Archive | August, 2010

Solving a problem

8 Aug

>Solving problems is lot of fun. It gives us chances to be creative, implement new strategies or engage in new activities. But as I have recently realized that is only the easy bit in problem solving and on its own it would not take us too far.

What is far more important (and sometimes less fun) is to understand what has caused the problem in the first place. Think and ask about all possible reasons why someyhing went wrong. And it is important not to get comfortable with first couple reasons that spring up but to dig deeper and deeper until we get a reasonable understanding of all domains that could be potentially be related to a problem.

Some time ago I heard an interesting story. One of the problems they had in Washington DC was very high costs for cleaning memorials from bird faeces. The problem we have is dirty memorials which are very expensive to clean. For possible solutions, you can start thinking about introducing new cheaper cleaning techniques or about turning to various bird scarers and that is what some were proposing. But when they looked at what had really been causing the problem, they saw that there was much simpler solution at hand. The memorials were dirty, because there were lot of birds around. There were lot birds, because there was lot of insect. There was lot of insect, because there were many lights pointing at the memorials in the evening and at night. So the solution was to simply turn the lights on two hours later every day.

The thought process was following:
1) What is causing the problem? – answer – A.
2) What is causing A? – answer – X.
3) What is causing X? – answer – M.
4) The final solution is than preventing M.

What I have realised lately is that preventing M is often much cheaper and easier that preventing A.

So next you will be facing a problem, do not get immediately excited about coming up with possible solutions, try to understand the real causes first. It might take more time in the short run, but it will definitely pay off in the long run!

Let the journey begin!

3 Aug

>Me and my team have yesterday officially started our term as the Member Committee of AIESEC UK. It is a feeling of great enjoyment but also a great responsibility.

In my closing speech at LDS, I mentioned that this is ‘our’ year. There have been generations of AIESECers looking after this organization before us and I am sure that there are many more generations of AIESECers to come. But in 1011, it is our time to take care of AIESEC UK. And by us I mean the whole of AIESEC UK.

The organization can consider itself very lucky to have such a great group of LCPs, VPs, managers, NSTs and team leaders at the local level in the coming year. It will be a challenging experience for all of us, but I have no doubt in our ability to lead the LCs and the whole of AIESEC UK forward.

It will be a year of Unlocking Potential; both on our personal and on the organizational level. Our team motto is See it. Believe it. Achieve it. and I cannot wait until the STEPS conference to tell you together with my team more about our vision for AIESEC UK in 1011!

There is one amazing year ahead of us, so lets get cracking with it and enjoy it before it is over!

My MCP elections closing speech

3 Aug


My closing speech from LDS 2010 in Nottingham during the election for the national president (MCP) of AIESEC UK:

I would like to share some of my inner feelings with you at the beginning. When I was sitting in your place two years ago, I would not have imagined that I would be standing here one day, running for the President of AIESEC UK. I would not have imagined I would have the courage to apply for the position one day. I would not have imagined I would be confident enough to be standing here today, giving a speech to the plenary of AIESEC UK.

But I am here today. I am here today doing things I would not have imagined possible two years ago. And this is what I like about the organization. AIESEC has really changed me as a person. There were people who introduced me to the organization, there were people who in their free time delivered sessions to me and who toughed me all the necessary skills, there were people who supported me and there were people who were making sure that this organization keeps going ahead. And I am very grateful to all those people and to AIESEC UK as such.

And therefore, after being in the organization for more than two years and after gaining so much from it, I feel obliged to be giving back to it now. To allow more young people to have the same life changing experience I have had. This is the main reason why I am here today. This is the main reason I am running for the President of AIESEC UK.

You are here today, because you want to learn something new, you want to challenge yourself, you want to develop yourself, you want to discover the world and you want to have fun along the way.

AIESEC UK is here because the world still needs us. There is still a great need out there for promoting intercultural understanding and not only for promoting it but for making it a reality as well. There are still lot of young people in the world who never had a chance to work in a foreign country and who never had the chance to experience a culture different to the one they grew up in. Our society still needs young and ambitious people who are not afraid to stand up and to make the world a better place.

This is a huge commitment for us and we must make sure that in the future we will be able to fulfil it. But it is not only the future that should be driving us. It is also our past.

There were generations of AIESECers before us who were working hard to build the organization and who devoted lot of their time to making it the successful organization it is today. I met some time ago the founder of AIESEC UK. He was already an old man with great hair in his seventies but his face and his eyes were still full of energy and passion and he was telling me about all the difficulties they had to face when they were starting up in London 55 years ago. During my internship with Ernst & Young this summer my manager was proudly telling me that he was the LCP of AIESEC Manchester while he was at university and there are hundreds and thousands more people living this country who are still AIESECers in their hearts. And therefore we must never forget how much energy they put into building this organization and we must make sure they would be feeling proud of what we are doing today.

I have already talked about the future and I have already talked about the past, so what is left?

The present. Yes there were many generations of AIESECers before us and I am sure there are many more generations of AIESECers to come after we leave the organization. But we must realize that right now, we are the generation that is in charge of AIESEC UK. This is our time and we must make the most out of it so that ten, twenty years later when we will be thinking about our time spent in AIESEC we will be able to look back and say ‘Yes, we did a good job’.

This is our time to carry forward the ideas and the values which have been shaping us for the past fifty five years.

This is our time to let other young people discover what AIESEC has to offer them and let them have the same kind of life changing experiences we are living right now.

This is our time to lead through exchange. We are the generation 2010, we are the generation which will achieve the goals we have set for the organization 5 years ago and we are the generation which will come up with a new vision and a new set of goals for the future.

This is our time to keep coming up with new ideas and initiatives which will take AIESEC UK forward.

This is our time to take care of AIESEC UK and I would like to be there next year doing the job with you.