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Colorado Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity

Join us on September 15-16, 2015 in Larkspur, CO (halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs/ 60 miles south of the Denver Airport) for our For Impact Boot Camp.

This high-energy, two-day session explores the For Impact Point of View and Sales Process. And it is the best resource we can recommend for you and your team.

Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building. You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale and take your organization to the next level.

This opportunity is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone their individual skills – both personal and professional!

Boot Camp will focus on topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

Take advantage of Early Bird pricing until this Friday, July 24th at Midnight.
More Information and Registration Here.

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Charles Schultz Philosophy on Life

Former Notre Dame Women’s Boxing Captain, and my good friend, Brittan Crawford, sent me this 10 years ago.
Well worth the read.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just read it straight through, and you’ll get the point.

  • Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  • Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  • Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
  • Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  • Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
  • Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?  

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

  • List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  • Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  • Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  • Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  • Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?  

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that CARE (that IMPACT you).

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”
– Charles Schultz

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The Campaign as an Opportunity for Organizational Culture Change

Changing a culture is very challenging. In the best cases, it is very slow.

Observing and working with thousands of organizations and companies I’m convinced culture change only comes about because of a dramatic event and/or extraordinary leadership.

More than a funding goal, the ‘campaign initiative’ can be an organizational event to declare a culture change.. and it gives a framework for leadership to tell a new story.

In fact, when we assemble a team for a major campaign effort we carve out time (off-site) with the team to envision success, draft the plan and DECLARE THE CULTURE.

Special note: Part of the exercise in declaring a culture is identifying sacred cows (and getting rid of them) as well as developing new language.

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The For Impact Guidebook On Quantum Leap Campaigns

Campaign Week: Day 1.

(Reminder, we’re hosting campaign teleseminars this week.)

This guidebook is designed to CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT CAMPAIGNS.

No more of these…

Instead…

Think BIG. Build SIMPLE. Act NOW.
It’s about the STORY! It’s about SPEED. SIMPLICITY. and SALES.
It’s about LEADERSHIP… TALENT… and a FOCUS on your BEST prospects.
It’s about choosing the DESIGN of your organization, team and impact… then making that QUANTUM LEAP.
Read ‘The For Impact Guidebook On Quantum Leap Campaigns’.

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Campaign Week (our version of Shark Week)

Campaign Week Header Image

Every year we do our version of Shark Week. Instead of sharks we focus on CAMPAIGNS.

Next week is CAMPAIGN WEEK!

We will focus our writing, publishing and education on campaigns.

Here are four teleseminars we will be hosting. They’re free for the first 50 registrants.
 

Teleseminar: For Impact 101- Changing the Funding Game (INTRO)
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
Teleseminar: Designing a Campaign
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
Teleseminar: Building a Sales Culture – On Talent and Teams
Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
Teleseminar: The Language of the Ask, The Close and The Follow-up
Friday, July 17, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
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Optimism and Confidence

This one’s a book recommendation and a commentary.

Book Recommendation: How Champions Think by Bob Rotella.

Some of the most important qualities in a great sales/major gifts person include:

  • Empathy
  • Optimism
  • Confidence
  • Engagement (Ability to ENGAGE)

 
It’s difficult for me to rank these. They’re all important.

How Champions Think gives you and me a way of approaching optimism and confidence as dynamic traits we can control. We DECIDE to be optimistic and CHOOSE to believe in ourselves.

  • On Optimism.

    “People aren’t born optimistic or pessimistic. Optimism is an attitude that people can choose to have.”

    • “Optimism doesn’t guarantee anything in sports [and life]. It just improves your chances.”
    • “Optimism is often an act of faith, a belief in something that cannot be proven.”
    • Rotella says that top athletes either consciously or unconsciously find ways to become and stay optimistic.
  • On Self-Confidence.

    “People tend to become what they think about themselves.” – William James

    “There is enormous wisdom in that sentence. And there’s enormous hope. James was wise enough to see that we are each the biggest influence on our own destiny. More importantly, he understood that we each have the power to construct our own self-image and that the self-image we construct will very likely determine what we become in life.”

The valuable thing about this book is that it gives us a peek into the minds of Lebron James, Ben Hogan and other champions. You see the importance of confidence but more importantly, you see how these are decisions that add up to construct one’s being.

Having coached and trained over 1000 sales people and leaders I believe in everything Rotella is saying. Optimism and confidence are found in different ways but fundamentally they are choices.

Implications for For Impact Leaders:

  • Hire for optimism and confidence… And always reinforce these traits. Believing in your team is one of the most important things you can do as a leader.
  • Remove (sales) team members that cannot be mentored toward optimism and confidence. We must guard against anything that takes these dynamic traits in the wrong direction.
  • Renew YOUR optimism and confidence. It’s a decision! But this one falls under ‘simple, not easy’. Work on finding ways to become and stay optimistic. Set the tone and the story for the team.
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Video Nugget: Use Altitude for Engagement, Organizational Development and Communication

https://vimeo.com/130873203

Previous video in this sequence: Introduction to Altitude Framework.

In this video we cover three ways to leverage the Altitude Framework.

  • For engagement. People will engage at the altitude of your choosing.
  • For organizational development. Start with WHY and answer the question, “To what end?”
  • For communication. Use the metaphor to effectively communicate with your team ‘at altitude’.
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Summer of Health

In the spring of 2014, The Suddes Group team members encountered several health setbacks, ranging from physical injuries to the emotional / mental toll of losing family members. As a team, we decided to commit the summer to health and healing. On June 21, the Summer Solstice we started our SUMMER OF HEALTH.

This really simple concept defined our TEAM STORY for the summer.

We read books… took cooking classes… held each other accountable to fitness goals... rehabbed old injuries… There was an open and ongoing conversation about managing energy, finding flow, and the process of mental renewal.

The Summer of Health had many expected benefits, but also a few that we didn’t even see coming:

  • We went wayyyy beyond diet and fitness. The team conversation shaped around vitality, balance and meaning!!!
  • Team members involved families. This seems obvious in hindsight, but everyone reported having family members who also lost weight, gained energy, and transformed their health. As one team member shared with me, “We took the time to learn how to cook and prepare healthy food as a family, and this is a value that will be passed on to our kids!” (THAT’S IMPACT!)
  • We had an impact on broader social circles and extended families. Our team members became incidental health leaders and coaches. Let me tell you, there is nothing more fulfilling than helping a family member find health!
  • I think it had a permanent impression on our culture. Since last summer we’ve observed an awareness of energy and work-life integration.

The team journey was so powerful that we’re making it again. Hopefully a few of you will make a commitment to a SUMMER OF HEALTH too.

Obviously, this is something you can do yourself, but I would encourage you to do this with your team or with some friends.

Write to me at nick@forimpact.org. Tell me about your INDIVIDUAL or TEAM commitment to a SUMMER OF HEALTH. I will include you on notes we share with our team about focus, renewal and vitality. I’ll also send out some of the books below to a few randomly selected people.

Here are a few of the books we shared last summer:

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Meaning Before Details

I’m preparing for our flagship experience, The For Impact Boot Camp. Part of the ritual includes re-reading some clippings and materials — including a chapter on the subject of ATTENTION from Brain Rules. John Medina goes into the neuroscience of how we pay attention, engage and learn.

Here’s a powerful nugget from that reading:

The brain processes meaning before details. Providing the gist, the core concept, first [is] like giving a thirsty person a tall glass of water. And the brain likes hierarchy. Starting with general concepts naturally leads to explaining information in a hierarchical fashion. You have to do the general idea first. And then you will see [a] 40% increase in understanding.”

This nugget (and the science explained in the book) helps to explain why the Altitude Framework is such a powerful communication framework. The Altitude Framework along with the Engagement Tool provide a visual orientation and hierarchy… moving from meaning to details.

This is also a great reminder that one of the most powerful questions we can ask someone is their WHY…. It creates full engagement around the THEIR meaning. If you can then attach every detail of the conversation to their WHY then you will have full attention.

In an educational setting (like Boot Camp) this becomes an important teaching principle. Give ONE concept and use a lot of details to support ONE idea. We then support with a story because stories are rich with meaning.

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The Power of Context

I’m not sure we give enough credit or thought to the power of context… the situation, atmosphere or circumstances that shape events and communication.

Context gives (EVERYTHING) its form and meaning.

“The room is EIGHTY PERCENT of the context for the comedy!” – Jerry Seinfeld.

Wow!

Think about CONTEXT (in these contexts!)

  • CONTEXT-setting! The job of the LEADER.

    “The CEO must set the context within which every employee operates. The context gives meaning to specific work that people do, aligns interests, enables decision making, and provides motivation.” – Ben Horowitz in The Hard Thing about Hard Things

    Set the CONTEXT!

  • CONTEXT for TALENT!

    McKinsey identified the number one challenge with hiring and leadership development to be OVERLOOKING CONTEXT. “A brilliant leader in one situation does not necessarily perform well in another.” (McKinsey Quarterly. Jan 2014)

  • CONTEXT for the ASK!

    (This one needs a book, not a bullet point!)

    Think about how we PREDISPOSE to set and control the CONTEXT for the conversation. What do we need to send ahead of time? The experience! Who needs to be there! Where will we have the visit?

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What Does ‘An Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.

In the For Impact world A REAL ASK satisfies this checklist:

  • We were WITH a prospect – physically.

    See Just Visit. There are exceptions to this but 19 times out of 20 the ask is done in person so that there is engagement and dialogue.

  • We asked the prospect for specific help with a specific project, program or level of support.

    In doing so the dollar figure was clear. Example: “John, we need your help, would it be possible for you to underwrite this project for $20,000?”

    It wasn’t open-ended, we didn’t ask, “Could you give whatever you can give?”

    Also, in being specific, the funding rationale wasn’t for ‘unrestricted’ or ‘operations’… those aren’t specific (see: Have a Funding Rationale)

  • The ask was a dialogue – a back and forth with questions and listening — so that we could ensure that we were maximizing the relationship at this given moment.

    Read: The Ask as a Dialogue to help with this concept.

  • We will expect a YES or a NO – and will follow-up accordingly.

    Thinking about how to get to a YES or NO ensures you have covered appropriate mechanics and you can continue within a sales process. Otherwise, there is a risk of pending into oblivion or unclear follow-up.

Without the definition provided by this checklist we often find:

  • A visit is scored as an ask.
  • There is no real ask – but rather a suggestion that it would be great to have the prospect’s help.
  • Some psychological shift whereby the salesperson only asks AFTER the prospect says he or she would like to make a gift. That’s not an ask. The relationship certainly wasn’t maximized and it’s an incredibly low return-on-energy methodology.
  • The salesperson raises money without asking. This is similar to point above. To be clear, just showing up DOES yield funding – this is our point behind JUST VISIT!

    But, in terms of measurement this is harder to spot (and therefore coach around), and usually shows up because a sales person will report the following:

    • 25 visits
    • 20 asks
    • 3 commits
    • 0 declines

    If you follow this ask checklist, you SHOULD get a ‘no’ from time-to-time.

  • There was a request for help, but there was no funding rationale or dialogue. We see this with a lot of organizations that ARE raising money. They’re out visiting, they’re asking the prospect to help but they’re not maximizing the relationship. (Not the worst problem in the world – but usually leaving tons of money on the table).

Some reminders:

  • We’re pushing for everyone to be more assertive. That doesn’t mean you always have to ask for funding on the first visit. There are certainly many times where it’s a discovery or predisposition visit (but never 4-5 ‘cultivation’ visits before we ask).
  • Kerry was with a client last week and they visited with a high capacity prospect for a first time discovery visit. There was no ask, however Kerry did ask for permission to make the ask. She closed the visit by saying to the prospect, “Today we wanted to share the vision and see if we could get you on board with our story. As we move along would it be okay to talk to you about supporting that vision?”
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