HOW DO YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT?

One bite at a time. This was wisdom passed down from my dear departed father when I was faced with the angst of being overwhelmed with major tasks of new business ownership starting at the tender age of 19. My father suggested that I take what was apparently overwhelming and break it down into "bite size" components, attacking each piece one-by-one until the seemingly impossible task facing me was reduced to "wholly consumed elephant."

Thirty nine years later, I am taking Dad's advice yet again. Recently returning from a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia, I have accumulated no less than 42 viable projects that merit development, funding and launching into this remarkable country. Basically, I determined what was needed in that country and matched it up with what was available back here in the States, and which was within my ability to provide.

To that end, I took the "lowest hanging fruit" of a dozen such ideas and created Project Files on each. I had great luck with interns in my past US-based ventures, so I reasoned that I could access a new set of eager and talented young people to assist me this time too. I placed my request for virtual interns with specific skill sets out in CyberSpace and lo and behold, I now have nearly 60 very qualified young men and women awaiting their selection for specific projects and tasks.

Through one such intern, already recruited, I established a Project Management template that each intern will follow. Another intern selected, who is now my virtual Administrative Assistant, has organized all of the various projects (up to 50 something with my US projects combined with the Ethiopian ones) into Google Docs and Drop Box files/folders. Each intern, assigned to specific projects, is granted access to his or her projects and my Administrative Assistant is adding to each project folder as I receive more info, updates and requests on each individual project. It is amazing how much material is flowing through these combined channels and now, so efficiently!

Since I favor a mentoring-style of management and am as far removed from micro-managing as anyone I know, I informally communicate with each intern as regularly as once a week, sometimes more. I am making the move to place a new head of Project Managers, who is, herself, working on one of the major projects and happens to be going to school for a Project Management certificate.

The plan is to create complete packages of multiple projects and have a 5 page (or so) Summary of each project, complete with research, financial docs, etc, so that I can present them to my top financing resources for consideration. Then, I either fund the project myself or take on an interested joint venture partner, put in the internal operations, and assign management to handle each one.

That is how I plan "to eat this elephant." I think my dear father would have been proud. 

Posted on September 5, 2014 and filed under Family, Volunteering, Teaching, Personal History.