This is part of the continuing series from Andrew Koved discussing his work at FEDU
As we have talked about before on the FEDU blog, technology –particularly the internet– is an amazing enabler and has led to many of the advances in communication on which FEDU thrives. It gives us the ability to video chat, to email, to share documents, and so many more; without these, our jobs would become infinitely more challenging.
My first week on the job, nothing seemed cooler than getting an email at three o’clock in the morning from the FEDU India team discussing their progress. I mean, if that is not reason enough for the internet, I’m not sure what is?!
The number of emails, Google docs, meeting requests and so on has increased exponentially since that first week, not necessarily to my delight. Please do not mistake my aversion to the influx of communication with a souring of my passion for the FEDU mission. In fact, the more work FEDU does, the more I get interested, but FEDU is working a million-miles-an-hour, and that understandably requires a copious amount of communication. I am realizing that enabling education for all is going to take more than a couple of emails…
The crux of the issue is that while the forms and uses of communication are no longer new, the purpose and content is growing in importance and intrigue. So while I may not immediately be happy to hear my phone buzzing in the dark of the night, it is definitely worth having woke up to read an email about a successful trip to a village or a new partnership.
Two weeks ago at our weekly all-hands meeting, we took reviewed our mission and vision statements, which on the surface did not seems particularly fruitful. Boy, I was wrong.
Slowing down our commonly frenetic meeting to a more manageable pace gave us time to think, to talk face-to-face, and to really listen. Counter to how we often interact with one another over digital communication, this meeting allowed for ideas to be shared with time for ruminating and reflection. If someone emails you, you owe them a prompt response; in a meeting where everyone gets a chance to talk and think out loud, maybe the best possible course is to listen and absorb.
FEDU works because of constant communication, but I often wonder if I spend more time emailing than I do eating meals or watching True Detective. As my time at FEDU lengthens and I get to see how all of the pieces fit together, I think the most importance lesson is to make our times as a whole team really count. What we end up talking about on Sundays might just be the most vital topic of conversation the whole week.
Our Sunday meetings are more than just a time to see familiar faces and eat pizza –although the importance of pizza should also not be understated-, they are a chance to expand upon our conversations that the mediums of shared documents, emails, and Facebook do not allow. Discussions among a group of people in a room may not be cutting edge, you may in fact have to put your phone down for a few minutes, but the rest of the weeks’ work is predicated on the concepts we hash out.
I actually have to go now, my inbox is piling up and there are a couple calls I have to make, but thanks to Sunday, now I know what I’m going to say!