An Open Letter To Founders Of Any Project

Seven Words: Get back in there and fix it.


This blog post is not necessarily about Brad Pitt, even though last week's article was. It is about anyone who starts a project and then, does not finish it for any number of reasons.


I remember hearing people say how “easy it is to start something … harder to finish it up.” Everyday examples include cleaning up our home, winding up relationships before starting another or completing our exercise goals. It is always easier to quit.


While I have not looked closely at the financials of this foundation, there appears to be access to money and talent to finish this up. If that is what the founder, advisory committee and others truly want.


Reconnect With The Upside


Reconnect with the mission statement or vision. In this instance, the founder stated he was “aiming to make a human success story of how we can build in the future, how we can build with equality, how we can build for families.”


When the mindset is committed to completing the project, the decision to find and bring on new architects and project managers is easier. There are always professionals who are hungry for an opportunity to rebuild disaster zones to showcase their talents. Hire better managers to carry out the “better intentions”.


Regardless of whether the founder’s net worth may be $240M, the first rule of most people is not to lose money. The second rule then is to refer to the first rule. Regardless of self-preservation, what values does the founder and advisory board live by? If the personal value of “integrity” tops the list, completing this project would be an act of fulfillment.


Recognize Local Conditions


One big issue with the project was the selection of a building material called TimberSIL®. What if TimberSIL offered kickbacks, such as fifty cents on the dollar to get their product off the shelf? Redwood and cedar tend to last longer than pine for decks as they are naturally resistant.


While innovation is much needed, local professionals may be required. Realizing the buildings and materials were not right for the area, the foundation and their advisory committee should have found the right talent.


Close attention needs to be paid to design, materials, location and environment. Photographs indicated flat roofs that a hurricane could tear right off... even a boondoggle can be turned into a success.


Don’t Worry About The Blame


To save face and maintain your legacy, is it not worth investing personal funds to save a neighborhood left in blight? Fix the problems and turn all the bad publicity around. Make it a win/win. Deciding to be a pioneer and trailblazer has its glory as well as hurdles. However, one’s metal will be tested by how one manages problems.


Perhaps the founder was only the public face in the marketing, but there is also a golden opportunity to help repair a human tragedy. Perhaps just lending one’s name to a project is a bad idea if one does not intend to follow through. The karma and negative publicity could become one’s branding downfall.


Consider the results of a marketing ploy when circumstances don’t go your way. How will it affect you and the substance of your legacy? Have projects be more than just a promotional feel good stunt.


Perhaps the founder spent seven years in Tibet and now seven words can give him a better chance of saving his legacy.

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