15 May 2012

Peacemakers war…

Something that I have found very common when working as a volunteer is the subliminal silent internal war over everyday activities within any particular organisation.

Veterans vs. Cadets
People with more experience are very protective over their positions and about the “way that things must be”.
Most veterans got their “medals” doing hard jobs at a time when no specialization was available or even necessary, all they had was the rule book and they did very well at that time.
Today we are living in an era of the most explosive scientific discoveries and it is pushing the more conservative approach to review positions.
Daily and sometimes hourly science reviews mean that people are constantly having to change their positions. There is no longer just one possibility and there is no more space for inflexibility.

The tactical and strategic attack and defence of the veterans is maintained by “how things must be done” and “how to follow the rules”.
Doing it they are absolutely shielded. It means that communication only flows if everything is perfect, and by “seeking the perfection”.  Mainly it is a contradiction; there is no perfection in a sea of variables.
The tactic of newcomers is to reduce the work of the veterans by exposing them to their lack of specialization and new knowledge of resources by spreading rumours and gossip or trying to ensure the veterans are unable to form polarized groups which in turn could affect the unity of the organization. 
The only conversation allowed at the veterans HQ will be the selfish overconfident like: “I do it by the book, so, you must do the same”. Then it gets sick by promoting the conversation to the level of “look how wrong people do it”. The gas grenades of patronizing people are a tactical action to ensure that the veterans’ positions are safe, so the attachment to the book becomes powerful and can be continually used against the cadets.
The other powerful weapon on both sides of this war is that of gossip, the low voices tingling at environment corners, the silent criticism of the body language disapproving things as they are not in the “perfect order” or if they are not in the way that both sides wants to see things done.
Gossips are a clear sign of lack of professionalism and maturity. Each side needs to consider that devaluing each other spreading rumours causes damage to the entire system.  Devaluation devaluates everything. Both sides are reducing each other powers by devaluation and the end result will be a much devaluated organization with no confidence in itself and it will be spread to the public knowledge and concept of it.

The only way to the centre of a blank is the mistake, if you don’t experience the acceptance of the mistake you are never going to correct the position to the centre. If you agree with this logic, that means that you will need to put a stop to criticism of others’ mistakes. We all mistaken.

Veterans are important, they are the living experience and columns of everything, they did suffer things unimaginable today and they kept the name of their organization at the top.
Learning is a fantastic process, there is nothing better than learning from someone who has experience, people that have a wealth of information at their fingertips because they have lived and breathed it. They are masters of transferable skills.
Again, if new cadets look at the veterans only as something that need to be replaced it will again show lack of intelligence, respect, professionalism etc. Again, it will bring contradiction to the level of the helpers, volunteers that don’t understand their first priority.  Helpers must think about what they are…

… “We are helpers, people who understand situations and deal with it so we can make things better, more peaceful, etc. we bring a solution.”
New cadets are not at the level of replacing everything, and the idea of complete replacement is never achievable.
Nevertheless, there are new techniques, new materials, technologies, new concepts of leadership, new knowledge, new devices to teach better, something new every day. Veterans must know that if they do not allow new things and new people to do better it will discourage them and those people who have the potential to bring enthusiasm and bring new life into the organisation will be gone forever as they will find a different organization to empower. By stopping these very people,  the organization will lose expertise and specialists within their field. Protectionism damages powerful organizations.
When an organization that is in dire need of a changeover for a new generation, it is essential this is done using the wisdom of discipleship. If you gain respect it will be appreciated by others. It is much better to be an empathic teacher than a commander.
Cadets are Veterans of the past; remember that it wasn’t easy on you, so how do you make their path easier today? Friendliness is much more likely to go down well than bossiness.
So, veterans who are on duty need to respect the new generations and vice-versa, otherwise it will lead to dispute.
Voluntary jobs are services, so we are servants of others by free will. Volunteers do things freely, with generous hearts for helping others. So if volunteers do not help and do not highly value their colleagues there is no point in serving anybody else. The best training in an organization that offers services is first of all to be internally-minded, the first motivation is that staff, whether they are volunteers or not, should be the highlight of team attitude.

The anti-war weapons are still super effective.
Things like:
“Would you mind helping me with this?”
“Could you please?”
“Thank you”
“You are VERY welcome”
“Let me show you how it could be better”
“Please, show me how you could do better than me”
“I do appreciate that”
“Could I?”
“May I?”
“Nice job, well done”
“I am sure that you can do this better, is there anything I can do to help?”
“Is there someone better than me that I could ask to help?”
Sure there are many other phrases that you may know.
Let me finish this blog page with one of my quotes and a better famous one.
“When your knowledge makes you proud there are no more spaces to fulfil. It is a feeling of completeness.
When your knowledge makes you humble it shows that no matter how much you know,
You already had learned that you are going to find space to learn something new, different or better.”   Paul McCullough
“You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one” John Lennon

By Paul McCullough

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