Monday, January 05, 2004


I was watching the Rose Parade on New Year's Day and recall hearing the announcer mention that the service organization, Kiwanis, the sponsor of one float, has as its goal the elimination of a form of mental retardation caused by lack of iodine, if I recall correctly.

This is the kind of thing that excites me: organizations that take on tasks that are tightly focused and where success is very measurable. My bet is that Kiwanis accomplishes its goal.

This reminded me of the time I attended a meeting of The Gideons, a group of mostly businessmen, which, as you may know, has as its main goal putting Bibles in hotel and motel rooms.

What struck me about these Gideons folks was how ordinary they are. Just regular people. But think what these ordinary folks have done! Probably most of the hotels in the world - at least most of those that are willing to accept them - have Gideons' Bibles in their rooms.

I suppose The Gideons could have done a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and done most of it poorly, but instead - either from humility or good sense - it has focused on doing essentially one thing, and has done it remarkably well. It's a very interesting model.

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