HQ folks: Don’t Do This

Hopping on the meme-wagon for a second here… if you care enough, read these three posts about paper pushing in the NGO world:

In the last one, Paul considers what happens after the reports make it to HQ, from the point of view of field people:

…it seems there is no such impact. Country offices receive little or no feedback on their reports, and individual staff receive none. It’s also hard to identify any link between the reports that are generated in-country and any strategic decision-making, although it’s clear that there is some benefit there.

I know this feeling for sure. I once had a bigwig come and waste time in a field planning meeting asking questions that made it crystal clear he didn’t read the reports. In addition to impeding the work of the organization by wasting our time and depressing our morale, he made me lose respect for him and for HQ, which probably tainted my decision making processes for some time after that.

HQ people: be professional, do your homework, and read the reports before you go on a field trip. I know it’s a lot to take in, but if you don’t thrive on reading and integrating information, you shouldn’t be in HQ. Go get a nice cushy job as a project manager in some shithole in the middle of a warzone. No tsunami of reports to read there… and you only have to write one once a month. As you yourself have already proved, no one reads them anyway, so you won’t have to put too much time into them…

That is all.


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