Posts Tagged ‘Mike Cassidy’

I’ve Moved!

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Leadership
Tags: , ,

First, many, many thanks for being a regular reader of my ramblings.

My little patch of the blogosphere has over 100 e-mail subscribers and each new post attracts an average of 400 unique readers. I know those aren’t really big numbers in the blog world, but I cannot express my appreciation enough.

Labor of Love
Love what you do and you cannot fail.  I started a blog as an assignment for a graduate school class I was taking and fell in love with the medium.  I find it cathartic, engaging, educational and a lot of fun.  As those of you who know me in real life, the majority of my posts are to share what I’ve learned from my own personal and professional follies, screw-ups and occasional success.  If I were a ‘case study’ writer I’d write case studies of failure and what was learned rather than the glowing reviews others tend to present.  Not sure when case studies evolved into press releases and advertisements, but they’re not my thing.

The Social
I have created some profound relationships through blogging, and met people that I never would have met otherwise.  We must never forget that social media is about people and to be able to engage with each of you on and offline has helped me grow immeasurably and I hope it continues.

Leadership For Good
I have moved my blog to and it is my hope that you will subscribe there — I refuse to move you involuntarily.  As you are all aware I have not used my subscriber list for any other purpose than to share new posts and I refuse to ever violate that trust or your privacy.  I’ll keep this blog up for some time and may re-purpose it in the future as I have 3 blog ideas brewing yet not enough time.

I look forward to engaging and working with you in the new site, be sure to explore it, offer advice, reviews, about 20 of your have expressed very strong opinions and I always appreciate your candor.

Feels like I’m all grown up and moving up and out — hope you make the move with me.

My deepest gratitude and respect,



For organizations pursuing complacency, the fastest path there is to not try anything different and do all you can to avoid failure.  Often innovators are accused of misbehaving, “breaking the rules” or “trying to beat the system”.  It disappoints me that such short-sighted views are taken with those trying to do something out of the norm or create a viable solution to a shared problem.  As a nonprofit, aren’t we there to serve our community?  What system is there to break?  One of my weaknesses is not broadcasting our ideas, I perform poorly at the marketing/pitch, far better at the conception and execution, hence I’m usually “caught” doing great stuff because I didn’t tell anyone.  A key reason I’m learning how to be granted permission to fail.

Align with Organization’s Goals & Objectives
It is imperative that we embrace our organization’s mission, goals and objectives.  The c-suite will not sign-off on any innovative idea that falls outside of its goals.  Think out-of-the-box but under the organization umbrella.

Determine the Acceptable
This brilliant blog post 3-Stage Goals by Tamsen McMahon is a must read.  Tamsen and her Brass Tack Thinking partner Amber often express in words what I’m thinking.  An important step in obtaining permission to fail is to determine the acceptable.

Learning as an Asset
Often when pursuing a new venture or initiative the focus is on the end results.  As a kid I can recall my father being excited to be working at a “teaching hospital”.  As leaders, only we can turn our organizations into “learning organizations” and embrace learning as an asset.

Show Some Shoulder (ROI)
ROI (return on investment) is sexy and it really, really sells.  In light of the current economy, be sure to include tangible, achievable and acceptable return on the initiative.  Money matters.

Create Milestones
Predetermined milestones are great for planning, reporting and adapting.  Communicating progress or lack there of as the project evolves provides an opportunity to make adjustments, acknowledge learning and grow support and advocacy.

Showcase Case Studies (of failure?)
Case studies are often the vehicle for sharing best practices or success (professional bragging rights), the more competent case studies will share what was learned and what the leaders would have done differently.  If there is a case study related to your project, study them, cite them, share them and learn from them as the project grows.  It’s also nice to share your own, even if it’s an executive summary.

Include Others
I admire the crazy thinkers, the mavericks and those creating paradigm shifting products, programs and initiatives.  Note that they rarely work alone.  Be sure to include others, seek out those who have a passion for your program or those it may serve.  Internal, external, across and through your organization — find them and engage them.

Certainly not an exhaustive list of strategies in securing permission to fail and I’d love to hear what you would add.  Organizations are not people, they relish complacency and it takes the courage of the people within them to seek change, innovation and growth.

Permission to fail is permission to succeed


I recently had the opportunity to participate in a session led by Sam Davidson of He made a statement that I found brilliant and timely.

“community is no longer defined by physical space”

True.  In a rough count, my wife, daughters and I  hold 27+ different memberships — both real and virtual.

  • newsletters
  • websites
  • gymnastic center
  • service clubs/chambers
  • sports teams
  • church
  • The Y (of course)
  • retailer loyalty programs

Each varies in the level of engagement as much as our involvement varies.  Does our involvement reflect their engagement?  Not sure, but despite outgrowing Webkinz, my 10 year old daughter continues to visit the website only to “feed” her pets so they don’t starve (virtually).  These groups also connect with us through multiple channels: IRL (in real life), texting, e-mail, mail, web and telephone.

photo by: d3designs

In serving members and customers we have an overwhelming number of channels (with more on the horizon) through which we can create and nurture our community.  It is important to create one community through all channels and not a community for each channel.

When in doubt, channel your inner member.  Take note of your own memberships — what are those that you could not live without doing to keep you engaged as a member?

What channels are you using for your business?  What strategies do you apply to bridge the experience between channels?

It’d also be a really good idea not to let them starve.