The 4A’s: Creating the Pink Goldfish to Influence Your Growth

Updated: Aug. 6, 2019  |  Categories: Board Productivity  

The 4A’s:  Creating the Pink Goldfish to Influence Your Growth Image

Image by Coyle Studios via AMA Baltimore

As we discussed in a previous post, it’s possible to engage audiences using your “weirdness.” But you can’t use your “weirdness” effectively until you have a strong handle on what it is, and you’re comfortable sharing it, especially if, at first, they may not be seen as a positive, like having a small membership base or a remote meeting location.

According to Stan Phelps (customer experience expert), organizations should work through four steps before they try to use their “weirdness” to their advantage.

Step 1 Awareness: This is an exercise of self-exploration. Peel back the layers to understand what makes your organization different from others who do similar things, maybe it is something as simple as your membership demographics like having many more millennials than others. Survey members and prospects, talk to your staff, and ask your vendors for insight. Vendors can be a good source of information, as they work with a range of organizations.  

Step 2 Acceptance: Here’s where you realize that to move forward, you need to be ok with what you learn. Be ok with the fact that the majority of your members drive 45 minutes to your meetings and events. Realize that drive time demonstrates your pull, as people are willing to travel for what you offer.

Step 3 Alignment: Now that you’re aware of and have accepted the good, the bad, and the different (what Phelps calls the “weirdness”), it’s time to get everyone else to feel the same way, i.e. your board, members, prospects, website visitors, suppliers, staff, etc. What does weirdness say about what you offer? Does everyone in your organization understand why that is a differentiator and can they speak about it effectively? Do you bring this point to light at events? Showcase it on your website? Post it in your office? “Shine them,” Phelps says about using your weirdness to your advantage.

Step 4 Amplification: Now that you’re aware, you’ve accepted, and you’re in alignment, turn up the volume on your “weirdness,” or perhaps de-amplify it. Want to utilize Phelps’ withholding concept to show you give members time by not holding in-person monthly meetings? Go bigger and louder than you think you should; those you’re trying to engage often see your level of amplification as less than you do. If you think your messaging is an over-the-top 11 out of 10, your audience may only see it as an 8 or 9.

Getting to amplification doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does organizational growth. As with all of your activities, it’ll take time. But don’t wait till your board is back in session. Consider starting these exercises, now, as you start your summer break, to utilize the quieter time to understand and develop a plan.

We’ll have one more piece of wisdom from our conversation with Stan Phelps. Keep your eyes out for details on how to take that first step to creating your own pink goldfish.


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