In 2019, Eaglecom introduced our new mission tagline. “Inspiring Compassion, Commitment and Giving”. It sums up all we do and stand for.

It is a privilege to serve missions, engage viewing audiences, inspire and encourage giving, and strive to make the world a better and kinder place. For almost 32 years, this has been our vision and we recommit ourselves to it once again for 2020.

This year, I have chosen four words to help frame and guide our year. I hope these words challenge and inspire us as a company and hopefully challenge and inspire us personally as well.

My first word for 2020 is Curiosity:

One of the most popular buzz words for 2019 was disruption. Clients use it, our industry uses it, company leaders use it.

The concept being; let’s challenge assumptions, shake up status quo, get out of the box, find new ways, break things. For Eaglecom that means finding new, more effective ways to increase engagement, be more efficient, raise more money.

A word I like to use alongside disruption is curiosity.

I want us to be curious in 2020 – explore new ways, challenge assumptions, be excited about learning, develop new levels of expertise, create new TV fundraising programs, raise more money.

But curiosity can be both uncomfortable and unsettling. So we have to commit to it together.

In his book titled “Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It”, Ian Leslie writes: “Curiosity is unruly. It doesn’t like rules, or, at least, it assumes that all rules are provisional, subject to the laceration of a smart question nobody has yet thought to ask. It disdains the approved pathways, preferring diversions, unplanned excursions, impulse left turns. In short, curiosity is deviant.”

Einstein believed that curiosity is about challenging problems. He said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about the solution. It’s not that I’m smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

It’s so easy to focus on the fix, without really diving deep and being curious about the problem or the why we need to fix it.  What are we trying to solve?

One way to kick start the curiosity process, is to ask good questions – so let’s be encouraged to ask each other respectful questions that start like: I’m curious about…  Tell me more about…  I’m wondering…  Help me understand…  Walk me through…

These type of questions will start our 2020 curiosity journey.

My second word is Courage:

Very much linked to curiosity is courage. Courage to try. Courage to be different. To be bold when we don’t know the outcome. Courage even to break something.

Brene Brown in her book “Dare to Lead” says;

“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fail.”

Theodore Roosevelt said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong person stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Being safe all the time won’t get us where we need to go. Our industry is changing. TV is changing. Metrics are changing. Expectations are changing. We must learn, grow, change too.

And we are: Changing our creative. Changing how we study, analyze and look at numbers. Changing how we buy – integrating new broader KPI’s and moving to a more integrated direct response and brand response campaign approach.

In 2020, let’s dare to be courageous. And by the way – courage is contagious.

My third word is Connection:

It is a proven fact that other than our needs for food, water, clothing, shelter and security, human beings are physically, emotionally and spiritually hard-wired for connection and belonging.

One of the building blocks of connection is trust. When we trust one another we feel connected.  Trust does not simply occur because we say “trust me”. Trust is earned by the stacking and layering of small trust-filled moments. Each day we earn one another’s trust. And then we feel connected.

A 2016 Harvard Business Review article showed that “trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces.” Companies with high levels of trust beat the average annualized returns of the S&P 500 by a factor of three.

So it not only makes for a nicer work place when you are part of a connected, trust culture, it makes good financial sense too.

My last word is Compassion:

I don’t think any of you would be here and connected to Eaglecom if you didn’t believe in and have compassion for other living beings. It is a core value and core driver of our work.

While not the same meaning, compassion with empathy make a powerful team.

Empathy refers to a deep understanding or relating to another’s situation, including their pain and suffering. Compassion is a broader term that encompasses both an understanding of another’s pain as well as a desire to act to relieve their suffering.

And that is why we do what we do. Our mission statement says it well:

We believe in engaging viewing audiences, elevating a collective awareness of the needs of others, and inspiring compassion, commitment and giving.

I believe Africans say it best. Their word is Ubuntu – which, in one word, brings together the ultimate in humanness. Human kindness, human compassion, human empathy.

So these are our 4 words for 2020:

Curiosity and Courage. Connection and Compassion.

May we never lose site of our goal to relieve suffering. We are not there yet – but together we will keep trying. I look forward to daring greatly with you this year.

I am fortunate to work alongside people I respect, care for, believe in. People committed to our mission. With purpose and meaning. I feel so fortunate to work with you, learn form you, serve with you. And be friends with you. What a wonderful, meaningful journey we are on.