“Working at the speed of trust.”

This post comes from Niaz Dorry, NAMA’s coordinating director.

People are often frustrated with us because they believe we don’t work fast enough for their liking. Or we don’t jump at every opportunity presented to us. Yes, we slow down. It’s because we want to dig deeper and know more before taking action. In fact, recently in response to suggesting we should slow down someone sent me a clip of Elvis Presley’s song “A little less conversation a little more action, please.” It didn’t make me go any faster.

Last weekend we had our board and staff retreat. We’re planning our next 3-5 years work. Our facilitator, Ora Grodsky, mentioned a phrase she had read about or heard in an interview featuring the organizers of Black Lives Matter. They said they are working at the speed of trust.
That little statement said so much to me. And as soon as I heard it I thought “That’s it… working at the speed of trust. That’s us.”
One thing that came through at our retreat is how much our work has been, and continues to be, rooted in values. Whether it’s our values as an organization or the values we are nurturing in the seafood value chain or the values we advocate for in fisheries and ocean policies… it’s all about values.
Aligning around values takes trust and it takes time.
There is an African proverb that says: “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That’s us, too.
Going at the speed of trust makes going farther together possible.
We don’t want to go fast because we are more interested in going far. The problems we are working to solve take deliberate action so we can nip them in the bud for good. Otherwise, our mission will end up being about self-perpetuation so we can be around to keep fighting them over and over again. Our end-game is to work ourselves out of a job. Thus we must work at the speed of trust, the kind of trust Gandhi talked about when he said: “Trusting one another, however, can never mean trusting with the lip and mistrusting with the heart.”

Don’t get me wrong… we are up for doing what has to be done NOW especially if the call comes from those that we’ve learned to trust. It’s not that we object to rising to specific occasions; it’s more that we are in it for the slow and steady journey that if planned with intention, can make room for us to respond to those occasions when they pop up but they won’t throw us off track.

We’re particularly interested in taking this trip with those who are aligned with our values, connected with our work, and ready to take the long journey even if it takes a while. In another words, those we’ve come to trust with our lips and our hearts because let’s face it… we all stumble and make mistakes. Lip-service trust says you’re forgiven; heart-centered trust really means it.

Bottom line is that if you want to work fast, we’re probably not the people you want to collaborate with. We don’t want to take one step forward and a few major steps back because we didn’t take time to build trust, connectivity, and alignment along the way.

But if you are ready to work at the speed of trust toward long-term change in fisheries policies and markets – and actually see real tangible stuff happen along way – please stick around.