“Own your dreams. There is no better way to make them happen.”
- You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
- You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
- You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
- You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
- You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
- You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
- You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
- You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
- You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
- And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
These quotations are sometimes refereed to as Lincoln’s 10 “Cannots” – but it is wildly understood that where the spirit is what Lincoln believed, it is not what he said. These were written in 1916 by William J. H. Boetcker [wikipedia]
Thanks to John “Hollywood” for sending me a reminder of this.
Other times speakers, authors, career and business coaches mention the “big why”: why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you pursuing your current path? And generally they stipulate that it is not, and cannot be, just because of money. Nobody (well, more or less) really wants little green pieces of paper, they want something else.
In the book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, there is an exercise where for a week whenever you get strong positive emotions from a situation or gained strength form an event, you write down on a card what was going on, and for strong negative or draining events – you do the same. At the end of a week you separate the cards and basically go through looking for patterns: what specific “who, what, when, where, and/or why” caused you to gain or loose strength? This exercise should help you:
- gain better understanding of yourself and what makes you tick, and
- provide guidance as to what you should do more of and less of.
This exercise is more difficult with an organization. It is not just one person, but the goals should be the same: gain a deeper understanding of what makes the organization tick & what the organization should be doing.
What if the first question when a new idea was brought up to a governing board was not “how much” or “how can we pay for it” but “does this help us achieve our purpose in life?” If that answer is “yes”, then the next questions should be “does it grow the organization in one of our primary resource areas (time, money, or brand)?” followed by, “do we have the strength & resources to make it happen?” Granted, there would be times when the answer to the last question is so obvious that the first two questions would not need a lot of time or energy spent when thinking about the projects. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to begin by asking and focusing on supporting the mission of the organization first and foremost?
I think the challenge I would give to you, future leaders and others, is to go back to whatever your fundamental business building material is. It could be an industry specific focus or not. Go through it again and each time the media asks a question or proposes a direction you should ask, “how should <enter org name here> answer this question?” or “how does this apply to <enter org name here>?”
Odds are many of the questions & plans will apply. If none of the thoughts in the media apply to each organization you are working with then you should probably find a better basis to build your career/personal life around.
If money were not an object, what would <enter org name here> do? Now, we should put all resources required for success behind that, if we possibly can, and do it. Then we should figure out what the “if we could do one more, then what would it be?” and do that.
It applies to you as an individual just as much as it does to every organization you have some level of influence on.
The first website I am working on since WordPress 2.7 came out is a pet sitter in my local area. We meet the good people at Critter Care when we had a trip and really could not bring our baby along:
So one day when Critter Care Kim and I were talking she asked what I really do. At that moment I was working on some websites for some businesses and her reply was basically “oh, I want to get one.”
Over the next little while, we meet a few times to explain our approach, where most people think of websites as either the visuals or the program that makes it all run, the content is the most important part. Yes, the visuals/them/etc must be above a specific bar, or it detracts from the content, but you don’t go to a website for the visuals. At the same time, the program just has to work, at least to the end user. The people who manage and maintain the content or website are the people who care about the ease of use of the program.
Next we looked at what type of data or content they would be producing & what the customers and potential customers would be looking for. After that, figuring out what content would be produced, it was a question of “how do we best present this data?” and “what all should be on the main page?”
With that information and mindset we went looking for a great base theme to use. AllThingsOnDemand has loved the work of Brian Gardner & Revolution2 and we settled on the Revolution2 Office theme as the base, they have a demo.
From that, a mock-up was made; kinda like a blueprint. Then, the next phase of work begins that has been to build the site based on three things:
- Revolution2 Office base
- WordPress 2.7
- the core data from the client
Now some pictures; left is the mock-up, what we are aiming for, right is where I ended last night. I expect to be done today or tomorrow, or at least relay for the clients comments and data to be entered.
The sad thing is at this point all the work that needs to be done will be mostly unseen, but make the areas more dynamic, thus work. At this point the main page is mostly static.
Once this site is done either more clients will be ready to begin or we will focus on either this site or AllThingsOnDemand.