  4. Pingback: Prodding from the Share Fair 09 « talk-share-learn

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