A conversation with Team Generosity founders, Jeff Walker and Jennifer McCrea.
Jennifer: My observation with the students from our Exponential Fundraising course is that, after a year of practice, everybody feels more confident of voice. Most of them feel they’ve been able to get money out of the center of their relationships. They feel much more comfortable inviting people to join with them. But the one thing they still find difficult to do is to mobilize their army, their us. They feel as though the burden of marshalling resources is still entirely on their shoulders. So they still are feeling exhausted, because they can’t stop believing, “It’s my job to keep this organization afloat, and I’ve got to do it all.”
Jeff: I think a lot of it has to do with fear. We’re all afraid of different things at different times. Everybody’s afraid of public speaking, for example. How do you conquer that? You get out there and give a speech. For many leaders, the fear says, “I can’t let other people do it. I don’t trust the board members. I don’t trust them to share my vision. I don’t trust them to carry the message about what we’re doing.” Well, if you can’t trust people to that extent, then there’s no real band—it’s just a solo act and you can’t accomplish very much that way
Karl: So that’s another fear that you have to learn to overcome.
Jennifer: Yes, and you need this leadership bridge to achieve it, because to me, leadership means ownership. You can’t flee to the security of the 30-second elevator pitch—the pre-crafted, pre-scripted message. That forces people to be robots. You have to be willing to give up control, give up ownership, and trust that leaders will emerge throughout your network.
After all, in 2012, in an era of social networking and instant communications, it’s a fool’s errand to think you can control your brand. Instead, you have to allow people to experience your brand. You have to let go of trying to control it.
Jeff: But it’s not just giving it out to anybody, it’s not just letting go. It’s entrusting your brand in partnership with others. Which is one of the hardest things to do—but essential.