Just heard the Permsec give a talk on how "study groups" might help the work of the MFA. Each group would be led by a shepherd and assistant shepherd (although that does not necessarily mean the group members are sheep). It would conduct studies in assigned areas, such as global and regional security, promote certain diplomatic objectives, such as more effective networking with the local diplomatic community, and perform certain tasks, such as updating and enhancing the MFA's website. Such groups would ease the burden of the departments that cover such matters.
I think such groups would indeed be helpful. The Permsec has my admiration for caring enough to think up ways to lighten the load of harried MFA officers. My only concern is that it sounds like more work. Most officers are already overloaded with their day-to-day work. I'm not sure how eager they would be to take up the additional workload participation in a study group would entail. Time, after all, is a limited resource, no matter how good you are at multi-tasking.
My view is that productivity needs to be put at the top of the agenda. We need to be able to accomplish more in the time we have. Study groups are a good idea, but to make them work in the long run, we need to learn how to be more productive and manage our time better.
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