clock-05-01_33175_thIt’s 5 o’clock somewhere, goes the old saying.

Though this is a saying that people ask in the middle of the day when wanting a drink, I believe it’s a question that anyone doing anything with mobilizing people need to ask with all seriousness.

If it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, then what happens at 5:01?

Too often, our goal is just to get to 5 o’clock. if we can just make it… we’ll be happy. Really? That’s all?

Over the past several years, I have had a front-row seat in watching some pretty amazing and huge events take place. I have also been a part of planning several meetings myself that last over a few days time. From retreats to business meetings, I have both planned them and ran them. In that, I can say from personal experience, for many of them, I was just thrilled to get to 5 o’clock.

Never once did I ask… what happens at 5:01?

Okay, great meeting, but, what will the attendees do with this experience? Generally, attendees will get pumped up and momentarily encouraged. But, by the time they go back home… it’s like playing a really bad game of telephone.

I know I said orange, but by the time it got to the other side of the room… the word was now… elephant. What? How is that possible?

In this, I am realizing how short-sighted I was. Not only was it critical to put on a quality event that stimulates thought, reflection, and change, but… I needed to spend a lot more time thinking about what that change looked like.

I needed to spend a lot more time thinking about what happens at 5:01. In other words, if my event is over at 5 o’clock, what happens next? How am I engaging people post event? How am I providing resources, areas of opportunity, action points for growth going forward… post event?

It is not enough to come into a city and put on an event, or to host a retreat,  or business meeting, and then leave.

What lasting effect will you leave behind?

In going forward, I would propose that before you launch a campaign or post an agenda, etc. about something you are planning, ask yourself one question… what will happen at 5:01 when this is over?

I would propose knowing the answer and have already developed the 501 strategy. Why? For this to be sustainable, don’t you need on the ground leaders who take ownership? Don’t you need boots on the ground at 5:01 ready to mobilize, engage, reinforce, build up, connect, train, and act?

Sure, it’s great to train these leaders up for action during an event. But, I would argue that you are training them to be reactive. But, at 5:01, we need them to be proactive. And to do that, you better have thought through your 501 strategy from the start.

Otherwise, we miss massive opportunities to transition mountain top experiences to life level applications. When we miss that opportunity, experiences can rarely stick.

In the book selling world for so many years, I often wondered… what happens when that guest walks out of the store with that book? Now, some might say… it’s just a book, relax. On the contrary, I believe the power of a good book and the connection that can be made with a good story. In this, what would happen if we developed a 501 strategy for that guest in particular to a specific book to help them dig deeper as to how that story can apply to their life?

Just getting our guest out the door with a book in hand is a great thing. But, getting them out the door with a book in hand …and a resource for us to walk together in reading that book after they leave the store is greater.

I had an opportunity to do this once with New York Times bestselling author, Paul Young for his book, The Shack.

For sure, we sold a ton. We also heard both sides of thought about the content of the book. Some was true and some was not true. But, instead of leaving it alone, we decided to develop a 501 strategy for our guests. In this case, we sat down with Paul and interviewed him. The result, a free website was built using wordpress. On this website, we posted the entire 120 minute interview with Paul.

Does anything say you care more about a guest than a post sale or post event ongoing engagement with them? Not just follow-up, but engagement.

Isn’t that what’s at the core of what I am trying to convey with the 501 strategy? I’m not interested in how you are going to follow-up. I am interested in how you will engage. Don’t be confused, they are two different postures.

Conventions or large public gatherings should have 501 strategies too. And like selling a book, what is more important? Getting people to the event or what the people will do… post event?

Sure, sweep into a city and throw a party, in the process, pump the local economy up. But, what is the lasting effect? Is it sustainable? does it translate? Of course, you need to sell books or get people to an event to plant the seed of your message. But, how will that seed then grow?

Building a seamless 501 strategy is perfect soil to watch this come to fruition.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. Sorry for the ramble.

You follow? What are you planning? What are you selling? What does it look like in action?

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere… what happens next?