Can Letting You Go Help You Hold On?
by crystal wilson
If you are a business owner or entrepreneur you must know a thing or two about “pride of ownership” and the effect it has on your motivation and drive to see your projects succeed. You started with an idea or a dream, which you then built upon, and improved, and reworked, and built upon some more until you got to where you are today. It is probably pretty easy for you to see yourself in most if not all aspects of this creation you have made, and that feels great. It inspires you to keep moving forward, pushing on.
But maybe you aren’t the only one holding responsibility for your dream anymore. Do you have a partner? Investors? Employees?
You have trusted them with holding a part of this masterpiece you are working to create, but how do you know that they hold it in the same light as you do? Does the same tenderness and ferocity blaze through them when they are making decisions? I certainly hope so. I bet you do too.
The Hunger Project has found a way to make sure that all those involved in a project have a deep and vested interest in seeing it through to a successful end. They make sure that decision-making and leadership are shared and they treat mistakes with an air of grace.
While at the offices of The Hunger Project - Canada I had the opportunity to hear Malgorzata, the Canadian Director, tell the story of the first experience that The Hunger Project had on the ground in Africa. When The Hunger Project (THP) arrived the people of the village expected a handout of food and supplies. They were quite baffled when this didn’t happen. Instead, they were led through the process of learning to provide for themselves. First, they jointly decided to raise chickens in the village. At that point the villagers were sure that THP people would go out and get the chickens and coops. This didn’t happen either. The workers with THP
guided the women of the village through the journey of raising the money needed to purchase the chickens and coops. After much planning, the women began to purchase and re-sell pottery at markets and eventually raised the necessary funds. The chickens thrived and the village began to pull itself out its chronic problem with hunger.
Because the villagers participated in each step of the process, they felt some ownership of the venture. And so they became chicken farmers to supplement the village’s food supply, rather than simply consumers of a few free meals. They were motivated to see the project through to success because they were deeply invested in it.
Do you allow others who are invested in your business, financially or otherwise, the opportunity to feel a connection or some sense of ownership? If you can find the courage to relinquish some control, your business will likely reap great rewards.
Here are a few companies who have gone this route, and included their employees and investors in decision-making, thus sharing a sense of ownership in the company’s successes and failures.
Can you implement any of their strategies?
What can you learn from them?