Friday, September 25, 2009

News You Can Use

Seth Godin wants us to Shake Things Up

It is probable that many of you have never heard of Seth Godin. If you are over 55 and/or the new culture of communication, web 2.0 or social media is a bit of a mystery to you, he hasn't gotten onto your radar screen. He is however a very smart guy and a keen visionary and business mind. His books are must reads in the knowledge technology realm.

I was struck by a recent posting in his blog. It calls the not-for-profit community to task for not using new ways to communicate to our greatest advantage.

Specifically he begins by stating that among the 100 top twitter users in terms of followers, not one is a charity. Further he goes on to say that even when he spoke to two of the country's most well known non-profits about ways to improve their connection to their constituents with social media both balked. In Godin's words, "After about forty five minutes, the meetings devolved into endless lists of why any change at all in the way things were was absolutely impossible. Everyone looked to the president of the group for leadership, and when he didn't say anything, they dissembled, stalled and evaded. Every barrier was insurmountable, every element of the status quo was cast in stone."

These are among the latent problems with non-profits: failure to keep up with market demand and to have the motivation to move ant the speep of change. Again in Godin's post," if your non-profit isn't acting with as much energy and guts as it takes to get funded in Silicon Valley or featured on Digg, then you're failing in your duty to make change."

While one could quibble with Godin's choice of criteria (everyone who knows what Digg is gets a star), he is correct in principle. As it relates to our Learning Centers he is spot on.

Think about your condition. Status quo in terms of the past funding policies is over. Yet how many of you are still conducting "business as usual?" How many boards are still mired in inaction perhaps expecting that someone will bail the Learning Center out? I myself have heard that several boards have not done much of anything to change their activities or expand their circle of leadership under the belief that, "they (whoever they is) will bail us out."

My friends this thinking is wrongheaded and fails to embrace passion for our task at hand. Whether we like it or not we must all change and ask ourselves what we envision our particular Learning Center to be. Times of change are challenging, but these are the times that define our future.

For more on Godin, Google him.


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