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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Administrative Types and Entrepreneurial Types

A friend and leader introduced me to the work and thinking of Ichak Adizes, Ph. D.

Through extensive and credible work with corporate leaders, Dr. Adizes has developed an incredible framework to diagnose and manage the lifecycle of an organization. I’m reading Managing Corporate Lifecycles and have to stop to make about six notes on each page. The insights are profound, practical, and clear!!! I dare say his thinking is… Drucker-like!

Here’s just one little nugget – distinguishing ‘Administrative Types’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Types’.

The entrepreneurial type asks, “What else can we do?”

The administrative type asks, “What less can we do?”

A Dashboard to Measure and Manage Fundraising (Sales)

We’re often asked about ways to MEASURE and MANAGE the fundraising (read: sales) function of organizations. Here is the simple sales dashboard we use: The For Impact Green Sheet.

It measures ACTIVITY and PRODUCTIVITY – Visits. Asks. Results.

“Spend more time with better prospects.” – Brian Tracy

Here are three instances in which we use the For Impact Green Sheet with clients:

  • When we’re building a Sales Model/Team – to create alignment and a culture of philanthropy.The Green Sheet becomes a clear illustration of what matters. People start asking questions like, “How do we get more visits?” Or, “Why are we doing another mail appeal? Will it help us identify more leads?”
  • For Campaign Management.In addition to broad campaign goals, the sales dashboard is a view into all elements of a comprehensive campaign. See Today/Tomorrow/Forever Funding Model.
  • To coach and develop talent!This is an important note for ‘sales managers’ and ‘sales leaders.’ We need this dashboard (or something similar) not only for accountability, but to effectively COACH and DEVELOP talent. In fact, you really need these three things:
    • A Master Prospect List /Action Plan: You need to know the priority prospects.
    • The For Impact Green Sheet.
    • Call Memos. It’s challenging to coach someone without knowing what actually happened on a visit.

Links to definitions:

There Are Many Paths to Leadership, Not One Right Path

Here is a story about LEADERSHIP (as shared in the Encore Effect).

From Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines.
“My best lesson in leadership came during my early days as a trial lawyer. Wanting to learn from the best, I went to see two of the most renowned litigators in San Antonio try cases. One sat there and never objected to anything, was very gentle with witnesses, and established a rapport with the jury. The other was an aggressive, thundering hell-raiser. And both seemed to win every case. That’s when I realized there are many different paths, not one right path. That’s true of leadership as well. People with different personalities, different approaches, or different values succeed not because one set of values or practices is superior, but because their values and practices are genuine. And when you and your organization are true to yourselves–when you deliver results and a singular experience–customers can spot that from thirty thousand feet.”

Shortly after Apple returned to greatness (mid to late 2000’s) I started to come across CEO’s and executive directors that seemed to be modeling Steve Jobs. In fact, several said that they were. These ‘leaders’ were mercurial and churning through staff. Now, some 5-10 years later, all these Steve-Jobs-models have been fired, or they’ve burned out.

I could make a dozen points but the one I want to emphasize ties to Herb’s story. Choose a path whereby your values and practices are genuine. There are many paths – not one RIGHT path.

Staff or Staph

A special thanks to one of our Senior Partners, Steve Geuther…

Are your people STAFF or STAPH??? Are they INFECTIOUS… or an INFECTION???

While this whole ‘economy, recession, implosion‘ thing is just really a sorry excuse for not being out with our best prospects… it does provide a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to RE-THINK and RE-DESIGN and RE-ALLOCATE our personnel, people, team.

STAFF or STAPH is not just about TALENT, but about ATTITUDE!!!

If I were you, I’d use this time to seriously execute on Jim Collin’s ‘BUS’ strategy.

Right people on the bus. Wrong people off the bus. Right people in the right seats.

It’s Tough to Outsource Passion

I may have heard or seen this some place, but can’t remember the attribution. Maybe it’s just a vibe from Napoleon Hill’s ether-world.

Regardless it’s true. It’s powerful. It’s self-evident.



“LEADERS can afford to be uncertain, but (they) cannot afford to be UNCLEAR.”
Andy Stanley

“UNCERTAINTY is not an indication of poor leadership… the temptation is to think, ‘If I were a good leader, I would know exactly what to do.’

Increased responsibility means dealing with more and more intangibles and, therefore, more complex uncertainty.

LEADERS can afford to be uncertain, but (they) cannot afford to be UNCLEAR.

People will not follow fuzzy leadership.”

Pretty self-explanatory quote from Andy Stanley as cited in John Maxwell’s wonderful article in the latest Success Magazine.


And, of course, a CLEAR (and Concise, Compelling and Consistent)… MESSAGE.

Hold the Interview

Almost every organization I know is struggling with ‘HIRING’ issues. In Jim Collins’ eponymous ‘bus‘ metaphor… it’s always about getting the right people on the bus… getting the wrong people off the bus… and then getting everybody in the right seats.

Why It May Be Wiser to Hire People without Meeting Them by Dan and Chip Heath, authors of MADE TO STICK, was in June’s Fast Company.

I suggest you skim this quickly to get the Big Idea: INTERVIEWS are a worthless waste of time when it comes to decisions on talent.

The real nugget for me in this was the idea of the ‘SIMPLE JOB TEST’. (more…)

Silos Don’t Play Well Together

You are perfectly designed to get the results you are getting.

Sooooo, if you have a Planned Giving Office, a Foundation Office, a Corporation Office, an Annual Fund Office, a Grant Writing Office, an Alumni Office, an IT Office, a Special Event Office, a Unrestricted Giving Office, a Restricted Giving Office, a Campaign Office… then you’re designed (competitively) to not communicate, not collaborate, not play well together.

This ‘No More Silos & Boxes’ nugget is a HUGE LEAP, but mandatory for any kind of real success.
Your Qualified Prospects and current investors don’t want to be ‘SOLICITED’ by all these ‘offices’. This is not about how you ‘count’ and ‘account’ for the funds. It’s how people want to INVEST in your institution, organization, cause and case. All of you know where your ‘SILOS’ exist. They are parts of the organization that are DISCONNECTED by the ‘BOXES’ (in the organization chart), the baggage, the sacred cows of the organization and by the ‘BOSSES’ (of the different departments.)

*Organization charts and boxes, by the way, were based upon a military industrial model of command and control and assembly lines. This was a terrific concept when first brought out in the 1950’s. It doesn’t work now. Creating a model and an organization built on HOLISTIC TEAMS who collaboratively engage in transformation, vision and changing the world beat the living daylights out of “boxes” and your “organization chart”. (Obviously, I’m not expecting any HR people to be looking at this.)

I’m going to encourage you to take this as far as you dare. It gets tough when we tell people that they shouldn’t have a ‘Planned Giving Office’ or ‘Officer’, or eliminate the slots focused on ‘corporations’ or ‘foundations’ or grant writing. Perhaps more importantly, we are met with looks of absolute amazement when we suggest that the people on the IMPACT side (you know, the ones that are delivering your service) should be actively engaged as part of the team to help generate INCOME and FUND A VISION!

Example: What if there were NO MORE MAJOR GIFT OFFICERS? This may freak you out, but it’s about the TITLE! It’s so ‘developmenty’ and ‘fundraisey’. It’s an insider’s word. It’s on our business cards and on our stationary. We might as well wear a sandwich board that says, “I’m a MAJOR GIFT OFFICER. I’m coming to ask you for a MAJOR GIFT. Get ready.” Change the title of everyone in your organization who is engaged with your constituency to include the word ‘RELATIONSHIP’! (Chief Relationships Officer, Regional Relationships Officer, Regional Director of Relationships, College Relationships Officer, Relationships Officer)

Special Note: I’m still using RM in most of the places where we coach. Relationship Manager (RM) is certainly better than Major Gift Officer, but it still doesn’t really reflect this idea.

The Animal School

Focus on your strengths - picture of eagleThe more I read about Buckingham, I want to share my own thoughts about ‘STRENGTHS’ vs. ‘WEAKNESSES’.

Here’s the most powerful, statistical nugget that could help you change your life and your organization:

Based on Buckingham’s research, 83% of people say “FINDING THEIR WEAKNESSES AND FIXING THEM IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS”.

The WOW here is that when very, very “SUCCESSFUL” people are analyzed… the EXACT OPPOSITE is true!

Here’s the tip. Screw your weaknesses. Focus on your strengths. Do what you love.

Read the most powerful story/metaphor I’ve ever seen to reinforce this big insight.


Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world.” So they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact better than his instructor; but he made only passing grades in flying and was poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He also developed “charley horses” from overexertion and then got C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, run, climb, and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

[The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their child to a badger and joined the ground hogs and gophers to start a successful private school.]

Does this fable have a moral?

Get Entrepreneurs ‘On Board’

You’ve seen or heard Tom and I talk a lot about the importance of ‘on board’ vs. ‘on the board’. In order to really make a transformational leap in your IMPACT and INCOME the kind of thinking and leadership you need will come from individuals that are ‘on board’ with your cause / case…not ‘the whole of the board’.

We’re always encouraging you to find three champions to drive your funding efforts. Again, could be on your board or not on your board but they are always on board.

The BEST on-board champions

  • Drive the vision
  • Will (read: brute force determination) your project to happen
  • See an obstacle as a challenge, not a sign of doom
  • Think big and leap head first with a positive ‘can–do’ attitude
  • Make this vision a self-fulfilling prophecy

The profile above is that of an ENTREPRENEUR. With all due respect to lawyers, bankers, doctors, etc. they usually don’t fit this profile. They can aid with some of the responsibilities of the board but they’re usually not drivers of the vision.

That may seem like a slam on lawyers, banker and doctors — it’s not. I’ve worked with some very committed and passionate people in those industries. They’re GREAT people and they’ll often tell me, “We just don’t think that way.”

We can spend months and years hoping people will become ENTREPRENEURIAL. It’s a way of thinking that’s either there or not. Don’t try to change people. If they don’t fit this profile keep moving…put your energy and effort into finding someone that does.

Another litmus: You want people that will say ‘this will work because’ not ‘what if?’ or ‘I think we need to worry about”.

The action: Find three people that are ‘on board’ [as champions]… start by looking for ENTREPRENEURS that get your cause. You want people that see the vision, not the obstacles. One great ENTREPRENEURIAL CHAMPION ON BOARD will help ‘outperform’ 20 committed people that don’t fit that profile.

Tom’s Ideal Profile (for every org, for every situation)

Someone who is ready to move from SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE!

Someone who has had the ‘Bill Gates-in-the-shower’ epiphany
(“I can’t take all of this with me”).

Somebody who has been very “successful” financially in the
business world and who is now committed to making an IMPACT
on the world.

He or she has already taken care of their family and their own “needs”, as well as their “wants”. There is still plenty left.

Special Note: Taking this a little deeper, my very best Ideal Prospect is someone who has actually moved from STRUGGLE to SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE!
For me, that means a Wealthy ENTREPRENEUR!
They know what it’s like to start things… to overcome obstacles… to make a difference. Plus, there’s no “committees”! (They can make a decision.)
This is my “favorite” prospect!