All posts filed under: Leading Change

When Change Becomes the Strategy

The assumptions with organizations is that they are created to last forever. The reality is that most for and non-profits last less than forever, and often not long at all. Digital/social media accelerates growth (Instagram sold for $1 Billion after less than 2 years of existence) as well as decline (Borders Book Stores). Value and effectiveness are easier to spot, and there have never been more options for spending/giving money. These forces create almost a baseline of change. Effective change requires a willingness to listen and empathize with opportunities or problems in which you might not believe. Preferences has never been more of a liability than they are today. Your preferences might literally put you out of business (Kodak). Effective change is also incredibly rewarding on a personal level. My wife wrote a blog post that she would not have even considered writing just a few years ago. Her experiences as a mom have changed the way she looks at life. She has changed for the better, and it’s deep, lasting, and incredibly meaningful. This …

Virus or Vaccination? A Critical Diagnosis for Leading Change

Change opportunities can be seen as a virus or a vaccination. As a Virus–head over to Mucinex’s website to see this in action.  Resources are applied to neutralize and destroy the change. “Mucinex In, Mucous Out.” The change itself takes the person or organization by surprise, eliciting fear. “Fight congestion, tame your cough” The response plan is reactionary: Take 1 or 2 tablets every 12 hours AFTER YOU GET THE COLD! As a Vaccination: “The administration of antigenic material (a vaccine) to stimulate the immune system of an individual to develop adaptive immunity to a disease.”–wikipedia Resources are applied to stimulate and encourage adaption. The change and associated fear is calculated. “In general, vaccination is considered to be the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases.”–wikipedia It’s natural to see change as a threat but for those changes that impact your organization there must be a plan and resources dedicated that treat them as a vaccine. Those that lead change must see themselves as a vaccine even if they are treated as a virus. Tweet

From Institutional Education to Scalable Experiences

Generation C will move from investing primarily in institutional education towards scalable experiences as a path to the career of their dreams. I recently participated in my first hackathon focused on re-inventing business. It was a blast. It provided an amazing scalable experience–what I learned and who I met transcended my current role, amplified my passions, and connected me with a cross disciplinary group of people of whom I would have never met apart from an event such as this.  Hackathons aren’t springing up around the country because they are cool, but because they are scalable and a meaningful (albeit indirect) route to a meaningful career. The value of education has been called into question by billionaire Mark Cuban.  “College wasn’t originally designed to merely be a continuation of high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places, though, that’s what it has become. The data I’m seeing shows that a degree (from one of those famous schools, with or without a football team) doesn’t translate into significantly better career opportunities, a better job …

Build A Digital Infrastructure

The mission of your organization cannot be realized without an infrastructure to support and nourish the resources at hand. It’s easy to see social media as a marketing component (which it is), but hard to see it as as vital as electricity to operating efficiently. Because many non-profits confuse scarce resources with a scarcity mindset, digital and social becomes marginalized or modularized at the fringes of each department, instead of embedded and integrated into the core. Key Activities to Start Building Your Digital Infrastructure Grab as many digital accounts as possible. Use only the ones that meet your organizational objectives and match the preferences of your audience. There were lots of non-profits that did not believe in Twitter that are now paying the price with awkward or non-intuitive user names. Coordinate content creation. Smartphones enable everyone from your President to your first time volunteer to contribute digital content. A person or team needs to be responsible for this; expecting everyone to get it and do it is impractical. Centralize digital content archiving. Digital media can …

Reorganize Your Online Presence to Build Relationships

“Companies that recognize the opportunity and reorganize for this new market are creating competitive advantage. Companies that don’t risk being left behind and losing relationships to their competitors.”–Peter Kim The opportunity to reach millions of unknown people on social media often clouds one of the most powerful opportunities–to build and maintain strong connections with the people that care about your ministry or non-profit. Social Media Provides Real-Time Feedback Pressing send no longer means you have successfully communicated with your fans. Email marketing tools such as Mailchimp reveal that less than 50% (and often times under 20%) of the total list open a given email, let alone read it. The other side is instant notifications on Facebook when someone likes or comments on an update, SMS or email messages letting you know that someone RT’d or favorited one of your Tweets, and basic web analytics that tells provides detailed information about the people visiting your site. These tools can help you create meaningful content that establishes trust, adds personality, and allows you to directly interact with …

Real Innovation Disrupts the Status Quo

“How much a company spends on innovation doesn’t matter, because what’s important is what the company spends on real breakthroughs rather than sustaining ideas.”–Better, Faster, Cheaper is Not Innovation This quote referenced Kodak’s (and many other companies) investment in R&D that improves existing technology, rather than disruptive technology. It also applies to why many efforts of ministries and non-profits to “innovate” on social or digital media fall flat. I’ve seen upwards of 100 iPhone apps designed by ministries or non-profits without a strategy or purpose other than to “be innovative.” I’ve also seen individual fundraisers create short, personal, and powerful YouTube videos for their donors that transform the relationship between them. For some communication tactics there is a linear relationships where one can be substituted for the other: A text message can replace a phone call, a Facebook update can replace a verbal announcement at a large meeting, etc. The goal behind this is general awareness. But when the goal becomes to empower more volunteers, raise significantly more money, recruit or train hundreds/thousands of more …

The Value of Moving Away from the Top Down Mindset

“Make them love the kingdom, not the king. The best $$ I ever made was when other people thought it was their idea.” @chrisbrogan #MRUshift — Alexandra Rutley (@AlexandraRutley) May 10, 2012   I discovered this tweet yesterday and it resonated with a key shift that many ministries need to make. Many ministries have a top down structure, and communicate from a “me first, you second” position. The King is the starting and ending point, and communications seek to make him stand out amongst the rest. I’ve noticed that the most innovative and powerful communications happening on social media between ministries and their audiences are ones that invert this paradigm to “you first, me second.” The kingdom–the staff, volunteers, and the interested but not yet empowered are the focus, and the King releases people and resources in ways that make them more famous than him. If your ministry is the hero of the story chances the content you are sharing is not resonating as powerfully as it could if the volunteers and new people were …

Do Your Volunteers and Staff Have Permission to Engage?

“Successful social business leaders recognize that engagement at scale is only realized when the company is able to move beyond mere fan acquisition tactics and actually cultivate a core community of advocates.”–Advocacy, Dachis Group A social media specialist or community manager are critical to a ministry’s social media strategy, but unleashing staff and volunteers to engage on social media on behalf of your ministry or non-profit will achieve greater results. Strategy and tactics to capture fans and followers often come before training and educating staff. Sandy Carter, IBM’s VP of Social, notes that Germany is the global leader in deploying social media effectively. Their secret? Deploy a program for encouraging social media use internally among employees. Although a dedicated team or community manager can set the strategy, provide the guidelines, and share best practices, the staff and volunteers have the potential to absorb the increasing demand to communicate personally with donors and constituents. Tweet

Non-Profit Resource: The Generosity Manifesto

GIVING GETS US HIGH. REALLY. OUR BRAIN KICKS OUT CHEMICALS THAT MAKE US FEEL GOOD WHEN WE GIVE.” Mike Zserdin, The Generosity Manifesto I have to acknowledge as someone who has raised funds for 10 years that much of my focus was on transactions, and automated, impersonal communications. These actions came more from an industrial mindset, with ministry as the “product,” and giving as the “input.” From the help of a mentor I have shifted to a focus on relationships, and personal, tailored communications. This matches the shift that our culture has made from scarcity to abundance. Dave Gray’s “Everything is a Service” describes the transition to an ‘Age of Abundance:’ “The material abundance we all enjoy was made possible by an industrial economy that focused primarily mass-producing material goods. The philosophy of mass production was based on Henry Ford’s big idea: If you could produce great volumes of a product at a low cost, the market for that product would be virtually unlimited. In the early days his idea held true, but eventually, every market gets saturated …

The Bridge You Have To Cross

If your ministry or non-profit is more than 10 years old chances are it’s not adequately prepared for Generation-C, the connected customer. Transactional focused fundraising, outdated websites, impersonal and anonymous messaging, or an unwillingness to adopt new methods are all bridges that must be crossed to have an impact and live out your organization’s mission in the future. For some leading this change means helping others understand that the gap between current reality and potential effectiveness is greater than they think. It requires quantifying existing efforts in ways that make sense to both decision makers and implementers. For others it’s empowering those that do understand the future but lack the title, experiences, or current skills to courageously experiment with new tools and strategies. “This is important as without understanding what’s important to them and why, without learning their behavior or decision making cycles, or without empathy, we cannot reverse engineer nor create a meaningful and engaging journey. We cannot create bridges from where they are to us nor can we expect them to use them.”–Brian …