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“People don’t want more messages; they want more INTERACTIONS.”

Another great quote from John Maeda, current President of RISD and author of one of my favorite books, The Laws of Simplicity.

He goes on to say, “There’s no perfect memo where you can press SEND and get connected, or a Facebook group you can join to be committed.”

In this case, I think he is using the word ‘messages’ as blogs, tweets, posts, email, etc.

*If you’re a follower of For Impact, you know how big we are on the whole ‘MESSAGE’ thing. In our world, this means articulating a clear, concise, compelling, convincing, consistent MESSAGE around the vision and the purpose of the organization.

Note: The key word in Maeda’s comment is around ‘INTERACTIONS‘.


And, of course, JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK.


Stand… and Walk Together

“When you know where you’re standing and know where you want to stand, it’s time to walk there together.”

Great line from John Maeda, author of THE LAWS OF SIMPLICITY and currently the much challenged President of Rhode Island School of Design.

This quote reinforces our whole concept of ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ (vs. face-to-face or eyeball-to-eyeball).

If you know where you’re standing… and know where you want to stand… gather your best Champions and Investors and walk there together.

*Just thought of a great quote from some Zen dude.

“When standing, stand. When sitting, sit. But whatever, don’t wobble.”


How To Get Things Done

EVERYBODY can use this article in HBR to Get Things Done (or Out the Bottom of the Funnel).

Harvard Business Review talks of two of the world’s experts on productivity, David Allen and Tony Schwartz.

Allen’s 3 letters, GTD, is the list-driven system. Schwartz is not as ubiquitous as Allen, but comes at this from the energy/performance side. (Schwartz co-authored with Jim Loehr one of my favorite all-time books, The Power of Full Engagement.)

Together they provide the ‘yin/yang, left/right’ balance in a good dialogue about time, effectiveness and productivity.

Something to think about:

Last question: If people could take just one thing away from your work, what should it be?

Schwartz: Organizations need to recognize that human beings are basically organisms containing energy. And that energy is either being renewed or being dissipated over time. An organization has to realize that part of its responsibility, whether it wants it or not, is to ensure that people have full tanks of energy. This is one of the big variables that will determine which organizations thrive in the next 10 or 20 years.


Small Message. Big Impact.

Speaker and trainer Terri Sjodin specializes in helping professionals sharpen their presentation and sales kills.

In her new book coming out this summer, SMALL MESSAGE BIG IMPACT, she highlights the power of the proverbial ‘elevator speech’.

Her definition of the ‘modern’ elevator speech is simple: A brief message… communicated in 30 seconds to 3 minutes… whose sole purpose is to intrigue the listener… and obtain additional time (to present).

Read Success Magazine’s article 1 on 1 Targeted Talking Points for more.

Remember: If you can articulate your message clearly, compellingly, concisely, convincingly, cleanly, consistently (and any other ‘c’ word)… you can raise as much money as you need to fund your vision!!! (The whole point of Impact Drives Income.)


When Knocked Down… Get Up!

The only people who don’t ‘fail‘ (get ‘knocked down’)… are those who don’t try anything.

Peter Gruber, Chairman & CEO, of Mandalay Entertainment and Co-Owner of Golden State Warriors Basketball Team had a great article in Harvard Business Review’s recent edition on ‘FAILURE’.

Titled, Muhammad Ali taught me: Be active in your own rescue.

‘Be active in your own rescue’ is a fancy way to say, “When knocked down… get up!”

Gruber ends with the article with,

“Failure is an inevitable cul-de-sac on the road to success. Keep taking risks — and always get back up.”


‘Cultivate’ and ‘Hope’

Playing off my recent post on planting trees… now.

Old Line, Traditional ‘Planned Giving’ was all about CULTIVATION… and HOPE.

When I first started in Development at Notre Dame (horse, buggy, rotary phones), we had the most amazing guy who was responsible for ‘Planned Giving’. Frank’s job was to CULTIVATE (prime football tickets, dinners in Florida, etc.)… and then HOPED that when they passed away they would leave us something. (They usually did. Sometimes it even covered the cost of the tickets!)

Think about the results of what happens in the ‘New’ Model around Today | Tomorrow | Forever.

• The Triple Ask.
• Legacy Gifts.
• Combining Legacy (Estate) Gifts with Cash During Life.
• Etc.

Your choice. Plant trees now or ‘cultivate and hope’.

Special Note: One of the reasons Harvard’s Endowment is $30 Gazillion is because they started planting trees (getting Legacy/Planned Gifts) in the 1700’s.


Best Time to Plant Trees

“The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago. The next best time is NOW.”

A great line from a wonderful, young, smart woman who is leading a healthcare foundation. She shared this during a conference/coaching call last Friday, and it really stuck.

Nick and I spent time last week with 4 or 5 great organizations talking about our Holistic (Today Tomorrow Forever) Model… and the need to ‘plant trees now‘! (Especially Legacy Gifts).

*This quote should be in front of every Development Officer/Advancement Officer as motivation MAXIMIZE RELATIONSHIPS… at THIS GIVEN MOMENT. (Again, plant trees now!)


Return On Energy

Was just finishing up a revision of ON PROSPECTS and realized the power of the concept of Return On Energy (ROE). Here’s the visual that should help you understand this concept… and force you to rethink your current action and energy expenditure.


Focus On Your Strengths

This has become one of my most personal and driving maxims. Simple fact: People don’t change. Each one of has great strengths and corresponding weaknesses.

There’s a ton of powerful research and thinking on why we should not be trying to ‘fix’ our weaknesses… but rather focusing on our strengths! (This is particularly true when comes to finding and hiring good people.)

Here’s a wonderful story that makes this point better than anything I’ve ever heard or read. It’s taken from the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. It’s called ANIMAL SCHOOL.

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.

Note: In re-reading this, I just saw how strongly this parallels a lot of our education system.


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.