I just finished reading Melinda Gates’ new book Moment of Lift and was struck by how fully she immersed herself in the work of the Gates Foundation. It would have been easy for her to stay at home in Seattle and dole out her millions from there but she made frequent trips to the poorest regions on Earth. There Melinda lived with the locals, spoke with community groups and individual women and tried to learn first-hand what the needs are and whether (or not) the Gates’ funding was making an impact.

I think about Melinda traveling to India and Africa to gain these experiences when so many of us do not venture across town to meet with marginalized members of our community. It is so easy to become insulated – to read about issues or learn about them in conferences – without ever coming face-to-face with the people who are living them. Whether it be non-attenders in a church community, struggling students on a college campus, uninsured members in the city – many of us work to meet what we think their needs are without direct input from those we are trying to serve.

When is the last time you had a first-person account from someone who is impacted by your policies or services? When have you asked someone whether your good intentions are, in fact, producing desired results? When have you left your office and ventured out to observe what it is really like in the field?

Before you take any further action, pledge to hear directly from those on the front line about what would truly benefit them.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: