Social Sector

Tiger Mothers and Helicopter Parents

Much conversation last week at the NAIS conference about the role of parenting.  Two books that were compelling were Amy Chua’s, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  You can see an interview with Amy on Charlie Rose. Wendy Mogel was a presenter and offered an interesting perspective in her books, The Blessing of a B Minus and The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherThe Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers 

Behavior Placement

Network television has transitioned from product placement to behavior placement.  The Wall Street Journal ran an article last year discussing the growing trend.  In highlighting targeted behaviors such as recycling, community service, healthy eating, or exercise the networks have then been able to secure advertisers who are leaders in marketing to each of these targeted behaviors.

It makes me wonder what the social sector can attract as it contemplates behavior placement?  What opportunities exist to maximize the return on trustworthiness, authenticity, transparency, community-mindedness?  These are incredibly valuable attributes and have both an intangible and real value.  In what ways can your enterprise find a collective vision with a major sponsor looking to highlight specific behavior placement?

When one does not equal one

I have had the fortune of staying at Hyatt hotels while on business for the past couple of years.  They have been generous in how they accommodate me and I have been loyal.  Recently, my membership level was downgraded and according to the membership agreement they were correct.  I spoke to another frequent guest who experienced the same demotion.  He had stayed with Hyatt around the world in the past year.  The cost of the rooms he booked at a Park Hyatt in Europe, Asia and Australia often went for 15 times or more compared to one night at the local Hyatt Place.  Hyatt institutionalizes a formula that the number of nights stayed is the metric that determins your loyalty level.  So a $60 night is the same as a $800 night.  Would you rather have a customer staying 50 nights at $79 a night ($3,950 gross) or a guest lodging 30 nights at $800 per night ($24,000 gross)?

Not all things are equal.  Be thoughtful about how you measure loyalty.  I am now shopping around for alternatives on my coming trips because the benefit of staying with Hyatt can be easily replicated by another chain.  Loyalty is not always about the most, it may be about how sticky you can make an experience.  One poor decision can dissolve years of loyalty.  Reward loyalty but also understand what behavior you are supporting.

Script the Moves

A week of travel has kept me from being able to post for a couple days but I am thrilled to share some innovative ideas coming out of the National Association of Independent School’s conference.  A presentation that jumped out at me was one made by Glyn Cowlishaw and Angie Ringley of Pinewood Preparatory School.  A point that works across the entire sector was the idea of developing a pattern so those behind you can follow.  Using the iconic line, “Bond, James Bond”, they showed a video montage of the seven actors to utter the phrase in a James Bond Hollywood film.  The point being, if you can develop a strong enough pattern the person portraying the character will have certain mannerisms and the audience will respond in predictable way.  Is your cause creating a pattern where the next Board Chair or CEO can assume some immediate patterns that will accelerate the transition and be reassuring to your community?

Thinking About the Next Hole

As a very infrequent golfer, it does not take much to get me thinking about something other than the stroke I am executing.  When you hear professionals speak about competition, they often acknowledge that a poor result on a hole was due to their inability to stay present.  They start thinking about the next obstacle.

What are you focused on, right now?

For or Against

 I am for justice, diplomacy, thinking strategically, wilderness, professional development for teachers, bicycle lanes, cross-country skiing.

I am against fraud, disrespect, TSA pat downs, highly restricted donations, riding without a bike helmet, promotions based solely on tenure, groups that promote hate, dictators who repress citizens, 


You can agree or disagree with what I believe.  What is interesting is that it is harder to create a movement around what you believe.  It is far easier to attract a crowd by shouting what you are against.  To collect people who believe what you believe takes far more work and you need to identify the specific confluence of my belief and theirs.  If I announce I am against something, then everyone who does not believe exactly what is being attacked is a potential ally in my campaign.  The against crowd is usually driven by a self-perpetuating energy but if you surveyed them their beliefs would be scattered all over the map.  If you ran the same survey for the supporters, their beliefs be very tightly grouped.


Which group of fans are you attracting?

Harzardous Supplies Below

Where do you store the cleaning supplies and perhaps a few random hazardous chemicals?  Take a look under the kitchen sink.  I am always surprised what gets stored in this universal storage space.

It makes me wonder in what dark corners do organizations store their hazardous supplies?  Where do they let unacknowledged feedback accumulate?  In what positions do they place their toxic employees?  What passive-aggressive volunteers controls the assignments?  What program that is a sacred cow continues to be funded even though it needs to be put out to pasture?  Which donor gives with the intention of taking more than they give?  Is there a board member who has a vision that is not compatible with the organizational purpose?

What if you did a little spring cleaning?  Might it make you feel a little safer and able to concentrate on the purpose of the kitchen- cooking?