A new beginning
Dec 20th 2022
By Cláudia Pedra
Stone Soup Managing Partner
As the end of the year looms and 2022 comes to its finish, the year’s memories cross our mind in flashes of colour and light. It was an unusual year. In a post pandemic world, we were able to see smiles again, shake hands and embrace people. Travelling resumed. Slowly the year progressed, bringing people together. It was ok to touch and thus to feel closeness. It seemed like a new beginning.
As a company Stone Soup never really stopped, but it did change. We had to resort to new dynamics, employ new methods and learn. 2022 was a year for exciting new geographies. We spread to Asia and the USA and went deep into tough territories like Nigeria. These new geographies brought challenges; new cultural settings, political backdrops, unfamiliar practices. It is not easy to immerse yourself and adapt to all of this in the quick time a consultancy takes place. It demands a lot from the consultant: research, preparation and especially adaptation. The capacity to move out from one’s own cultural settings, which is familiar and easy, to the new, the unfamiliar. This gives us an additional responsibility to step up to the plate, to know how to be respectful, to use methodologies that work, dynamics that engage people and to create positive impact through our work.
Of course, this entails failure. Not everything planned works well. Further adaptation is needed in loco. We need to have plans B and C. To be able to read the room and change on the spot. Scanning quickly through all our experience and reaching out to the knowledge hidden somewhere in our brain to implement something that works.
Stone Soup consultants act as facilitators and advisers. We try to extract the strategic reflection from our clients, asking the tough questions, guiding them through a process of change. So that means we must feel the clients, understand them, be empathetic. This is sometimes hard when you visit locations where basic human rights are disregarded. Where the teams’ wellbeing is not taken into consideration. Where governance is too challenging and there is too much resistance to change. But as consultants we have to push through, leave aside our own bias and work in the conditions available. Maybe not easy, but needed. Change needs investment and commitment.
Stone Soup has now worked in over 300 projects and over 30 countries, with dozens of hard-working consultants and a very engaged support team. As the year ends, we want to share with our community the results and impacts of our work and the figures and data that showcase it. We are accountable for it, for the things that worked and the things that did not. That is the work of a consultant; not to know everything, not to always have the perfect solution, but to learn every day, adapt and change. That is our added value.
*You can access Stone Soup’s 2022 Accountability newsletter clicking this link