I’ve been bombarded with articles recently about how ‘reframing’ something, like evaluation, and calling it ‘design-based’ will inspire new ways to track and do innovation. Really. I’m mean, really? This particular article went on to list evaluation as both a product and a service and tried to outline why this was a new way of looking at things. As a consultant running my own business, this kind of thinking is really obvious (I deal with evaluation as both a product and a service every day).
This is an example of what I’m coming to refer to as ‘too much framing’: that is when there is too much noise and judgement about what is right and good and we all end up casting ourselves in a sort of mold of someone else’s making. The pressure to appear to be successful and on-trend and innovative all the time is not being driven by actual need, analysis, data, etc. But rather by social media and the influencers on social media (including LinkedIn) who have a particular point of view to push. So we spend too much time trying to look like we fit the mold, and not enough time getting on with the job – ‘doing’ in other words.
So far you might be reading this, thinking: what is he on about? Well this all arose when a colleague and I were talking about the effort involved in keeping ourselves top-of-mind for our potential clients, leads, colleagues and networks and how this takes up an increasing amount of time to do. As we were speaking it struck me that while there really is an important principle behind keeping in touch with people and ensuring that they don’t forget you, this can quickly tip over into relentless marketing for its own sake. And then I realised that actually the best marketing is simply doing the job. And doing it well too.
You see I spend a lot of time telling my clients not to ‘chase the money’: don’t put fundraising opportunities in front of the mission or vision. Rather, follow the vision and the rest will follow. I have seen this put into practice many times in different organisations and know that it is true. Difficult, but very true.
So, every now and then I have to remind myself to follow my own goals and not to constantly chase the money, as tempting as that is. After all, the best marketing I’ve ever done, is to simply do my work, and do it very well!
Do you often get tempted to follow the money and do too much framing? How do you keep balanced?