Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Pursuing Perfection – Part Two

In last Monday’s blog, I opened a two-part blog about pursuing perfection by making the point that following the death of Steve Jobs, we are suddenly hearing and reading a lot of stories about elements of not settling for mediocre products or performance.

In the middle of the morass of what seems an interminable economic downturn, we are all paying attention to what it takes to improve our game--no matter what game we are in.

That’s why the stories that have been out there for awhile about paying attention to the little things, the details, resonate with us.

Sometimes it’s a deliberate decision like I wrote about on Monday. Fund raisers need to first inform themselves about the digital world and it’s tools if they aspire to be effective in online fund raising before jumping into it.

Then it is about putting in the time to become competent at this new marketing media and craft. The author Malcolm Gladwell has said it takes 10,000 hours working at something to become competent.

Everyday our clients and other fund raising groups are already moving swiftly down the road in developing competence in digital marketing and communication while too many other fund raising organizations “settle” for building or rebuilding Web sites, sending out some emails, or opening a Facebook page instead of doing the hard work it takes to learn about the digital world, develop a new plan and fundamentally change their fund raising direction.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to leadership’s choice to do the work it takes to fundamentally change direction or settle for the same-o, same-o.

Steve Job’s style wasn’t always perfect, but the success of Apple was based upon doing the hard work, inspiring his employees and then not allowing them or himself to settle. Apple had leaders in the 90s that almost drove Apple into the ground because they wouldn’t change what they were doing. Then Steve Jobs returned to change the direction, inspire the troops and push for perfection. It took awhile, but today Apple is one of the most valuable companies in America.

I believe that the next few decades can be a new golden age of fund raising, but only for those organizations with leaders with the vision not to settle.


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