Friday, December 21, 2007

Leadership Tip 2

Last night, while purchasing sundry items at the grocery store, I purchased a tiny little piece of paper for $1. This, of course, was the Toys for Tots train that the USMC promotes. When the cashier first asked me, I said no, like I do every other time...here's how it went.

Cashier: Would you like to donate a dollar to Toys for Tots...please?
Me: No thank you.
Cashier: (not necessarily in response to me) I only have 37 more to go...
Me: Oh really, how many are you trying to get?
Cashier: I'm trying to reach 1,000 and I'm almost there.
Me: Really, when does your shift end?
Cashier: at 7 (in 1.5 hours). I have tomorrow, but I'd like to complete it tonight!
Me: Ok, I'll help you out!

Let's look at why I chose to pay an extra dollar, and why I think most things happen, regardless of the cause being supported.

#1 - She was smiling. She was not the typical cashier that would rather be somewhere, anywhere else and be paid for it...
#2 - She was polite. She said please. This counts for a lot, especially if you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast regions where rudeness is considered to be polite and politeness is just weird.
#3 - She had a specific goal in mind. She wasn't just asking in general. She was intentionally focused on a particular outcome.
#4 - She was excited (albeit probably for purely selfish reasons) about reaching her goal, and it made me want to help her out.
#5 - She had a track record of success...she had already sold 963 trains.
#6 - She was ambitious. She wanted to gain 37 more buys in 1.5 hours and she was determined to get it.

Notice, none of this has to do with the little tots that will receive a toy because of my donation. Granted, if she asked me if I wanted to donate a dollar to "TNT for Terrorists", I would not only have declined, but furtively glanced at her askance and scurried out to become an anonymous tipster.

The important precursor is that I know that the organization does good...but so do a million other non-profits asking for money. I already give to three...my church, the Academy and our WorldVision child in Ecuador (incidentally, I could have just as easily put a dollar in the red pot--the SA is an excellent organization--but that guy looked like he might've been sippin' the juice).

So, in order for me to give...even a dollar...to another charity required more than a good cause, it required positive interpersonal interaction.

Takeaway: People primarily give to, and follow people, not causes.

Action Step: Go back to Leadership Tip 1 and repeat to develop the positive interpersonal interactions referenced today.

2 comments:

Missi said...

I'm thinking anyone would have to be sippin the juice to stand out there dingin a bell in the middle of winter hoping for my quarter!!!

Have a super great holiday Dan...we've been praying for you!!!

Daniel said...

:) And we for you and your family. Please keep us posted!