Chennai GROW

To a coach the GROW model for problem solving & goal setting is a familiar process. Created in the ‘80s it serves as a guide to ensure one gets clarity and/or concrete direction & action to a perceived problem. Its success lies in its simplicity.

The last few weeks, I have watched and heard about all kinds of people. People behind the scenes and those leading from the front. There was one goal- Save the people of Chennai. It worked, and although there is much more to do, the immediate crisis has been dealt with. Chennai surged together to save as many lives as possible.

I worry……..will life get back to normal too soon? Will we forget? Will we forget that we were all victims? That we were undivided? Will we stop speaking as one voice demanding transparency, respect and professionalism from our leaders?

It occurred to me that as a resident of Chennai I could adopt the GROW model to determine what to do and how to go about it. To make a small difference.

What if each of us took on one action (for our city) to make a difference (to our city)? It could be toward anything- slums, education, cleanliness, planning, bribery, corruption, nutrition, roads, transport, toilets, ….whatever we chose.

What the floods have shown us is that with critical mass all working toward the same end…anything is possible.

So how does the GROW model work? The 4 pillars of the model are Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward (“I Will do…”).

GoalEnsure that you are clear about what you hope to achieve. Long term goal, time frames and interim goals.

Reality: Understand the reality of the situation. Fact vs assumption? What have you done so far? Relevance vs. current effect?

Opportunities: Identify options and challenges that can be made into opportunities. What are the options you have? What actions can help you reach the goal? Pros and cons of these actions?

Way ForwardDetermining the way forward. What specific actions will you take? What timelines will you work toward? What support do you need? What have you achieved? – periodic assessment

Could it work for Chennai? Could we use the GROW model and contribute to the city?

Already the adrenalin rush is ebbing. Life is heading back to business as usual. My maid tells me that relief materials are overflowing. And the bullies are getting it all. Hoarding linen and stoves in their small houses. Relief supplies have already been hijacked and good Samaritans have been treated roughly.

I saw a Facebook suggestion by a Mrs A Sampath to AdoptAFamily. Great idea. If each of us who could, did that, rehabilitation would so much more effective.

Chennai needs to create that momentum. To make sure that life does not go back to normal. To make sure that we shrug off that apathy and helplessness. So that the authorities who “do not” get replaced by those “who do” faster.

So here’s my contribution using the GROW model:

Goal: I want to stop cribbing and do something to change the way citizens live. By Jan 2016 I should have begun, by June I should have been able to begin taking definite steps/difference, and by December what is set in place should be able to function as part of a group or should be scalable.

Reality: I am not one who can work on the ground.  My local language skills are not great and I cannot travel far. My pet peeve is bad road sense- from pedestrians and vehicle drivers. So I want to make a difference to people’s attitude on the roads

Options: I can work at helping with education, helping my maid, or working at cleaning up my neighbourhood. The first two my family already contributes to financially. Road sense: everyday I stop people and tell them to be careful with their scarves on bikes, or make sure that when they walk with their children, the kids should not be on the side of traffic, or gently (well…almost) talk to cab drivers about their driving style. I could do this and more on a larger scale

Way Forward:

  • Find a core group of enthusiasts- I’ll start by checking on social media & talking to my neighbours and co-opting like-minded people (who speak Tamil better than I!)
  • We can begin with auto drivers on our streets, work with Insitutional drivers, and with retailers of 2 wheelers
  • I can try and work with one RTO to start with and traffic police

…….we’ll add to this as we GROW!

A colleague tried the model and realized she can work with neighbourhood schools to talk to kids and parents on how to improve physical & psychological well-being.

Now what is your CityGROW pledge?

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