Here’s how you can use this Framework to create dialogue with your Board around their relationship with your organization.
Your COLLECTIVE BOARD should be engaged at the 30,000’ level (WHY… we exist) around VISION and PURPOSE and MISSION.
INDIVIDUAL Board Members (CHAMPIONS) can be engaged with you at the 14,000’ level around STRATEGY (WHAT…needs to be done.) They should be specifically asked to help within their own areas of expertise and experience.
No Board/Board Member should be engaged with you or your organization at 3’!!! (the HOW).
“Our Board is AFRAID OF HEIGHTS!!!” – Irish Social Entrepreneur
We can’t tell you how many times organizational leaders and staff have come up and said, “My Board is at 3” (inches)! They even tell us what kind of soda should go in the machine!”
*While we primarily use this for Boards, there’s a case to be made that no one should be dealing with issues at 3’… Micro-micro-managing… sweating the really, really small stuff, etc.
Action: Review this ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK with your Board. Encourage them to get and stay ‘HIGH’.
QUANTUM PHYSICS is described as the “most powerful science ever conceived by human beings.”
A QUANTUM LEAP is the “explosive jump that a particle of matter undergoes in moving from one place to another.”
QUANTUM LEAPS are about ‘exponential jumps’ in your impact and your income. (NOT about kaizen, tweaking, OR 3% to 5% growth tied to the adjusted cost of living or tuition increases!)
QUANTUM LEAPS are like taking any BIG JUMP. You don’t focus on the ‘middle’ of the jump… but where you want to land!!!
QUANTUM LEAPS are not about ‘trying harder!‘ Trying harder produces only INCREMENTAL GAINS, not Quantum Leaps (Physicists studying Quantum Mechanics note that particles make these “jumps” without apparent effort and without covering all the bases between the starting and ending point!)
QUANTUM LEAPSnever happen by doing the same thing you’re doing now. Price Pritchett says, “Be ruthless about trying something different. Conventional growth comes because we think along conventional lines.”
QUANTUM LEAP means violating the BOUNDARY of the ‘PROBLEM.‘ This means giving yourself permission to dream and to risk.
QUANTUM LEAPS come when you seek the elegant solutions. Look for an approach characterized by SIMPLICITY, PRECISION and NEATNESS (NOT as COMPLEX or TIME-CONSUMING as your PRESENT STRUGGLE).
QUANTUM LEAPS allow you to do MORE WITH LESS! Less resources. Less people. Less Money. The paradox. This creates MORE resources, MORE people and MORE money.
QUANTUM LEAPS are NOT about the ‘how to.’ Skip the ‘detail.’ The answers will come to you. When they do, you’ll probably find them to be simple, streamlined solutions.
QUANTUM LEAPS are tied to BHAGs. Price Pritchett reinforces Jim Collin’s thoughts on Big Hairy Audacious Goals. They’re not Big Hairy Audacious Goals if you’re GUARANTEED that you can reach them! Pritchett says if you have the ANSWERS and STRUCTURES and CERTAINTY UP FRONT… It’s NOT a QUANTUM LEAP!
A QUANTUM LEAP by definition, means moving into uncharted territory with NO GUIDE to follow. You personally draw the map as you go (In this case, however, I’d like to offer a GUIDE. You can still draw.)
QUANTUM LEAPS require you to take the OFFENSIVE. You can’t achieve exponential gains from a defensive posture, a passive stance.
QUANTUM LEAPS require FAILURE.
FAILURE is a sign of PROGRESS!
It means you’ve left the safety of the status quo. Failure is a resource. It helps you find the edge of your capacities (If you send a rocket toward the moon, 90% of the time it’s OFF COURSE; It ‘fails’ it’s way to the moon by continually making mistakes and correcting them. Therefore, fail fast.)
QUANTUM LEAPS regard ‘ZERO DEFECTS‘ as a HOSTILE CONCEPT. ‘GETTING READY’ (reserach, fancy brochures, etc.) is a stalling tactic, an act of anxiety.
Finally, you don’t ‘prepare’ for a QUANTUM LEAP. You MAKE IT, and then you frame out the DETAILS and STRATEGY on the way!
“FAIL. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER.” – Samuel Beckett
“FAIL. FAIL FAST. FAIL FASTER.” – Suddes
“SUCCESS is going from FAILURE to FAILURE with no loss of ENTHUSIASM.” – Winston Churchill
“We need to FAIL in order to SUCCEED. Our only decision is HOW TO FAIL. By not going far enough… or going too far. I prefer the latter.” – Harriet Rubin
Here is a deeper explanation of the power of ‘ALTITUDE‘ on a visit/presentation:
Always go (back) up. Nick Fellers has a really great way to use ‘altitude’/level on the presentation. When training or coaching, Nick makes this very clear: When in doubt… when challenged… when questioned… ALWAYS GO BACK UP TO 30,000’! (The Vision, The Message, The Purpose.)
Get ‘buy-in’ at the highest level. As you make the Case for Support, the prospect/ potential investor needs to understand and acknowledge their acceptance of the ‘blue’ VISION and ‘red’ PRIORITIES. Sometimes this is “You had me at hello.” (Renee to Tom Cruise) Other times, it may take the entire first visit to get them to understand and agree that this is an important CAUSE and CASE. Regardless, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about PRIORITIES or the PLAN or ‘HOW THEY CAN HELP’ if they don’t ‘get it’ at the highest level!
Dissent on Descent. To put this another way, there should be no ‘dissent’ on the descent!
Think of this as kind of the opposite of getting the ‘bends’. If a diver ascends too quickly, they get a case of the ‘bends’. It’s painful and many times life-threatening.
During a presentation, the prospect can get the ‘reverse-bends’ if you descend too rapidly. “Hello. Thanks for seeing me. Here’s our campaign. Can you give $100,000?”
‘Permission to Proceed’. We have actually incorporated this specific terminology into the presentation. (It’s the words used to complete a ‘transfer’ on a high ropes challenge course!) “It seems like you’re fully engaged with both our Mission and our Message. Would it be okay (permission to proceed) to go deeper and talk about our Strategic Priorities and our Plan to make all this happen???”
Altitude is not always top-down or hierarchical. You can ‘enter’ at any level. You can focus on any level. You can travel up and down… and even side to side, especially when you’re using an Engagement Tool.
ALTITUDE is a great way for an entrepreneur to answer these 3 critical questions:
WHY… are you in business?
WHAT… business are you in?
HOW… do you make money?
Social Entrepreneurs can use this Framework to talk with angel investors, recruit talent and even organize the Business Model and Plan.
Note: Latitude. A small shift in the first two letters of ‘ALTITUDE’ opens up an entirely different way of looking at this: LATITUDE. Many of our Frameworks are laid out horizontally, still using our blue, red, green color code.
An airplane’s cruising altitude, plenty of blue sky, a great view, etc. At 30,000’, our brain even seems to work better!
At this altitude/level, it’s all about your vision, your aspirations, your raison d’etre. It’s a place to think and talk about your mission, your meaning, your values. It’s a place for Guiding Principles, Big Hairy Audacious Goals And Definite Chief Aims (as Napoleon Hill calls them).
My good friend Christopher Celeste pointed out that leaders and visionaries have the ability to see the horizon. Obviously, you can’t do that from 3’. There’s a good view at 14,000’… but an absolute gorgeous view at 30,000’. You can see the curve of the earth, the rising and setting of the sun. The perspective at 30,000’ is unmatched. This is where you can think about making Steve Jobs’ “dent in the universe”… and dream about CHANGING THE WORLD!
It’s the view and perspective from the ‘top of the mountain’. (In the Rockies, they’re called ‘fourteeners’). The air is thinner, raptors soar. If 30,000’ is about vision… then 14,000’ is about focus. A place to talk about Strategic Plans and Business Models and Funding Models, and finding clarity around Priorities.
At 14,000’, Everything’s A Project (EAP)! Every project has goals, time lines, a team leader, a team, a budget, constraints, etc.
Literally, it’s ‘boots on the ground’, ‘feet on the street’. It’s tactical. It’s execution. It’s ACTION!
The For Impact ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK is one of our most referenced and utilized tools by our team, our coaches and our clients… TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THEIR GAME!
The Altitude Framework works great for Presentations, Engagement Tools, Agendas/Meetings, Speaking, Strategic Plans and Action Plans.
It’s also a great Framework to respond to questions. (“At what altitude/level is the best or most appropriate response?”)
And, it’s a powerful coaching model. (“Let’s talk about this issue/topic at this particular altitude/level”)
At For Impact, we use this for everything from keynote speeches to our website. It’s a part of our mind mapping as we lay out our content, our guides and our books. We have color-coded it as Blue… Red… Green. And, it allows us to talk ‘shorthand’ and reach decisions ten times faster than a normal process.
One of the reasons that this framing device has been so popular is its obvious simplicity. Everyone can understand the hierarchy of WHY, WHAT and HOW… and they intuitively get the connection between VISION, STRATEGY and EXECUTION.
Following are some ways to help you understand and apply… ALTITUDE.
View From Airplane
A Green Blur
Top of Mountain
Nap of the Earth
“He who knows the ‘WHY’ of his existence… can bear almost any ‘HOW’.” – Viktor Frankl
CHANGE the way you TALK…
and you can CHANGE the way you ACT!
There’s a compelling science around the psychology of CHANGE that includes tremendous work on this whole idea of NEUROLINGUISTICS and how we FRAME things.
*Pioneering researchers on cognitive science and linguistics have pointed to the paramount importance of something called ‘FRAMING’.
George Lakoff, Professor at University of California Berkeley, defines ‘FRAMES’ as the mental structures that shape the way we see the world. He says that ‘FRAMES’ are part of our “cognitive unconscious;” but the way that we know our current frames or new frames springs from LANGUAGE.
I want to strongly encourage you to
CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY.
I guarantee that by CHANGING the way we TALK … we will dramatically CHANGE the way we ACT. In effect, your ‘self talk’ impacts the way you ACT! (It’s much like an actor using ‘dialogue’ and ‘dialect’ to get into a ‘character.’)
My hope is that the following OLD WORDS/NEW WORDS will help you ‘TALK THE WALK’… to make it easier to ‘WALK THE TALK!’
A simple suggestion: Like any new ‘language’, the fastest way to make progress is ‘total immersion!’ Try as hard as you can to STOP talking about non profits, charity, survival, competing, donors, donations, etc. Use your new VOCABULARY with your Board and your team and it will become the lingua franca, which is a “hybrid language serving as a COMMON LANGUAGE between different people”. I strongly believe you can create a COMMON LANGUAGE for your entire ‘team’ including staff, volunteers and investors.
Special, Special Note: This is NOT some kind of ‘SEMANTIC GYMNASTICS’. It means to literally immerse yourself in a new LANGUAGE, a new LEXICON, a new LINGO
P.S. Part of this is trying to get you to stop using all the typical ‘industry jargon’ and start using SALES TERMS. BUSINESS TERMS. COMMON SENSE TERMS. IMPACT TERMS.