Tag Archives: strategic planning

Nonprofit Radio for April 10, 2023: The High Growth Nonprofit


Matt ScottThe High Growth Nonprofit

Matt Scott returns to talk us through his new book, “The High Growth Nonprofit.” He urges you to shed the 5% growth mindset and plan for exponential growth with your rapid growth plan. Matt is CEO of CauseMic.



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[00:01:19.31] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your Aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. And oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d get slapped with a diagnosis of gero morph. Um Is um if you made me lose my mind because you missed this week’s show The high growth non profit Matt Scott returns to talk us through his new book, the high growth non profit he urges you to shed the 5% growth mindset and planned for exponential growth with your rapid growth plan. Matt is CEO of Cosmic On Tony’s take 2:23 NTC shows coming. We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. Here is the high growth non profit It’s my pleasure

[00:01:54.73] spk_1:
to welcome back, Matt Scott to non profit radio He is CEO and co founder of Cosmic A Portland Oregon based consultancy, helping nonprofits leverage best in class for profit methods to grow their organizations before cosmic. He was a fundraising leader on the inside of numerous young and fast nonprofits One of which he helped take from $275,000 to $51 million dollars in seven years. We’ll be talking about that one. He’s the author of the book, The

[00:01:56.66] spk_0:
High Growth non profit Proven steps

[00:02:14.23] spk_1:
to quickly double your revenue and drive impact. The company is at cosmic dot com and Matt’s book is at cosmic dot com slash book. Matt Scott. Welcome back to the nonprofit radio

[00:02:17.02] spk_2:
Thank you for having me saw this on the calendar and was feeling pretty stoked about

[00:02:21.16] spk_1:
it. Thank you. Oh, you just look five minutes ago like you haven’t been anticipating it for the past month.

[00:02:26.62] spk_2:
I absolutely looked last night and was okay.

[00:02:30.26] spk_1:
Alright. I’ll accept 12 hours of excitement is, is terrific. Thank you. Congratulations. Congratulations on the book, the high growth, non profit

[00:02:42.82] spk_2:
Thank you. Yeah, I think uh if any of your, if any of your listeners have ever have ever written a book, they will probably relate. It took me twice as long as I thought it would to

[00:02:54.74] spk_1:
write. Yes, I’ve heard that numerous times. Right. All right. But it’s done. Congratulations.

[00:03:00.58] spk_2:
Thank you.

[00:03:04.07] spk_1:
Let’s talk with, with a 30,000 ft view. You, you reference different uh degrees of views in the book and one of them is 30,000 ft. What, what’s a high growth? Non profit

[00:03:42.37] spk_2:
I think a high growth, non profit is an organization that is looking to go beyond incremental growth. Um, an organization that’s looking to double their revenue and impact Over the next 2-3 years. Um and it’s an organization. Yeah, that’s that’s willing to take bold calculated risk and also follow some some process and systems to get there. Um Yeah, it’s an organization ready to invest in growth.

[00:04:06.79] spk_1:
Okay. That’s audacious doubling in 2-3 years, growth revenue and impact. Alright, so one of the early chapters makes it clear that if we’re gonna achieve high growth, we need to outgrow Our 5% mindset. Yeah, help us through.

[00:04:17.67] spk_2:
Yeah, this is, this is my favorite exercise or tip or uh out you know, just learning from the book um because it’s worked time and time again. Big small, it scales at every size organization. It’s quite simple. It’s most organizations especially fundraisers are guilty of this. They set these really low revenue targets and then they like to wildly exceed them. Um At least that’s what I do know that was a frontline fundraiser um but

[00:04:39.75] spk_1:
really classic uh under under over, perform under

[00:05:52.32] spk_2:
undersell over. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So outgoing the 5% growth mindset is this idea that most organizations look to grow, say 5 10 15% you know, and the reality is you don’t actually have to do anything differently in order to grow that incremental growth. You just have to do what you’re currently doing and do it a little bit better. And so what we encourage folks to do is to kind of gather around a whiteboard with their team and say, answer this question, what if we had no choice but to double our revenue with half the resources over the next three years, what would we do? And it’s awesome because in a resource constrained environment, you’re forced to uh get creative innovation comes to life and you’re forced to ruthlessly prioritize. And that’s usually how you can begin to set a path towards exponential growth. Um And we’ve, we’ve seen this, we’ve seen this work at lots of clients and I think it’s something that uh that is an easy thing for a leader to do.

[00:06:01.45] spk_1:
And in addition to having an audacious growth goal mindset, you need to have a plan for achieving audacious goals, which is what to me, this is what the book is all about. It’s not enough to just be audacious in goal setting. We need to have a method of getting there that’s going to be different than what we’ve been doing.

[00:06:20.66] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. I, I could, I could say I would like to be £50 lighter by my birthday. But if I don’t actually have any plan to, you know, to replace, uh to, to drink green tea and eat more vegetables, I probably am not going to get there.

[00:06:42.53] spk_1:
I love the idea of exponential exponential growth. Let’s talk about the North Star and why don’t you talk about the North Star? What’s our North Star?

[00:07:04.73] spk_2:
Yeah, I think what’s, what comes to mind for me is, is unlike a mission statement, a North Star is sort of this, this guiding light for your organization. It’s more about the why. Um And you know, the analogy kind of comes to mind like as you’re a kid and you’re exploring and you know, or any explorer really. And the thought is that this North Star can kind of take you in a certain direction, It can always guide you and point you there. And it’s something that when I was at Team Rubicon nonprofit that, that, that re purposes the skills of military veterans to, to assist folks who have been affected by disaster. Um

[00:07:26.80] spk_1:
That’s the organization that you grew referred to in your bio.

[00:07:31.76] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. I was a part of, uh, I was a part of our rapid growth there and in fundraising and, uh, there was a lot of people involved in that but, but the organization was ran by, um, this guy named Jake Wood, a former marine. Uh, if there’s any marines listening, I apologize. There’s no such thing as a former marine, a marine, I should say.

[00:07:53.23] spk_1:
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:08:39.45] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I hope I still make his Christmas card list, um, for making that error. But, yeah, Jake pounded the North Star in our head to be the best disaster relief organization in the world. And we were really encouraged to take these bold calculated risk and it was, it was that guiding star to say, hey, when we’re, when we’re at a decision point, when we’re trying to figure out what to do, look to that North star and say, is this going to get us closer there? Is it gonna guide us towards that direction? And I think it’s important for an organization or a leader to set the organization’s North Star and to communicate that frequently. So, you know, that cosmic, we were laser focused on helping uh fully fund every nonprofit organization. Um That’s a pretty big bold audacious thing. It’s like being the best disaster response or in the world. And throughout the journey to get there, you’re gonna, you know, you’re gonna have all these decision points and it helps you, I think filter through them.

[00:09:07.47] spk_1:
I like that. The book is filled with examples of basically you, you’re walking your walk, you use a lot of examples from, from cosmic,

[00:10:22.84] spk_2:
yeah, from cosmic, from clients like um honestly, the book is filled with, with just as many lessons that were learned from trying something and it not working. But one of our cultural principles is success is not final and another one is the future belongs to the curious. And I think the combination of those two things are what, what allows an organization to try, try new approaches. But then when something works well to examine it, to look at it, understand why it worked or why it didn’t work and what’s still missing about it and to refine it. And so I try to share examples from our experience um because I’m so goal oriented and sometimes I share with, with Bobby, someone was like my thought partner, my operational partner here at Cosmic, just, just the other day I shared with her was like, gosh, you know, uh I was like, I wish we were growing faster. And she said, Matt, we more than doubled, you know, last year ourselves. And we helped 22 clients double at the same time. Like, let’s take a breath and like, look at what, what worked and what didn’t and what we accomplished. And I think that, that, that, that’s what I tried to include in the book was the stories from those lessons learned. And I hope, I hope it comes through.

[00:10:30.12] spk_1:
It does, it does true to your uh walking your talk. I said you, I said you walk your walk, you walk your talk. True to walking your talk. Uh your North Star. One of them is to fully fund every nonprofit, you know, you do know there’s about a million and a half of them, right?

[00:10:52.72] spk_2:
Yeah, there’s, there’s far too many probably to realistically reach. And I gotta be honest, like we’ve refined that over the years to be those that align with our values. Like I actually, I hope that there’s certain organizations that don’t have access to my book and don’t actually put to use these practices

[00:11:27.25] spk_1:
but you’re scaling back scaling down a little bit. Alright. That’s that’s perfectly reasonable with the universe of a million and a half or more but true to your North Star, you are giving this book away books just go to cosmic dot com slash book and give a name and an address and you’ll ship the book for free.

[00:11:33.51] spk_2:

[00:11:35.22] spk_1:
I’m not gonna ask why you’re doing that because it’s your it’s your North Star. That’s why.

[00:12:11.19] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. I think um yeah, we give away free strategy calls to and I’m gonna be honest, like a lot of the calls are folks that aren’t necessarily in the right mindset or in the right place to benefit from the approach that we take. But we still want to help them. So we’ve developed a free curriculum. Like we’ve, you know, I just wanted to capture some of the lessons that I’ve learned and so many, I’ve gotten so much free advice over the years, um that I’m so grateful for that. We wanted to put some of those thoughts down on paper and, and share those with books and um yeah, just help people, help people grow and scale and it’s the easiest way to, to distribute our knowledge out there.

[00:12:59.59] spk_1:
You have a chapter on and all your chapters are short this quick. This is a, it’s a quick read but valuable and I mean, it has to be valuable. You get it for free. So it has just infanticidal value and then you have, if it’s just infanticidal value, then you have a positive R O I because cosmic is paying for the shipping. So culture. So one of your, one of the many chapters, culture, culture is the glue. How do we I think folks probably understand why that’s important but how do we create the culture that we want?

[00:16:51.67] spk_2:
Yeah. So um I kind of already shared with you two of our cultural principles that cosmic, right? And I can still remember and recite all seven cultural principles at Team Rubicon. But I’ve also worked at two other places in my career where I actually cannot recite even one of the cultural principles because they were a poster on a wall, right? So when I think about cultural principles, they need to be what guides your team in the absence of your presence. So, just a few years ago when it was myself and Bobby and one full time person here at cosmic uh Franny who still works with us. Um I remember gathering her and saying, sharing with her. There’s gonna be a time when we’re not in the room, you’re gonna be alone in the room and we’re going to make a decision about how we need to move forward. People are going to question that decision and we won’t be there to answer it. And I need you to look to these cultural principles, to guide you and to provide them with context as to why this decision is made. Um so that we can all be aligned and so that we can all move forward together. So I think when you know, to address your question, I think of two parts, one is like, what is the importance, the critical part is that you have, that your team has something that they can fall back on to filter through their actions, their ideas, to understand your decisions, all those things in the absence of your presence, it’s really important how to get there. Um It’s as basic as sitting down and writing down, like, think about yourself. Think about your top performing people on your team, the best people you’ve ever worked with. If you’re just building your team from scratch, what are the characteristics of those folks? What is it that they have in common? Where is their overlap and start to write those things down? Don’t go with these lofty like integrity and things like that’s kind of baseline. I hope that wherever it is that you’re working, right? But go with like what is uniquely you and then you can actually refine them and that’s how we come up with fun stuff like at Team Rubicon. Uh One of my favorite cultural principles was uh your mother is a donor. So when we think about how we’re going to reinvest the money that is given to Team Rubicon to serve folks affected by disaster, think about it as if your mother gave us that money. And that was a really cool right way to frame that up. And so at cosmic, we’ve, we’ve got fun ones to write like sleeves up at Team Rubicon was gets it done. So the you can start to put a fun spin on it and then how you move it into action. Um I found is you repeat it all the time and you call it out all the time. Um Are you familiar with strength Finder, tony It’s, it’s a, it’s a gallop kind of generated thing where you fill out this survey of millions of people filled it out and it kind of identifies what are your top five strengths of all these different strengths, right? And a lot of folks use strength finder, but they’d go to a half day session and then they never talk about it again. And the same is true about cultural principles. They take a day a week, a month to define these cultural principles. They’re passive, they’re on a poster and they’re not ever talked about. And so you have to like when you see sleeves up, when you see success is not final, whatever yours are, you have to call attention to call it out and say, hey Franny, that was amazing. You know, that was a success is not final moment for you. This is thank you. You know, this is what works about it. I think that’s what I would say about cultural principles is define them but, but revisit them often. Um that’s how you’re gonna be able to fully leverage them.

[00:16:58.18] spk_1:
What guides your team in the absence of your presence? I love that.

[00:18:00.50] spk_0:
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[00:18:01.24] spk_1:
about yours. Success is not final. What does that mean to cosmic?

[00:19:25.63] spk_2:
Yeah, to cosmic. It means um we actually do, I learned again, I learned this kind of thing at Team Rubicon. We did this thing called an after action report which is sort of came out of the military culture where we would evaluate, hey, we just responded to hurricane Harvey. What worked? What didn’t, what was missing? What was confusing, right? Um And so what we do here at cosmic and is we actually evaluate like, like literally we did a retrospective on writing this book. Um You know, I think it was a success. I can’t wait to come out with a second volume, but I’m like, okay, what are all the things that need to be, that need fixing? You know, that could be better about how we approach this? Um And there was a ton of them and then how taking the lessons that we learned about the, the editing process, like the outlining process, um the boiling it down to two, like you said, I mean, it was written in a way for to be, to be, you know, kind of digested on a domestic flight. But we, we try to put like the key lessons up front. Well, that actually came out of another project that we worked on where the audience of, of our curriculum said, you know, the just like the lesson learned upfront was really helpful. So it’s taking that success from one thing and applying it to what worked well this time. And also looking back and saying, what didn’t work, what did not go well about that fundraising campaign that we just ran? What, what didn’t go well about that digital transformation that we just did and how do we address that for the next go around so that we can improve upon how we deliver, you know, services to clients and impact to the world.

[00:19:59.77] spk_1:
As you said, each chapter has to takeaways upfront right under the title of the chapter, there’s two shaded boxes that are going to tell you what that chapter is all about.

[00:20:09.22] spk_2:
Yeah, you can skip the chapter if you, if you’re really short on time or not intrigued by what it says or no,

[00:20:53.24] spk_1:
you should, I think you make this point if one doesn’t appeal to you that you should read it all the more to find out what it is that you’re missing about the takeaway that, uh, that you’re not getting, you know, what, what it is you don’t understand about the takeaway that, that makes it, uh, interesting to you. So, read a couple of pages and, and come away enlightened. Yeah. Um, you talk something about, well, actually let’s get a little deeper in your, in your own life that this team Rubicon sounds like it was, I don’t know, transformational for you, you know, so grounding you, you took away a lot from your time at Team Rubicon.

[00:21:15.16] spk_2:
I sure did. Uh the, the opportunity, you know, for, for your more established leaders who are listening to this uh 22 year old Matt was given way too much responsibility.

[00:21:17.65] spk_1:
Military that, that comes, that comes right from your founder. Jake. Military does that 18 year olds are given incredible responsibility right out of right out of high school.

[00:24:28.53] spk_2:
Exactly. If you give people clear direction, commander’s intent, um, as Jake would call it, uh, and, and, and, and, and a sense of connection with one another, a sense of codependency with one another. Um Then, you know, even if you fail, if you’re failing forward, you’re gonna do. Okay. Right. So, uh for me at Team Rubicon, all of the places that I’ve worked, I’ve, you know, have taught me a lot. Um but I learned about, I think the 30,000 ft at team Rubicon, the power of having a really strong uh direction that we’re headed at the horizon level and then how to operationalize it is really critical. So, um I was given the opportunity to, to buy, given the opportunity, I mean, there was a problem and, and someone let me, let me just tackle it right? Um To, to lead 2.5 digital transformations in my seven years, but I had never done that before. Um And so learning a lot from that are developing a mass market fundraising program, building out a fundraising team, um you know, partnering with marketing, all of these different things that uh that were so, so important to who I am today and how I lead today and how I help others lead is because of the lessons that I learned. And I’m gonna be honest, a lot of stuff did not work um at all. And so I’ll share an example that maybe will resonate with folks like one of the things we do and I talk about it in the book is that the strategic planning process is completely broken. At most organizations, right. It takes 3 to 6 months. It cost over $200,000 in staff time and consulting. And usually it, it ends up with this 50 page strategic planning document that nobody reads and is completely in actionable. And a team Rubicon, what we would do is we would actually develop strategic plans every six months. We were putting new ones out there and we would look back and laugh at where we thought we would be. Sometimes we, we thought we were like going to the moon and actually we ended up at Mars or sometimes we overshot, sometimes we fell way short. But the plan was like a good place to deviate from. It was, it was, it was something to guide us, but it was not a desk, a destination, the planning process, you know, um what’s it? Uh I’m gonna mess up which general this was. But one of these famous generals talks about how plan is useless, but the act of planning is really, is really what is really useful because it brings people together and gives people a common understanding. And so a team Rubicon like we would fail all the time at our strategic plans. But, but we were always had a bias for action over a bias for documentation. We always had a bias for getting things done. And um yeah, I’m very grateful for the time that I had there because I don’t think I would be able to support so many organizations today if it weren’t for the opportunity to fail early, um, and succeed early, you know,

[00:24:43.08] spk_1:
G S D getting it done, right. You talk like you were in the military, like operationalized commander’s intent, you know, you, you sound like you were a para marine yourself.

[00:25:01.56] spk_2:
Oh, gosh, I have three, I have three brothers who served in the military. Uh, but I did not have any military jargon or discipline whatsoever before going to team Rubicon. So it’s 100% byproduct of my as my time as a gray shirt and it has nothing to do with uh with uh my level of service stops at the nonprofit sector at Fortune.

[00:25:22.42] spk_1:
Alright. And great shirts of course. Were the team Rubicon volunteers? Right. Exactly. Where the great shirts. Yeah. Alright. So let’s explore a little more of the strategic plan. You, you spend a couple of chapters on it, having an adaptable strategic plan and why don’t, why don’t you bring in another organization? The talk about the uh SFP the Salon to Family Project.

[00:25:47.39] spk_2:

[00:25:48.32] spk_1:
adaptable strategic plan.

[00:29:48.15] spk_2:
Yeah. So what I what I favor is is action over over documentation, right? But documentation is important. So capturing your strategy on a single page, it’s like what are we trying to achieve? What are the key, how are we going to do that? What are the key strategies on how we’re gonna do that? Right. So Salon to Family project. When they first started working with us, they actually pair marginalized Children or women rather so just women who were largely ignored in the community with orphan Children. And they create what they call these forever fan families where they are not just a temporary placement for orphans, but rather a wraparound care service. A long term commitment of family goes well beyond, you know, a kid graduating from high school, say right, you can still call your parents well into life and then you care for one another. Um And so when they were thinking about how to grow and they really needed to grow, we started to identify, okay, well, if we were going to double revenue, how would we go about doing that? What are the key areas we’re going to focus on? So we capture that in a strategic plan and then you essentially look at okay. One of them was going to be, we’re going to really lean into peer to peer fundraising because that was there was an opportunity there for them. And another area was cause marketing and really thinking about how to leverage corporate marketing dollars instead of corporate philanthropic dollars. Most nonprofits go after donations, but those are very limited versus marketing dollars are kind of infinitely scalable. So those were just two of the strategies that made sense. Then we developed all these tactical things. Like if we’re going to focus on fundraisers, we need to have little things like we need a good peer to peer fundraising platform. But more importantly, like, let’s think about donor segmentation or, or supporter segmentation donors, volunteers, fundraisers, advocates within the fundraisers. Like, are these people network mobilizes? Can they get a lot of people to attend the event and donate on their behalf? Um Sharing a ton of context. But my point is that there were all these little ideas like we need to coach people who are passionate about Salaam to but who are not professional fundraisers on how to ask people for money. So a fundraising coaching series made it in there so big ideas, little ideas, they all get added in and we scored those based on impact. How much impact would they have on our ability to double revenue against that key strategy, how with cost, you know, time and money, like a fundraising platform cost money, it takes time and money to draft an email series and build out an engagement flow, right? And so by doing this more action oriented strategic planning process, what we did was we started to develop, uh we were clear on direction and we were clear on how we were gonna get there and we really thought about what should be done first. And um and as a result, the organization was able to, you know, leverage all kinds of cool stuff, a Travelocity grant to film to build brand awareness. Like we built a really big peer to peer program, but also kind of what I was sharing about team Rubicon and cosmic is like our identity shift over time. And what to uh to Marissa the executive director’s credit. She saw an opportunity and actually the connection between family, the forever family in the faith based community in, in the US, the donor base. And that there was a strong connection there that they were, they weren’t really maximizing or taking advantage of because they weren’t directly connecting the two. So that’s that a plan is a good place to deviate from that I was talking about is as you move through the process of growing, you need to success is not final stop and evaluate what’s working, what’s not what’s missing. And she found that opportunity and leaned into it with these frameworks and they’ve been very successful. They’ve, they’ve grown up, they’ve doubled more than more than once. Um So, yeah, just a little bit more about, about Salam to and how they leverage that growth strategy.

[00:30:03.61] spk_1:
Explain about the one page strategic plan, the O P S P, talk about this in the book too.

[00:30:53.97] spk_2:
Yeah, this is, this is like my favorite uh my favorite thing um because it aligns everybody and it’s the simplicity. It’s hard to get down into a single page, right? But, but essentially at the very top, it’s what are we trying to achieve? Okay, let’s say we’re trying to double our revenue. How are we gonna do that? I talked about that already. What are the key strategies? Um okay, then who should we be targeting? Uh like who should be going after? Let’s say one of your key strategies is to, to take an audience led approach, right? So one of our clients is Surfrider. Well, who they’re going after is mass market, major donors, uh you know, certain corporate partners, etcetera. And then what motivates them? Well, they have four programmatic pillars. So that’s really like, what are we talking about? What do they do? They,

[00:31:02.76] spk_1:
what do they do?

[00:32:35.42] spk_2:
Surf rider is a group of a collection of chapters. There’s over 80 across the the country. And what they do is they work collaboratively to put forth legislation to protect beach access, to protect clean water, to reduce plastic pollution and to reverse the impacts of climate change. And why people support surfrider are different. Somebody who’s interested in plastic pollution might not be interested in beach access. Um So what we, what we want to capture on that page is who are we going after? What, what’s the core message? What are the, what are the major drumbeats? What are the times when everybody? So World Water Day super important for them. Um Some of them are planned and some of them are unplanned. So the rainfall that we just experienced in California really damaged coastal communities, but that was an unplanned drumbeat. So the ability to look at this one page strategic plan and say, should we respond to this disaster? Does it align with our, our strategy towards doubling revenue? Um It gives people a filter who are execute Urz and who are operational ist and leaders to look at and, and glance at and say, yeah, we need to lean into this opportunity and it means that we’re gonna have to stop doing these other things um temporarily or otherwise to get there. So, uh yeah, that’s a little bit about what’s captured in the one page strategic plan. It’s sort of the, what are we trying to do and how are we going to do it? And who are we targeting? And where should we focus our efforts?

[00:33:45.99] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two A week before the 2023 non profit technology conference. And already we’ve got a dozen interviews booked. Who I’ll be talking to conference presenters about. Oh, like data driven storytelling with Julia Campbell, inclusive culture on your board. Oh, using your voice to lead quiet, quitting. Perhaps personalized fundraising at scale. You might see these and lots of other shows are coming up in the months ahead. If you are at the nonprofit technology conference swing by booth for 24, I’ll be there talking to all these future smart guests along with heller consulting our 23 NTC sponsor. Thank you again. Team Heller for sponsoring. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got Boo Koo, but loads more time for the high growth non profit with Matt Scott.

[00:33:55.02] spk_1:
You talk about intentional discoveries,

[00:33:58.21] spk_0:
these sort of internal

[00:33:59.86] spk_1:
interviews that are, that are valuable, explain what that’s all about.

[00:35:50.48] spk_2:
Yeah, for this, I’ll use an example when we were working with Mercy Corps, uh non profit large established organization. Uh They provide humanitarian services across the world in over 100 countries and some of the most difficult places and their fundraising and marketing team is about 65 people. So big department within that, they got lots of senior leaders and we were helping their, their fourth C D M O and four years get the team aligned. So she was relatively new in the seat. And so what we encourage is to do stakeholder interviews with each person. In, in her case, she had within the department, there was about 12 directors just in the department, senior leaders for her. Um and it was about interviewing each of them and figuring out, hey, what’s working, what’s not, what’s confusing, what’s missing, you see that kind of common theme and gathering all this input from your team on the regular revisiting it with them once a year is really effective because it allows you as a leader to do the stakeholder interviews, even though you already work there, you already know who those people are and what they face. Well, chances are by just slowing down, taking a pause and actually having a conversation with your team. You know, if you’re, if you’re truly doubling. If, if you, when you, when you grow revenue by 25%, of your systems will break, that’s been our experience. So by pausing and slowing down and doing interviews with the various stakeholders on your team and understanding what’s working, what’s not, what’s missing, what’s confusing. You can begin to prioritize where your clarity needs to, where you need to provide more clarity where things need to be re prioritized, where, where you need to address problems that are popping up, that are new problems that you weren’t expecting because you just moved to a different phase of growth.

[00:36:12.43] spk_1:
That that’s a whole nother good topic because if you’re experiencing this rapid growth or you’re, you’re in the midst, yeah, you’re in the midst of it. Prioritization is key.

[00:38:06.72] spk_2:
Mhm Yeah. And that’s actually you talked about what is something else I want to talk about in the book. It’s uh something we found really useful is um is Larry Griner is a, is a researcher who years ago, uh you know, wrote an article in HBR about the evolutions and revolutions of organizational growth, growth. And how as you move through the stages of growth, the inevitable crisis, crisis is that come up as you move, the pain that you’re going to experience the solutions that you put in place to address that phase of growth is inevitably going to lead to crisis in the next phase of growth. And so we used to pass out the original article and it was very much written from a for profit lens. But yeah, sorry Harvard Business Review. Yeah. And uh we just received so much positive feedback from, from clients that were taking through our rapid growth program, which is this transformational process um that were like we need to rewrite this for nonprofit specific audience because there’s some uniqueness to that, like it’s particularly resource constrained, you know. So we did that. And it’s one of the chapters in the book, I talk about like the various phases of growth and the five different ones and how as you move through them, you’re gonna inevitably come up with new challenges. But that’s how I think those, those two questions for the two topics we just talked about come together. It’s like by doing those interviews, re checking in with your team frequently as you move through the phases, you’re going to be able to um see more clearly from their lens from their vantage point when things are breaking. And when the solutions that you put in place, when you are moving from an entrepreneurial environment to one where you have decisive leadership is inevitably going to lead towards like a sense of I need autonomy. I’m being told what to do too much, you know. So you have to check in with your team regularly as you move through the phases of growth.

[00:38:18.85] spk_1:
That’s like you had a lot of autonomy at Rubicon.

[00:39:32.20] spk_2:
We, we did until I didn’t. And so it’s funny because Jake is a friend of mine still. And one day we were talking about, you know, we were both sharing with each other. How long do you think you’re gonna stay? Um And uh for me, it was, became so clear, I was like my identity, I am a builder and a doer. I am not a maintainer. And so as soon as my job becomes more and more narrow and it becomes more when to maintain state status as opposed to like what we’ve just gone through for the last seven years. That’s gonna be the moment when I when it’s time for me to uh yeah, to move into the gray shirt as a volunteer as opposed to a staff member role. Um And so yeah, I think that’s that, that was my own experience in my own journey and in evaluating when it was time for, for me to, to kind of move on. But I was given a lot of autonomy and then it started to get rained in, you know, um because it had to, we started have department budgets and processes and, and I was like, yeah, this is necessary and this is not for me. Yeah,

[00:39:43.60] spk_1:
let’s talk a little about hiring, you say higher when it hurts but, but you need to have a couple of things in place before you before you do something that sounds reckless. So what, what, what’s, what’s higher when it hurts.

[00:40:26.97] spk_2:
Yeah, this is some advice that I was given by, uh, now the chief operating officer at a major Humane society, but came from a consulting background when he and I were talking about me building this consulting practice and I thought about it was like, gosh, that is so on point. Even when I’m at a nonprofit, right, you always feel like you want to put more bodies in place, right? Like if we only had more people, we could achieve more. Um And we were talking about it from a, a cash flow perspective. Don’t go hog crazy on hiring too many folks because you don’t wanna have to lay people off if, if you, you know, if it’s a temporary need, you need to evaluate when, when you need to hire. So I’ll share this because I think it’s so valuable for, for folks who’ve made it this far into the, into the podcast episode,

[00:40:41.42] spk_1:
but nonprofit radio listeners are not dropping off. Okay. Good,

[00:40:46.11] spk_2:
good with

[00:40:47.23] spk_1:
us till the end. I’m sure of it. Especially talking about, about high growth.

[00:44:29.39] spk_2:
Okay. So yeah, help us be the best, best selling book in the free book category by making it this far. Um So World Bicycle Relief, I, I share this story. This is one of our clients and uh and they there you really unique because they’re not just a nonprofit, but they’re also a social impact business. So they ask for financial donations, but they also sell a Buffalo bicycle to communities in countries across across the world. And they do this to help provide education and access to health care and jobs. Um And let’s just take in, in certain parts of Africa, like the terrain and the infrastructure in Kenya is really different than that of Colombia, but they operate in both places. And so their marketing team is stretched really thin because they’re not just serving the donor audience, but they’re also trying to serve the various social impact audiences in different countries and produce materials that will help those social businesses and entrepreneurs that they’ve set up in country to sell these bicycles to service these bicycles. And so they’re stretched really thin, right? And naturally you just want to go to, I need a higher. But what we did first with them is we gather their marketing team and we said we want to show you how to think like an internal agency, how to think like a marketing firm internally within your organization. So this tip is something that I think nobody, most nonprofits don’t even think about, don’t say nobody but I haven’t come across any yet. So one of the things we do at at cosmic and this is common practice in any agency or consultancy is you think about your time as billable and non billable and billable time is essentially time that we spend building to clients but as an internal agency, it’s things like writing coffee, uh building out workflows, um merging contact records, whatever all these different things. Non billable time is not bad time. It’s things like professional development, it’s things like paid time off, it’s admin time going to staff meetings, getting a line, things like that. And so what we told we we shared is like you need to actually evaluate where all of the time is being spent as an internal stakeholder and determine your billable time divided by your total time gives you what’s called a utilization ratio. And so at cosmic, you know, our team of 16 Served 28 clients last year. And we have, we have currently over 65 work streams going on that are across all these different clients. And how in the world does that few of people do that much work? And the reality is we are very meticulous about understanding how much time it takes to do. Uh If we get asked to create an annual report or build a landing page or build a workflow, we need to understand how much time it takes for the project manager, the content strategist, copyright of the designer, right? And so we taught this to world Bicycle Relief’s marketing team to actually keep track of your time and to set targets for billable versus non billable. And what they found was where they were spending time and where they weren’t spending time. And then when they got request from the major gift officer for a one off, uh, you know, uh, one pager, they were able to evaluate how much time that was going to take and the impact that it was going to have and they could then prioritize their work through their backlog in a way that they had never thought to do before. So that’s an example of like going back to higher when it hurts. Chances are it hurts right? You’re stretched, then there’s more to do than time to do it before hiring, stop and take stock of where you’re actually spending time and what can go and what needs to stay. And only when it really is like your team is running hot and consistently running hot. And if you look ahead and you’re saying, gosh, we’re having to turn down high impact work because we don’t have the capacity to do it. That’s when you should hire. But you don’t really know that unless you’re actually keeping track of your time,

[00:45:02.59] spk_1:
did you think of something that you want to talk about? That? We haven’t yet.

[00:45:07.27] spk_2:
Yeah, something else I would like to share. Uh

[00:45:10.25] spk_1:
Alright, success. The only author I can, the only author I can remember who doesn’t know what he doesn’t have more to share their overwhelmed because there’s so much value in the book you don’t know what to choose from.

[00:45:49.76] spk_2:
Oh, that’s, that’s kind I, yes. Well, I, I will share, I’m very grateful to, to be on, on your show again. And the work that you’re doing to support the community, I think we’re aligned there. You know, you’re giving away this podcast constantly for free. And I know how much work it is to produce content. So I uh I appreciate you having us on and I really hope that people find this book to be useful. And I guess I would share, please provide feedback because success is not final. And if there’s elements in the book that you’re like, that didn’t land or we wanted more of this, um That’s the only way we know, right? Like what episodes you should, you should make a nonprofit radio or, or what chapters should make it into the next book.

[00:46:30.92] spk_1:
Alright. Alright. Challenge. The listener’s, you’re getting it for free, so give feedback. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to end yet though. There’s a couple of things that we still want to talk about. We um you talk about a rapid growth plan and there are three parts of it. We’ve talked about the first two, we talked about the one page strategic plan. Uh You talked about your, the project backlog, right? Which becomes these, these ideas to execute the one page strategic plan. That’s your does your projects and impact versus as you, as you described, just reminding folks impact versus resources that need to be allocated to that.

[00:48:09.36] spk_2:
Yep. And then the third, the third part the third part is, well, a plan is great and prioritization is great, but we have to measure how effective this thing is, right? So we develop a simple KPI tracker, key performance indicator tracker to measure the success of the plan. And so I’ll just use an example what might show up on a KPI tracker. So let’s say, let’s say you’re your donor base is aging and your file strength, your retention rate is good, but folks are getting older and so you need to acquire more new donors, right? Um Okay, how are you going to do that? Let’s say you turn towards maths market fundraising audience to get there. Uh There’s two things you need to do. One, you need to think about your plan giving approach and two you need to think about because that’s where the strength of your file is and to you got to acquire new supporters. So what KPI S matter? Well, we find with online giving that it comes down to website traffic conversion rate and average gift amount. If you can get more people to your website and more of those people give and they give more money, then you’re gonna raise a lot more money online right? Then when you think about, okay, well, what’s that retention rate look like? How many of our supporters are moving from one time to monthly? Um What’s that upgrade look like? And retention rate looks like? Um So those are all these KPI. So for when you go back to the one Patriot eg plan, you think about, well, what were our house, maybe one of your houses? We’re gonna build a robust legacy giving program. Which, which tony I know, you know more about than I do. So I don’t, what do you think are the KPI S that people should measure when they’re thinking about building out Planned Giving program?

[00:49:10.00] spk_1:
Oh, well, first of all, you’re not going to acquire new donors through planned giving, but some of the, some of the key metrics, uh how many conversations you’ve opened about, about the topic, how many solicitations you’ve actually gotten to um might be just how many meetings you’ve had around this topic, which is different than the conversation. You know, you may not have quite opened the conversation but you had a meeting to, to suss out the possibility. So, you know, those are so there’s three like number of meetings, number of conversations opened, number of solicitations made, of course, number of commitments. Yeah, donors are willing to make. So there’s, there’s four early

[00:50:50.10] spk_2:
ones. Yeah, exactly. And so the, the KPI has to match up to whatever your strategy is and it basically needs to, it needs to be I think of KPI S as both leading, there’s leading indicators and then there’s trailing indicators. So the leading indicators you described are like how many conversations, you know, we’re open. Uh meetings have, would be a very early leading indicator. And then how many, you know, conversation now you’re starting to get a little bit further, the trailing indicators. Um You know, you start to evaluate at different phases. Like are we gonna hit our goal? Is this strategy working or is it not working? Does it need to be adjusted? So the idea is that together those three things and by the way, throughout the book, I hope it becomes clear, but I’ll just share my own personal experiences when in doubt, make it as simple as possible. Create KPI S. They’re easily trackable that you don’t have to spend a lot of time going into a lot of different systems. Get this data. You want to be thinking about how do I make this as easy as possible? I don’t need to spend any time describing what it means when we say website traffic or conversion rate or average gift amount. We don’t have to describe what it means, like number of laps donors or whatever. Um And you just want to have your system set up so that your KPI dashboard you can regularly look at and not have to spend a lot of time building out. People think like, oh, data driven and you know, people, people want want a Ferrari when what they need is a Kia, you know, and they don’t even have a pit crew to like help them racist formula one car around the track, like find the Kia. Find the Kia that’s, that’s, I guess my metaphor advice on that,

[00:51:12.56] spk_1:
that’s the rapid growth plan and, and the one I do want to close on know your strength, that I know your strength chapter. Do you know your strength?

[00:53:47.17] spk_2:
Yeah, I think that this, this rings true both on an individual and an organizational level, right? Um And where is it that, that you are uniquely positioned to drive impact like nobody else can. Um I mean, you know, how, how it is, I think about like organizations that come to us and they think they’re the only ones solving the water crisis. You’re like, actually there’s a lot of people doing exactly what you’re doing. Um And I think it’s, I think it’s just really important to have a clear idea of, you know, what problem are we uniquely positioned to solve in a way that is unique to our culture? So I’ll use, I’ll go back to team Rubicon as an example to drive this home because we talked a lot about it. Um When you think about disaster response, there is response, the immediate response. Uh Well, there, there’s, there’s like preparedness, you know, readiness is the community ready for disaster. Then there’s the actual like response to the disaster and then there’s a long term recovery, right? And Team Rubicon, when we first got started, our strength was really in the response because we were able to pull from the military culture to very quickly respond. We didn’t have a lot of bureaucracy. We didn’t have a lot of red tape. Um, but it was really challenging to get into the recovery business in the early days by business. I just mean, the business of serving folks affected by disaster, not making money on recovery, but like, you know, that’s a different, that was a different organizations strength. That’s a different skill set to be able to build out rebuild communities affected by disaster re roof homes. And all that team Rubicon really didn’t get involved in that for a really long time in their trajectory. And it wasn’t until they had clearly uh they had leaned into their strengths on the response side and they had really figured out what worked and then they thought, okay, how, what worked in there that could work with, with how we would go about the recovery and how does that compare to someone like the Red Cross and how they approach the rebuild effort? Um So knowing your strengths and knowing your sector is super important. It’s like, what do you, what’s that North Star? What are you trying to achieve? What’s your cultural principles? What, what makes you uniquely good at what you do and lean into that relentlessly and stay focused on that and don’t try to become the latest thing in every category. Um I guess is what I would say at a, at a high level. Um Is there something that stood out to you in that chapter. Tony that I didn’t talk about their,

[00:54:16.97] spk_1:
no just identifying and leveraging what you’re strong at instead of trying to go broader. You know, some people and some organizations may try to improve weaknesses rather than double down on their strengths.

[00:55:24.82] spk_2:
Yeah, people do this all the time, right? Like that’s a good point. I’ll share one more thing and I know like more and more and more. I am really comfortable with the visionary role. Like I love starting things. I don’t particularly enjoy finishing them nor does my team like it when I tried to finish things because I’m not very good at that. It’s really hard for me. It’s a hard muscle to kind of push through. But I have like found Bobby, my operational partner. She’s the magic at 10,000 ft. She connects the executioners with the 30,000 ft vision and makes project plans and makes sense of things and loves finishing projects, not starting them. So knowing your individual strength as a leader to and figuring out like, am I more comfortable in futuristic vision planning? Um or am I more comfortable in operational izing things and figuring out what you need as an operational partner? Because really nobody has it all like you just don’t and you might be able to flex when you absolutely have to. But your best flex is going to be their worst, just standard operating procedure because that’s their strength right. So I found that we’ve been able to grow a lot faster in clients to like we, we work with a lot of clients that are C E O s that don’t have operational partners or sometimes they get in the way. And it’s like knowing when you should stop and when you’re, when the operational ist should pick up is really an important thing to distinguish

[00:55:57.57] spk_1:
Matt Scott. The book is the high growth non profit Proven steps to quickly double your revenue and drive impact. It’s at cosmic which is cause C A U

[00:56:00.65] spk_0:
S E M I C cosmic

[00:56:09.47] spk_1:
dot com slash book and it is free to you, including the shipping, shipping, shipping is covered. Matt. Thank you very much. Thank congratulations again on the book. Thank you for sharing your thinking.

[00:56:17.16] spk_2:
Yeah. Thank you, Tony. I really appreciate

[00:56:19.24] spk_1:
you. My pleasure.

[00:57:09.85] spk_0:
Next week, I’ll bring the 1st 23 NTC interview and they’re all gonna be excellent. I’ll just pick one. That’s extra excellent. Yeah, extra excellent. Exactly. Next week’s show is gonna be extra excellent. Just like I said, if you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We are sponsored by donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows. Social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy And this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that information, Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. Go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for November 8, 2021: Strategic Plan. Done. Now Pay For It.

My Guest:

Sherry Quam Taylor: Strategic Plan. Done. Now Pay For It.

It’s a common challenge. The strategic plan is ambitious, but there’s not enough revenue to fund all the future excitement. Sherry Quam Taylor returns to get to the root problems that are holding your nonprofit back from full revenue potential. She’s CEO of Quam Taylor, LLC.




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[00:00:02.84] spk_2:

[00:01:43.74] spk_1:
and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer the effects of tinnitus if I had to hear that you missed this week’s show. Strategic plan done now pay for it. It’s a common challenge. The strategic plan is ambitious, but there’s not enough revenue to fund all the future excitement. Sherry, Kwame Taylor returns to get to the root problems that are holding your nonprofit back from full revenue potential. She’s Ceo of KWAme Taylor LLC. I’m Tony’s take to holiday time off. We’re sponsored by turn to communications. Pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o What a pleasure to welcome Sherri Kwame Taylor back to nonprofit radio She’s Ceo of KWAme Taylor LLC. She works with nonprofit ceos and boards are struggling to secure the unrestricted revenue needed to fulfill the dreams in their strategic plans. Sure. He helps them reimagine their entire approach to revenue generation and reveals how they can break free from the limitations of traditional fundraising. Our consulting practice is at KWAme taylor dot com Sherry. Welcome back to nonprofit radio

[00:01:46.14] spk_0:
tony How are you? I’m well, good. Thanks for having Yeah, Thanks for having me. I was excited to see this pop up on my calendar today.

[00:01:54.80] spk_1:
You weren’t planning for

[00:01:56.77] spk_0:
it for a week. I mean, yeah. As I worked all weekend long for my, for my content. Yes.

[00:02:01.75] spk_1:
You’ve been struggling at it, not struggling but you’ve been working on for weeks. Right?

[00:02:05.64] spk_0:
Yes, I’m so nervous.

[00:02:21.44] spk_1:
All right. So, so I outlined the problem in the introduction. But before we get to those root problems shouldn’t funding be a part of the strategic plan? So that the plan and its financing are considered together and not separately, ideally.

[00:03:27.14] spk_0:
You’re speaking my language already tony Yeah, it really should. But the problem is so many organizations come to me with a strategic plan that has all these amazing ideas, amazing next steps, you know, growing their programs and mission. But the strategic initiative kind of says we need more money or more major gifts or we should do more of these things. And so it actually, I find that it’s addressing more of the symptoms of an organization’s, who’s funding has maybe plateaus or maybe they just kind of raised the same amount of money every year. But oftentimes the funding problem and more times than not, it’s actually fixed at the root. And so yes, it should be included in there. And yes, it always is. But so often, uh, you know, I have a client now who, who’s brought me their strategic plan, it’s like we had this big growth, uh, initiative and like we just aren’t hitting it. And so the how do we do that is usually missing in the strategic plan.

[00:03:59.54] spk_1:
Okay, so all right. So if it’s addressed, it’s addressed little superficially. We’re not, we’re not we’re not getting to the root cause it’s kind of glossed over, we’ll increase our fundraising. Well, maybe maybe they identify a couple of initiatives, but you’re saying right, they’re not getting to the root problem. And so they’ve got this wonderful plan and a lot of excitement around it for the next 3-5 years but they’re not hitting their revenue targets, that they need to realize the true excitement of the, of the, of the outcomes.

[00:05:43.14] spk_0:
Absolutely. And so it’s a lot of, you know, more and more corporate sponsorships, more grants, more events, more appeals. Some of those are good things like don’t hear me say they aren’t, but we have to remember also, typically the board or leadership whose having a great amount of input in the strategic plan. They’re usually expert to something else. You know, they aren’t strategic fundraisers. Um, so, so they’re doing their absolute best. So sometimes we have to get the voice of outsiders. I know you would agree with me to come in and say, actually that’s not how that problem gets fixed. And so I so it’s a this is really, you know, the strategic plan, which is what we’re talking about today is is one part of it. And the kind of the cousin comment I would say coming to me and it’s really ties to this is um, you know, we have this budget, we want to grow the budget, but we’re always in the red were never raising enough. And so there’s this disconnect that, you know, frankly, I study and watched so closely in my practice and I’ve just really been able to see quickly, you know, what is the sticking point? Why is your funding platt Toad? Why is it another year in the red? And so we’re going to talk about these, these symptoms versus root cause because, uh, you know, my strongest clients these last few years have been the ones who said We’re kind of not going back to doing what we were doing pre 2020. We’re actually going to push ahead and, and, and do things differently. Run our businesses differently, solve the problem at the root so that we actually can have greater impact, which, gosh, I’m so thankful they’re doing that because there’s never been a time we’ve needed them more.

[00:06:20.94] spk_1:
Yeah, it’s always right. It’s always, it’s always the truth. I mean, it’s always the case. You know, always the case, especially with the pandemic, but beyond the pandemic, nonprofits take on causes and missions and goals that, that individuals can’t do that. Government isn’t suited for that. The corporate sector isn’t going to take on. In fact, a lot of times the corporate sector is antithetical to the, to the goals. Um, but non profits, you know, our, our, that sector is ideally suited for work of all different types and, and raising money to do it, but they’re not raising sufficient money. Um, so essentially, you know, you’re saying, you know, you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different outcomes.

[00:06:37.16] spk_0:
Yeah, I guess that’s

[00:06:40.04] spk_1:
it. I can get real problems.

[00:08:22.14] spk_0:
Yeah, I think that’s a great way to phrase that it’s, you know, in some of these symptoms of, of perhaps we’ve been kind of trying to do the same thing or, or trying to do more unless, right. Um, you know, a lot of these symptoms are our cash flows too tight because maybe our strategy is, yeah, we need more money, but it’s too restricted. Or maybe then if we’re not bringing in enough restrictive cash, were unable to grow the reserve, were unable to grand grow our endowment. Um, you know, the other thing we’re gonna talk a little bit about today is that never being able to justify overhead spend, Right? Like if I hear that, it’s like, I know fundraising situation that we need to fix so I want here, here’s what I’ll tell you. I asked on a weapon or I think it was last mid last week, I started with a question and frankly it probably sounded like a bit of a silly question on the webinar and what I asked was, do you need more money, does your nonprofit need more money now? I knew the answer to that, right? But typically it’s like, yeah, we need more money. That’s what our strategic plan says, but rarely does an organization just need more money. They need flexible money. They need unrestricted money to accomplish the things the initiatives that growth in their strategic plan. You’ve got to have money for overhead. And I find that that’s why a lot of times we can never fund the strategic plan is stated because we aren’t fundraising for unrestricted cash from a single source says you’re makers, meaning I can pick up the phone and talk to chris he crested sherry from, you know, and and those gifts are not from people who truly understand the need and actually want to give to every year. And that’s a very specific types of type of fundraising. We’ll unpack that today. But, but so often I’m finding that we’re not doing the fundraising things that are actually attracting those donors.

[00:09:02.04] spk_1:
All right. So let’s get to some of these root root problems. What, what, what, what can we talk about? What you just mentioned? We’re not attracting the right donors. You know, you’re concerned about attracting the right people. Talking to them about the right things about the true needs for overhead for endowment for growth. I should ask you where do you want to start with these root causes?

[00:10:15.84] spk_0:
Let’s start here. I’m going to address that once. Third, because here’s the thing. We always start with the fundraising issues, right? But that’s that’s actually like step three or four over here. So the biggest thing I want to talk about one of the most fun things, I guess I should say that I love talking about is this concept and frankly tony I wish I coined the phrase, but I didn’t, but it’s irrational frugality. I love that phrase, you know, I suffer from it rational frugality. And, and what I mean by that is, um, we have to start being comfortable if we’re gonna solve frankly some of the world’s and nations and states and communities most pressing issues we have to really ask ourselves, are we making $1,000 decisions and expecting giant results? Or are we making $10,000 decisions? $100,000 decisions? And so it costs money to raise money. We need to be spending more on overhead so that we can put more gasoline in the engine to raise more money for programs. And so often I see the handcuffs on organizations when we’re trying to make these big growth initiatives, but we haven’t taken the time to actually look at what does the spend need to be for us to actually reach those initiatives.

[00:10:29.84] spk_1:
Well, let’s let’s let’s let’s dispel the myth that overhead is bad because you’re talking about overhead, like investing in people you want to do more. Absolutely want to do more fundraising. You might very well need more fundraisers. Absolutely. That’s salary and benefits and other forms of compensation. So let’s get rid of this concern that overhead is bad,

[00:12:16.74] spk_0:
right? And so I hear you, you know, I kind of sometimes make these statements like, I’m not talking about scarcity anymore. We’re beyond that, you know, are sectors beyond that. But I gotta tell you it’s, it’s kind of playing out. I think in a different version or a greater version and this is what, you know, all size organizations. Uh, I think we’re seeing part of that in this great resignation. I know we could have a whole whole discussion today about that. But um, the, if you saw my actually, if you saw my screen right now on my computer, you know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an ORC chart looking five years out and it’s saying what is the spend we have to make, you know, parole to actually be raising the money. That’s in your strategic plan. What is the true math? And so it’s so often you’re so right comes in the, in the package of I’m expecting my one development director to be all, all of revenue, all of marketing, all of communications. Oh, and because you also do, you know, social media and so so often, I mean, I’m gonna be really frank here. So often the reason our strategic plans are not being funded or not, we’re not able to fund them is because that person is wearing, you know, the hats of four staff people. And so I know it feels like an investment. I know that spend feels scary, but when you run the numbers and then you have the right person on the bus. You make so much more money if you have to be comfortable with spending and investing in your organization to actually make those leaps and bounds that you want to.

[00:12:25.24] spk_1:
Alright, right person on the bus. You’re talking about the ceo are you talking about donors?

[00:13:44.04] spk_0:
Uh, in that context, I was talking about staff members, I was talking about, um, you know, oftentimes what we find and this is also why I love, you know, the sector that we work in. Maybe it’s a program person who, you know, was really great with the foundations when they were coming in. So now they found themselves over on the fundraising side and they’re awesome. It foundation grant request proposals, reporting maybe they’re good at planning an event, you know, good at telling the story of those that are impacted. But oftentimes they don’t have matric gift experience. They don’t know how to sit across the table with an investment level donor and lead them to an ASC secure their best gift. And so it’s the spend on the staff tony But I’d also say this great resignation, you know, buzz, we’re all talking about is also that, um, it’s the skills to equip the staff to do the things that actually attract the overhead monies that attract the flexible funding that attract unrestricted gifts that allow you to put gas in the engine. So there’s a disconnect on the skill set so often of who’s on the bus and, the types of fundraising an organization needs to be doing.

[00:15:29.04] spk_1:
All right. So, you know, we need to be honest with ourselves. Our boards are donors about what, what are true need is fund this ambitious strategic plan. And we’re deceiving ourselves if we’re thinking that the person that’s doing the, the marketing communications can now take on fundraising when we have, when we have an increased revenue plan because of the strategic plan. It’s just not, it’s not fair to the person. It’s not fair to the organization. It’s not fair to the cause that you’re, that you’re working toward your just not being honest with any of those things or any of those, any of those entities, people or, or the, or the cause itself, it’s time for a break. Turned to communications content creation. Do you need something written for you? Have you been thinking about a project that is gonna take hours? You just haven’t gotten to it. But it’s going to be valuable when it gets done. Turn to can help you. Like, I’m thinking white papers, research, case studies, They can write that stuff for you. They can learn about what it is you want to say, get to understand your work, your mission, even your values and incorporate that into the piece or the series that they do for you. So if you’ve got this big backburner project has been on your to do list and it involves writing turn to, can help you turn to communications because your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o

[00:16:01.54] spk_0:
the second underlying root cause which you’ve so so nicely led me right into um, frankly would be this budget element, right? Like, uh, like you said, we have to be honest with ourselves of what the true need is and and not, well, let’s, let’s just budget and squeak by neck If we make more money, it’s gonna be great. But we actually need to have a plan of how would you fully finance your organization?

[00:16:02.67] spk_1:
Right. What does full financing look

[00:16:04.27] spk_0:
like? What it actually

[00:16:27.64] spk_1:
doesn’t look like? You know, a five or 8% increase in fundraising from, from the previous year that you could reasonably expect that one person to get. You know, it probably looks like something much much larger than that, which that one person just isn’t capable of doing so take off the shackles. Stop being, stop deceiving yourself and all those other entities that I named and the cause itself and and right. All

[00:16:32.03] spk_0:
right. Look, I love that you’re up on on my soapbox with you Tony to the funding. Well, because

[00:16:37.81] spk_1:
it’s deception. You know, you’re you’re you’re lying to yourself and and everybody else was important around you and to the cause that you’re that you’re working time self

[00:18:53.14] spk_0:
can I say something about this budgeting thing. I can’t because I love talking budgeting, which always surprises people when it’s like wait, I thought she was the fundraising person Like I am, but we gotta, that’s over here until you’re honest with yourself and you’ve actually created a true need space budget Not this week by right where you can sit down with someone and say, can I share with you? What are $3.6 million dollars need? Looks like this year. Honestly, even though maybe the board approved is a 3.4, but you know, you need a little bit more in reserve and you know, cash flow is tight. And you know, you know, you, you have some growth initiatives coming down the pipeline until you can honestly sit and say and explain to them. I’m talking top of the pyramid, right? The top, top level donors until you can explain to them what the true need is then and only then can your team, your fundraising team actually put a plan in place to hit that 3.6 in my, in my example. So so often people come to me, I mean I’d say more than not with their budgets. I always ask for the profit loss statement and it will say, well, yeah, we have a $5 million need In the income on that same budget will say 4.2. I don’t, I don’t know how we’re going to do it. Right. So you we have to have the plan to fully finance to fully balance The expense and the revenue. And I find that we spend 90% of our time and I’m going to talk on board a little bit here too. We’re spending 90% of our time approving the expenses and nit picking all the stamps and that we couldn’t ever do that. You know, our percentages scary, scary, scary. We’re not spending enough time on literally understanding what we need to be doing month by month. That actually reaches that number and then all of us leadership staff board aligning every hour. We do spend fundraising on those activities that gets you off the spin cycle that gets you onto the things that you need to start doing. So you can start securing more unrestricted cash and invest as flexibly as you need to into your strategic plan.

[00:19:06.44] spk_1:
Investment level. Yeah.

[00:19:08.32] spk_0:
Investment level.

[00:19:19.54] spk_1:
Let’s talk about another root issue, which is you, you, you just started to scratch at it not having investment level conversations with donors. Yeah, let’s let’s let’s let’s let’s just shout out what is one of those conversations look like? Who are we talking to?

[00:22:59.44] spk_0:
Sure, sure. So, you know, this is all about, I suppose the easiest way to say this is, this is about donor segmentation, right? And, and we’re busy. You know, we just said, we’re wearing, you know, 62 hats when we shouldn’t be. But so often I find that we are still approaching donors as a one size fits all. You know, the, my, my methodology, you’ve heard me say this many times tony when you had me on a number of different opportunities to to chat with you, I want everybody giving their best gift to the organization and I want them giving that gift every year. And so if $25 is that person’s best gift, that is remarkable and amazing and I want to serve them as such. But if someone’s giving you $25 and you see their name, you know, on an annual report or you’ve done some sleuth Google searching, it’s like, Oh my gosh, they’re giving $25,000 down the road. Well, we have some work to do. And so, so much of my work is helping teams understand what that investment level conversation looks like. And so I find so many people avoiding it because they’re so worried are we going to do it wrong? Um, you know, I don’t want to be that pushy salesperson, right? I don’t want to be begging or B B that used car salesman. But here’s the thing, you have to be able to sit down and share your plans, your strategic plan. You have to be able to share how you’re going to achieve those initiatives. And most of all you have to be able to articulate the financial need the organization has and way too often the development staff, maybe they don’t have access to it. Or perhaps they don’t understand it. They are not privy to All the numbers, we just walked through. And so I want my fundraisers if somebody has the ability to write 25 500K. I want them sitting down. Of course we’re telling stories. Of course we’re doing all the traditional, you know, helping them understand the crisis, all those things. But the one thing that major donors are dying to hear is about that, what I asked earlier, do you need the money? So I want you sitting down saying, can I share with you our our $3.6 million dollars need this year. Can you share with you? How we’re growing? But I share with you how we’re funded. Uh you know, I can share with you what your gift has done in the last few years and to sit at that table and know the answers to the financial questions that we really, really, really hope that they don’t ask in that meeting. What am I asking? Because those questions are actually indicators of what’s going to keep them from giving their best gift to your mission. And so when I see investment level conversation, I want one on one. You know, that looks like a lot like zoom still these days. Right? I want exclusive information. I want stakeholder language because why? These are people who have also probably business owners and entrepreneurs in the community. These are people who have also had to sit down and ask for investments. They had to sit down and answer the tough questions. So sit down and have that businessperson to businessperson conversation with them so that they really understand what a gift to your mission can do. And so often we default to, well let’s just send them the appeal. Let’s have the event. And I gotta tell you they’re not giving their best gift in those reaction, all types of ways.

[00:23:02.64] spk_1:
Let’s talk a little about a little bit of a tangent or something you just

[00:23:05.68] spk_0:
mentioned. Love a tangent.

[00:23:15.74] spk_1:
Uh, peer to peer soliciting. So maybe this doesn’t, this may not. This is a tangent from the root issues. We’ll get back to the root issues, but you want fundraisers to be talking to the, to their donors as peers say, say, say more about what we shouldn’t be doing and what we

[00:25:14.94] spk_0:
should. Yeah. This, this concept was taught to me by, by my coach and she, she had heard it from a Deborah Tannin who’s a researcher. And so it’s really this concept of um, knowing that the best version of yourself showing up in that donor meeting, it’s just you, you know what I mean by that is not some version of you who thinks they need to show up slick and I’m the fundraising sherry, not that person. It’s just, it’s just you. So when I say peer to peer mindset, I’m doing this on, on equal playing grounds here. Um, it’s really staying in that like, you know, tony Like when we have a conversation like, hey Tony, how’s it going? How’s your weekend really staying in that zone? Um, of course you’re being professional about it, but not turning into the, like I’ve got to get through all my stuff and I’ve got to get them to understand why they should give us the money. And you know, kind of, it almost turns into that, that pushy feeling, right? And that comes out of our mouth. The flip side of that is that, oh gosh, I don’t want to, I don’t know. I think it’s been too soon. I don’t want to appear like I’m begging. And so then our tone turns to, well, I don’t know if you could do it or I don’t know if you would do it. But I wondered if none of those tones that you heard give that donor confidence, you know exactly what you’re gonna do with that gift. And you can’t wait to come back and tell them how their gift has impacted lives and you are offering an amazing opportunity to them today. And so when we stay in this more neutral zone, uh, and I try to do with my own business too, right? Um, that’s when we build the best relationships and that’s when we have trusted relationships and we actually deeply know our donors, We haven’t forced it. That’s when you’re going to secure the best gifts for your organization’s because there’s a deep, deep relationship that’s been built. But too often tony we get in the way of that in our mindset and our, you know, all these, all these crazy things that come to play and in sales and fundraising often get get in the way. So there’s tons of mindset work.

[00:26:05.04] spk_1:
Alright, good. Thank you for that. I wanted I want to focus to understand what you’re thinking is there because there is there’s too much humility and uh huh um, confidence. So all right, let’s go. All right. So let’s go back to our, our root issues. So like we talked about, you know, being honest in investment level, growth planning, being invested. Being honest about what that looks like having these investment level conversations with your, your major donors. What’s another root issue to our failure to be able to fund our strategic

[00:27:03.84] spk_0:
plan, Good time. Right onto that. So then it’s that financing plan and I’ve alluded to this. But what I really mean by that is is everybody on the team aligning their hours with dollars. Right? And so I don’t, I don’t want to miss that because that is a huge part of what I do, helping organizations see what they need to stop doing So they can start doing more strategic fundraising. So in that, what do I mean by that? Well, um, in my, in my world, uh, I want your top 30 donors yielding between 50 and 75% of your overall revenue. And I want those gifts to be unrestricted, that’s where we’re pointing the compass compass. And so our time and our budget must be aligned with that on there, on the expense side, on the revenue side. Okay. And so therefore when,

[00:27:12.74] spk_1:
but I love even when you define what our goal is. Okay, so top 30 donors Funding 50-70% of annual revenue on an unrestricted basis,

[00:27:18.10] spk_0:
50-75%. And I,

[00:27:20.35] spk_1:
Oh yeah, you’re good, you’re good 70%. So now we’ve got something to focus on. So now you’re gonna help us align our time with that goal,

[00:27:52.94] spk_0:
right? And that number feels really scary for some people. You know, it’s like, wait, we don’t we don’t have those people, we don’t have major donors. But it’s equally, it’s equally a math equation as opposed to a random mindset I should say because then we say, well we need to be then spending our time on attracting those donors tony A lot of people come to me and say, how do I find major donors? How do I find people who would, who would give us larger

[00:27:59.73] spk_1:

[00:30:26.14] spk_0:
I’m of the school of Are you doing the things that attract them? Are you having strategic level conversations with others who are among those donors? And saying this is what I’m looking for. We’re looking for people who are interested in this who have a passion for this and really are wanting to invest to changing X, Y and Z. Are you attracting donors? This shift from like finding to attract as it has been a game changer for a lot of my clients who, um, you know, there’s a lot of times that donors don’t understand you need the money. This is crazy because you’re like, well, we’re nonprofit. Who doesn’t understand we don’t need the money. But so often how we’re talking keeps donors from understanding we need the money. Right? And it might be, um, you know, it might be, oh gosh, I saw you. Uh, you know, wow, I’m on the Today Show or I saw that you got this giant, uh, you know, gift, I saw the press release or, or, um, it looks like you’re killing it over there, right? Because because maybe they’re seeing the results of maybe a government contract or, um, you know, all sorts of different things, but that’s why we have to be sitting and presenting the true need, um, and kind of making up that difference. But what I bring up the pyramid in the top 30 concept because so often when we, when we say, okay, Well this is our year strategic plans in place. We’re ready to grow. We default to a lot of the activities there in the bottom part of that pyramid, that bottom 25 percent. And again, I’ve been accused of saying like, you don’t like events and appeals and grant proposals. That’s not the truth. I love those things. But I don’t want them taking 100% of your team’s time? And I also don’t want them taking the board’s time. If your board member, if anyone is hearing this and has written a thing down, this is your thing to write down your, if your board member can give you one hour a month outside of the meetings on something, fashion it better be activities that are attracting the donors and the top part of the pyramid versus the bottom part. Right? Because we’ve got one hour of their time that’s extremely valuable information or it’s an asset to the organization. So we have to make sure we’re doing the things, um, that are leading our investment level donors to a deep understanding of our need. Then we got to ask him for the money. Sit and ask him for the money.

[00:31:13.84] spk_1:
I like this distinction finding versus attracting donors because finding sounds like you’re gonna walk up, you’re gonna stumble on them. Like I might find a beautiful shell on the, on the beach. I’ll find one. Uh, but, but what, what are you doing to attract these folks so that you don’t just stumble on them a couple of year, but you’re, you’re bringing them to the, to the organization. What more a little more about what the board can be doing in finding versus attracting or having these investment level conversations. Maybe some of the board members are the folks you’re having the conversations with aside from, aside from The board members who might be among your top 30 donors? What more can the board be doing to help with finding versus attracting and having these conversations with the right folks

[00:34:08.04] spk_0:
tony I kind of dialed up this conversation of, of roots and symptoms when I was preparing for a board training actually because who better on the team can have an influence on the organization’s comfort level with investing with spending with, with budgeting, uh, with fiduciary responsibility, who better than the board. Right? And so we have to, we have to make sure that they understand what the path is to the money and what the spend is to the money. And so so often I say, you know, I’ll ask the client or if we start working together, I’ll say, what’s the board’s involvement in budgeting as well. They, you kind of get it and approve it. And you know, I, I do reports every month, but that really means they’re looking at the expense and they actually don’t know how they will fully finance the organization, you know, hit a balanced budget or plus plus your reserve. You know, I always want to be cushioned with the reserve. They don’t know how we would fully finance organization and be, do not know what the team should be doing. And if they don’t know if the team should be doing, They don’t know what they should be doing. And so I want the board to deeply deeply understand that you just don’t need more money, but you need flexible money and then what are the things the board members should be doing that actually attracts those donors. And so often, I mean, you know, as you can imagine every, every board training I head into, it’s like don’t make me ask for money. So don’t make me, don’t make me sit and ask for money. I gotta tell you, I rarely have board members asked for money rarely for me. Board members. It’s introducing its networking. It’s educating, it’s connecting. It’s being open to saying, hey, I have been serving on the board of this amazing organization. They’re doing these, you know, before school literacy programs in our community. Are you ever interested in hearing about that? I mean, I’ve been astounded what that looks like. The bds. A rockstar. Could, could we set up a 15 minute coffee one of these mornings? You see, I stayed peer to peer right there. Do you see how it was? It’s not a script. Um, I would rather have all my board members doing that and then letting the equipped team lead that donor and serve that donor create a great donor experience for them. You know, of course the board member is going to be popping in maybe in thanking or popping in when, um, you know, there’s an opportunity to, to really cultivate, but, but we have to make sure that the board members are not spending all of our time on transactional fundraising events, appeals send me the name. Can you post this on facebook? I don’t want my board touching facebook like they can if they want, but I want them doing strategic activities that align their hours with dollars.

[00:37:07.93] spk_1:
It’s time for Tony’s take two holiday time off. Colin Powell died on October 18 and I saw on twitter someone I follow Glenn Kirshner, I was telling a story about what Colin Powell said to his employees at the state department when he was newly inaugurated because Glenn Kirshner used to repeat this to his team. So the story is that general Powell said If I come to your office at 6:30 PM and you are not at your desk I will consider you to be a wise person. Indeed. So thank you Glenn Kirshner, what’s Colin Powell saying he’s talking about work life balance. He doesn’t want folks in the office late all the more so holidays are coming up, take time, take time. I’m sure you’re gonna be with with folks right? But take time for yourself. Also take that holiday time to be with others and for yourself. Please don’t, don’t feel like I got to work that friday after. Thanksgiving how much is not going to get done if I don’t, if I don’t work that day, nobody’s gonna know two weeks later, it’s not going to matter. So please take take adequate time off. We’ve been under a lot of stress challenges For the past 18, 20 months, take time, please take time and, and nonprofit radio I’m going to do my part. No podcasts. You know, I don’t do shows between christmas and New Year’s. So plenty of time for holiday time off. Don’t even listen to podcasts. If they’re related to work at least you won’t have to listen to nonprofit radio I’m doing that much. I feel like I’m walking the walk however you do it. Please do it. Take sufficient time off around these holidays. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for strategic plan done now pay for it. When you say this, this alignment, does that mean? So if if we want 50-75% of our revenue to come from those top 30 donors, does that mean we should be spending 50 to 75% of the ceo Time on cultivating and soliciting these top 30 donors. Is that, is that the alignment you’re talking

[00:38:22.42] spk_0:
about? Somebody has to Tony. And I find that because the grant application, the event, the holiday appeal, those all have deadlines. We got to get the newsletter at the first month. Those all have deadlines. So I find that those way more than not take precedence over. You know, I really should be making, you know, doing some moves, management management on my top 30, top 50, top 100 donors. So if you’re not staffed accordingly, that time always gets pushed down. Right? Well, I’ll get to that tomorrow. I’ll get to it. And so it’s, it’s a discipline. I, you know, I always say if I, if I sold t shirts that say fundraising is discipline, it’s who is waking up in the morning and saying, what, what donors am I touching today? How am I serving them? Not in a slimy way. How are we getting? How we, how we educating them? How are we connecting them to the heart of our mission? How am I answering their questions for your men and major level donors? That is not accomplished through newsletter blasts through appeals through an annual report. They get in the mail through events.

[00:38:26.02] spk_1:
Yeah, it’s the one on 1.

[00:38:27.22] spk_0:
It’s the one on one. Yeah. And we’re avoiding that.

[00:39:06.62] spk_1:
I see that. I see that short shrift so often in planned giving because all those things you mentioned have they either have deadlines. If, if it’s, if it’s anything related to grants, uh, not only in terms of applying, but then reporting back when grants are successfully received and then, but, but everything else has a shorter, a shorter time span. You know, we gotta get the annual gifts in the fourth quarter. All right. So that we got, we got to get these, the major giving has to be, we gotta get these major gift conversations done. Everything is a is a quicker, a quicker, more, more imminent, more urgent need or deadline than planned giving you always get short

[00:39:14.59] spk_0:
shrift here. That to

[00:39:46.32] spk_1:
analogous to what you’re saying about having these donors, the strategic donor conversations. It’s easy to put them off because they’re not deadline oriented. Oh, I got, I got, you know, if you, if you want to be, if you wanna be a little cynical about it, I’ve got the excuse of this grant, this, this grant report to do by thursday. Well, alright, today’s monday. There’s my next four days putting that report together and then next, next Tuesday I’ve got, uh, an event. So we got to do the last minute planning for that Tuesday event, you know, and it’s that constant, you call it the spin cycle. I’m using your own,

[00:39:48.82] spk_0:
you can use it, take it

[00:40:05.91] spk_1:
around that constant spin cycle. It was like, uh, deadline oriented activities and you’re not doing the strategic longer term. But that’s where you want 53 quarters of percent after three quarters of a percent of, uh, half to three quarters of your revenue to come from.

[00:42:31.20] spk_0:
Yeah. And that, that totally, and that’s the stuff that takes time. It takes way longer than I wanted to. I’m the first to admit that. But when we’re looking out and going, why don’t I ever have the money? Well, we did it, we did another three year strategic plan. We’ll see if we have the money for this one too, that you have to make that fundamental shift in your model and your, in your mindset and your approach to revenue generation. Um this, I will tell you when I was on your radio show, Gosh, time is so weird right now. I couldn’t even tell you when it was last time. Um, but uh, you know, he wasn’t a client at the time, but when my, my, you know, one of my favorite clients, Jonathan heard me on your show and contacted me and, and I remember him saying, you know, I really am concerned our donors are not giving their best gifts. Like I said that on your show and what it really came down to was, you know, he had a great team who was great at what we talked about. Like these transactional approach is that they were, you know, most of their giving was coming from events from appeals from corporate sponsorships, from event from grant proposals, but their individual giving was really stagnant and you know, we all know that’s where the unrestricted investment level gifts are going to come from. And so could he have, you know, ramped up the events and appeals I suppose he could have, but he didn’t, he fixed the underlying root cause he’s fixed the financing, he’s aligned his whole team to the money. They are their high performing revenue generators And they’ve grown by seven figures here in the last 18 months because they shifted, you know, I talked about that single source decision maker. They shifted individuals from the, we’re having an event to actually segmenting and figuring out who do we need to sit with? Who doesn’t understand how we’re funded, Who doesn’t understand our need family foundations. Um, corporate sponsors, Oh my gosh. Uh, you know, his corporate sponsors who used to come and be $50,000 gala sponsors. He shifted those into $100,000, unrestricted gifts because he started having investment level conversations with them. He took the transaction out of it. He had the financing plan. He could, he could very clearly articulate the organization’s plan to spend money to make more money. So he’s become, yeah,

[00:42:39.20] spk_1:
we’ll see what he’s become and then,

[00:42:52.80] spk_0:
yeah, he’s become a master at these investment level conversations and you know what donors say, wow, nobody else ever talks like this to me. Thank you. I never, I never understand this.

[00:43:59.80] spk_1:
You give a terrific example of converting something transactional, a $50,000 corporate sponsorship to, uh, to a gala or something into a gift twice that that becomes unrestricted. We don’t have to put it toward the audiovisual budget at the gala. Now it’s unrestricted and it’s, and it’s double because he’s having different kinds of, he’s not having a transactional conversation with the ceo of that company anymore. Having an investment level conversation. How do we overcome the fear of having these honest conversations. It’s a lot easier to say our annual gala is coming up? You did $50,000 last year because you know, even I’ll even make it a little more ambitious. Could you do $65,000 this year? That’s a lot easier conversation to have than here’s what our plan is. Here’s what our need is over the next three years. How do you see yourself fitting in or maybe even more strategic? You know, I see you fitting in here. How do you overcome the fear of having these more, more down to earth, more honest investment level conversations that the transactional that everybody is very comfortable with?

[00:46:02.18] spk_0:
I hear you, I think it’s kind of a simple answer though. You gotta know your numbers because we’re going to think you’re going to be fearful of that conversation if you don’t know what you’re selling. Okay, right? Like you’ve got to know, you know, this is why my hands are in spreadsheets all day long and looking at what that looks like. You got to be able to sit down and tell a donor what their investment is going to do over the next few years. You’ve got to move into knowing your numbers in a greater way what that impact makes. And again, I’m not saying don’t share stories and the crisis and the problem in your model. I’m not saying don’t show that, but too often I’m seeing people avoid that and yes, I agree with you, Tony. It’s a lot easier even if I was a board member, it’s like, oh, when’s the event coming back? Because like that’s way easier for me to fill a table. I’m gonna be a little friend care. You’re letting your board off the hook. Their job is a balanced budget and helping you co pilot that to a balanced budget. And so we have to just be starting at the top of the pyramid. Starting in the mindset of, it looks different to attract those donors. And so we must be giving different presentations I guess. I’ll say we must be having different conversations. And so whatever they value, it’s very different from your $25 a month. You know, with that donor values. So you need to be serving what they value. And so that means you need to be able to fundraiser ceo board member, Sit down with them and answer the tough questions. Answing Why your program%ages, 90%. And so why you’ve invested, you know, 20% and fundraising in the last three years. Why did you do it? And so why your revenue maybe went down for a year, answer the tough questions. Be honest, be transparent. They will value you and that they will be attracted to that because I’m telling you nobody else does it.

[00:46:28.68] spk_1:
You mentioned a couple of times the benefit of having a a strategic fund or an endowment. Um, let’s let’s just shut out. I mean I, you know, I, you know how I feel about it because I do plan to giving fundraising. But let’s let’s flush out the value of that long term sort of investment fund that lets you take some risks from time to time.

[00:46:51.48] spk_0:
Yeah. So I think we’re probably talking about two things, but I think we can we can weave them together. You know, when I say reserve off the cuff, I really mean, um, you know, unrestricted cash in the bank that you have full access to,

[00:46:55.68] spk_1:
you know, operating

[00:47:18.38] spk_0:
Reserve, totally. And so I can’t, you know, I have multiple $10 million dollar organizations come to me who struggled doing payroll because there’s not enough unrestricted cash and reserve. And so I want to make sure that we are, we know it, that needs to be too. And and if you have that much, if you have, you know, a year’s worth of money in the bank, sit and tell the donor why you do own it, don’t be afraid. You know, that sort of thing, you know,

[00:47:22.42] spk_1:
be ashamed

[00:47:23.29] spk_0:
of. That’s something right.

[00:47:25.09] spk_1:
Because when the next pandemic comes, or the next economic crisis comes, or the next bad year in fundraising comes or the next whatever comes. You know, we’re prepared. And and mr mr or MS donor, you probably do the exact same thing for your business

[00:47:38.98] spk_0:
totally. You

[00:47:39.18] spk_1:
don’t have trouble making payroll for your business each week. Do

[00:47:41.80] spk_0:
you have to have just have that conversation

[00:47:44.57] spk_1:
problem here either.

[00:49:48.57] spk_0:
Yeah, totally. So, so that’s that’s part of that. Half the businessperson to businessperson conversation, you know, and if you’re afraid, if you go into that meeting and you’re afraid they’re going to bring that up, well then you bring it up, put that elephant out on the table because because I’m always listening for what, what questions are in their mind is going to keep them from giving their best gift, you know. Now on the, on the plan giving sight tony you know, you’re my go to expert on this. But you know, I reach out when I have questions and everything. Um, but what a wonderful opportunity for you to present or to offer your longtime donors your, you know, talk to your donors to be able to be making a lifelong legacy in the community, in the state, in the, you know, what, wherever people are serving. And so you’ve taught me this, you’ve taught me that when people have given gifts by will or when they have committed to that, um, that their affinity to the organization is strengthened when they see themselves as a greater stakeholder and partner with you and actually their annual fund giving increases. And so what a wonderful opportunity to show somebody that their impact can have even greater results on the mission through your organization than a plan giving scenario. And so I totally agree with you. I told you recently, you know, I’ve never had more people ask me about planned giving, which is really interesting. That’s not my expertise. That’s yours. But I think people are thinking you no longer term. But I’m also seeing the desire to be in deeper relationship with our donors. And it’s not an uncomfortable conversation when we do know our donors so intimately. And we’re in that period of a relationship where it’s very easy to bring up that topic. And so I just see all the annual fund, You’re, you’re kind of your general ops reserve and your plan giving all of those working together in such strength. Um, but you’ve got to lead the donor to the understanding on all three of those

[00:49:57.57] spk_1:
and having those investment level conversations with, Right? Uh, including with your plan giving potential donors. Right? So I didn’t mean for you to repeat back stuff that you and I have talked about.

[00:50:09.59] spk_0:
You know, I love it. But

[00:50:16.36] spk_1:
what I want you to, uh, I want to make explicit that planned giving is a part of the types of investment level conversations you want folks to have

[00:50:44.66] spk_0:
absolutely their daughters. Absolutely. I would just say like if you’re wondering like, should I be sharing that with donors? I mean, I’m not saying open up the back back into the kitchen and sort of the grease pants, but usually the answer is yes, right? Like everything is on your 9 90. Like at a minimum, you should be able to articulate the route Elements of that in a donor facing away, not, not, not by just emailing the 990, but you know, at, at a minimum, that should be those. That should be the conversations that we’re having.

[00:51:24.96] spk_1:
Yeah. Okay. Okay. All right. You wanna, I hope you will share a story, share a story of uh, I guess a client story that, you know, maybe Jonathan’s or someone else’s. But you know, they, you saw the symptoms, they weren’t addressing root problems. They had a strategic plan with terrific excitement and ambition. They didn’t have the money to fund it. And then with, with some coaching, they were able to realize what, what they, what they really needed.

[00:51:47.06] spk_0:
Yeah. Yeah. So I have a client who um have been working with them actually for for quite a few years and they’re on a great revenue trajectory. Um, but you know, it was kind of one of those things where they did continue to struggle to always get ahead. Um, you know, and the other kind of whammy, Uh, what would that be called double we I mean, I should say um, was that they had actually lost a large funder. Um they had lost somebody who was contributing almost 20% of their budget. And I actually actually was no fault of their own. It was kind of a weird silly deal. And it was actually an international funder.

[00:52:26.15] spk_1:
Just just let me let me make a parenthetical. That’s another reason to have that strategic or that reserve fund because donors may depart, large donors may, you may do something to upset them, they may die. They may find other interests. They, you know, so that’s yet another reason that can happen institutionally. It can also happen to individual donors. Another have that reserve fund. We talked about a few minutes

[00:55:46.44] spk_0:
ago, reserve Fund and you know, back to my little pyramid. I’ve been talking about, you know, in that top 30 you know, I don’t want those top 10 donors to be more than, you know, 25 40% of your revenue. So in their case, yikes right. That that was so, you know, yes, you can imagine for a couple of years that that stung and, and and it really came, you know, and so they came to me and we’re really struggling to make that up right in small gifts or in mid level gifts, major gifts. Uh, and I remember the lead fundraiser saying to me, um, you know, this is not like I didn’t go to school for this. I kind of, I know enough to be dangerous, but I, I kind of don’t know what, I don’t know. And so he really did feel, which a lot of people come to me feeling that we have great relationships. We have an amazing mission. Um we know our mission is worthy of being supported, but like, I think I’m leaving money on the table because I simply don’t know how to lead that donor to their best gift. And so like we’ve talked about today, you know, instead of saying, well, you know, let’s let’s make our golf outing this or let’s make our, let’s add the appeals, let’s, you know, do all the things that are important, but they’re not going to get, you know, for example, this organization on that stronger trajectory. And um, and really to the point where they are doing what they had outlined in their strategic plan. So long story short, that’s what we did. We put a realistic budget in place that they can articulate the true financial need. And it wasn’t, well, we’d love to, you know, make that money back because we still want to serve those Children in this case. Um, you know, it was like, here’s our plan to do it. Here’s how you fit into this plan. Um, and then we put their, their financing plan in place. What do they need to stop doing? What do they need to start to me? How would we truly balance back to that, that number we were hitting and how would we grow beyond that. Um, and then how do we actually start leading donors who maybe we’re giving, you know, a monthly gift or a one off gift or a, you know, very generously at a golf outing, but we knew those weren’t their best gifts. How do we start leading them through these conversations. And so the specific client I’m speaking to tray. He’s an amazing relational guy. He’s a great relationship builder. And so, but donors literally responded so immediately of, oh my gosh, we, we didn’t know you needed this. We had no idea this was the need of the organization. Um, and sure does he have solicitation tools now and you know, some prompts that really lead him through that conversation. Yeah, that’s part of it. Um, but he’s got multi six figure gifts as a result, organization is out of the red back in the black because now he doesn’t have to guess anymore. He actually knows the exact steps to fund the organization annually and then to lead those donors to give their best gift annually. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a dual combo. Um, but I see people make the shift all the time, But it starts with investing in change and being open to it.

[00:55:56.44] spk_1:
That’s awesome. Sherry. We’re gonna leave it right there investing in change. Having these investment level conversations planning be ambitious. You know, don’t be, uh, I don’t want to wrap up. I want you to wrap up, but don’t be humble because

[00:56:02.20] spk_0:
I like, I like the ambitious that, that’s my, my motto. Let’s let’s do this.

[00:56:49.03] spk_1:
That’s where we’ll leave it right there. Thank you very much want Taylor Ceo of KWAme. Taylor LLC at Kwame Taylor dot com again, Sherry. Thanks so much for sharing. To appreciate it. My pleasure Next week. Bitcoin and the future of fundraising with the co authors of that book and Connolly and Jason shim if you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff

[00:57:06.33] spk_2:
shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein. Thank you for that. Affirmation scotty. You’re with me next week for nonprofit radio Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95

[00:57:22.43] spk_1:
1%. Go out and be great. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Nonprofit Radio for March 1, 2021: Leadership For Strategic Execution

My Guest:

Joe Pajer: Leadership For Strategic Execution


There’s lots of talk about strategic planning. Lots of time and money devoted to ambitious plans—which often sit on a shelf. It takes leadership to drive strategic execution. What does that leadership look like? Joe Pajer walks us through, with his experience from the corporate sector.



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Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:01:56.64] spk_1:
Yeah. Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio. Big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d bear the pain of a chroma top CIA if I saw that you missed this week’s show Leadership for Strategic Execution. There’s lots of talk about strategic planning, lots of time and money devoted to ambitious plans, which often sit on a shelf. It takes leadership to drive strategic execution. What does that leadership look like? Joe Pager walks us through with his experience from the corporate sector. Antonis. Take two podcast pleasantries. We’re sponsored by turn to communications, PR and content for nonprofits, your story is their mission. Turn hyphen two dot c o. It’s my pleasure to welcome Joe pager to nonprofit radio. He retired from the corporate CEO office. He grew revenues, profits, customers and employees at three companies for private equity investors. He’s been on the boards of the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and in Pittsburgh, it’s Carnegie, not Carnegie. Now he’s a board member for the ST James School in Hagerstown, Maryland, and the Trinity School for ministry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was my fraternity pledge trainer at Pi Kappa Alpha at Carnegie Mellon University. Back then, he was zip. You’ll find him on LinkedIn. He’s retired in a board member. Doesn’t need to be anywhere else. Welcome to nonprofit radio zip.

[00:02:01.24] spk_0:
Thanks, tony. Good to have you. Real pleasure. Thank you. Glad to be here. I’m

[00:02:05.74] spk_1:
glad. Tell us. Tell me about this private equity investment firm work. What does that look like?

[00:03:22.24] spk_0:
Sure, that came in the latter half of my career. Before that, I was an executive at larger companies. But you know what private equity is all about? There’s many different models, but the particular group of investors I worked for, um, they by businesses and they grow them, and then they sell right. So, um, typically, we buy it from a founder, right? Someone who founded the business, he was ready to retire and would like to make some money off of the business. And they usually their businesses that these were technology businesses that that we could see tremendous upside to. Right. So we do a lot of searching for those with tremendous upside. You know, founders are good guys, but they often our unit dimensional. So we could add things like professional sales or new strategies, etcetera and or maybe even combine them with other companies and grow them. So that’s what I did for the last 12 to 15 years. Is, um, three different companies sequentially, We bought them. We grew them, as you said in terms of revenue customers, number of people. Um, and then we sold them to larger companies for a nice profit. And it’s very fun, Very fun. You got to walk in every couple of years to a brand new business, try to figure out the market in the business and figure out how to grow it.

[00:03:29.24] spk_1:
So were there, uh, potentials to make money that you’re not sharing with your with your friend tony-martignetti at the time? Was there like insider information? You could have. You could have snuck to me. Was there a way for me to make some money off these three?

[00:03:53.44] spk_0:
All of the information is inside because they’re private companies. So there’s no there’s no public listing of the companies that are strictly privately held, their owned entirely by the investors. So yeah, there was no opportunity for you to make money unless you’d come and work for us. In which case, then, Yeah, you could have made some money.

[00:04:51.44] spk_1:
Okay, We’re going to find out what that would look like if I had, indeed been working with you. Um all right, so you’ve got some You got some ideas. And, you know, we’ve shared some concerns about, uh, as I said in the intro Strategic plans. Lots of resources going to ambitious. Uh, maybe grandiose plans will just will be kind and say ambitious, but execution, Uh, I think. And you’ve you’ve heard stories, and I think you’ve seen some, too. Um, and even in the corporate sector, um, not not not executed. Just kind of sitting around and not really seeing the change that was envisioned by the by the ambitious plan. So I’m guessing, you know, I mean, we should start with, like, vision and goals, and right before we were gonna have a We got a vision to this before we can start to do the execution part.

[00:08:10.14] spk_0:
That’s right. That’s right. Listen, we’ve all we’ve all seen organizations, companies, nonprofits, maybe our own households. Who knows that, uh, well laid plans that never happened, right? They just never happened. Um, and you know, I learned this early in my career. I was once asked by a nine year old hockey player that I was coaching. He said, Coach winded. When did you decide that you wanted to be our CEO? And I thought about it for a few minutes, and I said might have been the first business meeting I ever sat in because I knew what we were talking about wasn’t gonna get done. It drove me out of my mind. Right? So, look, we’ve all been there. It starts, though. Obviously it starts with having a good plan, a plan that you believe in before you ever get to the execution part. So, you know, just real briefly, I’m sure you have plenty of shows on how to build a strategy and a plan, and there’s plenty of people out there doing that. Are we have, yes, but a couple of criteria. One you ought to be able to answer for me really quickly. What you want that business, what you want your organization to look like three years from now, and you ought to be able to do that in three bullet points. I’ll give you five if you go to seven. The last two better be really interesting. 85. So you know you have that vision and that’s a vision. All right. You know you can have visions that are this. That the other thing? No, no. Just tell me if I show up three years from now. What’s going to be different about this place, right? And look, that’s not easy. You got to think about it. You’ve got to work hard on it. It’s another job, necessarily just for the CEO. It’s also a job for the board in a non profit. They need to share that vision responsibility and then then below that. Okay, that’s the vision. That’s what we’re going to look like at three years from now. What are the 5 to 7 things we need to do? Those are the strategic initiatives. Alright. Now here the board has less of a role in my opinion, and the CEO or the director in a non profit has a very large piece here. All right. They need to know their organization where they need to take it. Um, and then a 3rd 3rd point, you know. So if you can if you can clearly show me that Hey, we’re going to do this and that’s going to lead us to that. Well, then you’ve got a good strategy, or at least a good strategic plan. There’s another piece to it, too, though, which is, and this is the tricky question that sometimes people trip up on. Tell me what you’re not going to do. Tell me what people around here have been saying we ought to do, and you’ve decided I’m not doing that. All right, We’re not going down that path. So if you don’t do that, you’re going to run into problems with resource allocation and focus and people’s commitment and engagement. So a really good strategy will tell you what you’re not going to do. All right, so, you know, that’s all I’ll say about strategic planning right now Is the output of that has to has to fit those three criteria,

[00:08:35.24] spk_1:
you emphasis believing in the plan because because later on we’re gonna talk about allocating resources around the plan to the plan taking resources away from those things were not going to do anymore and putting them towards what we are going to do. So if you’re going to do that with confidence, you’ve got to believe in where you’re headed.

[00:09:42.54] spk_0:
Let me touch on that really quickly. It’s a great point. I hear from people we don’t have the money to invest in this. Well, that either means that your plan is garbage. All right, that it doesn’t really work mathematically. So you haven’t really worked hard enough on your plan. I got an idea, right? I got an idea. And if we go do it will grow our organization in this way. All right. Well, if you grow your organization in that way, you’ll have the money to fund, you know? So either you don’t believe that’s actually going to happen, right? Or you don’t actually buy into the idea. So you know, when you come when somebody comes back to me and says we don’t have enough money to do this initiative, right? And you thought This is where I want to be in three years? This is critical to doing it. I’ve done the math. If I invest in it, it will happen. And it will benefit the organization if you come back so we don’t have the money to do it. I’m just saying you don’t understand the plan or you don’t buy into it one or the other. Right now, it could be that the plan is wrong. In which case, sharpen your pencil, Go back to work.

[00:09:48.34] spk_1:
Maybe you have something to talk about, but right, it’s either a belief in the plan or or you or you believe in the plan or you or you or you don’t.

[00:10:06.94] spk_0:
Yeah, you’re either resisting it or yeah, but the plan says that will accomplish. That’s the key. The plan says it will accomplish your goal. So how can you not find the investment? To do that, you must write, all right, or you haven’t worked out. Point

[00:10:35.94] spk_1:
is either got the wrong plan or you don’t believe in what you the plan that you have. Okay, what about the board? You mentioned the board’s role in the vision, but not so much in the the, uh, tactics are going to use to get there. What about the interfering board, or or even board member or a couple of members? Maybe it’s not the full board, but a lot of times it doesn’t matter. What about those? Those interloping interfering board members who do get involved in the tactics, the methods we’re gonna we’re gonna use to execute.

[00:10:40.14] spk_0:
Yeah. So, um, for the record, very clearly, I’ve been on four very good boards for perfect

[00:10:46.11] spk_1:
boards. And

[00:12:24.54] spk_0:
we don’t have this. We don’t have that issue anywhere. Um, look aboard. Um, a board of trustees for a school or a private private education institutions. They are responsible for preserving the vision and the values defining the vision and the values of that school. That’s what they’re there for, right? Um, they’re responsible for hiring the person to get them to that vision. Um, that person needs to create the strategy with a lot of good input from the board, but it’s their responsibility. Whoever that leader is of the organization. CEO, headmaster, director, whatever their title, um, they’re responsible for that. That’s their job. That’s what you should have hired. Alright, if somebody, because the board will never have the day to day feel for the business that that person does, right, because they only meet quarterly. Um, So if you have an interfering board member, I would argue that you have a governance problem and a strategic problem. Um, not necessarily a person problem, although it may well be a person problem as well. And I’d recommend that you go by any number of good books of how to set up good boards and go fix your board. Right? All right, you cannot. Now listen. There’s people who can help, right? There’s people with contacts. There’s people with experience. There’s an absolutely, you know, tap into them. But ultimately, the head of that organization is responsible for running that organization.

[00:12:29.35] spk_1:
It’s got to be the CEO

[00:12:31.17] spk_0:
got to be. Yeah,

[00:12:53.04] spk_1:
all right. You got some, uh, sort of steps or, you know, some. Yeah, a pathway. The pathway to, uh, to strategic execution and not surprising. Uh, lots of folks say this. We’re starting with what we’re gonna measure. Yeah, metrics. What’s your what’s your What’s your advice around here?

[00:13:10.64] spk_0:
So, a couple of things, um, let me start. Let me let me back up just a half a step and talk about something that’s, uh, near and dear to my heart called. Um, I’m stealing this from I was trained as a Baldridge examiner. That term probably doesn’t mean many too many things to people.

[00:13:16.86] spk_1:
We got jargon jail on nonprofit radio. Yeah. Just committed an offense. Baldridge Examiner

[00:13:48.34] spk_0:
folks that are younger than you and I would never would never even have heard of it. But it’s an old quality thing, Sort of like Six Sigma. And the idea was, it was run by the U. S. Federal government was quite a good program, and there was a set of criteria for a business. And you would examine the business against these criteria. And you could potentially win a Baldridge Award, which was a very big deal. Um, companies like Motorola paved. Malcolm

[00:13:52.14] spk_1:
Malcolm. Malcolm Baldrige.

[00:14:04.54] spk_0:
Absolutely. Malcolm was the cabinet with the secretary of Commerce under Ronald Reagan. Believe he died in a horse accident. Um, and they named this thing after all. Right, So

[00:14:07.51] spk_1:
Congress, A bizarre polo accident.

[00:16:09.14] spk_0:
Yeah. No, it was more like Western rodeo stuff. He was a tough guy. So civilized. The horse was tougher in any case, so it’s named after him. He was part of the driving force, and and his death actually helped get passed in any case. Long story. They had this method of when you examine a business you find out, right? Do they have a plan? Right. What result is it that they’re trying to improve? Let’s say they’re trying to improve market share, right? Do they have a plan to improve market share? Right. And you say Look at their plans. They have to produce one. And if they had a plan, they would get sort of a 10% of the total score. Right? Um and then you would look at how do you measure it? And they look at the result. And if you were measuring the result, you might get another 20% mhm. But 70% of the score on that was associated with proved to me you’re actually executing the plan. Show me that you’ve actually done it. All right, because so many people will use the sporting analogy here. So many so many companies and so many organizations have the plan, and they look at the results. And if the results go bad, they go. The plan was wrong. They never checked to see whether they actually implemented the plan correctly. So, you know, sporting analogy, a team goes out, hockey team goes out to play on the ice. Um and and the coaches say This is the system we’re going to use and they go out and they lose the game. And of course, winning or losing was the metric and come back in and say we lost. We’re changing our system. No one would ever do that. They go, let’s look at the video and see whether we actually use the system. Right? And this is a big This is a big thing that happens. Um, in businesses and other organizations, that middle step is what I call strategic execution. And I’m telling you, it is it is more rare than you think. Right?

[00:16:11.14] spk_1:
And you’ve seen this on the corporate side as well. This is absolutely for some revolution revelation that you’ve only seen on the on the not for profit side. Yeah,

[00:16:19.64] spk_0:
over and over again. The execution

[00:16:29.34] spk_1:
all right. And that, you know, we were talking earlier, and you’ve made the point that, um that leads a lot. A lot of CEOs to create reorganization

[00:16:33.93] spk_0:

[00:16:35.29] spk_1:
that they can They can say they’ve done something. I mean, they’re linked in profile is now more robust. They reorganized around something.

[00:17:12.04] spk_0:
Yeah, You see it a lot I don’t mean to bash large companies, but because large companies are much more difficult beasts, right. But very large companies do this all the time. They say that their strategy is to reorganize them. And yes, it makes them feel good because they can check off a box that they indeed reorganized. They laid off some people here. They put somebody new in charge here. They restructured, etcetera, etcetera. Um, I don’t want to be too negative, but golly, I don’t know what that gets done, and I work.

[00:17:14.41] spk_1:
There’s a lot of wasted, a lot of wasted reorganization

[00:18:28.84] spk_0:
and the issues, the things that need to be changed, the things that need to be executed, no pun intended right are or what you’re doing right. And where you’re focused, right? It’s not who’s leading it. And I mean it is who’s leading it, but it’s not entirely who’s leading it, and it’s yeah, so it’s just to avoid Listen, all of this is hard to work, right? Um, the reason the reason I did it was because if I did and I’d lose my job, these investors, you know, they weren’t interested in people who weren’t actually growing the company, right? I mean, you could have as many board meetings where you said all the right things and pretty slides as you wanted. If the company wasn’t growing, it wasn’t your job anymore, right? And by the way, very, very few people in my position work for the same investors twice. They usually do one, and then they find a different set. And I’m the only person who’s worked for this set of investors three times, okay, on three different companies. So it’s all about finding that thing that has to happen to grow the company and then making sure it gets executed. That’s why I have sort of a particular affinity or sensitivity to this issue.

[00:19:12.14] spk_1:
But so much of this is moving people. You know, people people don’t like change. I don’t care how much they’re paid. They’re still human beings. I don’t care how long they’ve been there, you know? Of course, the longer the maybe the more difficult to change. But, you know, people are resistant to change. You talk about the family, you know, people don’t like to move. People don’t like to change jobs. People don’t like change within their jobs. People don’t like to have to go to a different supermarket in the middle of a pandemic. People don’t like not being able to go out and have dinner with friends in a pandemic. People don’t like change, but so much of what we’re talking about is driving change. Yeah, you’re driving change in a company that’s driving change among a bunch of people.

[00:19:17.14] spk_0:

[00:19:32.44] spk_1:
what the company is made of. It’s, uh, it’s it’s got, It’s got assets, got hard assets, It’s got people. The the Howard assets are easy to move around. You can ship those, you can sell these, you can acquire some. But moving the freaking people, that’s that’s what we’re talking about. Moving people to change that they don’t like

[00:19:59.14] spk_0:
it is. And I would imagine that it’s more difficult in the nonprofit sector than it is in the corporate sector. And the reason I would say that is because in the corporate sector there is a big forcing function called competition right and investors, and you have to make the numbers, so if you don’t change, you know, you go away quickly and and so let me let me talk a little bit. Then about about what I see about how you do strategic execution. Because it is exactly that. It’s about changing the people.

[00:21:03.94] spk_1:
It’s time for a break turn to communications. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times You want to be in papers like that? What about CBS Market Watch? The Chronicle of Philanthropy turn to has the relationships with these outlets and lots of others like them. They’re known in the industry so that when the outlets are looking for experts on charitable giving or non profit trends or philanthropy, they call turn to turn to calls. You. You know that because you’re their client, they’re going to call you. They can help you get the exposure. The media that you’re looking for relationships, right? It’s all about leveraging relationships. They’ve got them. Turn hyphen two dot c O. Now back to leadership for strategic execution. All right? Yeah, because, yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna rant here about

[00:21:09.41] spk_0:

[00:21:19.44] spk_1:
before we get to metrics and resources. You know, you got to move people. You got to motivate people positively or negatively, I suppose. But you got to move people and you get people to do things that they don’t want to do.

[00:22:38.34] spk_0:
I used to tell this story really, in big, big, setting, small settings everywhere. I said, You know, you get on the airplane, you read in the airplane magazine and they’re interviewing some executive and a question answered thing and you’re going through it. And at some point they go, What’s the secret? And the executive goes, It’s all about the people and you go, Oh, crap. Like everybody gives that answer really again. And then I thought about it for a while, and I’m like, Gosh, it really is all about the people. It’s right. It’s a boring answer and it is the answer. Listen, here’s how you get people to change. Yeah, One of the things I loved about my career was I would walk into a company that had not accomplished something for a long time, and they had many things in front of them that they could accomplish, and we would go accomplish it and people would go. How did that happen? And they feel good about it, and they’d have a I used to say, I want to give them a story to tell their grandkids when they’re sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch. Right about business. Most people go through their business careers going. Yeah, there’s that over there. And then all the stuff I like over here. And I want to have something they like from their job. So, look, how do you change? How do you get people

[00:22:55.14] spk_1:
before the first? Okay. Before the first milestone, right before the first home run. This company has now achieved something that it could have achieved 10 years earlier. But, you know, there’s a bit of a founder syndrome, and they were unit dimensional, as you said. And so how

[00:22:55.34] spk_0:
do you get them bought in

[00:22:56.38] spk_1:
before that first home run? How do you get some momentum going And you get interest?

[00:23:30.84] spk_0:
Exactly. So look, um, what do you say? Well, what you do is this. First you got to find that strategy that’s all important. And you got to find the planets, and then you must communicate very clearly. Okay, You must communicate. And look, there’s some pieces to that communication. First of all, I heard a long time ago and always strive to do this. You should speak at an eighth grade level. Okay? You have to understand How can

[00:23:32.74] spk_1:
do a bunch of engineers at a tech company M B A s your CFO?

[00:23:55.24] spk_0:
Yeah. Your operations team who are hourly workers. Right. Um, so you’ve got a range. You’ve got a range in there. Speak at the eighth grade club. Secondly, make sure what you’re saying is a story. All right? I’ll go back to coaching little kids in hockey. I could go up

[00:24:20.74] spk_1:
hockey. It’s about your your affinity for hockey’s obviously coming out. Yes, I want I want you to know, uh, for for listeners because you won’t be able to see video. This is the sound of this. That’s me, uh, flipping pages through my pi Kappa Alpha Pledge book. So there’s there’s lots of there’s lots of history in these pages. Joseph Steven, pager from Meriden, Connecticut.

[00:24:23.68] spk_0:
There you go.

[00:24:24.74] spk_1:
Uh, and hockey is. Hockey is prominent on your page,

[00:24:28.21] spk_0:
and it remains. This would

[00:24:30.22] spk_1:
be from 1980. I still have this from 1980

[00:25:59.04] spk_0:
throughout my career. Uh, but here’s Here’s the deal. I can sit in front of a group of 15 year olds, and I could show them all the exes and ohs on the whiteboard and say This is what we’re gonna do today. That’s what we’re gonna do today. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they’d all be fidgeting and not paying attention. Or, like 15 year olds do. They’ll be staring at the floor, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, then But if I if I came in and said, Let me tell you about a game I played in college and what happened? Their eyes are beyond me. They’d be lifted up from the floor. We respond to stories, Okay? People learn from stories. They don’t learn from textbooks, right? They learn from stories. This is what you must do as a leader. You must tell the future story. Okay? You must say, here are the great things were going to do for our community in our space. Here’s what we’re doing today. Here’s how that’s going to change and be even better three years from now. Yeah. How are we going to get there? We’re going to do these three things, okay? It’s going to feel a little different to you, but we’re going to do these three things. And do you know how many people are going to buy into that? the first time you tell them. Two. There’s if there’s 50 people in the room. Three

[00:26:03.21] spk_1:
allies you’ve got to allies you can leverage.

[00:29:09.74] spk_0:
So what do you got to do? You’ve got to tell them that same story over and over again and person by person as they ask questions. And your job is over the next 6 to 9 months to reduce it to the impact on them as an individual and how they can contribute and how they can be a piece of a piece of it. This communication aspect is very important. What I see, what I see executives do is they think, what I said that last time. I’m going to change it this time. No, no, you don’t understand. Just because they heard it once from your lips, they don’t believe it, and they probably don’t remember it. You’ve got to keep saying you got to keep saying it. Then of course, you’ve got to lead by example. Right now, you’re in a position this will go back sort of into metrics and resource allocation. You’re in a position to make a bunch of decisions and to make them in front of everybody. They have to be consistent with that vision you’re describing. So you might decide to move resources from a status quo kind of a project to the new project, and you would explain it that way. Even if they’re upset, you might decide to set certain metrics and review those metrics on a monthly or quarterly basis. Really, the metrics that you set and everybody knows there’s a billion metrics for everything. You got to pick the two or three that make a difference to your strategy and just work on those If somebody wants to know some other thing, here’s an example. Software company, last software company, Iran. We would sell the software. Then we would install it for the customer and run it for them. We call that activating it, and then we would, um, run it for them. And if they were satisfied all the time, we would make a lot of money because they would never leave us, right? So the sale part we call booking the middle part we call activating the third part we call just satisfying. And I just reduced it to that. We only have one mission here. Book activates, satisfied all of you are involved in one of those three. Okay, Now, let’s talk about how you’re involved and what you can do and get the managers in. They’re talking. This is 400 people. But that became, You know, that became our mantra. Book activates satisfied? Well, where’s gross margin in that? Where’s cost savings loses. Where is entering a new market? Well, we have stuff to do there, too. That’s it Was secondary to those three things. If you did those three things, you didn’t have to know what I used to say. If you do those three things, don’t you worry about profitability? Like a knife through butter will be profitable, I guarantee it. Right. And you don’t even need to see the profitability. So you got to make it simple. You gotta make it pity. You gotta make it catching. You’ve got to say it over and over and over again. And if you do that for six months of those 50 people in your organization, you’ll have 48 of them. And then there’s going to be too

[00:29:11.74] spk_1:
right. The recalcitrance.

[00:31:31.04] spk_0:
Yeah. They’re not going to go. You I need to go have a conversation. You need to do your job as a leader. And look, the conversations not mean the conversation is this. We’re a team. Everybody always says I’m all in. It’s all about team. Well, we’re a team. And now we’re gonna put our money where our mouth is, right? The team has decided to go in this direction. I understand that you’ve been here for a long time and that you did things a certain way and all that stuff. I get it, I get it and it’s all valid. And it was We’ve heard it, but we’ve decided as a team to go in another direction. I need you to come back and see me tomorrow. Come back tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon. Stop by my office. Just tell me, can you come with us? And if you can’t And let’s talk about how to how to separate our pads gracefully, right, it’s not a threat, you know, it’s but it is a it is necessary. You can’t have one guy on a professional sports team saying I don’t agree with the system. You just can’t. You’re never gonna win anything, right. And this is a very reasonable approach. I mean, and quite frankly, every time I’ve had this conversation, they’ve come the next morning and said, I’m in now. Some of them might have come and said, Well, I’m scared now. And so I’m in others. Might others, I think, really went home. And when? What am I doing? Why? Why am I so against this? Why can’t go along with it, right? And and they jump in and they become productive that afternoon. Right? Um, and in a couple of cases, they’ve come back and said, You know what? I really like the company that was here before you got here, Joe. And I’m not bought into this one. So how can How can we? How can I leave gracefully? Can I have a month to find? You know, you can absolutely just you say nice things about me. I’ll say nice things about you. Um, and let’s do it. So So that’s, uh, and by the way, it’s good. It’s too recalcitrance is what you call

[00:31:33.39] spk_1:
them. Yeah,

[00:31:44.14] spk_0:
they can be a huge issue, so if they exist, you must take action or you’re not going to get there because they will continue. Two needle.

[00:31:45.06] spk_1:
They’re like a cancer they’re they’re growing. They’re they’re trying to find their trying to grow their tribe right there, trying to grow their anti team.

[00:32:07.24] spk_0:
But you do it. You do it with complete and genuine respect. They have an opinion. You have an opinion. You don’t agree. There’s no reason to be, um, Washington. Ask with each other. I think I

[00:32:36.54] spk_1:
know you said gracefully, No, I mean, you’re professionals and you’re right. You don’t agree. You don’t agree on the future of the company that the team has that has a team has elected to pursue. There’s no point in, you know, there’s no point you’re hanging around your your unhappy. It’s going to hurt the team. That’s right. Let’s separate gracefully. I like gracefully. You don’t hear that in business to it gracefully. Let’s do it gracefully. Yeah, Joe, let me ask you, Do you have interest in helping nonprofits with all this leadership and strategic execution that we’re talking about?

[00:32:57.54] spk_0:
Sure, absolutely. If a nonprofit is interested in learning more about this, I can certainly help them on a consulting basis, help them get set up and help them get executing on their initiatives. I could even help them develop the initiatives, if that’s what they so desire. But yeah. No, I I very much would be interested in helping nonprofits achieve their results. Basically.

[00:33:04.04] spk_1:
Yeah. Okay. And so folks can get you on linked in

[00:33:07.34] spk_0:
Absolutely. Yeah. Just look me up on LinkedIn. Last name is spelled P a J e r.

[00:33:16.64] spk_1:
You, uh, you have a little story about sales compensation.

[00:33:19.44] spk_0:
It relates

[00:33:20.82] spk_1:
to relates to metrics. But before we before we move on from metrics where we, you know, we digress, But we’re moving around. This is good. This is excellent. This is not just good. This is excellent leadership advice. Uh, you got the sales comp story?

[00:36:18.83] spk_0:
Yeah. Yes. So one of the aspects of metrics of choosing the proper metrics is that, you know, you actually have to be able to measure the thing, right? So if you say I want to measure, I want to measure, um you know, let’s say I’m a food bank and I want to measure somebody’s improving nutrition as a result of my efforts. Well, that’s probably not measurable. Okay? I mean, maybe it is, but, you know, it’s probably difficult to track that person The individual that you gave the food to and and even more so I would question your statistics is whether you could actually correlate your effort to his improving nutrition if it improved. But that’s something that’s sort of undoable. There’s others, though, that you want to measure how many new people you reached through a program, and people say, Well, we don’t track that, So you can’t use that as a metric. Yeah, you know, So every company I’ve gone into the sales, the sales compensation plan, right? We believe that sales people are motivated by making more money. Yet many executives I know have no idea what they’re Salesforce’s, how they’re Salesforce’s compensation plan works. That’s crazy, right? So every company and of course, what we care about is growing. So, of course, it’s important to us to have the right sales compensation plant so that we can drive the growth. So every company I’ve gone in and redesigned the sales compensation plan, it’s actually something that I’ve gotten quite good at it, Um, you know, it’s it’s an area of expertise and I’ve done it pretty much myself, right. Um and every time finances told me we could never track this. We could never do this. We could never. This is just what we’ve never. And in two of the three cases I got up. After about an hour’s worth of discussion, I got up. I said, I hear everything you’re saying. You must make it happen. We’ll talk again when you have a plan to make it happen. Not before. Okay, basically, I said, do it right and you just have to because they’ll find a million reasons not to. Right? So So that is my sales compensation story. So, um, you have to sometimes sometimes you and sometimes in that conversation on metrics. By the way, what they’re really saying is it’s not automated. They’re saying it’s not automated. It’s

[00:36:22.41] spk_1:
gonna be hard for us to achieve it hard for us to measure it. Not impossible. It’s just it’s just hard.

[00:36:54.13] spk_0:
And this is another little thing that I’ve learned. Some of the people who work for me called these patriotism is, but, um, if you want to get something automated, make people do it manually. You know they’ll find a way to automated, and it has the benefit of automating it correctly, because if they start out with automation. They don’t really know what they want yet, right? They don’t know the ins and outs of what they’re doing, so yeah, Okay.

[00:36:55.53] spk_1:
You say the number one resource number one job of a chief executive is resource allocation. We

[00:37:03.09] spk_0:
were touching on this

[00:37:28.03] spk_1:
before moving things away from what you don’t want to be and into what you do want to be. What else? What else? You know, again, You’re moving people. Now, this is This is some of that change Some people are gonna be into, uh, you know, whatever different team, a different activity, a different way of doing their old activity. That’s more of the change. So, you know, we talked. We talked something about that. But what? What’s your advice around Moving resources around?

[00:39:22.02] spk_0:
Well, I think look, resource allocation is fundamentally getting the right people number one and the right number of people number two. And this can be very tricky, especially with new what I’ll call new growth initiatives to the company. So in all three companies, we expanded globally, right? So we didn’t have anybody, so we had to get the right people in each country a long way away. to to do this correctly. We needed the right number of people in each of those countries, so expanding globally is one way. But another way might be to expand in non profit terms. Expand your services right? Say, I don’t want to do just this. I can also do this while I have the client in front of me so I can do even more good for the client by expanding my services as well. Do you have anybody in your organization who understands that new service the way they need to? Right. And if not, you need to go outside the organization. Do you have the right number of people to expand that new service? Okay, do I have the right number of people offering the current service? Because there’s a you know, it’s a it’s a little bit of a hill, and then and then it flattens out after there’s a peak and then a flattened out thing. When you introduce something new, so you maybe you may have introduced a new service three years ago, and you may still be staffed at your peak, and you don’t need to be right. You could reallocate some of those resources, Um, to the new service. These are the key discussions. You have to have the big one for me. Did we We talked about believing in the plan?

[00:39:25.48] spk_1:
Yeah. Yeah, that’s wrapped up in that. If you’re going to move, Yeah. So resources around you got to believe in what you’re moving them toward,

[00:41:23.31] spk_0:
right? You just have to believe that that plan is going to work, right? And then you’ll be willing to commit, Um, you know, take, take another example. Um, this is a So you’re a nonprofit and you decide the development is critical to you. Okay, let’s say you’re a small educational facility, and you just gotta build the endowment, right? Or, you know, what’s happening to small private schools is going to happen to you. You’re not going to have the funds to build out the right buildings, etcetera. So you’ve got to build the endowment, and your three year plan is to add $10 million for the endowment, right? And look, you’ve had this development guy. He knows everybody, but it hasn’t really grown anything in years. Okay. All right. So you you decide. Okay. Well, maybe I move him someplace Maybe he’s going to retire. Maybe I just need a new development person, okay? And he’s got to go away. Fine. You go out to get the new development person and and you say, Well, I don’t want to spend more than $50,000 a year on this person, right? And somebody who’s 75,000 comes along right, but at a much higher skill set. No, I didn’t say 150,000, but 75,000? Well, you ought to do the work rather than just say that we’re all about saving money because we’re trying to help our clients. You ought to do the work to say, What would what would this guy get me that the other guy wouldn’t get? Me and I And how quickly will I get that $25,000 a year back, right? I mean, you know, it can’t always be about being the lowest cost provider of these services. You may well find that if if you hire and spend that extra 25,000, you’re going to grow your endowment by even more right and you’ll be able to provide even more dormitories or even better, etcetera. etcetera,

[00:41:42.91] spk_1:
and this goes back again, believing in the plan. And if, and as you said earlier, you said early on, if you don’t have the money for the plan, then then you haven’t thought through your plan adequately because you you picked an aspirational plan that you can’t afford to execute. And you can’t even do the fundraising to raise the extra money because it’s too astronomical. So you’ve got the wrong plan.

[00:42:43.70] spk_0:
That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. You know where this comes up. A lot is in building buildings. It’s almost always the case that that, you know, you think a building costs less than what it’s going to cost. And it actually you think it will deliver less value than it actually delivers, right? Certain buildings. I mean, you know, if you’re building an administration building right but a new SportsCenter on a at a boarding school or a or a conference center at a place like the Trinity School for Ministry, these things these things are going to have much more impact and what you’re projecting, So think about them carefully and take the risk. I think the risk

[00:45:56.79] spk_1:
it’s time for Tony, take two podcast Pleasantries. You remember those? The podcast audience? Oh, my, uh, so loyal. Um, you’ve been If you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll remember that I used to do live listener love affiliate affections and podcast pleasantries. Well, the first of those two go away was the affiliate affections. When I ended the affiliate program, that was, uh, we had a family of, uh, about 15, maybe 20 am and FM stations throughout the country that we’re carrying non profit radio and there’s weekly schedules, but it wasn’t really scaling. And it constrained us in terms of how exactly minutes and seconds how long a show needed to be. So I ended that and the live audience, the live listener love. You know, that ended with the pandemic. I no longer go to the New York City studio no longer with Sam. Sam is still there at and y. You know, talk talk radio dot N y c. That’s him. That’s that’s that network talk radio dot N.Y.C.. It’s talking alternative, so Sam is still there. But I ended with him because of the pandemic. So of course, no more live listener love. And now working through Zoom and audacity. It’s the podcast audience. The pleasantries go out, you’re you’re the last remaining audience. When I If I cast you off, that’s the, uh, what do you call a podcast so that nobody listens to a guy talking to himself in a closet? A guy whispering to himself. Um, now So the pleasantries go out. The pleasantries remain. The podcast pleasantries. Whatever time you’re listening, however we fit. Whether you’re painting your house, doing the dishes, commuting, there’s less commuting going on. I realized that, but there’s still some commuting going on. Maybe you’re driving to, uh, you’re driving to the store. Who knows? However, non profit radio fits into your schedule. Maybe binge watching binge listening on Sundays. Who knows, However, it fits in. The pleasantries go out to you are loyal podcast audience still there over 13,000 each week. Pleasantries, pleasantries to you podcaster, podcast, listener pleasantries. And that is Tony’s Take two we’ve got but loads or boo coo. That’s what we’ve got. We’ve got Boo Koo, but loads more time for leadership for strategic execution with Joe pager and communications, you already said, speaking an eighth grade level. I guess this is another plagiarism about the number of times you should communicate and how many people are going to reach.

[00:46:32.58] spk_0:
Yeah. So, uh, yeah, if you want to reach people, communicate four times as much as you think you need to and you’ll get to half the people you hoped. So just I I cannot stress it enough like consistency. Eighth grade level, frequency walk, you know, walk the talk. Just listen. The people are going to deliver the plant. You’ve just got to change them as

[00:46:47.08] spk_1:
the work is getting done. You know, now you’re looking over everybody’s shoulders. You’re talking about a 400 person organization. Okay, If it’s a four or eight person organization, the work is still getting done. While the CEO is not looking right there off somewhere,

[00:47:05.68] spk_0:
that’s and that’s another. I’m glad you brought that up. That is another very important part of communication. I’ll do it in an engineering way for you. Okay. Engineers, software engineers particularly, you know, they work in the dark and they work late at night, and they work alone,

[00:47:24.58] spk_1:
like the nerds that we knew at Carnegie Mellon. You get either one of us was in computer science, but we we saw them that in the winter they were walking barefoot or in flip flops. They’re always there. Always a couple of steps out of sync. But, you know, they’re They’re now leading professors at M I T. Or their founders of Google or Amazon from the 19 eighties. Yeah, they

[00:47:55.28] spk_0:
prefer to work alone. They prefer to work in the dark. Okay, great. That’s an over generalization. All my software friends. But you probably agree the so and their programming. They’re building your product, right? So now how do you guide their innovation? They’re making decisions alone in the dark at 3 a.m. In the morning.

[00:47:56.73] spk_1:

[00:50:01.16] spk_0:
well, how do you guide their decision? Well, it’s gonna be It’s gonna come down to two. Did I give them a vision that they can work with him, right. So book activates. Satisfied? Right? I said satisfy. Right. And we’ve had discussions. So with book activates satisfy, you might, you might hold after you announce the grand theme, you might hold a session just on book just on activate. Just unsatisfied, right to explore it an even greater depth. Eventually, this this guy figures out because we’re talking about satisfying so much right that when a client using his software puts the wrong inventory in or when the inventory isn’t up to date, the software doesn’t work as well, and it doesn’t create as much value as the customer would like. And he comes up with a way to automatically grab their in their inventory at 3 a.m. When no one else is around. But he wouldn’t have known him. If you hadn’t have done all that work communicating right, he might have come up with a way to make it cost less right, which might have been welcome. Might be welcome. When you’re growing a company, I never worry about the cost. It’s like if the growth plans work, the cost will never catch up. All right, we’ll be growing too fast. So you know, that’s that’s the difference is what are these people thinking when they’re on the front line and a nonprofit example? Right? Let’s say you’re a food bank that wants to work more with partnerships, okay? And your local church has a has a food bank that could partner with the big food bank. Right? Um, but you know that in that food bank, the intention of forming those partnerships is to reach people. You’re not currently reaching right, which is very different than an intent of to reach people more effectively using a local organization more efficiently, right?

[00:50:06.06] spk_1:
Yeah. You’re talking about a new market.

[00:50:34.86] spk_0:
Yeah. Those are the two reasons you might do it. Well, if you’re if you know this person who runs a food bank at your church, you can you would now ask them. Well, who are you reaching and see if you know it’s the same person already, right? Or etcetera, etcetera. So you can make a more intelligent decision at your level because you understand the vision, the strategy, what’s important, what’s being measured. And it’s going over and over and over again. Yeah, yeah.

[00:50:48.86] spk_1:
Let’s talk about holding individuals accountable through the review. Um, looking at the challenges that they’re facing, what their personal plans are. Let’s talk about that whole accountability review.

[00:52:23.45] spk_0:
So, um, couple of things one As the leader, you must be personally involved in the review and in the details, and you must personally know the progress that’s being made. Okay, Um, so you need to establish the metrics. Well, first of all, you need to do this in a regular timing kind of way. So you need a cadence What I would call a management cadence. Now, with each initiative, there’s a couple of choices you could decide I’m going to meet Weekly. All right, so now you have a weekly meeting, that sort of independent of the nature of the initiative. But weekly, we’re getting together and we’re talking about it. Okay, that’s that’s one way to do it. And for some initiatives, that’s really good. Other initiatives are a little bit weirder ago, right? Some actions like the first actions might take a week. The next action might take a month, right? For two months. So you might want to have meeting the first week and the meeting the next week to make sure you did everything from the first week. You might want to delay it for another three weeks. So there’s something needy in the meeting. Right? Something’s changed. Now, Um, I believe that, uh um I have so many quotes from this. This guy I used to work with, Um, but one of them was personal embarrassment. Is that the number one driver of human behavior now we should not abuse

[00:52:25.31] spk_1:
that management by fear

[00:53:46.15] spk_0:
we should not have embarrassment. But another way, if you flip that to the positive personal recognition is also the number one driver of human behavior. So I believe in team meetings with everybody is involved. All right, so that we can look at the metrics. What are the results? Okay, those are the results. That’s five minutes. All right. Next most important question is on this initiative. Last week, we said we were gonna do this. This and this last meeting. We said we’re gonna do this, this and this. We’re gonna go around the room. Did you do it? That’s the first question. Yes or no? Okay. Yes or no? I also have this page tourism that we are not trying to be. Washington here. We are not trying to create a culture of blame. Okay? Because it’s useless. And you can see that, right? The You know, we’re not just trying to figure out who the millennium? No, we’re trying to understand, So if you didn’t do it, just say you didn’t do it. Now, if you didn’t do it for six weeks, you’re You know, I never yelled and I never saw in any meetings. But I’ve been told that I could make the air feel very heavy. So a little bit of tension is a good thing for the whole team. And if the person continues to not deliver, well, then it’s a private conversation. You’re

[00:53:50.07] spk_1:
going to have that conversation,

[00:54:01.84] spk_0:
but it really isn’t it much better for them to feel accountable in front of the team and just accountable to you, right and and like and have the teams say, Come on, we gotta get this done.

[00:54:44.54] spk_1:
Yeah, yeah, I can see your part that’s going to bring a team together If if folks are folks are willing to open up and say, you know, we’re not on radio so I can say no, I fucked up. I just I told you two weeks ago this was a priority, and I haven’t made it a priority and and I will in the next two weeks. You know, if somebody I think if somebody can say that openly to their to their to their CEO and to their team, maybe even more more so to the team, then you know, then there’s Then there’s that. Then it is a team, okay? This guy didn’t pull his weight. She come a little short. We can, you know, next week. It might be me, but it’s an environment that that supports us and isn’t beating us down now. But you like, you know, you say if it’s six months or you know, whatever you know, then then we have to go a different

[00:54:53.97] spk_0:
strategy. But

[00:54:55.41] spk_1:
that can bring a team together. That kind of opened this. I think

[00:57:37.23] spk_0:
you You are 100% correct, and the rest of the team appreciates it. Right? So another important part of this cadence meeting is that you set the example for this. That you’re you’re inquisitive. You want to understand the problem. You want to help. You’re not there to go. You didn’t do it. I move you to this side of my ledger. When you do it, you go back to the other side. No, I mean, that’s fine. And then the other thing that’s popular today is the stand up meeting. We’re going to do this all in five minutes. Yeah, you know, do you You don’t understand anything in five minutes. That’s appropriate for some meetings, but on this. What you’re trying to find out is what’s holding me back. If you’re If you’re leading an organization like I was leaving, we’re If the company didn’t grow, it was me. I was done right? You very quickly. If you have half a brain at all, you’re walking around every day trying to figure out what’s what’s going to prevent you from growing. Okay, that’s all you care about, right? You’re like and every issue a people issue, customer issue operations issue, it all gets reduced to. Is it going to prevent me from making my plan? And if it is, how are we going to solve it quickly so that it accelerates me towards that plan? Right. Um so So that’s that’s what you want, Everybody. You want everybody understanding your behavior and your questions in those terms and that we’re all on the same team trying to do this and what happens is you’re right. The team gels the people who people want to finish by the meeting. You have to have the meetings that are forcing function people most of their work the night before the meeting. That’s okay with me. Okay? Right. And yeah, you keep them open. And let me tell you the people you have all kinds of levels of people in this meeting. Anyone who can affect this is in this meeting. Okay? And what happens over time if you set the right example? Number one, the people at the bottom will come to you. And they say I so appreciate being in that meeting with you and watching you think through these problems. Mm hmm. Your direct reports. The people report directly to you that those people report to They’ll start jumping into the meeting, doing the same thing. So so And so, Joe Joe down at a low level, says I tried to get it done, but I couldn’t. Because of this. Right? In the first meeting, I’ll go. Okay. Well, how are we going to fix that? In the third or fourth meeting? The person who reports to me will go Joe right after this meeting, come to see me. We’re going to fix that. And now I’m now I’m not on cruise control, but we’re all together. We’re all together, just trying to make this happen.

[00:57:48.53] spk_1:
Not all plans are gonna work, right?

[00:58:53.72] spk_0:
No, no, Absolutely not. I’m telling you that, uh, tell you two things. One. I never walked into a company and said, You doofus, is you didn’t know you should be doing this. Never, never found, never walked in and created a new plan. Okay, what I did was I walked in, Um, and there’s this guy can itchy. Oh, my is a Japanese guy who wrote something called the Mind of the Strategist. And I’d look at the situation and I try to break it into pieces, okay into the logical pieces and then work on each piece to see how I could make it better and then put them back together. Not all of them came back together. Some we put to the side others we made. In any case, that’s a little bit material. But the the plans that we followed always existed in the business before I got there. But with some modifications, we you know, we have adopt them with some modifications, and then we’d execute.

[00:58:55.82] spk_1:
But you think the plans were already there?

[00:58:57.82] spk_0:
Sure. The ideas were already there. The idea of the middle

[00:59:00.49] spk_1:
step middle step wasn’t getting done. The execution

[01:00:23.51] spk_0:
first company I went to had a product that they were going to introduce that they’ve been talking about for five years. We introduced it in 13 months. I sat in the music, we had to introduce it. We had we had a new market we wanted to enter, and they they just went round and round and round on whether it was the right market to enter. You can always find a reason not to do something. It’s a lot easier to find reasons not to do something than it is to find reasons to. There’s almost this, Uh, there’s almost this mindset like, Well, we got to find something that no one in the industry has ever thought of. Well, that’s Yeah, good luck with that. That this never happens, right? No, you got to execute better than other company. So, you know, we had this market we wanted to enter, and everybody was disproving why we could enter it. And at some point I just said, No, I think we can do it. Let’s try it and we went after it. And that company is thriving in that market today. Alright, the last software company that I ran. Same thing. There’s a new market. We went after it. We’re leading in it right now, right? Um, but it was an idea that had been around forever. There was another market to where they actually convinced themselves there was no way to make any money in it. And we will. It’s that it’s

[01:00:38.01] spk_1:
avoiding that scarcity mentality and that, you know, it’s a focus on how we can, instead of why we can’t because it is always easier, much, much easier to find reasons why you can’t do something to evaluating and execute on a plan to do something. So I always say, Let’s look at how we can instead of why we can’t

[01:01:23.11] spk_0:
that that market that’s an interesting one, that market. I won’t tell you to many of the details because it’s active right now. But it’s about half of their new business right now. Okay? And and I had to move 30% of the engineering resources in that company to focus on that new market, and they were already booked, you know, they would have told you they’re booked 150% alright. So and did some things fall off the table and the status quo? You bet they did. We lived with it. We found ways around it, right? I mean, that’s But that’s the point where you see as the leader, I can’t walk away and say Figure it

[01:01:23.90] spk_1:
out. Well, that’s the belief in the plan.

[01:02:06.20] spk_0:
I’ve got to be part of the team that figures it out, right? Yes. I’m still the leader. I’m not. I’m not coming up with the solutions, but I’m asking the questions. Right. What can we do? How can we do? Tell me what we could, you know. Okay. Well, I moved. Oh, I moved 35 people over there, and you need one of them back, or you can’t get this done. So what you’re telling me? Yeah. Move them this afternoon. You know, I moved 35. Guess where I got that number? Yeah. You know, out of the air. Right. But but in some companies, that question never get out. Joe moved. Joe moved them. Can’t move them back. Okay.

[01:03:34.60] spk_1:
All right, Joe. Thank you, Joe. Pager. A reminder that Joe pager is available to consult with your non profit on everything we talked about. Strategic execution change management, leadership, fraternity, pledge training. You can reach him on LinkedIn. Remember, it’s P A J E r. Joe. Thank you very much. Good to have this conversation. You shared some excellent ideas. Appreciate your wisdom. Thanks a lot. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Pleasure. Next week, corporate funding. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turning to communications, PR and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission. Turn hyphen. Two dot c o. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. Shows Social Media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy. And this music is by Scott Steiner. Thank you for that information. Scotty, you’re with me next week for nonprofit radio. Big non profit ideas for the other 95% Go out and be great. Mm hmm. Mhm. Yeah.