Let’s walk together
It’s easy to talk the talk. It’s not easy walking the walk. As a consultant, I’m supposed to know the answers; to have solutions to all the challenges my clients face; to know the “outcome” of every training I do. Let me tell you: I don’t have “The” answers, I do not know how to walk the walk, at least not on my own.
So how will I walk the walk? I was going to write a blog expounding grand solutions to all the challenges the non-profit world faces, based on great theories I’ve encountered in my studies; on my experiences as a trainer and consultant or those which my partners have shared with me. But I realised that would be pretty pointless, because I don’t have these grand solutions. Neither do you, or any of us individual humans today, at least not on our own. Otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are today, and feel so overwhelmed and worried about the world we live in today. That’s not what a lot of directors or donors or anyone wants to hear from a consultant. But that’s the truth. So I’m not going to walk the walk, at least not alone.
Ok, so who is going to walk the walk? The reality is we are all in this together. We are facing some of the most complex, disturbing and also exciting challenges in human history. We are faced with rapid and unprecedented changes in the climate and ecological environment; economic inequality of unprecedented proportions; social unrest, political disillusionment and polarisation on a scale unseen in generations; and the realisation that “universally accepted” concepts such as democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, the rights of refugees or abolishing torture, are not really so universally accepted. The non-profit sector is desperately attempting to resolve these issues, and yet struggling to have an impact, to really change the game, to implement in-depth and sustainable solutions. Especially, we, in this sector, are struggling to do this whilst not exhausting those working in the field, without burning ourselves out, draining us of our passion and creating the very disillusionment, pessimism, internal conflict and anger that we are trying to put an end to in the world. The truth is, peace work starts within, we have to start with ourselves!
Wait, you mean we all have to walk the walk? If we are all in this together, we all have the same responsibility to create and be the world we believe in, to find solutions together. To discover new ways of responding to these challenges, even new ways of thinking about these problems, we must also look at our own role in making the world the way it is today. As Einstein famously said: “We cannot solve a problem, with the same mind-set that created it.”
Walking the walk, to me, means being honest about who I am. I am not really a consultant. Nor are you really a donor, or a member of an NGO. We are all just people faced with these historic challenges and opportunities. I happen to be a guy who works independently and can gain insights from my clients, projects, partners, discussions and studies, who has cobbled together some awesome partners, who has a hell of a lot of energy, and the absolute certainty that every one of us actually hold all the answers to the challenges we face inside of us, but that we need to support each other in finding them. You might be someone who works all day in an office, or spends your days visiting prisons; you might provide funds to dozens of projects or be reporting to your sole donor about the work your organisation has done. Each of us, though, has our role to play and contributions to make in finding these solutions.
I am just a guy who is really excited about bringing people together to find those solutions; about trying new ideas, exploring opportunities that come up, learning from the complete failures I and all of us have; and creating really effective organisations which are healthy and empowering for employees and beneficiaries. And I want to share these experiences and insights with others, creating a space for us to share our learnings, and thus contributing to the community of people who truly believe we can do better and who are willing to step out of our comfort zones to make this reality.
So this blog is about the walk. It’s about the journey. The adventure. The exploration. It is about all the incredible people I meet, the ideas I come across, the experiences I have, and the lessons which I hope can be of use to others. This blog is about the journey to creating the organisations (and the world) of the future. I’d love to have you join the discussion and walk this walk alongside me. Let’s walk together.