This week brought me to Chalkida and Athens, Greece, for a Safety Culture and transformation workshop.
As we all know, the Greek economy has gone through some massive storms, leaving the country and the people in an economic struggle. Unemployment is huge (18,6% Sept 2018). Especially with people aged 15-24 (36,6% Sept 2018). Very visible outside on the terrace, young people were just hanging out together all day, killing time.
In the workshop, people were eager, had a good level of understanding of the English language. And, already from the beginning of the workshop, whenever someone did not understand something, the others stepped in to assist without the need to ask. This relying on each other had far greater meaning which I was unconscious about at that time, but was soon to find out.
During the evening, people were very hospitable, warm and caring, served amazing food. Beginning the meal with a glass of Tsipouro on ice. It is always a great gift to breath-in a bit of the local culture.
An ah-ha about Reliability
During the second day, working with the Four pillars Trust, we had a small misunderstanding. Looking at reliability, all people considered themselves to be quite reliable. Being surprised I said, “But you are late after the breaks, sometimes you say yes and do something different. How can you call yourselves reliable?”. They were clearly hurt by my remark. They explained: “What we call reliable is; you and I know each other now. When you call me in a week, or a month when you are in Athens and need help, any of us will come. (Note, all people live at least 90 minutes away). This was an ah-ha experience for me. Where I tend to look at reliability as completing tasks as expected and meeting agreements, in Greece, people rely on each other to be there when it’s needed.
The workshop ended with life-changing intentions, not just professional, but also for their personal lives.
On the way back, I realised it really touched me to bring this work to Greece. I will be back.
Βαθιά ευγνώμων, σας ευχαριστώ
Deeply grateful, thank you.