Tuesday, March 28, 2017

leadership dot #1761: water

On the same webinar I referenced yesterday, a speaker* advocated for nonprofit leaders to be discriminating in which grants to pursue or what gifts to accept. Through a rigorous method of understanding true costs of the grant, including staff resources, direct costs, indirect costs and administrative time, her non-profit came to realize that they were actually losing money on some grants and would be better off without them.
"Not all resources are equal," she said. "Grants are like water. Fresh water refreshes you, but salt water dries you out. We are fighting over salt water and need to stop."
Think about what you say "yes" to, either in your personal life or in your organization. Are you involved with things that deplete you rather than add energy? Do you say "yes" without consideration as to what is involved in fulfilling this obligation? Are you adding activity after activity without regard to the cost of your time or the return from it? 
You'll never quench your thirst if all you are drinking is salt water.
*Dominique Bernardo, CEO Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Philadelphia on Conversation #3: How nonprofit practitioners are helping evolve the nonprofit conversation, March 23, 2017.

Monday, March 27, 2017

leadership dot #1760: the choir

A recent webinar about non-profit overhead attracted nearly 1000 participants. The CEO* of the sponsoring organization opened the program with a pitch about the importance of this topic in the non-profit world.
"I know I am speaking to the choir," he said. "But sometimes it is valuable to speak to the choir to align messages."
I couldn't agree more. Often we focus all of our communication efforts on the external audience while neglecting to provide our internal ambassadors with information. Regrettably, it is common for people to learn something about their organization from reading about it in the news or hearing it from someone else.  We fail to equip those closest to us with resources and understanding that could pay exponential benefits as it is shared.
Take a moment to review what you have been preaching to your choir recently. If there aren't sheets of shared music, who knows what tune they are singing about you.
*Jacob Harold, President and CEO of GuideStar on Conversation #3: How nonprofit practitioners are helping evolve the nonprofit conversation, March 23, 2017.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

leadership dot #1759: sane

One of the biggest complaints I hear with my coaching clients is that they can't get their email inbox under control. Apparently this is a wide-spread issue -- the downside of all the benefits electronic communication provides.
A new company has adapted Artificial Intelligence in an aim to tackle this issue. Sane Box has offers a service that "learns what is important to you" and filters the rest out of your inbox. They predict that this will save 12 hours/month -- a huge chunk of time if their estimate is anywhere close to accurate.
I have not used this service, but was intrigued at how they went about it. Sane Box is affiliated with Amazon -- thus your credit card is only through Amazon, as is service and promotion. You trust Amazon, right -- so why wouldn't you trust Sane Box? It leverages a huge brand for an unknown.
Do you have a solution to a problem that would benefit from an alliance with another partner? Is there a problem you hear about repeatedly that you could attempt to solve? Can you adapt the growing field of Artificial Intelligence to make something you offer even more tailored for your clients? There is no need for people to continue to go in-sane with tools like Sane Box at their disposal. How can you create some sanity in your organization?
P. S. If you're interested, Sane Box offers a 14 day free trial (then is $100/year). If it really works, 12 hrs/month recouped for $100 is a steal.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

leadership dot #1758: home sweet home

For reasons that I don't understand, I was invited to attend the Home Delivery World conference in Atlanta. This event -- which sounds like should be a new phenomenon -- is actually in its fifth year. Over 65 exhibitors participate, including:
1stdibs.com, AIT Worldwide Logistics, Amazon.comAnheuser-Busch Inbev, Anthony's Goods, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Atlanta Electronic Commerce Forum, B&H Photo Video, Birchbox, Bob's Discount Furniture, Boxberry, Boxed, Brick Meets Click, Bristol Seafood, BuildDirect, Bush Industries, Business Builders, Carter’s, Cheetah Software Systems, Click n Collect Pty Ltd, Convey, Delivery Center, Descartes, Design Within Reach, DHL eCommerce, Dillard's, DispatchTrack, Dollar Shave Club, ENJOY, Farmbox Direct, FedExFun.comGenesco, Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute, Green Chef, Green Mountain Technology, Greenbriar Equity Group, GS1 Nederland, Gwynnie Bee, H.Y. Louie Co., Harry and David, Havertys Furniture, Hermes, Hilti, Holland & Knight, I.B.M., Imperfect Produce, Intelligent Audit, Interroll, Ipsy, J.W. Logistics, LaserShip, LE TOTE, LG Electronics, Lowes Foods, Luxer One, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, MXD Group, Naked Wines, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Neesvig's, Nespresso, Newgistics, Nuvizz, OnTrac, Oriflame Cosmetics, Original Unverpackt, Ortlieb Waterproof, Otter ProductsOverstock.comPeloton Cycle, PerfectPost, Pup Box, Purchasing Power, Raw Spice Bar, Restoration Hardware, RR Donnelley, Sealed Air Corporation, SEKO Logistics, SENE, Sonoco ThermoSafe, SSA Marine, Stamps.com, SupplyChainBrain, Tailored Brands, The Home Depot, The Kroger Co, The Neiman Marcus Group, Tiffany and Co, TrueNorth Companies, Unilever, UPS, Urban Outfitters, USPS, Verizon Wireless, Wakefern Food Corporation, Walmart, Worldpay, XPO LogisticsYummy.com
It is quite the list!
What is said to me is that on-line is no longer enough; now on-line needs to be coupled with a repeat subscription service or regular home delivery option. As I can attest by the number of times the grocery delivery truck drives down my street, people are embracing the idea of having their orders brought right to their home.
"Conference streams" at this event include: the Final Mile, White Glove service & returns, technology & IT, supply chain, international and grocery. Is there a way for your organization to fit into this movement? Can you tailor your service to become a subscription model? Or perhaps you can offer a behind-the-scenes component for others in this business? Is there an aspect of your offering that can partner with others for home delivery (eg: cakes with kids games for parties-on-demand)?
As Dorothy said while she clicked her Ruby Slippers long ago: "There's no place like home." Try to find your sweet spot in this emerging market.

Friday, March 24, 2017

leadership dot #1757: rebate

If you listen to the commercials on the radio, it seems businesses anticipate that everyone in America is getting a tax refund this year. There are dozens of ads imploring consumers to spend their refund on a new car, mattress, eyeglasses, furniture or other big purchase. If you believe the advertising copy, the refund allows you to buy the product practically for free.
Only the thing is, the refund is already YOUR money. This sounds obvious and we know it intellectually, but we don't always consciously think of refunds in this way. The gap between paying and receiving it makes it more difficult to see the linkage, just as the time separation between credit card charges and the bill sometimes results in surprises.
The delay is a factor with rebates too: we receive a check or pre-paid card in the mail and it feels like a gift, when, in fact, it is a return of funds we have already spent. This is not a bonus, rather payment of a loan we proffered with no interest charges.
Yet, despite the smoke and mirrors of the whole refund/rebate operation, there is something appealing about getting money back. Think about how you can use this to your advantage. Can you hold back a small portion of the salary pool and use it (plus the interest) to provide a bonus at the end of the year, or give another form of recognition after a particularly stressful quarter? Maybe you can offer a rebate to consumers -- knowing that many of them will not apply for it or ultimately cash in on it even if they do -- that allows you revenue to give additional funds in donations or sponsorships? Or offer a rebate only if they buy your product in multiples to share as an incentive to spread your message?
If people are happy to loan you their money without interest and are actually excited when you give it back, it's worth considering as part of your marketing strategy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

leadership dot #1756: one thing

I was recently preparing for a workshop and included a concept I learned at Brand Camp -- in 2007. I think it is the only thing I consciously remember from the multi-day conference, but it perfectly illustrated my point.
As I reflected on the fact I only had one takeaway from that event, it occurred to me that I have followed the same pattern for much of my career, but over the years have assembled quite an arsenal of tools, one concept at a time. I rip one page out of a magazine, take one lesson from each conference, remember an idea from a webinar and adopt a training technique from a speaker. By putting them together, I have amassed quite a repertoire of metaphors and exercises from which I can draw to make my teaching more powerful. Instead of being disappointed that I "only" remembered one concept, I should embrace the idea that one idea I repeatedly use is a valuable ROI for attendance. 
How can you process your intakes and post-event reflection to capture that "one thing" you hope to take forward and apply? We often come away from a book, a sojourn on social media or a conference with a multitude of ideas that get lost in the background. Be intentional about pulling out the one concept that can add to your thinking, maybe for decades to come.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

leadership dot #1755a: bonus addendum

My friend Stacey Steinbach shared this story with me after reading leadership dot #1755 about distinguishing sounds. I thought you would also enjoy it, and perhaps could add it to your toolbox of resource materials.

Read the Cricket Story here.

Thanks for sharing Stacey!