Founder Fatigue


Photo by Heather Plett

 

act justly. love mercy. walk humbly

 
 I have Founder Fatigue. ….Founder with a capital F. You know what I mean… not the I am the founder of an organizatio who  works hard and lives out  their  passion for their mission every day.  EVERY DAY.  They  have sacrificed, their  family has sacrificed. They had a dream and invited others to join them.

These FOUNDERS walk humbly with the communities they serve. They learn from and with the communities.  They understand the beauty and grace of collective power. They are not saints, but share their struggles and sufferings in ways that are uplifting and encouraging. They fall down and get up. They share the stage and the mic with others. They let the poor speak for themselves. They know that they are but one part of a larger mission and purpose.

 I am not talking about that founder.I am done with the FOUNDER that becomes the star, the hero, the savior. 

 

 The all-encompassing “hope” that will save us. The founder that knows best. The founder that saves the day. The one that people know their names and their bio but no one can quite name the organization or tell me what the organization has accomplished. The founder whose reputation, brand, charisma and personality are so bound with the organization that they are one unit..one being.

I am so tired of our need for the cult of the personality. ID and EGO run amok… ethics gone awry. We sometime compensate for talent by investing in PR and marketing. We create internal cultures that become  excuses for poor performance.

 I am tired of organizations, companies and products with big stories but no substance. All narrative with no data just leaves me wanting,  disillusioned and hurt.

Sometimes we forget the basics. No one can save us but us. 

 I maybe an advocate for a cause or a community but I am not the only VOICE of that community. Mine is  not the singular voice to be heard. There is never one expert on an issue. I am not the driver. I am a helper, a servant, and facilitator.  I am second fiddle- a supporting role at best. I play my position and I stay in my lane.

 It is never about just me.

 An organization is never about one person, one story, one voice. The work is richer and deeper than that.  We like to simplify it for mass consumption and in doing that we have created a system which encourages and rewards easy answers to complex situations.

The cause comes before the organization.

Life is not a bumper sticker. These problems take more than a  60 second PSA. Marketing and storytelling  are   needed because they draw people in —-and away from Farmville or Angry Birds. These things may seduce people and invite them to  stop for a moment , listen and learn but they are  are not what keep people. They are not what transforms  someone into an advocate or and ambassador. It’s not what keeps them as a donor.

I am done with THAT Founder and any organization that hangs its reputation on any one individual. I want organizations that build movements  guided by their values and organizations that get things done.

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