Be Awesome

Look, our forefathers died for the "pursuit of happiness," okay? Not for the "sit around and wait of happiness." Now if you want, we can go to the same bar, drink the same beer, talk to the same people every day or you can lick the Liberty Bell. You can grab life by the crack and lick the crap out of it.
--Barney (HIMYM)

Sunday, March 27, 2011


This week introduced new concepts of America's Foreign Policy.  Particularly, the discussion of the interactions between the various foreign affairs agencies with a focus on the State Department Foreign Service Officers and USAID Foreign Service Officers.

USAID instruction has revolved around Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and how Civilian efforts should take the lead in foreign affairs.  This leads to the USAID Forward strategy which is how USAID will adjust to take the lead in international development.
What was particularly interesting was the culture difference and attitudes between State FSO's and USAID FSO's.  At USAID, the main emphasis for strategy is how to incorporate the different strategies of the military, State (politics), and USAID (long-term relationships abroad and international development goals) into a focused strategy.

We had a panel discussion with a senior State FSO and senior USAID FSO on the 3 D's (Defense, Diplomacy, and Development).  During the Q&A session, a question was asked regarding best ways in the field to encourage the push for long-term relationships and stability (development) in partner countries.  From this the State FSO responded fine at first of the importance in country team meetings to clearly articulate the USAID point of view and how it can benefit the overall embassy strategy.  However, he then further went on to say that everything is very competitive out in the field you'll have to be aggressive and need to step on the backs of others to achieve your mission objectives and advance (get promoted) in the field.  After the panel, our USAID coaches clearly advised that this was not the culture of USAID and that programs or objectives in the field are only achieved through input and cooperation from all our teammates.
The corporate world is pretty competitive but from my experience, doing your job well and playing nice with others seemed to be the best recipe for success.  I'm tending to believe our coaches that the diplomacy world is similar with an even more emphasis on teamwork and relationships.

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