A lone entrepreneur founded an organization that grew to become one of the largest. Today, it conducts operations in over one hundred countries has a loyal full-time workforce of thousands, has over one million volunteer team members, is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and has raised and deployed billions of dollars in capital.
Coca-Cola? Hewlett-Packard? Walt Disney? No, it's Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
To achieve the level of success throughout the world that the Missionaries of Charity enjoys, Mother Teresa employed eight principles you probably won't find in most business books.
1. Dream it simple, say it strong. The power of dreams has led people to do great things. Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of freedom through peace. A simple dream that he spent his lifetime preaching. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of racial equality. Terry Fox dreamed of a cure for cancer. Mother Teresa dreamed of helping the poorest of the poor. All simple dreams that resulted in a lifetime of work.
2. To get to the angels, deal with the devils. Sometimes, the only way to get around a problem is to run toward it. Mother Teresa was under fire on numerous occasions. For instance, there were those that criticized her for using some of the donated dollars to open new convents and increase missionary work rather than improving conditions at the hospices or helping to end poverty. But she simply pointed out that wiping out poverty and illiteracy was not the focus. She and her little army of sisters were there to bring spiritual comfort to the suffering, a concept that escaped her critics.
3. Wait! Then pick your moment. Whether you are starting a new organization or taking leadership of an existing one, one of the first questions to ask is, "Are we ready?" Mother Teresa waited 20 years to start her missionary and was steadfast in withstanding the church's pressures that she could do her work within the existing infrastructure of the church. Patience is oftentimes the secret to success.
4. Embrace the power of doubt. Mother Teresa realized that doubt only has positive power in the context of the vision. Embracing the power of doubt does not mean doubting the vision. She also knew that doubt could be beneficial regardless of its source. Many leaders need to be seen as infallible. They have an "I'll ask all the questions around here" attitude. But Mother Teresa's approach embraced each person's question as holding the key to some improvement. When others talked, she listened. And she embedded the power of doubt in action, not just words. She was not timid. When it was time to make a hard call, she made it.
5. Discover the joy of discipline. Mother Teresa said, "The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it." She found great joy in her daily work and was filled with vitality deeply rooted in her inner happiness. The joy of discipline starts with understanding that discipline takes practice. Discipline helps to counter the erosion of focus. With the joy of discipline comes the discipline of joy—the regular practice of enjoying what we love.
6. Communicate in a language people understand. Mother Teresa spoke in the language of others. She did this by recognizing the uniqueness of each individual, then having the courage and skill to adapt her language to their needs.
If you are communicating your dream or vision, first stop. Remind yourself that your message is worthless if it is not easily understood. If you have not met the other person, use your imagination. Warren Buffet's annual letter to shareholders is a formal document that manages to speak plainly and directly to each person who reads it.
Remind yourself of the vision. There's something in the dream that's meaningful to both parties.
Pay attention to your surroundings and feelings. What you say has to be tailor made.
Lastly, reflect on your intentions. Kind intentions, even in tough situations, increase your chance of being trusted.
7. Pay attention to the janitor. One reason Mother Teresa touched people so deeply was that she made them feel valued and heard. No person was unimportant to her. There was no pecking structure in her approach to life.
If you are a leader in an organization, take the time to remember the names of all the people you meet. Acknowledge them, or you may never know what they have to offer. If you judge people only by title or reputation, you may never know what they really have to offer. Mother Teresa treated everyone with the same care and attention.
8. Use the power of silence. For a leader, applying the power of silence means clearing your mind and listening to your inner voice. Silence of the mind (stopping your mind) is critical. Silencing your mind relieves you of mental clutter and gives you the clarity to hear your inner voice. Begin by clearing away distractions. Turn off all devices. Close the door. Ask to not be disturbed unless it’s a matter of life and death. Once your have a quiet place, let all your questions wash over you. One issue will likely yell louder to you than the others, and that's the first one to address. If you find yourself letting all the issues gang up on you, start over in the process.
Thank you, Mother Teresa.
Introducing Carole Reuschle
We’re delighted to announce the addition of Carole Reuschle, VP, Media Director.
Carole is a highly-regarded media professional who brings the perfect blend of experience to our growing team. She has worked on large national accounts at major agencies, planning and buying TV, Radio, Cable, OOH, Cinema, Print, and Online. She has also been part of the DC media community, leading planning and buying for local and regional accounts that require an in-depth understanding of the market dynamics.
Carole is an expert at developing integrated plans and/or highly focused tactical plans to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Some highlights of her career:
• Strategic Media Counsel at LMO, focusing on spot market planning and buying across the US for Air National Guard units, including TV, radio, cable, out-of-home, cinema and print.
• VP Media Services at Carton Donofrio and Partners, leading the $40M National Association of Realtors account, Calvert Investments, Campaign for Our Children and AIA. As media lead and a member of their Executive Management Team, she managed national consumer and B2B business using network TV, cable, network radio, out-of-home, print and online media.
• VP Media Planning Director/Sr. Media Planner at Doner. Clients included: AARP, ADT Home Security Systems, Jos. A. Bank and Progressive Auto Insurance. In addition, she helped build Doner’s direct response center, incorporating strategies to build brands while generating leads/sales.
• Media Planner at Lintas (NYC). Clients included: IBM, Molson Beer, Lysol, and Dixie Cups. Here she had classic packaged goods training, combined with B2B marketing analysis.