Saturday, August 30, 2008


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Dear Friends:

I won't preach about organizational basics... a good charter and mission, leadership, management, acquiring talented and deicated employees, partners and volunteers, fiancial responsibility, teamwork, communications, command and control, or the cold fear of asking for needed investment or capital contributions that seems to paralyze so many of us.

On point, an organization exists to accomplish a mission or to solve a problem. Everything else is secondary, merely the means toward that noble end. When we lose sight of our Mission or purpose and begin to merely "take actions and make noise", we begin to fail. An effective organization has strength, consistency, integrity and generally, speaking, takes the moral and ethical "high road". They build multiple bridges and open channels, and don't invest i baiting and making enemies. They find friends, and do their best to convert enemies through a combination of education and emotional appeal. They look for common ground instead of for hurtful differences...and they exploit and expand that common ground. Successful organizations (for the longer term) grow by uniting instead of dividing.

I want to share some wisdom with you. Hatred kills. It kills us as individuals, it kills organizations and it destroys credibility and reputations. If you must be branded, be branded as a fighter...but never as a hater. Don't campaign against individuals and rake through the muck of their misdeeds. Ask them questions. Pose challenges. Offer to "help" them. Be morally unassailable. Do not be branded as a hater, a "negative campaigner", a persecutor or a prosecutor. If you appear concerned but not governed by emotions, people will tend to associate that with greater credibility and more objective, "mature" reasoning -- whether or not it is, in fact, true. And don't let your organization be any of those negative, "irrational" things;

1. A proponent of more legislation, regulation and government action concerning personal freedoms and choices, or of government intrusion into free enterprise or personal affairs. There is too much of this already, and it invariably generates poor and unforeseen results;

2. A street-corner screamer (with placard) at every "evil" institution or person that (or who) does something naughty or sells something unhealthy. Screamers (a 60's thing) are like sensitive car alarms. At first they are annoying. Then, they fall into the backdrop of unremarkable noises. Finally, they are either the butt of jokes, or they get disconnected (like the battery on the smoke detector over my stove in the kitchen);

3. A collection of fanatics who want to hate and denounce, instead of inform, question and solve problems. When fanatics fall out of fashion, they are generally exiled, laughed about, beheaded, burned at the stake or crucified. None of these makes for an enviable retirement plan;

4. A fringe player joining in the fray of partisans with their own agendas and "wrongs" to avenge. These people and organizations cannot ever raise funds -- people don't want to go on record as supporting them. They are seen as eccentric. They tilt at windmills, like Don Quixote de La Mancha, but without his romantic virtue;

5. A negatively-themed, exclusionist group.

As smart organizations, we have to applaud the good (no matter who is attempting to do it); question or challenge the policies (not the people or the companies) of people and companies with respect to obesity; conduct research, support programs and produce a good product or service; encourage positive thinking and efforts; provide newsworthy, interesting content and campaigns to heighten awareness; and, to provide incentives for problem-solving and productivity.

Let's be like a virus and infiltrate the social machine so that we can transform it: Let's not be protesters on the Whitehouse lawn. Let's convert and absorb our enemies, or obscure them by being superior and inclusive.

Our organizations will be judged by the company we keep, and by the words that we say.




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