With Our Four Hats—and Together—We Can Make Things Happen


The year is almost over. We can be proud and honored that we’ve been able to support finance officials in their learning and knowledge sharing. This has contributed to their development as individuals and has helped them develop their teams, institutions, and countries.

At the CEF, we constantly question why we do what we do, and how we do it. While satisfied with the work done, we constantly search for ways to improve. It is not about working harder, it is about working smarter … as individuals and as a team.

Recently we increased our focus on better understanding the different roles that we have as CEF staff members. We’ve been concentrating on four hats that we wear in order to get our job done as an institution. In supporting learning and knowledge sharing, we assume the roles of (1) learning facilitators; (2) relationship managers; (3) project managers; and (4) thematic knowledge brokers.

 

As learning facilitators, we support learners to acquire new knowledge by establishing a favorable learning environment. We are learning helpers with a task to create an atmosphere that supports learners to open up for learning and change. We do not operate under the traditional concept of teaching, but rather guide and assist those that learn for themselves. We therefore pay attention to creating physical and online space where people feel that they can open up, learn, and consider change. To support learning, we use a variety of learning approaches, methodologies, and tools of learning and knowledge sharing.

As relationship managers, we convene people and institutions. We work to advance relationships among them. We maintain and develop relationships with a wide range of stakeholders or target audiences. First, constituency countries’ institutions, where the relationship is maintained at three levels: (a) at the top level of ministers of finance and central bank governors (if countries are full CEF members, then these are members of the CEF Governing Board); (b) with people responsible for strategic human resource development (CEF Coordinators); and (c) with individuals that attend CEF courses and other learning opportunities (participants or learners). And, second, partner institutions, including bilateral and multilaterals partners, knowledge institutions, and peer organizations and networks. Some of these partners may be members of the CEF Advisory Board.

As project managers, we have the responsibility for planning and executing projects that have a defined scope, start, and finish. We strive to maintain and report on progress, ensure mutual interaction and coordinate tasks of various parties to maximize benefits, minimize costs, and reduce risks. Although we developed our first project already in 2003, project management started to receive institution-wide attention only a few years ago, with substantial progress in 2018. This year the CEF successfully passed the European Commission’s Pillar Assessment confirming that the assessed  key processes of the CEF are in support of sound project and financial management. This provides assurance to the European Commission and other donors that the CEF has capacity to manage EU and other donor funds on their behalf.

As thematic knowledge brokers, we have subject matter expertise. We focus on five thematic areas: public financial management, tax policy and administration, central banking, data and analysis for designing policies, and leadership for managing reform. As thematic experts, we know the reform priorities and efforts of our target institutions in the region (most importantly ministries of finance, line ministries, tax administrations, and central banks). We work with a number of advisors and other affiliated experts with in-depth expertise in our focus areas.

We are experts in learning and support knowledge sharing of practitioners in the priority thematic areas. We believe in participatory approach to learning which means that we put learners at the center of the learning process. We pay attention to relationships and base our work on trust that must be established and developed for people to open up, be willing to share, learn, and consider change. To ensure high quality of our programs, our work must be anchored in sound project management that is based on robust systems and processes.

Satisfied with our achievements and progress, we continue to question ourselves how to work even better. Our talents are diverse, with each individual having a different focus and level of competencies in the above-mentioned areas. That is why we can complement and support each other, and together make a very successful team. We understand that each of us with our own strengths—and together—can make things happen.


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About Jana Repanšek

Jana has a deep interest in how institutions learn, in particular the social and human enablers of learning and knowledge sharing. She believes that institutions can transform by focusing on people: strengthening trust among them; motivating with high standards, optimism and clear communication; promoting flexibility, openness and out-of-the-box thinking, and forming alliances.

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