In life, we don’t have to do everything on our own. Sometimes we get so busy with projects and things that it seems like we must be alone. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Other people can add value to our plans, goals, dream, and ideas. Truly, there is strength in numbers.
Strength in Numbers in Action
For four years, I worked on the board of a local homeschool co-op with other ladies. I saw first hand how important it is to find good people with whom to collaborate. One of the things we did was allow people to volunteer for projects. Moms who were already teaching classes took on service projects, field trips, honors recitals, and more. Each person was able to make choices about how to fulfill their chosen assignment, and the results were amazing.
We were able to witness some epic successes. There were also a few times that things didn’t go perfectly, and we all pitched in together to make it work out. No one was doing this work because they had to do it. Homeschool co-ops are completely optional, so no one was required to be a part of the group.
During the past four years, we accomplished some pretty big projects because the board didn’t try to do it all. We asked the members of the co-op what they could do and allowed them to make the detail choices themselves. This was the real key to our strength in numbers: that decisions could be made by the person carrying out the chosen assignment.
Don’t Undermine the Strength in Numbers
During these same four years, I also spent some time helping in other programs that were unrelated to our homeschool co-op. In one of these programs, I worked for a time under a leader who would give assignments with incredibly detailed instructions. Every time I had to make a decision or judgement call on my own, I was chastised for the choice I made. Often, this leader would realize that I had made a good or even great decision, but not until after criticizing me. This approach created a scenario in which I was unwilling to make further decisions. Other people did the same. This leader wasted a lot of time, effort, and brain power as she insisted on making all decisions herself. That experience taught me much about leadership and working with others.
I think this leader learned a lot from the experience. I hope one of the things she learned was that to make a big organization work you must trust others to make decisions. Sometimes they will make frustrating ones and sometimes they will do things you wouldn’t have chosen that work out fabulously well. When you work with groups, don’t undermine the strength that exists in numbers by taking away decision-making from others.
Look for the people who want to work with you, who are interested in the same goals as you, and join with them to make something amazing!