About three years ago I decided to start an organization in my country. I wasn’t based there but I started it anyway. It’s main purpose was to develop a small industry into an economic hub in the region. I had it all planned out. Strategies were in line and things were moving. Sure I faced some resistance, because I wasn’t the only one who wanted to do what I’d started. I didn’t wait for money to come my way, my core business was just taking off. I had just enough to pay my bills. But I had a dream. To rejuvenate this orphan industry.
So I registered the domain, got a one page website going. I even started social media going with a Facebook and twitter profile. All seemed to be going according to plan. Partners were interested in what I wanted to do. Even the Minister of the country emailed me personally endorsing my work. I was right on track. Money would come eventually. I saved up, hoping to raise enough to start a workshop or two.
After one year, something happened. David met with Goliath and his four brothers. I was invited to come into the country to meet with the “big dogs” of the small industry. They had accomplished alot and they wanted in. After a long discussion I agreed to let them join my board of directors. They had the necessary connections to help take this further. Or so I thought…
Three months went by and the legalities were finally under way. Another three months later I was judged about my social media feed. Apparently I was supposed to get “permission” for to upload my social media feed. (Are you as bewildered as I am? Not yet? Keep reading). So i stopped posting on social media. I stopped getting new followers. New likes. Within a few days everything I’d worked for died in an instant. I tried not to be bitter about it but waited to see how my new compadre’s would revolutionize the industry as they said we’d do once they were on board. So I waited. And waited.
I was then told the logo I’d paid $200 for wasn’t good enough and they immediately sent revised ones on email. Clearly a discussion to change the logo had been going on behind my back. After 7 months of absolutely no activity… Goliath backed out leaving his brothers to handle the dying flame. Four months after that, proposals for a new logo were lodged. Is this really what we should be thinking about? A logo? We’re being ridiculed by the industry for lack of activity and all Goliath’s brothers can think about is how “last season” the logo is? Soon all the small irrelevant issues starting coming to the surface. Issues that weren’t dealing with the core problem. Why aren’t we doing anything we planned to do? Sure I made suggestions of cost effective things to do to get the wheels turning again but each little birdie was shot down like a duck hunt in the English countryside.
And finally… when things couldn’t get any more annoying… this happened.
I get an email with the minutes of a meeting to appoint someone else as chairperson for the organization I started.
Wow. Was I just replaced???
This was a subtle but hostile take over. The joy I had of starting something new had been turned into a money making machine. To rip dollars out of the clutches of Harry Hog-Wash and Sally Sob-Story. I could see what was coming. In the face of it, the industry is blooming. Parties, media and fancy dress up shows. But at it’s core, no roots have been sown. Nothing substantial to address the real problems people, businesses and the industry is facing. Nothing will be done to jump start the skills gap or to propel development in rural areas. So I cut my ties. I handed in my letter of resignation from the executive board. I refuse to be a part of something which started out to help the industry grow but has become a superficial organ of consumerism.
Lesson: Not everyone who comes your way is good for you. Like a flourishing relationship, people put their best foot forward. But it’s up to you to realize early whether or not this is the best foot you want for the future. Another thing I learnt, was that I need to fight for what I believe in. I didn’t fight. I wanted to believe things would work out eventually. But it didn’t it shriveled and died and so did my passion to develop this upstart industry. And finally… we learn from our experiences. You need to always learn from your experiences.
So I go back to my core business. Helping those businesses that need it. And…. I’ll do it all from my couch.