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Who, Not How

If you’ve got the right people on the bus, the right team, the right talent… then you really shouldn’t spend a lot of time to ‘manage‘ them.

This ‘WHO, NOT HOW’ concept represents a way of thinking that values the assignment of a project or action (WHO) over the method of accomplishment (HOW).

Here’s one of my absolute favorite stories on getting stuff done and particularly on WHO, NOT HOW!

Written by Elbert Hubbard, editor of the “Philistine Magazine“, Message to Garcia was published in March of 1899! I am paraphrasing Hubbard’s story… but I think you will get the point.


THE STORY: When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the insurgents… a General Garcia. He was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba – no one knew where. Mail or telegraph could not reach him… and the President had to secure his cooperation quickly.

Somebody told the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of ROWAN who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Andrew S. Rowan, West Point Class of 1881 was a First Lieutenant in the 19th Infantry, U.S.A. (Yes!) Because he knew the topography of Cuba, was familiar with Spanish, and had shown himself to be a brave and prudent solider, Lieutenant Rowan was selected for this mission.

In short, he took the letter, sealed it in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart and crossed from Jamaica to the southern coast of Cuba in a sailboat. He disappeared into the jungle, made his way inland to Garcia’s camp… and DELIVERED HIS MESSAGE!!!

In Hubbard’s words: “The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia. Rowan took the letter and did not ask, ‘Where is he at?’ By the eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and his statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book learning young men need nor instruction about this and that but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; and do that thing – ‘CARRY A MESSAGE TO GARCIA!’”

All kinds of ‘lessons’ here. Pick the one you need today.


“Move That Bus”

I happened to be walking by a television when the Home Makeover show was on… right at the time when everyone shouts: “MOVE THAT BUS.”

It immediately reminded me of Jim Collins’ eponymous BUS metaphor.

You’ve all heard the right people on bus, wrong people off bus, right people in the right seats.

What you might not have heard was the interesting conclusion that with the right people in the right seats (and the wrong people no longer on the bus)… the bus can move in any direction and still be very successful. As we constantly try to remind our organizations and leaders, it’s not about perfect plans or perfect strategies or perfect direction. It’s all about ACTION.




The ‘Old Guy’ can’t remember where I first heard this, so I can’t give attribution. But, it’s pretty powerful.

Great SALES people sell with ENTHUSIASM.

The last four letters are I.A.S.M.

I Am Sold Myself.

If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, you should change jobs! Today!

Besides the obvious issues about loving what you do, being passionate about your organization, company, service, product or whatever… you dis-belief will be transparent and obvious to everybody with whom you’re selling.

How are people going to ‘buy’ from you when they see that you haven’t bought (believe) yourself in what you are ‘selling’???

Special Note: I read once that the word ENTHUSIASM is about ‘God within’. Regardless of the name of your respective ‘God’, the idea is that you are filled with something bigger than yourself.

I’m not very smart about this whole lexicon thing, but I’m guessing that this is probably also tied somehow to being an ‘evangelist’ for what you believe in.


How to Find the Ideal Development Offer – Short Guide (PDF)

Right now, we’re helping with a search for a Vice President for Advancement, a Major Gifts Officer for a National Youth Development Organization, a Development Officer for a Hospital and dozens of ‘Salespeople’ for For Impact Organizations.

I put together a short guide with some ideas on the ‘Ideal Development Officer’ (whatever that is).

If you’re looking to add great salespeople to your team, check this out. Give us a call if we can help you search, hire or train your new team.

P.S. Two startling statistics.

I just heard that within the 1,200 Catholic High Schools in the country, there is almost 50% annual turnover of their Development Staff.

Then, I saw in the paper yesterday that ‘The’ Ohio State University wants to increase its annual $27 Million Fundraising Budget… by $7.8 Million… WOW! to add 91 positions to its current staff of 107 people!!! (Numbers are tied to a $2.5 Billion Goal.)


‘If the Job Could Talk’

We are constantly being asked for advice, counsel and help with finding, hiring and training Advancement/Development Officers.

My good friend Bryan Driscoll is a great facilitator, coach and trainer who also specializes in helping companies hire the right people.

Bryan uses the phrase, ‘IF THE JOB COULD TALK’ as a way to think about actually defining the job, the role, and the fit.

In the development world, all of these are ‘FUZZY‘ at best.


Seek Balance

Master motivator Zig Ziglar says it this way, “True SUCCESS requires BALANCE. SUCCESS is only real if it encompasses physical, mental, spiritual, relationships, career and finances.”

Make a LIFE. Not a LIVING.

When somebody says, “Get a life”, that’s what they mean.

It’s your life. If given the choice of balancing your WORK, BUSINESS, CAREER… with your LIFE… always chose LIFE.

I once heard one of the best business professors I know and one of the most ‘successful’ business leaders in the country both say to a class of MBA’s that it is “pretty much impossible to balance your business and career with your family”. I so violently disagree that it is difficult to capture on paper.

We’re all terminally ill. Workaholics and busy, busy, frenetic, multitasking people are all going to die. When you talk to old people like me, they will remind you that your children will never be this age again. Your parents will eventually be gone. Your brothers and sisters will be spread around the country. And, if they’re really honest, they’ll tell you that the whole ‘quality time‘ vs. actual time is just a cop out.

It’s Friday. Leave ‘work’ early (or now!). Get some solo time, workout time, family time life time. (‘Work’ will all still be there on Monday.) (more…)


Man’s Search for Meaning

Great article, Doctor for the Soul, in Success Magazine, May Issue, on Viktor Frankl. Frankl was one of the first people to suggest that “Humans must have meaning before they have the will to live.”

Man’s Search for Meaning was the most famous of his 30 books. Published in 1946, it has sold more than 9 million copies and has been declared as one of the 10 most influential books in America.

Frankl coined the term logotherapy, a school of thought centered on the idea that man is driven by a will to establish meaning in his life.

A fancy word, logotherapy. It doesn’t mean self-help by studying the Nike Swoosh or McDonald’s Golden Arches.

It comes from Frankl’s experience as a survivor of the Nazi work camps, where he recognized the human need for purpose.

This is what we all do in the FOR IMPACT WORLD. We get to help people find their ‘purpose‘… their ‘meaning’.

Helping people get from Drucker’s ‘Success to Significance‘ is always a great feeling.

In a small way (and sometimes in a big way), every one of us involved in the For Impact World gets to help in (Wo)Man’s Search for Meaning.

Note: If you haven’t read this book, get it and read it.

Everything can be taken away from man but one thing — to choose one’s ATTITUDE in a given set of circumstances.” Viktor Frankl



Coaching Thought for the Day:

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to MAKE A MISTAKE?

This comes from a good friend, trainer and coach — Steve ‘Wolfie’ Wolf.


The Little Engine that Could Syndrome

You all know the story of the Little Engine that Could. Great little engine that pulled the big train chanting, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” It’s about the little guy overcoming odds with attitude and proving something for himself.

It’s great. But it’s not YOUR organization’s story.

The Little Engine Story Sydrome for nonprofits looks something like this:

We’re really tiny but we don’t give up. We make good use of everything. We’re struggling but we’re going to make it. We believe we can. We believe we’re doing good work! Can you support us?


Represent a better story. The Little Engine That Could story is a narrative about confidence. We want a narrative about purpose. No time for you to tell us you can give yourself a pep talk… with all due respect to the little engine, we’re not pulling a train, we’re saving lives, changing lives and impacting lives.

Channel Ghandi. Inspire like MLK. Heck, charge forward like Braveheart. They were driven by a sense of purpose, not self-discovery.


Don’t Bury the Lead

This is the number one rule of journalism: Don’t Bury the Lead.

William Randolph Hearst, Horace Greeley, Al Neuharth, Walter Conkrite, Tom Brokaw, et al remind all of us that the reader/listener/watcher needs to know right away the crux of our Message, Story or Presentation.

Some of my absolute favorite books (which, by the way, are some of the best books ever written) can be summarized entirely with the TITLE. (Talk about not burying the lead!) This includes Think & Grow Rich, The Strangest Secret, The Aladdin Factor, Hope Is Not A Strategy, One Great Insight Is Worth 1,000 Ideas, The Goal, The Category of One, The Power of One, and more.

Note: THINK & GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill has been singled out as THE most influential book by more successful people than any other. In reading and re-reading this classic, I’m always amazed that Hill talks about the ‘secret’ throughout the book… yet actually put the secret in the TITLE and ON THE COVER!

Don’t Bury the Lead. Make sure everyone knows your Message at the highest level. (e.g., ‘We Save Lives!’)