Can you feel my enthusiasm? Today was quite the interesting day! We were put into teams this morning, with about five other people, and given an “assignment.” Each team was given a country and told that we are an actual team in this country and need to devise a plan for planting a church. We had all morning to do this however we wanted, but by this afternoon, we had to have a 15-minute presentation ready to go that was creative and involved everyone in our group. The goal was to see how we work together as a team, implementing the strategies we’ve learned this past week.
The group I was in was “in Italy.” We were the only multi-cultural group with one man originally from Iraq, but living in France, and one lady originally from Germany, working in Ethiopia. So, legitimately, the odds of us having more “issues” were quite realistic. We worked literally all morning (about 3 solid hours) and came up with a wonderful plan of how to “plant a church” in San Marino, Italy. We were to get back together around 1:15 to finish getting our presentation ready, giving us only 15 minutes before class to be actually prepared. During this 15 minutes, we found out that the man from Iraq had never felt comfortable in our group and was not wanting to participate.
Our entire presentation ground to a halt literally minutes before we had to get up front. We ended up deciding to not do a presentation, sacrificing for the one team member who did not feel ready. It was quite the humbling experience.
I’m not going to go into all the emotions that went into this rather realistic role play. If some of you have worked on teams, I’m sure you can imagine what all we were feeling. It will be an interesting debriefing time tomorrow afternoon as we talk as a team about what happened and why.
It’s been a rather long afternoon of discussing it with Brian and just going over it personally and working through what I did wrong and how I was involved, etc. I’ve learned a lot. But, one thing Brian pointed out is that this is definitely a realistic conflict that we will probably face in Peru. People outside of America tend to be more relationally focused and not task focused. The relationship overshadows above and beyond the task. When we neglect to include the relationship in the task, we are essentially saying they are not important and we don’t care about them. Welcome to Peru. In a realistic circumstance, the odds are very high of working for months on a project, thinking you’ve come to an agreement and then finding out that someone has been dissatisfied the entire time and does not want to participate.
So, what do you do? Honestly, I have no idea. This scenario that was supposed to be a relatively easy task blossomed into a whole new learning experience that we weren’t expecting. Some aspects of it were gone about very wrong and should’ve been dealt with differently. But, overall, there was a lot to learn from it.
So. Teams. If you could hear my thoughts, you’d hear a very monotone, unexpressive, “oh joy. teams.” Apparently, it’s not going to be all fun and games and agreement 24/7! ohhhh, so much to learn.