Are you running fast just to stay still?

shutterstock_392336767“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 Have you ever felt that you had to work really hard just to stay in the same place? Like a duck swimming in a current. Above water looking effortless and somewhat nonchalant. Underneath the water paddling like your live depended on it.

I see many charities feeling this especially now. We’ve never been able to predict the future, but now it feels that the only certainty is uncertainty.

We need to think differently about how to solve some of the fundraising problems that we are facing. In uncertain times I believe that there is even greater need to work in collaboration with local communities, businesses, entrepreneurs and charity partners to achieve our shared objectives.

What road do we take?

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”

The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Perhaps it’s just as well that we are all paddling really hard to stay still, because in our experience many organisations are not joined up about where they are going. Or in some instances some teams and departments are clear on where they are going, while others are just paddling and others are heading in completely different directions.

The end result is that we all feel like the Mad Hatter (not good) and the beneficiaries that we are there to provide for do not receive the services they need.

The first questions we ask when working with clients are, ‘Where do you want to go?’ ‘What does success look like?’ It should be a basic question but the Alice in Wonderland quotes really chimed with us because often people and organisations don’t know where they are going, or different departments have different ideas about what the final destination is.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

It’s all very well for Alice. We can’t just disappear down a rabbit hole and eat cake and turn up again later and hope everything will be alright.

If any of the Alice quotes resonate with you, our advice is;

  • Stop running (or paddling) – Take time to think about where you are going. This is really difficult, you might drift backwards briefly, but it will make for better results in the medium to long-term.
  • Go back to basics – reassess what you are there to do. What is your core purpose? Stop doing anything that is not getting you closer to achieving your core purpose.
  • Involve your team – make sure they understand their core purpose and they also reevaluate anything else that are doing that is not helping them achieve that.
  • Check with your management team that you are not running in conflicting directions. And if you are – stand still. Regroup. Work through the difficulties. Start off again in the same direction

And if you’d like any help then drop us a line at lucy@lucidity.org.uk.

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