#22 obsolescence

When I look at my “bucket list”, the last thing that is on it is something that has been there since college – writing a book.  And when I visualize this goal, what comes to mind is a bound bundle of parchment with ink and a cover – something very tactile and wonderful.
I read in the paper today that for the first time, revenue from the sale of e-books exceeded revenue from hardcover sales.  This is sad news for someone like me.  My aspiration does not include something that resembles a Word document more than papyrus.  I am not sure that if I ever published an e-book that it would “count” in my mind as fulfilling my list.
The article made me realize that the world could pass me by while I am dreaming about it.  By the time I am ready with a book, the notion of print books could be obsolete.  I wonder how many times this has happened to others?  Was someone developing a great new VCR player when the world switched to DVDs?  Who was on the cusp of designing a great new keypunch card when everyone switched to digital?  Are there plans for a much improved flashcube that never were implemented?
Perfection is over-rated.   Get a draft of your dreams out there while it still counts.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com

#21 house rules

Seeing all the coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th Jubilee got me in the mood to watch The King’s Speech movie again.  It is one of my favorites and full of so many lessons.

A scene that particularly resonated with me during this viewing was when the eccentric speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) is firm about the conditions under which he will treat the Duke of York/King George VI (Colin Firth).  “My castle, my rules,” he says without apology.

I hope that if you asked my staff they would say that I ascribe to the same philosophy of setting and articulating clear expectations.  The rules of my castle include:  Don’t waste my time.  Never utter the words “that’s not my job”.  Don’t even think about breaching confidentiality.  Give me time to ponder before you need a decision.  Be specific about what you need. 

Everyone has their own little castle, even if you are not the boss.  Inside your head you can control your actions and set down immutable rules for your own domain.  It’s a lot easier to live by the rules and have others do the same around you when you are clear about what is truly important to you. 

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com

#20 don’t stop

I recently took a beginning drawing class at the local art center.  My pencil has always wanted to flow across the page, so I decided to see if it could form pictures instead of just words.  I was not very good at it!

Our teacher said that in art, you are only as good as where you stop (whether that be age three, high school, college, retirement, etc.)

Don’t stop just because you’re not good at it — yet.  As Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I many learn how to do it.”  

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com


#19 thunder

My puppy was outside when a loud clap of thunder echoed from the sky.  She shot like a bullet across the yard and raced into the house faster than I have ever seen her run.  Of course, I recognized it as thunder and knew it was harmless so I ambled my way inside.


This disconnect in understanding occurs in organizations too.  Leaders who have the advantage of knowledge have the context to ascertain which loud noises signal trouble and which are part of the background.  Those without the information are often frightened or confused by something that doesn’t truly warrant fear.  They take actions that are unnecessary and raise emotions without cause.

It is your job as a leader to “give the weather forecast” and teach what the changing clouds mean.  Help those around you understand what is going on out there so they can react appropriately to the signals.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com


#18 plan B

Last week a telecommunications cable was accidentally cut and a multi-county area was without phone or internet for a few hours.  Stores were crippled as credit card processing could not occur, businesses that rely on the internet were forced to shut down and lots of minor annoyances happened.

Today a gas line was pierced on our campus — right in the middle of a new student writing assessment test and parent orientation.  Everyone had to evacuate and there were lots of fire engines as a precaution, but the worst thing that happened was that the student essays were lost in cyberspace during the disruption.

Remember when the retail economy functioned with cash?  When students wrote essays on legal pads with pens and a bound dictionary?  When people and organizations weren’t paralyzed by even a brief interruption in technology? 

Don’t forget that there was some good in the good old days and incorporate some low-tech flexibility into your contingency planning.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com

#17 of course

There is a local Italian restaurant that is known for its dripping-in-butter garlic bread.  I am sure I am not the only one who goes there for the bread (even though their entrees are also yummy).


When the waitress came to take our order, she said, “Of course you want the bread.  What else may I get you?”

What is your “of course” — the signature that makes your organization special?  The quality that you personally always add to the mix?  Your distinctiveness may have less calories than the garlic bread, but hopefully it’s as memorable.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com



#16 park place

Think of the foresight that was required for the country to preserve space for parks.  In 1791, L’Enfant created a park as the central axis of the District’s core.  Now known as the National Mall, it spans nearly two miles and hosts 24 million visitors a year.

Similar things happened in all the nation’s major cities.  Central Park in New York is 2.5 miles long, bordering some of the most valuable real estate in the country.  Chicago’s Grant Park is 319 acres of mostly lakefront property that developers would die for.  

The land preserved for national parks is even more staggering.  Yellowstone alone is over 2 million acres (3,472 square miles) — larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.  And it is only one of 58 National Parks.

Most of the space that is preserved would be impossible to buy today — even if you had vast amounts of money.  Once businesses/homes/organizations/roads/infrastructure are located there, they become entrenched.  

By not developing these spaces, they have become priceless.  The forethought of early planners permanently created a different experience for our country.  Would Martin Luther King have had the same dream if he delivered his speech in FedEx Field?  

Think about what you could set aside and leave sacred — not for yourself, but for generations to come.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots

leadershipdots@gmail.com