“What makes you bang your shoe on the desk?” she asked with a gentle smile. It was like being wacked between the eyes with a firm pillow—a soft but convincing blow to get my attention. She was trying to learn more about why I do the things that I do in my business: fundraising counsel, team development, empowerment through creativity and of creativity, and more.
I had never heard that particular question, making it all the more profound. I answered and we moved on with a great conversation.
Upon reflection—and conversations like that one deserve much reflection—I realized that her question is a perfect way to probe the notion of “cause.” I believe people, organizations and businesses should start with their cause before developing plans. In my short video on the topic, the process is explored. Cause drives mission which inspires vision that requires a strategic plan that is implemented with action plans. People too often start with mission, when they should start with cause.
My e-book, “Go First…” uses a quote from Ben Franklin regarding how he acquired support for his projects. We all want support for our projects—be they personal or professional. His statement begins, “My practice is to go first to those who know the cause and believe in it…” It all begins with cause.
Defining cause can be a real challenge, and it is fraught with connotations that are overly lofty. Making it real and understandable is the first step to help you then put into place the steps of mission, vision, strategic plan and action plans. I can think of no better way to provide clarity and start the conversation about cause than by asking, “What makes you bang your shoe on the desk?” Start there. And grow.
Oh yes, what was my answer to her questions? “Growth. Growth of selves, opportunity, talents…every moment of every day provides an opportunity for growth.”
PS: “She” is the compassionate director of a wonderful nonprofit that helps feed the homeless and hungry. Take a look and support her mission if you can. www.TheMercyTree.org.