For those that have even remotely followed the story of Hands Across the Water, the charity that I founded after working in Thailand identifying the bodies of those who died following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, you will have heard me speak of a remarkable young man by the name of Watahana Sittirachot or as he is known to us Game.
It’s about CHOICE. Personally I’m choosing the type of work that I enjoy doing, it needs to be food for my soul and I need to believe that it is delivering value. Not surprising then that as the Board of Hands spent some time reflecting on what we stand for three key values emerged; Choice, Commitment and Compassion.
Money is certainly not the source of happiness for them, it’s family, it’s community and it’s how they spend their time together wherein lies their richness.
You don’t need to be loud to be heard.
“She is both powerful and beautiful in all measures but incredibly influential based upon grace and dignity”.
If we act with good integrity, good intent, consult where possible and then make a decision that ultimately proves to be incorrect, we will be forgiven. However, if we fail to make any decision at all for the fear of making the wrong decision we wont be forgiven. True leadership is less about following policy and procedure and more about leading in times when there is no policy and procedure. It’s about making decisions.
I’ve spent a lot of time with her over the last six years and a lot has changed. I recall quite vividly stepping off the plane in Ubon Ratchatani for the first time back in 2010, with many of the Thai’s looking at me as though I must have boarded the wrong flight. "Why on earth would he be travelling to Ubon" you could see them asking each other. People talk about the Isaan Region as the “real” Thailand. The contradiction between where I found myself and the streets of Phuket, Bangkok or Khao Lak could not be more stark.
"you don’t have to be an elite cyclist, you don’t have to be a regular cyclist, seriously you don’t even need to own a bike to make the commitment, you just need to take action and get active"
Ask yourself, who in society are among those who have the quietest voice and attract the least attention often suffering in silence, behind closed doors?
There is an increasing trend, particularly within the for purpose or not for profit sector, to measure the “impact” of what we do and the difference our contribution makes. But measuring impact is a lot harder than it sounds and there aren’t too many people who can put their hand on their heart and declare they have the formula all sorted.
When I speak of the proposition that CSR should be good for those that are giving, to the point that it is actually a profit centre back to the company, there is usually one of two responses. The first is “that’s interesting, tell me more” and the second is “I don’t agree, we don’t want a return, we give because it’s the right thing to do.”
Businesses who engage with the charity sector like to believe that they are doing more than just donating a portion of their net profit to their chosen charity and in effect have a corporate social responsibility program in place. Truth be known, many businesses who believe they are engaged in CSR, really are just engaged in corporate philanthropy.
“Seldom is it the lack of intent or desire that results in unmatched expectations, just the execution of the activity”.
Songs have been sung, books have been written and movies have been made telling the story of love and it’s many different forms, but the story of Mae Thiew and her love for her children, many abandoned by those who should have loved and protected them the most is surely love in its purest form. It’s a love with compassion, warmth, tenderness, and devotion. But it is not without discipline, sacrifice, respect and rules. She is the task master, the disciplinarian, the educator, the boundary setter and the chief giver of hugs.
One of the areas where many organisations contribute to society is supporting charities and not for profit groups who work to fill the gaps that exist in society left by business and government. With the exception of the mature and large corporate entities, many businesses choose to make their contribution in the form of monetary donations and/or skilled and unskilled volunteering.
At what point do you decide that you’ve planned enough, you’ve trained enough and it’s time to execute? If you go too early there’s a risk you will be caught short due to a lack of preparation and planning. But if you wait too long the risk is someone else will beat you to market, thereby seizing the opportunity.
“Leaders need to be decisive and they need to make decisions, sometimes decisions without deliberation."
“Those leaders who act too quickly or equally take too long will soon lose the support of their teams. ”
“If not now then when, if not you then who?”
Having worked in crisis and disaster areas across the globe including Indonesia following the Bali Bombings, Thailand in the aftermath of the South East Asian tsunami, Saudi Arabia post the deadly floods in Jeddah and Japan following the tsunami of 2011, I have witnessed the response of individual leaders with and without positional authority.
It’s often at this time of year when a lot of people will consider giving to their favourite charity in lieu of christmas presents for those who are too difficult to buy for or don’t need a whole lot. Seldom are the gifts we give at Christmas about true “need” and more about want. It’s a reflection of the country we live in and the standard of living that we enjoy.
Growing up summer time for me meant playing outside after dinner until the street lights came on and then racing home before you heard mum calling for you. The sound of cicadas, sprinklers on the grass and a dab of zinc on the nose. But summer time in Australia was all about the water. You were either in it, on top of it, underneath or crashing through it.