Paul Martin's Articles

Change: Rolling the DICE

"The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." -Harold Wilson Most people don’t like change—even if they know they have to make a change.  There’s many reasons: Change is hard.  It means doing things we aren’t doing now. Change is uncomfortable.  We have to get used to new ways of doing things. Change might not work.  The failure rate for change is enormous. Change requires a plan.  Most of us feel convicted about changing something, but don’t make a plan to make that change. In making change stick, many people focus on the usual targets—the soft issues: culture, leadership and motivation.  Even if you’re great at these issues, change often fails. Our team often work as change agents with our organizations.  We use a change tool called DICE. DICE is a four dimension planning system that Harold Sirkin, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson outlined in Harvard Business Review: ...


How do you tell an introverted pathologist from an extroverted pathologist at a party? The extroverted pathologist looks down at your shoes. Today's leader finds great challenges managing people of all personalities. Introverts can be especially challenging--and our non-profits  are filled with introverts. Introverts comprise a large community of non-profit people--especially those who have a good creative or service bent. I have seen an entire NPO staffed with introverts--even the development officer! In fact, research shows that more than 60% of the U.S. population is introverts. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Many love to speak in front of large crowds. Psychology Today says introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Introverts may socialize easily, but just prefer not to. In an industry (non-profits) that is totally centered around building relationships in the community, how do managers lead their introverts into the community ...

My First Radio: A Great Companion

RaleighTransistorRadio_250wI have fond memories of listening to Dallas' KLIF the Mighty 1190 through my Raleigh transistor radio. I took that little transistor companion with me on family vacations and listened to KHJ in Los Angeles and KJR in Seattle.

Although today's technology delivers convenience better selection and sound quality, it doesn't bring the companionship that great personalities do.

My friend Chuck Gratner when he led KOJO in Dallas during the 80s said it well:

At its' best, each medium has its' advantages:
At its' best, television entertains best.
At its' best, newspapers inform best.
At its' best, radio companions best.

Facebook ‘Likes’ Assemble Your Customers and Donors

What sounds like middle-school gossip can mean more frequent customers and more loyal donors to marketers.  Soon, Facebook will permit marketers to mix their ad messages with users’ regular news feed. So, your Facebook news feed will show your friends’ regular posts and ad messages will be interspersed.  This could be very good for marketers.  After all, more than half of Facebook viewing is from a mobile device and the layout just doesn’t have room for the right sidebar ad area. But there’s a catch: the user must ‘Like’ the marketer’s page for the ad messages to appear in the flow of the news feed. The new features are called “Premium on Facebook” and could be a great opportunity for marketers and non-profit organizations: During a fundraiser, listener-supported radio stations can buy a place in the news feed of those who ‘Like’ the station At the end of the year, a non-profit can make a specific offer through the news feed Marketers can craft a specific offer to increase frequency of use ...

“The only way this station will grow is to go outside these walls."

We were in one of those tense meetings that is unique to radio stations. The station manager, sales manager and program director looked at the Arbitron numbers and then at the station revenues, provoking the typical high-stress conversation about ratings and revenue. The station manager let the conversation wind its way around and then let the room get a little quiet. He spoke as the colonel in a World War II movie would say, "Gentlemen, this radio station is a great station, but it has problems...and whether we need more listeners or more money, the only way this station will grow is to go outside these walls." Radio is a relationship business. Our Raison d'être is to communicate with an enormous number of people. Outreach is our oxygen. That's what the legendary stations of the 60's, 70's and 80's did well: They engaged listeners in creative ways. The real power of radio is in the number of people we reach every day...and the only way to build that reach is spending time reaching-out into the community. Th ...

Keeping New Year’s Goals Alive...and Major Gift Goals, Too!

New Year GoalsNew Year's goals stay vibrant with constant feeding.

We prayerfully consider our goals, but often I don't as prayerfully consider my actions in pursuing those goals. Whether the goal is about losing weight or increasing income from major gifts, the first steps pave the way to more achievement.

A good friend once shared that every time he would meet a new major gift prospect, he would set a date for the first time he would ask for their help at his radio station. That gave him time to develop a relationship that was genuinely caring without the pressure of asking for funding. When the day would come (typically four to six months later), the ask for a gift came naturally.

Think strategically, but get it done.

A few months ago, the leader of the organization showed me a two-inch notebook.  “Here’s the strategic plan we put together two years ago,” he said as he opened the book to show off their work.  I read a few pages and congratulated them on the two-year old plan.  The strategy was thoughtful and—although now dated a bit by the prolonged recession—wordsmithed to a fine tone. “So, how much have you accomplished?” I asked. My friend stammered a bit, “Accomplished?  Well, we’re doing things piece by piece.” Smiling a bit, I asked, “What pieces have you completed?” He said,”Well, we really haven’t completed any of the pieces yet.”  He emphasized how everyone was excited about the plan when they began, but they don’t really talk about it much anymore. They spent a lot of time, money and effort to build a strategy, but never implemented it.  They lost the energy of working together to formulate a strategy to leave it in a binder on a shelf. A strategic vision without a strong e ...

Help your partners—even with Facebook?

"No one wants to buy radio anymore, so we're selling Facebook," said the radio station manager. I've known him for a long time and seen him as a strong manager of both commercial and non-commercial stations. He is now at a non-commercial station and talked about the great difficulty his Business Development Representatives are having with getting appointments today. He said his business development representatives are now opening conversations with prospects by saying, "How's Facebook working for your business?" The rep probes to hear what the prospect's desire for his Facebook marketing. Most businesspeople are discovering that Facebook marketing is not as easy as what they read in the press and they become dissatisfied. The rep keeps discovering more about the business prospect by asking more questions. The rep makes it clear that he is more interested in hearing about the prospect's business than telling them about the work he does at the radio station. When the prospect asks about the rep's work, he say ...

Better to be 70% right and on-time than 100% and too late.

When I heard Craig Parshall of the National Religious Broadcasters mention the saying he heard from a marine, I cringed with conviction. I (and several clients that I know very well) struggle with letting a project 'ship' before it is perfect. And that is where the problems start. If any product is too late to market, it really doesn't matter how good the product is.   Large and small organizations make the same mistake: too late to market.  Classic examples include the Edsel (Ford's perfect automobile that just didn't sell) and AM Stereo (the FM horse had already left the barn). In a market of massive change, iterative improvements are the only possible road to success.  Look back at competitive industries that had massive change.  Computer software: Microsoft didn't get a version of Windows right until version 3.0, but Microsoft got there and trounced the competition with frequent upgrades.  But then Microsoft started listening too much to their critics and desired to perfect ...

Leaders Listen and Donors Want Connection

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.

Woodrow Wilson's quote caught my attention when Randy Bronkema discussed how leaders listen. In Inspired Development, Randy ties leadership, major gift development and listening together as keys for leaders of non-profit organizations. Check out his blog and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, Jerry Grimes writes in The Development Evangelist that the largest and most consistent gifts come from one special class of donors. Find out who those generous people are and how you can best connect with him by taking a look at Jerry's blog. Post a comment and let Jerry know your thoughts about this key group for non-profit organizations.

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