This paper is about the necessary and crucial step of reflection - a step that is often missed by leaders as we seek to pivot as quickly, simply and painlessly as possible from crisis to recovery. But in a complex, emergent environment it is those leaders who take time to pause and reflect that will be better equipped to guide the evolution of their organisations.

This work by Shamal Dass was informed by a round table of more than 60 board and executive leaders from across the for-purpose sector in Australia (alumni of the JBWere National Australia Bank Governance for Social Impact course). The insights are timely and equally valuable for New Zealand for-purpose organisations.

Indeed the prompts are a reminder of the approach taken by some key leaders in the Great Influenza of 1918, as noted by John Barry:

“The story of the 1918 influenza virus is not simply one of havoc, death, and desolation, of a society fighting a war against nature superimposed on a war against another human society. It is also a story of science, of discovery, of how one thinks, and of how one changes the way one thinks, of how amidst near-utter chaos a few men sought the coolness of contemplation, the utter calm that precedes not philosophising but grim, determined action.” The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry (2004)

We trust this paper on the importance of reflection during this time of crisis is useful to you.  You can view the full paper here,or a summary of the questions it raises here.

To discuss how we might be able to work with you to deliver on your mission please contact your Adviser, or John Morrow, Head of Philanthropy for JBWere NZ, on 09 365 0825 or email him at