The SCN Encourager – Friday, December 7, 2012

Seth Godin is to marketing what John Maxwell is to leadership.

Yep. Seth Godin is right up there. He is to marketing what Rachael Ray is to cooking. Or for some of us school folks, Seth Godin is to marketing what Kevin Honeycutt is to tech integration. By now, of course, you get the point. And despite the great fun of coming up with endless comparables (Seth Godin is to marketing what Charlie Sheen is to …….etc.) I’ll move on.

Last week Seth Godin posted in his daily blog his tribute to Zig Ziglar, who died on November 28 at age 86. Right up until the time of his death, Zig was an international five-star evangelist for faith, free enterprise, sales techniques, personal character, and integrity. How Godin wrote about Ziglar – and the format he used – struck me as something profound in its simplicity.

You see, about 20 years ago, I worked on the communications staff for state representatives in Michigan’s Legislature. Part of my job involved writing up fancy “tributes” for my various bosses to sign and frame, and then take to individuals or groups back in their own districts. This should’ve been easy. It wasn’t. Imagine yourself called upon to write a tribute for some person or organization you’ve never even heard of. Fortunately for me, words like “whereas” and “heretofore” were expected and they helped fill up space. But unfortunately, a weird kind of “Murphy’s Law” also took over as well. I discovered that I could not avoid the maxim: that the less you know about a person or group, the more words you have to use.

Now back to Seth Godin’s tribute to Zig Ziglar. I encourage you to read it for yourself. Seth uses the #1 power word repeatedly (thanks), draws from several frames of personal reference, and most importantly, tells us why he cared about Zig Ziglar and what Ziglar’s life meant to him.

As we head into 2013, each one of us will probably need to compose a tribute of one or another. No doubt we all will have a colleague or two retire (or just move elsewhere) and we’ll want to have a “template” in mind for crafting a fitting and meaningful tribute to offer. I’ll admit. Following Seth Godin’s model won’t be easy for me. My former political days have helped me become a master of insincere razzmatazz. But I know his way is better and it is what the school people I work alongside deserve.

Tom Page, SCN managing editor

Just one Ziglar quote:  “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”

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