October 11, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Point of View on a Napkin

Working on Be For Impact … the ‘book’ that’s not a book. Saw this quote:

“The soul never thinks without a picture.” Aristotle.

Here’s a ‘picture’ of our Point of View.


Here’s a PDF of this so you can print … and post/share.

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October 8, 2013 | Tom Suddes

E + R = O

Event + Response = Outcome

Summary from Tim Kight and Starbies. If you’re a follower/tribe member, you know Tim from his magnificent quote/challenge:

“Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results that they’re getting.”

Tim and his son Brian are working with Coach Urban Meyer and his staff and team at The Ohio State University on Leadership.

Tim has captured a great attitude/philosophy of life in the above equation.

It’s not the Event that creates the Outcome. It’s our RESPONSE to the EVENT that creates the OUTCOME.

Simple. Straight forward. Sticky.


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October 3, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Our 9 Guiding Principles

Heading to Notre Dame to keynote the IRISH IMPACT SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR CONFERENCE. Then, speaking with a great group of entrepreneurs and business leaders in Elkhart, Indiana on Friday (epicenter of recreational vehicle manufacturing).

Going to share these 9 Guiding Principles with both groups. Thought I would share with the ‘Tribe’ (For Impact, not Cleveland Indians).

If you are a For Impact ‘Frequent Flyer’, you’ll recognize all of this. They are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ve added a thought in parenthesis.

I always appreciate feedback.

    1. Start With the Why. (Altitude/Top-Down Thinking and Selling.)
    2. You Become What You Think About. (Earl’s Strangest Secret … That’s Not A Secret.)
    3. Change Your Vocabulary. (Change the Way You Talk Changes the Way You Think and Act.)
    4. Think Big. Build Simple. Act Now. (THE Entrepreneur’s Mantra.)
    5. Do The Math. (Know the Math. Own the Math.)
    6. Change the Rules. (Transformational Impact Doesn’t Come from Playing by Current Rules.)
    7. Drive the Bus. (You Drive Who’s On Your Bus, Off the Bus and in the Right Seats.)
    8. Commit to Sales. (You’re In Sales. Get Over It.)
    9. Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask. (It’s That Simple. Just Ask.)

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September 30, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Did You Live, Love, Matter?


I did a lot of reading this weekend. Was reviewing Brendon Burchard’s THE MILLIONAIRE MESSENGER.

His 3 questions popped out:


I’m getting ready to present a couple of programs this week around BE FOR IMPACT. This has gone from a message for the ‘Not-For-Profit’ world to a high-level message to the Third Sector, the For-Profit world and for each of us personally.

Did you make an iMPACT?

Here is my #6 L Mantra:


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September 23, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Harvard Announces $6.5 Billion Fundraising Campaign!

Yes, $6.5 Billion! Announced that they have $2.8 Billion committed in the “pre-launch phase of the campaign”.

  • Purpose: “To ensure its leadership role in rapidly shifting landscape of higher education.”
  • Priorities: Teaching and Researching Initiatives (50%), Financial Aid (25%), Capital Improvements (25%)
  • Plan: I am assuming it’s JUST ASK.

P.S./By the Way/For What It’s Worth/FYI: Harvard has over $32 Billion in its Endowment! (More than $10 Billion more than #2, Yale University.)

Average annual return for the last three years is over 10%$3.2 Billion plus.

Harvard’s annual operating budget is $3.7 Billion.

DO THE MATH. (Endowment Income almost covers Operating Budget!)

My (subtle) point: Even with a $32 Billion Endowment, Harvard is able to make a Case for Support and Funding Rationale for raising $6.5 Billion.

For the rest of the sector (those organizations who do not have a $32 Billion Endowment), we should also be able to make a Case for Support and provide a Funding Rationale for our best prospective investors!

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September 20, 2013 | Tom Suddes



We just spent four days at Walt Disney World with the amazing Development Team from Catholic Health Initiatives. We spent one day with the Disney Institute talking about LEADERSHIP, and I wanted to share some big, big takeaways.

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY. If you don’t get or need to be reinforced around the POWER OF STORY … just look at DISNEY! The ‘Founders’ Story’ around Walt and Roy, alone, is worth the proverbial price of admission!
    Walt was the visionary. Roy was the numbers and operations guy. Walt has been gone from Disney for over 40 years … yet everything is a function of his dreams, values … and pithy quotes!
    • “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
    • “It’s easy to make decisions … when you know your values.”
    • “At Disney we measure everything.”
    *WWWD. This shorthand has become so overused, but the leadership at Disney still ask themselves all the time: “What Would Walt Do?” Again, this is almost always paired with a ‘Walt Story’!
  • The LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE MODEL. Disney’s definition of leadership: The leader is anyone who influences change.
    Their model includes 4 key functions that each leader must perform:
  • Benchmarking. One of my favorite leadership lessons from this Disney experience was that Disney doesn’t ‘BENCHMARK’ other companies or other practices. They only BENCHMARK amongst themselves! (E.g., each hotel tries to learn from the best practices of the other hotels. Same with the restaurants, etc.)
  • COMMON LANGUAGE! Talk about the importance of vocabulary! Disney (as does every other Elite Team) has its own common language: Cast Members, Guests, Characters, Story, Front of the House and Heart of the House, etc. And, they use it!

*Personal Note: Everything at Disney is not ‘perfect’. Their grand vision is still to make this the happiest experience on earth. That’s not always the case. But you have to admire the commitment to creativity, innovation, values, team orientation … and guest experience. (Imagine what it would be like if the hotdogs weren’t $25!)

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September 9, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Don’t Try to ‘BOIL THE OCEAN’

Gerhard Gschwandtner is publisher of SELLING POWER. He is one of the true experts and gurus on the Art of Selling.

In this month’s editorial, he responds to someone who is stuck in a rut, wants to take three months off to write, etc.

GG’s response,

“Take baby steps; don’t try to boil the ocean.”

There it is. Set smaller goals. Think about what you can do today. Sit down and do the work. (Steven Pressfield) Ship it. (Seth Godin)

What can you TODAY to move forward on your big goals, your 1,000-Day Plan, changing the world???


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September 4, 2013 | Nick Fellers

Office Hours

School’s back in session.

We’re offering Office Hours again throughout the fall.

The simple concept:

We first tried this two years ago, holding ‘office hours’ in a hotel lobby – visiting with one organization at a time, and helping it simplify its message, overcome funding obstacles, and work through some prospect strategies.

The coaching generated some $260,000 in gifts for the handful of organizations that sought advice. These were organizations that didn’t necessarily need to be in a long-term coaching relationship, but that benefited from a little help in applying the For Impact frameworks.

Huge impact!

Some of those we met that day became For Impact clients and others simply became better acquaintances with a deeper understanding of the For Impact frameworks. In every case, it added value and made a big impact in the local For Impact community — an objective of ours that drives the WOW Emails, Daily Nuggets blog, teleseminars, and gatherings.

In September, For Impact coaches will be holding office hours in these cities:

Indianapolis (tentative)
Phoenix (tentative)
San Francisco (tentative)
St. Louis

Post-Surgery Rehab — Office hours with OG.
Regular readers will know Tom is holed up at Eagle Creek recovering from a shoulder surgery. We usually have him busy and on-the-road, but as part of his R&R, we will also be making Tom available for selected coaching sessions. (He loves it!)

Contact Mike Gemm (mike@forimpact.org) if you’re interested in meeting up with a For Impact coach in one of the cities above. Please include something you would hope to get out of our time together, e.g., addressing a specific challenge, getting re-charged, working on strategy, simplifying, etc.).


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September 4, 2013 | Tom Suddes


I had a great conversation with one of our top coaches on his birthday. We just kind of riffed about life and goals and priorities. When I went to summarize the conversation, I thought it might be of value to others as well.

The three big ideas were around:

    1. WRITE IT DOWN. (IT WILL HAPPEN.) We talked a lot about journaling, which is just my word for writing stuff down, life goals, annual goals, monthly goals, etc.
    I mentioned that this does not have to be a formal process. A lot of rambling writing, quick journal entries, sometimes topical but most of the time stream of consciousness. Julia Cameron, one of my absolute favorite authors wrote the seminal book on this called The Artist’s Way. She calls them morning pages encouraging everyone to write 3 pages every day.
    I gave a lot of examples from my own life of writing stuff down, including a list of things I wanted from my ultimate place to live (which I wrote in 1983 in South Bend, Indiana … and 20 years later have that list checked off at Eagle Creek).
    Besides the SFP (Self-Fulfilling Prophecy) application of this (IT WILL HAPPEN) … these journals and notebooks represent some of my most prized possessions, including a journal from my trip around the world, Nick and my two-week trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, my original ‘green’ book with all the kids’ birthday goals, etc.
    2. 1,000-DAY PLAN. For ‘Mike’, this worked out great. He just turned 37. 1,000 days takes him to his 40th birthday!
    While I like the idea of lifetime goals, legacy/impact goals, bucket lists, etc., I find that 1,000 days (almost three years) provides a really powerful framework for a personal action plan. Where do you want to be in 1,000 days? What do you have to do to make that happen? What can you do in the next quarter (90 days) to move you towards those goals?
    Note: I mentioned that one of my ‘best’ 1,000-day plans was at age 57 … tied to my 60th birthday. My dad passed away at age 57; and, I used that as a great motivator to lay out where I’d like to be and what I’d like to be doing at age 60.
    3. BIRTHDAYS and BIRTH DATES. I had a great conversation about how to use birthdays and birth dates to help make goals happen (and, I would add, live a good life).

We talked about three natural Action-Forcing Events:

  • Calendar Year. December is a great time to evaluate and plan for the following calendar year. I’m not really talking about ‘resolutions’ (since it is statistically proven that 98.3% of all people who set New Year’s resolutions have abandoned them by January 26th). With that said, the holidays and a start of a new year provide a great opportunity to stop and think and plan.
  • Your Fiscal Year. Your personal fiscal year is represented by the year in between your birthdays. I make a pretty big deal of birthdays. Always have. Always will. It’s not about ‘age’, but rather another wonderful opportunity to stop and think, evaluate the last year, plan and look forward to the next year (all with a sense of gratitude).
    ***I find that this really is a good time to ‘get away’ for three hours or three days and do some serious thinking and planning.
  • Your Monthly Birthdate. I won’t go deep into this here, but I’ve been urging our team members and audiences for years about the idea of CELEBRATING YOUR BIRTHDATE … every month.
    In this context, I use the birthdate as a monthly check in. I review my experiences and accomplishments in the last month, goals/plans for the next month, and a high-level look at my 1,000-day plan.
    ***I use the word ‘celebrate’ very purposely. Your birthdate is also a great opportunity to do something for yourself! That may be coffee shop, motorcycle ride, great workout, a trip, special time with those you love, or hiding out somewhere and reading a great book.

We ended up having a great conversation about LIFE ROCKS. More on that later.

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August 30, 2013 | Tom Suddes


As every parent or grandparent knows, the only person who really likes ‘CHANGE‘ is a wet baby!

However, CHANGE really is the only CONSTANT.


There is true ‘SEA CHANGE’ going on in the world … and certainly in our Third Sector/For Impact world.

Our For Impact Guidebook ON CHANGE will be published next week; and here is a sample of some great quotes on CHANGE to help inspire, motivate and support you.

Three of my favorites are:

  • “BE the CHANGE you want to see in the world.” Gandhi
  • EVERY organization needs to ABANDON (CHANGE) almost EVERYTHING that it does.” Peter Drucker
  • “Stop BEGGING for ‘change’.
    Start begging for CHANGE.”
    Robert Egger


Right click on image to download a copy!

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