I had the opportunity to work in Mauritius for 10 days. During this period, I led 2 full day workshops and did 3 client meetings. The rest of the work days were spent practicing a number of activities and debriefs with the Mauritius team.
Below are some of my observations as an Indian FocusU Facilitator in Mauritius:
As Mauritius is an island country, it has incredible outdoor locations spread all over the place. This allows for a variety of possible program venues (hotels/resorts)from hilly terrains and forest trails to beaches.
Many hotels and resorts offer outdoor team building activities. Examples include – zip-line, obstacle courses, etc. But the concept of experiential learning is quite new. In every client meeting, a common response we received was that our offerings are very refreshing and something they haven’t done before!
Such a variety of venue options allow for a host of activities like Geocaching, Beach challenge, and Olympics.
My interactions with the local population were mainly limited to the participants that attended our workshops and the people I came across local markets. They are an eclectic mix of Indians, Africans, a few Europeans and Chinese. Major languages include French, Creole, and English.
People are friendly and even greet strangers with smiles. French seemed to be the common language The overall vibe reminded me of the Goan way of life. There seems to be a naturally relaxed environment and people seemed in a rush to get anywhere or finish their tasks at hand. This could be easily observed in the behavior of hotel/resort managers working with us on the set-up for the workshops.
A program consists of 2 parts. Part one is the teaser which happens 2-3 days before the program. A short 30 minutes welcome session is followed by an “energizer” that we do in the client office to create excitement for the program and ensure high attendance.
The client’s expectations as far as our debrief were considered were exactly the same as our Indian clients. Communication gaps between team members, lack of pro-active behavior, need for collaboration, more bonding, etc.
Participant behavior in workshops is quite similar to their Indian counterparts. Open to new experiences, they are fun-loving but also competitive. However, they enjoyed teasing each other and were far more comfortable with double entendre jokes compared to us Indians. They were active and interactive during the activities but I found them a little less expressive in debriefs.
As Mauritius caters to African and European markets and has business units in these regions, there are cross-functional teams. Hence, there is a potential market for leadership programs. This bodes well for our experiential learning team and we can look forward to many more interactive workshops with various clients.