Doing What Must Be Done
It was another networking meeting and I didnít sleep well the night before, so I got out my pencil and started to doodle in my notebook Ė expecting the keynote speaker to preach about growth and profits. But she didnít.
Instead, she spoke about a fire that nearly wiped out their business and the leadership it took to survive it. She spoke about the difference between doing the right thing and doing what must be done. I stopped mid-doodle and looked up.
Doing the right thing is easy. Itís sending flowers. Itís writing a check. Itís solution outsourcing Ė I do that all day long. On the other hand, doing what must be done is rolling up your sleeves, jumping in and doing whatever it takes to solve the problem. Itís first person, itís personal and itís messy. She hit under the belt.
For example, Scott Harrison did what must be done when he discovered that nearly a billion people around the world donít have access to safe drinking water. He didnít just do the right thing and reach for his checkbook, he launched charitywater. org and went out to dig wells in 22 countries and raise $100M to boot. Heís doing what must be done in a big way.
In the process Scott evolved a new model for giving. charitywater.org delivers 100% of the donated money directly to the field; he even lined-up sponsors to cover the backend costs, so that every donated penny goes to find water, not paperwork. When the projects are complete, they send photos and GPS coordinates to each donor, so they can see which community their dollars helped.
Watching Scottís story I felt restless. I learned that $20 is enough to give one person access to clean water and that 5,000 children die every day, if they donít get this access, so I reached for my credit card and did the right thing, but not what must be done, not yet.
What must be done is to raise global awareness and more money so that 1 billion people can start drinking. Along with air and freedom, water is a basic human right that is beyond reach of 15% of the global population. So what can we do? Iím thinking if just 50 of us donated $20 each and raised $1,000 and helped 50 people get drinking water, then suddenly this article becomes a small hose and we become the spigot.
You might say that itís still not sleeve rolling or well digging. And youíd be right. But I can argue that each of us has the power to connect to hundreds of people digitally from the palm of our hand Ė like never before. And if our intention was truly to build a digital hose to water the planet, we could.