1. Kick the meeting habit
Ever looked at your calendar in the beginning of the day and wondered how life could have gone so wrong? The development sector has more meetings than dishes on a Gujarati thali: donor meetings, staff meetings, board meetings, project meetings, I-really-don’t-know-why-I-was-invited meetings…the list is never ending.
We even have meetings to talk about other meetings. Not to mention all those conference calls. When your calendar looks more overloaded than the next Avengers movie, it’s time for an intervention.
So, this year, say no to indiscriminate calendar invites and try to get more time for some real work. Maybe call a team meeting about it.
2. Ditch the jargon
Since time immemorial, the sector has made promises to use less jargon and then, just minutes later, talked about the impactful, paradigm-changing interventions that lift millions of people out of poverty. (Seriously, the only time you should be lifting people is after an accident or in the privacy of your home—you know if you’re into that sort of thing.)
This year, take this resolution to the ‘next level’ and the next time you hear someone using jargon, just slip it back in regular conversation. “How’s the new restaurant you ask? Well, it has great potential for scale because it was not very resource heavy; but it was low on impact. Also, they kept insisting I partake in their M&E system after, which was very challenging”.
3. Say no to roundtables
Not since King Arthur’s knights has anyone fallen in love with roundtables like the development sector. It’s easy to see why we love them so much. You get to tell people how you’re influencing the ‘ecosystem’ by driving ‘collaboration’ and ‘dialogue’. And the pictures look great in the annual report. Who doesn’t want that?
However, I think it’s about time we all admit that development sector roundtables have become as unending and useless as the Golmaal movie franchises. With each one always announced as the ‘first step in the process/dialogue/conversation’ and with the terrible promise of more to follow.
4. Read IDR more
Totally not saying this out of any self-interest whatsoever. Like none.