We Are The Intervention

To help our team respond to the economic challenges for Māori in a post-Covid environment we have been lucky to secure a number of secondments from within Ngāi Tahu and from other kaupapa aligned organisations in Ōtautahi. I now have the privilege of working with an incredibly diverse set of skills, talents, and perspectives. I’m finding this diversity to be a source of creativity and inspiration.  This ability to draw on multiple perspectives has served to strengthen our overall impact and has grown our team culture. 

However learning to include multiple perspectives also takes courage and it has required me to develop some interpersonal practices. In these times of crisis and rapid change it is natural to look for a familiar face and seek reassurance about our core beliefs, values, and practices. While working with what I have come to term ‘like minds’ is useful and invigorating, remaining open and responsive to the potential of unknown collaborators can bring a greater transdisciplinary perspective, both to our work and to the way we grow as human beings.  

Here are five recent learnings:

1. Listening

What’s great about working with ‘like minds’ is that we don’t need to stop and explain anything. When the team contains a range of different perspectives I’ve noticed that I have had to slow down and listen from a place of enquiry, empathy and kindness so that our ideas can converge.   

2. Relationships

In the social innovation space we often talk about how change is a relational practice. The new people in our team has been a reminder that investing in new and diverse relationships takes time. Building connection and understanding is something that we should continue to value as much as ‘outcomes’. 

In the social innovation space we often talk about how change is a relational practice. The new people in our team has been a reminder that investing in new and diverse relationships takes time. Building connection and understanding is something that we should continue to value as much as ‘outcomes’. 

3. Self Care

I’ve also been reminded of the importance of self care in tumultuous times. Nurturing relationships without nurturing self is fruitless. When I am stressed, unfocused, reactive, or unwell then these qualities will be my contribution to the team, and to the world. When I model healthy boundaries and share stories of self care then I am helping my colleagues to do the same. 

4. Leadership

In the current economic and global crisis there is a scarcity of genuine and authentic leadership.  Rather than just looking to our managers or to politicians, I think this highlights the need for all of us to exemplify our own personal leadership but also for us to be discerning in who we choose to invest in and follow.  

5. Values

Perhaps it is time for values based leadership? In a world burdened by social, global and climate crisis it can be tempting to retreat into abstractions, elaborate ideas and theories. I wonder if simplicity and practicing core values may be the new currency that is genuinely needed.  Let’s be kind and look after each other, and let’s find ways to unite around a common cause that will bring greater social good to the world.   

During this period of rapid change and upheaval the value of my personal relationships with colleagues, collaborators and allies feels even more important than ever. Through my work I’ve been reminded over and over again of the goodness of people, of their intention to do their best and work together for a common good. This has helped me to connect with these qualities in my own practice, and reminded me that ultimately we are the intervention.

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