The Golden circle from Simon Sinek has been the key concept in helping businesses think differently about their approach. He says every business knows the what, the product etc but few know the why. The why has always been critical to the charity sector and especially the faith charity sector and then working out how this informs the how and the what are logical and critical next steps. However whilst this linear cause and affect approach will remain I think we are in the midst of another critical shift. In the complexity of the “it is what it is” post covid world where positive regard, inclusive openness and benign indifference all meet it demands we rethink these sort of linear models that work well when dealing in simple contexts, but under resource us for more complex situations. Indeed Dave Snowdon who developed CYNEFIN would argue that you need to approach the situation differently depending wether you are in a chaotic, complex, complicated or simple zone and indeed one of our biggest failings is to recognise the zone we are in. For the faith organisations the why has always much more complex than we often think at the outset. This complexity is why the simple responses have limited connection and impact and may work at surface level of short term but are often found wanting in the long term. As this why complexity collides with the new post covid complexity already mentioned we see many faith sectors doubling down on simple responses or descending into chaos. What we fail to realise is actually that the two are often linked. We want the command and control that chaos demands and it plays into the hands of those who think the why is simple, until we end up in quite a negative loop.
Modernity has led us towards a teleological approach where we think we know everything there is to know about the why (or put God in a box) and so choose actions the how and what accordingly. However we need something less teleological that’s more humble and that recognises the complexity of the world we are in. So we approach the why as something less fixed and as a joy to be discovered as we sense our way forward. This is why The Way is such a key concept in the Christian faith, we only discover the WHY by walking it.