October 12, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Confidently Answer Any Curveball Question with the Rule of 3

Here is a framing device to help you answer any question in a calm and confident manner. It’s called The Rule of 3.

The Rule of 3 is simply the framing of THREE things to simplify a concept.

Yesterday a coaching client described a ‘tough question’ received from a board member about an upcoming project. In response to a plan about expanding into three new cities the board member asked, “How EXACTLY how the funds will be used in each of those three cities?”

The organization has a complete business plan that details every penny for each city. However, it would’ve been too vague to say, “Yes, we a complete business plan… it’s here in 40 pages.” So the ED froze.

Now that the ED has The Rule of 3 in her bag of tricks! She can simplify 40 pages on-the-fly by limiting herself to three bullet points. With the Rule of 3 the ED tried her first impromtu response, “Yes Nick… all the funds will be used to do these three things. 1) Purchase the curriculum 2) Provide Training and 3) Deliver ongoing assistance to partner organizations).”

Simply by summarizing the 40 pages in three bullet points the ED delivered confidence and clarity in her response.

The Rule of 3 is a magic framing device. Studies have shown that we as humans are wired to receive and remember three’s. Four bullet points seems like ‘too much’ and two seems like ‘not enough’.

Action: I want you to think about a tough question you’ve received in the past few weeks. Force yourself to go back and answer the question by saying:

  • “Yes, it comes down to three key objectives….”
  • “There are three goals we’re looking to achieve…”
  • “There are three parts to the answer…”

You will sound confident in your answer. You will be more confident in your answer. The person asking the question will be impressed by your answer — often saying, “Wow, you really have this down!”

Also, observe the Rule of 3 in action with any great speaker, marketer or politician. Now that you’re looking for it… it will appear EVERYWHERE!

Tom first shared the Rule of 3 with me about ten years ago. It’s since proven time and time again to be the most powerful framing device there is because 1) It’s simple 2) Easy to use and 3) Humans are hard wired to positively receive groups-of -threes.


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October 11, 2010 | Tom Suddes

10/10/10

Yesterday was definitely a ‘TEN’!!!

10/10/10! It doesn’t happen very often. (Like every 100 years.)

It seems like a perfect time to reflect on your PRIORITIES and your FOCUS for the remainder of 2010!

Not trying to out-Top 10 Letterman, but here our TOP 10 IDEAS… for the next 10 WEEKS!!! (Three remaining weeks in October. Four weeks in November. Three weeks in December… and then the holiday!)

10 IDEAS… IN 10 WEEKS… BEFORE THE END OF 2010!

    1. Create your own 10-Week ACTION PLAN for the rest of 2010.
    What are your priorities? Where can you concentrate your efforts for the highest return? What are the 10 things you really, really want to get done in 2010 that will make this one of the best years ever? (Regardless of what you’ve done to date.)
    2. Focus on your TOP 10!!! Make a commitment, in writing, to your peers, in blood… to VISIT with your Top 10 Prospects in the next 10 weeks!!! (C’mon. It’s one visit a week!) Your org will literally be TRANSFORMED if you have a conversation/dialogue with you best 10 CHAMPIONS (Prospective Investors) in the next 10 weeks.
    3. Commit to change your CULTURE by end of 2010!!! Now is actually the perfect time (perfect storm?) to make the CHANGES that you know are necessary for a Quantum Leap in 2011. No kaizen. No tweaks. MASSIVE ACTION. MASSIVE CHANGE. MASSIVE RESULTS. Read more

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October 6, 2010 | Tom Suddes

The 3 C’s: For Pilots In A Crisis

This comes from Mary Slaughter, Chief Learning Office of Sun Trust Banks, in an interview with Lisa Gschwandtner in Selling Power.

“All flight instructors tell their student pilots what to do if they get lost in the air.” (What I would call a Crisis or Challenge or Change.)

    1. Stay Calm. (Getting worked up in a crisis is going to make it worse, not better.)
    2. Climb. (Get higher. Look farther. Have a better sense of where you are and a greater likelihood of figuring out where you want to go.)
    3. Communicate. (Get on the radio and call for help. Don’t try to solve this by yourself.)

Not a bad Checklist for non-pilots who are leading Change in these Chaotic times.


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October 5, 2010 | Tom Suddes

The One Hundred Trillion Dollar Idea

There will be a ONE HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLAR TRANSFER OF WEALTH in the next 30 years!

Who will end up with all that??? Not the government. Not the children. And not charities.

It will all end up in the hands of WOMEN!!!

I have shared this idea with a lot of organizations and at a lot of speaking and trainings in the last couple of years. Still not sure anybody is actually paying any attention.

Maybe this will help. From the September 23, 2010 Chronicle of Philanthropy.

OHIO BUSINESSWOMAN’S GIFT PROVIDES $113 MILLION TO TWO NONPROFITS! Virginia B., Dayton, Ohio Businesswoman died in June and left $87 Million to Georgetown University and a $26 Million Gift to the Dayton Foundation. This woman’s husband owned a pharmaceutical company and passed away in 1965. She had managed the company after her husband’s death.

Think about this:

    How many ‘VIRGINIA’S’ are out there?
    How many organizations are still chasing MEN?
    Who would you rather visit with… a BOWG (Politically Incorrect ‘Big Old White Guy’) at a corporation who wants to see all of your numbers and your metrics
    Or, a wonderful older WOMAN with a HEART, who wants to know about your STORY, and the people you IMPACT, and how she can HELP???

Duh.


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October 5, 2010 | Tom Suddes

Do The Opposite

*Another great lesson from an article in SUCCESS MAGAZINE.

Here’s how Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Winner, Founder of Grameen Bank and the entire Micro Finance Industry, Banker to the Poor, tells his story:

“People always ask me how I figured out how to do this kind of thing. It’s very simple, really.

Whenever I needed a rule, a procedure for doing this (lending to the poor), I just looked at the conventional banks, what they do, how they do it, because they’ve been in business in a long time.

Once I learned how they did it… I JUST DID THE OPPOSITE.”

Yunus says that the banks had decided that “the poor were not credit worthy”. Yunus asks, “Are the banks people-worthy?”

The revolution that he started was a huge shift in thinking… the opposite of what existed.

    • Banks lend money to the rich. Yunus reached out to the poor.
    • Banks give loans to men. Yunus focused on women.
    • Banks do business in the city centers. Grameen would focus on the remote villages.
    • Banks require collateral. Grameen would offer loans without collateral.
    *And without lawyers or reams of legal documents.
    • Banks are owned by the rich. Grameen would be owned by the borrowers… with profits going back to them as dividends.

WOW! Edward De Bono, Lateral Thinking, do the opposite, at its best!


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October 1, 2010 | Tom Suddes

Entrepreneurial Must Read

If you’re a business entrepreneur, a young social entrepreneur or an entrepreneur wannabe… you need to read about Elon Musk and Tesla in the latest Wired Magazine.

Fascinating story about thinking big, all in, vision, selling the vision and much more.

Entrepreneurial lessons out the yin yang.


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September 30, 2010 | Tom Suddes

The 3rd Sector Is About Purpose/Impact

On my way to giving a CHANGE THE RULES, CHANGE THE GAME talk to an AFP Chapter.

Still trying to getting everybody out of this ‘NOT-FOR-PROFIT’ mentality. If you talk about the SECTORS of the economy, it should be about three P‘s (for alliteration).

PUBLIC PRIVATE PURPOSE (IMPACT).

As Nick says, all these young Millennials and Social Entrepreneurs are not starting ‘not-for-profit organizations’. They’re starting hybrid organizations that serve a great PURPOSE and have huge IMPACT.


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September 30, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Pending into oblivion…

Once you’ve made an ask (numbers on the table), the prospect status can be either pending or committed/declined. Pending implies that we’re working toward a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The challenge is that so many requests never get to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’… they fade into pending oblivion.

Pending into oblivion sounds like this [my commentary in brackets]:

  • “Well we didn’t want to harass the prospect after we asked.”
    [so we didn't follow-up to see if it was a yes/no and so it went nowhere]

  • “The family says it’s still thinking.”
    [16 months is a long time to be thinking, do you think something’s going to change about that next month?]

  • “If we forced them to a decision, I’m worried they would say no.”
    [but we don't know that for sure, so instead we let the relationship function in this grey area -- moreover, without dialogue we can’t actually deal with objections]

There comes a time when we need to force a decision. When it’s been 16 months… when you’ve made four visits… you’ll know it when you come to it.

You can simply say, “Prospect, we’ve had some great discussions about this project and it’s time to come to some sort of decision about a commitment. We [as an organization] are moving forward and we just need to know where we stand. We need A commitment [TODAY].”

If we can’t ultimately report each request as a pending or a commit, it’s likely we didn’t really ask in the first place or we’re not doing our jobs.

There is a greater danger than getting a ‘no’. It’s not having dialogue, not having any real sense of what’s working in your system, and leaving relationships in a grey – stagnant area.

Tom is helping a college wrap-up a huge campaign. The five-person development team has about 70 sizeable gifts pending. Tom rallied the troops in August and said, “We’re in a phase in which there is no more pending.” For the last six weeks the team has been out having commitment conversations with each family, prospect and foundation. This has generated $14M in commitments over the last two weeks.

See also: How to ask funders to follow a deadline

  • The ask as a continued dialogued
  • Get numbers on the table early.

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  • September 27, 2010 | Tom Suddes

    Selling Is Not Telling… Unless It’s A Story

    It’s not about a PITCH (on an elevator)! It’s not a spiel. It’s not memorized.

    We ASK QUESTIONS. We LISTEN TO THE RESPONSE. We then RESPOND WITH A STORY or STORYLINE!

    *We used to call this IMPACT POINTS and TALKING POINTS. It was the idea of “reaching into your quiver of arrows” and selecting the right response.

    Call it whatever. Just ASK. LISTEN. RESPOND.


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    September 24, 2010 | Nick Fellers

    Altitude Awareness: Stay at 30,000′

    We use an Altitude Framework to order thinking, communications and storylines.

    30,000′ The WHY VISION
    14,000′ The WHAT STRATEGY
    3′ The HOW EXECUTION

    In sharing this with others one goal is simply to make everyone aware of 30,000′ and what it means to “share the message and story at 30,000′”.

    People respond to you at whatever level you communicate. So, if you’re at 3′, talking about where the architects are placing bathrooms, this will frame the conversation. Instead, if you’re at 30,000′, talking about changing and saving lives… the conversations will be different.

    One example: Last year I worked with a well-respected social entrepreneur and Ashoka fellow. A driven individual and true visionary, he gets up every morning trying to change the face of poverty. Whenever he went to make an ask, however, the conversation always turned into a debate about the business model (at 14,000′). The Altitude Framework helped him to see why this was happening.

    Being an award-winning social entrepreneur, his message had taken shape around ‘doing business in a different way’… about ‘earned income’… about ‘not relying on philanthropy’… about being ‘best in the world at being sustainable’. Naturally, prospects were engaging him at this level (14,000′). The 30,000′ WHY wasn’t coming through in his message. His story needed to be about being best in the world at changing the face of poverty (30,000′) — first — and then incorporating a different business model (at 14,000′).

    The Altitude Framework was a simple tool that made him aware of his 30,000′ message. I’m happy to report his funding conversations changed considerably based on this conscious framing exercise.


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