One of the marks of the most successful people I know is a willingness to say, “I’m wrong.” Owning up to mistakes—without excuse or fanfare—is not easy, but it’s essential.
As Adam Grant famously outlined in his book, Think Again, “When we’re in scientist mode, we refuse to let our ideas become ideologies. We don’t start with answers or solutions; we lead with questions and puzzles. We don’t preach from intuition; we teach from evidence. We don’t just have healthy skepticism about other people’s arguments; we dare to disagree with our own arguments. Thinking like a scientist involves more than just reacting with an open mind. It means being actively open-minded. It requires searching for reasons why we might be wrong—not for reasons why we must be right—and revising our views based on what we learn.”
Here at Swell+Good, we’re always trying to be in scientist mode.
In our client work, it means asking questions, listening to as many voices as possible, and thinking outside the box (or destroying the box completely). We’ve been known to (sometimes begrudgingly) kill projects, ditch platforms, and scrap near-final drafts.
We think we’re pretty good at what we do, but we know that what makes us even better is that we’re willing to be wrong.
Last week, for example, we started working on a newsletter about the people who influenced us, highlighting the leaders we follow to level up our marketing and communications game.
But as we approached our scheduled send on Thursday, we realized that what was meant to be an inspirational (and hopefully helpful) guide to great follows had become a navel-gazing, platform-pushing essay on a pretty homogenous group of thinkers. It wasn’t right.
So instead of publishing a piece of work that was fine, but left us all feeling a little uneasy, we pulled the plug.
We made the call to send nothing instead of sending the wrong thing—and that was the right decision.
Later in the book, Grant writes, “When you’re wrong, it’s not something to be depressed about. [Instead] say, ‘Hey, I discovered something!’”
So here we are, saying, “Hey, we discovered something!” Our good idea…wasn’t. We learned, we grew, and we moved on. But we aren’t done yet. Now, we want to learn from you. Our group of influencers left something to be desired, so we’re flipping the script and coming to you for advice instead of giving it. Who should we be following? Whose voices inspire and motivate you? Would you leave a comment their names or handles so that we can diversify and expand our own feeds?
More broadly, here are a few more questions for you to consider: What’s a habit or program you want to rethink? What isn’t really working for you anymore? Or what is giving you that uneasy feeling that this isn’t exactly right?
This week, we challenge you to listen to that voice—and be willing to quit the things that aren’t serving you. It won’t be fun, but it will be worth it.
For a creative agency that spends lots of time thinking about social media (hey, that’s us!), today has already been a BIG day. As Twitter sputters out (and yet, still lives?), the all-powerful Meta saw an opportunity—and, last night, launched Threads, Instagram’s text-based updates platform. Within 7 hours, they passed 10 million users.
So, yeah. This is big.
We are all about early adoption and experimentation, so we jumped right on to experience the excitement. Here’s what we’re loving about Threads so far…
It’s all about the text. We love a well-designed graphic or beautiful photo as much as the next person (helloooo, Instagram addiction). And you know we can waste hours watching memes and videos (TikTok sucks you in for a reason). But sometimes, you just want to say something—and words are the way to do it. In real life, we use words to connect, converse, debate, and engage. We’re excited to have a new place to do the same digitally.
You don’t need special skills (or tons of time). Since it’s all about the words, anyone can participate. You don’t need to tap in your designer or photographer. You don’t need to create a sweet flat lay or figure out how to animate static text into a Reel. You can just write what you want to say. And that’s exactly what people are doing. It feels a little bit unhinged right now (in the absolute best way—like kids on the playground without any rules), and people and brands alike are just going for it—with a level of kindness and civility that has long been absent on Twitter.
It’s connected to tools we already use. Threads is created by Instagram, so your existing username carries over to your Threads account. When your Instagram followers set up their own Threads accounts, they’ll be prompted to follow you there, too. Built in audience, check.
It’s designed for conversation. Social media at its best is a place where we can, ya know, be social. Yet much of my own social media behavior has become incredibly consumer-driven (I watch, read, absorb creators’ content—but the conversation is often lost). I’m hoping that Threads will create new opportunities for engagement, especially for nonprofits like yours!
It’s a cool new place to share your story. Some social media platforms are sizzles in the pan—becoming the hottest thing for a week or two before cooling off and eventually falling into oblivion (remember Clubhouse? I’m pretty sure it still exists…). Other platforms reshape our daily lives (looking at you, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube…). We don’t know what Threads will be, but we do know that it has BIG power behind it—and we know that regardless, the best time to take advantage of a new platform is when everyone is talking about it. So why not jump on Threads today and see what it’s all about? You already have words about what you do. You’ll take advantage of a super curious and excited audience. You’ll show your followers that you are tech savvy and on top of trends. And if your organization has an Instagram, you should be able to carry over your info and jump right in!
Since its launch in 2020, marketers have been chatting about Clubhouse, the limited-access social network where users can jump into audio rooms together. The app draws users in by promoting off-the-cuff, unplanned, and fast-paced conversations. It invites people to tell stories, meet interesting people, and share ideas around various topics.
The concept might sound confusing at first, but imagine attending a party (wow, what we would give…) and hopping from room to room, joining the conversations that interest you most. Users are free to listen in, but those who want to contribute to a discussion can simply “raise their hand,” and moderators can choose to invite them up to the “stage” to speak. The users who add value to a room are more likely to be selected as moderators for future conversations.
It’s too early to get a read on the longevity of Clubhouse, but nonprofit marketers are already finding value in the platform. Despite its exclusivity, Clubhouse offers organizations a unique opportunity to engage with their current audience and reach out to new prospects by using the platform to build brand awareness, network with other users, and promote thought leadership. On Clubhouse, nonprofits can foster candid and insightful conversations related to their mission and connect with potential partners, donors, and allies.
Clubhouse is currently in Beta mode, so it’s not yet available to the general public. Current users can invite others to join them on the platform, and other iPhone users can sign up for the app’s waitlist. Since it’s not open access yet, and various celebrities, activists, and influencers have made appearances in rooms, it’s certainly succeeded in building interest off the buzz and a sense of exclusivity.
While adding yet another social network to your already overloaded plate might seem daunting, Clubhouse is worth exploring—simply because it gives you unique access to active and engaged communities.
Here are four reasons your nonprofit should try Clubhouse:
1. Show off your leadership and insights.
Nonprofit leaders and marketers can take advantage of the platform’s drop-in nature to establish themselves as thought leaders around a given topic by joining existing conversations as a guest. By sharing your story and experience in the nonprofit space, brainstorming solutions to the problems that leaders on the platform seek to solve, and offering support to other users’ missions, you can add value to the community—without making it all about you.
2. Connect with new people.
Before leaving a room, users can solidify the relationships with their new connections by directing listeners to your organization’s website, contact information, and social media accounts. The more relationships a user builds on the platform, the more likely it is that another user will invite them to moderate a conversation.
3. Establish yourself as an expert.
The opportunity to moderate in a room allows users to stand out as an expert on the topic at hand. Users can also start rooms or clubs centered around their work and mission. Nonprofit leaders can use their own rooms to build brand awareness by providing listeners with overviews of their organization. They can also ask other users within the same space to speak on topics or offer feedback on specific projects or ideas.
4. Fundraise on Clubhouse!
Clubhouse also offers non-profits another platform to host fundraisers, whether on their own in partnership with other organizations. In February, a group of Clubhouse users started a room dubbed “Clubhouse Loves Texas,” which was set up as a week-long fundraising initiative following the winter storm in Texas that left thousands of people across the state without power, food, clean water, and other critical resources.
Since Clubhouse doesn’t include a fundraising tool, the platform Pledgeling facilitated the event. The organizers raised over $115,000 for local nonprofits such as Houston Food Bank and Austin Area Urban League. The event featured drop-in conversations from politicians and celebrities from the area, including singer Andra Day and former Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. The success of the event speaks to the power of Clubhouse, where thousands of users can join a room at once, in contrast to more asynchronous platforms such as Facebook. In an interview with OneZero, Houston Foodbank Annual Giving manager Jessica Dominguez noted how exciting it was to see event organizers provide real-time updates to an actively engaged audience instead of a static platform.
And earlier this month, moderators of the club LA Food Gang hosted a fundraiser for Off Their Plate. This non-profit organization delivers funds to struggling AAPI-owned restaurants to make meals for AAPI community organizations. The event raised over $58,000.
With Clubhouse, nonprofits can garner interest through real-time discussions in a way that just hasn’t been possible in a world that’s suffering from Zoom fatigue and a lack of in person interaction. It’s one more great tool for conversation in a world where video calls feel exhausting but we still want fun ways to connect.
When we look back over our professional (and personal) lives, we are struck by just how valuable our relationships have been.
There are the people we “officially” worked with for three months who are still valuable mentors to us years later. There are friends who listened to us complain about projects and helped us make difficult decisions about what to do next. There are colleagues we’ve worked alongside for decades and neighbors who might not ever know what a profound impact they have had on us.
Cultivating and maintaining these relationships matters.
You never know where a new connection might lead or when an old friend’s expertise is suddenly essential. (Our not-so-secret trick: stay connected to your former coworkers. It’s the best and expands your social capital…a lot.)
What are you doing to invest in your relationships this week? Who have you been meaning to email or call recently? Who deserves a big pile of gratitude?
Why not drop them a note right now?
Because like it or not, we are shaped and guided by the people around us.
Our lives are better because of the people who have crossed our paths. And our guess is that you would say the same. So let’s keep relationships at the top of our priority list. Yes, because they help us. And yes, because they can be valuable. But mostly because people are awesome and special and absolutely worth celebrating.
We all know that the first few weeks at a new job are critical — both for you and your team.
How do you build relationships with your new colleagues? What tools and systems do you need to learn? How can you set yourself up for ongoing collaboration, creativity, productivity, and success?
But what do you do at the end of a season? How do you leave a job well?
How you say goodbye is just as important as how you say hello.
For the person leaving, saying a good goodbye means equipping your team with the information, skills, and tools they need to be successful after your departure (we’ve touched on some practical steps before — things like passwords, file access, logins, links, handbooks, trainings, and more…). It means taking the time to close a season, even as you’re anticipating your next move.
For the rest of the team, goodbyes often mean more work — and certainly more headaches. But it’s our job to say goodbye well, too.
We believe in caring about our colleagues as people, so when a team member heads to a new project or venture, we want to be excited for them! We send them off with encouragement, enthusiasm, and the assurance that their relationships are still as strong as ever.
We also ask questions. Lots of them. Because every transition is an opportunity to learn — for the person leaving, of course, but also for everyone who sticks around.