Being poetic

Mr Green was invited to attend a Health experts meeting. Initially when plans to hold the meeting were mooted, he was slotted in the programme to share his views regarding public participation in health sector development projects. But as the programme evolved, he was dropped. This was only communicated to him 3 days to the meeting.

Mr Green was facilitating another meeting in a town over 500km away. He was keen to attend the meeting since he was an expert in the same area and wanted to interact with his peers. He had to travel overnight to attend the meeting. However he arrived a bit late when the speech of the overall boss was being presented by one of his deputies.

Upon arrival at the meeting, participants noted and ushered him to where other dignitaries sat. The dignitaries were quick to note Mr Green’s arrival. Since the overall boss was not present, Mr Green commanded some respect among the two deputies at the meeting due to his long experience in the organization. The person leading the meeting was quick to acknowledge arrival of Mr Green.

The programme was screened and Mr Green was given a task. One of the facilitators was absent and Mr Green was requested to step in. He could not afford to ignore a request from his peers. He gladly accepted.

Mr Green thought critically how he could add more value to the meeting now that he had been given an opportunity to lead a session in the meeting. He considered how his peers and mentors behaved in similar circumstances. He remembered one of his lady friends who was given a similar task and recited a poem that left participants ribs broken with laughter. He decided to compose and present a poem.

He listened keenly to the presentations being made by the presenters and the response from the audience. He captured the key points into a poem. He looked at it and was very impressed.

Time came to facilitate the session and Mr Green took the floor. After appreciating the offer he reminded the members that they had sat for long. He reminded them that teachers are trained to vary methods of teaching and he wanted to change the flow of the meeting. He asked the participants “How many of you go to church on Sundays”. The audience kept quiet, perhaps wondering why the facilitator decided to ask such a question.

Mr Green continued “I want to use the analogy of the church and what goes on there. I have observed that in most churches, the transition between preaching and prayers is normally through a song. Does this happen in your churches?” At this question, there was a loud response of “Yes”.  This was followed with murmurs and laughter in the room.

Mr Green continued “I want to present to you a song. Are you ready for a song?” This was followed with thunderous “Yes”, a lot of laughter, murmurs, and their faces brightened. Mr Green knew he had managed to  arouse the attention of the participants.

Mr Green then clarified, “after listening to all the proceedings of this meeting since morning, I have composed for you a poem. Allow me to spend about two minutes to recite the poem. Can I go ahead”. The meeting went wild with a loud “Yes”, more murmurs. It took Mr Green some notable moment to silence the audience.

Mr Green continued and presented the poem. It was interrupted by a lot of laughter and clapping. At the end of the presentation, loud clapping and shouting followed.

Mr Green later facilitated his session as requested. During break time, many participants approached Mr Green appreciating his poem and the way it was presented. “It gave a useful summary of the meeting and the need to work together as a team”. The participants said and requested for a copy of the poem.

Jog your mind

  1. What are the key leadership lessons presented in this case study?
  2. What could have been done better by Mr Green?
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