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Perseverance and Persistence

A very ‘small‘ thing happened to me recently that may have a ‘big‘ impact on you.

I was working with a wonderful young Social Entrepreneur who has an opportunity to scale and grow her business to literally change the world.

I gave her the name of someone I thought would be a tremendous help as Champion, as an Investor and as a strong Advisor (who was deeply engaged in her sector and an expert at what she was trying to do.)

I asked her to follow-up with me and I would make the contact and introduction.

Almost two months went by. I didn’t hear anything. Then I received two-line email saying she had ‘forgot’ and wondered if I could still help. In the normal rush of a busy day, I laid it aside and meant to get back to it.

Just found it this morning. Almost two months again from the email.

I realize part of this is certainly my fault. However, if you are a Social Entrepreneur… if you are truly trying to change the world, you need to be waaaaay more perseverant and persistent!

As they say in the States, “Keep the ball in your court.” It’s up to you to do the FOLLOW-UP!


8 Ways to Lose in Business

Really good insights from John Maxwell, leadership expert speaker and author. This is from his column in October Success Magazine.

It caught my attention right away that Maxwell referenced the seed of this particular lesson came from the former President of Coca-Cola, Don Keough. Don Keough is a big-time Notre Dame Champion, an investor, as well as involved and committed to projects in Ireland.

The 8 ‘rules and attitudes’ to follow if you want to ‘lose in business’ or in your For Impact organization or in your life are as follows:

    1. Quit taking risks.
    2. Relay totally on experts and research to make decisions for you.
    3. Always ask yourself, “What would the founder have done?”
    4. Concentrate on your competitor instead of your customer.
    5. Administrative concerns take precedence over all others.
    6. Be inflexible.
    7. Look to someone else to do your thinking for you.
    8. Memorize the motto, “That’s good enough.”

Here’s the full column from Success.



Great article in Success Magazine, October Issue, called Business with Heart.

What particularly resonated with me was a segment entitled ‘A New Business Model’: Are you seeking to make your business the Best in the World or Best FOR the World?

Good stuff in here for Social Entrepreneurs and For Impact Leaders as you build your own Business Models and as you meet with businesses that are looking beyond the ‘bottom line’.


The Power of Total Confidence

The 3 parts of TOTAL CONFIDENCE:

    1. Confidence in Self.
    2. Confidence in your Team. (Company, Family, Organization)
    3. Confidence in a Higher Purpose.

This comes from Tim Sanders, a leadership consultant to Fortune 500 companies and former Chief Solutions Officer for Yahoo.

His new book is Today We Are Rich.

Sanders says, “The key is to generate total confidence through purposeful daily applications of core values.”

Much like Napoleon Hill’s classic Think & Grow Rich, Sander’s book presents a completely different meaning of the word rich. It’s not about the size of your bank account or large cash reserves or houses or cars. Sanders says, “There are profoundly wealthy people who are unhappy… and extremely poor people who have happy lives.”

He adds a quote from the philosopher Andre Gide, “Complete possession is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you.”

Think about this last quote as you are meeting with prospective investors who want to move from Success to Significance.

Also, think of the whole idea of TOTAL CONFIDENCE as you Present Your Opportunity.


Celebrate Your Birthday

Over the last 15 years, I have been encouraging people to celebrate/enjoy not just their birthday but their birth date.

Mine is today, the 19th (March 19 Birth Date)

To celebrate today, I’m in Dublin, Ireland with a great group of For Impact Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs! I get to visit the Ryan Academy at Dublin City University. I’ll walk around St. Stephen’s Green. And, I’ll probably have some crepes at Savannah’s place.

*As always, I will write in my journal on the 19th… a combination of reflection on the last 30 days and goals for the next 30. (At 30,000′ over the Atlantic!)

Note: Since I am a landowner in Ireland, I get to check out my property.


The ‘TOUR’

Nick and I are doing some work with Craig Hospital in Denver… an absolutely amazing place, filled with world-class talent and pioneering/innovative programs.

I loved this recent quote from one of their superstars: “When you can get them here, it is very engaging!”

In their case, the power of the ‘TOUR’ is beyond description.

Three things to think about as you bring prospective investors/prospects to show off your impact and value (typically called a ‘tour‘).

    Without question, the best predisposition in the world is giving someone an opportunity to see and touch (and even ‘smell‘) what you do.
    The best way to leverage the tour and take advantage of the emotional connection is to actually end the tour in a designated place in order to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!
    3. TOUR FLOW.
    This is the deliberate and conscious effort to plan the flow of the tour… who delivers it, who you meet along the way, what you see, how you to show your impact, etc.

***Quick Story. During a recent Craig tour, the tour ‘guide’ and the prospect were waiting for an elevator. When it opened, out stepped a Craig patient and his parents, who were being discharged that day. All three of them proceeded to talk about the amazing CRAIG EXPERIENCE, how thankful they were, etc.

The prospect probably thought it was planned. It wasn’t. It should have/could have been.

Big Lesson: None of this kind of connection can happen if in your ‘office’ or in their ‘office’.


The Power of Words

I wanted to share a really powerful (and short) video that reinforces my points earlier this week around Change Your Vocabulary and Strategic Vocabulary.

Full Disclosure. I am ‘newbie’ when it comes to all this online video stuff. Been a ‘reader’ my entire life. However, I’m absolutely amazed at the power of video, and the technology that allows us to watch these kinds of snippets or Ted 18 Minutes.

This Power of Words come from my friend, my trainer and Chief Experience Officer at Eagle Creek, Steve Wolfie Wolf. You may have already seen it, but it’s definitely worth a re-watch.



“Times Like These…”

“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.” -Paul Harvey

American broadcaster Paul Harvey was ‘on the air’ for more than 50 years. He was a master of the one-liner.

This is a great quote for all those sitting around in their offices bitchin’ and moanin’ about everything from the economy to Hurricane Irene.

As Stuart McLaughlin Chief Visionary of Business to Arts said yesterday, “Nothing gets done ‘in the office’.”

Well said.


Creating A Strategic Vocabulary

I’ve mentioned this book before, MAVERICKS AT WORK. Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre have super strong Fast Company roots. One of my 3 favorite magazines.

They have a wonderful segment in the book about:

What you think shapes how you talk – creating a strategic vocabulary.

If you’ve been exposed to more than 30 seconds to the For Impact thinking, you know how much this resonates with Nick, Kerry, our coaches and me. CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY has always been one of our most powerful Guiding Principles.

Here is some great reinforcement to why that is so important, via nuggets from Mavericks at Work.

  • Maverick entrepreneurs don’t sound like traditional executives. They almost always describe their strategies and practices – the ideas that animate their companies – in ways that sound unique, authentic and even a bit strange.
  • One sign that a company (organization) is pursuing a truly original, competitive strategy is that it has created its own vocabulary. Not buzz words, acronyms and other verbal detritus of business-as-usual… but an authentically homegrown language that captures how a company (organization) competes, how its people work, why it expects to succeed, and what it means to win. (WOW.)
  • Finally, because they think about their business differently, maverick organizations almost always talk about their business differently.

The next 10 pages go on to talk about “disruptive business strategies”, “disruptive ideas”, “distinctive cultures” and “purpose-based strategy” (I love that).

It also highlights some really cool companies that believe firmly in the power of language and symbols.

I thought I’d close with this great quote from a senior advertising executive in a remarkably innovative and successful company.

When asked this question: Why invest so much energy in building a vocabulary, as opposed to just, say, building factories and laboratories for clients? “Because the heart of every great company is a clear sense of purpose.”

Nuff said.


Your Hospice Question

We’ve done a lot of work with Hospice organizations. Pretty emotional/moving stuff.

As you know, our approach starts with the IMPACT… the MESSAGE. Every Hospice asks, “How do we possibly communicate everything we do in one message? People get confused when we talk about palliative care… we want people to know it’s about more than dying… etc. etc. etc.”

Every Hospice organization needs a message… but here’s where it gets interesting. Remember – the best message… the best story… is the one that comes FROM the prospect. In the case of Hospice we should never be out convincing people that Hospice is a worthy cause. We should ONLY focus on those that have had a ‘hospice experience’. Then, instead of trying to jam a message down their throat we need to: engage, listen and ask.


  • “Would you mind sharing with me a little bit about your experience with Hospice?”
  • Be quiet… listen… probably exchange and share a few tears.
  • Keep listening.
  • Keep listening.
  • Ask: “I’m out listening to people. That’s our job…. to connect the stories and let people know that generous support is what makes that extra TLC you described possible. Would you be willing to help other patients and families benefit from that same experience?”

Is there is a ‘Hospice Question’ for your organization? The Hospice Question is about engaging someone that already gets it…. letting their experience or frame speak for the purpose and funding rationale. It’s about getting out of the way. It’s about saying in the SIMPLEST WAY, “That’s what we do… can you help?”


Vision 2020

Here’s an exciting, interesting, simple way to look at your VISION and PLANVISION 2020.

  • VISION 2020 is about where you and your organization will be 9+ years from today!
  • Pretty obvious symbolism of ’20/20 VISION’ (the best!).
  • This is approximately 3 1,000-DAY INCREMENTS.
  • Allows you to then talk about the first 1,000-DAY PLAN.
    *This 1,000-Day Plan, by the way, is 33 MONTHS. 11 3-Month (A Quarter) Blocks.

Just wanted to share this interesting frame with our For Impact world.

Special Note: What is your personal VISION 2020?! Where do you want to be in the next 3,000 days? 1,000 days? 100 days?

Everything I have ever read or done around Personal Development (Goals, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Write It Down It Will Happen, Symbolism, Math, etc.) can actually be used for both Personal Development and Organizational Development.

For what it’s worth.


Omidyar’s ‘Hybrid Model’ For Impact

I just read a great article in HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW this morning by eBay’s Founder, Pierre Omidyar on “Innovating the Business Model of Social Change”.

It HBR’s words:

The Idea: Omidyar was inspired by eBay’s social impact (!) to create a hybrid model for his philanthropic Omidyar Network: a combination of nonprofit and for-profit.”

WOW. Take a moment and read the article. Filled with all kinds of great nuggets including:

    “Many people don’t distinguish between charity and philanthropy, but to me there’s a significant difference.”
    *Omidyar says that “Philanthropy is much more. It comes from the Latin for ‘love of humanity’.” I think the Greek meaning for philanthropy is ‘friend of mankind’. Same thing. He goes on to say that “Philanthropy is a desire to improve the state of humanity and the world. It requires thinking about the root causes of issues.”
    “I began looking for ways to harness the incredible power of business in order to make the world better.”
    • He talks a lot about the challenge to structure his organization properly since it was funding both nonprofits and for-profits.
    “Today there’s a name for people who make investments that can produce
    both impact (!) and profit: IMPACT INVESTORS (my bold caps).”
    • He talks a lot about their focus on microfinance and allowing the “poorest of the poor to start enterprises and take advantage of educational opportunities”. (He acknowledges that microfinance has come under a lot of scrutiny but also talks about all the ‘good’ that microfinance has accomplished.)
    “In the past few years we’ve learned that to have the biggest impact (!), you need the right capital structure and the right leaders.”
    • Finally, here’s his ‘close’: “One of the biggest things I’ve learned in more than a decade of this work is that you really can make the world better in any sector—in nonprofits, in business, or in government.
    It’s not a question of one sector’s struggling against another, or of ‘giving back’ versus ‘taking away.’ That’s old thinking.
    A true philanthropist will use every tool he can to make an IMPACT (again my bold caps). Today business is a key part of the equation, and the sectors are learning to work together.”