Topic: Random

Talk about transparency

In the age of brand image as king, consumer driven marketing, it is something when a company or organization goes no holds barred in providing its public with this level of transparency.

Middlesex Hospital has a very cool and very risky new feature. I have to believe that they wouldn’t be putting themselves out there like this if they weren’t 99% confident that they can meet expectations of their consumer public, no matter what the challenge.

I respect this in a team. This is transparency.

http://www.middlesexertime.com/?utm_source=banner&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=q42009

How presentation affects consumer perception of quality and value

Or this could be simply titled: Post Consumerism is Dead.

I received this in an email chain from a friend, it was too good to delete or let sit idle in my inbox. I had to share for discussion. As always, email me or post your comments here.

joshua bell

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.

The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…. How many other things are we missing?

“Locard’s Exchange Principle” or “Some armchair philosophy to start your morning”

When someone comes in contact with another person or place, something of that person is left behind, and something is taken away.
“Locard’s Exchange Principle”

Edmund Locard was a 20th century forensic scientist and director of the first crime lab in Lyon, France in 1910.
His theory postulates that wherever two things meet, evidence exists of their meeting. In his case, he was speaking in terms of crimes against humanity.
But in recent years, his theory has been used in terms of more positive meetings as well. Although it continues to be used in crimes, including white collar crimes of a business and financial nature, it has been applied to explore interactions that result in the advancement of positive outcomes: mentoring, coaching, management, consumerism and philanthropy.

How does the theory apply to you in a positive way? What ‘fingerprints’ exist due to your personal contact with others. Globally it is evident that the work of nonprofit organizations change individual lives. But Locard was speaking on a more singular interaction, the one on one imprint of a conversation, written communication, action.
A mentor hypothesized yesterday that “relationships are the conversation”. That everything else before and after: your thoughts, inner dialogue, intentions are not a relationship, it exists only within the communication you are having with the other person. And to review that communication, in the moment and after, to assess your relationship.
How often do we think in terms of communicating with the intention of enhancing the relationship? Of the relationship as a means of leaving an imprint, of employing Locards theory?

I for one believe Locards theory can be applied universally. Maybe it deserves a plaque above our desks, on our walls, on our hearts, to help us remember that we are not moving through this world alone, but in connection and concert with everyone and everything around us. And that we are leaving an imprint.
Talk about authenticity.

Beginning

Today is the first day of Fall, a beginning to a new season. Likewise, every journey has a beginning and so to mine.

I have new contact information to share and, of course, can always be reached here or via LinkedIn.

Reflecting on the 20 years I have been in this industry, it is the passion and spirit of the people who commit themselves to causes that they embrace, that inspire them, that provide security and meaning to their lives…..this is the draw for me.

Indeed, authenticity, integrity and meaning have become central to so many aspects of our careers. Even more so during the recent economic crisis; reflection and assessment on what is important, the realities of the very core, fundamental human relationships that build and empower our work. The realness of it all. It inspires us to reach out, do more, act selflessly, grow.

I remain open to new horizons, opportunities and ideas.

Dancing

Relationships are like a dance. Each person has a choreography script of steps in their head. This choreography script has been built over time, based on other dances we held a part in. The script is dynamic, but we may think its static.

Shuffle – ball- change left and you expect your partner to respond. Many times he/she does and that’s a positive reinforcement for your dance move. But when they don’t dance in the direction we expect, things can go horribly wrong. We can miss our connections, trip over each other, step on each others toes. God forbid its in the middle of a high twirl and toss, we could miss the catch completely!  Totally unsatisfying and non-productive.

Many times we expect that others will not only know our script, but will respond to it in a certain way. Our experience when they don’t can leave us feeling like we have two left feet.

Other times we wonder why, when we are sashaying right, they are responding with a dosy doe? We don’t think of changing our own steps to meet theirs, or to encourage their rewriting of their choreography script.

A relationship, like dancing, is a partnership and it relies on not only good communication, but an open mind to changing our own steps to meet our partners. Be free with it, not rigid, dynamic, not static and you will be surprised by your own facile growth and your partners responsive nature.

Vacate

Europeans have the right idea, on many counts, of how to balance work and life: two hour lunch/naps, late socializing with friends and family, 6 week summer vacations.

The best thing a fundraiser can do is vacate. Remove yourself from the minutiae. Step away from the Treo, the database, the donors beck and call. Kindly, respectfully, dimiss yourself from your work a day environment.

Maybe take a close donor/friend along, but only if you both promise NOT to talk business (believe me he/she will appreciate it too).

And while you’re gone don’t think about work. Don’t think about philanthropy. Do something completely different. Exercise the right or left side of your brain (which ever is less dominant in your philanthropy career). Listen to some old Grateful Dead, paint, walk on the beach. Drink Corona’s or sweating cold glasses of iced tea. Read some good fiction. Sit under the stars, watching the flames of a bonfire. In the quiet. Breathe.

Your program wil be so much richer for it when you return.

Here is the promise

This Blog will be your go to place for contemporary, provocative and straightforward philanthropic insights. Lessons from the field. Links, media clips, newsy tidbits – topical and timely for today’s market challenges, growing philanthropic needs and shift in generational attitudes.