Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Saying YES & NO with Respect

Prudent Decisions are REAL, HARD and DEMAND Respectful Explanations. Often many people are involved and affected by a decision, so taking the time to share the decision making process is required.

It is with confidence that Character Counts! in Jacksonville makes this really hard decision to pull out of One Spark. After considering the costs and the massive shift of focus necessary to make it happen, as we work to launch Conscious Eats, we have come to the conclusion that we must step away. The costs associated with making it happen are better served to ensure we are able to pay the salary of our new employee for a few additional weeks. Our recent fundraiser raised enough money for six months of salary. Every additional week we can source funds for his employment, is a step closer to launching our social enterprise. Every cent we have matters. 

Many have tried to talk us out of this decision, while others fully see the reasoning. I have personally worried about what would people think about us as we step away. Are they unfocused?  How can they not see the potential? ...etc. We are willing for people to think those things about us. That is their choice. I know we have vetted this conversation with my board members. We have done the financial analysis and discussed it with several wise business leaders. This is the right, hard decision to walk away from something that is very fun, exciting and risky all at the same time. 
As I have grown in this role as a social enterprise leader, I have had to learn how to say NO and YES to the RIGHT things. We believe in the work of One Spark and know the spirit of the effort is amazing. At this moment in time, we have had to see where we are in our business launch and look to the launch strategy of the and the Mission of our organization: To EMPLOY ex-felons. This decision supports that core idea, at a very simple and clear level, right NOW.

We thank the One Spark team for all the conversations we have had about the power of focus, the power of collaboration...etc. We have been inspired by them greatly and ironically it is those conversations that led us to re-camp and get VERY focused and intentional.

Several years ago, I did a consulting project with Harbinger Sign. We were working to create the transition strategy, as founder, Roger Williams was planning his retirement. During a session he very proudly stated, "We have NEVER missed a payroll."  The face of his son, Steve Williams, glowed with pride, as he realized the impact of his dad's legacy.

It is that wisdom that has fueled our decision to step away and ensure that the commitment we have made to our amazing new employee is honored. We thank the team, Elton Rivas, Varick Rosete, Dennis Eusebio, Vince Cavin and the rest of the amazing posse for all they are doing to make our city rock! We wish you all the greatest of luck...we will participate in the way we can by supporting others.

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