On a recent Saturday morning, I stood with my niece at the crossroads of a busy intersection to help her sell highly-sought after Girl Scout cookies. It would have been easier to just buy the amount of cookies she needed to sell and call it quits. However, I found myself intrigued by her enthusiasm and eagerness to do her part.
I was only there to help ensure the safety of the girls and hand out cookies, but I found the experience extremely enlightening. I quickly saw that Girl Scouts is about so much more than selling cookies—it’s about transforming young girls to lead. During my time with this troop, one of the leaders gathered the girls and shared three powerful principles of leadership: Discover, Connect, and Take Action. This was my “aha" moment. I was struck by the similarities of this great organization’s vision and mission to the core values of HORNE.
At an early age, Girls Scouts start gaining the skills and knowledge to be successful leaders. They develop a strong sense of self by something as simple as selling a box of cookies. The girls begin to understand and discover self-confidence and how to be more independent. They meet other Girl Scouts from various regions to network, connect, and learn about different viewpoints, backgrounds, and cultures. They understand that they belong to various groups in their community and embrace it with pride. They inspire each other, collaborate and work as a team to achieve a common goal, all while helping others. The organization allows them to grow and define their own sense of belonging—something we strive to create at HORNE.
I think of the growth of a Girl Scout as being much like the metamorphosis of a butterfly. They break out of their cocoon into something beautiful. Selling cookies is just a tool to empower the girls to learn life experiences, become role models for others, and increase responsibilities to create opportunities. At HORNE, our mission is to empower our clients, giving them their very own set of tools to create opportunity.
The girls were given supplies to create signs in order to draw potential buyers. Again, I was mesmerized by the careful planning, detailed messaging, and the way they chose certain colors to increase visibility. They shared their ideas effectively and motivated each other to take action. They understand that making a difference in their community is making the world a better place. Certainly, these are qualities of servant leadership as their actions and words are important to themselves, fellow scouts, and others.
It isn’t about the cookies or the profit margin sales, but rather, it’s about preparing and shaping today’s scouts for being leaders tomorrow. This presents a question we must face as leaders: Do we take the easy way out or engage in developing leaders for tomorrow within our own organization? The need to empower, transform, and develop people is what will define our success in the future. We can all take a lesson from the Girl Scouts and in turn, bask in the beauty of the butterfly.