Community Building

Results are Easy. Right?

My apologies for going dark for several weeks. A house sale and move consumed me. I am now in Bradenton, FL, for the winter. Here’s a thought from my colleague, Robyn Faucy-Washington, CEO of Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s. Robyn faced and overcame the challenges of conventional thinking for large convenings.

Results are Easy. Right?

Recently, Susie Bowie, Executive Director of the Manatee Community Foundation, forwarded me a blog post from Seth Godin titled “The Gift of Results.” An excerpt from the article read “Results show up. They’re easy to see, easy to measure and they persist.” Wow! Isn’t that the truth?

So why do we get distracted from the focus on results? Why are so many organizations guided by tradition rather than accomplishment?

I had the opportunity to participate in a Results 1 st Prototype Class in 2018. Hal Williams, creator of Results 1st, guided the class for me and 9 other local non-profit leaders. In the opening session, Hal asked me what my organization’s results were. I proceeded to proudly tell him that we served 2,000 people annually in 5 counties with over 6,000 points of service. Hal replied, “So what?” I was slightly offended (maybe more than slightly- I may have gasped and grabbed my chest) and confused. Those numbers were impressive for a small non-profit organization.

The “so what” means – what are those 2,000 people getting from your organization? Are your programs inspiring behavior changes in your clients? What gains are they achieving?

My Results 1st Prototype Class was very timely as I was creating an Expo—a new one-day educational event for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. I wanted it to make a huge difference to those coming from near and far to attend. So I began with this question – what do we most want participants to both remember and use?

As I created every aspect of the event from topics, speakers, exhibitors, marketing, layout, volunteers, activities, and revenue generation- I became laser-focused on the results I wanted participants to gain. Not the traditional keynotes, panels and other sessions that leave people milling at the back of the room and speakers rarely connecting with what other speakers say.

My first shock was in learning how much energy was needed to counter and tune out those who take the usual conference conventions as sacred. How strong are the traditions of togetherness!

The Results 1st approach led to the following gains for the 1,400 Parkinson’s Expo participants:

  • 76% learned about new medication and treatment options
  • 90% learned about Parkinson’s specific resources to help them manage their disease
  • 90% felt more empowered to move forward

Our Parkinson’s Expo continues to be the largest event of its kind in the country with over 1,400 attendees. People come and come back because they get value. As a result of the attendance numbers, the sponsors of the Expo also come back. The net funds from Expo sponsorships have allowed Neuro Challenge to expand its programs to serve more people in the Parkinson’s community.

Seth is right- results are easy. But only when we realize that while we define what we do, our clients define what they want to get. A simple premise that has turned my world upside down. I now start with results in order to end there.

By Hal's Results 1st

Hal Williams 
Outcome Guide

… is a resource for foundations,
governments, and nonprofit
organizations that seek to define,
track, verify, and communicate the
results they achieve.

One reply on “Results are Easy. Right?”

Thank you Hal for once again helping gear folks to better understand how to get results. Similar to Hal’s question: “So what?” brings to mind the great music piece by Miles Davis called “So what?” You can play loud, fast and long but so what? Can you create a distinctive sound? Can you leave room for improvisation? Can you get others to buy into getting results? To get results, you have to leave room for improv and get buy in. BTW: So What is on the lead piece on the biggest selling jazz album ever: Kind of Blue.

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