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Goals Are For Losers, Systems Are For Winners

Scott Adams wrote an inspiring book. It’s called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big- Kind of the Story of My Life-book by Scott AdamsYou probably know Mr. Adams a lot better once you find out he’s the guy behind those Dilbert comic strips. Yup, that’s Scott.

Throughout this fascinating read he keeps reminding the reader not to listen to his advice, after all he says, “you’re taking advice from a cartoonist!” I think this is why I felt like I should listen to him more, because he was open with his inherent bias’s and extremely transparent. Still one of the best all around books on improving your life, career, business, and most importantly, mindset.

Goals are for losers, systems are for winners. He had a lot of great advice in the book, but this counterintuitive thinking jumped out at me. As a guy who’s always been a firm believer in goals, goal setting, writing down goals, etc. this statement of Goals are for losers! really caught me off guard.

What the hell have I been doing? Why am I setting goals? Am I a loser?!? 

Then you read on and find there is a method to his madness. The general argument is that goals, once completed, give you nowhere else to go, no next step, no contingency plan. But systems scale, they get larger with ease, they adjust to their surroundings, they’re more adept for growth. Your system is the way you create successful outcomes (if you aren’t creating successful outcomes you are probably using a bad system). Your style, personality, approach, tone of voice, attitude, etc. are all a part of your system. 

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Professional Stock Photos-the wait a minute, i have one more really important something to tell you

3 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Won’t Exist In Five Years & What To Do About It

Underwhelming leadership, a reactive approach to technology, and a communications strategy that hasn’t evolved since 1999. This is the sorry state most nonprofits find themselves in. Leadership’s difficult to change, technology changes too much to understand, and marketing teams with a bad case of the “but it’s what we’ve always done!’s” syndrome.

You’re worse off than you thought if you don’t admit to having a problem.

The good news is that there is hope for you. Change isn’t fatal, not adapting is. Below are three thoughts on why I think many nonprofits are becoming obsolete. Agree or disagree, let me know in the comments below.

and make it a better place. it is in your hands to make a difference.

1. It’s never been easier to create a nonprofit.

It’s easier to start a business today, for and not for profit, than it was 20 years ago. The fact that you can start a nonprofit without leaving your couch (over simplification) is bound to increase the amount of entities that are started. The ease of entry to the market has caused an influx of nonprofits starting and subsequently dying before they had the chance to see the light of day all because some other organization with a more pressing issue moved into town. They cannibalize the publics’ wallet share for donations, with more and more organizations asking people for charitable dollars, the more difficult it is for charities to acquire the donations they used to collect with little to no effort.

Solution: Create loyalty. I weird concept for a nonprofit? Not anymore. How do you create loyal contributors? How do you increase repeat donations? How do you set up a referral engine for giving? Every organization is a little different but if you can Answer these questions for your nonprofit and you’re half way there. Keep reading for the other half.

2. There’s a nonprofit overseas needs more help than yours does.

The worldwide need for nonprofits is much more apparent. We communicate worldwide in real time now, problems on the other side of the world are now our problems too. As we learned with “Kony 2012”, within a couple clicks (or Retweets) I can see what some of the most important issues are today. And yes, we’re not always right in our first impression and sometimes we support organizations which later we regret (insert Kony 2012 into this category).

In the future we’re going to be exposed to the horrors of our world overseas and in the furtherest places on Earth from where we currently reside. Geography doesn’t matter. When humans need help on the other side of the world wallets begin opening and all those charity dollars that went to the local chapter of the Lions club all of a sudden left the city, province and country. 

SolutionMake an emotion connection with the problem you’re solving and the intended audience. The only reason donor dollars are going out of country is that there is a major perceived(real or fake) need for aid in other parts of the world. Rarely do local nonprofits make a compelling case as to why you should donate to your local food bank versus feeding children in a third world country. Find peoples heart strings and gently tug on them. First and foremost we Canadians need to ensure the wellbeing of our people so that in the future we can help other areas of the world.

3. We’re all looking for something to believe in and your organization isn’t doing it for me anymore.

As countries develop and generations get older, people look for ways to feel fulfilled, a purpose per se. This is getting increasingly more difficult. But more and more people are looking for alternative ways to get that rush in the bottom of their stomachs. That moment when you realize you’ve actually changed someones’ life for the better. Volunteering for an organization is one way to achieve this feeling.

Our world isn’t about to get less confusing (quite the opposite actually) and “giving back” is still an easy way to get that feeling that you’re putting a dent in the universe. With the decline of traditional spiritual/religious paths, the Y Generation and Millennials need a new outlet to find their own spirituality, a feeling found through serving others. But we’re not loyal to a fault. If your mission is getting stale, if your strategy has never evolved, if you’re behind on technology, you’re giving people a great reason to check out your competition.

Nobody wants to board a ship that’s sailing nowhere.

SolutionDefine (or redefine) your why. The reason your nonprofit exists. Develop the model of how you’re going to scale the impact you’re creating. Remember, a nonprofits ‘brand’ isn’t the logo or the advertising, or the website, the ‘brand’ is what the organization has done. Events ran, program put on, people affected. If you want a forward thinking brand set a BHAG, empower your people, try new initiatives, acquire feedback, and constantly improve upon last quarters results. Simple as that.

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Sources:

Nonprofits Are Growing, What Is It That They Do?

Nonprofit Fundraising Study – Covering Charitable Receipts at U.S. Nonprofit Organizations in 2011

Why Don’t the Best Nonprofits Grow?

Growth in the Non-profit Sector and Competition for Funding

 

Quotes-change-happens

The Business of Belief [14 Brilliant Quotes]

I recently finished an amazing read by Tom AsackerThe Business of BeliefHow the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe.

It’s an easy read, not very long, and filled with wonderful little stories that teach memorable lessons in a simple manner. I loved the book and have since bought it for people. I really think you should pick up a copy, after all, don’t you want something to believe in?

I’ve heard this stat before but really puts into perspective the ‘maker’ culture we’re living in.

Every two days we create as much information... quotes-eric-schmidt-information

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Are You Too Busy? Read this.

Please do us all a favour and Stop Complaining About How Busy You AreWe all do this too much these days.

Everyone is too busy.

The majority of what we do is waste time on things that ultimately don’t matter. We all could work a little smarter and plan our lives a little better. It’s not impossible.

Do you really think Jeff Bezos has more time in a day than you? Do you think Larry Page and Sergey Brin sleep much, much less than regular people and work more hours? Do you think the smartest CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders just work more hours than most people? Or is it something else?

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you-can-fit-in-or-standout-but-you-cant-do-both

How Long Should A Website Take To Build? A Highschool Website Experiment

Campbell BusinessThe other day, Brandon and I went to a Campbell entrepreneurship class taught by Jordan McFarlen. Mr. McFarlen invited us to talk about how we started Strategy Lab and the entrepreneurial experience. The way Mr. McFarlen teaches the class is he divides them in two groups and they have to start companies which over the semester they will run like an actual company (last years company actually imported iPhone cases from China, pretty awesome). Mr. McFarlen is one in a million and the Campbell Business program is very lucky to have him. The passion and excitement for learning he has is such a bright light in our ever troubled education system.

Instead of talking about ourselves for an hour, we decided to do something different.

In the first 15 minutes we talked about as a company what we believe in, our 10 values, and the story of how Brandon and I met.

Then Brandon went to work.

This first thing Brandon did was made each company decide on a domain name and he bought for them. Then he set each website up on WordPress and give them the login. There’s a lot of technical work that Brandon didn’t do (like 18 hours worth of work he’d do on a regular website) but the students will figure that out, they can learn how to hack WordPress to get it to do what they want.

It was amazing to see the looks on their faces. Something that most people think takes days, weeks or even months, Brandon created in front of their very eyes. It was amazing to witness. A website doesn’t have to take months to create, you can have one in an hour, it won’t look great but you’ll have your very own online publishing platform.

Websites don’t take that long to build. Yes there is a lot of technical and design elements that you should trust a professional on but for the most part people spend an insanely long time on design. Why? Because they’re trying to appease everyone. But when need to build a bridge, you don’t ask a committee or a board, you hire the best dam bridge builder around. Something to think about the next time you want to “re-design” your website.

I’m really excited to see what the students at Campbell will end up doing with the websites. The last thing we said on our way out was, experiment, try new things, and try to break the website. Get Creative.

Hopefully they teach us an entirely different way that websites should look and feel.

a good brand vs a bad brand in action

5 Words That Changed Everything

WestjetI was on a Westjet flight the other day, as per usual, like most of you do, I was finishing off one last tweet before I “turned off my phone” during take off.
This is usually when the flight attendant, playing the authority card says, “sir, can you please turn off your phone” in the same tone of an elementary school teacher scolding a young child.

I’m used to it, it happens pretty much every time I fly. Until, just the other day. The lovely flight attendant says to me “sir can you turn off your phone, after you’re done that message? in such a lovely tone too!
I didn’t feel like a child, I didn’t feel reprimanded, I didn’t feel like she was trying to flex her authority muscle. She added five words which entirely changed the request. Brilliant.

The next time you have a request for a customer, what could you add that would make it that much more pleasant?

harry-potter-the-patronas

Sometimes You Just Have To Be Like Harry Potter

In Harry Potter The Prisoner of Azkaban, there’s a scene at the lake where dementors are about to kill Harry, Hermoine and Sirious Black. There are too many dementors for Harry to defend against.

Just when you think all is lost, all of a sudden a Patronus appears from the other side of the lake and staves off the dementors.

Harry believes it’s his father who cast the Patronus charm and saved them.

Some time later in the movie, using Hermione’s time-turner to go back in time, they go back to the lake where supposedly Harry’s father saves them. But what they find is Harry’s father doesn’t show up. So who saved them?

It must have been Harry. But he wasn’t powerful enough, or so he thought.

He didn’t think he had the power to do it, but because he’d already seen himself do it, it wasn’t impossible anymore.

Visualizing, affirming, positive self talk, there are many ways to help yourself do this in your marketing, business and life. Sometimes you must believe in yourself to do the impossible, otherwise how else are you going to achieve your goals? Just like Harry did.

How many major moments in your life would have been much easier if you would have saw yourself doing it perfectly in advance?

Strategy Lab/Capital Ford Google Analytics Workshop

Thanks to everyone who came out to dive into the deep world of Google Analytics and measurement tools with us. The morning went very well, stimulated some educational conversation, and highlighted some compelling case studies. This workshop was geared toward non-profit organizations and will be followed by workshops open to all companies. See you all at the next one!

Strategy Lab Google Analytics Workshop

PechaKucha Night in Regina: Presenting YQRs Most Creative

PechaKucha Night Regina-poster

Next Thursday at the Artful Dodger, along with David Tapp, Riley Lawsen, Tori Dundas, Brandon Wu and myself are hosting PechaKucha! I know what you’re thinking. How the hell do you pronounce that? Well it’s Pea-Cha-Ka-Cha, so fun to say!

PechaKucha is ten presentations, all of which are 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. It’ll be an wildly interesting night, the assortment of speakers is all over the map so you will be entertained. If you wish to see who’s speaking check out the list here. Also, I will be MCing the night, so prepare yourself for some of the best PechaKucha commentary ever!

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here: Buy PechaKucha Regina Tickets.

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