If You Build It
In the Spring 2009 edition of Boston Home magazine, there is an interview with author Matthew Frederick about his book 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School. I love this explanation about the importance of [an architect] managing one’s ego and how it can also relate to founders of non-profit organizations, the “architects” of institutions that foster social change.
“When your name is on a project, it’s easy to get too invested. If you design what you want and ignore the client or the environment, the building won’t work for anyone. The best architects are Zen masters–they nurture the design process without dominating it.”
“When you personally create a non-profit organization, it’s easy to get too invested. If you create what you want and ignore the client or the environment (or donors or volunteers or your board), the organization and its mission won’t work for anyone or accomplish its intended goal. The best founders are Zen masters–they nurture the creation of the organization in a collaborative process without dominating it. It’s never about the founder; it’s about the children or the homeless or the animals or the sick or the scholarships or the opera or the civil rights.”
I see founders in everything. It is core to my work as a coach who works with non-profits. I live in an historic colonial town north of Boston called Marblehead; the intent of the founding fathers (and mothers) of the United States is everywhere. Parents are founders. Business owners are founders. There is a clear cycle of creation and incubation followed by growth, operations, maintenance, and sustainability. Founders, and their roles, and their initial ideas will change, adapt.