How You Enter Matters


Ever accidentally slide into an event with no intention of avoiding the price of admission?  You find yourself encountering a form of entertainment for which everyone else purchased access.  A year ago at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam, my wife and I paid for one exhibit and as we exited we accidently entered the second paid exhibit through a side door.  We walked through without delay and we exited properly.  Technically, we had received a bonus exhibit for the price of our admission.  It was not one we desired to pay for even after our unintentional preview.

As social sector organizations, we rely on advocates, ambassadors, donors, volunteers, and members, yet we forget to check how people encountered our cause.  Just because someone is standing in our facility or attending our event does not mean they are seeking our services.  How people enter our organization matters.  Consider a few possibilities:

  • New to the area and getting oriented
  • Invited by a friend or business associated
  • Looking for a place to hangout
  • Heard good things about a past program or event
  • Ready to be fully engaged and just need to be asked
  • Attending to be seen by others
  • Repaying a favor
  • Had a personal experience that transformed their life

Each one of the aforementioned scenarios requires a different interaction. If we try to connect using one approach we have a 1 in 8 chance of meaningful engagement (just from the list above).  We think we know why we like a newcomer but do we know why they like us?

Be brave and foster an individual connection with each person your enterprise encounters.  Then you will know not only how they arrived but why they might stay.

Resources for BSU Leadership Class

Problem solving + Problem Finding = Well Designed Life


Characteristics of Servant Leadership

  1. See the future.
  2. Engage and develop others.
  3. Reinvent continuously.
  4. Value results and relationships.
  5. Embody the values.
  6. Hunger for wisdom.
  7. Expect the best.
  8. Accept responsibility.
  9. Respond with courage.
  10. Think of others first.

Deciding on the work that matters

  1. What do you want to do?
  2. Who do you want to change?
  3. How much risk do you want to take?
  4. How much work is required?
  5. Does the work matter?
  6. Is it even possible?

Goal Setting

  1. Choose a goal that matters, not just an easy win.
  2. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
  3. Frame your goals positively.
  4. Prepare for failure (in a good way).

Resources and visuals for Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle

Thank you for the opportunity to share ideas.  Your questions and stories were tremendous.  Please follow-up with questions.



Yellowstone Stories

mm-intro_canyonIf you were one of the first through the area now named Yellowstone National Park, it must have been remarkable and fearful.  Unknown geological events and formations appeared.  Geysers spouted hot fluid from the ground.  Hissing, bubbling, screeching sounds erupted from unknown sources.  Water falls bigger than anticipated broke forth from a forest plateau.  The Native Americans and mountain men had to make sense of the region.  The assigned names, made-up stories, and sacrificed their safety interacting with these natural wonders.  We recount their stories today as part of our travels through Yellowstone.

wildlife-brigadeToday, one can travel through the park without getting out of their vehicle and still see amazing sights, no sacrifice required.

Which raises the key question.  Do you believe in the journey you have embarked upon?  If your adventure still has blank spots on the map that you are trying to fill in, then you craft the stories that go along with the exploration. 


If you are just along for the ride, then sit back and enjoy the tour.  But you trade the right to create stories for privilege of being entertained by those who have gone before.