Friday, May 8, 2009

Seeking a Balance

By Mark McPeak,
Consultant to CCF

Note: Mark helped facilitate the workshop in the Philippines. After day five of the workshop, Mark sent us this blog entry.

We’ve just returned from a field immersion that was, for most of us, a real highlight of the workshop so far. Not only was it good to reflect about CCF’s program principles with community members and partners, and colleagues, but staying for a lengthy period, including overnight, really has refreshed and grounded most of us in the vivid realities of our work.

Of course, this workshop is all about connecting our hearts, heads and hands to advance CCF’s core outcomes. Together we are building our capabilities to translate principles and values into meaningful action for children and youth – a risk-taking, leadership ethic. So, essentially, this workshop is about building a foundation for our programs – through personal and organizational change and transformation.

Dola Mohapatra, Asia Regional director, asked me to introduce day three, and I think he hoped that I would reinforce that overall theme of change. I wrestled with preparing to meet Dola’s challenge, but really appreciated the opportunity to think about this for myself.

The center of my reflection can be represented by one of the slides – shown here:
I prefaced this by talking about the unstable times we are living in, and how old ways of thinking and reliance on those above us to make decisions on our behalf will no longer be of use in this new reality.

We need to seek a balance, where we can translate programming principles into meaningful action. Too much confusion is obviously unproductive; and where there is a need for clarification, we must seek this out, as managers and leaders within the organization. And in our new reality, it will be unrealistic to expect perfect clarity. The world is changing too fast to ever expect to be perfectly clear about what is going on.

Therefore, rather than yearning for complete clarity, it’s more important to build our skills in creating adaptive, dynamic responses to the unstable, nonlinear times we live in, in the framework of the clear principles and values contained in CCF’s Global Strategy and Core Program.

I think that participants appreciated the reflections. But the poet captured the spirit of our workshop better than I ever could, when he said: “Wanderer, there is no road; the road is made by walking.” I’m honored to be walking this road, in this workshop, with such committed and passionate professionals.

Coming soon: Jason Schwartzman returns with his final blog post about his Philippines’ experience.

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