Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 1

Orientation Day!

Here is how it ended:
Dancing in Andres Carne De Res. From left to right: Divya, Amy, Fatimah, Maia, Georg.

Dancing with the whole group: Daniel, Rene, Srikanth, Ulf, Sabrina, Georg, Sherri, Divya, Fatimah, Amy, Steffen, Gek.

Getting ready for dinner.

Wait. Is this still the first day?! I feel like I know the team for a decade. Granted, we spoke a few times before we arrived in Bogota but cant help but think there is already a strong connection between all of us.

Barely got 5 hours sleep last night..maybe I was too anxious and looking forward to meeting the team. Orchids were already having breakfast when I joined them at 9 am. After a quick breakfast and some nice introductions we kicked off the orientation day.

First session: Introductions.
So each of us had to pick somebody from a different team and country and introduce ourselves to them. We had tell stuff like what's unique about ourselves, etc. So my partner for this session was Daniel Lee. The twist here was after the introductions, I would have to introduce Daniel to the whole team and Daniel would do the same for me.

This is what I learned about Daniel.
He has been with SAP for 11 years and came through the BOBJ acquisition. He heads SAP credit management for North America. He loves to travel and he spent 1 year in South Korea as a credit manager. His parents are from South Korea but he was born and raised in Canada. He has 2 twin boys who are 6 years old. He loves Basketball, softball, golf, skiing.
This is what I learned about South Korea from Daniel. There are only 6 last names in South Korea... well 95% at least: Kim, Park, Seo, Lee, Ahn and Ko. They try to avoid getting married to people with same last names to avoid marrying within the same bloodline.

Of course, the other team members also had some really interesting stuff to share. Overall a very productive and creative introduction exercise.

The next session was about logistics for the coming week. We are going to be meeting all clients in the SAP Colombia office tomorrow. Really looking forward to that! Amy and Maia from Pyxera Global did a great job of clearly laying out all the logistics and expectations for the upcoming days and weeks. .

Second Session: Security.
So Liza Builles from Pyxera Global spoke about some of the myths about Colombia.

  • Myth 1: Colombia is a drug consuming society
    • Reality: It is not! Colombians hate drugs.
  • Myth 2: Colombians love drug trafficking and violence.
    • Reality: They don't. Colombians are very family oriented and hard working.
  • Myth 3: Colombia is dangerous
    • Reality: Of course there are certain locations which are dangerous, but isn't it true with every country?!
  • Myth 4: Going to Colombia is a life-threatening experience
    • Reality: It may be because you don't feel like going back home :) ! 
Overall, the instructions were: if you are sick, call Liza. If you have an emergency, call Liza. If you are lost, call Lisa. So I thought the instructions were pretty straight forward. 

One thing to point out from the security guidelines was: We were asked not to accept anything to eat or drink from strangers. Hmm.. interesting.. More on this in a bit. 

Third Session: Breakout into Client sub-groups
The next exercise was to get together with our sub teams (Michal, Gerda and myself) and discuss things which we individually were good at and things which we knew we had to improve on - purely from an interpersonal standpoint. This exercise was geared to understand our team members better, set expectations and avoid surprises, given the short time frame we had to deliver the results. 
No surprises with Team PSF! All of us are motivated and have a deep desire to make a change and add value! 

 Michal and me.
Sherri Schaaf.

Fourth Session: Lunch followed by a neighborhood tour. 
We went to this restaurant called Crepes and Waffles. Liza mentioned that this restaurant is run completely by women. 
I ordered the Poblana Crepe: made with Mozzarella and Dutch cheese, avocado, pico de gallo and delicious Mexican touch with chili. 

Along with a Detox Juice which contained Kiwi fruit, pineapple, mangoes and some digestive herbs. I have say, it was pretty good!

Interesting menu card.

Orchids busy translating the Spanish menu card to English with the apps.

Unfortunately the app did not work every time! Like in this case :) . 

Neighborhood Tour
Liza walked us around the neighborhood and showed us some really good restaurants, ATM machines, gym, coffee shops, etc. 

Liza Builles and Gerda Slagter

Liza and Ulf explaining some details about the neighborhood. 

When we returned to the hotel, we saw a couple of guys giving out free Starbucks Almond Milk coffee. The whole team decided to enjoy this free drink (including Liza :) ), completely disregarding the earlier rule to not accept free drinks from strangers. We were told later that the only exception to this rule was if you were in a group of 10 or more :) . 

Guys who were giving free Starbucks coffee outside the hotel. 

Mission Accomplished! 

Session 5: SAP Corporate Social Responsibility Mission and Vision.

Ulf Brackmann who is officially representing the SAP CSR team presented CSR's mission. He also shared some interesting statistics on the hours spent by SAP volunteers every year, etc.
CSR Mission statement: "Equip world's youth with skills they need to tackle society's problems and thrive in the digital economy". CSR has an ambitious goal of impacting 1 million lives! 
Overall an excellent presentation by Ulf! 

Session 6: Architects and Engineers.
This was a fascinating game where we were divided into 2 teams - Architect team and the Engineer team. The architects were given a prototype of a house built with legos and the engineers were given legos to build the house exactly the way the prototype house was built. Of course, the engineers were not allowed to see the prototype directly but were asked to communicate with architects via individual meetings. There were strict time limits of how long an architect could speak with an engineer to explain the design of the prototype. Essentially, this exercise showed us that, especially when we have very limited to deliver something, communication, planning and structured approach can really help deliver results. 

Session 7: NGO culture.
This was delivered by Liza and was definitely the highlight of the day. She showed this very interesting video and drew parallels between the shift happening in the NGO business. 
Many of the NGOs currently (with the metaphor of the blind man) are still using traditional approaches to grants from governments, etc. We as Social Sabbatical volunteers must develop the following qualities to help strategically transform the NGO business by adopting the following things:
  • Develop Empathy (Go down/Get dirty: just like the woman in the video went down to the beggar)
  • Be Assertive
  • Inquire
  • Manage Frustration : that can develop due to the lack of understanding from the NGO. 
That concluded a very long but productive orientation day. Fabulous job by Amy, Liza and Maia from Pyxera Global and Ulf Brackmann from SAP CSR. True professionals. 

Our last activity of the day was Salsa dancing and having dinner at Andres Carne de Res. Definitely one of the most creative restaurants I have ever visited. Some pictures below. 

Sabrina Armbuster

Last but not least, we celebrated Sabrina Armbuster's birthday!!

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