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I have been following the unfolding Philippine electoral events, with the former President's son, Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos unassailable victory as President and his running mate, Sarah Duterte, the incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter, as Vice-President.
Sad to say, after the Marcos's ouster by the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, the majority of Filipinos elected the Marcoses back is a case of collective amnesia. With the post-truth machinery in full throttle, the democracy of the country is now in the brink of massive collapse on many fronts.
For someone who was born, raised, and educated in the Philippines and now based in Canada, I simply can't understand this phenomenon when in fact that there are many qualified, honest, competent people who can become president. We have great people who can lead. But winning is another thing.
In a island country where the elites rule and politicos rule until they drop dead, the Marcos campaign was well-oiled, in the digital and ground-level landscapes. Instead of the guns, goons, and gold, now it was the trolls, the disinformation, and the total censorship. The |"no talk, no mistake" policy proved beneficial in the long run.
As with millions of observers, we have yet to see a no-platform-of-government incoming President wing it and make social progress, economic development happen for 90+ million Filipinos and the diaspora workers scattered all over the world.
This is a grand example of post-truth democracy- all the trappings of a democratic exercise rigged by the unmediated, brazen, corrupt use of digital politics to the fullest measure allowed by societal standards and norms of political engagement. The winner obviously takes it all.
It's the best and worst of our digital age.
We are watching.
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Our lives turned upside down for the good when a cat came into our family. A stray cat suddenly appeared and made our hearts melt. Of course, my five-year-old is the number one cat lover aside from my husband. We took him in (by subtle force), until we figured out if he's an inside cat or an outside cat.
With previous knowledge on cats, my husband both the whole gadgets in case he decided to be a home cat. A family member said and another friend confirmed, "a cat has a mind of its own."
And so, with a bit of time, we figured out that he is both. He is both an inside cat and an outside cat. When the weather is great, we let him out and when it's time to go home, he's there waiting in the yard. Sometimes, he would wait until our truck was in the other house, and if he sees the truck, he will jump right on to be packed home.
Another family member said, "He's a cat that behaves like a dog." He surely has a mind of his own. Our house is a hotel, an entertainment center, and a respite against the cold, brutal world. We're okay with the arrangements. He's just being who he is. It won't be great for other families for sure.
If you're organization is set up to be something and behaves otherwise, and people get their noses up or insist that you behave like one (because of their own conditioning), it's time to break the stereotype. What people project on your organization, may not really who you are and most of the time, they're dead wrong.
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There is only one way to find one if you're following the trend rather than understanding what it does really mean for your organization.
You can't even explain it in your own words.
-There's a lot of jargon, no meaning behind.
You skip pointing out the downsides to the new concept.
-What does it means to those that will be affected by this new thing.
Lastly, what has to give to make it all work and be sustained.
Take this new concept apart, is it really new? or a combination of many old things thrown together to get a new stew?
More often, it's an old stuff pretending to be the next best thing.
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Running an on-purpose organization, as in life, is all about a marathon, not a sprint.
There will be greater, better, more beautiful, and hugely successful than your organization, accept it.
But the biggest fallacy to succumb is to compete against the top 10% of the world, which is not a healthy crusade to take on.
If it's survival of the fittest, then take your best competition as an inspiration to springboard you away from the grinding struggle and take the most logical next step. If it's building your value system as the first ground breaking practice, do it with care and attention it deserves. If it's about building an impact strategy you can be proud of, trust your process and the intentions behind it. If you're trying to make good with people from overseas using your talents and bunch of individual supporters, know that you're not alone in that journey. Instead of envying your competition, learn from their effectiveness.
Don't take the biggest problem ever and solve it. Take the nearest problem, and slay it with passion. That's how to overcome overwhelm from the unrealistic self-imposed burden.
We don't need heroes and divas. We believe in you and me, ordinary mortals with extraordinary generosity.
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I hope you had a great festive time during this holiday season. We can make this season an expansive time of the year when the holidays can give us the time to pause, relax, and have the quietness we need amidst the celebration and feasting.
William James said that "the art of being wise is knowing what to overlook."
In this season, embracing the new year and letting go of 2021, my wish for all of you is to find what to overlook quickly so that your new year becomes fresh, not an extension of the past, whether good or bad.
To do this requires not just the usual introspection but the consider elements that had to be eschewed for the lack of its value to your life and to what you hold dear. As I heard many times, we need to travel light.
Anything that seems like a burden that is unquestioned or underexamined must become our current inquiry.
To translate this with on-purpose leaders whose organizations' survival (or viability) might be at stake next year. Learn not to insist on certainty. Don't sell out your capacity to give and be of service even when you're experiencing your own challenges. And don't give in to the apathy and despair that are easily tempting to succumb to.
With great wishes for 2022, let's hope for better times. Comfort to those who are afflicted, and challenges to those comfortable. Most of all, peace and strength in the new year.
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How can on-purpose organizations become better at securing more resources for their organizational development and building up their resiliency? The 10% budget for administration will never get you there.
1. Change your mindset
This practice has been ingrained in your psyche long enough that it becomes the proverbial truth. Far from it, this practice squeezes out the smaller organizations from existing and thriving. Anything that involves being strategic will require financial investments. It may not be a large amount but it should be sufficient enough to build capacities through systems and processes that have direct benefit to staff well-being, Board strengthening, and programs and impact-generating activities. You need to educate yourself, build a business case and build a team to champion it. It is an investment, not as cost to control.
2. Link to strategic objectives
Your strategic plan spells out clear alignment over goals and objectives, measures, activities/program, budgets, and performance evaluation. Institutional activities that support strategic aims should be supported by budgets and clear metrics. If the links are clear and well-established, flows out are part of the strategic management.
3. Support from the top leaders
Nobody cares whether your organization exists tomorrow, but you do and you must lead this conversation inside and outside your organization. Your Board, executive team, and staff have a stake and roles to play to make this happen. Organizational sufficiency is worth the struggle and effort so you can build a generational impact around your mission. In the end, everybody benefits.
4. Get donors who understand
You might say 'our donors insist we keep lean as much as possible.' Lean doesn't mean bare bones structure. Your survival is at stake. Get out from the group that rewards this mentality and reach out to funding organizations and donors who have a broader and progressive outlook on sustainability economics. When you're ready, fire the ones that will block you from achieving success in this direction.
These are easy to say but hard to do. Like with everything, getting there takes effort and courage. Don't be proud to tell the world that you have a 10% budget on administration and that you have great volunteers who help out. You're lucky but it's not the route to real sustainability. Get on the right road.
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Ever Given, the ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal a few months ago got released by the Egyptian authorities this week. The fiasco had caused major supply chain crisis in many parts of the world where hundred ships were lined-up waiting for weeks. It has 22,000 containers on board, late but successfully arrived in Rotterdam. The ship company is facing thousands of lawsuits from the affected parties.
The stuck image of the ship reminds us of the agony being in the position of immobility. There is nowhere to go but out, even incrementally.
To get out of this mess is to first acknowledge that you're circling along the wagon. The second step is to know the cause.
The cause could be an insistence with a tired approach, fear of failure or success, or the method was inappropriate for the task. Whatever the cause maybe, find it and address the problem.
Third, create the simplest strategies to get you out the stuck mode. It means calling an external expert as a sounding board. It could be listening to a valid feedback from a colleague, or it could be retracing your steps and giving it another go. Sitting in a blank page is not a good thing. But knowing that help is within reach and that the right mindset is key could flush you out of the hole.
With a massive flotilla of tugboats and the tide on their side, Ever Given was freed at last.
Don't wait for something that will not come. Summon help or create your own tide!
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I have seen first-hand how on-purpose organizations refuse to get help when they should, not when it's too late to do so.
That moment is like the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOM) when executives have to make the decision to get good and fast help in the hope to turn the tides for their benefit. As the saying goes: "In moments of weakness, don't make a decision. In moments of strength, take the best decision."
I would like to add to that. The real value is asking and admitting that you need help. That is the first sign of courageous leadership. Knowing when to do is a sign of better sense-making. And taking action by talking to able and wise mentors, coaches, and advisers or even with peers, is a sign of prudence and wisdom.
What's preventing them from seeking help? It's not the lack of resources, budget, or capacity to take new things or learn new things. It's the ego that's preventing leaders from taking new ideas because they think that theirs is the greatest, or they have nothing to learn or they can never fail. Sometimes, they just don't want people to know their issues. Most of the time, it's the low risk appetite.
If your working in organization that refuse to look themselves in the mirror and ask difficult questions, don't enable this and don't go with the flow. You can start asking for help and getting the help you need!
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Leaders and managers, stop auditioning and lead boldly.
There will not be an announcement saying, "You're next to promotions, here's the baton." It is up to you to figure it out. At the end of the day, the best leaders and managers do not wait for an external green light signal. Most often, I find in my 20+ years of career in jobs and consulting, that it's always too late.
Waiting for the green signal from others leave you more vulnerable to external validation and external success metrics imposed on you. It is better to trust your judgement and keep on building your competencies. The right opportunity will come and when it comes, you're ready for it.
In matters of decision-making, the same principle follows. Don't explore a certain future with the intention to seek out certainty. Explore your organization's future with the intention of embracing ambiguity and being effective at cruising along such complexities in your strategic environment. Ambiguity is a friend, not an enemy to curse or throw rocks at!
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The funny thing about start up boot camp is that it's just a boot camp.
It simulates real-life struggles, pains, and turmoil but can barely do so without either running out of steam or funding.
Start ups who are cocooned in this type of environment believe that it will always be easy, there are answers to almost everything, and that with the right technique you can have it all in quick time.
In business and in life, there are many uncontrollable factors and under time pressure, funding pressure, and impact pressure, few entrepreneurs make it without the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma and strains of keeping with the program.
The biggest take-away that a boot camp can do is to let entrepreneurs learn on their own without the grants, supports, networks, and prized monies. What will that look like?
Strip away all the prestige and glamour attributed to entrepreneurialism, it's really about marshalling whatever you have, rather than aiming and getting to their best position.
Bird in hand...