Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 29: Just Say “No”… to Business

Today, I had an interesting discussion with one of the members of the cooperative. He came to me and said that he had decided that he didn’t want to be a businessman. He mentioned to me how the whole process of writing a business plan was too complex for the local market and that he is more passionate about working directly with the former gang members in a non-profit setting.

The first thing I did was to let him know that I feel quite strongly that everyone should pursue what he/she is passionate about and that I was glad that he had decided to pursue his passions. It is wonderful that he has decided this now instead of six months from now. That being said, I am afraid that he is using this as an excuse to return to his comfort zone, in which he frankly is not really doing a whole lot of good for the target group that he is so passionate about. Unfortunately, my friend has a tendency to zigzag around depending on his short-lived interests. This is further exasperated by the fact that the organization with which he works has no vision or strategy and he really has limited experience handling money. I shared with my friend the reality that any organization, whether for profit or non-profit, should go through a process of self-definition. Although in theory he understands the value, he does not seem disciplined enough to go through the entire process. Thankfully, most of his peers see the value in going through the business plan process and are diligently moving forward.

I can already see what is going to happen in the future and it makes me sad for my friend. He has a lot of potential but still lacks a lot of discipline and drive. It is comforting to know that he has taken to heart some of the concepts that I have shared with the team since my arrival, but I wish I could do more to help him.

Joel Montgomery

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