…or you will die, your business will fail and your future confirmed.
What is it about these tasks that make us dislike them so?
We are all slaves to the same imperative: provide interesting, useful and hopefully somewhat novel content to our readers on a regular and consistent basis. That is quite a standard to achieve and if you subscribe to the concept that there is nothing new under the sun, that puts both writers and readers into some kind of quandary. How do I consistently deliver: as a writer; and how much crap do I have to plow through as a reader to learn something, gain some new insight or suddenly see a path?
Even the best writers can’t always maintain this level of performance and produce some merely ok or pithy piece that we all know is not their best work. And we know some of the higher profile authors we follow on various media in our various industries and fields, who are pretty reliably entertaining or enlightening. What about the rest of us?
When you work hard on your message and have polished it, how do you get a stranger to stop and check out your title? Catchy, suggestive, and cute titles may cause a stop of the title scroll; and the offer of brevity is also attractive. A constant is the invitation that with the list offered by the author, you will be able to increase, attract, strengthen, streamline or in some other fashion do better than how you are doing now. A brief scan of any of the discussion pages on any topic will have plenty of titles with 3 ways to do this better, and 15 essential points of a strategic plan, and so on.
(My personal favorite, I must admit, is Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, 1974)
But We All Know:
Nothing is ever that simple, direct and calculable, especially in nonprofit management. For sure, having a good grasp of basic tenets, good business practices, accountability, transparency and some good old common sense is THE most essential of the list. With that foundation, additional elements can be added.
I do like the idea of lists: I could scan them quickly and then decide if there is anything there I don’t already know or do. I don’t look to them for innovation or depth, and the fact someone is attempting to save me some time is a nice gesture; however, one I almost invariably skip. Lists rarely enlighten me, and if I am seeking new knowledge, a list is not going to help
Your time is limited, and your attention is precious. Do yourself a favor, skip the lists. If you see a discussion with a cute or catchy title that resonates with your interests or concerns, go for it. Really quickly it will be clear if that conversation can help you, but should you see a title that gives you 3/14/54 items that MUST be on your list, I bet you already know about and do them. Move on.
However, if you do think that list is going to be perfect for your objective, get in touch here or call us on 310 828 6979 and we’ll help tailor it to your needs.
Cindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting
As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations.
The Final Horseman by pasukaru76 on Flickr.