A Passion Project
In a recent post, I said that one of the tricks for getting free from the “hooks” that hold you back is to hire people to do your worrying for you. Find the right people who have the right passion, empower them in the right way, and phenomenal things can happen.
When my partner, Dr. Glen Wysel, and I were reviewing candidates for the Executive Director position we had some definite criteria in mind. Naturally, we were looking for someone with a background in fundraising and non-profit management, and Kim certainly has that—she’s been on the board of several non-profit organizations and served in management and development for institutions like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society, as well as for groups devoted to the arts. Clearly, she knows the ins and outs of non-profit management.
But that wasn’t all we were looking for. This foundation is the representation of a lifelong dream for us, and we needed someone who shared our passion. We weren’t just looking for someone to work for the Open Wide Foundation; we wanted someone to take ownership of our dream and make it her dream, too. We believe we’ve found that person.
You go through the same process, too, every time you hire an office manager, a hygienist or assistant, or enter into a partnership with someone. You have to look beyond the basic credentials to ensure you’re bringing in someone who is not just competent, but completely aligned with your values and vision. You don’t just want an employee, you want a like-minded partner.
In the short time she has been with us, Kim has made it clear that she has that self-starter gene we were looking for. She listened to our story, fell in love with the idea of what we were doing, and immediately began brainstorming new strategies and creating a set of goals and tasks for herself and her team. If you talk to her—and I really hope you will at some point—you’ll see what I mean. Kim is very much motivated by a sense of passion and purpose.
It’s true, of course, that even with the most thorough interviewing procedures, it’s hard to know for sure how a person will perform when they’re actually in the role. But when they have come aboard and you see that spark early on, it’s really important to acknowledge their abilities and do everything you can to nurture and encourage that spirit of ownership. Everyone enters a new job with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm. You need to help them build on that feeling, and give them the tools, the authority, and the space to grow. After all, many great leaders started when someone gave them an opportunity to lead.
Of all the decisions you can make as a business owner, getting the right people around you is the most important, as it will have the most far-reaching consequences. I think we’ve done that with the Open Wide Foundation. We know now that the rest of the day-to-day decisions on this project—a project that means so much to us—are in the capable hands of someone who is just as invested in its success as we are. And that’s one less thing for us to worry about.
If you haven’t been there yet, please take a look at the Open Wide Foundation website to find out more about its incredible mission.