Why Your Relationships Are Not Really Yours - David DeWolf

Why Your Relationships Are Not Really Yours

Several years ago I met Sam. He was introduced to me by a friend who had known him through Church and a nonprofit that they both were involved in. Sam came highly recommended as one of the most connected people my friend had ever known.

Sure enough, Sam seemed to know everyone. And this was more than name dropping. It seemed as though he had a good deal of intelligence about the companies and people he was connected with. The breadth and depth of his relationships – especially at the executive level – was nothing short of impressive.

Unfortunately, Sam was also broke. He had recently gone through a near-bankrupt situation and was reeling to support his family. I found it odd that someone with such good connections and apparently solid character had struggled to make a living. What ever happened to “It’s who you know, not what you know”? Wasn’t there a way for Sam to leverage his relationships to find a job – perhaps even in business development?

However, Sam had one fatal flaw. He was more worried about protecting “his assets” than he was about adding value to those people’s lives. He protected his Rolodex with his life and refused to make introductions without a very steep – unreasonable – fee being associated with it.

Sam wasn’t a connector. He was a collector.

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5 Ways to Optimize Your Charitable Giving - David DeWolf

5 Ways to Optimize Your Charitable Giving

The recent success of the ALS #IceBucketChallenge has brought about a renewed focus to charitable giving. Over the past month (from July 29 through August 29), ALS received just over $101 Million dollars in donations compared to just under $3 Million during the same period last year: an undeniable—and unexpected—windfall for the organization.

Supporting philanthropic causes is undoubtedly a good thing, but is it wise for a charitable organization to receive such a huge surge of unexpected capital? Scaling an organization and making good use of newfound capital are difficult challenges for most for-profit organizations. Unfortunately most charitable organizations are not nearly as mature as their for-profit counterparts.

I have no clue whether the ALS was prepared for such a windfall, or whether their management, strategy, and tactics are prepared to handle their newfound success. What I do know is that on the surface this capital could have had a much more significant impact if the generous donors were just as deliberate about their donation as they were about their creative ice bucket ways.

Here are five strategies I’ve put in place over the years to ensure that my philanthropic investments are put to good use.

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3 Ways I Stay Close to Family While Traveling - David DeWolf

3 Ways I Stay Close to Family While Traveling [Graphic]

I travel a lot. Sometimes, it feels like too much, but it’s what I have to do in the career path I have.

It’s important that I come up with ways to stay close to family while traveling. They are often little things that pack a big punch, but they can make all the difference.

In order to stay engaged and not be a totally absent husband and father, I have some techniques to remain close and really try to make up for lost time as much as I can.

Here are three of the ways I stay close to family while traveling:

1. Spend quality time with my family when I’m home.

2. Block time off of my calendar when I’m home.

3. Do extra thoughtful things to make sure they know I’m still thinking of them.

Question: What techniques do you have for staying close to family while you travel? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I write about these three methods for staying close to my family, along with a few others, in my earlier post on this topic.

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The Most Important "I" in Team - David DeWolf

The Most Important “I” in Team

We are wired to flinch. To duck away from perceived danger. To protect ourselves.

In moderation, this natural inclination can save our lives. When combined with an unhealthy dose of fear, lack of self confidence and a self preservation, it can destroy our lives.

A couple of years ago my youngest daughter went through a period of time where she was deathly afraid of the dark. Something was always in the closet, under the bed, or around the corner and it was inevitably going to get her.

The fear consumed her and for a short period of time, the perception of the problem precluded her from fixing the problem. She was too scared to look in the closet, under the bed, or around the corner to validate her concern. What she projected became reality and she was unable to see that the real problem was in her head.

As leaders we do this all of the time. We perceive the problem as something external and our self-protection mechanism often prevents us from seeing the truth for what it is.

Here’s a great example.

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Why Asking "Why" Creates Better Employees - David DeWolf

Why Asking “Why” Creates Better Employees

In his book (and TedTalk) Start with Why, Simon Sinek advocates for “purpose built” marketing. He makes the argument that powerful brands are built from an inspirational purpose and that people are naturally inclined to buy, and be passionate advocates for, something that they can identify with and believe in.

Purpose, or what some people call mission, is also essential for organizational success. Jim Collins, the Author of Good to Great, and many other articles and books on business and leadership advocates for developing a strong “core ideology” which includes a “reason for being.”

Unfortunately, we often see “Why” as a tool for putting together long-term strategies, not short-term tactics.

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