Okay, we are not superheroes. But a group of people hoping to do some good together with our clients in Morocco are gathering and I am struck by the excitement, energy and optimism as we start to link up. We are the IBM Corporate Service Corps for Morocco (CSCMOR13)
It is easy as a long-time consultant to be blasé about business travel. Airports all look the same, hotels are the same and ‘road warriors’ really want to just get home at the end of the week. I’m lucky that, living in Toronto, there is enough client work to keep me busy locally – and I’ve still spent long stretches of my career traveling every week. A year in Europe, 4 additional years in Montreal each week. And shorter stretches in Vancouver BC and North Carolina.
This time is different. It started on Wednesday when our WhatsApp chat showed a picture of two of our crew linking up to start their journey from Australia. Soon the chat was buzzing with selfies as groups gathered in 2s and 3s and started to connect. ‘Can’t wait’ and ‘Looking forward to it’ was common. Or ‘See you in Dubai’ or some other place where they would change planes.
Jinzi and I connected briefly at the Air France desk in Toronto-Pearson airport before we took separate flights to Paris. Colleagues were texting each other gate information, tips for how to be prepared as we arrive in Morocco, and just ‘safe flight’. It’s great to see a group of people who’ve only met over webex finally connecting in person. This team is definitely moving from ‘forming’ to ‘norming’ quickly.
Almost half of us are on the same flight from Paris to Rabat and as we were waiting at the gate for the final flight to our destination some things became obvious very quickly.
- This group of near strangers who are spread across 5 continents share a lot of common concerns, beliefs and interests. It felt like old friends chatting from the moment we met.
- There is a lot of passion for our role – working together with our clients – government agencies or NGOs in Morocco – co-creating on a strategy that can improve an economic or social challenge
- Unlike many project teams from IT consulting firms – the team is mostly women. Of 15 total, 11 are women and 4 men. Very happy to get some experience being in the minority!
By end of day Friday, we should all be together. This weekend we get acclimatized to the city and each other, and Monday we start working with our clients!