One of my favorite cousins, Mike Murphy, teases bartenders by saying “I’m searching for the second best martini in America.”
When they take the bait, they ask, “Why the second best; why not ask for the best?”
To which he responds, “Because if I find the best, then my search is over. What fun is that?”
If you’ve read this column before, you know how much I value planning.
My ad agency mentor Jim Johnson taught me that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” early on so carefully researched written plans precede any venture. And I continue to stress the case for written planning with every organization I work with.
Without a plan, you’ve no basis to allocate your resources and no way to measure your progress.
But I’ve learned there is a higher platform than planning. Let’s call it “searching.”
Our foundation has worked with great planners and great doers these last fourteen years. The “best of the best” are searchers.
William Easterly’s seminal book, “The White Man’s Burden” (reviewed February, 2009) led me to appreciate this term. More...
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Editor’s note: I’ve struggled all my life, as perhaps most of us have, with my faith. I rarely doubt the existence of God be she my Roman Catholic God or anyone else’s. This article from a doctor of Physics, suggests, as my father often did, that doubt need not diminish faith. Then he goes a step further saying that science and faith should logically rest well together.
“One has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself”
By Jan Thrope
Editor’s Note: This book captures the amazing inner strength of some of Cleveland’s most economically disadvantaged residents. The stories of hope in the face of poverty are both inspiring and humbling to me.
I admire greatly the work Jan Thrope is doing to help inner-city residents initiate and lead their own community improvement projects. If you are interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the book, please contact our foundation’s director, Bill Leamon, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If Everyone Cared” by Nickelback
Favorite Lyric: “If everyone shared and swallowed their pride.”More...
Editor’s Note: As part of foundation’s work to establish a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institute,) we have been researching best practices to (someday) achieve scale beyond Ashtabula County. This paper looks at early practice in the area of distance-based business development services. Through a survey of practitioners and more in-depth conversations with early pioneers of this work, the paper provides lessons for those looking to embark or expand efforts in this area.
A long-time challenge facing microenterprise programs is how to reach out to larger numbers of entrepreneurs efficiently despite the distance in proximity to a program office. A common strategy, for both rural and urban programs, has been to grow geographically — establishing branch or regional offices wherever potential clients work and reside in numbers. While the bricks and mortar strategy has many obvious benefits (local credibility, increased market knowledge, and enhanced customer service being just a few), it also carries some substantial drawbacks, not the least of which is cost. Although these drawbacks do not mean that practitioners will not continue to expand their physical presence, there are compelling reasons to look more closely at distance learning. (To Continue)