Is that all there is?

Has this ever happened to you?

Yesterday, about 150 corporate marketers trudged five blocks to the local hotel, went into the dull beige ballroom and sat in row upon row of hardback chairs for another “quarterly rollout.” We started with “the numbers” (three charts, small font) then list after list of what we did and what we’re doing next quarter. The call for ‘any questions?’ was met with silent stares. 90 minutes later we stood up, stretched, and trudged back to work.

Is that all there is? You get 150 people in a room to bore them to death? Honestly, a single slide with a picture, or colour even, would’ve knocked people out of their chairs. In this case, the only leaning forward was to look at a blackberry email.

It is so frustrating when people blow wonderful opportunities to inspire, delight and energize. Boring 150 people at a time is criminal, but how often do we do this in our small groups too? How many of your community meetings just drone on through the same agenda month after month? How many of us, in an attempt to include everyone, talk to noone in particular?

If you do this, even a little, please get help with your presentations. There are lots of good presentation examples available.

Photo credit: Stephanie Booth.

Worried about sharing your cool idea? Try a FriendDA.

A recurring Triiibes mantra is “Ideas that Spread, Win.”  In fact, having a good idea spread is more important than getting credit for it. That’s a tough one for me, as much of my professional life is making darn sure my company’s secrets stay in the company and I’m afraid that attitude has leaked into my personal life too.   So I’ve been on a personal journey to share more ideas, more often, to more people.   Yet, it’s still a struggle, especially when it comes to new business ideas, like my bakery.

All of this made me very receptive to the ideas in this post. It’s from Rands in Repose, which is on the top half of my ‘must read’ list.

In this case, Rands comes up with an elegant, and possibly tongue in cheek, way to pitch your next great idea to a friend to get some feedback. It’s for those really good ‘uns — the Next Big Thing that you Actually Might Implement.

I’m in a 12 step program to help me freely share ideas, but what about you? Are you the type of person who worries about other people stealing your ideas? Then maybe a FriendDA is the tool you need!

A Must See video if we’re going to get along.

Since August, I’ve been part of an online group of writers, marketers, thinkers and leaders led by Seth Godin. It’s called but it’s closed to new members*, so no sense going there right now.

Much of the discussion on Triiibes lately has been the US presidential election. It’s easy enough to see why — it’s on a lot of people’s minds these days. But there hasn’t been any more common ground found in this group than with any other group of people I’ve talked with during this, or any other election season. Why is that?

Here’s a short video by Jonathan Haidt** that puts a lot of the election discussion into context. In the entertaining and ultimately hopeful presentation, he talks about morals as the reason for this polarity, and offers up ideas to find common ground even with moral differences.

Video Link: Jonathan Haidt on the Moral Mind

Please take a look, then let’s discuss. I’ll wait for you.

* If you’re completely miffed that you can’t get into triiibes, there is a way. But I need to know you’re serious about it before I’ll tell you.

**Mr. Haidt is the author of one of my all time favorite books “The Happiness Hypothesis” which is the one book on psychology that you simply must go read. But wait till we talk about the video.

Putting the Tribes idea to work for non-profits

I put Seth’s conference call for non-profits on my iPod a couple weeks ago and have listened to it four times so far. I guess I’m one of those auditory learners because Seth’s talk really resonated with me. I tossed and turned all night thinking about how to best apply these ideas to my local community association.

Some background: We’re the stereotypical old, boring organization who runs some kids recreational programs, tries to start a few more now and then, installs some new playground equipment every 5 years or so, and bemoans the loss of volunteer spirit in the community (reality is lots of people volunteer, just not with us anymore.)

I’ve been trying to get more action / buzz / excitement going about the work we do. New website, more focus on the neighbourhood at large rather than the association, although my email updates have had a healthy dose of ‘we need volunteers’ in them too.

Seth’s talk got me thinking of how we need to change.  Here are some initial thoughts, in the hope they might kickstart your own ideas:

– Be clear on what we want to accomplish. More community programs? More connection between neighbours? There need to be causes before there can be tribes, and we might be nurturing different tribes for each cause.

– Make it easy for people to connect with each other around these causes — more than connecting with the association.

– Make it even easier for people to tell others about their cause.

– Make it easy for people to support the cause by doing what they already do. (ie. building a squidoo lens about their hobby can still help the cause.)

So how should I change my approach?

Well, shifting away from regular ‘Next Meeting’ emails is one thing.

Focus on getting our most active members (those who are enrolled in lots of programs) spreading the word about our programs.

Get those who are most visible in the neighbourhood spreading the word about the neighbourhood.

We become “the platform”, but really more of the guide for easy ways to spread the word.

Collect permission assets along the way, with the intent of connecting people to start new projects (that they design) Maybe we don’t start projects but guide people along the way.

Celebrate the heck out of everything the tribe does — not what the association does.

I think this is what Seth calls “organizing around a tribe” in his new book.

What am I missing?

Let me know in the comments!

Examples of Tribes: The Tribes Case Study Ebook

Marketing guru Seth Godin has launched a new book called Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us.  I’ll be posting a review shortly, because it truly is an amazing book about a very powerful idea.

“Tribes” is the term Seth uses to describe groups of people who form around an idea and a leader.   It has huge implications for marketers, since it changes the approach about marketing your product or service or idea.  Instead of making sure Everyone knows about your idea, Seth asserts it’s more important that you reach out to those people who are passionate about your idea, give them the platform to let your idea spread and lead them along the journey.

It’s tougher for me to explain the concept than it is to share examples.  I figure Seth anticipated that, since he organized his own tribe (including me) to build an ebook with tribal examples.   There are nearly two hundred cases in the book, including a short one about my favorite fantasy football website,  Go check it out, or download it here.


While you’re at it, make sure to sign up for updates on Seth’s site.  It’s my favorite blog in the world, daily inspiration, observation and marketing leadership.  Seth knows what’s going on.