Core Group Qualities
In addition to the qualities required by all members of the group, certain, individual qualities, skills and talents are also needed. Missing skills will have to be found from volunteers, paid staff, consultants or professional advisers. Each member of the group should be quite clear about his own contribution, and those made by the other members.
These qualities are as follows:
Vision Holders – All members have accepted the project as being spiritually inspired. Now one or more people need to continue the connection with the initiating guidance. This task is not as simple as might first appear. A stream of ideas will be pouring in from volunteers, members of the staff and the community at large, whilst at the same time there is always the temptation to remain too firmly fixed on the original concept. The vision holders need to continue in attunement with the guidance available, using discernment and discrimination in deciding what changes are appropriate.
From time to time the vision will be updated, redefined, rewritten, and circulated amongst all those involved in the project, so that they may understand the way things are developing.
Entrepreneurial Spirit – Creating a new project needs not only divine inspiration but also an entrepreneurial spirit. How do we define such an attitude? The word ‘entrepreneur’ conjures up visions of people dedicated to making money. The reality is rather different, as the true innovator is motivated by a passion to create the product. Wealth is a possible by-product of successfully realising the idea.
Additional qualities required are imagination, a clear objective, enthusiasm, tenacity, courage, tireless dedication, consistency of purpose, and the ability to take risks. The government and academic world pay lip service to the need for entrepreneurs but have little understanding of the fearless and buccaneering spirit of these individuals.
Some of these qualities are required when creating a spiritual activity. The initiator needs to ensure that the core group contains adventurous spirits to provide the courage and energy needed to help the project to flourish, particularly when opposition is experienced.
Management – Experience of managing practical businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations.
Maintainers – This is a special skill that does not have the excitement of starting a new venture but is the capacity to maintain the momentum of something already started. In some ways, this is a repetitive job, but one with its own satisfaction and fulfilment. Personal contact with the volunteers and staff is involved plus the expertise to sort out emotional dramas in a calm fashion. Also required is the ability to monitor progress and make changes where necessary. For the right person, this is a rewarding task.
Decision Makers – Some or all of the group members will have to reach conclusions and make decisions. These will often be difficult, involving an element of risk affecting people and funds. These individuals need to be reliable and confident, able to decide what has to be done and to carry out the necessary actions, regardless of consequences. People with this responsibility, who care too much about being loved, will always be inhibited in their actions. They must be prepared to be disliked!
‘Ameliorators’ – There will be disagreements and emotional upsets, hence a need for members able to deal with these situations, and who are suitably empowered to make fair decisions respecting the concerns of those involved whilst caring about the interests of the project as a whole.
We are looking at a rather strange creature – a peer group of equals, with differing skills, guided by intuition and without a rigid hierarchical structure. This very flexibility brings with it a responsibility for clarity. Roles and tasks need to be allocated to enable all members to know who does what, and how decisions are made. Usually, the member responsible for a particular activity recommends the action to be taken and the group as a whole make the final decision.
The core group carries responsibility for planning the enterprise and making key decisions. They need to ensure that amongst their members, recruited volunteers, staff and professional advisers, are people with the skills to carry out, or supervise, all the duties required in running any project. This will usually include a chairperson, a manager, a treasurer, a company secretary, plus people experienced in delivering the services being established. These specific tasks are applicable to any business and we need not amplify them here.
So, the original conception process is complete. A small group share the vision and are committed to its materialisation.
The task is now to start bringing the idea into physical reality.