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From the blog

Of Mosquitoes, Mandela and Mahatma Ghandhi


Rob Knowles is MD at Cubet Ltd, an organisation that specialises in helping individuals, teams and organisations to evolve. Cubet Ltd is a member of Investors in the Environment, the national green accreditation scheme for businesses.

Mosquitoes are much in the news at the moment, with the Zika virus in South America. I had cause to have a conversation with somebody recently about a mosquito.

“A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark” – Dante Alighieri.

At the recent Investors in the Environment Awards night I was delighted to receive a Green Award. The event was brilliantly organized and run by Peterborough Environment City Trust. It was an excellent occasion and gave rise to a wonderful networking opportunity.

Whilst chatting with one business owner I asked him what drew him to the event. He replied that apart from the networking opportunity he felt he was “considering doing something green” with his business, but felt that he would be met with resistance, and that he was too small to make a difference.

I challenged this notion, with the adage that you’re never too small to make a difference – if you need proof, try sleeping in a tent with a mosquito. I could see from his body language that he has already resigned himself to the difficulty of this near impossible task, chortling – you don’t know the folks I work with. As tempted as I was to challenge that objection by reminding him he had hired them, I deftly quoted Nelson Mandela that ”It always seems impossible until it is done”. This aphorism had a slight effect – manifested as very slight nod and smile. I quickly followed up with wisdom from Mahatma Ghandi “You must be the change you wish the world to see.”

As for resistance he felt he might meet, he is perfectly correct. It is human nature to resist new things, but with the right amount of thinking and planning the change can be made into the norm. Change is all about the challenging the norm.

As the conversation progressed, he asked what I was doing. I replied I’m sending a tweet, with a message to show how we can challenge the norm.

I further explained that in order to be resilient and adaptable to be able to cope with change, you have to be resilient as an organisation and a person. In order for that to be in place, mindfulness has to be factored in. Before a person can be mindful, I believe that they must understand and be able to manage their own mindsets. 

This approach is often used in my own work with Cubet Ltd where I help companies get more from their employees.