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Principles are the things that you build upon. They reflect the values of an organisation.

Start in Jerusalem, then go to Samaria and finally expand out into the whole world

That might be a biblical principle but it is the basis of some highly-regarded business books.  This one is a best seller. No wonder when the sales page says

Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.

There is a strange story behind me buying a copy of this book. I was miles away from home at a conference and I walked into a bookshop. I knew that buying yet another book was not a good idea yet I was convinced that there was a book in the business section that I needed to buy. I looked around and this one all but jumped off the shelf. I read and I understood why. It is all about starting small and learning from each new version of what you are trying to do. It even helps the reader work out how to learn what they need to learn from the experience of that iteration of a project.

This is an incredibly important principle. It is possible to hit upon a successful idea first time around. But the problem with that is that as you have no idea of what you did right it is tough to repeat it. Starting small and testing something is far better than spending a  fortune and then finding out that your idea will not work. If you had tried a small version you would have found out if you were the right person or this was the right place or that there were enough other people interested to make the idea viable. It means that rather than giving up you look for that one small tweak that will change what you are doing into something that others will value.

Respect for all

There are times when you need to take a deep breadth and wonder if you can say something kind to the person next to you. There are times when people rub you up in the wrong way or suggest that you do things that are against your principles. Things like yoga or having someone contacting “those on the other side”  leave me very uncomfortable. For me, things like that come into the category of doing things that run the risk of making people weaker. Yet despite your differences, you can respect each other and treat each other as you would like to be treated. (BTW I much prefer using the term respect rather than tolerance although there is little difference between this and some people’s definition of tolerance.)

Doing things together builds community

In one sense it does not matter what things. You can be in a small team cleaning the toilets and because of your positive attitude build amazing memories.

It takes a team to make it work

The original vision of developing a  community hub where the needs of people could be met was so huge that it was obvious that it required teamwork. Not just teamwork within projects but teamwork between projects.

Starting with new wineskins can be very helpful

The idea behind new wineskins is that the wine and the skin age at the same time. If you put new wine into an old wineskin the fact that they are different ages causes problems. In fact the story this is taken from says that if you put new wine into an old wineskin you can lose the wine because the old wineskin will split.

There are some ministers and other leaders of voluntary organisations that have found the truth of this the hard way. They wanted to bring in new ideas but the people who had been there a long time and were set in their ways found it hard to accept the new ways. It is possible to bring in changes but they have to be done step by step so slowly that people hardly realise that things are changing.

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