Learning From the Best!

It is tradition in our household to watch 60 Minutes every Sunday night.  We almost always learn something very enlightening and of value.  Some people don’t like 60 Minutes because their reporting can be controversial, lest we forget this was the TV show that got the 3 wheel ATV banned in North America in the mid 80’s.  Last night they interviewed a man by the name of Paul Tudor Jones who made his $3.6 billion fortune in the Hedge Fund market.  But his real claim to fame is the charity he set up and runs called the Robin Hood Foundation.  As I watched the interview some might call it an epiphany, or an awakening, but I call it my Ah Ha Moment.  Find out what made this interview so special.

The Robin Hood Foundation services the poor with food, education and job training amongst other charitable activities.  Jones said that he found out very quickly that giving to the poor was much harder that it looked.  In the early years of the foundation, Jones met Gene Lang who had started a very successful education program for the poor.  Jones thought this would be a great opportunity for Robin Hood to adopt a school and do the same, but he soon found after a few short years that the students grades were still only average. 

My first Ah Ha Moment came when he said “Failure is the fire that forges new steel”.  In other words, you learn by your mistakes so you can make changes.  So Jones applied the tough business practises he learned on Wall Street to bring success to the charities that the Robin Hood Foundation supported.

The second Ah Ha Moment came when they interviewed Sister Mary Allis Hannon who runs a New York Soup Kitchen called Part of the Solution.   She said that the instant she started working with Robin Hood and Paul Tudor Jones it was a love/hate relationship.  Before Robin Hood would make good on their offer to invest, they wanted data and lots of it.  They wanted to know who the kitchen was serving, how many, the cost of operations and how much it would cost for an expansion.  Then they wanted a 5 year strategic Business Plan, which Sister Mary Allis said she had never done before.  Setting goals to achieve the business plan was fun and enlightening.  However, putting them into action was very difficult and challenging. 

Robin Hood doesn’t just leave their recipients to figure this out on their own.  They provide managerial expertise, analysis, legal assistance, help with administration and building procurement.  However, the receiving charity has to perform and it all starts with building a business plan and setting goals to achieve their objectives.

Make no mistake, Robin Hood has been very successful with the programs they support and if the charity doesn’t produce positive results by the end of the year, they retract the funding.  This may seem harsh but they run it like a business that must perform.  There must be accountability for the money Robin Hood receives and donates.

The third Ah Ha Moment came when Jones said “Higher Levels of education attract higher levels of income”.  He says that the only way to elevate American society is through education. 

It has always been my premise that knowledge is power, so the more you know about your business the better chance you have at maximizing your profit.  Understanding your business from a financial perspective, down to the infinite detail is the foundation you need to set your goals and build a Business Plan for success.

If you want to experience your Ah Ha Moment, contact me for a free consultation and let me show you how financial management can work for your business.  If you want to watch the interview with Paul Tudor Jones, just Google 60 Minutes and click on “Modern-day Robin Hood applies business skills to philanthropy”.  

 

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