In 2021 The Solferino Academy had numerous opportunities to interact with senior leadership of the Red Cross and Red Crescent exploring different topics. These included a series of workshops and think tanks and one to one interviews with Secretaries General and Presidents from all regions. As we are entering the new year, we are excited to present some of their thinking on the areas that we need to focus on in 2022 if we are going to be able to handle the high levels of uncertainty.
“Being fit for the future” emerged as a collective objective driving the efforts of many leaders in the National Societies. Leaders have been reviewing organisational structures, systems and processes so that everyone could contribute unencumbered and utilise their full potential. Leaders agreed that looking at ways to constantly adapt to shifting external environments should be our approach to working in 2022 and ahead.
Leaders also emphasised the need to extend engagement opportunities, increase inclusivity and provide meaningful recognition to our volunteers and staff. They also brought forward a need to genuinely understand “what people think” and regularly ask our communities, donors, partners what creates the best experiences for them.
Leaders have also identified a need to prioritise social issues that are particularly important for youth. From climate crisis to diversity – our National Societies need to address challenges that have the biggest attention of young people and offer them spaces to create responses and actions.
Well-being of everyone
The importance of creating a culture of well-being and support in our National Societies was also foregrounded by leaders. People are the biggest asset we have and ensuring that we prioritise their psychological, physical, and emotional well-being is key to a sustainable and healthy organisation. “Our people are really special” and creating a culture that fosters their well-being and mental health is essential.
Covid-19 will continue having a significant impact on our National Societies. Many leaders agree that apart from the manifold challenges, the contexts created by COVID also offer immense opportunities. It can strengthen our auxiliary role and help create attention to our humanitarian agenda, it can accelerate digital transformation and new ways of working and engagement. But importantly, it offers opportunities “to consolidate the experience of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to learn and be better prepared for the next pandemic (and other major crises) in the future”.
Effective leadership means trust
“Trusting in people and giving them space to do what really matters to them” – were other powerful elements of the future fit organisation that leaders identified in our conversations.
Trust in our volunteers, trust in our staff, better cooperation with our partners, and other organisations is a way for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Network to contribute to a broader collective vision where our societies will be much more resilient, equal and sustainable.
What do you think about these priorities? Are there others that the Red Cross and Red Crescent should be focusing on? Leave your comments below