Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shared Vision = Shared Success

When researching his book Startups That Work, Joel Kurtzman found that successful ventures usually have a team of two or three founders who share a common vision – their success rate, as a cohesive founding team, is a remarkable 50%. Compare that with the odds for solo founders. Research showed that individuals were more likely to find themselves as only one in 10 of businesses that succeed because the individual visionaries find themselves working at cross-purposes with hired employees who see things differently. It’s a strong case for connecting purpose and people.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Creativity that connects

If you're going to invest in creative campaigns, make them work for your organization. Connect the creative to the essence of your mission, culture and identity. It creates an ever-present thread that connects the audience back to your organization. It also helps to engage your stakeholders so they become part of (or create) a conversation that includes you. Perhaps our goal as organizations shouldn't be to sell our product, service or mission but to become part of the way in which people think and live their lives.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Talk, talk, talk -- to yourself

A recent Wall Street Journal article explores a phenomenon that many of us might consider the sure signs of losing our minds: Talking to ourselves. The habit of self-chatter usually begins as babies and toddlers, where it plays a vital role of language acquisition and communication. However, researchers have found that as many as 96% of people still talk to themselves. And there seem to be many benefits. "Among the things it's useful for is what's called self-regulation: goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making and planning."

Furthermore, self talking also increases during complex tasks and stressful times." Hearing your own voice can actually help get your ideas straight, keeping you focused and ready to act.
"The irony is that self-chatter, like sharp objects, is both most suited and least suited to the workplace. At work where we would most benefit from talking out loud ... we are least likely to do so for social reasons." So maybe the next time any of us have a decision to make or an important document to write, let's speak up and out loud!
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Honing In on Out There Marketing

"Out there" marketing works only when it connects "in here" for the audience -- and for the organization. It connects to the head, it connects to the heart, it connects within the audience and compels them to action. Preferably, the intended action. Campaigns that work break through the clutter with simplicity, clarity and creativity. They grab the right kind of attention so that the audience remembers the intent and thinks about it, talks about it or takes action on it. Effective campaigns stimulate intrigue and encourage participation as the audience takes the next step.

As you're preparing your next campaign or communication, start within. What do you need to see? What do you want to have happen? What new technique, technology or tactic might move you beyond business as usual? Get curious. Then, picture your audience. Think about the world from their perspective and their pressures. Get creative. And, before you sign off on final approval or hit "send," ask yourself if your new "out there" creative is going to bring *in* your audience.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Asking for money seems hard

We lose many things when we age, many of which aren't so obvious. As children, we have a certain freedom to explore, to try and to question. As children, we ask questions out of curiosity; as we age, we start to ask questions for other reasons. As children, we ask people for things that we need with a simplicity that affords a simple response; as we age, we make it harder -- for the ask and the answer. Add money to the mix for adults and the complexity only increases.

Yet, since we can't return to simpler days of childhood, we must strive to make it easier for people involved in helping nonprofits ask for money (particularly when involved with a capital campaign). Try starting with a creative discovery process that encourages people to engage like curious children -- eager to learn, encouraged to question. Allow the energy (and insights) from that process to inform the messages, the imagery, the case, the everything. Make it accessible. Shape it to be compelling. Then, bring people together in a safe environment to play (role play) in introducing the idea, building the relationship, making the ask and moving forward with the answer.

Capital campaigns and development are far from child's play, though perhaps we can make them easier by looking to lessons from simpler days.
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