We are officially in the “dog days” of summer. Interestingly, this phrase refers to the sultry days of summer and came from the Romans, who associated it with the star, Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “dog star” because it was the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major (Large Dog). According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the dog days begin on July 3rd and end on August 11th. Although it is often connected with heat, it also refers to an extended period without rainfall.
At Social Impact Architects, this is often the time we stay inside and catch up on reading. We thought you’d enjoy the same experience and wanted to share some published articles and/or mentions that may be interesting during these “dog days.” Our founder is quoted in many of them, but shares the stage with many fellow entrepreneurs who have really great advice on many topics. If you enjoy them, please feel free to share.
“Many people look for mentors who are way ahead of them professionally, but mentors often forget how they got to their position and times change. I encourage my students to find mentors one step ahead, so the individual has time and relevant experience and understands the realities of the situation.” – Suzanne Smith
Talent is the No. 1 resource within the social sector, but it must be nurtured. Mentors are an incredibly effective and cheap way to grow talent. We encourage all of our clients to match their younger staff with mentors to help them with internal politics and career advice. Mentorship is a two-way street – mentees can also help mentors with new ideas and technology.
“People worry about the outside world with branding, but it is often the inside world that is most problematic. However, it’s also the most fixable. Ensure that employees understand all the elements of your brand, know how to pitch the company and have the tools readily available to keep the brand consistent (i.e., your style guide).” – Suzanne Smith
Brand is so much more than a logo, but they are often mistaken as one in the same. Your employees are your brand, too. They need to be able to tell your agency’s story and can often be your most effective brand ambassadors.
“Franchises require a lot of your time and energy, so if you can give up some control, try a distributorship instead. You’ll monetize the value quicker and scale more efficiently.” – Suzanne Smith
While this is true in small business, it is even truer in the social sector. We often think of scale as scaling an organization to new locations, but it may be more effective and efficient to scale the idea or best practices to other organizations in those same locations. We definitely see this strategy as an emerging trend in the sector.
“Content is king, but without copywriting skills that match the customer’s needs, content cannot be conveyed. In my space, content is way too academic and, as a result, misses the mark with most audiences. People focus so much on being smart, but not enough on being heard.” – Suzanne Smith
We have heard from many of you that you love that our blog is accessible to all players in the social sector. It is easy-to-read and helps you stay on top of trends. This may seem like an easy task, but we challenge ourselves every day to find the right content, the right voice and the right stories to best convey our message. We encourage you to accept this challenge with your content as well – to donors, to clients and to employees. Think before your write – do you have a clear, compelling message; do your secondary points reinforce that message; and what is the one thing you want your audience to remember or do afterward?
“While most men learn team-building skills through sports, they often do not bring those skills to the workplace. Women are natural collaborators and are able to find natural points of connection. In the 21st century, this skillset will be crucial, and those with the skills to collaborate will advance in business more quickly.” – Suzanne Smith
Collaboration in all forms is an important strategy in the social sector – how can we come together to better serve our clients? The sector, which is made up primarily of women, benefits from their collaborative skillset and interpersonal skills.
We hope you enjoyed these readings and welcome your feedback on any of these topics. Tune in next week for our blog – Evolution of an Idea. We cannot wait to share our thinking on this very important subject. Until then, enjoy the dog days of summer!