Saturday, December 29, 2012

Without Great Execution, Strategy is Just Good Intentions

A strategy - whether in companies or life - is created through hundreds of everyday decisions about how you spend your time, energy, and money.  With every moment of your time, every decision about how you spend your energy and your money, you are making a statement about what really matters to you.  You can talk all you want about having a clear purpose and strategy for your life, but ultimately this means nothing if you are not investing the resources you have in a way that is consistent with your strategy.  In the end, strategy is nothing but good intentions unless it's effectively implemented.
- How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clay Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon
I can't put down - How Will You Measure Your Life? - the fantastic, new book by Harvard professor, Clay Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon.

This quick and engaging read is a important addition to the self-help and business literature.  And has my juices flowing! 

Instead of offering anecdotes on how to live your best life, or become a better leader, Christensen, et al. share and apply proven business theories, such as resource allocation process and directive and emergent strategy to help us guide and predict outcomes in both our professional and PERSONAL lives.

I LOVED the quote above from Chapter 4 - Your Strategy Is Not What You Say It Is - because I have long believed that execution (what you DO and how you DO it) trumps strategy (what you SAY you're doing) any day!

We ALL have good intentions.
"I want my children to be healthy, happy and productive."

"I want to help people who are struggling and in need."

"I want to make a real difference with my career."

"I want to be a great mentor and leader."
The problem is, intentions are meaningless unless you CONSISTENTLY put your weight (time, talent and treasure) behind them.

The real question is, how can we be people who align strategy (intention) with execution (action) to ensure that we live good lives? 

Here are my reflections, based on the book.
  • Watch where your resources flow, especially time.  Like taking an audit of your financials, spend a month monitoring how you spend your time.  What do you do with that extra 1/2 hour?  How do you spend your weekends?  Who/what gets the bulk of your attention? After this audit, decide if you are spending your time in the right way and make adjustments as needed.
  • Focus on the small stuff - So many decisions we make seem small and tactical (because they ARE!). Therefore, it's easy to miss the fact that the small stuff adds up over time.  Skipping a night of reading to your kids.  Cancelling a dinner date with your partner.  Working late.  Not recognizing an employee's contribution.  In isolation, none of these actions will make or break your future, but over time the small stuff ads up and forms a pattern of behavior that is hard to change.  Don't neglect the small stuff.  Be INTENTIONAL about these interactions. 
  • Think long vs. short-term - Make decisions (and ACT) based on your long-term strategy not just to achieve short-term pleasure or gain.  Stay focused on where you want to land 5, 10 or 20 years from now vs. next month.  This is hard to do!  It's easy to eat a delicious, nutty, creamy chocolate bar now :) vs. stay on a healthy eating plan to ensure long-term fitness.  It's easy to skip a tough meeting and avoid conflict now vs. continuing to work through tough issues and build an enduring, collegial relationship.  While it takes discipline to prioritize a long-term gain over a short-term fix, having a long-term outlook is crucial to both personal and professional success.  
To succeed in life means more than having good intentions, it means employing a daily discipline of activities and interactions to drive your future forward.  Don't just preach about your plans and wax on about your strategy.  ACT in alignment with who you want to be and where you want to go. This is the stuff of success!



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Upgrade Your Sales aka Fundraising Skills This Year: Read Dan Pink's New Book!

The first marketing book up for me in 2013 is To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink.

Pink is a great writer and thinker.  Maybe you have already experienced his genius in Drive or A Whole New Mind?

I'm interested in learning more about how we can get better at influencing vs. pitching donors and making them feel passionate about our causes.

To learn more about the book, watch the trailer above or download the introduction by subscribing to his e-newsletter via his site.

Here's to honing our sales and fundraising skills this year in order to keep the donors we already have and bring new ones into the family!



Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Miss You and Great Holiday Gift for You: A FREE Book!

Hi Friends,

I apologize for being MIA lately.  I miss you! 

I have an AMAZING new job leading and fundraising again and have been busy with year-end and this (SHAMELESS PLUG) amazing appeal.

I intend to get back on the blogging bandwagon NOW.  Look for weekly posts from me on Leadership, Fundraising and/or Nonprofit Marketing.

Today's killer find is this fantastic offer from Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book

As you can read below, she's giving away her book for $0.00 or FREE!  You can download it now or order it on Amazon and read it online.

Go ahead. Download it. I'll wait...

I read CBB many years ago but it's still one of my favorites on the who, what, why, when and how of blogging.  If you are thinking about starting a blog for your nonprofit next year (and you should be if you have the bandwith), read Debbie's book over the holidays.

A small gift for you

The Corporate Blogging Book - Updated Ed.The best holiday gift I can offer is that you enjoy the pause between Christmas and New Year's (whether or not you officially celebrate). It's a time for reflection and small wins.

But I also want to give you a small gift to enjoy on your Kindle (or other device). The updated edition of The Corporate Blogging Book is $0.00 on Amazon for the next few days.

Click here to download my 218-page book for $0.00.

In other book news, I'm crazy for Authentic Leadership (another oldie but goodie) by Bill George of Harvard Business School and former CEO of Medtronic.  You'll have to buy this one but it's worth it!

Leading a team and serving others is the hardest and most joyful calling I can imagine.  George shows us how to do it profitably with passion, perseverance and humility.  I hope you will check it out!

Finally, this great poem, What Constitutes Success? by Bessie Anderson Stanley, touches my heart and is my mantra for 2013.  What's yours?

"To laugh often and love much:
to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one's self;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."

Much love to you and yours this holiday season!