LiA project with makesense: Week 5 in Mexico City

LiA project with makesense: Week 5 in Mexico City

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What went well?

The progress I made; what was achieved and done

During this week of our project, we achieved several positive outcomes that significantly contributed to our progress. One notable accomplishment was the successful implementation of a Google Form to collect crucial information from the coffee shops recruited by our volunteers.

The Google Form allowed us to gather essential details such as the owner's name, contact number, Google Map location, and available time slots for picking up tetra packs. This streamlined approach to data collection proved to be efficient and effective, providing us with a comprehensive database of coffee shops participating in our initiative.

As anticipated, we encountered some challenges with volunteer engagement. Only a few volunteers took active action, and even among them, only a few were able to reach the goal of recruiting four coffee shops per day. This experience reinforced the importance of not relying heavily on volunteers alone to accomplish the project's objectives. It prompted us to explore alternative strategies to ensure the project's success.

In a strategic move, we accompanied the PROMESA staff to a meeting with the founder of Nidaria, with the aim of establishing a long-term cooperative relationship. During the meeting, Nidaria expressed their requirement for financial support to purchase their tetra packs. However, they offered PROMESA a special discounted price for the tetra packs, reducing the original price of 0.7 peso/kg to a negotiated rate of 0.4 peso/kg.

Recognizing the potential benefits of this collaboration, we agreed with PROMESA to allocate a portion of our project budget to purchase as many tetra packs as possible before the project's end. In return, PROMESA committed to sending their registered volunteers to assist Nidaria as a reward for receiving the tetra packs.

This strategic partnership not only ensured a steady supply of tetra packs for our project but also fostered a mutually beneficial relationship between PROMESA and Nidaria. It exemplified our commitment to creating sustainable solutions and long-term impact.

In summary, the successful implementation of the Google Form for data collection and the establishment of a collaborative relationship with Nidaria were significant achievements during this week. These accomplishments enabled us to streamline our operations, secure a reliable supply of tetra packs, and strengthen our partnerships for future endeavors. By adapting our strategies and leveraging key alliances, we have taken important steps towards realizing our project's goals and making a lasting difference in our community.

What could have been done differently?

Things that did not get done and/or could be changed

Reflecting on the progress of our project during this week, there is a key aspect that we could have handled differently: the arrangement of a recycling location for storing the tetra packs collected by our volunteers.

As the week progressed, our volunteers started raising concerns about the storage of the tetra packs they had already collected. Some of them had accumulated a significant number of tetra packs in their homes, creating a logistical challenge and inconvenience for them.

Unfortunately, due to the unavailability of the PROMESA staff we were in contact with, we were unable to solidify a recycling location until the beginning of the following week. This delay had an impact on the volunteer experience and hindered our ability to address the storage issue promptly.

In retrospect, we acknowledge that arranging a dedicated recycling location for storing the collected tetra packs should have been prioritized from the outset of the project. This was a foreseeable and expected problem that we unfortunately overlooked in the initial planning phase.

By proactively addressing this concern at the start of the project, we could have provided clear guidance to our volunteers and alleviated any potential burden on their living spaces. This would have ensured a smoother and more organized workflow for both the volunteers and our team.

Furthermore, establishing a recycling location early on would have allowed us to efficiently manage the collection and processing of the tetra packs. It would have provided a centralized space for storing and sorting the materials, streamlining our operations and maximizing our impact.

This experience has taught us the importance of proactive planning and addressing potential challenges in advance. As project leaders, it is essential to identify and anticipate foreseeable issues, even if they seem minor or easily manageable at the time. By doing so, we can foster a more seamless and effective project execution.

Moving forward, we will prioritize early communication and coordination with relevant stakeholders to ensure the timely establishment of necessary infrastructure, such as recycling locations. Taking a proactive approach will enhance our ability to address concerns promptly and provide an optimal experience for our volunteers.

In conclusion, the delay in arranging a recycling location for tetra pack storage during this week was a lesson learned. We acknowledge the need for proactive planning and addressing foreseeable challenges from the project's inception. By incorporating these insights into future endeavors, we can enhance our project management and deliver even greater results for our cause.

What did I learn about myself when working with others?

Contributions, behaviours and values I exhibited

Throughout the course of this project, I had the opportunity to gain valuable insights into my own strengths and areas for growth when collaborating with others. One significant lesson I learned about myself was the importance of being willing to engage in down-to-earth work and take on responsibilities that may not align with my initial expectations.

Early on, I observed that my teammates were enthusiastic about going out and recruiting coffee shops for our initiative. They were actively engaging with potential partners and embracing the hands-on aspects of the project. In contrast, I held the belief that we had volunteers specifically assigned to carry out this work, and my role as a leader was to divide labor and motivate relevant team members.

However, as the project progressed, I quickly realized the significance of being the most reliable and adaptable member of the team. Despite our efforts to engage volunteers, we ended up receiving no tetra packs from them. This unexpected outcome highlighted the need for a contingency plan and the importance of being prepared to step in and take on tasks myself.

This experience taught me the value of being willing to get involved in all aspects of a project, including the down-to-earth work that may not be glamorous or aligned with my initial expectations. It made me recognize that as a leader, my role extends beyond delegation and motivation; it also requires a willingness to roll up my sleeves and lead by example.

By embracing a more hands-on approach, I can ensure that critical tasks are completed and that the project stays on track, even in the face of unforeseen challenges. It also fosters a sense of reliability and trust among team members, who can depend on me to be proactive and dedicated to the project's success.

Moreover, this experience highlighted the importance of maintaining a flexible mindset when working with others. While it is essential to allocate tasks and leverage the strengths of team members, it is equally important to recognize that circumstances may change, and adaptation may be necessary. Being open to taking on different roles and responsibilities fosters a sense of unity and solidarity within the team.

In conclusion, working with others on this project provided me with valuable insights into my own approach to collaboration. I learned the importance of being willing to engage in down-to-earth work and adapt to changing circumstances. By leading by example and being the most reliable member of the team, I can ensure the project's success and foster a sense of trust and unity among my teammates. These lessons will undoubtedly shape my future endeavors and contribute to my growth as a leader.

What did I learn about leadership?

Leadership attributes and insights I developed

As a leader, it is crucial to anticipate potential challenges and develop strategies to address them proactively. By thinking ahead and considering various scenarios, leaders can create a framework that guides the team's actions and decision-making. This preparedness allows for a more efficient response when issues arise, reducing the impact on the project and ensuring a smoother workflow.

In retrospect, I realized that there were foreseeable problems that we did not address adequately in the initial stages of the project. For example, the issue of storage for the collected tetra packs was not solidified until later, causing inconvenience and logistical challenges for our volunteers. This oversight demonstrated the importance of having rough answers or plans in place for such problems right from the start.

Additionally, I learned that leadership often requires adaptability. While delegating tasks and motivating team members are essential aspects of leadership, there are times when leaders must be willing to adapt and take on different roles themselves. This flexibility allows leaders to step in when needed, fill gaps in resources or expertise, and ensure the project's success.

In the context of this project, I discovered that being adaptable and willing to engage in different types of work was crucial. Despite initially assuming that our volunteers would handle the task of recruiting coffee shops, we ultimately had to take on that responsibility ourselves. This adaptability ensured that the project continued to move forward and that critical goals were achieved.

What do I want to develop or focus on next?

What I still need to develop

Moving forward, I will apply these lessons to my future leadership endeavors. By honing my preparedness, adaptability, and proactive approach, I can become a more effective leader, guiding teams to overcome obstacles, achieve objectives, and make a positive impact in their respective projects. Leadership is a continuous learning journey, and these insights will undoubtedly shape my growth and development as a leader.

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