Isn’t it just THE BEST feeling when you get a group of decent, easy-going, happy people in the same space? And isn’t it amazing what can be achieved with a group like this?
On Tuesday just gone, we assembled “The A-team” to assist with the packing of the 1600 books for 100 Children’s Hospitals as part of our “Read & Recover” initiative. I am sure that it will be blogged about further in the near future, but I just wanted to share briefly, what I took from the day! Whilst it was never about me, I came away with a fantastic feeling and it was all because of the wonderful people I shared the experience with.
Upon arrival, everyone jumped to the various tasks and throughout the process there was plenty of happy chatter, a few laughs and a general air of comraderie. Over the ensuing 5 hours, (minus time for lunch of course) – we unpacked, bundled, wrapped, packed and posted the books so that they could get to their various destinations all across the country.
From me personally, I just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the wonderful people that I got to know a bit better and spend some quality time with. The opportunity to get to know some truly good and decent human beings was an honour. The fact that I was able to do so whilst we all worked together for the greater good was truly a wonder and something that I feel greatly priviledged to have experienced.
Sue, Kathy, Michael and Jenny – THANK YOU for being so kind and generous with your time and more importantly, with yourselves. It was my absolute pleasure to have been able to get to know each of you (even you JW) that much better and I look forward our next catch-up!
When we started our Read & Recover Initiative in partnership with Brad Sugars, we knew that it was going to be a big job, full of fun and a fair bit of hard work and hey, we’re ALWAYS up for a challenge and ALWAYS up for hard work ! To us, it was going to take some great organisational skills and a passion to make kids smile. If you think about the process in its simplest form, all we have to do is buy 1600 books and send them to 100 hospitals. All of us at White Now consider ourselves as organizational machines (and we usually are except when one of our kids has been up all night then we are more like organisational disasters) !!
We started with a plan and a time line. Isn’t it true though that it’s not until you plan a process that you actually work out that the simple logistics that you had once thought of, have turned into a 68 page procedure manual that takes 2 weeks to develop and another 2 weeks to digest ? Our aim though is to get these books out there and we will do what it takes to make that happen.
We are rapidly crossing the tasks of the list with each cross triggering a smile on our faces knowing that we are one step closer to getting those books out. There have been so many people who have offered their assistance to pack or deliver the books or simply be involved somehow, and they are patiently waiting until it is ‘packing day’. We had many photographers offering their services to do photo shoots for us with Brad and also taking images of the delivery of the books to the hospitals. We ended up securing Michael O’Farrell from www.ofarrell.com.au, who is already an absolute pleasure to deal with. This contact came through Facebook and we thank his daughter for putting his name forward.
We are right in the middle of calling the hospitals and this is where the interesting challenges have manifested. The plan was to call each hospital, find the appropriate person to chat to about the initiative, grab their details, gain their permission to donate the books, send them a formal letter, get the delivery volunteers to call them when it is time to deliver, have the hospital contact receive the books at a mutually suitable time and there endeth the process. Don’t forget that we are organizational machines here at White Now and if there is a process to follow, we will do it. What we didn’t plan for was all the variables that we would find once this ring around started – these include;
The person we need to talk to is on leave
The person we need to talk to is unable to return our call
The Reception staff want to handle this themselves and won’t pass the call on
The hospital is unable to take books for hygiene/OH&S reasons
The hospital is unable take books, they can only take monetary donations
The message gets lost
The hospital wants to give the books to kids to take home
The hospital wants to see the actual books prior to accepting them
The hospital will only take them if they are posted
With all of these variable thrown at us, we soon realized that we had to be flexible to meet the needs of either the individual taking the call, the hospital or the donation protocol. So guess what ? That is what we did. We put our ‘flexible, accommodating’ hats on and tried to meet all of their needs. Once we did this, we could achieve White Now and Brad Sugars’ goal of getting 1600 books to 100 hospitals. What was so great about talking to the hospitals was that even if they could not accept the books, they usually offered suggestions about other hospitals that could. Everyone seems to care which is simply amazing.
We have learnt a valuable lesson with this process and that is that you can plan and set up procedures to YOUR requirements, but the other stakeholders may not always be able to follow your procedures. You have to quickly adjust your strategy to suit everyone…… and that is just what we are doing; Some books are staying in their factory wrapping, some books that were to be delivered are now being posted, some hospitals that were to receive books now are not receiving the books with other hospitals being added to the list, our formal letters change depending on the individual requirements of each hospital and soon there will be 1600 more books in Australian hospitals.
It is certainly true that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail, but when you are planning anything, build into the plan the flexibility to meet the needs of others as you cannot always predict others behaviours.
It is announcement day – have we been granted our wish ? I logged onto work first thing and found a message from Brad Sugars congratulating us. I popped onto Facebook and saw this message “Brad Sugars says OK, here goes Sugars Clause has decided … Jon Byrne will get his wish for a trailer to feed the homeless … Renee Jones will get her wish to have a coach work with her charity … Karen Rita Ford will get presents for her kids for Christmas … my friend Jenny Wiz Whitenow will get books for the kids hospitals in her area …”
Our wish had been granted – there WILL be smiles on sick kid faces ! What a great gift ! First thing to do was send a thank you to Brad for his generosity in joining us in our Read & Recover program. The second was to tell the team and the third thing was to cry. Cry with happiness again that White Now could make a small difference to kids lives. There is the feeling of happiness when you give to friends and family that results in a warm feeling inside, but giving to those really in need of a smile, brings a feeling that you simply cannot go past. The team were over the moon and shared in the tears, and the process is about to begin. We will commence this venture in the new year !
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I was reading through Facebook and one of our Facebook friends is Brad Sugars – billionaire, entrepreneur, business success story and all round good guy ! He was looking to make someone’s wish come true and posted a Santa Brad offer that you could not beat. He offered all of his 5000 plus friends on FB the chance to have anything that they wanted for Christmas. You just had to post what you wanted. I was simply amazed to see the responses. People wanted their house paid off, a new sports car, cash donations to start their businesses, free coaching from the coach himself, holidays to expensive resorts, you name it – they asked him for it. I sat and wondered to myself. Here is a man who has made his millions by working hard, being smart and being devoted to his future. Here are also a bunch of budding entrepreneurs as his friends wanting to get a break from him and get some cash to get ahead in their career/business/personal life etc. Amongst the hundreds and hundreds of requests there were a few who asked for monetary assistance to help others. Here is witnessed the TRUE Christmas spirit. There were a handful of people, who knows if they were wealthy and successful or lived in poverty but they asked for donations to help others. The light bulb went on !!
I have spent many nights in hospital throughout the year with my 3 year old. He has by no means got a life threatening illness like many other children, but has been hit with pneumonia multiple times. We have had such fantastic experiences in hospitals with people whose vocation is like no other – nurses ! If I could take my hat off to anyone, it would be them. The hospital we usually go to has a reasonable range of books for kids, but many are old and tattered and if I was to be honest, they are from another era. If there are two things that bring a smile to a sick, bed ridden child’s face, it is people and books. I then went to visit a range of other kids hospital wards and found that many wards had virtually no books. I then put to my team the idea that we could start a Read & Recover program and donate books to these hospitals. Everyone was on board and we were ready to post our Christmas wish on Brad’s wall. We want to give 150 books to 10 hospitals ! Let’s wait and see what happens !
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