Back in 2003 when we started running Feedback (a youth charity attached to my church), our first event wasn’t the sell out that I had hoped. Serving gourmet coffee, fresh donuts, jazz performances, and me retelling something I’ve heard on a Tony Robbins tape, it wasn’t exactly the definition of “youth”.
In fact, it was the definition of me.
But over the course of a year, we changed as a team and became far more in touch with what the youth needed, resulting in a packed event with 350 people exactly one year later.
Fishing With A Rod
I tell this story because to start it is exemplifies what it is to go fishing with a fishing rod. When we take a fishing rod approach, we can only catch one fish a time and intensely hunt for the single best fish that we can. A good fishing trip bears with it a good story of catching that fish – you know – the one that you hold in the photo and is the length of your body if not more.
The trouble with fishing with a rod is that it’s only ever one at a time, and I’ve found that when we do this, we seek to find what we want as a provider, not what other’s want as an end user. This isn’t always the case, but it tends to be so in my experience.
Fishing With A Net
The alternative, as became as a team after a year, is to fishers who fish with a net. When you take a net, you trall in everything and anything that you can catch, and then sift through it after. It is an undiscriminating way to go about fishing – you don’t pick and choose – you fish. We started to do this when we changed to having coffee to having a bunch of cold drinks and hot drinks. Before it was “you have to the kind of fish that likes gourmet coffee”, but after it was “if you want a drink, we’ve got one for you.” You see the difference?
Sifting through it after means once you’ve pulled up the net, you understand that not everything will stick. This is fundamental to a volume or value based approach – no matter what, people will opt out of certain levels of participation with you, and that’s fine – it’s just where they want to be.
Your Leading Thoughts
We value your inputs – both your experience and your insights. Talking about Fishing Rods and Fishing Nets,
- Which are you using for your current project? Can you tell us about it and how you’re dong?
- Neither Rods or Nets are right or wrong. They are just two approaches, the second of which I find is better for community. What is your opinion here?