For Impact


Everything Is An Option

Vision & Entrepreneurial Strategy | | Tom Suddes

Nick had me pick up a Sports Illustrated over the weekend. Lance Armstrong is on the cover.

If you are in the FOR IMPACT WORLD , it’s impossible to read this article and not be motivated by some of the ‘nuggets’!

Here’s a quick sample:

  • THE LOOK. Represents determination, persistence, I’m going to do this … whatever it takes. “Can this persistence be annoying? Absolutely. But it is useful in someone who intends nothing less than to CHANGE THE WORLD . (My caps.)
  • THE BIG GOAL. Dr. Andrew von Eeschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute, set the goal of “ELIMINATING CANCER AS A CAUSE OF SUFFERING AND DEATH BY THE YEAR 2015.” He went on to say that “without the spur of a deadline , big goals are MEANINGLESS.” He took a lot of heat. Still is. But, laying out the VISION and the GOAL … with a TIMETABLE is critical.
  • BONO. Bono says about Armstrong, “Most people don’t believe that the world can be CHANGED. Lance is different. He understands that hills can be climbed, and he isn’t even depressed when, upon reaching the summit of one, he sees a larger one (ahead). He’s used to that. That’s what Lance Armstrong stands for.”
  • OPTIONS. I love this. On February 17 the, Lance Armstrong Foundation brought together some of the brightest minds in the fight against cancer. (Think Leadership Consensus Building/Vision Day!) The panelists were instructed to put all OPTIONS on the table and SUSPEND DISBELIEF. “Don’t think about what can’t happen because of current realities. Think about what NEEDS to happen in your field.”
    Every one of us in the For Impact world needs to ‘PUT ALL THE OPTIONS ON THE TABLE’ and ‘SUSPEND DISBELIEF’ if we want to CHANGE THE WORLD!
  • MORE THAN A SPECIAL EVENT. LAF GALAS are one of the few ‘special events’ that actually raise a lot of money. (NET. NET. NET.) One week last fall, LAF ‘fundraisers’ in Austin and New York took in $12 Million. But, unless you’re LANCE ARMSTRONG, with his legion of contacts, network and followers, stay focused on MAJOR GIFTS! Even Lance understands that! He goes on to say, “While it is great to raise a million or a hundred million or two hundred million, what we really need is the B word and that’s BILLIONS!”
  • THINK BIG. That’s right, BILLIONS! In fact, when Armstrong was with President Bush at the ranch in Texas, he was asked by Bush what he needed in the fight against the disease. Armstrong replied, “A BILLION DOLLARS.” *To grab people’s attention, I used to suggest to ask everyone you meet for a MILLION DOLLARS. As always, Lance raises the stakes. Maybe we should be asking people for a BILLION DOLLARS!
  • NO MAGIC BULLET. von Eeschenbach says, “A lot of people in cancer are still looking for the magic bullet. Lance has demonstrated that it’s not magic. It’s personal commitment, bringing all the pieces together. There’s no simple solution, BUT THE IMPOSSIBLE CAN BE POSSIBLE.” Pretty clear.
  • KAIZEN & TWEAK. “Lance is not about INCREMENTAL progress. He wants to do something DISRUPTIVE in this fight. Meaning, very BIG.” Dave Lyon, the LAF Marketing Director. (THINK BIG!)
  • EVEYRTHING’S AN OPTION. Armstrong is talking about his new house. Points out a massive oak tree that appears to have been in that spot for a least a century. “That tree right there? Used to be over there.” (He points to a lot 200 yards away.) “I can’t believe that was an option,” says a visitor. Armstrong responds in a tone suggesting the visitor has not been paying attention: “C’MON, MAN. EVERYTHING’S AN OPTION.”