Mission Central; Dump the Elevator Speech

board development and revitalization intentional practices roles and responsibilities Aug 15, 2022
Dump the Elevator Speech, Get clear on your mission


You no doubt remember the admonition to have your elevator speech prepared.


You know, when you get on the hotel elevator on the 32nd floor and your legislative representative gets on at the 30th floor you’ve got that short window to make your pitch. “Hello, my name is Ken Haycock. And I’m with Better Boards. Better Communities. We are in your district. I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know that we…"


Well, what?


Do you ever get flummoxed by stating clearly what you do and to what effect?


We know that you provide programs. Boring.

And services. Boring.

Who cares?

There are so many demands on time and money on the part of decision-makers. And there are no doubt others playing in the same sandbox.

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More appropriate – not to mention, successful – would be to start with WHY. Simon Sinek provides many useful examples.


Why does your organization exist? Why do you do what you do?


Your purpose is not to provide those programs and services, that is a result.


What is your purpose? Your cause? Your belief?


Start to unpeel the onion. Why? Why that? What that?


Is it embedded and clear in your mission? Your vision?


Why do you exist?


Why do you attend those interminable meetings? What effect are you looking for?


And why should anyone care?



Start with a simple formula – this could even be a useful board engagement tool.


I + Help + People + To Achieve A Result.



I = We.

Help = Help. Connect. Show. Unlock. Prove.

Or we turn x into y.


This is the story of whom you help.


It can be flexible, with many different “talks”.


You could start with, "let me tell you a story". And then tell of the transformation of people you help.


So, here is my revised elevator talk, not perfect but getting there:


Hello, my name is Ken Haycock at Better Boards. Better Communities. We see governance as leadership so we show not-for-profit boards how they can transform their governance practices for greater community impact, to really make a difference in the lives of people.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with your articulation of “why”?

What advice would be most helpful to you? And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



The Best Boards Learn Together

Online Training Programs with Ken Haycock


The Board Member 101:

Your accelerated path to competence and confidence.

In this one-month course, you will move from feeling reticent and tentative to competent and confident, asking good questions and making great contributions.

The course complements and reinforces your on-site orientation and opens new channels of communication and discussion.

Four weeks. Two brief video lessons (watch at your convenience) per week plus downloadable handouts. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Register now.





The Board Leader Academy:

A step-by-step guide to higher performance and impact.

Our spotlight course is designed for CEOs/Executive Directors, Board Chairs, and those who are interested in leadership positions on not-for-profit, for-impact boards.

Six weeks. Three brief video lessons with handouts per week (watch at your convenience) plus additional downloadable resources. 30-day money-back guarantee.

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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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