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Anthony Coppedge
Follower of Jesus, recipient of grace; Hubby of my über bride; I help churches w/ Communications & Tech; I prefer .
Follower of Jesus, recipient of grace; Hubby of my über bride; I help churches w/ Communications & Tech; I prefer .


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Drive-thru fast food chains continue to try and appeal to a seemingly ever-widening audience palate. Or, at least, their menu selections continue to expand to offer more, more, and more. It's a failing strategy.

The key to fast food is 'fast'. If it's not fast, it's missing the point and will eventually affect sales of fewer orders placed per minute/hour. A ginormous menu with dozens of choices is inversely proportional to the number of served customers in the drive through line.

Lesson #1 - Minimum information, Maximum call-to-action
My personal experience has taught me that if I want a burger with only a couple of things on it, it's easier to say "plain, but add lettuce and pickles," than to tell them what I do not want on my burger. The reason is simple: there's a button on their cash register for 'plain' and a button for 'add'. It's easier on the fast food employee than making them start subtracting what I don't want and then finally adding something I do want. Frankly, it confuses them.

Similarly, there's great simplicity in the truth that 'less is more.' Rather than giving all the details at once about a product, service, or event, and then listing all of the unique qualifiers and exceptions, it's much more effective to summate the big idea with a simple qualifier statement and an easy to respond/act/sign-up immediately option.

Don't spam people with irrelevant information, but instead respect their time and bandwidth with specific, valuable, and actionable information that leads to a simple opportunity for them to connect with your brand and buy what you're selling.

Lesson #2 - Less is more
Know thy audience. I've never understood why KFC, Long John Silvers, and Taco Bell would ever co-exist in a single location. Look, I get it that Yum! (the parent company) sees an opportunity to meet a family's unique tastes from a single drive-thru window, but I cannot and would not ever consider going inside to eat; the olfactory assault of non-complimentary food lingering in the air would instantly kill my appetite. Perhaps this strategy will work in a drive-thru line (though I doubt it would be fast - see Lesson #3 below), but it does not work when organizations try to pack everything into a single communication distribution channel.

In the fast food industry, In-N-Out Burger has this figured out. Even though they cook with fresh ingredients and their prep time takes longer, their drive-thru is fast because it's a simple menu. Take a look at the picture of their menu that demonstrates the value of "less is more."

When you communicate everything to everyone, you effectively reach no one.

Lesson #3 - Communicate value, not need
Depending on the type of message you want to share, organize choices into simple, obvious groupings. The fast food menu for most establishments is now an oxymoron. There is simply no way for a fast decision to be made when the volume of choices rival that of the Cheesecake Factory (a bloated menu of seemingly endless choices, for those unfamiliar with the popular restaurant).

Planning your marketing channels (start with an editorial calendar) and determine your voice for each type of message. A general rule of thumb in communicating information to people is to think about what you say from at least one of three methods:

"Entertain me!" - through clever and/or funny media, engage the user to identify with what you're offering through a positive association or experience.

"Help me!" - via thought leadership, provide credible authority/expertise with solutions about a subject/topic.

"Love me!" - generate loyal, fanatic advocates who love you, love what you represent, and enthusiastically share with their friends.

Paraphrasing the Apostle Paul, the greatest of these three is Love. It's important to note that the third option almost never exists in mass communication efforts. Love is relational, and relationships require personal connection. Handwritten notes (yes, those still exist), a phone call, a personal text, a mention on Facebook or a direct message on Twitter, or even a personal email are all very effective methods of creating personal connection, personal activation, and personal commitment. When you love people genuinely well, they'll engage and get others involved, too.

Of course, scalability issues mean these 1-on-1 interactions must be strategic. But for great clients, influential advocates ('promoters', for the NPS crowd), and even key prospects, individualization and meaningful connection offers a way to stand out from the crowd.

Know thy audience is an important key because your various communication and marketing channels likely have various personas that will appreciate and respond to channel-specific targeting. Focus on your value proposition and what's in it for them.

What lessons would you add to this list? And, what's been your experience with channelized communication? Comment below!
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Churches, almost regardless of size, act a lot like small 'mom-and-pop' businesses; they go with the flow, opportunistically taking advantage of their audience through minimally prepared communications aimed at the most urgent needs. Even a small modicum of strategic planning would aid considerably in aligning the mission of the church with the opportunities in their communities.

New blog post:

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Email (even personal accounts like Gmail) will never be the same. I LOVE this free plug-in called Sidekick!

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The difference between delegating responsibility and giving away delegated authority is like eggs and ham; the chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

It's safe to say most of us have worked for a manager that used delegation as a means to a task-based end. They wanted things done, so they delegated responsibility down the ranks to employees who were told to get tasks done - or else. This kind of delegation is more accurately labeled abdication; a failure to fulfill a responsibility or duty. When a poor manager delegates all responsibility, they are setting the employee up to take the blame if the project or task doesn't meet expectations set at least two levels above their role.

A good manager will not delegate responsibility without also providing delegated authority to ensure the employee has the ability to give direction to others in the organization, regardless of hierarchy or rank. Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, summed this up nicely:

QUOTE: "Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it. Force responsibility down and out. Find problem areas, add structure and delegate. The pressure is to do the reverse. Resist it." - Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

There are several sequential keys Mr. Rumsfeld prescribes in this short and powerful quote, and they provide us with a roadmap on how to delegate authority.

Force Responsibility Down and Out
Simply delegating tasks misses the opportunity to shift your staff from an employee mentality to an ownership mentality.

I have a friend that works for a large defense contractor. His stories about how he's told "slow down; you're making us look bad" or "don't estimate that we can do a project too quickly, even if we can. It sets us up to have to perform like that every time." My friend's work ethic and honesty are not valued because the hierarchy is a command-and-control environment where employees only do what they're told (and never anything more). Likely, this developed over time from poor management delegating responsibility downstream without delegated authority - leaving employees without the proverbial chair when the music stopped. Out of a self-preservation mindset - an employee mindset - these team members now take three to four times longer to do a project than it should take. (And we wonder why our defense contracts are constantly over-budget...but I digress).

One of my leadership maxims: If it is a job anyone can do, delegate it. If it is a job only I can do, then I do it. A good manager is evaluated on how much gets done, not on how much they do.

Forcing responsibility shouldn't mean the manager is free-and-clear, but that the employees given the ownership have the ability to lead cross-functional teams and work up or down stream to get the project completed.

Find Problem Areas
When expectations are defined at the very beginning of a project, a singular objective is defined, goals are set, strategies put in place and actionable tasks documented - then, and only then, is an organization setting their employees up for success. Assuming this is happening, finding problem areas is normally straightforward: wherever there is a breakdown, the manager directly addresses the issue with the stakeholders. Once the issue is identified, steps are taken to move past the issue.

That sounds great, but the big 'x-factor' is people. Countless books and teachings have been done about hiring the right people and ensuring they have 'the right seat on the bus', as author Jim Collins describes it in the classic "Good to Great" book. Yet, this doesn't often happen across the board where egos and turf wars get in the way of getting things done. For delegation to really, really work well, you've got to have a team that is empowered to cooperate and succeed.

QUOTE: "The way you delegate is that first you have to hire people that you really have confidence in. You won't truly let those people feel a sense of autonomy if you don't have confidence in them." - Robert Pozen, business leader and professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management

Add Structure
In my coaching, one of the most basic (but overlooked) systems I teach how to implement online project management. Almost invariably, I hear from my mentees the following: 'we've tried that' or 'nobody uses it' or 'I'm too busy to handle admin stuff'. I break down these barriers and help my mentees create a simple, sustainable project management system that pays dividends in new levels of personal time management.

QUOTE: "If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen." - Tom Clancy, used by character Jack Ryan in 'Debt of Honor'

After only a few weeks of implementing a project management and time-tracking system, my mentees see the immediate value of adding structure. Just this week, one of my recent mentees told me "I had complained about a piece of equipment we've had for years that literally had a hammer attached via a bungee cord so that you could bang on it to make it work. After we documented the tasks that required extra man hours to complete because of this faulty gear, I finally had the proof to justify replacing it."

Years of inefficiency totaling hundreds of man hours were quickly solved by simply adding a structure that gave leaders what they need to make informed decisions: useful, objective information.

Delegate Responsibility with Authority
To recap, there are some clear steps and sequential processes to empower employees with delegated responsibility and authority:

> Define expectations and create a singular objective.
> Set goals (if this, by then) that relate directly to the objective.
> Determine strategies to accomplish each goal.
> Document actionable tasks that relate to each strategy.
> Force responsibility down and out.
> Find problem areas.
> Add structure and delegate.

QUOTE: "I had to delegate authority to the people on my staff. That means you shave away the hierarchy." - Jurgen Klinsmann, Head Coach, U.S. men's soccer team

How have you or your team handled delegation? Comment below.

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Humbly, I submit this may be the most helpful article for the Audio/Video/Lighting industry I’ve written. LINK:

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An Audio/Video/Lighting industry discussion of Good/Fast/Cheap is needed instead of this "race to the bottom"

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Avoiding burnout starts with right-fitting volunteers & placing safe boundaries around their workload. Read the 7 Steps of Recruiting, Training and Retaining Volunteers.

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Church staff: Do you deserve a higher wage? New blog post!  #church  #1timothy5_18 

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You can get adjusted by any Chiropractor, but to have you life adjusted through more than "popping" your back, go all-in with Dr. Nimphius and his team at Victory Chiropractic. Hands down the best at taking care of your body, not just your aches and pains.
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