Clever Ways Organizations Partner For Greater Good


What fervent belief does Vaishnavi Maganti, an 11th grader and Indian Impact brand ambassador in Hyderabad, share with Jeremiah Owyang, Crowd Companies’ Chief Catalyst and David Batstone, Not For Sale founder? NFSes

An ardent belief that leveraging best talents with others, around strong sweet spots of mutual interest, is a powerful way to scale their efforts for the greater good. Yet to do well together requires a mutuality mindset. Their focus is on the  “us” in their collaboration, not “simply” giving nor asking for help but working, with partners, on strong sweet spots of shared interest. In practice, that means they choose to collectively, iteratively hone methods and systems for leveraging their capacity to serve better together.  Here are some of the methods they use that you can adapt for the cause or business that fuels our passion.

Enable Each Partner To Shine, Contributing Best Talents Children Indiann-1

• Young Maganti, as a local brand ambassador for Indian Impact, a non-profit that facilitates the right foods getting to each local Anganwadi Center where the poor are served in India, knows that, “I’m helping 80 malnourished kids and myself in the process. They will have a better future thanks to the funds and awareness I raise, and I get to brush my leadership and marketing skills.”

• The luxury car service, Uber is seeking traction in India. It partnered with Indian Impact to enable its customers to use a special promotional code that automatically contributes a fixed percentage of that ride’s price to Indian Impact. More people may hire Uber, moved by this effortless way to help feed the poor, and wind up admiring the car service when they do.

Ubern-1• A second way Uber uses its best resources — drivers and a handy app — to support the cause is a campaign they co-promote. For three days, anyone in Hyderabad can contact Uber to donate essential items such as much-needed eating plates and floor mats. They simply schedule a pick-up, using the Uber app, for drivers to bring their donations to the central Indian Impact office where the goods can be sorted to go to the center where they are most needed.

Stay Close to Those You Serve By Involving People They Like And Trust

• By recruiting and training local ambassadors, Indian Impact stays close to what each of the 868 centers needs, and inspires ambassadors to recruit their peers. In so doing the non-profit decentralizes marketing while multiplying the number of potential contributors and Center users they can involve.

• Pro athletes can use their visibility and popularity during game high-points to highlight their support of a cause.  35 Major League baseball players, for example, have become the highly publicized Team NFS, supporting the non-profit Not For Sale, in its mission to stop human trafficking globally. They tie personal donations to their on-the-field performance such as home runs, strike outs etc.Jeremy-Affeldt-1

Team NFSPull in More Participants By Vividly Showing Peers The Reasons To Join

• With each donation the pro athletes create a news-making event that raises their reputation and NFS’s visibility. That collective leveraging of best talents for greater fundraising and awareness means NFS can expand, this year, to work with over 50 baseball players, as well as with players in Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League.

• By creating a brand council where peers in large corporations can share insights into how to leverage the growing power of the Collaborative Economy Movement – and seeding the start-up with major, diverse players like Nestle, Hyatt and Adobe — Crowd Companies’ audacious founder, Jeremiah Owyang set the context for all major firms to feel they’d better join or they might be left behind and lose market share. Sagely, he launched at a coveted conference, LeWeb, then hosted a convivial kick-off party in S.F.Unknown-1

• How can you become the ringleader in your profession or industry by piggybacking on a hot trend with an aptly designed group where peers leverage value and visibility for each other by belonging? And what kind of key early adopters would your recruit?  Plus what kind of online and face-to-face opportunities would you build into your mutuality-centric organization? See the diverse yet closely interwoven activities and partners that Not For Sale and Indian Impact pulled in, for example.

Innovate Together To Improve What You Provide

vitingon-2• Instead of asking Coca Cola India for money, Indian Impact is co-conducting a mini-pilot in Hyderabad for the distribution of Vitingo. That’s their micro-nutrient fortified beverage powder manufactured for the project on a no-loss, no-profit basis. Together they will track the capacity of this drink to alleviate the iron deficiency anemia of the poorest children, ages five or less, and pregnant mothers.

Create Revenue-Generating Partnerships

Not For Sale supporter and San Francisco Giants pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt participated in a meeting of Silicon Valley REBBL_Episode_2.1leaders who explored ways to craft an exportable job-building business model for at-risk populations. Affeldt thought of involving people in the Amazon in harvesting plants and making a beverage he dubbed REBBL. The name came from its ingredients including “Roots, Extracts, Berries, Bark and Leaves.” This organization not only increases economic opportunities for highly exploited families in the Amazon, but in keeping with Not For Sale’s core mission, REBBI reinvests proceeds into projects that combat human trafficking.  NFS created a Marketplace, with 50 partners that create revenue-generating products, thus enabling the non-profit to scale its global campaign.

Leverage Participation, Tracking and Pride Via High Tech Systems and High Touch Service

Indian Impact operates with assembly-line efficiency via an online process that tracks the kinds of food each center needs while monitoring the resultant changes in the health of those they serve so they can discover the “bright spots” of what works best. They also experiment with social media to raise visibility, pull in more participants and praise their helpful actions. Just as importantly, they create “high touch” ways for people to connect in person and see evidence of their work. The foot soldiers, their brand ambassadors, for example are in surrounding colleges and other schools. Donated billboard space shows messages about, not about this charity but our nation building efforts.

r IndianIn these ways, Indian Impact founder, Ridhima Parvathaneni believes that, “Non-profits can be more successful than their profitable counterparts if they incubate a noble cause with dexterity and efficiency. A non-profit that’s got hustle is the new normal.” As William Butler Yeats wrote,  “Because I helped to wind the clock, I come to hear it strike.”

Want to Discover More Smart Ways to Share?

For those of you interested in the inventive ways others are learning to share and collaborate, to make or save money, forge friendships, foster community, serve the greater good or other reason, here are some resources I respect: Shareable, Collaborative Consumption, Quantified SelfWhat’s Mine is Yours, and MeshWhat resources have you discovered for improving how we can share, co-create or otherwise collaborate?mesh n-2

The Gift Of Fear. The Penalties Of Worry.

worry1cf60c53ef011571276fa6970c-120wi“Anxiety, my old friend,” my friend Colleen Wainwright once wryly confessed. We women generally worry more than men. Yet it is vital to recognize the difference between worry and fear.

How, for example, can we know when a fear for personal safety is justified and when a worry is sapping our spirit and making us see the world simply as a dangerous place?

“Our fears are fashioned out of the ways in which we perceive the world,” wrote Gavin Becker, gift of fear721be476970b-120wiauthor of The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence. Better to learn how to recognize when someone’s apparently dangerous actions are, in fact, a danger to you, so you can act to protect yourself, and not let unfounded fears and worry contaminate your life.

“When we get a fear signal, our intuition has already made many connections,” said DeBecker in a National Public Radio interview. “When you feel fear, try to ‘link’ it back to a past situation where the feeling that was similar to see if your fear is, in fact, justified.”

sharkesHow Rational Are Some Of Your Fears?

In the 1960s a study was done on what single word evoked the greatest psychologically strong reactions of fear. The study included words like spider, snake death, rape, murder and incest. Shark evoked the strongest reaction.But why?  Sharks rarely come in contact with us. Three reasons: the seeming randomness of their strike, the lack of warning for it and the apparent lack of remorse.

Worry Is The Fear We Manufacture

Worry, anxiety, concern and wariness all have a purpose, but they are not fear. Any time your dreaded outcome cannot be reasonably linked to pain or death and it isn’t a signal in the presence of danger, then it really should not be confused with fear.

See Worry As A Form Of Self-harassment

Worry will not bring solutions. Instead, worry distracts from finding solutions. To free yourself from worry sooner, understand what it really is.

Most of us worry because it provides some secondary reward such as:

• Worry is a way to avoid change; when we worry, we often don’t act on what bothers us.

• Worry allows us to avoid admitting powerlessness over something, since worry feels like we’re doing something. Prayer also makes us feel like we’re doing something, and even the most committed agnostic will admit that prayer is more productive than worry.

• Worry is a cloying way to have a connection with others. Worry somehow shows love. The other side of this is the belief that not worrying about someone means you don’t care about that person. As many people who’ve been worried about know well, worry is a poor substitute for love or for taking loving action.

• Worry is a protection against future disappointment. After you complete an important project where the success of your approach won’t be known for some while, for example, you can worry about it. Ostensibly, if you can feel the experience of failure now, rehearse it, so to speak, by worrying about it, then failing won’t feel as bad when it happens.

emoitonal esBut how would you want to spend the time while you find out: worrying, playing or initiating another action on another endeavor? For some people, worrying is a “magical amulet”, according to Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman. Some people feel it wards off danger. They truly believe that worrying about something will stop it from happening.

Most of what people worry about has a low probability of occurring, because we tend to take action about those things we feel are likely to occur. This means that very often the mere fact that you are worrying about something is a predictor that it isn’t likely to happen. The connection between real fear and worry is similar to the relationship between pain and suffering.

• Pain and fear are necessary and valuable components of life

• Suffering and worry are destructive and unnecessary parts of life. Worry interrupts clear thinking, wastes time, and shortens your life.

When worrying, ask yourself, “How does this serve me?” To be free of fear and yet still get its gift, consider these techniques:

1. When you feel fear, listen.

2. When you don’t feel fear, don’t manufacture it.

3. If you find yourself creating worry, explore and discover why.

We Choke on Anxiety

Anxiety, unlike real fear and like worry, is always caused by uncertainty. It is caused by predictions in which you have little confidence. If you predict you will be fired and you are certain that your prediction is correct, you don’t have anxiety about being fired, but about the ramifications of losing a job. Predictions in which you have a high confidence free you to respond, adjust, feel sadness, accept, prepare, or to do whatever you need to do. You can reduce your anxiety by improving your predictions, thus increasing your certainty. It is worth doing, because the word anxiety, like worry, stems from the root word that means “to choke,” and that is just what it does to us.

Our imaginations can be fertile soil in which worry and anxiety grow from seeds to weeds, but when we assume the imagined outcome is a sure thing, we are in conflict with what Proust called an inexorable law: “Only that which is absent can be imagined.” In other words, what you imagine — just like what you fear — is not happening.

Secretsuide_new_smDiscover more ways to stop worrying from Amanda L. Chan’s helpful column. Also, from former undercover and counterintelligence FBI agent, LaRae Quy, former FBI, learn The Secrets of a Strong Mind.

Successful Companies Are Like Caring Mothers

zoratti ownCo-contributor, Sandra Zoratti

What should you do when someone cries or laughs at work? The same thing a go-giver, loving mother would It's always personal180do. Discern what provoked the emotion then seize the moment to support their greater self-understanding and confidence — and your relationship.  No matter what some assert about the need to manage (aka stifle) our feelings at work, “It’s always personal” writes Anne Kreamer.

We are happier and higher-performing when we can bring our full self to work, in an atmosphere where differences are welcomed and caring and civility are too, just as in a healthy family.

goodboss-bad-boss-sutton-eClearly Sumner Redstone and other bully bosses, playing the bad dad, don’t support that notion and crush performance and loyalty.

Few Companies Prove That They Actually Care, Does Yours?

Trust is everything. Companies that experience enduring success prove that they want to understand us, appeal to our positive emotions and to support our needs and interests, just as loving mothers do. Often, mothers put their children’s needs before their own.  Sure, traditional business wisdom asserts that the first goal of a company is greater profitability.

Yet demonstrably putting your customers first, even if such actions are not in the short-term financial interest of the firm, creates Humanwndeeper customer and employee loyalty, and company growth over time. So discovered Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske, co-authors of The Human Brand.  In fact, that’s what lead to Domino’s Pizza’s turnaround with a “warts and all” transparency, allowing customers to easily say what they think of their pizza via an online tracker, and by swearing off food styling, showing their pizzas as they really look. Like a loving mother they know that telling the truth, and encouraging others to as well, ultimately cultivates candor, trust, mutually learning and healthier, closer relationships.

“Logic will never change emotion or perception.” ~Edward de Bono

What Would Mother Do First?

Like a caring mother, to spur trust and loyalty, first show warmth of intent and then competence. Both Malone and Fiske have found Who's Got Your BackBthat to be true for companies and Harvard professor, Amy J.C. Cuddy discovered it’s always how we respond to each other. That’s a key factor in how we make choices as customers and as children, learning from our parents. As Keith Ferazzi aptly put it, “Who’s Got Your Back

Kramer book tIPL._AA278_PIkin-av,BottomRight,-46,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_That’s probably why Pure Matter CEO, Bryan Kramer’s message spread so quickly and inspired him to turn it into a video-embedded eBook, There is no B2B and B2C. Human to Human.” Why video-embedded? Because his focus was on mutuality – where companies consistently shine a spotlight on others’ great work. Thus they foster deeper, more mutually beneficial relationships between their stakeholders, from customers to employees and vendors.

Loving Mothers Don’t Have Favorite Children But Happy Families

A loving mother recognizes that the best way to support her children’s success and happiness in life is to give earned praise, and demonstrate caring, flexibility, warmth, competence and confidence. Yet it is also to not focus on having a child-centered family but rather a healthy family.

As Melinda Blau describes in Family Whispering, that approach nourishes all family members. Similarly a healthy work culture isn’t Family Whisperingfocused on creating stars but nourishing those who actively support each other in using best talents together. Imagine your workplace culture becoming one where people were rewarded and recognized as MVPs, valuable players who focused on the best outcome for “us.” As The Progress Principle co-author Teresa Amabile found, this fosters more frequent experiences of meaning and conviviality at work. Sound like a healthy family?

Help the Helper wnPerhaps we don’t have to squabble at work, as siblings sometimes do. If, as Help the Helper co-authors demonstrated, professional athletes can be coached to put the team’s interest first, then perhaps so can we. We think it would make our mothers proud. What do you think?

Because you probably spend considerable time at work, when you falter in fostering caring at work, consider acting applying the Family Effect to what you say and do while there:

“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my gosh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.” ~ Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In


Live a Richer, Fuller Life With Others

wisdom-owlSeek Out Those Who Don’t Act Right (Like You)

Beginning with our first success in childhood we become attached to what we believe are our strengths, in temperament and talent, which enabled us to win. Why not? They seem to be what makes us popular, even sought-after. Then, increasingly we are drawn to people who seem to act right, like us. Why not? They act right, like us. We instinctively project onto them other traits we admire, even sometimes, when they do not have them.

People like people who are like them. People like people who like them.

Those factors warp our judgment, stifle creativity and innovation, and reduce our chance to live a more adventuresome, satisfying life of accomplishment with others. To overcome that natural proclivity, go out of your way to engage with people vastly different than you in talent, temperament, experience, age and view. To overcome the instinctual irritation that happens in such encounters, seek out and speak to a sweet spot of strong, shared interest. In short, find your mutuality to bring out the better side in you both. Here are other’s tips for living fully.

Smart to wisewn2. Move From Smart to Wise

“Smartness is like a wild horse: riding it can be exhilarating for a while until you are thrown from it. To tame and harness smartness for the long run, you need wisdom – the stuff that gives you ethical clarity and a sense of purpose, according to From Smart to Wise co-authors, Prasad Kaipa and Navi Radjou.

“When wisdom provides the moral compass, smartness can become even more potent. As we grow older, we tend to lean on our particular area of strength, honing our capabilities in that area.  As we do so, we become attached to that kind of intelligence, and without much conscious thought, we can get stuck in it. Our strength becomes a winning formula and we grow dependent on it, which eventually makes us weak and vulnerable in other areas. This type of smartness shapes our worldview and defines our personality. We can develop such an attachment to our kind of smartness that we see only negative aspects of the other kind of smartness without recognizing – or being willing to accept – the limitation of our own kind of smartness.”

As Good to Great author Jim Collins discovered, “being good at something gets in the way of being great.”

prasad gesTo expand your capabilities, Kaipa and Radjou suggest that you identify which kind of leader you tend to be, then hone your expertise in the other and come to realize your underlying “noble purpose”:

Functionally Smart: Go deep, excelling in one function or field in which they have considerable expertise, and are careful in risk taking

Business Smart: Go broad, as big picture thinkers who are risk takers at heart.

The reward, according to the co-authors: “Since wise leaders are grounded in a noble purpose and accept that change is constant they are more adept than smart leaders in turning the key drivers of complexity (diversity, interconnectivity, velocity, ambiguity, and scarcity) to their organization’s advantage.”

sanborns3. Notice and Emulate Those With Depth Perception

Those who live reflective lives, like leadership expert Mark Sanborn, tend to notice the nuances in others who are similarly wise. Here are two of his actionable observations about such extraordinary people:

• “Their failures don’t impact them as negatively and their successes don’t get overblown. They let neither success nor failure distort the big picture because they know life is always a mixture of both. They learn from setbacks but don’t wallow in them and they appreciate successes but don’t rest in them.”

• “They make as many mistakes as others but have fewer regrets. Extraordinary people acknowledge they’ve grown into who they are as much from their mistakes and defeats as their wise choices and victories. To eliminate past mistakes would diminish present wisdom.”

”The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” ~ James Buchanan

The The Impotence of Proofreading

Tayler Malicf60c53ef0120a93bab37970b-120wi“Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence.” Mortified by some of the mistakes you’ve made in writing and overlooked when re-reading? In a droll stand-up act TaylorMali covers many of the most common, sometimes Freudian slips. Imagine proofreading as comedy that cracks you up as you cringe at familiar writing errors.

“I need to be challenged, challenged menstrually…I need a college that could give me intellectual simulation. Not just anal community colleague.  I really felt that I could get into an ivory legal college…. Gone would be my dream of going to Harvard, Jail or Prison.”Mali1cf60c53ef01310fa26c08970c-120wi

“There is no prostitute for careful proofreading.”

Only a warped mind could imagine Icarus Airlines. Then, in another spoken word performance, enjoy his take on our increasingly inarticulate speech, advocating clarity and conviction.  In a more personal vein, see another side of Taylor, where he ruminates about her after she…

Mali book41cf60c53ef01310fa268d9970c-120wiDiscoveries like slam poet Mali and monologist Sarah Jones remind me, again of the network effect, through friends, of finding prodigious talent on the Internet.Sarah Jones1cf60c53ef01310fa2669c970c-120wi

How Connective Leaders Succeed And Lead Satisfying Lives

on the edgen-1Story: In the popular TV show, Undercover Boss, employees believe they are training a job applicant that may be hired yet they are actually teaching their CEO. “More often than not, the ‘undercover boss’ can barely perform the tasks she or he is supposed to be learning, “ according to On The Edge author and mountain climber, Alison Levine.

As they patiently teach the newbie they “share their thoughts on their careers or what they think of the company, and ideas for improving the products or ideas,” writes Levine.  She adds that this is akin to the leadership style of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “He doesn’t spend his days holed up in some decked-out office up on a penthouse floor, disconnected from the rest of his employees… Rather, he strategically positioned his desk right smack in the middle of the common workplace at Facebook…His message: we are all in it together.”

Levine compares that to the ousted CEO of Merrill Lynch, John Thain who spent “an inordinate amount of cash on his new office — $1.2 million… which included a $35,000 toilet.”

Lesson: Each featured undercover boss  gets multiple wins: a first-hand experience with the pressures and joys of working on the front line, insights for improvements, what it feels like to be taking orders rather than giving them, and what if feels like to not be the most able person in the room.  The CEO builds a direct, emotional bond with some employees and, when the rest of the employees and show watchers discover the CEO’s willingness to be a follower who’s humbly learning from others, then recognizing and rewarding the employees from whom he learned.  Those connective leaders become role models for such behaviors and generate greater value and visibility for themselves and their firms.

Keep Messages, Rules and Requests Simple And Brief….Ultimate question


Smart to wisewn

Scale Your Capacity to Attract Others

Scaling up escellencenScattering smashed watermelons around Stanford’s soccer field before the players arrived was just the first action that students in a class experiment took to sway athletes to wear bike helmets when cycling around campus. They also plastered posters around the field of apparently unconscious, helmetless students lying on the ground with smashed watermelons by their head.smashed watermellowwn

To scale support for yourself, or your cause or organization, consider adapting these students’ approach, described in Scaling Up Excellence, by popular Stanford professors Huggy Rao and Bob Sutton.

Suttong Huggyba1. Get Popular Groups To Be Early Adopters 

To convince more Stanford students to wear bike helmets the group decided to first convert college athletes, beginning with the soccer team.

2. Evoke High Arousal Emotions

Make your cause “hot” by evoking “strong feelings such as pride or righteous anger,” advocate the authors, because “such feelings make people feel powerful and in control of the world around them, which in turn triggers assertive and confident action.” Don't mess with

Evoking pride, for example may a success of the anti-littering campaign Don’t mess with Texas. Use the Compared to What? technique, in words and an image, to show the best case scenario they would want or worst case they’d want to avoid. A worst case, a damaged brain, was evoked by placing smashed melons next to unprotected heads of soccer players.

3. Stir Up A Collective Response When They Are Together

We are most likely to change when we experience seeing and doing something together. Emotions are contagious, especially when face-to-face. Scale support faster by “fueling a virtuous circle,” suggest the authors, “creating experiences that generate ‘communities of feeling.’”Forbes1-150x1502-2

See the rest of the steps in column over at Forbes plus consider reading these other captivating books about how to stay nimble in your career or for your company:

Human brandThe Human Brand: Companies that really put their customers first, even when it’s not in their short-term financial interest, boost genuine loyalty like a trusted friend. Many companies confuse consumers’ repeated buying with loyalty, at their peril, and are deluded in believing that and reward programs also boost loyalty.  Demonstrating warmth first then competence, as Amy Cuddy recommends, boosts trust in a company too.Solution revolutionn

The Solution Revolution: A growing number of innovative, often cross-sector collaborations offer our brightest promise to solve some of society’s toughest problems, and are attracting some of our smartest and most motivated people.

FlexnFlex: In our increasingly complex yet connected world those who can “flex” behaviors to become the glue that holds diverse teams and new initiatives together will probably become our most valued leaders and partners.

The New Killer Apps: With the right approach large companies can innovate faster than start-ups. new killer apps n

Flourish In 2014 By Discovering The Thread That Ties Your Story Together

Pam-Slim-1-150x150Instead of making new year’s resolutions again this year, which are notoriously hard to keep, why not set out on a concrete path to make the next chapter of your life more meaningful and satisfying? How?

By “finding the thread that ties your story together” suggests Pamela Slim in her idea-packed new bookBody of Work. Intuitively, you know that the stronger the role you can play in your career choices, the greater the chance you will be productive and happy with them.Body of work afL._AA160_

That’s why finding a way to incorporate your multiple interests and talents into a coherent whole on which you can grow your unique and valuable mastery can be key to the illusive, flourishing life you seek.

Know When It’s Time To Move On

For example, however you are working now, where are you on what Slim dubs “the loathing scale” ranging from one to ten? That scale ranges from deep dislike of your situation to where ”you don’t have to struggle so much everyday to make a happy, healthy living?” Even if you are in that comfortable “happy” work situation, what Jim Collins calls “the sweet spot” and Martha Beck describes as the “Promised Land” Slim calls it “dangerous.” You are not challenging yourself to hone your core mastery and thus vulnerable to losing options in your future. To keep growing your body of work, rather than getting “out of your comfort zone, she agrees with Michele Woodward’s re-framing: “enlarge your comfort zone.” Who knows? You may choose to quit sooner.

Along With the Fates, Be A Greater Co-Author Of Your Life Story

“Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect and impact… It is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including and the tangible things you have created. Individuals who structure their careers around autonomy, master and purpose will have a powerful body of work,” writes Slim. I heartily agree with Slim when she writes that, “in the new world of work, our ability to create a powerful body of works is what will determine our ongoing employability.”

Becoming Category of one nTaking this approach you are more likely to become a sought-after by Becoming a Category of One, as Joe Calloway suggests and incorporate more of your talents and interests into a coherent life as Marci Alboher advocated in One Life/Multiple Careers, thus sometimes Reinventing You as Dorie Clark advocates for the times when you want to turn the page to a new chapter of work – and you want others to understand that shift.

Find Your True Path Of Multiple Mastery And Opportunity

Gain a more concrete insight into how you define success for your life and credible way to share your authentic story with others by following her eight-step path. You are more likely to stick to this path because Slim displays both warmth and competence in her steps: concrete steps with checklists, examples, heart-warming success stories, and perhaps most of all, reading about her personal success and satisfaction in following this approach.

Here are just some of the many takeaways from this book, which I strongly recommend…  See the rest of the column over at Forbes.Forbes1-150x1502-2

Pull More Customers Closer By Offering Experiences In Ways They Can Share

inside Fairmontf7dc38Walk inside the famous Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and you’ll be immediately swept into a sumptuous holiday scene that includes a giant Christmas tree and a two-story-high Victorian gingerbread house. Yet sadly, like most other businesses that want to delight and engage customers at Christmas, they are missing some big opportunities. You can capture those opportunities, even if you don’t have  a huge holiday budget like the Fairmont does.

What if you could extend the holiday moments you offer farther into the lives of your customers?

What if you could inspire them to share their cheery experience with others?

With the right partners and methods you can. For example, what if the Fairmont partnered with an equally renowned local gingerbreadd71baker to make pre-wrapped, co-branded miniature “Fairmont Gingerbread Houses” and/or cookies collections for elves to sell at a side table near the giant Gingerbread House in the lobby?

Buyers could opt to have them mailed as gifts or walk out with them. Plus the baker could also sell the gingerbread houses to her retail outlets, enclosed in a box with a photo on top of the Fairmont’s lushly decorated lobby, featuring the house. Partners get to use their best talents and resources to gain a festive, warmed-up introduction to each other’s customers. Guests who stay five days or more at the hotel could get a free Gingerbread House, thus introducing the baker’s delicious artistry to the hotel’s most lucrative customers. And the hotel can give their most important guests a unique lagniappe that costs them nothing.

! Stitch IMG_0027Let’s further deepen the customer experience, to strengthen their sense of affiliation to you and your partner’s companies — and their desire to share their memory with others. Starting today, hotel guests can create customized eCards to send to friends and loved ones before they leave the hotel, thanks to a new partnership between a small start-up, KlabLab with a “Stitch” app, and venerable card maker Hallmark. They can use their iPhone to take photos of each other, perhaps by the Christmas tree, Gingerbread House or other holiday scene in the hotel.

Then they can choose a card image, font and message from Hallmark’s collection; add music from the iTunes Library; then customize their chosen message and immediately send their personalized eCard, keeping copies for themselves. Since each eCard has a Stitch+Hallmark watermark on it, those sharing their memories via personal eCards will also be sharing the news that anyone can can use this method to make personalized eCards.   Thus the partnership creates a virtuous circle that naturally scales visibility. Hint: Design your partnership method to create one.


Partner with companies to co-create a more memorable experience that enables you and your partners to:

• Stand out from your competition

• Co-brand an experience and objects-as-gifts that customers can enjoy with others, in the moment and later on

• Give them a reason to come back next year and/or other times because you regularly offer other special experiences, with related gifts they can buy

HintUnlike these partners, be explicit in showing and/or describing the benefits of the partnership to the people you seek to serve.

What other reputable businesses could you quickly forge a holiday partnership with to:

• Reach and serve more people in your mutual market?

• Add more excitement and/or convenience to your customers’ experience?

• Spur more spending and sharing by co-creating a holiday-themed, bundled package of products and/or services from you and your partner, that all partners can sell this season?

nintendo-southwest_120213-617x416For example Southwest Airlines and Nintendo have just partnered up to offer gaming lounges in some of the nation’s busiest airports through December 22nd.  And last Christmas upscale Neiman Marcus “put together a limited collection from 24 American designers” in partnership with value-centric Target so both could experiment with how to reach “a broader range of customers.”

Hint: It’s still not too late to co-create a first-ever, holiday experience that captivates your customers and enable you, and your complementary partner to gain warmed-up introductions to each others customers. What better way to grow your business faster, often while spending less?

Create The Ritual We Can Cheerfully Share

duck nIf a hotel can become famous for leading ducks across their lobby at 11:00 each day then certainly your business can become more well-known for some simple yet involving ritual that customers love to photograph and share with others. Make eye candy “first-evers” that attract reporters.  In fact it’s surprising that so few businesses and other organizations see the power of memory-making rituals, and that we keep talking about the few that do. AFor example, instead of creating a new ritual a sister hotel simply imitated the duck walk. You can do better. walk ducjs wn

1. Think quirky

As all actors know, a cute kid or animal almost always steals the show.  For example the annual ritual that raised $120,000 last year in a town of just 2,404 is the wiener dog race.  People and their dogs came from all over the country for the chance to compete.

wienerwnNow other towns imitate the races yet few seem to have sought out partners to cover the cost and increase the event’s visibility and features such as prizes. Think of pet food makers, shops, groomers and veterinarians as natural partners.

2. Create community around your ritual

3. Offer the unexpected

Instead of “just” offering a loaner car like the one you are getting serviced a British Volvo dealership also offered bikes, from its partnering business, as loaners. The dealership and the bike shop enjoyed three benefits  – deepening the loyalty of their eco-minded customers, getting introduced to each other’s customers, and attracting worldwide media coverage. How well do you know your customers? Well enough so you can reach more of them with an unlikely ally that also serves them? Hint: why not ask your customers to tell you the names of two or three other businesses they also use and trust? It’s likely that you, too, will discover some valuable potential partners.

valencia-300x1814. Reduce your cost of providing that ritual by partnering

Volvo’s ritual was then topped by Fiat in Spain. By partnering with electric bicycle maker Trek it could make the same offer yet without the cost of buying and maintaining the bikes. Trek benefits by getting a warmed-up introduction to possible customers. Bonus benefits? Many of the people who saw the cyclists also saw the co-branded label, Volvo+Trek, on their bikes and many of the cyclists told their friends about their experience.

5. Give a souvenir sample whenever people have to wait – or even pause

For a client years ago I set up an experiment in which those waiting in a movie theater line were greeted by smiling college students who offered each person a free ice cream bon bon on a silver tray. One each. The students simply walked down the line, saying, “Like a tasty bon bon while you’re waiting? If you like it there are more inside.” When bon bon samples were given away outside, sales of movie theatre snacks went up an average of 26 percent. iBest bon bonses

Cost-saving hint: Make your ritual so popular that you can attract more contributing partners. Then you can offer your customers that ritual more often yet at a lower cost to you.

happywnReady to help your customers share holiday cheer?

What unique and special customer-delighting holiday experience can you quickly conjure up with one or more partners to light up the lives of those you serve (or seek to serve) this holiday? I’d love to hear about it.

Also learn more ways to profitably partner. in my free,  two-day, live streaming video course for CreativeLIVE on December 9 and 10. creativeLIVE-Avatar2KareAnderson_1600x900

with Kare Anderson

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