moderate a critical talk

I want to talk about a new experience I made in my job, how it originated, what the task is and how it worked out for me. 

During the past year with the participation with all the employees of the company I work in, we developed growth strategies for our company. We formed different teams and created possible strategies and structures to accompany the growth of our firm, both in an economical way but also in regard to personal growth and growing structures in general.

During this team work, my team and I formed a new concept of „critics rounds“, which we wanted to introduce as a regular concept into our daily working routine.

The idea behind this was, that we wanted our firm to keep it’s principles, even if we would be growing a lot in the upcoming years. We wanted the spirit in the company to stay alive and not lose our authenticity to economical growth.

Having started as a very small company with only a handful of people, we always had the opportunity to practice criticism and talk openly to eachother on a regular basis. When we sat together at lunch or had a general meeting, things were being clarified very quickly because there were only few people who knew eachother quite good and you could adress a person directly and talk openly about problems or difficulties.

Now that we are a lot more people, and plan to become even more, we want to prevent the company from becoming an anonymous place where you try to do your job and keep your mouth shut because there is a lot of people and you can’t fight all the fights all the time!

The concept is to have a critics round in each team in a specific interval (starting in a 2 weeks rythm), where you log off of your computers and phones and take the time to talk openly about problems within the team, between certain people or with special situations. Each team gets a spokeswoman or spokesman, who has to moderate the group talk, organize the order the talk is structured in, ask questions, takes notes, watch the time and control the contributions of the team members.

The goal is to achieve a positive, honest and open atmosphere for critizism within the firm. People in the company shouldn’t have to be afraid to speak out loudly, when they face a problem with a colleague or the whole team. Critizism should be a constructive way of improving the working atmosphere and processes.

I volunteered to be a spokeswoman of one team and even though we had prepaired guidelines and different methods to lead a critical talk, I was quite nervous to moderate the first critics round last week. I won’t go into topical details, but can tell a bit about the structure, the talk was being held in.

The first thing to do is a round, where every person in the group has to tell a little bit about their actual emotional setting right in that moment. This helps the rest of the group to be more empathetic towards eachother, when entering the discussion. The second thing to happen is to have all members of the group report about their last two weeks at work. What problems did they face? Were there any difficulties, issues or negative behaviour? Were there positive moments, situations, that needed special handling or was the atmosphere especially good or bad in the office?

The spokeswoman (or man) has to pay good attention, compare the contributions and then follow up and ask questions to go deeper and talk about the source of the problem, the motivation of ones argument or the misbehaviour. During the discussion, there are certain possibilities to control it, for example by asking for a minute of silence, when an argument gets heated. At the end, there doesn’t have to be a solution, but it is important to document the topics and conflicts, if possible agree on some actions the team wants to take to improve the situation and then follow up in the next critics round.

My first critics round started with a lot of laughter and jokes, not everyone wanted to take the concept seriously. Quickly the discussion became very intense, but in a very constructive way. Many topics came to light, a lot of frustration was put into words, but also a lot of understanding and agreement with eachothers issues was found. I tried to guide the discussion, ask critical questions, summarize some statements and tried to focus on finding possible solutions for the future. The group talk was very fluent, everybody was open to add to the discussion and I could feel a strong team spirit (I hate this word, but it describes it pretty good).

I received good feedback, we all agreed that this was a succesful first round and that the concept indeed made sense.

I finished this day very tired and with a mind full of thoughts, but very fulfilled and motivated. I hadn’t expected to have such a positive effect for myself but am really looking forward to evolve in this new role and develop more and more skills on the way.

Africa Cyber Security Summit 2014.

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The highly anticipated Africa Cyber Security and Forensic Summit that was scheduled for the 27th and 28th September did not happen. This is the first time in my event planning that I was not able to make un event happen.

Organizing events is not an easy job, I have seen events become successful and I have watched other crumbule. I have not been part of one that has crumbled until this week.

We started with a great plan, seeking the partnership of the Kenya Cyber Security and Forensics Association, with expectations that together we will be able to pull together a great event.

We also hired the services of a PR company with was to approach sponsors and raise money that would make the event happen. For  sometime we felt we were on schedule, and we would make it, but as the date approached it became clear that it will be difficult to have the event.

We have not had discussions with the organizing team to see the way forward. Some people are of thought that we should give a new date and keep planning, others think that we should call it a day, at least for this year and plan for another year 2019.

We will keep you updated on what happens, if we will have a new date or if we will plan for the event for 2019.

Garten Planung

Wir haben einen Garten hinter unserem Haus und an diesem bauen wir nun schon seit ungefähr sechs Jahren herum. Er liegt am Hang und war fünfzehn Jahre sich selbst überlassen. Alle Terrassenmauern waren eingestürzt und bis zur unteren Gartengrenze heruntergerutscht. Die Pflanzen wegzumachen, die den Eingang wie bei Dornröschen zugewuchert haben hat allein einen Tag gedauert. ...

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Der Renault Kangoo ist verkauft

Am Freitag Abend haben wir unseren Renault Kangoo verkauft. Es war ein wehmütiges Gefühl für mich. Wir haben das Auto vor 8 Jahren gebraucht gekauft und sind dann 230.000 Kilometer ohne Problem und Pannen damit gefahren. Nun ist er alt und weil wir doch öfter längere Strecken damit fahren, dachten wir, es sei an Zeit, …

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PDF Embed Buttons

So an old client of mine requested for a way to embed PDFs on their site, the other day. The site was built with Joomla! but the real headache was that the client did not want any viewer to be able to download, or print the documents.

Sounds anti-open-source right? Well, it was for a private training and there were exams involved – of course the documents had to be secured somewhat.

After a lot of research, I settled for a plugin that had PDF JS library as an option. The display was beautiful, but the specific requests was proving tough to implement. This means I had to dig into the code to hack it to do what was required.

I turned to my best friend, Google for answers. The wise one eventually led me to Stack Overflow but the one solution that worked for me was the most unpopular: hide the buttons.

Simply hiding the buttons using the PDFJS’s built-in hidden class, did the trick. I intend to actually upgrade the plugin to allow the administrator take parameters to this effect. I will send the update to the developers, so they can incorporate it into the next release.

 

Le Jardin de Filoche

Zelf uitgeprobeerd op mijn 50ste verjaardag "Le Jardin de Filoche. Dit restaurant staat bekend voor een goede Franse keuken en goede service. Ook de locatie (centrum Leucate) is ideaal gelegen, en zoals de naam het zegt is er een mooie tuin waar men rustig kan eten.
De kaart is heel simpel en het menu ook, je hebt het menu voor 30€ met voor en hoofdgerecht of het menu met inclusief nagerecht voor 35€. Je kan uit verschillende gerechten kiezen maar de prijs blijft hetzelfde, enkel als je een zeetong besteld wat wij ook gedaan hebben is het 5€ extra.
Op bovenstaande foto's zie je gans ons diner, de zeetong was zeker niet van de kleinste en was hierdoor ook een geslaagd dinner.
Dit restaurant vind je op een goede 10minuten rijden van onze verblijven in Fitou.
Warme groeten,
Harry & Miranda
www.tilleyfrance.fr

Amazing Love For Joomla.

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Last week marked the end of a long journey we have travelled to make sure that we put an event together. Organising an event in Nairobi is not easy. Its really difficult getting sponsors for IT event and maybe other events. I have had opportunities to be involved in a number of events, Joomla! Day Ke being one of them.

For four years now, iHub being both the main catalyst for regional tech acceleration and a role model for tech hubs across emerging markets has supported this event by sponsoring a venue for the Joomla User Group – Nairobi and JoomlaDay Event.

Founded in 2010, iHub is a globally recognized organization that is deeply steeped in the local tech innovation culture. We are happy to announce that iHub has been and is still home for JoomlaDay Kenya, and we hope that this will be a partnership that will benefit everyone.

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Joomla! is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) for publishing web content. Over the years Joomla! has won several awards.It is built on a model–view–controller web application framework that can be used independently of the CMS that allows you to build powerful online applications.

As of May 2018, Joomla! has been downloaded over 93 million times. Over 8,000 free and commercial extensions are available from the official Joomla! Extensions Directory, and more are available from other sources. It is estimated to be the second most used content management system on the Internet, after WordPress.

Open Source Matters has always supported Joomla Day Events, depending on the budget they have. JoomlaDay events are officially recognized, but not organized, by the Joomla! Project and Open Source Matters, Inc. Each event is managed independently by a local community.

The participation this year was as balanced as it could be, 50 attendees ranging from Joomla Community in Nairobi, Techies, bading techies and students.

But important to say that the support from Open Source Matters is always not enough to make an event happen, and so the need to bring in more sponsors becomes important.

This year Joomshaper came to our rescue.

JoomShaper is the home of beautifully crafted unique Joomla templates and highly functional extensions along with award winning drag and drop SP Page Builder for you to create your dream website in minutes.

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What was new during this Joomla Day? Apart from a wide range of topics being covered, Networking and discussions, we hosted our first ever Joomla Administrators Exams, the second in Africa.

The Joomla! Certification Program has been created to ensure the competence of Joomla! professionals through documented measurement of skills and knowledge. The program aims to establish a certain standard whilst promoting a qualified workforce.

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Professional certification can play an important role in the decision of a company or business owner when hiring skilled individuals for specific roles. Six people had given interest in doing the certification exam, but only one has the courage to actually do the exam.

We thank iHub for providing the room and dedicated internet to be able to have a successful certification exams. It took a lot of time to get everything ready, being the first time, Joel Mbugua, who was supervising the exam had some difficulty getting things started. This is understandable, but we have a good start.

One of our speakers from Italy couldn’t make it for the event, but he managed to send a video link of his presentation.

Our desire for the future is to push this event to a different city other that Nairobi…..to be able to grow the community.

I thank all the speakers, who have shared knowledge during this event. I thank the people who have worked on our social media campaign and all who worked on the background. What a wonderful team we had, and we hope that you all accept our sincere appreciation.

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We thank all our sponsors and partners, Host sponsors iHub, Open Source Matters, Joomshaper, CMS Africa, Kenic and Kenya Web Experts, whom without their support we would not have succeeded doing this event.

We value your genuine support and partnership.

A new painting

After a long pause, caused by a water damage in my little atelier and due to lots of renovation work, I started painting again. This time, I layered oil paints over ash and washed them away again and again to create subtle effects. It’s a play of appearing and disappearing, of strong presence and nebulous ...

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holidays in sight

Only two more sleeps until I board the plane to Marrakesh, Morocco! 

I’m really excited to go there, since I have been dreaming of this for years. It will be an adventure, but in the best way possible! We have a lot of plans and options, but we have nothing booked besides of the flights and a room in a nice riad for the first two nights.

From there we’ll start to explore the city of Marrakesh, maybe make some day trips to the desert or the surroundings.

We plan to drive to Essaouira and maybe, only maybe, to Chefchaouen in the northern part of the country.

I think we will have plenty to do with just eating our way through all the tajine meals and fish platters, enjoy the warm weather, visit souks, stroll through medinas and maybe take some surfing lessons when we are at the coast.

I will write a travel report when I’m back and show of with as many pictures as possible!