Most problems between people find their root in miscommunication and assumptions. Think upon your workplace and ask yourself, “Does your team have a unified set of vocabulary and way of operating?” If so, were you there when that unified vocabulary and way of operating was introduced—what type of differences did you see as a result? Even if you haven’t experienced a unified way of operating and communicating, the question alone probably makes you realize the inherent value of it—it brings unity. Our efforts will thrive or suffer on the basis of communication.
Some of the greatest challenges community development efforts face are communication based: cross-culture and cross-language dialogue. There is also the additional challenge a usual corporation would face: creating an atmosphere for excellent intercompany dialogue and decision-making.
Here at Jesus’ Economy we are regularly developing documents and processes to help us overcome these challenges. These are processes we utilize in addition to our regular legal documentation—they unify the way we operate and communicate.
Here are three documents we have recently been working on and how I think they will help developing world communities.
For internal use, amongst our executive team, Jesus’ Economy has a decision-making process, which provides us with an overall strategy for making decisions as a team. This even includes the preferred contexts for various types of decisions: in person, via teleconference (like Skype), or over email.
This process allows for us to thoroughly discuss and think through each major decision to make sure we are stewarding every resource we are given well. I believe this will pay major dividends for those we’re aiming to help in the developing world—we will be able to refine this internally and perhaps one day introduce it to other communities. We are innovating team-decision making at the same time as we’re innovating community development work.
For work with entrepreneurs, we have a fair/direct trade survey that allows for us to learn what we and our donors/customers would want to know about the products we sell—this process includes photos, scales for rating processes, and written documentation.
This will ensure that the people we’re helping are safe and being treated fairly as they work. We’re aiming to have the best business and ethics standards on offer.
It’s important that any decision-making process be transparent for those involved. To make our efforts with churches clear to all involved, we are refining a full church grant application for any church leader interested in working with us to fill out. This will provide us with the initial documentation necessary to evaluate whether there is a possibility for a future partnership. This also opens up communication—helping us to get to know one another and build a relationship.
Like the fair/direct trade survey, this application process helps us learn what we need to know so that we utilize our resources well, for the betterment of the lives of others. This process helps us to really know people.
These are just three of the many documents/processes we have developed to help improve the lives of people around the world. We are also developing others. These documents/processes will be refined over time. These processes create opportunities for the developing world. They may not be the most exciting part of community development work, but they’re vital to success.