Perseverence Is A Key Leadership Trait

A couple of guys meeting regularly felt a call to start a coffee shop. Not just a coffee shop, but one with a mission. 

The mission was brought to them through a conference in Thailand where the plight of coffee farmers was brought to awareness. As is often the case with commodities, large corporations buy up all the coffee paying the lowest possible price.

Farmers cannot make a living, often being forced to sell daughters into the sex trade. Evidently men have such great physical need along with a lot of money to make selling sex a lucrative business.

Smaller roasters buying directly from the farmer can pay a fair price for the product and still bring the coffee back to sell at a reasonable price to the retail customer. In the case of a farmer in Thailand, he was able to make a profit and at the same time pay his laborers a fair wage such that 50 young women were brought back home rescued from their horrible life.

The thought of the coffee shop based on Direct Trade coffee grew. Plans were laid. Investors sought. Contractors interviewed until one came forward with a workable plan within budget.

Just when they thought they could go no further, a new investor or donor came forward. Work could proceed. Even at the last minute when a sign needed to be purchased and installed and working capital obtained, new investors came forward.

Two years is a long time to work on a dream. Today, the High Grounds Cafe opens. I changed my “office” from the local Starbucks which is at a grocery store and Tim Hortons this week. I’m an investor and I’ve witnessed the perseverence that led the investors, contractors, employees to this stage.

I’ll never forget a poster I saw about 30 years ago showing a heron swallowing a frog. But the frogs front legs (“arms”) were free and it was strangling the heron. The caption–Never Give Up.

Certainly perseverance is a necessary leadership trait. Now–what can I learn from that. Congratulations Chuck and Chris.

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