To give something to someone should be a humbling honour. To give something to someone on behalf of another is daunting and terrifying; the irony of an arrogant middle man in middle management is not just infuriating, it is sad.
If I were employed to run the CSI division of a wealthy company, I hope that I would try to do things differently. I would be brave in demanding a stark realisation where good theory and good praxis meet. Instead of strategy, scope and return, I would ask questions of value, respect, sacrifice and compassion. Not as a side comment, but as a constant fundamental.
The kid, the recipient of CSI help, that kid is and should be treated as more important as the CEO of the company giving the cash.
For those not familiar with the game, here is a small breakdown of typical events:
– 8 August 2012: Meeting the very important middle man (woman)
– 8 August 2012: She makes her three first time visitors sit and wait in a board room, being 30 minutes late for a meeting
– 9 August 2012: Follow up email sent as requested
– 10 August 2012: The CSI team confirms a visit to the kids for 20 August
– 15 August 2012: Meeting cancelled, after kids were already informed
– 4 September 2012: Follow up email after not receiving a new date
– 10 September 2012: Follow up email
– 6 November 2012: Follow up email after receiving no correspondence
– 14 January 2013: Follow up email after hearing nothing
– 17 January 2013: receive new date for visit to those kids
– 23 January 2013: another confirmation of the visit on 13 Feb 2013
– 11 February 2013: receive notice of cancellation of visit with kids
– 11 February 2013: I sent rude-ish email suggesting no further visits, despite this company having the potential to fund
our whole programme and the fact that it is a perfect strategic alignment
– 11 February 2013: I am driven to blog by my disgust for rich people forgetting ‘their’ people and wondering when the
struggle for dignity and freedom became a struggle for glamour and luxury.
CSI makes sense when it is characterised by true generosity, respect and dignity. Mutual learning and equality should be assumed as normative. Sure there are stories to tell, but if the story behind the story is one of power, paternalism and disrespect, the whole thing gets ugly quickly.
Let us be at our best behaviour when we have a chance of giving, not when we have a chance of gaining. Respect the beggar, uneducated, poor and weak before sucking up to the powerful and wealthy. The latter has the power to promote us, but the former has the power to save us.