“Two heads are better than one.” “Many hands make light work.” “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” There are many ways to say that people working together leads to richer collaboration and greater impact.
Finding a name for a new organization is always a challenge. When I first decided to launch a consulting business, conveying this idea of high-impact collaboration in just a few words seemed impossible. When I realized that I wasn’t restricted to the English language, the process became much easier.
I studied foreign languages in college and have been fortunate to live, work and travel in dozens of countries. Learning the nuances of various languages has always been exciting to me, especially when I was living and working in Senegal, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer. 36 distinct languages are spoken in a country the size of South Dakota, and each of those languages has words and phrases that unique to their culture.
In Senegal, I discovered the Wolof suffix "ando" -- sometimes shortened further to "aan” – which means, "to do something together." In Wolof, you need only add "ando" to a verb to take you from a solitary pursuit to a collaborative one. “Talking” quickly becomes “having a conversation.” Add “ando” to the word “live,” and just like that, you’ve become a neighbor.
The existence of this phrase in Wolof isn’t surprising, as Senegal is a country and a culture where people are always welcomed. There is always room at the table or, more often, on the floor mat, where dinner is usually served. A dozen people can live under one modest-sized roof. As a result, people do everything together, and that collaboration makes each undertaking more interesting and, inevitably, more successful.
What appealed to me about Ando as a name for this new organization is that it represents what I’ve discovered over years of working in and between the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Each organization, each individual, has something unique and important to bring to a discussion, project or program. Identifying the right mix of people, skills and organizations is critical to creating the greatest possible impact.
Corporations and nonprofits have so much to learn from each other, but without clear expectations and shared goals, projects fail and people become frustrated by the inability to collaborate effectively to achieve impact. Understanding and translating the needs and perspectives of each of these entities is what we do best. At Ando Advisors, we work with clients to create programs, partnerships and communications that help everyone involved to achieve the greatest possible social and business impact. Together.