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    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Uplifting people out of poverty by sharing your management experience

    Small farmers and producers from developing countries face major challenges commercializing their products to gain volume and charge fair prices.

    Yesterday we hosted two friends, Inbal and Pierre, in their way back to Uganda. Among others, they are involved on supporting local farmers bringing their products with a higher competitive edge to wider markets.

    The experiences they shared made me realized that there is something many of us -young professionals- can do to support these communities.

    Of course most of it should be done onsite after gaining awareness of the local reality but It could really enable them to reach more stable and fair income from their work and investments.

    My first thoughts range from uplifting the purchasing and selling power by enabling the formation of "cooperativas" to more simple actions like educating them to negotiate shelf space in local super markets.

    As usual, what excited me the most is what they could do with an intelligent mobile phone and some good preparation to spot opportunities and trade resources with less effort. It also called my attention that in the last 90 days, one of the key search trends in Uganda has been "Orange Uganda", refering to the mobile comm provider - In their Home Page they offer as new exciting key service: "internet everywhere" :).

    It is always great hosting friends that challenge the way I live and the way I believe I can contribute.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Small roads take you to small villages.

    If you are one of those persons with a car, you probably know the feeling you get when you enter into a small road. Either you know exactly where you are going or you start staring everywhere -except ahead- because something in the back of your mind is telling you: “this is not the right way!”.

    During my last term in AIESEC, the team proposed to deliver approximately 6500 international internships. There were four areas to focus: supply/demand management, marketing, finance and internal collaboration -at global network level-.

    When it was first introduced, we focused on making sure that it was clear where the results were going to come from and which capabilities (skills, competencies, attitudes and info sys) would drive us there. The country representatives were all willing to grow but not few were skeptical about the goal.

    By the end of the term, in the middle of the financial crisis, we managed to deliver the goal and a bit more. We also left the pipeline ready for what we expected was going to be the greatest year in AIESEC history after its foundation, 2010.

    We decided in that moment not to take the small road, we went for the highway. Our minds and hearts were searching for opportunities in the front rear and not looking for explanations in the back mirror.

    The back mirror helps a lot -especially if you want to go backwards!- but if you use it in excess is because something is wrong.

    The more you report -the more you look back- and the more questions you try to answer about what happened, the less time you have to focus on spotting opportunities, building capabilities and delivering results.

    If during our AIESEC time, we would have looked into the back mirror we would have seen that we were aiming at index 145% year ago! That we only delivered such quantity during the 80’s and we had to pay a very high price for stretching the organization in such way. We would have seen an increasing trend on travel restrictions and also growing competition in all key markets. That was just the past.

    Estimate how much time you spend reporting every day and compare that with how much time you spend looking for opportunities, maybe -just maybe- that correlates to the results you are delivering.

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Starts today!

    Four months ago I started a new phase in my life.

    After leading a global NGO, I started a journey that brought me to the frontline of a major corporation.

    I went from dealing with global issues like the financial crisis, migration flows and environment to make sure I report accurately last week performance.

    Most people that knew me ask me three questions: 1) Why? 2) How is it? 3) What will be next for you?

    While I keep asking myself the basics: 1) What am I really passionate about? 2) What makes me unique/what are my key strengths? 3) How can I make a change?

    Last week, we had the visit of a few friends and their questions made me realize that my journey contains learning valuable to share.

    The first step in that direction was to get online again. The second, to make the first post. The third, starts today!

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