Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Starting from scratch: the zero based approach

Today's been an interesting day. I'm a bit like a kid starting his first day at a new school.

After a month off traveling, today I started my new role with Pareto as Fundraising Development Director.

Exciting, because its new and fresh. Daunting, for the same reasons.

My job will be about working with clients around the world to enable them to try new things. Testing and innovating.

So as I was thinking about where to start, I stumbled across a great blog from Steve Scott called Let Zero Based Thinking Improve Your Life.

The concept is simple. It's about doing what's right and what you want to do, rather than what history has served you up. I touched on this earlier in year in zero based communications planning.

Steve is re-looking at his life and asking himself the following about key relationships/decisions in his life:

"If I had not made this decision, knowing what I now know, would I make it?"

The reason I love this is that it removes the shackles that we chokes ourselves with as direct marketers, and as fundraisers.

I'm not suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. A critical sin as direct response folks, as we should be constantly testing against what's worked.

But what it implores us to think about is making decisions because you believe they're right. Because you believe they'll create better outcomes for your benefactors.

Not because that's what you've done previously.


Friday, November 12, 2010

What makes you happy at work?

More of a philosophical, rather than practical post today.

Had lots of time to think whilst on holidays, and one of the things that's been occupying my mind is work happiness.

What is it and what for me are the most critical things to loving what I do?

For me the following are crucial. Note I exclude "the cause/s" that I work for, that's a given in this sector. Well, for most. I haven't met many folks who love their job because it's right near the subway or they have a great lunch room.

- My values are aligned with the organization I work for. That doesn't mean we fundamentally agree on everything. But we're headed in the same direction for the most part.

I reckon there's about an 18 month threshold for this. I've seen really resilient people try really hard to believe they are sold into the same things as those they work for. Eventually the differences in beliefs wear them down. And they move on.

- Love the actual work. Might sound a tad obvious, but the day to day functions of the job, for the most part, you need to love. You can believe in the same things as your colleagues, but if the stuff on your job description doesn't cut it, then it makes it harder to start the day raring to go. You need to love what it is you're paid to do.

- Really like the people around you. Perhaps love them, maybe not. But you need to work with people you'd go to the pub with or invite round to your place for dinner. For me great people that inspire me, make me laugh and are just good fun to be around garner a work atmosphere that gets the best results from me. It's a critical element in my work happiness factor.

- There needs to be a chance of change brewing. Could be just round the corner, might be a year off. It may be something really trivial and small, but I need to be able to see some change. Not change for change, but a shift that will make work life and the work I do even better. More effective. More enjoyable.

We don't always enjoy the actual process of change, but seeing something in the distance that's a little different keeps me fresh and inspired.

- Short term goals, big picture objectives. Little things to get by day by day, week by week. As well as an end goal. A big campaign, a year end target, a pioneering project.

Small, maybe even routine tasks to get me through the days. Bigger, more aspirational things to keep me there for the long haul.

These are just my take. These are the things that help me love what I do.

What makes you happy at work?


Friday, November 5, 2010

Inbound Marketing

Less than a week from finishing work, and in the midst of driving through some of the beautiful parts of the world I've ever seen, and yet here I am, as my wife puts it, reading a "work" book.

I can't help it. Partly because that's what I do (and love) and partly because I don't read fiction.

I'm reading a great book called Inbound Marketing. It's all about how the marketing paradigm has shifted and we're now in a world where pull beats push. As the writers put it, the rules of marketing have changed.

I agree, to some extent. Whilst they signal the death knell for traditional "outbound" forms of marketing, in the charitable world, and when it comes to attracting and retaining donors, outbound still wins. Hands down.

But they have a powerful message to tell, and it's an easy read with lots of terrific information, particularly for those wanting to get found on the Internet.

They talk about, amongst other things:

- How to create remarkable content and how critical that is to being found and being successful with inbound marketing

- How to get found in Google, with some really practical and solid search engine optimization tips to consider.

- How to harness other media (including social media tools) to "get found"

It's a great read, and even if you are on vacation and visiting some of the most serene places on earth, check it out.