Two weeks ago I was busy preparing to fly to Fiji and present a half-day Difficult Conversations Training at a Seafood Inspectors Training for inspectors from Kiribati, PNG, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Flying to Suva via Nadi was a treat in itself as Fiji Airways put us on their brand spanking new plane, which had just arrived from France and everyone was very excited to be on the first flight with passengers on the new plane.
I have been involved in this 3 week general Seafood Inspection training before when it was in Auckland, but I was really stoked that they asked me back to come to Suva this year.
I don't really know much about the technical side of seafood inspection, or about the intricacies of local bureaucracies and custom combined with the kinds of overseas (mainly European) regulations authorities in the Pacific Islands have to make sure their industries comply with, if they want to be able to export their seafood. The training that I do with all these highly skilled and competent men and women mainly becomes a really good conversation about what kinds of obstacles they face when dealing with the industry, foreign crew on vessels, and in their workplace in general. We talk about culture, about different attitudes to conflict, about how to assert yourself respectfully, how to separate the people from the problem, but don't lose sight of the people factor, how to build rapport and get along side people.
I always learn a lot from doing a training like this and I was humbled by the insights that were shared. Thank you Pacific Islands Competent Authority and FFA for inviting me along and being so generous in welcoming me!
I did get to do some relaxing as well while in Fiji and had a lovely weekend on Toberua Island, managed to watch the first game for the Netherlands in the staff quarters of the resort (5-1 WOOT). Love my work!