Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Never Give Up - Expanded Role for Consultants

I've used this graphic for many years to illustrate the intermediary role I take, trying to help youth tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas, by connecting them directly to resource providers, ideas, peers, etc.  Notice, the blue box is not directly between these two groups, but below.

There are literally thousands of experts, consultants, etc. who sit on the green arrow, in between those who can help and those who need help.  For the most part, they charge a fee for their services, so only those who have money to pay the fee benefit from the help that is offered. 

Many of those who serve as consultants have web sites showing how they teach leadership skills, team building, problem solving, systems thinking, etc.  Few show on their web sites how the skills they are teaching are applied over a period of years to help one, or many, organizations solve the complex problems which they were created to solve.

Below is a concept map I created last year to point to many of the data-indicator web sites that I've learned about, and that I share in my web library

If you click into many of these sites you'll find an extensive library of maps/data that  shows where a problem persists, which is where organizations should be focusing their efforts, and where resource providers should be applying their aid.

I use a wheel graphic to illustrate that the sum-total of problems in a city represents the wheel, and the individual components are slices of the pie.  I created this after looking at the Boston Innovation Hub for many years. The Innovation Hub is a resource of the Boston Indicators Project, which I point to with a link on the concept map.  They don't use the pie chart as much, but do point to 10 indicator areas representing major issues important to people in Boston.  

I use the same image to illustrate the age-appropriate supports youth living in high poverty areas need to more successfully, and safely, move through school and into jobs and career.  Programs that support this strategy need to stay engaged with a youth and many volunteers for 10-20 consecutive years!

I was inspired to write this article by how Brandon Newton has been re-tweeting my @tutormentorteam Twitter posts.  I visited his web site today and saw a variety of inspirational messages, including "never give up" and "it won't be easy".

I can relate to that.  I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011. I led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago from 1975 to 2011. That's where many of my ideas, including the graphic above, originated. 

While I've amassed a huge library of information and ideas that has been visited by more than 1 million people since 1998, and while I've received much praise for my efforts, I've not been consistently supported by donors, volunteers, civic leaders or business.

While several thousand inner city youth came through the programs I led, and I'm connected to many of them on Facebook and Linkedin, these programs were never fully funded.  

I'm still at the bottom of a huge mountain, looking up at where I'm trying to go.  However, I've not given up and every day represents and opportunity for someone to say "Let me help you."

I'd like to be able to visit web sites of consultants and see a similar pie chart, with a shaded area highlighting the causes they are committed to solving, and where they provide their talent and time, to help "those who need help" and "those who can provide help" connect with each other in long-term efforts that apply the ideas of the consultants in creating solutions to the problems they focus on.  Such web sites would contain case-studies and process review sections where they make transparent the work they are doing to solve the problems their paying clients are trying to solve.

They might respond "How do I stay in business if I give my time/talent away for free?"  I've heard others say "I don't do nothing if I don't get paid."  

Maybe that would make them partners with those who need help in trying to attract the support of those who can help

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