One of the wheels of my expertise is process improvement…and because it is an easy thing to misunderstand, I am going to explain a bit about it here.
Process improvement isn’t about strangling every last imperfection out of a process…oh no, just the opposite, it is about making sure that the essentials are in place so that great work has room to develop.
A lot of time when I hear discussions about art and artists, I think a little bit is lost…because entrepreneurs, business leaders, and others that work in business, government, and non-profits are just as much artists as the actors, dancers, or painters we label with that term.
In the end, the true measure of art is the impact that it makes on the world. So maybe that is what you should aim for.
Here is the thing…when you are in a business services company, you are really in the business of marketing.
Here is why: no matter how awesome your services, if you have no customers….you don’t have a business.
In my work and mentoring, I try to highlight this concept over and over. I am sure if you talk to my people that you will hear a refrain of “Dave says this over and over.”
But is your marketing effective?
Do you have metrics to measure your inputs?
Is your marketing pointing you towards the audience you hope to reach?
How do you know?
One of the great things that has come out of the Internet and other endeavors like training for a marathon while raising money for a charity is that more people are thinking about ways in which they can make a difference.
For the people that are wondering and haven’t made the jump, I wanted to illustrate a few great examples of people making a difference, in both ways small and large, and hopefully it will inspire you to do something to make a difference in the world.
* Sloane Davidson has maintained several sites and blogs over the years that I have known about her and communicated with her infrequently…the one I want to highlight is Causemopolitan. While you are there, check out her manifesto about giving.
* Coach Adam is someone I met in 2006 and he held a mythical stature for many of us newbie marathon trainers. As the leader of some of the NYRR’s Team For Kids’ efforts, Coach Adam helped empower hundreds of runners to raise millions of dollars to fight childhood obesity. More importantly, when his association with the NYRR ended, he continued to inspire through his efforts to get people active and involved through numerous organizations around the country including one he started Race With Purpose. If you are every annoyed by the friends of yours that are raising money for a charity, maybe send Coach Adam an email and ask him his thoughts on the topic.
* On a very large level, we often think of big organizations and big names that give doing it for more self serving reasons, but one band that has built their giving into the DNA of their band and organization is Pearl Jam. They don’t need any more light shed on them, but one thing that Eddie Vedder has said on many occasions is that their platform allows them a great opportunity to shed light onto great causes and over the years the guys in Pearl Jam have used their Vitalogy Foundation to help a diverse set of organizations that have pursued a healthier environment, social justice, and the arts. The next time you think about a big organization or celebrity doing something for less than altruistic reasons, maybe check out the organizations that your favorite company or band is supporting to see if maybe the contribution they are giving to the community isn’t rooted in something larger.
These are only 3 and there are so many more than I don’t know about or that I do and could spend days writing about…but I really hope you will use the comments section to share some of your favorite examples.
Even when our society needs us to break the molds.
Sitting at a conference table recently, a conversation broke out about the need for more “competent” people…and from my perspective, that is the bare minimum that we should be getting, not something we should be hoping for.
Our institutions and our organizations don’t need competence, even if it is short supply…we really need leadership, vision, and guts.
Competence is fine, but it is a very low bar to set for ourselves.