Photo by Kerneisha Beckles
On June 24, 2015, CTT hosted its first Procurement Town Hall Meeting with executing agencies (EA); however, it took a different name, Procurement “Live”. The name was adapted from the Jamaican expression ‘Live and Direct’ which means face-to-face, personal and in real time. The term Live and Direct was used by former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P.J. Patterson as a tagline for his around-the-country meetings with the public in parish capitals.
In similar fashion, the CTT team felt that we wanted procurement staff in executing agencies to meet us face-to-face in an unscripted, informal forum where they would feel free to ask questions and comment about anything positive or negative. The question was, could we handle such an undertaking? We had to. We thought it was necessary because our usual methods of communication through email and other written means did not facilitate the rapport that would give people the freedom to express their concerns or make suggestions. It was even more necessary if we were to receive the kind of feedback that would allow us to continuously improve and respond to the needs of the executing agencies.
We decided on an agenda that was not really an agenda; in that, it had one item after introduction of the new Representative, “Open Discussion of EA Questions”. Of course, we had a few things we wanted to say but if we listed them in the agenda it would seem like we had invited the executing agencies to give them a lecture and that would take away from our objective of making this their meeting. But what if they got shy and didn’t ask questions? The meeting would not be successful? Such were the nervous queries that crossed our minds as we planned. We came up with our own contingencies to deal with such inhibitors.
Transforming the country office lobby into a space such as none of our EA staff had ever experienced at the IDB Trinidad (circle-style seating incorporating couches,) and with the full participation of Team Leaders and Operations, we chatted, shared jokes and lessons, discussed technical and general issues and ended with a sense of time productively spent. What was intended to be an hour and a half meeting went on for an additional hour. We took the opportunity to promote the new IDB brand and gave our guests notebooks imprinted with the new logo.
Procurement Live was a success! well received by the executing agencies….why didn’t we think of this before? Now we know we are on to a good thing, our plan is to keep it going. Once per quarter…. in touch… Live and Direct, Procurement “Live” with CTT!
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