#237 glucose

The New York Times* reported on several studies where the time of day in which a decision was made impacted the outcome of the decision.  For example, the parole board granted parole 70% of the time to prisoners whose hearing was in the morning, while only 10% of the time in afternoon hearings.  Studies showed that as the day goes on and we make more decisions, we suffer from “decision fatigue” and lose willpower as the day progresses.  To replenish the energy, the body needs glucose (sugar).

I learned this from a member of our strategic planning committee who sent me the article when it became apparent that the only viable option for our meetings was Friday afternoon.   Partially in jest, but with a dash of scientific truth, she suggested that I bring treats for our meeting so that members were alert enough to make the best decisions for the university.

Now, each week, we add “glucose assignment” to our agenda and rotate bringing treats to each meeting.  Does it help us make more strategic decisions?  I am not sure.  But I am confident that it increases the morale of the group gathered at the last juncture before the weekend.  If you have a late afternoon meeting scheduled, perhaps instead of tempting fate you tempt participants with a little goodie or two.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com



*Do you suffer from decision fatigue? by John Tierney.  New York Times.  August 17, 2011.

#236 a special touch

One of our gift officers recently received a donation from someone who is blind.  As he went to write the thank you note, it occurred to him that the donor would be unable to read it.  Rather than send it anyway and rely on someone else to translate his thanks, he had a better idea.  Soon he was in contact with a local organization that works with the visually impaired and he was able to utilize their equipment to send a thank you note in Braille.

Our gift officer took an extra step to provide a thank you that was personalized for the donor.  He utilized community resources and partnered with them to get the task accomplished.  He made something simple become memorable.  

How can you replicate this pattern with something happening in your organization?  Is there something ordinary you can do in an extraordinary way?  Is there someone who can help you?  Or is there something that warrants a little extra TLC and you have the capacity to provide it?  

A small difference can be profound.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com




#235 Stan the Man

This weekend, baseball lost one of its greatest legends with the passing of Stan Musial.  I had the privilege of seeing Stan the Man in person at several St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day and World Series festivities, and I can attest that the man was revered in his adopted hometown.  

For those of you not indoctrinated into “Cardinals Nation”, Mr. Musial played for the Cardinals for his entire 22-year baseball career.  He was on the All-Star teams 24 times (there were two games/year for a few seasons).  When he retired in 1963, he held 55 major league records.  But beyond his baseball legacy, Stan the Man spent the 50 years since his retirement as a model citizen.

Stan’s passing is a loss of one of the remaining reminders of what major league sports used to represent.  No more do players stay with the same franchise for their entire career.  Barely do they manage to go through their tenure without scandal or disgrace.  Stan Musial was an exception, and exceptional.  He was someone that little kids should look up to and want to be like when they grow up.

It is not likely that any of us will have even one, like Stan’s two, statues erected in our honor outside of our former place of employment.  But we can work and play as if that were possible.  Try to give the effort and enthusiasm to your day that Stan Musial gave to his effort on and off the field.  And then repeat for all 92 of your years.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#234 dreams

I have been intrigued by the American Family Insurance advertising campaign with the tagline “Your dream is out there.  Go get it.  We’ll protect it.”  It has always caught my attention because usually insurance is there for when the dreams are shattered or catastrophe happens — most insurance companies don’t seem to be in the business of fostering dreams.  But AmFam has taken the dream theme seriously, including offering a “Dream Camp” and a whole website with dream stories and interactive exercises to help you find yours.

One of the sections is entitled “Why Dreams?”  (I guess I wasn’t the only one wondering how they landed on this!)  Their answer:  ‘We believe in the power of dreams.  At their very core, dreams help define us, empower us, and make us happy.  Dreams compel us to improve ourselves and our communities.  Dreams make the world a better place.”  

Today this nation commemorates the birth date of one of our country’s greatest dreamers — Martin Luther King, Jr.  His words from August 28, 1963 still ring true today:  “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.  It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.  I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

In the midst of fiscal cliffs, political bickering, schoolroom shootings, superstorms and drought, I hope that we can all reflect on MLK’s dream and re-envision ourselves as a cohesive community.  Today pause to commit to your role in shaping our future.  “With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#233 lessons from a coyote

Even though I am a VP, I still have a rather large stuffed Wile E. Coyote in my office.  He serves as a reminder to me about several important lessons:

> Persistence.  Even though Wile has been unsuccessful in his pursuit of the road runner, he continues to persist in his quest.

> Creativity.  Wile is not trying the same method of capture over and over and over — he continually alters his methods and tries new ways to catch the bird.

> Focus.  Wile is focused on one thing.  His efforts are not scattered trying to catch anything that comes his way — he cares about the road runner and is focused on capturing it.

I have faith that someday Wile will win.  Until then, he serves as a mascot to remind me of three important elements of the chase.  What symbol can you use as a visual reminder of the traits you need to exhibit in the pursuit of your reward?

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#232 loyalty

It is 2013 and I am still using many of the same products that I started using as a teenager: Noxzema, Johnson’s baby powder and baby oil, and witch hazel.  There have been thousands of beauty products developed since I started their use, but I remain loyal to a handful of brands.  

I have been exposed to millions of dollars of advertising and product placement trying to lure me away from these traditional products, but I am satisfied with their performance and price and feel no need to experiment.  Best doesn’t have to be new.  Expensive and fancy don’t mean better.  

It’s OK to stick with something over the long term if it’s working for you.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#231 early

The act of creating capacity in others requires involving them when things are in the listening stage vs. when they are in the telling stage.  If you have a new program or idea and it is fully formed before you share it, you end up telling the potential partner about the program.  But if you share things when they are new ideas or still a drafty concept, then you are open to listening what they have to say about how they can shape its formation.  


I like to involve large groups of people when we host a consultant on campus — then they can hear the ideas directly, understand their context and have input into how they are ultimately shaped — vs. just being told afterwards that X change needs to occur.  

Involve others early in the process.  You may be amazed at how much better they make you and your ideas look!

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com