Monday, April 11, 2011

The Philly Eisenhower Experience – Day 3

I was too tired to write in the morning, but will tackle that task now. After being sick and fighting the crud I needed my rest, and there was a full day on the agenda. Breakfast starts at 8 am and I am one of the first down. I took my computer with me to show the Fellows that were interested what I was doing with precision agriculture and Unmanned Air Vehicles. Definitely not enough time to eat and do everything. Cest la Vie!

Today is the day we learn the results of the tests that were sent to us a month earlier by Dr. Cheng Zhu, Expert in Leadership Development, Doctorate of Harvard. I was just hoping I didn’t fail the tests. We were still in our groups from the day before, but positions were switched around in the room. Instead of being in the back, we were in the front (probably due to necessity.)

The first test results (Change Style Indicator) placed a person on a scale from 66 (Conserver side) to zero (Pragmatist) to 66 (Originator), a range of 132. I was a 2 on Conserver side labeling me a Pragmatist. I have never thought of myself as a pragmatist, the sound of the word makes me feel dirty or something.

The definition according to “The Free Dictionary” is: A practical, matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or of solving problems. I agree, but instead of fancy words that I don’t understand I call it common sense or being a farmer.

Everyone got up and had to line up from highest score on one side, to zero, then to the highest score on the other side of the scale. There were more people on the originator side (about 2/3). However, I was not alone and had another 2, a kindred spirit in James Rosen. I called us the negative numbers.

Ariel Hernandez (Philippines) was the highest on the originator side with a score of 24 and Gong Weibin (China) had the highest score of 12 for conservers. And imagine that, both farmers were conservers. In reality, not much separated one side from the other (36 points) on the 132 point scale or 27%. We all like to have goals and objectives to help guide us.

After a working lunch, we received the results from the FIRO-B test. It is designed to help a person understand their behavior and the behavior of others in an organization. The results consisted of two rows and three columns, a total of six boxes. The score in each row or column was then added to get a total for each.

The interesting class result was on the column for “Inclusion” and the row for “Wanted.” Out of 21 scores that I counted, 17 had a score of 3 or less (0). Inclusion is defined by the test as “…Relates to forming new relations and associating with others.” Wanted is defined as “The extent to which you want or will accept that behavior from others.”

 In a nut shell the result means that we may get many invitations to attend meetings or discussions but often turn them down or don’t show up and we pick and choose which social events to attend. We are also not bothered by rejection and are exhausted by constant meetings. In other words, we could care less for being invited and it depends upon the situation. A very interesting trait for the class.

We also did an exercise involving blind folds. We were handed two puzzle pieces and as a group (about 15 people) had to decide which two shapes were missing and which two colors. This was a tough exercise with type A personalities. Our group guessed both colors and one shape ahead of the other group before time expired.

Class was officially over and we left to change into business attire and walk to the Rittenhouse Hotel for individual and group pictures. The time for hamming it up started. Not only did we get professional pictures, but everyone’s camera came out to take pictures. A great moment.

Next was the discussion meeting with Ambassador John Negroponte. This was a wonderful experience and opportunity to interact with a world leader that I grew up reading about. The questions from the Fellows were outstanding. The insight that he provided is beyond description.

A social hour followed and it was a great opportunity to talk to Fellows that I had not spent much time with and to chat with former New Jersey Governor, Christine Todd Whitman. My usual audience is my ladies (cows) and the conversation consists of them mooing to bring them hay. Most definitely a step above the norm.

Dinner followed. The Fellows were spread out at different tables and had a chance to interact with EF Trustees and Directors. This was proved to be very beneficial for my trip to Argentina. I sat at the table with 1988 Fellow Julio Hang and his wife. Julio is from Argentina and his brother has a farm. I look forward to seeing him again on my visit there.

Then to the watering hole. Since this was the last night for the US Fellows, we decided to kick up our heels and drink some adult beverages. It is not a party time, but a time to get to know each other better and to develop a better network. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely had a good time but being 40 something’s has allowed us to use better common sense.

The US Fellows definitely lived up to expectations and then some. With a time together of just two day, it was not long enough to really get close to everyone. I look forward to getting together with them next year during the closing session of our adventure. What a great time with a great group of people. Too bad it had to end.

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