Dear Dalitso

Everyday lessons for tomorrow

Just Do It

September 20, 2023
Letter #

Over the years I have learnt the importance of being a doer rather than collecting and refining an idea. There is no perfect idea. The test is in the doing. I must appreciate the importance of testing the idea, learning as we implement and to quickly make corrections. The clock is ticking, and it never stops- a fresh idea or organization maybe old and dated tomorrow. Keep going.  

Building a house or an organization is necessary but not fun especially when it’s being done based on cash that is not yet available. Faith is the word. We didn’t have all the money set aside to build the house. We just stumbled along. The same applies to SIVIO. We didn’t have any grants at the beginning. Donors (bless them) always come later. Donor funds would not have come if we had not registered ourselves, hired a small team, carried out some work. They rarely fund an idea. So, we had to start. And when they come too early, they may dilute the original idea. They also have their own agendas. 

I have on many occasions repeatedly raised the issue of working at a fast pace. It gives one the opportunity to learn and move on. There is a temptation of planning paralysis within nonprofit teams. We can spend a lot of time focused on planning with a limited focus on execution. In some instances, we confuse planning with actual execution. I am a planning enthusiast. I have a number of planning Apps have learnt that a plan doesn’t work itself. Like a building plan an organization’s plan will need human and financial resources. 

We have moved to the second phase- where it's just not about doing but also a focus on results. We have been asking ourselves several ‘so what’ questions lately. We tick the right boxes; busy, punctual, lots of staff meetings- but to what end. And we are smart enough to justify all our actions. But are we really doing what it takes to achieve positive results. One major fear is rabbit trails- pursuing the seemingly easy stuff and not doing the heavy lifting. It is a delicate balance. We are not there yet. 

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