Friday, January 23, 2009

People, Passion & Mission

“The number-one resource for a great social sector organization is having enough of the right people willing to commit themselves to mission. The right people can often attract money, but money by itself can never attract the right people. Money is a commodity; talent is not. Time and talent can often compensate for lack of money; but money cannot ever compensate for lack of the right people.”

Jim Collins
Good to Great and the Social Sectors

Teamwork, collaboration, partnership, working together – these are terms often thrown around in offices and locker rooms as the keys to success. While I agree these are all very important and critical to accomplishing great things in this world, I believe there is little bit more to it - please indulge me for a minute.

As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and the Social Sectors says it best, it’s about “having enough of the right people willing to commit themselves to mission.”

I’ve had a couple experiences this past week that have supported my belief and Collins statement. Equally important to the often cliché mantras mentioned above are the people and their stories that lie behind the formal collaboration or partnership. No where did I witness this more than through the work of our own organization this past week. We held the kick-off event for our 2009 Team Fight season. For all intensive purposes, this was a group of strangers coming together as part of a team to train hard and raise money and awareness to support the fight against cancer. The kick-off had over 100 people in attendance, several community partners and inspiring talks from several UCF ambassadors. Individuals, community partners, bike shops, running shops and more – all putting their personal agendas aside to support something greater than all of us – quality people doing important work. By the end of the season, they will all be a closely knit team that is working together and collaborating effectively – but what makes them so special right now is they are generous people with big hearts committed to a common mission.

The next day I further witnessed my belief by spending the day with a close friend and UCF partner, Jonny Imerman. As Jonny mentioned in his recent blog entry, we spent the day visiting patients and families at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center where we run a Young Adult Navigator Program. Chaperoned by our Young Adult Patient Navigator, Elizabeth Saylor, the three of us spent quality time with patients and the medical staff sharing information, stories and ideas on how to improve the experiences of young adult patients being treated there. The UCF and Imerman do have a formal partnership, but it's the passion and energy behind people like Jonny that make it so special.

On the heels of our new President asking everyone to take individual responsibility for re-building this country and preaching hope, virtue, values and accountability and in wrapping up what has been a special week for me and our organization, I thank everyone for sharing their time, energy and stories with the UCF and encourage more people to get involved. During a time of never before seen economic challenges for many non-profits and all of our country, finding great people to commit their time, energy and hearts to a mission is critical. As Collins would say, “money cannot ever compensate for lack of the right people.”

Brock Yetso
UCF, Executive Director

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