Last fall I asked an extremely smart woman a question. I asked her to list three ways that she brings integrity into her social change work. The person was Melody Barnes (@MelodyCBarnes) and it was at Tamarack's Collective Impact Summit. Because she took a long pause to answer, I knew something solid was coming. Her honest answer was two-fold: 1. I act on what I want to see and 2. I hire people who have a sense of humor. Act on what I want to see. Act on what I want to see. What does that mean to my work in community?
I describe myself as a problem-solver, big picture thinker, collaborative team player, unabashed optimist and lover of natural history. If I was to be totally honest though, I'd say that I have a naive willingness; I find it hard to suppress my curiosity all tangled up with wanting to work with people differently. I suppose it must be good that I'm not attached to doing things the way they've always been done. I like to experiment and I want to see impact not just busy work.
When I see people huddled in their corners working away and not talking to anyone I honestly get scared. How can you find value when you don't know what others think, feel or believe? How do you check your blind spots if there is no one to ask 'wicked questions'? Luckily, there is a huge world of devoted people who know this to also be true and are willing to stand in conflict and be uncomfortable; they are courageous indeed. My hope is that there are kernels of honesty that keep you true to your community practice.