#357 gone fishin’

How do your personal cycles work?  Are you busiest before you can relax?  Do you need to recharge before you can gear up?


I think of how productive my life would be if I was as productive all the time as I am right before I go on vacation!


I feel like I need a vacation by the time I am ready to go.  At home, laundry is done.  Ditto for shopping, errands and packing.  Instructions are ready for my dog sitter.  All the blogs are written and scheduled in advance.

At work, I managed to squeeze in a host of meetings, wrap up several big projects, close out the fiscal year and attend to the regular business at hand.  No time for dawdling or procrastination — there were things to do before I left.

But once I am gone, I am disengaged from work and fully immersed in the life of leisure.  It will take a day on the back end to get my working brain reoriented.  

For others, they may crawl toward vacation with barely any energy remaining, and come back refreshed and ready to go full steam ahead.  

Pair your energy level and pattern of behavior to make a successful transition over this holiday weekend and future vacation plans.

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

#356 supplements

I have spent numerous hours in the past few weeks attempting to liquidate some of my mom’s financial investments.  I took a morning off work to make a dent in it, knowing full well that I would need more time, but that I would not have the patience to do it any longer. I was right.  

The whole process has been an exercise in frustration.  Everyone needs different forms, supplemental material and documentation.  I mail in something, and hear back from them a week later that they need something else.  Just thinking about what I have done, and, unfortunately, what I have to do, makes me growly.

And then I thought of the parallels that I am sure people feel regarding the entire admission and financial aid process.  A family files the FAFSA and we call saying we need more information for verification.  They send us their transcript and we admit them, but then want an enrollment form and $200.  Every college requires different forms, supplemental material and documentation.  Do families feel about us the way I feel about financial services? (Don’t answer that!)

I know that all organizations want it how we want it, but do we need to have it that way?  I recently read an article advocating for a centralized college application clearinghouse process — one form and process for all colleges together like is done in professional school admissions.  I didn’t really like the idea, until I dreamt about one form for investment liquidation.  

Yes, we all need to differentiate our product, but there is far more we can do to simplify and consolidate the process end of transactions.  Sing Kumbaya with your competitors and share the paperwork!

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


#355 knotted

I was at a meeting last week where eight of us attempted to sort out the intricacies of a very interdependent process.  Everyone had experienced some frustration with how things were (weren’t) working, but there isn’t one “owner” who has the authority to make changes. So we decided to convene and see if we could agree by consensus what the desired changes would be.

We couldn’t.  At least not yet.

What did happen was that we all gained considerable understanding on the complexity of the issues.  We had front line staff, middle managers and senior staff — all with knowledge about varying levels of the process.  We had people who used to work directly in the area, one who currently does and someone will be assuming responsibilities for the position — all also bringing different perspectives that added to our insight.  We realized that even though eight of us were there, there was one major area missing and they needed to be included in the conversation.

I shared with the group a visual of a tangled mess of fishing line and lures.  It was an accurate representation of where we stand now.  If we had the impression that the problem was equivalent to a kink in just one line, we would respond to it in a very different fashion than knowing it is part of a bigger knot. By having everyone at the meeting and able to hear the competing interests that are at play, it became apparent that we need to pull each aspect of this apart carefully until we get to the root of the issue. 

If you jump in and start pulling on the first problem that arises, you may make the rest of the knot tighter.  Always start with understanding before action.

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


#354 opportunities

Our students have been out of school for a week now, and I imagine that many of the graduates used the time to catch their breath and regroup after the stress of finals and leaving.  Good for them, but now it’s time to get down to the business of finding a job.

Whether I am speaking to new graduates or experienced staff, my job-seeking advice is the same: find a place that gives you opportunities.  It doesn’t so much matter if you start at an entry level position; if you are good, you will be promoted.  If you start in a more senior role, if you are good, you will be promoted.  Look for where you will be given new challenges, projects.  That’s what you need your employer to contribute; you can add the rest.

Think about it in your current position.  Are you doing the same thing you were doing when you were first hired?  Are you doing the same thing as others in your same position?  Hopefully the answer is no.  You want an organization and boss that taps you on the shoulder and offers new responsibilities.  If that isn’t happening, it’s time to assess why not.

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


#353 vulnerability

Over the weekend, I went to the first fine arts festival of the summer.  There will be several of these events in the coming months, and I go to as many as my calendar permits.  I treat it like an outdoor museum, where I can look at all the beautiful art works and admire the extraordinary jewelry.  

Only, it isn’t an outdoor museum; it’s an outdoor store.  Those artists aren’t sitting in their booths to entertain me; this is their livelihood.  I felt that more poignantly at one booth where I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday afternoon.  I loved this artist’s work, and was fascinated with how he made it.  But I only made a minor purchase of a $12 pin vs. the $365 wall hanging that I spent the most time admiring.

I thought about the vulnerability that it must take to be on the arts circuit.  To have someone walk by your booth without even entering it.  To not take personally the face-to-face rejection when people leave without a sale.  Or to conceal the disappointment when the little purchase is made instead of the big one.

In the new Oprah magazine, there is an article about vulnerability, in which Dr. Brene Brown writes about vulnerability being “brave enough to show up and let ourselves be seen.”  

Even if you’re not an artist in the fine arts sense of the word, I think that all of us could practice a bit more vulnerability.  It is easy to hide behind time and distance that separate us from most of our ultimate clients and to create work that becomes generic.  Instead, try to put yourself out there, personalize your work, meet people face-to-face, and be proud enough to pretend you’re an artist at the fair.  

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



*O Magazine June 2013 Oprah’s Conversation with Brene Brown, p. 136.




#352 a buck

Last week I read the obituary for Dave Gold.  I had never heard the name before, but rarely a weekend goes by that his work doesn’t provide me a few moments of frivolous entertainment.

Gold founded the 99 Cents Only Stores which spawned numerous franchises of similar pricing strategies.  I love the dollar stores.  Where else can you go and know that you absolutely can afford anything in the store?  I can see stickers that remind me of someone and for a buck I can give them a delight.  I can mail window clings to my niece and nephew for every holiday and not go bankrupt.  I can indulge my fetish for office supplies and not feel guilty.  I can buy toys for the pups and not worry when they are shredded that day.  Life is just carefree in the dollar store aisles.

Some people are hesitant to shop there, since the freshness and origin of the goods can be somewhat questionable.  I always follow my sister’s mantra:  “nothing in or on.”  Meaning buy no food/beverage/consumables that go in your body, nor any lotions/cosmetics/products that go on it.  With that as my guide, I have guiltless shopping where a few bucks buys me untold treasures.

Thanks Dave Gold, for starting a trend that has become ingrained in a strip mall in every city.  You have provided me with untold ways of saying “I’m thinking about you” and given me many hours of shopping fun.  You can’t put a price tag on that!

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


#351 cocoa peach

Earlier this week, I took advantage of an offer to get a free makeup consultation at the Clinique counter.  I didn’t really have a need for new cosmetics, but I like to capitalize on the opportunity for a low risk experiment.

The clerk chose a color palette that I would have never, ever selected for myself.  In fact, if you look at the lipstick in the tube, I might have given a bonus sampler away without as much as putting it on.  But I really liked it on my lips!  And the eye shades look like nothing in my makeup bag, but they actually did “make my blue eyes pop.”  Who knew?!

I try to make it a practice to take risks when the consequences are low.  Peter Sims calls these “little bets” in his book by the same name.  He advocates for conducting small experiments that don’t detract from the core business, but allow you to gain valuable knowledge (of either what worked or what didn’t) that can be used to gain more leverage down the road.

It is very easy to get in a rut.  Take advantage of opportunities to be bold and daring on little things that don’t really have high stakes.  The confidence and courage you cultivate will serve you well in more meaningful situations in the future.  (And you just might look good while doing it!)

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