Tuesday, November 15, 2011


My 9 year old son came home from school with some pretty tough questions just before Remembrance Day. He wanted to know from me as someone with a German background, how it had been possible for Hitler to do the terrible things he did. My son was looking to me for an explanation that has been troubling the world for generations.

After consideration, I looked at him and said:” Because people were too scared to stand up to a bully, hoping if only they‘d turn a blind eye, it would not effect them!” “Therefore”, was my conclusion, “we can not ignore the bullies but must stand up to them!” How little did I know, that I would have to lead by example not long thereafter:

Within the last week there have been terrible developments at a local organization that in the past has been very dear to me. Much of my charitable support time had been dedicated to it and it’s members over the past few years and many friendships were forged. This was before a new regime had taken hold. A regime, that is not transparent but inwardly focused. With that, the feel of the organization changed. Suddenly the gap to the previous, positive and results orientated Board of Directors was very evident.

The increasing distance of the organization to it’s members was at first only a little disappointing, because life and work simply carried on. Until an incident caused for attention and questioning. Suddenly the stark truth of wrong doing and cover-ups became blatantly obvious. So what does one do?

This week, a highly regarded Executive Director was compromised by the current Board of Directors with neglect to observe the by-laws developed for the proper and ethical regulation of actions.

I had to recall my conversation with my son and in addition was jolted into action by a very powerful Remembrance Day Memorial Service. It suddenly became clear listing to the speaker:” Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope!”

At the time my son was holding my hand and gave it a little squeeze:” See mum, that’s why we have to stand up to bullies.” Suddenly I realized I had to do something. Immediately on our return home from the Service, I finally took action and started to pose the question to other members inquiring if they experienced the same issues with the organization and if they were aware of the recent events.

Within the shortest period of time I received a flood of responses! It was as if someone had released the pressure in a valve, ready to burst. Members reached out and shared their concerns with me, willing to consider actions necessary to see some drastic changes in the management of the organization.

So, I was not alone in thinking there were some serious questions that needed to be put to the Board requesting full accountability and transparency for the expulsion of the Director.

And you know? This situation is far from being resolved and may or may not have a satisfactory outcome for the members.

However, that night after the Service I took my son to bed, knowing that I said ‘to hell’ with apathy, proving that I was willing to walk my talk whilst leading by example on the virtues I try to instill in my children.

So I want to call upon you: Find it within yourself to take the first step and you will be surprised how many people will gladly join you in unity.

Be the Change! (and a credible leader of your own virtues)

No comments:

Post a Comment