Horsepower: Part 2 of the Power Grid Series

Last month, I introduced the concept of the power grid — the six sources of sustainable energy that every preeminent organization taps into. The first power source, brainpower, is the intellectual oomph that leads to long-term success. Horsepower, the extra gear, is our focus this time.

While the Scottish engineer who coined the term in the 18th century was just drawing a comparison between the relative strength of horses and trains, the idea of horsepower has grown to mean so much more.

Organizations that have horsepower know how to turn it up a notch. They give it their all. They rest. And then they go at it again. It’s this mindset that separates them from the competition, particularly when it comes to their unwavering commitment to excellence in all they do.

One organization that does a particularly excellent job of tapping into horsepower is the Atlanta Mission — a nonprofit providing support and services for Atlanta’s homeless population. They’re perhaps best known for the four shelters that they own and operate.

In 2018, the Atlanta Mission served 7,317 individuals. More than 5,000 were adults and almost 1,200 were children. And while those numbers are certainly impressive, they become even more significant when you put them in context. In the city of Atlanta last year, there were over 3,000 people homeless — 2,336 sheltered and 740 unsheltered. And according to the Atlanta Mission, 40 percent of those individuals face serious mental illness, 41 percent deal with substance abuse and 7 percent have HIV/AIDS. It’s a problem in our city, but one that the Atlanta Mission is working hard to solve.

Behind this incredible organization’s success is the surefooted leadership of President and CEO Jim Reese. Jim has assembled a wonderfully talented leadership team with tremendous horsepower. Many of these leaders have previously had extensive experience in the corporate world and bring it to the table for the Mission by cranking out solid, strategic thinking time and time again. It’s remarkable to watch, and it’s one of the many reasons Jim is a hero of mine.

But horsepower, of course, is just the second of the six power sources. Up next time — the power of the heart.