Words of Wisdom from SAIF – President’s blog now availableJanuary 26, 2017 // No Comments
As I am now coming towards the end of my year as President of SAIF, I find myself reflecting on the past 10 months and looking forward to the AGM and Banquet in March. I have always been someone who likes to have an influence on things that I feel passionately about, be that in my work life or my social life. The one thing I have learned over the years above all others though, is how to listen properly to others. It is all very well having an opinion and making yourself heard, but to be able to evaluate others’ views, to then agree on the best practice and a way forward, is so important.
I have sat in many meetings at which an agenda item is viewed in completely different ways by people on opposite sides of the table. The need to listen carefully to each other in these circumstances, to gain an understanding of an alternative view to yours is not always easy. But you do need to have an open mind. It is so important to be open to the idea that your way of thinking may not be the best way forward for the good of any given cause. In the same breath however, it is just as important to stand up for what you think is right if your views are not swayed by an opposing thought or opinion!
As Funeral Directors we often find ourselves witnessing this situation when making arrangements for a funeral. We are often required to act as mediator between family members who have opposing views. It is easy to get involved in these discussions and to influence decisions which really aren’t ours to make. There is often a leaning towards one party, feeling that their opinion is the one that we agree with and subsequently to influence any decisions made. I see our role in these circumstances likened to the chairman of a formal meeting, where we allow all parties to speak and then endeavour to find a way forward which all parties are comfortable with, but without directly influencing any decisions made. It is very difficult not to take sides, but it is not our place to do so.
With my SAIF hat on, there is an ongoing need to ensure that decisions made on behalf of our membership are made entirely for the good of our membership. Be that within the Executive Committee or when we are discussing matters with Government departments or associated organisations. There must never be personal agendas which affect our input to discussions, we must always listen and make proposals only for the greater good of our membership and the public we serve.
With this in mind, if my views here have made you sit up and think, you may be just the kind of person that we need to help move SAIF in the right direction in the future. If you feel that you can offer a little of your time and energy to help SAIF evolve and improve on what we already do so well, then please don’t be backward in coming forward.