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 ( 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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August 28, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Sea Change

Have you ever visited the Great Barrier Reef in Australia?

On the inner (leeward) side of the reef, there are NO waves, NO turbulence, NO ‘CHANGE‘ … and NO LIFE!

All of the colorful fish, the beautiful coral and the amazing plants are on the ocean (windward) side of the reef … where they are hammered every day with crashing waves, intense turbulence and ‘CHANGE‘.

Here are three stories to help you with this whole idea of CHANGE ….


    Forty years before Copernicus revolutionized the world view, Leonardo da Vinci said, “THE SUN DOES NOT MOVE.” Both of these dudes were born on a flat, unmoving planet in the center of the universe, around which the “SUN CIRCLED.”

    A century after their deaths, that same planet was a rotating sphere orbiting around the sun somewhere in a universe too vast to even have a center! The church tried to suppress this as heresy. The best ‘THINKERS’ of the times thought this concept absurd.

    The planet/solar system did not ‘CHANGE‘. But, the paradigm for understanding it had been turned inside out.


    In the 15th Century, Italy was immersed in chaos, war, bloodshed, terror … and ‘CHANGE’. It produced da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi … and the RENAISSANCE.

    Around the same time, SWITZERLAND experienced hundreds of years of peace, consistency, sustainability and no, none, none, nada, nil ‘CHANGE‘. It produced the CUCKOO CLOCK.


    My good friend, Jim Mahoney (Battelle for Kids), tells this wonderful story:

    It’s pretty easy to catch monkeys in the jungle. You just carve out the inside of a coconut with a small hole in the top, fill the coconut with NUTS and BERRIES, and attach the coconut to a stake or a tree.

    The monkey comes along, sticks its hand inside the coconut, and grabs a handful of nuts and berries. The monkey will be there when you get back. Guaranteed. WHY? Because it will NOT let go of the NUTS and BERRIES, and, thus, can’t get its FIST out of the coconut.

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August 22, 2013 | Tom Suddes


I just finished the high-level thoughts on Guiding Principle #1: START WITH THE WHY.

I wanted to share with the Tribe. Big favor. If you find value and/or enjoy the resources at, please take a moment and give me some feedback on this Guiding Principle. Just riff. Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling or even complete sentences. Just let me know what you think.

“He who has a WHY to live … can bear almost any HOW.”

In MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, Viktor Frankl uses Nietzsches quote to capture the essence of START WITH THE WHY.

If we have the WHY … know the WHY … can communicate the WHY … all else falls in place.


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August 21, 2013 | Nick Fellers

Capture the World’s Imagination

“How can you capture the world’s imagination?” Tom Peters

“Capturing the world’s imagination is the only game worth playing.” Alan Weber

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