This is Nell. She sent me this picture today, calling it “My Summer Job.” Until I wrote her a follow-up — “tell me more” — and got her answer, it seemed totally valid to me that Nell, as handy with power tools as she is with organizational consulting, would have a summer job operating construction equipment. Her whole family (mother, father, two brothers) is like that; they make, fix, solve, initiate, teach, and oversee. I met Nell through her mother, my friend “Jane G,” as I think of her. She and I — the two Janes — worked together, along with Nell, at The Albert Einstein Institution, an organization studying and promoting nonviolent actions run by visionary strategist Gene Sharp, in the late 1980s. Nell’s e-mail reminded me of two things I believe: (1) people who are in charge should be the people who know how to do the job, not just manage it; and (2) more people should know about Gene’s work in civilian-based defense and learn about the role of noncooperation and nonviolent strategies in diffusing or ending conflicts.
Note: Nell’s summer job was not in construction. Her family recently replaced the septic tank at their lake house.