How my year 2016 ended with enthusiastic reflections from a French philosopher

January 3, 2017 Christophe Leroy

Christophe Leroy, Operations Director, makes three resolutions for 2017.

It was during the last days of 2016. On the road in France, on my way back from the first snow in the mountains. Stuck in traffic with the radio on “France Inter”, trying to avoid the traditional end of year recaps on all of the – difficult – events around the world in 2016. The radio started a two hours long broadcast with the philosopher Michel Serres; born in 1930, Serres has for decades studied philosophy and its relation to science and technology. This rewarding intellectual moment led to some – small – reflections on my own work and some resolutions I want to take – and share – for 2017.

  1. The journalist connected Serres and Thomas Coville, the man who recently set a world record for sailing around the globe at 49 days. Serres congratulated the young man; Coville said he was the one having to thank him – as Serres’ books gave him the possibility to reflect and analyze the world with the perspective and analysis of a philosopher. The books gave him strength and provided keys to look at his world and own life purpose. Even on the boat, during his historical endeavor, the books and the philosophy podcasts were with Coville. This surrealistic exchange between a young world-class sportsman and an old philosopher reiterated the importance to me that in the day to day actions of our professional life we need to be able to feed our reflections by intellectual rewarding elements, without being afraid to look at totally different perspectives on our environment. We need to be open to other perspectives and get out of our intellectual comfort zone. This is my commitment number 1.
  2. We need to be positive and confident in our changing world. Digitalization, big data, science improvement are making this period among the most revolutionary of humanity. We see the world transforming every day, new jobs being created with job titles unknown a year ago. It could be perceived as a threat for some. We need to see and address those transformations in our work environment. We need to anticipate, change and adapt. It requires flexibility, imagination and innovation. We need to take those challenges with us and make those, in confidence, opportunities. This is my commitment number 2.
  3. The way we communicate is changing. We are moving from “authority” having the information and sharing it with many, with a world where everyone is sharing and receiving information at the same time; we are a network of stakeholders and creating communities. We do need to adapt and increase our capacity to share knowledge. Similarly, our capacity to innovate and create is not bound by limits anymore and we need to make– good – use of that in our organization and consider it a priority. This is my commitment number 3.

As so many, we have many other professional challenges and objectives in 2017. Still, for me these three commitments are important to give some frame and perspective to my actions. Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful New Year.

Content was originally published by MWH Global, which is now part of Stantec.

About the Author

Christophe Leroy

A proven leader in the market, Christophe Leroy calls on his more than 15 years of experience in the aid donors environment to lead our international development division in Belgium. In this role he is responsible for implementing international projects funded by international institutions and development banks.

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