Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Our Supporters Are Saying

Breakfast Participant Insights:

"Good opportunity to network and have valued discussions with others in the NPO and business community."
Mark Landschoot, Director, Family Promise of Jacksonville

"I believe every business should align itself with attributes of character. This session provided a wonderful learning opportunity to explore HOW an organization is perceived through the "character lens" in a safe and open atmosphere."
Amy Lynn Calfee, Owner ALC Creative

Strategic Planning Event: Flux Capacitator
Survey Responses:
What did you like about event?
• Creative minds together working for a worthy cause....
• The atmosphere, diverse people, creative juices, link-minded gathering & inspiring culture.
• The back and forth between the group and the gathering aspect of it. Everyone was legitimately there to try to help solve for a need that is out there.
Being on an even playing field. I was as important as anyone else.
• The creativity and the obvious passion by everyone involved.
Additional Comments:
• Thank you for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to contribute to your cause.
• I had a great experience. I look forward to continuing being apart of this process.
• Continue to, as you say: Bring God in!

FC Expert Blog: Why Caring for Your Customers Is Good for Business

FC Expert Blog

Why Caring for Your Customers Is Good for Business

BY FC Expert Blogger Simon MainwaringTue Apr 5, 2011
This blog is written by a member of Fast Company expert blogging community and expresses that expert's views alone.

I wanted to share with you an inspiring example of how a corporation is reaching out to its customers in a meaningful way. The brand in question is called Panera Cares Café. As you walk inside the store, everything looks exactly the same as every one of the other Panera Bread restaurants across the United States except one thing is missing -- a cash register.
Instead, Panera has chosen to manage a number of these Panera Cares Cafes out of the corporate foundation. So instead of a cash register, you'll see a donation box where customers are invited to pay what they think is fair value given their financial situation at that time. As the former Panera co-founder, Ron Shaich, explains, "If you've got a few extra bucks, the right thing is to leave it. If you're feeling pressure, you can take a discount. If you've got nothing, you're free to enjoy your meal with dignity."

Panera opened up the first one of these Restaurants of Shared Responsibility in a suburb of St. Louis in May, 2010.This business model is as strategic as it is well intended. Sights for the cafes are chosen due to their mix of affluent professionals and homeless families so that the concept is mutually beneficial. What's more, the powerful humanizing effect this has on their brand resonates loudly with all their customers.
What's extra smart about this strategy is its self-sustaining design.The profits generated by the cafes are going to be channeled into job training for disadvantaged youth, while any shortfalls are made up by the generous donations of the more affluent clientele.
Even if the Panera Cares Cafes come out behind financially in the short term, the brand itself will come out way ahead. Such a powerful demonstration of concern for the well- being of the entire community in the way it engages both affluent and less affluent customers is simply smart business that contributes to meaningful change. What it demonstrates is a commitment to the well being of society as a whole over the long-term rather than a one-off marketing strategy designed to merely benefit the bottom line.
Panera Cares Café is a wonderful idea that deserves our support in principal and practice. It is also an inspiring example of a We First approach to marketing and our world. Let's hope more brands follow their example and build healthy communities by offering them great food and the opportunity to take care of each other.
Do you think more companies should take a greater responsibility for the less fortunate in society? What other examples have you found?
Reprinted from SimonMainwaring.com
Simon Mainwaring is a branding consultant, advertising creative director, blogger, and speaker. A former Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, he now consults for brands and creative companies that are re-inventing their industries and enabling positive change. Follow him at SimonMainwaring.com or on Twitter @SimonMainwaring.

Acts of Caring - Matter!

 “I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.”  
Pablo Casals

Each and every day we have the opportunity to take an action that shows we care. Be it for a person, for ourselves, our community or our earth. 

Taking to time to make a simple gesture of kindness, helps bring joy to the world and often puts an end to fear, sadness or loneliness. The possibility that your small act of caring could make such a difference is higher than you think. 

Recently after doing a bit of research for this blog post, about the actual ROI of caring, I did a small experiment of my own. I texted 30 of my friends to tell them that I cared about them and I was glad they were in my life. 35% responded back with a sentiment that conveyed, "I needed this today." 30% responded with, "I love you too!" and 20% just took it in and did not respond. The last 15% made the statement, I will pass this on! Very interesting

This really got me to thinking about the power of this idea that a simple act CAN affect the world. 80% took an action, they responded. As I consider the ripple this simple 15 minute investment might have on the world, I sit and smile. 

I am always curious when I hear about random acts of caring. Most often we hear about them from the receiver view, as most people who care, rarely do it for recognition, they do it for the other person's happiness.

Perhaps if we all started talking about the acts of kindness we did, we might inspire others to do the same. Perhaps our humility is getting in the way of the ripples of caring being created! So inspire me...what was the last act of caring you did...

How We Define CARING - Do you agree?

Excerpted pg 16
BE kind, compassionate, empathetic, charitable, forgiving, and grateful.

If you existed alone in the universe, there would be no need for ethics and your heart could be a cold, hard stone. Caring is the heart of ethics, and ethical decision-making. It is scarcely possible to be truly ethical and yet unconcerned with the welfare of others. That is because ethics is ultimately about good relations with other people.

It is easier to love "humanity" than to love people. People who consider themselves ethical and yet lack a caring attitude toward individuals tend to treat others as instruments of their will. They rarely feel an obligation to be honest, loyal, fair or respectful except insofar as it is prudent for them to do so, a disposition which itself hints at duplicity and a lack of integrity. A person who really cares feels an emotional response to both the pain and pleasure of others.

Of course, sometimes we must hurt those we truly care for, and some decisions, while quite ethical, do cause pain. But one should consciously cause no more harm than is reasonably necessary to perform one’s duties.

The highest form of caring is the honest expression of benevolence, or altruism. This is not to be confused with strategic charity. Gifts to charities to advance personal interests are a fraud. That is, they aren’t gifts at all. They’re investments or tax write-offs. They have a place, but be clear about your intentions.

How does this fit your views? What are your thoughts on BEING a caring person, community, business owner?

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Folly of Fairweathered Fairness

gary c. rettinger

So this is one of those concepts that we all typically seem to have a very level understanding of from quite a young age yet we can find ourselves wanting to redefine fairness because "it only seems fair to us...this one time."  Ahhh, now that's just really easy to justify to one's self from time to time, isn't it?  Sometimes it's for the littlest of reasons that we may slip a bit down this very slippery slope nonetheless we're still sliding.  What we really have to see and feel in this situation is how this is affecting your life and the lives of those around you.  For that's what we can quite quickly give maybe a fleeting moment or two's thought to and that's it and we're done.  And it's done.  What's done?  You're done at least for the time it takes you to realize that there are most often shadowy ramifications that'll most surely arise from this "miss" in the game of fairness.  In my way of believing and from the harsh reality of literally experiencing it just the same there are always repercussions that do just that as they come right back at YOU.  This is why it's of tantamount importance to have a consistent evenhandedness in every decision we make especially at moments of weakness brought on by stress and the sometimes paralyzing pain that comes right along with it.  It's at these times we're at our most vulnerable as the human condition dictates that we'll do anything to get rid of pain whether it's already here or even when we're feeling it coming and it's not even here yet.  What happens at this point is compromise, serious compromise often times of what we know is the right thing to do.  We look just a tad the other way make our decision and go about our way as if it's all just a-ok.  Well, it isn't and inside our hearts we know that's the case and to live with that cutting and subtly burning feeling inside is just bad with a capital b.

So, what's the solution?  That's ultimately for each of us to decide for ourselves yet for me it's taking the path of self-respect and respect for others and choosing integrity.  And, should we falter and completely fail at times knowing we have and admitting it to ourselves is essential.  And, critically ever so important as well is to admit to those we have hurt in our moment of weakness and wrong decision.  Truly expressing our sincere apology and opening ourselves up to doing what is right to make everything whole again is the path to redemption.  I have found myself making this subtle mistake even recently with the pain of growth as the poor excuse in hindsight and for that I am most regretful and will do whatever it takes to restore balance and never let it happen again.

Make the turning of the calendar to this new year of 2012 your time for being who you know you really can and must be with the gifts you've been so graciously given and be the shining example we all know we can be just the same.  After all if you're fair to yourself can you imagine how the whole entire world will treat you in kind?   Now that's just beautiful.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How we define FAIRNESS.

Excerpted Passage.
What is fairness? 
Most would agree it involves issues of equality, impartiality, proportionality, openness and due process. Most would agree that it is unfair to handle similar matters inconsistently. Most would agree that it is unfair to impose punishment that is not commensurate with the offense. The basic concept seems simple, even intuitive, yet applying it in daily life can be surprisingly difficult. Fairness is another tricky concept, probably more subject to legitimate debate and interpretation than any other ethical value. Disagreeing parties tend to maintain that there is only one fair position (their own, naturally). But essentially fairness implies adherence to a balanced standard of justice without relevance to one’s own feelings or inclinations.

Process is crucial in settling disputes, both to reach the fairest results and to minimize complaints. A fair person scrupulously employs open and impartial processes for gathering and evaluating information necessary to make decisions. Fair people do not wait for the truth to come to them; they seek out relevant information and conflicting perspectives before making important judgments.

Decisions should be made without favoritism or prejudice.

An individual, company or society should correct mistakes, promptly and voluntarily. It is improper to take advantage of the weakness or ignorance of others.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Are you being FAIR to yourself as you set goals?

Giving yourself a fair share of your time and focus is critical. Your goals and dreams are important! They deserve the same amount of planning and attention that you give to every one else. Being sure we are investing in the efforts and people that are in alignment to our values, will bring a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. A sense of fairness to ourselves and the world will be clear.

I have found that when I am being fair with my time, meaning, giving time to the right things and the right people, I feel good! We want to make it complicated, yet after years of being a coach, I have found personally and with my clients that simple planning is the key!!

Stepping back to inventory where we are and set sights on where we want to go, requires a faith in oneself and a process. I have worked with a myriad of individuals and organizations to accomplish this sometimes daunting task. It takes faith in oneself and colleagues to know that the initial investment of time will be put to the test by creating ongoing accountability to the goals and tasks initially committed to.

Research proves people who invest time in planning are successful and are more successful when they are documented. Daily or weekly planning rituals foster accomplishing more. Stephan Covey, has spend his career educating hundreds of thousands on these "Habits". He is successful because he walks his talk and has actively created tools that he and his organization use routinely. He is a highly respected leader because these are well designed and flawlessly executed. He has created an online tool that supports the creation of goals and accountability that are affective and easy to use.

My deciding what is a priority and then actually making all investments of time, money and passion follow from there allow me to feel confident in my decisions. I am able to stand behind the decisions and follow through with conviction and integrity, when I am sure they align to my values and those of our organization. Alignment of our values and investments requires time and consideration. It asks us to communicate and collaborate with all involved. It is the

As you step forward in making setting your goals and those for your organization, are you being fair to all involved in the goal? Can each person understand and agree to what is being agreed to? Do they have the resources to accomplish the goal. Do they have the management support needed? Being fair means you have considered these components.

Often we are focused on