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The fundamental expectation is that all members of the social sector are aligned towards Lawful Good. The reality is not everyone is utilizing the same magnetic north. It may be worth considering who is influencing your journey? How might your actions be impacted by the True Neutrals or Chaotic Good? How might we think differently and temporarily adopt the world view of those employing a different scorecard?

Magic Hour

Disney Parks have Extra Hour, a benefit for guests staying on property at a Disney hotel. The program provides an opportunity to enter the park early and enjoy access to certain amenities and restaurants before the general public. It is perk for those who have patronized Disney with their lodging selection.

What if we provide ‘extra hour’ opportunities for our greatest fans? This is different than a donor appreciation event or a membership line for quick entry into a programs. It is a behind the scenes glimpse at the work that matters. A chance to have a generative conversation about a strategic question our cause is trying to answer. A candid talk by a program director about the challenges of producing remarkable work for our patrons. An unscripted presentation from our headline speaker, just for this small but essential group.

Online commerce and social networks have made almost any item available upon a click or swipe of our electronic devices. What we cannot buy is remarkable moments; the gathering of a group of people to create a special moment. An extra hour, a behind the scenes, a first look, and chance to provide guidance. What if we were known for our magic moments? What if we shared the early version of our work with those that cared enough to be lifetime members?

Observation Point

To gain a useful perspective, we might benefit by standing back from the heart of our focal point. Even if we climb the highest spire in the center of the mountain range, we may miss the opportunity to assess how each peak and valley are connected.

When working with consulting clients, the ideas that resonate the strongest are the concepts that the client develops, not points that I share. My greatest contribution is to get the team to the right vantage point and encourage them assess the landscape. Creating a mindset that starting from the observation deck is actually the work that matters before one can start the climb.

Marking the Way Out

Do we mark the way to the exit for those looking to move on, or do we let them stumble around until they find it without acknowledgement? It is easy to place our energy in marking the entrance but if those who entering encounter a tired and exhausted group of individuals looking for the depart, then neither group is being served. Even the airlines post a member of the flight crew at the plane door to wish us a good onward journey. What if our exit was as remarkable as our first impressions of the cause?

Adventures that inspire others

When we share our ideas and adventures, it creates new possibilities. I had been thinking about climbing Decker Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains for a few years. Three weeks ago, I crossed paths with two fast-moving climbers headed to the peak via a long approach. They gave me a quick synopsis of the route and then sped off. After completing that backpacking trip, I used to read climber’s reviews and insights. Then I read a 2015 trip report on Idaho Alpine Zone. The trip report put together a route I had not considered and had me mapping out a new itinerary. So we returned to the mountains for a three-day backpack trip and spent nine hours on the middle day hiking to the base of the peak, ascending, and then returning to camp. Creating a route employing the knowledge of those that had tackled the climb beforehand made for an optimistic mindset. Even though we may travel alone, following the steps of those who have proceeded us changes our outlook on what is possible.

Route map of the 2015 group


When we make a mistake, are we willing to go back and make updates and acknowledge the error? Or do we move ahead and leave our audience with misinformed and unable to properly navigate? It seems like an easy choice when presented theoretically but in real-time, may find it easier to hide than to stand up and highlight their missteps.

No Title Needed (The Work is Done)

Sometimes you do not have to be the tallest, most scenic, or most beautiful to be remarkable. Sometimes you do not even have to be growing. We can perform excellent work that endures. What was once a tenacious fight to thrive in a challenging landscape now is a monument to fortitude. The work that was inspires those that travel the same route today. In real-time, we may not realize what we are building. However, what is achieved becomes the mile marker, point of conversation, and unforgettable landmark to those that follow.

People Before Buildings

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is selling their brand new custom built headquarter building. They never moved in despite designing a facility that captured the essence of outdoor lifestyle and embraced nature. Rumored reasons for abandoning the HQ include, raising cash for the balance sheet, changes to workplace requirements, and pivoting to a new business model. Five years ago, REI was a leader in closing stores on Black Friday. Instead it started the #optoutside movement, encouraging people to engage in an outside activity over chasing retail sales. REI chose people over buildings.

It is easy to think that our facilities as the essence of our being. Where we do what we do defines our stories. We have been encouraged to choose our travel lodging based on the ammenties of a hotel or airbnb. Ice machine of every floor, pet friendly, workout facility with new machines, and 24-hour room service might make the difference in selecting our overnight lodging. But if the people who work within the building do not care, it cannot overcome the luxury.

If we lead with our core values then we can see how REI decided to forego their dream HQ. In the first half of 2020, they laid-off employees and closed stores. The optics of moving into the headquarters would amplified the misguided ethos of managing image over leading people. Instead, they were willing to put the moving trucks on hold and revisit their decisions. REI asked “how might we” and the resulting choice was a different path. A journey which may create more loyalty, greater trust, and a better future.