I am excited to be starting a monthly column in the local newspaper LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin. This is the first instalment. I will do a short video blog to accompany the column each month. This month focuses on what we need be able to lead and work in the midst of change - build relationships, let go of control and know yourself. Enjoy the video and see an excerpt of the column below - follow the link to the Lighthouse site for the full article.
I have the exciting and often daunting honour of working with people who are going through major change that feels beyond their control. That is generally when I get a call. This ranges from large corporate institutions and governments to community driven organizations and loose local collaboratives. My work takes me across the Province, throughout North America and every now and then over to Europe and beyond.
One thing is clear to me. Change means things get chaotic. It’s the nature of it. Change means we are encountering and doing things we have not done before ...
READ THE FULL COLUMN ON THE LIGHTHOUSE NOW WEBSITE ...
There is no doubt that we in Lunenburg County and across Nova Scotia are in a period of major change. In addition to all the economic challenges outlined in the Ivany report we are now going to see a change in the population in Nova Scotia with a large influx of immigrants and refugees. This is without a doubt needed to sustain and hopefully invigorate our economy (Lunenburg County alone need 800 immigrants a year), but that does not mean it is going to be easy.
I think there are some basic things we need to keep in mind as we go through this period, however long it will last:
Relationships make it easier, fragmentation makes it harder.
The more connected we are in periods of major change the more effective our responses can be. It is basic and ancient human knowledge that when things get tough we turn to each other and figure it out together.
That is why the drive now for greater municipal collaboration makes complete sense to me. If our governing bodies are not working in concert with each other across our region we will be massively disabled from building effective responses to rapidly changing times. There is a great quote from the invitation to the Forestry Lab, an innovative response to the upheaval of the Forestry Industry in Nova Scotia, initiated by a Lunenburg County resident:
“The complexity of issues we face demand that we talk. The past few months have demonstrated that the more entrenched we become in our respective positions the greater the fragmentation there is across the issues. The result is that we are loosing our ability to innovate a path forward at the very time we need it most.”
I think this applies to all of our endeavours right now. We have to figure out how to get along across our geographic, economic, religious and ethnic divides. We have to put the challenges facing us in the middle and not the protection of our particular piece of the pie.
I also see a ray of hope in how the private sponsorship groups bringing refugees into our county are working together. I was at a planning session with the Mahone Bay group and everything they had an excess of, they were making available to other groups. There has already been a meeting of the 15 groups to explore how they might work together. It puts the needs of the families that are coming in the centre and does not prioritize the needs of the sponsoring group (or their heroism at saving them from their circumstances, which I think is a real danger in an effort of this nature). I applaud all involved for seeking each other out and having the good sense to organize together in the face of an issue that none of us are truly experienced in navigating.
Trying to control change increases everyone’s suffering.
I think the natural response to a period of unprecedented change is to want to get control of it, fix it and make it better. The tough thing about change is that it is beyond our control. We cannot manage ourselves out of it. I cannot count the number of times I have seen people coming up with strategies to deal with change that by the time they are ready to launch, the circumstance has changed so much the strategy is obsolete!
Trying to control the circumstance and the people just adds to the suffering. Imagine if the immigration groups bringing in families, instead of working together hunkered down, didn’t share resources and didn’t allow the different families to connect to each other. It would just make their work of sponsorship harder and undermine the families abilities to connect to like minded people going through the same experience.
CONTINUE READING THE FULL COLUMN ON THE LIGHTHOUSE NOW WEBSITE ...
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