The principle of empowering others comes straight from the Bible. It’s our twelfth in a series. This is the idea that we should be mentoring, teaching, and helping others to achieve their aims and aspirations in life, and that by doing this, our own needs will be met and the job will get done.
Iisn’t this such a “sexy”, cool, modern, New-Agey concept? It’s yet another way of doing things that comes straight from the Good Book!
But while it is said ad infinitum over here that Samoa is founded upon God, it is just NOT the Samoan way! Believe me, these guys pull each other down badly. The Kiwi Tall Poppy Syndrome is nothing on the gossip machine over here. Sorry to be so direct Samoa but it is very rare that I see you building each other up.
[Pic: Poster and paraphernalia on the wall of a friend Philipo – a man from Savaii with boundless energy and strong work ethic. Passing it on to his family and children they just love to give and lift others up. Great stuff!]
Empowering others and lifting up others is actually a really hard thing to do in a society that is all about ME, and OUR family, and MY village. It is so common here where those in the know grab at opportunities and want to kill it for others, for their own benefit.
This empowerment thing, is the idea that if we do something ourselves, we deny the opportunity for others to participate; to learn; to grow.
I’ll say that again because it is a really important thing that flows contrary to normal Western thought and the usual business logic.
When we do something ourselves, we deny others the opportunity to participate; to learn; to grow.
I’ll give you an example. I am a web developer. We are developing a series of websites for Samoa. I could do them all in my sleep, but is there any web developer who would like to come to Samoa and work for us for a month or two, experience Samoa, have some fun in the sun?
There is . . . so if I do the work, then I deny someone else the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s not selfish of me to do what I’m good at and what I enjoy, but if I mentor another guy to do it and if he gets the kudos and the glory, then we both rise.
The same thing with potential investors. I was speaking to a guy here recently (apparently he’s quite high in the LDS church over here) who heard about our programme. His eyes lit up and he said “I want to invest! Give me the first opportunity, please?”
But I let him down gently. “I just need you to understand that our investors will be communities of investors. At the moment you are wanting to invest for you and your family to make a profit. That’s all good but we would be putting you right down the list”.
“How so?” he asked
“Well because you are wanting to lift yourself, not others!” I said. “But if you have fifteen families who all saved $2,000.00 each and they all got blessed as a result of the investment THEN we’d put you top of the list”. He smiled and the penny dropped.
We’re in the process of establishing a Headquarters for the SWAP Foundation. I could easily sit there and do the construction work. I’d enjoy it. But are there any boys in Faleasiu who can knock up a shed, clear bit of scrub, drive a digger, dig a hole, put in a road, lay a slab of concrete and would like to learn how the Palagi does it?
You betcha! So we’ll be getting a team and working with them to help them feed their families, learn a few new skills and understand how a Palagi business brain thinks when moulded by this principle.
Empowerment is also an exponential equation, because if we do it, and teach it and apply it, it keeps growing like a virus, as I will be teaching the boys who work with me to share it and lift others, as I did to them, rather than keep it all to myself.
There’s a well known guy who practiced this art (called buzz, word-of-mouth, or viral marketing by the way) quite a while back. He set up a system whereby He showed the way and then enabled others to do the work. Basically He taught His troops what to do and how to do it, then He called on a higher power, then He stepped aside and that enabled things to happen. Boy, did it work, or what!?
Specifically of course I am talkign about Jesus. He taught it, applied it, then spoke about the Higher Power and then left His disciples to it.
To say that they did it as taught and achieved as a result is an understatement. The world was turned upside down and life has never been the same since. Christianity is the ultimate in viral marketing systems.
- Barter – exchange – collaborative commerce – whatever you want to call it, the principle we are working with is that of exchanging and sharing the assets of two parties, for the benefit of both.
- It’s not about money. It’s about people; sharing a vision and building relationships.
- Use what we have in our hands (exercising faith), as instructed to do (obedience).
- We wish to use only the best available to us.
- Our Take Nothing Home policy means that we eliminate excessive personal gain.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- We encourage a Cross-Cultural Partnership, blending the best of two cultures.
- We aim for Financial Equivalence whereby we attempt to level the playing field financially.
- We offer strong leadership through a clear vision.
- Our values are based on the Judeo-Christian value system.
- We aim to work smarter, not harder.
- We should empower others.
The Fourteen Principles:
- 1. What’s yours is mine
- 2. Vision > relationships > money
- 3. Use what you have
- 4. Use only the Best
- 5. Take Nothing Home
- 6. Giver’s Gain
- 7. Cross Cultural Partnership
- 8. Financial Equivalence
- 9. Everyone loves a winner
- 10. A biblical value-base
- 11. Work Smarter, Not Harder
- 12. We should empower others
- 13. Do The Right Thing
- 14. Walk the land