Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bold Goals


About four years ago, I set a bold goal for Belay Enterprises of creating 100 new faith venture businesses over the next five years through our urban micro-enterprise program. A few months after making that goal, it became apparent that I was out in front of God. There was no way Belay was going to assist in the creation of that many businesses during that time period because we had entered a period of unique challenges which would prevent a focus on expansion. At Belay, there is always a tension between focusing on expansion and focusing on the existing. I found myself regretting that I shared my goal with my friend Eric Swanson because he included it in his book Living a Life on Loan. There was no escaping it.

But now five years later, I realize the goal was an appropriate one. It was just my approach that needed a fix. A goal of creating 100 faith-venture businesses in five year is an excellent example of a James Collins’ type of “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” It’s an idea that is so “out there” that it forces an organization to focus and innovate in order to achieve. As I now realize, 100 businesses in 5 year is impossible to accomplish as an organization that is centralized in vision. It takes decentralized leadership held together by a big vision to accomplish such a goal. At Belay, I had been guilty of trying to hold on to the model. In the future, we will achieve our mission by giving our model away.


Over the years, I have come to see that there are much more talented entrepreneurs in the Christian community outside of Belay Enterprises. If we can share our faith venture vision for business enterprises that employ individuals and communities rebuilding lives by releasing our model, these talented entrepreneurs can build many more improved faith venture businesses. This will create more opportunities for the disadvantaged communities Belay seeks to serve. I hope that a decentralized movement of faith venture entrepreneurs will achieve the 100 business goal over the next 5 years.

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