THE ROB REPORT: The Sphere of Influence by Rob Chatfield

How to Travel with a Salmon.  Out of thousands of tightly-packed titles on the shelves of a used book store in Prince Edward Island, what made this slender paperback jump out at my teenage daughter?

A further dive shows how this simple act serves as a microcosm of what we strive for with our non-profit organization.

It was not by accident that I took my daughter to a bookstore on vacation.  We must first connect the teen audience to an arena where they can find serendipity.  Exposing teens to “winning ideas” is where we excel and how we will win in the long run. 

But we can’t just shove our message down their throats.  The impressionable age group questions authority and wants to discover things on its own.  Our team spends significant time choosing titles, creating graphic cover images, and making stories attractive to the teen audience.  Was the title and the cover of a man walking with a salmon the only reason my daughter chose this book? 

In the great debate of fate vs. free will, most of us come down on the side of free will.  We might never know what seeds have been planted that cause an amazing coincidence to occur, but these coincidences get people to think about the Big Questions in life.  How to Travel with a Salmon was written by Umberto Eco.  And the only book Dad brought on this trip was a novel written by… Umberto Eco.  Coincidence? 

Bob Chitester likes to use the “Drip. Drip. Drip.” metaphor to describe our purpose.  One impression after another…after another…creates an environment that helps this impressionable age open its minds to new ideas. 

While there is a growing concern about the rise of “Democratic Socialism” and the number of Millennials that have a “favorable impression of socialism”, the same poll shows 78% of Millennials support free enterprise.

Our goal isn’t to change their minds; changing minds occurs through experiential learning. We need to ensure we are in the sphere of influence when the impressionable minds are ready to receive the message. That matter of timing is also the essence of capitalism – and the story we need to continually tell. We are the shopkeeper that carries just the right inventory…at just the right time…our customer needs it.

And when traveling with a salmon… keep it cool.

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