Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, I was a member of the Junior League. Perhaps I will discuss the cultural aspects of being a part of such an organization from a woman of color point-of-view at another time. That said, there are many aspects of having been affiliated with The Junior League that I would very much like to forget. But, I digress…
The reason for me bringing up the Junior League in the first place is that for two years, I served as my chapter’s Membership Director. One of my tasks was organizing training and development events. One such event took place on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I can not recall the name of the morning’s keynote speaker. On the other hand, the one thing that I do remember from her presentation on that particular day is the following:
An organization must always have its hands on the right things.
The aforementioned quote can apply to any organization, or, even to an individual’s personal or professional life. The idea of hands creates a powerful image for me: We’re touching it, we’re holding onto it, we’ve got it, we won’t let it go, we will make sure it succeeds. It is sign of commitment and of dedication of seeing something through because you have chosen it and claimed it. The idea of having hands on the right things from a mission standpoint is that the most important aspects of a given enterprise have been determined, and, those aspects form an ethos which guides it.
I don’t know why, exactly, the quote resonated so strongly for me on that Saturday morning over ten years ago, and, why it continues to resonate so strongly for me, even at this very moment in a way that I find it difficult to describe. Quite simply, the quote touches and stirs my soul. I guess I have always been one that desires to do the right things in the right ways, or, as the deacon of my church has said on many occasions, “doing things right and in order.” The quote so very eloquently encapsulates a very basic principle: Do the right thing, know why you’re doing it, and for whom.
Yet, despite being such a simple and basic principle, many organizations seem to struggle in achieving it. Why is this? Even as cynical as I can be much of the time, I so very much want to believe that people desire to do the right thing – especially when the welfare of others is involved. And yet, even within the local Junior League chapter with which I was affiliated, there was jealously, cliquishness, and backbiting, and racism amongst the membership. In fact, so much so, that as soon as members were eligible to go on non-active status, they did. Is this having one’s hands on the right things organizationally, while simultaneously projecting a different image to the community-at-large? I don’t think so.
Is there a quote that resonates strongly with you? What is it, and why?