Saturday, February 28, 2015

#1002 animated

When I was in Minneapolis, I, like many other visitors, was entranced by watching a light show that revolved around the top of a building.  The night we watched featured an aquarium full of animated multi-colored fish.  Apparently it also changes to reflect holidays, sporting events and the seasons.  It was quite entertaining.

I imagine that the technology to display it did not come cheaply, so I was surprised that it had no identifying information on any of the displays or on the building.  I asked my sister (who lives there) about the owner, but even she did not know.  Finally, I asked at the hotel and learned that it is the Target Corporation World Headquarters. Of course. It's a great way for Target to live out their "expect more" brand -- if only they would connect themselves to it.

It seems to be a missed opportunity that they don't include a subtle bullseye every few rotations.  They manage to weave their logo into gift cards without distracting from the aesthetic or design value of them; couldn't they do the same on their electronic display?

Think about what you have in your organization that could become a distinguishing marquee for yourself.  Do you have a prominent window, side of a building, mobile vehicle or boulevard that could proclaim your brand while adding to the aesthetics of the area?
And take a look around. Is your logo on display where you already have a presence (on t-shirts of community volunteers, on your service outlets or at your partnership locations)?  If you don't tell your story, who will?

-- beth triplett

Friday, February 27, 2015

#1001 approximately right

Another thing Ken Blanchard said in his keynote: "One thing to remember about praising is, don't wait for exactly the right behavior before you praise anybody.  If you do, you might wait forever.  Exactly the right behavior is made up of a whole series of approximately right behaviors."

He went on to give the example of teaching a child how to talk.  "Suppose you wanted your kid to say, 'Get me a glass of water, please.'  The kid has never spoken before.  If you wait for that full sentence before you give the kid any water, what have you got?  You have a dead, dehydrated kid.  We just holler, 'Water, water," and one day the kid says, 'Lauler, lauler.'  'My God, it's his first word.  Get grandmother on the phone!'  That wasn't water, but it wasn't bad.  You don't want him at age 21 going into restaurants asking for 'lauler', so after a while you accept only 'water.'  Then you move on to 'please."

I think we follow Blanchard's mantra with children, but we aren't always good at it with ourselves or with employees.  Wouldn't we be better off it we gave ourselves credit for walking 8,000 steps today instead of lamenting that we didn't reach the magical 10K?  Could we do more to applaud the employee who had the courage to draft a proposal, instead of first critiquing the changes that need to be made?  Should we applaud the dozen phone calls that were made instead of asking about the one that wasn't?

Be on the look out today for "approximately right" behaviors and give praise to those who are making progress.

-- beth triplett

Ken Blanchard, Keynote Address, ACU-I Conference, 1985

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#1000 1K

One thousand.  It seems to be a tipping point of a number.  A thousand points of light.  Coach 1K (instead of Coach K) after Mike Krzyzewski earned his thousandth win.  A Thousand Miles song and A Thousand Acres Pulitzer winner.  And now a thousand blogs.  

One of the best things I did in writing blogs is to number them from the beginning.  If I hadn't, I would never have guessed I had written this many.  One a day doesn't seem like much, but they now amass more than a quarter of a million words.  Knowing where I stand allows me to look back on the One Thousand mark and feel a sense of accomplishment.

I am reminded of a speech given by author Ken Blanchard*: "One reason you want to record is so you can see your progress," he said.  He spoke of Shamu, the famous whale, and how they trained him to jump over the rope.  They tracked his movements and praised him each time they raised the rope a little higher.

Just as it is important to take a moment to reflect on the accumulation of blogs or to celebrate when Shamu increases his leap, it is also worthwhile to acknowledge milestones in your organization.  

Think of what you can record with specificity so that you have a benchmark for when progress is achieved.  It likely would not occur to you to soak in satisfaction on a random day, but having some points to acknowledge can build reflection and celebration into your routine.    

-- beth triplett

Ken Blanchard, Keynote Address, ACU-I Conference, 1985

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#999 ruckus maker

Yesterday was Ruckusmaker Day -- one of the lesser known, but probably more important of the holidays.  Author Seth Godin wrote about commemorating those who make a ruckus:

...There's a lot to admire about the common-sense advice, "If you don't have anything worth saying, don't say anything."  On the other hand, one reason we often find ourselves with nothing much to say is that we've already decided that it's safer and easier to say nothing.

If you've fallen into that trap, then committing to having a point of view and scheduling a time and place to say something is almost certainly going to improve your thinking, your attitude and your trajectory.

A daily blog is one way to achieve this. Not spouting an opinion or retweeting the click of the day. Instead, outlining what you believe and explaining why.

Commit to articulating your point of view on one relevant issue, one news story, one personnel issue. Every day. Online or off, doesn't matter. Share your taste and your perspective with someone who needs to hear it.  Speak up. Not just tomorrow, but every day.  A worthwhile habit.

I found it an ironic commentary as I write blog #999.  For over 32 months, day in and day out, I have posted an entry.  And I note that in those 999 days, I have received 11 official comments on line.  Eleven.  Someone recently asked me if I had the comment feature turned off (I do not.)

I receive many emails from people who know me and verbal comments that indicate someone is reading what I write, but everyone seems to be reluctant to put their responses out there for others to see. 

If you don't want to commit to Seth's challenge to write daily, make the effort to acknowledge those who do.  Let those whose works you are reading know that the ruckus they are creating is relevant to you. And share your comments for others to read too so that the ruckusmakers know they are not alone.

-- beth triplett

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#998 accelerated

Some friends recently took their daughters to the daddy/daughter dance sponsored by the YWCA.  Their daughters were ages 4-11.

When I was growing up, one of the cherished rituals of high school was going to your first Father/Daughter Dance.  It was a special occasion when you could get dressed up and go out on ostensibly your first "date."  It was thrilling.

Now, girls are going out and even getting flowers at age four.  They are having graduation ceremonies from kindergarten, complete with cap and gown.  It's not enough that they have cell phones and money and a crazy amount of independence, but now the rituals of teenagers are happening a full decade earlier.

I worry about the expectations that we are setting for our children.  Will college graduation mean anything if it is the umpteenth time they have marched to Pomp and Circumstance?  Will there be any events to commemorate coming of age?

It reminds me of the study where children needed to practice delayed gratification to receive two marshmallows later instead of one instantaneously.  Those who were able to wait were more successful in life.

How can we expect children to delay gratification when we are often unable (or unwilling) to do so as adults?  We are living in a world where there is no more waiting...

...but some things are worth a wait.  Try to figure out what they are so you can keep a few things sacred and special in your organization.  

-- beth triplett


Monday, February 23, 2015

#997 viable

The conference I recently attended was held in Minneapolis.  At first, I'll admit it seemed crazy to hold a convention in a Northern city in February, but by the end of my stay I was welcoming a dose of crisp winter air.

This was because downtown Minneapolis is connected by a series of skyways that allow you to stay inside virtually your entire trip if you wished.  You can walk from hotel to convention center to restaurants to Target to the mall -- really anywhere -- without ever facing the elements.  I felt like a gerbil in a Habitrail making my way from place to place.

But when you step back and look at it, the skyway system is amazing.  Think of the coordination that it took to first build, and now maintain, this elaborate system.  The skyways are all carpeted and refreshed.  They are only about a story off of ground level, so the truck paths around them needed to be coordinated so traffic could flow underneath.  

Truly, the skyway system is a testament to a shared vision and mission as businesses and the city worked together to be interconnected -- literally.  It not only accommodates locals who work and shop downtown, but it has made Minneapolis a viable year-round convention destination.

Keep the skyway system in mind the next time you are challenged in collaborating on a project with others.  If the people of Minneapolis can pull this off, surely you can work out the details of your plans.

-- beth triplett

Thanks to Michael for the observation

Sunday, February 22, 2015

#996 a balance

At a recent board meeting, we had an interesting discussion about the dichotomy between long range planning and short term innovation.  

The association contracts for conference space several years in advance, a practice that allows them to receive the best rate for all involved.  

The rub comes in when it is time for the event itself and an enthusiastic new program committee wants to implement innovations that were not considered in the original negotiations.  Often the spaces to do "more" or "new" are not part of the original agreement, and thus are either not available or are cost prohibitive to add.

At work, we weigh the savings of long term service contracts or software leases with the cost of being saddled with them after requirements have changed or when better products emerge.  Homeowners consider the full cost of ownership vs the mobility and liquidity afforded by renting.  

Foregoing flexibility and the ability to make changes are real costs that should be weighed against any monetary gains from a long term commitment.  Leaders need to consider both the benefits and costs of extended obligations and find a comfortable balance between the trade offs.  A good deal is about dollars and sense, not just cents.

-- beth triplett

Saturday, February 21, 2015

#995 washed out

I have written before about the "heavenly beds" at Westin and the wanna-be's that they inspired in other hotel chains.  I was recently at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, and they, too, are in the game of let's-make-a-statement-with-our-bed.  

Instead of a short stack of pillows, or decorative pillows that don't get washed after every guest, the Hyatt piles five plump pillows on each bed.  Five pillows, in five pillowcases, that were washed every night even though I only touched four of them to remove them in an attempt to create some sleeping room.

If everyone is like me, that's four pillowcases x 645 rooms x 365 nights = 941,700 -- or about a million pillowcases washed just for show.  Each year.

I was delighted that their wastebaskets had dual trash/recycling partitions, but it seemed a bit incongruous to worry about the environment on one hand while disregarding it on another.

Are there things you are doing that cancel out the value of something good as is happening at the Hyatt?  Have you considered the downside and on-going costs of your strategies?  Something may look good at face value, but you could be washing a lot of money down the drain.

-- beth triplett

Friday, February 20, 2015

#994 triumph

I remember a poster that was hanging in my high school history class.  It read:  "The harder the conquest, the more glorious the triumph."  

I think it was there because my history teacher was also the football coach, but it is a saying that has stayed with me for lo these many years.

I experienced this vicariously earlier in the week when our men's volleyball team defeated the #1 team in the country.  I obviously did not play, but all the fans knew that this win would be sweeter than most others.

I also felt this same way when I was able to solve a vexing problem at work.  It has been a tough semester, but when the pieces came together in a way where a group effort allowed us to truly help someone, the feeling was more satisfying than if the solution had come easily.

I have remembered this quote for so long because it applies so often.  We often wish that the road was smooth, but it is through surviving the hills that life can truly be savored.

-- beth triplett

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#993 the difference

There are many articles and lots of debate about what distinguishes a manager from a leader.  I think Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, captures it brilliantly in one simple picture:

I'll leave you to think about Sinek's message as you approach your work today.  Where do you fall?

-- beth triplett

Thanks to Mike for sharing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#992 quill

I have this thing for feathers.  I can't walk by one on the ground without stopping to look at it. In my office and in my house I have several feathers that have made their way home with me. A rooster feather from the petting zoo.  A flamingo feather from a Caribbean vacation.  A peacock feather that is a prop in a training exercise.

While most of my feathers are grey and ordinary, one of my favorites is a feather from a hawk.  I am sure that hawks were the kind of birds that supplied the quills in the days of ink wells.  It is about a foot long and the tip is quite substantial. I can see Thomas Jefferson shaping our country with a similar tool in his hand.

I think about the paradox of how much more quickly we can write today -- fingers flying over keyboards or using free-flowing gel pens -- but how much less time we take to reflect and discuss in order to have something of substance to say.  We tweet and use social media for insignificant sharing which yields quick communication but nothing enduring.  

Think about the last tweet or text you received vs. the same number of characters in: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."

Would you take the time to craft a more meaningful message if what you are saying was arduous to write, re-write or to communicate with others?  Try to do some sharing this week that sounds like you wrote it with a quill.  

-- beth triplett

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#991 quick

Before Christmas, Macy's had an ad in the Atlanta airport which featured a QR code to make gift-giving quick and easy.  You could scan the code and do your holiday shopping while waiting for your flight.  What was surprising to me was that the ad featured all items for men; given my experience, demographics in the airport and a bit of gender bias, I would have guessed it would be more men doing the shopping instead of the receiving.

Nonetheless, it seemed like this method of purchasing could be more prevalent in retail.  Think of all the things businesses could anticipate people would want and then they could make them easier to buy.

Colleges could have a sheet of QR codes for all the dorm room essentials people invariably forget to buy until the day of move-in.  Ads could be in gas stations for shovels, salt, scrapers and winter survival needs.  The Humane Society could have a billboard to expedite purchase of everything people need for a new pet.  Jewelers could have easy access to flowers, candy or dinner reservations. Non-profits could have a quick response for donations to accompany a sad looking pet or picture of a disaster.

As money becomes more electronic and swiping a smartphone is the way everyone pays, logging into a website and entering loads of data to make a purchase will seem antiquated quickly.  Think about how you can target your appeals and make buying or donating even easier for people to do.

-- beth triplett

Monday, February 16, 2015

#990 persist

Someone was complaining to me about another person.  "He doesn't listen," he said.  Nothing up to this point had suggested that was the case.  There were no suggestions ignored, no examples of miscommunication or specifics the person could point to which substantiated this perception.

After trying in vain to clarify the problem, I reframed the question.  "He doesn't listen -- or he doesn't ask?"  As he thought about it, it seemed that not asking was really the issue.  The other party had not sought him out, solicited feedback or asked his advice.  Thus, when she proceeded ahead with a project, my colleague felt unheard.  Unheard translated to not listening.

There is a huge difference in the actions someone would take to address listening vs. asking. Understanding that distinction could make all the difference in resolving trust between them.

If something doesn't seem right or ring true to your experience, dig a little deeper.  Taking the time to clarify upfront could go a long way toward understanding in the end.

-- beth triplett

Sunday, February 15, 2015

#989 quirky

I often ask myself: "Who comes up with this stuff?" when I see a new product in a store, a new recipe with less-than-conventional combinations or a variation on something that has been around for decades.  I wonder how people come up with these inventions, and how they find their way to market after that.  

One company, Quirky, is attempting to make the process easier.  They are selling "products invented by real people like you," and by the looks of their display, they are doing it well.

Quirky has an unusual assortment of items you can live without (because you have), but that may be intriguing enough to give them a try.  Samples include:
> Pluck, an easy egg yolk/white separator
> Tether, a stemware stabilizer that keeps glasses from clinking together in the dishwasher
> Bandits, elastic bands with hooks -- which loop over things to keep them together
> Round power strips instead of straight ones
> One arm scissors to make it easy to open packages

The thing that struck me about these items is that they aren't lofty at all; they are every day items that someone tinkered with to make better.  

What is out there that you can tweak to improve it?  A product or a process that you could make a little differently but enhance it?  Two ideas or products that you could put together to make something new?

Take the quirky message to heart and invent something to make your world just one little bit better.

-- beth triplett

Saturday, February 14, 2015

#988 beyond puppy love

For Valentine's Day today, many will receive love letters from family and friends.  Milk Bone took this idea a bit too far, and provided doggy valentines with the purchase of a box of treats.

I am not sure whether these are to be sent by you to other dog lovers or pretend to be from your pooch to show her devotion to you.  Last time I checked, my dogs weren't too good with the correspondence, so I guess they are for me to send to someone...someone who would appreciate the sentiment:  "Love is a fur letter word" or "I Woof You".

It seems that anthropomorphism continues to intensify each year.  We live in a world where pets truly are part of the family, and as such are now included in holiday celebrations.

Is there a way for you to capitalize on this mania?  If pets are so dear, can they help you promote a service or lead people to a cause?  Could there be a campaign with a dog holding a leash in their mouth, encouraging owners to be "heart healthy" by walking them? Or stress free by snuggling with them?  Or service-oriented by taking them to nursing homes or libraries?  

Instead of sending valentines, use people's love of pets to help them show the love to others.

-- beth triplett

Friday, February 13, 2015

#987 hold out

I am spending a few days in Minneapolis at the National Association for Campus Activities board meeting and national convention.  Just being a part of this event makes me nostalgic and brings back many fond memories of my original time on the board "back in the day" when I was directly involved instead of a guest.

From the time I started my career in student activities and met the then chair of the board*, I wanted to lead the organization. Easier said than done!  I was very involved on the regional level, but when I ran for a seat on the board, I was not elected. I was heartbroken.

Not too long after that, the new chair called me and asked if I wanted to run the national convention.  Choosing to do so would have precluded my opportunity to run for the board the next year.  Oh, the dilemma!  Take a great position now or hold out for something with no guarantee -- what to do?!

I waited.  And eventually was elected, and did serve as chair of the board. The whole experience remains one of the highlights of my career, and without a doubt directly led to other professional positions and influenced my entire future path.

I can be a rare thing to really know what you want, but if you do, hold out for it.  I know if I had done the convention instead, I would have always second guessed my decision.  Wonder-ing is a far cry from wonder-ful.  Wait for the latter.

-- beth triplett

*the incomparable Sara Boatman

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#986 risk

Last week, I wrote about the Whirley Pop popcorn maker.  I am still enamored with it and enjoying the kernels of joy it brings to my household.

I originally purchased the organic, gourmet popcorn that was recommended to me by the friends who sold me on the popper.  Usually the words "organic and gourmet" elevate the price of the product, and this was no exception.  So when I went to the store, I was faced with the decision as to what to buy for bag #2: continue with the premium brand that I knew was wonderful, or experiment with a cheaper brand.  This product would undoubtedly be a repeat purchase, so saving a few bucks on each bag could add up in the end.

I played it safe and bought another bag of the tried and true, but also bought the cheaper kind to try it.  If anyone would like an almost-full bag of the regular stuff, I have it free for the taking!

But I am glad that I purchased it.  Taking little risks with virtually no consequence gives me (everyone) the confidence to take larger risks and to creatively experiment. If you are in an unquestioned rut with popcorn purchasing, it is more likely that you will also make bigger decisions without thought.

Pay attention to what you do by rote and force yourself to mix it up a bit. Strengthen that risk muscle one little decision at a time.

-- beth triplett

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

#985 action

I recently finished watching the PBS series about the Roosevelts (Teddy, Eleanor and Franklin).  As with all Ken Burns' productions, it was a slice of history told in an entertaining and compelling way.  These three individuals truly shaped America as we know it today.

Franklin became president when the country was in the throws of depression.  He enacted many pieces of major legislation designed to implement programs to help employ people and regenerate the economy.  From the beginning, he said that his focus was action and that we needed to try things -- if they didn't work, we would try something else, but we needed to have action.

Several of the programs FDR initiated paid lasting dividends for the country.  Others were failures.  But his series of programs and attempts at action were enough to give many in the country hope, even if the outcomes did not work as planned.  

Keep FDR's mantra in mind when you are facing a tough situation. You may want to study the problem and search for the perfect solution, but more often than not, just the effort of trying something will make it better.  What you learn from the doing is far greater than you learn from the pondering.

-- beth triplett

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

#984 thirty

I just received a check in the mail for $30.80 as a distribution of my capital credits from an electric cooperative association.  These credits were my earnings from 1983 and a partial distribution from 1984! The letter was sent in my maiden name to an address that I lived at five addresses ago. It took from November 7 to February 6 to find me.

"Some retail cooperatives return capital credits very quickly, while more capital intensive cooperatives, such as electric cooperatives, may retain them for a period of time in an effort to reduce the cost of borrowing," the letter read. I guess they deem 32 years as an appropriate "period of time."

While I am never one to turn down thirty bucks, I had no idea I would ever receive any distribution. When I think of the cost of the rebate and tracking people down after three decades, it strikes me that something better could have been done with these funds. 

Couldn't they have had a clause in the original agreement that all capital credits would be put in a fund to pay the bills of those unable to pay, or used to defer the costs of a non-profit agency?  Maybe they could have used the funds to pay it forward and lower the costs of those in the cooperative now.

When you are establishing policies and regulations, add an element of practicality to your practices.  Thirty years to return thirty bucks fails that test.

-- beth triplett

Monday, February 9, 2015

#983 sisters

I complimented a friend on a new lipstick color and she said: "My sister picked it out for me.  It is different than I usually wear, but she said to go for it."  It looked great!

It reminded me of the things my sister has picked out for me that are different than my normal fare, but always draw compliments.  I have a brown skirt that flows instead of being straight.  A turquoise/yellow/grey chunky necklace that I walked right past without ever considering, but goes perfectly with a dress she recommended to me.  I have been places, bought things and done things at the urging of a sister that were way beyond my normal comfort zone.

I think sisters (and I assume brothers) make us bolder.

As I thought about why, I believe it is because they speak the truth in a way you can actually hear.  You trust them to have your best interest at heart, and so, at least for me, I am willing to take more chances if they suggest them.

How can you establish a more of a sibling level of trust with colleagues?  Are there ways you can speak the truth to those with whom you work so as to make them better and bolder?  Can you give professional development advice in a way that pushes another beyond their comfort zone, but positions them for success they wouldn't have imagined without you?

Be open to receiving feedback and be generous in giving it.  Both ways can make you dazzle in ways you wouldn't have come to on your own.

-- beth triplett

Sunday, February 8, 2015

#982 nuts

If you're a nut afficionado, you'll know that cashews are usually the most expensive nut on the shelf.  They are usually the most coveted in the "mixed nuts" offerings, and command a premium when sold on their own.  I never really considered why.

Then I received a mailing from Heifer International, a charity that empowers people around the world to earn a living through farming or livestock and then to pay it forward and help others.  One of my recent donations helped a Vietnamese family set up a business cleaning cashews.  "You've probably never seen a cashew that wasn't shelled," the letter read.  "Cashew shells and oil are quite toxic and require gloves and very high heat to avoid sickness."  Who knew?

And because of the extensive process to extract them, cashews cost more in the end.  It makes perfect sense.

Do you have a process that requires extra attention or labor, resulting in an increase in price on the back end?  Maybe you think it is obvious to your clients why there is a surcharge, but it may not be.  

Helping your customers understand your rationale may make them more rational about accepting it.  They might not be nuts about it, but at least they won't go nuts either.

-- beth triplett

Saturday, February 7, 2015

#981 testimonials

My friend has an Otter Box phone case -- the industrial strength kind that is designed to protect his phone when he drops it off the roof at a construction site or it falls from his pocket on concrete.  He sings its praises all the time, and recently said: "I would do a commercial for these guys -- for free!"

It got me thinking about who I would do a commercial for.  Good old Noxzema face cream. Benadryl anti-itch spray.  The world's greatest Blizzak snow tires.  Diet Coke, especially from McDonalds where it is always extra cold and delicious.  Of course, Sharpies, the greatest writing implement on earth.  And Aveeno skin relief hand cream (not lotion) that truly was recommended to me by a dermatologist.  

It is an odd assortment of products that have earned my brand loyalty.  Too bad that none of them know it or have capitalized on my devotion.

Maybe there are people out there who would gladly taut your organization or sing your praises -- if you only asked them to.  We rely on voluntary heralding via social media, but it may be in your best interest to actually solicit feedback.  The testimonials you receive could be telling.

-- beth triplett

Friday, February 6, 2015

#980 shine

I recently read a letter to "Dear Amy" from the parent of a 7-year old girl.  The child tested in the 99th percentile in cognitive ability and the parents were asking Amy (of all people) whether they should put their daughter in a gifted program because they wanted her to "remain humble."

Amy's advice:  "Pretend she is a brilliant little boy, and take it from there.  The world does not need another little girl who hides her bright light under the cloak of humility."  Yeah Amy!

It reminded me of a cartoon that a colleague sent me about the gender differences with toys.  Take a look at:

Often with good intentions, we create labels that limit our thoughts rather than expand them. This happens not only with little girls and boys, but in many other situations.  People don't think they can do something because they aren't the leader.  Children don't chime in with ideas because they aren't the parent. Citizens refrain from stepping up and leave the politicians to solve the problems.  

We need brilliance wherever and whenever we can find it.  Let your light shine!

-- beth triplett

Ask Amy: Parents thrilled but confused after tests by Amy Dickinson, January 30, 2015 in the Telegraph Herald, p. 14C 

Thanks Emily for sharing the cartoon.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

#979 none

I was having a conversation with a woman who was trying to lose weight (aren't we all!?).  She said that she "went to the donut store, but I realized that I didn't want a donut.  I wanted three.  So I didn't buy any."

Her lesson is a good one for all of us.  Sometimes we are better off having none, when some won't fulfill us.  

NO gambling, if you have trouble stopping. NO potato chips, if you can't eat just one.  NO taking a nap if 20 minutes always turns into 2 hours.  NO going to the Amazon site if you can't resist buying every time you are there.  NO skipping a day of exercise/blog-writing/fill-in-the-blank if you know it will lead to excuse after excuse.  

Think about what you can do less of instead of always doing more.  NO may be your very best strategy for success.

-- beth triplett

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#978 score!

Last Friday, our board of trustees voted to add football to our intercollegiate sports offerings beginning in 2018.  As the chair of the strategic planning committee that originally proposed it and then of the recent task force that researched implementation, I am personally gratified as to how the vote turned out.  

There are many people like me who are excited about this decision, but also a large number who think it is a bad thing for us. As a result of the mixed feelings, the overall reaction has been a bit subdued.  In the long run, I hope our hesitancy about creating hoopla does not waste recruitment and public relations opportunities for us.

It is a delicate balance to navigate when there is passion on both sides of an issue.  I feel this way after any major election; some will be excited that a candidate won and others will be disappointed.  It also happens with any controversial project where there is a split opinion: part of the people will feel like winners while others will mourn their loss.

In a group setting, it is important to temper your enthusiasm -- save those fist bumps and high fives for private exchanges with those you know share your sentiment -- and for those who wished for another outcome to accept the reality and vow to move forward in support.

At the end of the day, everyone can be appreciative that a decision was made; knowing that the process was fair and those who were doing the deciding had the best interest of the organization at heart.  Those characteristics make for a victory no matter which side you are rooting for.

-- beth triplett

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#977 play it again

When I think of the Super Bowl, my most prevalent memory has nothing to do with the game or even the commercials. It always makes me laugh to think of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction." There is a PR spin if there ever was one!

I remember watching the 2004 Super Bowl with a friend and we saw the reply over and over and over -- did what we think just happened really happen?  Thanks to instant reply, we could find out.

This week in Time there was an obituary for the man who invented instant reply, Tony Verna.  Until his innovation, replays only came at halftime.  Think of what a different experience instant replays have created for viewers.  From the Jumbotron showings, to television broadcasts, to using them to verify calls by referees, the instant reply has revolutionized how Americans watch sports.  

The instant reply technology is so ubiquitous that we don't even think of it as an invention.  It just "is".  But like with everything else, someone had to see the need and develop a way to address it.  

The Time article reports that Verna "lamented the scarce attention he had received for his idea.  Upon further review, he changed sports forever."

Once again, a little thing that made a big impact.  Keep pushing forward to create your "little thing" that could change it all for others.

-- beth triplett

Source:  Died: Tony Verna -- invented instant replay. By Jack Dickey in Time, February 2, 2015, p. 26


Monday, February 2, 2015

#976 change of plans

My favorite pizza in town comes from a local shop that runs a little storefront operation.  Jeremy and Cody run the place -- we know each other by name and they know my preferences for pizza.  When I come in for slices, they will tell me if my favorite is in the oven.  They know my delivery order by heart.  I brought them cookies for Christmas.  They are just the kind of business that you want to see succeed.

So it made me sad to learn that due to Mother Nature's rath, they had to close yesterday.  On Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest pizza holiday of the year.  You know it's bad if the local pizza place closes down during the big game.

I think of all the supplies they must have ordered.  All the tips that won't be earned.  The business that won't be generated.

But then I think of Jeremy and Cody actually able to watch the Super Bowl game!  I'll bet they have never been at home, sitting on the couch, enjoying a brew and chips during the show.  I hope they were able to do so yesterday.

There are times when things most definitely don't go according to plan.  When there is nothing you can do about it, sometimes the best thing is to do nothing and actually enjoy the opportunities that the change in plans bring.  

-- beth triplett

Sunday, February 1, 2015

#975 break the ice

After the icebreakers I referenced in yesterday's blog, one of the parents came up to me and complimented me for the great job I did in facilitating them.

One of my colleagues pointed out the distinction that I would prefer to lead the icebreakers than do them.  She is absolutely right!

I am high on the Introvert scale, but my game face comes on and I am a smiling Extrovert in front of groups.  So facilitating icebreakers is easier than talking to strangers.

What niche talent can you provide that works for your organization as well as yourself?  If you are an introvert, can you be the one to take pictures (either because you are good at it or because it gets you out of the limelight)?  Maybe you are the one who always cuts cakes at weddings (to be of service as well as away from the prodding by Aunt Martha)?  Can you offer to do the graphics for programs or to sing or to solicit the donations for the auction -- doing work beforehand to free you up to be the life of the party at the party?

Everyone has talents that go beyond their job description.  The key is to brand yourself as the expert in areas that fit with your personality as well as the organization's needs.  Icebreakers anyone?

-- beth triplett