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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

MAY 2015

27

service helps deliver improved security

outcomes;

■ Regular communication with offices

at Embassy Islamabad (the origin of most

of our visitors) about conditions and pro-

cedures in Karachi, coupled with support

from the front office; and

■ Consistent messaging from the

consul general in town halls and other

settings emphasizing the importance

of security procedures, and warning that violations would have

consequences.

v

Build Resilience and Common Purpose

Despite the difficult operating environment, Karachi enjoyed

high morale. As a result, the restrictions imposed by our security

procedures, and the impact of inevitable setbacks—lockdowns,

trips cancelled after exhaustive preparation, etc.—had a less

negative impact.

Many factors contributed to this. Some I inherited, including

strong local employees, a secure and comfortable compound, and

ready access to an airport that made rest-and-recreation trips and

weekend getaways convenient. But I also made fostering resil-

ience in my team a priority every day, in the following ways:

Communication.

Everyone in Consulate Karachi—Ameri-

can or Pakistani, permanent or temporary staff—knew what our

mission was and the conditions under which we were operating.

Town halls, all-hands emails, regular Emergency Action Com-

mittee meetings and lots of management-by-walking-around

made sure of this.

Work-life balance.

I not only encouraged all American staff

to take their R&Rs and any other leave they needed, but strove to

model the behavior I expected of others by limiting work on the

weekend. I also partnered with the local employee association,

the Community Liaison Office and (especially when we didn’t

have a CLO) a committee of volunteers to plan and sponsor

social events: happy hours, cricket matches, holiday baskets for

our 600-person local staff and parties for their families, cooking

classes, trivia nights, etc.

Paying for these sorts of morale-builders often required me to

go out of pocket, but it was well worth that personal investment

to strengthen Team Karachi’s resilience.

Doing our job requires getting out

into the city and province to report on

developments and trends, conduct

oversight, engage the media and students,

and promote American business.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS/CONSULATE GENERAL KARACHI

Consul General

Michael

Dodman

opening

a USDA-

sponsored

promotion

of American

food products

at a Karachi

supermarket,

July 2014.