A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done! This week’s theme is SIMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE.
I came across a brilliant thinker, Simon Sinek, who has a great book, Start With Why, a powerful Ted Video, and an amazing story around the power of ‘WHY.’
The essence of his message:
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
He calls it the ‘Golden Circle’.
Mediocre organizations and leaders always sell ‘outside-in’: talking about WHAT, then HOW (features, benefits), and never even getting to the WHY.
Great leaders sell ‘inside-out’ – leading with the WHY.
Sinek’s Golden Circle is our ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK… with research!
Starting with Why has many implications in our For Impact world; here’s a few:
A vocabulary challenge to the sector. What prospects hear (often times) is “We need money to meet our annual funding goal” or “Buy a table at our gala.” These messages have no WHY, but what your prospects want to do is save, change and impact lives.
Selling happens at 30,000’. The number one question of every investor is, “Why do you exist?” If the person you are talking to doesn’t care about your WHY, it’s very hard to talk to her about the what and the how. Conversely, if your WHY is his number one priority, you can ask on the proverbial ‘first date.’
There are 1.5M nonprofits in the U.S. You must be able to talk about your raison d’etre (reason for existence); otherwise, you just ‘exist to exist.’
Our most used frameworks is the Altitude Framework – Used to order thinking, communications, and storylines; to develop Engagement Tools; and, to think through the Flow of a Visit.
This framework is used for everything from visits to strategy sessions to dealing with objections. However, it’s best use is COMMUNICATION and SIMPLIFICATION of your message.
30,000′ is 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, 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.
At 30,000’ leaders and visionaries have the ability to see the horizon. Obviously, you can’t do that from 3’. 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 a “dent in the universe” and communicate how you are CHANGING THE WORLD!
Use this framing device to think and answer some questions at 30,000’:
Why do you what you do – To what end?
What is your raison d’etre (or reason for existence?)
What are you best in the world at?
What would you do with $1M or $10M (or X times your current operating budget?)
What makes you unique or how are you collaborating to solve a big social problem?
What gets you really fired up in the morning? (About your impact!)
Use the answers to these questions to develop your Message at 30,000’ – Your big picture purpose statement, the meaning of your work – Something we call the Blue Box Message.
“The Blue Box”:
Represents the starting point for everything
Frames a conversation at the highest level
Is simple (not full of fancy prose)
Is articulated clearly, concisely and compellingly
Here are some examples of great Blue Box Messages:
Changing the lives of the visually impaired worldwide.
Transforming the aging experience.
To provide the finest liberal arts education in the country.
Breaking the circle of poverty by changing the system.
Transforming Columbus: Inspiring the entrepreneurs of the future.