Anne (netmouse) wrote,

Sustainability is Personal.

In my discussions and reading in the past year, I note that a lot of society's problems revolve around:

* How to achieve knowledge transfer to the next generation(s) while still allowing room for/encouraging new ideas and innovation.

* How to help people develop lasting connections to other people

* How to connect people to services and activities that can help them live a healthy and rewarding life.

* How to connect people with the time, energy, and will to serve to opportunities for them to do so that fit their skills, abilities, preferences, and availability profile.

* How to build a dependable funding stream/business model as needed, as part of:

* How to help make those services / organizations be sustainable over time

(which circles around to)

* How to capture and retain knowledge of how to create and sustain an effective organization.

In my observation, organizational effectiveness tends to be closely linked to specific people, and their personal investment or dependability, as well as their connections to others. And not necessarily people with "leadership" skills, but with people who have whatever are the specific skills and interests or enthusiasm and connections needed to play their part in the organization.

And when the people who created an organization grow old and die, all too often, the history of how the organization actually came to be is lost with them, because they themselves were to busy to actually reflect upon it and capture it, and because it was so long ago no one can for sure remember, and because we as humans are not always sure how something came together - often the origin of something is as much based on friendships and other social connections as it is on a common purpose or intent.

Mentoring can ameliorate these problems, but in this case I mean mentoring with organizational intent or purpose - not mentoring just in order to serve/guide the mentee, but in order to serve the organization by facilitating the education of individuals as to how the organization actually works, in the hope that those individuals will continue with the organization and sustain it.

When funding that was previously available dries up, or a wealthy donor or organizer dies or has to retire, or there is other significant organizational change/turnover, the outside community/people who were "customers" or volunteers with that organization often have no idea what is going on, and little-to-no ability to revive or preserve whatever aspect of that organization they were attached to/benefited from.

All of this contributes to people feeling helpless or hopeless about their own community, even in a community where there is plenty of desire to *build* community. Without knowing how, people are lost, or isolated.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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