05 June 2012

Right, I Left

It is quite entertaining - and admittedly sometimes frustrating - to hear a soft whisper and sometimes even a loud voice that evanescents “what happens when he leaves?”. As if my person holds a magic wand that makes things happen and flourish, while at the same time fatefully implying that when 'someone else' 'takes over' such magic wand will have been gone.

Those who raise the issue 'what happens when he leaves?' often appear blinded by opportunistic searchlights, that illuminate individuals instead of communities, focus on projects instead of people, and on threats instead of opportunities. Or, more worrisome, those that appear subdued by their outlook on reality encompassing virtually insurmountable mountains and unforgiving barriers, often pushing persons in various stages of inertness or, alternatively, rage.

From the outset, per definition, one should aim to be involved where vision flourishes, as without a vision people perish. A vision must instil hope, talk about humans, and inspire associates and stakeholders to excel. Equally, one should only commit in situations where leadership can mention names of those whom are growing, and are being mentored to 'take over'; Names of real people that are prone to excel their predecessors, who bear the promise of expanding capabilities, whom are able to sustain, augment, mature, and expand (parts of) the vision. Including names of those whom will not hesitate to outsource, change, discard, insource, or do whatever is needed to sustain progress and the organisational health.

My answer to these evanescent sounds? “Look carefully. Since April 2010 I have not been leading Macha Works, nor did make decisions, and neither was involved in any management meeting.” As with all people, my roles change constantly, and will keep on doing so, as dynamic transformation engenders such change, in this case empowering local talent endowed with growing authority.

Instead of focus on the here and now, since April 2010 I have been observing and facilitating realignment of contacts and relationships. Result of the local team's examinations arrived in the form of  external audit reviews. They have been favourable for two consecutive years. Overall budgets grew with 20% and local income surged with 400%. I am not amazed; The right leadership at the right time sustains progress and realigns priorities.

Those were the good times. Since early 2012 there were bad times, induced by circumstances that were outside of the local leader's realms of influence. Thus after time of remarkable growth, now there were times of pruning, testing through fire, with weaker parts being blown over by the storms of life. Also a period of seeing fruits of the right relationships, and testing of seatbelts whom are provided by real friends. During April and May I was requested to help, to fire-fight, to prevent loss of assets, destruction of achievements and personnel benefits, and assure adherence to the stipulations of the environment. I am glad I could still recognize the institution, knew where to look, what to invoke, and where to apply antidote. Just for a short while though and from a relative distance, not being engrossed, only doing the necessary job, while engendering components for the next mentoring phase.

I never stopped – and will never stop - to observe, to study, and to volunteer where I can. However, I did not return. I left Macha Works April 2010, and now, after quenching some major fires, obviously being affected by fall out, now pruning even my shade; I bodily left for academic peer-to-peer interaction on our findings on social innovations and systems, and to expand its thesis. Without a doubt, on the ground, the vision-carrying local talents are getting it right!

What is left is encouragement and cheering-on: “Aim right, and move on!”