Staying in the present, growing through the crisis

The 55th Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Manuel, is famously quoted as saying “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you thought you could not do before.”

The world of communal life is changing, and the question we need to ask ourselves is whether we as a community will use this opportunity to assess ourselves, and assess what we want from our communal leaders and professionals and use this to improve and develop resilience as best we can or whether we will let this crisis go to waste.

At the Cape Board we are using these moments to unpack what we do, how we do it and how we want to serve. This period continues to be one of growth as communal organisations break out of their silos to cross pollinate and best serve our constituents.

For some in our community, thoughts are focused in the past with feelings of longing and regret. Others look to the future with anxiety and fear, but what Covid-19 demands is that we remain in the present and act with focus and resolve. It is through being present that I believe we can really focus on the short term planning we require through this crisis:
• Purpose: What are we trying to do, why are we trying to do it, who are we doing it for?
• Picture: What will success look like in the time frame we can envision?
• Plan: What is our plan for doing that?
• Part to play: What are the roles and responsibilities of everyone on the team, where are the interconnects and who has the accountability for what?

Planning for the end game when each day feels so unpredictable will not allow us to see this through to the finish line. I know that when Rosh Hashanah 5785 comes, I want to be able to say that I did not let this crisis go to waste. I want to be able to say that I was present to assist those who needed me, I was kind even when being kind was hard to do, and I helped develop a resilient community that is now better placed to deal with any future crisis.

By Stuart Diamond, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

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