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 (which seems to be different this year!).
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 them, but shares the stage with many fellow entrepreneurs who have great advice on a variety of topics. If you enjoy them, please feel free to share.
“My best tip to stay motivated is to have peers who can help you perfect your ideas and keep you accountable. This can be done one-on-one with other entrepreneurs, but I am also a big fan of accountability circles for a team-based approach. ” – Suzanne Smith
Motivation often seems in short supply over the summer. Whether you travel, journal or schedule surprises (as my fellow CEOs suggest in the article) to stay in the game this summer, I’d encourage you also to find a long-term source of motivation: an accountability circle. There is nothing better than surrounding yourself with people who understand your work and support your success. You can get together monthly or quarterly depending on need. It can be structured or unstructured as long as the circle is used not only as a therapy session, but also for accountability toward goals.
“Make Good First Impressions. Startups often scrimp on marketing elements, and it is much better to do less and spend more to make a good first impression. Also, many companies put the cart before the horse and focus on tactics before strategy. Really understand your value proposition and ensure everything you do connects back to that core. Also, ensure the tactics are high-value and look professional.” – Suzanne Smith
We often let tactics lead strategy. While this is true of small businesses, it is also true of nonprofits. We recently wrote one of our most popular blogs, Cart Before the Horse, about this very subject. This summer I encourage you to re-evaluate your value proposition and make sure your marketing strategy and tactics are still aligned with your customers and external influences.
“Always overcommunicate. You have to communicate three times in three different ways before people really hear what you need and act on it. Your dominant way of communication may work for some employees, but not others. If your messages are not breaking through, ask yourself: Who is the best messenger? What is the best method to convey this message? When is the right timing? Experiment and see if you get better results.” – Suzanne Smith
Some of my best leadership lessons have come from learning what NOT to do. I have a mentor who once told me that you can never overcommunicate, meaning that you need to repeat your messages so that they are received and understood. Consider this advice this summer and focus your energy on ensuring that every message you send is acted upon.
“Girls and women need to be comfortable with taking risks—and yes, failing—if they want to be successful entrepreneurs. It is only through this kind of assertiveness that the best new companies are able to succeed, stumble, and then bounce back even stronger.” – Suzanne Smith
This was one of my favorite pieces of 2015, but also the hardest to write because all of these lessons are ones that I have learned the hard way. I am a recovering perfectionist and rarely ask for help myself. However, it is true what they say–“to truly learn something, you must teach it.” I’d love your feedback on this piece and how it also translates in the social sector.
We hope you enjoyed these readings and welcome your feedback on any of these topics. Tune in next week for our blog on Boards Behaving Badly. Until then, enjoy the dog days of summer!