November 22, 2013 | Tom Suddes

We Don’t Need a Gettysburg Address

I did a great session with one of the finest small colleges in the world yesterday.

New President. Board (and everyone else) is looking for the ‘GRAND VISION’.

We are seeing this more and more … every day … with all of our clients/partners who are engaged in large transformational funding initiatives.

Our response to pretty much everyone right now is to stop over thinking the whole ‘VISION’ thing.

Yesterday, it was a simple statement: “You don’t need a Gettysburg Address.”

This university has a ridiculously strong and unique Mission and Message. We just laid that out in the ‘Blue’ at 30,000′ … and turned that into a $100 Million Vision.


I’m from Springfield, Illinois as was Lincoln.

I love the Gettysburg Address. I love the fact that Lincoln did it in 272 words … and they were really simple, powerful words.

However, not every leader nor every organization needs a ‘Gettysburg Address’ to talk with their best people about TRANSFORMATIONAL GIFTS.


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November 21, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Build Simple: Communication


This week marks the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln wrote this himself, and it certainly features one of the great openings of all time: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

The final version was 272 words! (I’m sure it took Lincoln many iterations to rid the ‘speech’ of all the words that were not important.)

Washington’s First Inaugural Address was 134 words.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was written on 3 pages (longhand) … summarized with 3 words … and then SIMPLIFIED again into 3 letters!!!

It seems like ‘we’ can’t write a proposal, a case for support or a request that isn’t 20, 30, 40 pages … smallest type possible … pages of financials …

Lincoln. Washington. Einstein.

Thoreau: “Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Always simplify.”

And finally, Sir William Ockham’s famous Razor: “What can be done with few assumptions is done in vain with more.”


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November 19, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Good Health Is Greatest Wealth

Here’s a thought from our Cross-Fit, Paleo Designer Wolfie:


For me, it’s not about Paleo or the Zone or Atkins or Gluten-Free …

It is about trying to EAT HEALTHY. It’s up to us to figure out what that means for each one of us.

Note: I love the line that MEDICINE IS SICK CARE.

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November 18, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Human BE-ings … Not Human DO-ings

Life and work are hectic. Here is a simple reminder to LIVE and BE.

We are human BE-ings, not human DO-ings.

Seems like we’re always encouraging you to Take Action, Just Ask, Just Visit, Just DO Something

But, it’s also important to just BE:

    BE present during your present-ations.
    BE in the moment, with family, friends, associates.
    BE yourself, authentic in every way.
    BE an entrepreneur, at least in spirit.


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November 12, 2013 | Tom Suddes

A Salute to Veterans


(A day late … but traveling all day yesterday.)

My dad was a Marine in World War II. My brother was a Marine Helicopter Pilot. I was the proverbial black sheep of the family when I went to Army Infantry out of Notre Dame.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day … but we should honor, celebrate and salute our veterans, as well as the men and women who are currently serving our country around the world, EVERY DAY!

Just one of those really BIG THINGS that sets the United States apart from the rest of the world.

Special Note: I think we have an opportunity in the Third Sector/For Impact World to help reintegrate returning military men and women. There are a lot of great OPPORTUNITIES within our world to make great use of the discipline, training and attitude instilled by the military.

Something to think about.

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November 7, 2013 | Tom Suddes

The Joy of Living

Given real choices in matters of LIFE or DEATH, scientifically studied odds are 9 to 1 AGAINST CHANGE!

Alan Deutschman expanded a provocative Fast Company cover story (May 2005) into a full-length book called, CHANGE OR DIE.

Deutschman’s conclusion from his two-year project:

    90% of patients with severe heart disease fail to CHANGE their own lifestyles… even after their doctor tells them that they’re in a “CHANGE or DIE” situation!

600,000 people have bypasses every year and 1.3 million heart patients have angioplasties, all at a total cost of around $30 Billion. These procedures are temporary and rarely prevent future attacks or prolong life. However, the patient could avoid the return of pain and the need to repeat the surgery by switching to a healthier lifestyle. However, after two years, 90% of these patients have not changed their lifestyle!

The Health Care industry consumes over $3 Trillion a year in the U.S. alone. (20% of our gross domestic product.) 80% of our health care budget is consumed by five behavioral issues… too much smoking, drinking, eating and stress, and not enough exercise.

This is not about the debate, discourse, disagreement on a Health Care Plan or the roll out of website. The fact is that…

We know the cause of these health problems.
We know the solutions.
Yet, people won’t, don’t CHANGE.

This CHANGE is not always about ‘life or death’. Studies have found that six weeks into the New Year, 80% of people had already broken their New Year resolutions (or can’t even remember them anymore)!

A National Institute for Health study found that 97% of people who lose weight end up gaining it all back within five years!

There is an alternative: CHANGE TO LIVE.


Read more

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November 6, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Sales Metrics You Should Be Focusing On

We’re all in sales.  Dan Pink says, “To sell is human.”


Tom Searcy, a legitimate sales guru, wrote a great article for about Sales Metrics.  He summarized a conversation with Jason Jordan, author of CRACKING THE SALES MANAGEMENT CODE and a partner at Vantage Point Performance.

Check out the article.  It’s really worth it.

Their study identified 306 different metrics that were considered critical by sales leaders, and then broke them into three categories:  Sales Activities, Sales Objectives and Business Results.

Their AHA discoveries:

  1. “Most of what is measured is outside of management’s ability to control!”  (They actually say that “83% of what is being tracked by our CRM and sales systems is just recording … not influencing.”)
  2. Management is about influencing outcomes.  Metrics are often just tracking progress and outcomes.
  3. Discerning the best opportunities!  Tom asked Jason about what he thought was the most impactful thing that a Sales Manager should spend time with his sales people on in order to get better results.Here’s Jason’s answer:“If you could only spend time with each salesperson on one activity to increase that person’s performance, it would be selectionSales people need a system in discerning the best opportunities in which to spend their time.  This takes experience and objective review by the sales manager in order to keep sales people from being overly optimistic about the wrong opportunities or chasing their next bright shiny object of potential.”

From my perspective as the Old Guy, this reinforces perfectly our focus in coaching around your MASTER PROSPECT LIST.  Identify, Prioritize and Strategize your very best prospects.  Do it with someone who has some ‘experience’.

‘Sales Managers’ (Vice Presidents, Directors of Development, etc.) help your sales team discern the best opportunities!

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November 6, 2013 | Tom Suddes

“From A Tiny SPARK …”

“From a tiny SPARK …
A great fire was kindled …
And it’s flame warmed the world.”

Guy Laliberté, Founder, Cirque du Soleil

I presented a SPARK session to 400 wonderful leaders, board members and development staff from JCamp 180, which is program for Jewish Camps from across the country sponsored by the Grinspoon Foundation.


As part of my prep, I re-read THE SPARK: Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives Within All of Us.  Great book created by Lyn Heward and written by John Bacon about Cirque du Soleil.

A lot of ‘good stuff‘ in this little book!

I love CIRQUE DU SOLEIL for its passion, creativity and talent.  Here are some SPARKS from the book:

  • Deadlines (and barriers and constraints) are good things!  These provide ways to stay focused.
  • The exhilaration that comes from risking it all!  And challenging thoughts about getting out of our comfort zones and trying something different.
  • Looking at everything through the eyes of the audience.
  • “The trick is not trying to solve the problem before you figured out what the problem is.”

Heward is the former President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil’s Creative Content Division.  She offers some really compelling insights into the power of Cirque du Soleil.

Definitely worth the read.

Special Note:  Great line on Page 52:  “Are you afraid of heights?”  “No, but I am afraid of dying prematurely and unpleasantly (by falling)!”



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November 1, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Alleviating Poverty One Bracelet At A Time


Jess Bergeron is a member of the For Impact ‘Tribe’ and works for A Global Friendship, the Brooklyn-based For Impact organization that empowers women around the world living on $10 a day and helps them to break the cycle of poverty.  He wrote and ‘JUST ASKED’!!! And, I want to help.

AGF has just launched a new Kickstarter project to help a community living in horrible conditions right here in the United States.

The Kickstarter project is THE SAGE BRAID: A GLOBAL FRIENDSHIP BRACELET … and all the proceeds from the sale of this bracelet go directly to creating jobs on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Here’s the link to the project on Kickstarter.


Here’s why I pledged $500:

  • I love AGF’s message around ‘empowering women around the world’.  (3 daughters, 3 granddaughers and the thousand amazing women social entrepreneurs I’ve met make this a no-brainer!)
  • Love the idea of a Sage Bracelet!  Sage is just a great natural and spirit-filled material.
  • They’re doing economic development through sustainable businesses!  I love people who create jobs and economic development opportunities.
  • I love the pictures!
  • I love the Pine Ridge Reservation ‘Story’.
    *And, my grandkids are really into Rubber Band Bracelets I’ve got a lot of them. These sage bracelets just look a lot cooler.

I’ve never done this before with our For Impact audience, but if you believe in any of the above … and want to help a group of young, social entrepreneurs … go to Kickstarter and help them reach their goal.

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October 28, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Be A MAKER In The Morning …

I finished THE ONE THING over the weekend and author Gary Keller provided this wonderful nugget that will help make me much more productive:

    Be a MAKER in the morning …
    And a MANAGER in the afternoon.

Keller mentioned an essay Paul Graham wrote in 2009 called ‘Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule’. Paul Graham is one of the Founders of Y Combinator, and a very contrarian thinker and doer.

This might not effect you the way it did me, but Graham (and Keller) make a really big deal about taking the most productive time of the day (which for most of us is usually in the morning) and devoting it to MAKING stuff.

That could be thinking, creating, writing, business development, sales, etc.

Then, schedule all of your MANAGEMENT stuff (meetings, etc.) in the afternoon.

This is now going to be the third part of my productivity plan.

    1. “MANAGE YOUR ENERGY, NOT YOUR TIME.” Jim Loehr wrote this. It’s the guts of his amazing book, THE POWER OF FULL ENGAGEMENT. It changed my entire thinking from to do lists and filling up the day … to ensuring that I had the maximum energy when I need to do something BIG.
    2. FOCUS DAYS/BUFFER DAYS/FREE DAYS. I can’t remember where I actually got this. I know it was more than 25 years ago. I think it was a Canadian speaker. Talked about FOCUS DAYS and BUFFER DAYS and FREE DAYS.
    FOCUS DAYS are exactly that. Full energy. A command performance (a speech or a big sales call or a major presentation) or just a commitment to FOCUS on The One Thing .
    BUFFER DAYS are meant to be for prep or follow-up. I treat buffer days as days to get stuff done that has to get done.
    FREE DAYS are exactly that … FREE! It resonates a lot more today than it did 25 years ago. Having an actual day that is FREE of work is worth its weight it Bitcoins.
    3. BE A MAKER IN THE MORNING. I know this works for me. I just haven’t stated it as such. Will do my best to be a MAKER in the MORNING.

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