August 13, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Pareto & Parkinson

Everybody has heard of Pareto’s 80/20 Rule. I still believe old Eduardo Pareto made sense in the 18th Century. Today, it’s more like 97/3.

Parkinson’s Law was first articulated in 1955. Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. (I think it was actually designed to describe the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time.)

If you combine 97/3 with the REVERSE of Parkinson’s Law … then you can definitely GTD: Get Things Done! (As David Allen espouses.)

Shorter deadlines. Constraints. Priorities. Focus. Execution.

as Larry the Cable Guy would say.

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August 13, 2013 | Tom Suddes


I was reading HBR Blog yesterday entitled To Move Ahead, You Have to Know What to Leave Behind.

Quick Summary & My Thoughts:

Latin root of the word decide is caidere which means “to kill or to cut”.

Deciding to do something NEW … without killing something old … is not a decision at all. It’s merely an addition.

CHANGE can’t be about adding more stuff! (E.g., If we’re changing to a major gift model with a focus on top-down presentations … we need to subtract other stuff like special events!)

Ockham’s Razor. “It is vain to do with more what can be done with less!”

John Maeda, in his great book on Simplicity, says, “Perfection is not where there is no more to add … but no more to take away.”

Tim Ferris has a great line: “Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.” Even goes on to say, “Remember: Most things make no difference.”

Covey: “WHAT you do is way more important than HOW you do it.”

Bottom Line: ‘CHANGE’ has to involve subtraction/elimination. (What you change to … has to have ‘room’ to be accepted.)

Make your DECISION!

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August 12, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Is Taking Risks Worth Risking Failure?

I saw this quote from Marty Sklar, Walt Disney’s legendary creative director and wanted to add on to Nick’s thoughts on Walt.

“The only people who don’t fail are the people who aren’t doing anything. Those who make the giant leaps in business are the ones willing to try something new. Disneyland, which opened in 1955, was probably the biggest risk anybody had ever taken in the entertainment business. In the 1950′s, amusement parks were a dying industry. When Walt told his wife what he was planning to do, even she said, ‘Why would you want to do that? Those places are so dirty, and the people in them are so nasty.’ And Walt said, ‘Well, mine’s not going to be that way.’ He made that promise come true.

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August 12, 2013 | Nick Fellers

Walt Disney on Vision, Leadership and Life.

I am completely fascinated by the life and leadership lessons provided by Walt Disney. If there’s a book on Walt, I’ve probably read it.

I wanted to share with you one of the absolute best and some nuggets: How To Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams and Jim Denney.

I don’t think these nuggets need much commentary.

  • Many people look down on selling as somehow beneath them. I hope you don’t make that mistake. All the wealth in America can be traced to the fact that somebody somewhere sold something to somebody else. Selling is one of the most honorable professions around—and one of the most rewarding. It is also one of the toughest.
  • I would suggest five qualities that every great salesman must have. Build these qualities into your life and you can sell like Walt. Those five qualities are honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, courage and persistence.
  • “Walt lived the life of his own imagination. Most people are afraid to do that, but Walt was fearless in that way.”
  • “Think beyond your lifetime, if you want to do something truly great. Make a fifty-year master plan. A fifty-year master plan will change how you look at the opportunities in the present.”
  • Delegating requires the ability to trust others. As a leader, you can’t do it all yourself; you are the visionary, the motivator, the team-builder. You sell your vision to a team of competent people, trust them to do their jobs, and hold them accountable for the results.
  • “Walt Disney was a collector of people.”
  • Walt’s friend, writer Ray Bradbury, explained the lesson of Walt’s life this way: “Walt teaches us that if you really want to accomplish something big in life, don’t hesitate. Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Then build your wings on the way down. That’s what Walt did. If he waited for every condition to be perfect, he wouldn’t have done anything. The world would have been deprived of so much joy and we would never have heard of Walt Disney.”
  • A Servant’s Heart I believe the ultimate test of leadership is this: Does this person have the heart of a servant? If you don’t have a servant’s heart, you’re not a leader, just a boss.
    That was Walt. To his employees, he was not only a leader. He was their defender and their servant. That’s what separates leaders from bosses.
  • Walt also talked to amusement park operators. He told them he was going to build a clean, inviting park; he would charge admission at the front gate (to keep out drunks and other sinister types); and he would staff his park with friendly people. The park operators laughed and predicted Walt would go broke within a year. “You can’t keep cleaning the restrooms all day,” they said. “That costs money! And you can’t charge admission—nobody will come! And you don’t hire ‘nice people’—you hire people who work cheap.”
  • When Walt built Disneyland, he was not just putting on a show. He was thinking of the future of humanity—of the grand dream of moving out into space, colonizing other worlds, and harnessing the energies of the atom. He envisioned the entire human race living together in peace and harmony.
  • Envision the future as you want it to be, then spend the next ten, twenty, thirty years of your life turning that dream into a reality.
  • [On Disney World] “Here in Florida,” he said, “we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland: the blessing of size. There is enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.”

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July 29, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Sales Rep Wanted: Inquire Any Place

Article in USA Today last week.

“In June, number of jobs in SALES and related occupations jumped a whopping 445,000 to a four-year high of 15.8M.”

“Sales representative is the SECOND HARDEST job to fill this year according to Manpower’s ‘Talent Shortage Survey’.”

Article goes on to talk about increased demand on sales representatives’ skills and talents. And, my favorite line:

“Despite (all of this) … few college and business schools offer sales classes.”
Which they somehow try to justify by this: “In part because of the field’s tarnished image.”

BULL HONKEY. Colleges and business schools prepare people to work in large corporations/ organizations, on ‘finance’ or ‘management’. UGH!

  • “TO SELL IS HUMAN.” Read the book by Dan Pink.
  • Read this quote by Bob Burg: “Selling – at its core – is not a business transaction. It is first and foremost the forging of a human connection.”

I point out all of this to our For Impact Tribe because we have become as much of a TALENT company as a ‘training, coaching, fundraising, strategic counsel’ company.

EVERYBODY that we’re working with is dealing with ‘BUS’ issues. Do we have the right people? Where do we find the people? How do we find the right people? And on and on and on.

I will tell you one place you won’t find the right people … and that’s advertising in the back three pages of the Chronicle of Philanthropy! No disrespect to the Chronicle. I love to read all the articles.

However, if “35% of sales managers couldn’t find qualified candidates for open positions last month”, that number is 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% for finding qualified and truly great development/advancement people in the 3rd Sector.

The current model is broken. We need a whole new way of filling these positions and training (or re-training) the talented individuals who commit to this sector.

*Email Steve Elder ( if you’re interested in learning more about our solutions.

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July 19, 2013 | Tom Suddes

‘Best Practice’

Found this DILBERT from 2002.

Project, Reorg, Merger, etc.

“Savings” and a T-Shirt.

“Best Practices.”

Friday Fun

End of week humor … or painful reality???

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July 16, 2013 | Nick Fellers

For Impact Teleseminar

For Impact 101- Changing the Funding Game (INTRO)
Thursday, July 18, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (EDT)

"Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it is getting."
- Tim Kight

Using this quote as a framing device we’ll explore the design you need to change or drive results… we’ll reference stories and practical nuggets you can implement based on 30 years of in-the-field experience, $1Billion+ raised directly and $1Billion raised indirectly through our coaching clients.

We’ve prepared this coaching seminar to augment the For Impact workshops and WOW emails. It’s a great way to review the For Impact message and share the workshop experience with others. Space is limited. Click here to register.

This seminar is geared toward senior team leaders and those responsible for architecting an organization’s message and funding strategy.

In this seminar we share:

  • Frameworks to help you tell your story (internally and externally)
  • Ways to leverage the board and champion support
  • Frameworks to structure your staff your team
  • How to generate a stronger fundraising ROI
  • Practical funding tools and examples you can model
  • Ideas to raise your organization’s thinking around philanthropy, transformational giving and leadership gifts. 

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July 16, 2013 | Tom Suddes

The Inspiration Factor

The Inspiration Factor: How You Can Revitalize Your Company Culture in 12 Weeks

My friend Jim Mahoney turned me onto this book called THE INSPIRATION FACTOR: HOW YOU CAN REVITALIZE YOUR COMPANY CULTURE IN 12 WEEKS by Terry Barber.

The author opens with the idea that inspiration is often tied to motivation. However, motivation can be positive or negative, productive or destructive.

Inspiration is always good, always positive.

Here are Barber’s Seven Principles of Inspiration with a short note next to each one.

    1. Be authentic. (Anyone who is part of the For Impact Tribe knows that authenticity is one of the primary tenets of our model.)
    2. Connect with others’ dreams. (This is all about matching up the dreams of your Talent to the company or organization’s dreams and goals.)
    3. See in others abilities they don’t see in themselves. (A great leader/manager encourages people to focus on their strengths.)
    4. Speak with credibility. (‘Street cred’ comes from: Been there. Done that. Screwed it up. Learned from it.)
    5. Tell great stories – yours and others. (The Power of Story is another great book and reminder for all of us.)
    6. Help people reach their destination. (Your people will follow you to the proverbial ends of the earth if they know you’re trying to help them with their goals.)
    7. Create a new culture. (A culture of Inspiration, Innovation and Impact.)

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July 10, 2013 | Tom Suddes


Love, love, love the days when SUCCESS mag arrives. August issue now out. Tons of good stuff. The article that leaped out at me was about Dan Pink (Modern-Day Mentalist), his writing, his motivation and his family.

The article triggered these thoughts on TO SELL IS HUMAN. This is something I should have written months ago … but kept putting off because I was trying to do the book and the subject ‘justice’. Then my good friend and brilliant social entrepreneur/For Impact leader, Jim Mahoney, came along and did it waaaaay better than I could.

Back Story: I was selected as one of 96 people to review and provide feedback on the draft of TO SELL IS HUMAN. I loved everything about it. It reinforced so much of what we stress in our training, coaching and writing. You’re in sales. (Get over it.) Commit to sales. Just ask. Selling is the forging of a human connection. Etc.

I’ve asked Jim for ‘permission’ (though I’m more about ‘forgiveness’ and just doing it) to have him as our guest thinker/blogger/reviewer this week.

Jim has written an absolutely stellar summary of TO SELL IS HUMAN: THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT MOVING OTHERS.

To echo Pink, Mahoney, Suddes, et al … WE’RE ALL IN SALES.

Urge, urge, urge you to read these Book Notes by Jim. Nine pages. Worth every minute.

At the same time, order Dan Pink’s book. He’s written some great stuff, including A Whole New Mind (one of my all-time favorite books), Drive and Free Agent Nation.

This latest book is stunning in its premise and findings.

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July 10, 2013 | Tom Suddes

The Exceptional Presenter

Almost everything in our FOR IMPACT WORLD is about PRESENTATIONS

The Exceptional Presenter

Since everyone in our FOR IMPACT universe is PRESENTING (SELLING) something to someone, the following thoughts from THE EXCEPTIONAL PRESENTER by Tim Koegel can help immediately.

Tim Koegel is literally one of the best in the world at helping craft messages and refine delivery skills. Tim uses the acronym OPEN UP to represent the six characteristics that are shared by EXCEPTIONAL PRESENTERS.

  • ORGANIZED. A clear, concise and compelling MESSAGE designed to inform, persuade, influence, entertain or enlighten.
  • PASSIONATE. Energetic, enthusiastic, from the heart. (If you don’t look or sound passionate about your ideas … why would anyone respond to you?)
  • ENGAGING. Exceptional presenters do everything in their power to engage each ‘audience’ member (even if it is only one person!)
  • NATURAL. Authentic. Comfortable. Confident.

As an ‘Exceptional Presenter,’ you must:

  • UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE. For me that’s about DISCOVERY! (Whether it’s 1,000 people at the YMCA or one person on a $10 Million opportunity.)
  • PRACTICE. Those who practice improve. Those who don’t, don’t.

*Tom Peters picked up Tim’s book in an airport and wrote a whole blog about practice! This was the one thing he picked out that made so much sense: Those who practice improve. Those who don’t, don’t.

Take a look at Tim’s first and last characteristics of exceptional presenters. These things can make a huge difference … immediately!

ORGANIZED! Think about this:


IF … you can’t ORGANIZE your MESSAGE …


THEN … WHY would any of your potential investors think you can ‘ORGANIZE’ your ORGANIZATION … your DELIVERY OF YOUR SERVICE … your IMPACT???


One way you can ‘PRACTICE’ is to get out and share your MESSAGE with as many people as you can!

You can also make PRESENTATIONS to Fund Your Vision by ‘PRACTICING’ with your closest relationships, key champions and board members, low-hanging fruit and prospects further down on your Master Prospect List.

***I’ve made over 6,000 one-on-one (SALES) PRESENTATIONS. You want to get really, really good at something? Do it 6,000 times.

They say if you want to learn how to surf, simply surf a 1,000 waves. Same is true with learning to box. Simply throw 10,000 punches. The point here is getting out and actually DOING IT.

Here are 3 more ‘nuggets’ in case from this book:

  1. “Keep it short. Keep it focused. Keep it relevant.”I would only add, keep it simple.
    (Page 33)
  2. “Don’t underestimate the power of your delivery!” Tim quotes a study to help understand PRESENTATION EFFECTIVENESS:
    • 7% of our IMPACT is determined by the WORDS we use.
    • 38% of our IMPACT is determined by our VOICE – how confident and comfortable we sound.
    • 55% of our IMPACT is determined NON-VERBALLY – our appearance, posture, gestures, movement, eye contact and facial expressions.
In other words, 93% of our COMMUNICATION IMPACT comes from the WAY WE DELIVER our WORDS!!!
  1. “Do not accept AVERAGE when you can be EXCEPTIONAL”  Nuff said.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Tim Koegel and I go waaaaaaay back. Tim’s a Notre Dame grad, all- everything in Ohio high school sports and a quarterback at Notre Dame. He even did a stint in the old USFL. I worked with Tim for a while in the early ‘80s; and I’ve watched his communications coaching career explode. He is, literally, the BEST at what he does.

Even if I didn’t know Tim and I picked this book up at the airport just as Tom Peters did, I’d still give it my highest recommendation. Trust me on this one.

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