Who you work with matters more than where


Neil-G-pic (1)

Neil Giuliano

We live in a frenzied marketplace characterized by clutter, silos, toxic workplaces, overnight successes and a constant glorification of failure.
Former Mayor and a leader in the national LGBT movement, Neil Giuliano, gave clarity about work while addressing the ASU Lodestar Center’s annual nonprofit conference. Here is a reflection of his thoughts.

  1. Think about who you are working with rather than where. Every morning, do you want to go to work with individuals who won’t give you a chance to make a difference? If you are not accomplishing things together, even if you are working for a Fortune 100 company, you are not doing meaningful work. And, your job description won’t get you where you want to go. Reflect on this and I’m sure you will count just a handful of places where people mattered more than the job.
  2. Define yourself first or else others will define you. The only way to define yourself at your workplace is to do what you have to do and ask for forgiveness later. Great leaders  know how to set the tone and culture of an organization but there are just a handful around. So,  take leadership in your hands and do not allow tiny minds in big silos constrain you.
  3. Give time and funds to tinker. This will allow employees to bring in new ideas, improve efficiency and experiment with failure. You need to set apart some risk capital to innovate. Has any employer given you funds to tinker? Highly unlikely.
  4. Break down things at work and create substance. Stay focused and break down complex ideas into simple tasks as this is now the greatest trait in business. A car business owner told me last week that he is having a difficult time managing millennials who spend more time on their smartphones rather on the job at hand.
  5. Stretch, grow and take risks and do not let age constrain you. Even if you are 20 or 60, you need to work hard on constantly creating a better you. Be harder on yourself and make changes fast.
  6. In the end, take care of yourself and reflect again on who you work with rather than where. Leave the marketing and human resource folks to glorify the meaningless where.
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Building effective relationships matters


On either side of the Atlantic, the wisdom you get to build relationships with your donors is interesting to learn. This came  true when  Professor Ian Bruce, President, Center for Charity Effectiveness at London’s Cass Business School talked about the theory and practice of building effective relationships.

According to Prof. Bruce, successful relationship building has four components: establishing relationships, strengthening relationships, customer appreciation and relationship strategies. In American terms,  this  means relationship building, stewardship and ongoing donor communications.

You scan your environment to seek out the most influential people interested in your cause. Engage them well, pay close attention to their needs and consider them the most important people in your network. Prof. Bruce advises that you must be ready to talk about the negative things that are  happening at your organization and how you are trying to fix them. What are the pillars that need to be strengthened?

Often, most of us forget the common sense initiatives we need to take to build relationships. This includes reliability (deliver what you promised), responsiveness (give prompt service always), assurance (convey trust and confidence), empathy (a caring attitude), and  always make sure  that you provide the best tangible experience of your assets.

Sometimes, giving up top spots allotted to your  CEO or leadership to high value customers will help strengthen relationships. According to Prof. Bruce, this will help you build financial and social bonding with your high value customer.

His highly acclaimed book “Charity Marketing: Delivering Income, Campaigns and Services,” elaborates on the theory and practice of building effective nonprofit marketing strategies.

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