We hear about a lot of traditions and customs as we travel but in Ecuador we hear about ways of living that are so beautiful that I wanted to share them with you. The first is a traditional method of collaboartion to get things done called Minga, and is something which has grown organically over centuries.
The second is Profit Share something which has a more Socialist strain to it and is imposed from a government who value the work of the workers who are employed by any industry. While not an organic creation, it allows people to feel valued and to value the work which they do. Ingenius.
Minga by definition is collaborative work in which friends and neighbors volunteer their time, effort, and sometimes funds to achieve a shared goal for the betterment of the community (for example, building a home, harvesting food or repairing roads).
It was created as a way of developing a town of village to benefit the whole community. Basically every member of a town or village would chip in a day here and there, to work on community projects such as fixing or laying a road, cleaning up a park etc.
If there are emergencies then people gather together and work through the proplems, Minga Style! For example, if there is a leak in the water supply, then everyone would work together until they found it and eradicated the problem.
Mingas are extremely well organised and rely on trust, goodwill and solid camraderie to get things done. If the project is roadside, then they may stop cars and ask for them to contribute to drinks and lunch.
Local businesses may contribute to Minga in another way, for example some of the hoteliers we met would fund needs such as wages for a local doctor or nurse, or equipment that needs to be purchased for certain projects.
The Ecuadorian president is loved for many reasons, but is genuinely a man of the people and while he can’t please all of the people all of the time, I have never been to a country where, in general, people feel their community and families are benefitting from new policies every year.
One policy I LOVE is that employees of any company are entitled to a 15% share of company profits. So once a year they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labour and take home bonus in line with what they have created as employees.
Imagine if Walmart or Apple shared their profits with all of their employees! This kind of incentive creates a loyal and hardworking employee base, and means that everyone in the company not only feels a responsibility for growth, but gets to share in the reward as well. A practice like this would have such an enormous impact on how the world works – I would love to see this be replicated in the international community.
The businesses we met had employees who valued their work, their contribution and were happy to work harder than before, knowing that the better their work, the better the overall performance and hence, their own bottom line.