When Two or More Are Gathered
Back in the 1980s, a small southeastern town was being overrun with abandoned, injured and feral dogs and cats. “Animal Shelter” had become a euphemism for “gas chamber,” and hundreds of perfectly healthy and loveable animals were dispatched weekly. While many in the community were heartbroken about the situation, no one knew exactly what to do.
It wasn’t until two women initiated a forum to solicit ideas that things began to change for the better. People from all walks of life started to come together to share concerns, offer opinions and gather information about what other cities around the country were doing about the unwanted animal population.
As various options were researched and discussed, a plan emerged. The initial focus would be spaying and neutering to help bring down the overwhelming numbers of homeless pets. Next would be creating no-kill shelters, and educating the public about spaying, neutering and animal adoption. The final step was to generate on-going awareness in the community to help animals find forever homes, and generate funding necessary to sustain the spaying and neutering, adoption and education program. Veterinarians, benefactors, businesses and volunteers pledged their support.
It took many years and a lot of meetings, but what began as a community think tank culminated in an aggressive and efficient spaying and neutering program that other regions around the country are now imitating. A huge state-of-the-art animal shelter and humane society officially opened recently, and is also a national model for compassionate and effective animal care.
Whatever issues a community, business or school is facing, initiating a think-tank might be the first step towards healing the situation.
- A group will be able to generate many different points of view. Each perspective can be helpful in fully identifying both the issue, and possible solutions.
- Even though people will have different opinions, they’re united by a common cause. This is important for staying on track, and also supplies a built-in support system.
- When we’re answering to a group, we tend to be more accountable. Something we might let slide on our own becomes an important responsibility when others are counting on us to come through.
- Think tanks, by their very nature, can be inclusive. From the younger members of the community to retired senior citizens, everyone benefits from sharing their divergent views, and implementing a sustainable solution that will work for the greatest number of people for the long term.
- Truly visionary think tanks that generate actionable solutions consistently insist on defining a specific issue or goal; respectful dialogue; the ability to raise questions or play devil’s advocate without personal attack; clear communication and inclusiveness.
Is there a lingering or new development in your community that could benefit from a spirited and focused analysis? Consider gathering the wisdom of your “tribe” to bring the situation back into a positive balance.
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