Thursday, June 25, 2009

Exponential Growth by Incremental Work

I recently consulted two young people who had an AWESOME idea for a humanitarian service.

It was the best idea I had heard of in quite a while. They came to me to learn how to launch their project. I have some experience in launching nonprofits over the years and they needed some guidance.

I love innovators; creative individuals who put together new and exciting ideas that can serve others.

This dynamic duo had done just that. They already had the correct mindset of successful people; opulent, abundance-minded, and service-oriented. Yet, there was one problem.

They tried to consume the entire thing at once. They didn't take it one bite at a time.

The trouble with many start-ups (humanitarian, non-profit OR for-profit) is that few get going with the concept of incremental growth.

Exponential Expectations

Many entrepreneurs are idealists. They see the glass as half-OVERFLOWING. They love the challenges involved.

These are great traits to have. Further, I doubt a start up will ever turn over their engine without them! However, it is a commitment to longevity that I have found gets a mission on the road to long-term success.

The problem with entrepreneurial idealists (humanitariansl i.e. you AND me) is that we expect exponential growth immediately.

I have never found this to be true. I DO believe in exponential growth. I ALSO believe that it will be based on a foundation, and foundations, I have found, are built incrementally.

Creating Credibility

Humanitarians, more specifically, DEVELOPMENT humanitarians, rely strongly on good will. That means that, in exchange for donors' good will (their donations), they will be seeking and searching for credibility. They want to know that their investment will bear a return. (That return being credible results in your service.)

Credibility can be felt. And lack of credibility stinks. People can smell a fly-by-night from a mile away.

What does it take to build credibility? Incremental growth. A strong foundation.

A millionaire I worked for called it being "a twenty-year overnight success." He was implying that what the world views as an overnight success is actually the result of incremental growth and foundation building over the long term.


Plan on the long term. I definitely believe that it takes at least a year of planning and preparation before you make your first peep about what you intend to do. Only then will you have the infrastructure in place to make good on promises (and build credibility.)

Do the nitty-gritty tasks that you keep hoping to recruit someone else for.

In terms of our organization, I spent the last year doing short trips to Haiti, some of them alone with no fanfare. No bands welcomed me. Now donations showered upon me.

Even more, it has taken almost 4 years of sowing, sowing, sowing resources into the field and into our own self-education about what Haiti takes. All this took place before I even showed up!

BUT, exponential growth DOES show up overnight. Just now we are seeing e-mail after e-mail asking for more info. New twitter follower after new twitter follower keep adding us. New church partnerships show up.

We see the years of incremental growth. All they see is a semi-finished organization, which happens to look and act exponential.

So, can you get exponential growth? Absolutely.
When will it come? After you have put in the diligence of incremental growth.
What will happen if you skip the incremental growth? You will get a flash-in-the pan success with little-to-no longevity. This works for the person who initiated it, but has very little lasting benefit for others involved.

Dig in. Plan on the long term. (This demands commitment, so count the cost!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

7 Reasons We Serve in Haiti

7 Reasons we serve in Haiti AND What to consider when choosing a place to serve:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Community and Context

Our brains cannot feel pain. They cannot, in fact, feel anything. It is pure objectivity for ourselves.

Though we can feel our body, it is usually in the context of pain only; when some invasion into the system occurs we can feel it. However, a large degree of that same objectivity expands to encompass our bodies. Sometimes, that objectivity can even include our mirror reflections.

However, show us a picture of any particular body part or a video of us moving and we experience extreme disassociation. We have all had the experience of hearing our own recorded voice and not recognizing it.

Sitting here typing, my tapping fingers are a part of me, but I do not experience them in the way I would experience another's tapping my arm.

This experience causes us to not know ourselves. We all ask “who am I” and “why am I here”. These are questions that result from our inability to experience ourselves.

In searching for God, in searching for relationships, in joining gangs and cults, we are searching to answers these questions. We were created to not experience ourselves, which means we seek to gain context.

The thing about context is that it is about location AND meaning. Whenever we find false identity, we find it in these two things.

Our purpose and our place (in both space AND time) satisfy this.

With community, especially CHRISTIAN community, we gain context by the person sitting across from us. That person is not only an immediate answer to location and purpose (they are looking at us and our service to them gives us great purpose). They represent God in the Body, eternally confirming location and purpose; our divine purpose in the intended location He placed us.

We not only need the Body for ephemeral reasons. We need the community for psychological affirmation. We need the Body to affirm what we suspect God has for us. The community gives us context.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brief Haiti Update

I would like to offer a far more extensive update, however, as time is limited, and I am focusing on the writing and preparation of our future site as well as our actual work in Haiti.

We are preparing for our next trip to Haiti.

The team will be about 18 people. This is significant for us in that just a year ago it was only 2 of us going to Haiti to see how we can help.

We now have a fruitful church partnership with two others lining up quite nicely. We have broken ground on a building that will serve as a school and training center. This is all due to the potency of the team of educators and ministers from The Crossing Church in Orlando.

They have really taken ownership of the area of Kenscoff, and have poured their best into the area.

On a personal note, I have turned my entire direction toward Writing and Humanitarian/Missions work. For the past few weeks, I have written 1,000 words a day to continue to refine my skills. The material being produced will be used to launch my blog by my birthday.

This is significant because I will be dealing with the topic of living your calling, serving mankind in some way, and the How-To's of Humanitarian work (at least that which we are experienced to teach on at this point!)

Stay tuned.
Subscribe to my blog feed.
Also, check our Haiti site,
Contact us if we can partner in any way!