#486 digital addition

Fight it or capitalize on it — that is the question that school districts face when it comes to cell phone use in the classroom.  Many schools prohibit use of cell phones and other technological devices, but recently others have realized the computing power that students have in their backpacks and made the decision to take advantage of it.  The growing number of applications with educational value is also influencing teachers’ use of portable devices. 

Access to smart phones is not the problem.  USA Today reports that even in poorer school districts, the students have phones.  Where challenges come in is with the infrastructure to support the smart phone use.  According to the US Department of Education, only 20 percent of the country has the infrastructure to support digital learning.  What a sad statistic!  Wouldn’t it make more sense for the learning environments to be the first ones to have the equipment needed to teach the language of the future?

Educators and school districts also face the balance of being cutting edge vs. playing catch up.  Our education department wanted iPads when they first were being used in the schools.  At the time it was seen as frivolous, like they wanted the ‘new toys’ vs. serious equipment.  Yet already students in our elementary schools are using tablets and prospective teachers need to know how to teach with them.  

There is greater expectation for people to have mobile technology.  Instead of fighting it, we should embrace the fact that the majority of people own more computing power than the first rocket.  Students like those below are going to expect it. 

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


Source:  BYOT:  Bring your own tech to school by Josh Higgins, USA Today, August 8, 2013

#485 one-third

If you count holidays and weekends, they constitute about one-third of the year.  It doesn’t feel that way, but it is true.  Think about what impact that has:


> for those in the tourism or recreation industries, you can rejoice that consumers really do have a lot of disposable time
> for dieters or those exercising to lose weight, it means you really can’t fall off the wagon every weekend and holiday and still expect to shed the pounds
> for those in office settings, you need to consider how you serve your customers and prospective customers during the one-third of the year that you are not there to answer the phone
> for retailers, it provides a bonanza of opportunities for themed sales
> for educators, you need to consider how to provide a year’s worth of learning in a year minus one-third and summer

What opportunities lie in weekends and holidays for you or your organization?  Maybe you can start taking advantage of them today!

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

#484 perspectives

My two dogs bark like crazy fools when they are out in the yard and someone walks within six houses of mine.  It doesn’t matter if the walker is alone or walking dogs of their own, the response is always resounding.

But when I take my dogs for a walk and I am the passerby, they never utter a sound.  Every other dog that we pass either barks, howls or yipes loudly, but my two just stroll on their merry way in silence.

It seems to be an apt metaphor for change.  If you are cozy in your own yard, going through your routine with pleasure, you bark like crazy when change approaches from the outside.  You are adamant that your happy equilibrium not be disturbed and you are quite vocal that you want nothing to do with it.

But if you are on the outside, there seems to be nothing to fear.  You are going about your business without thought of the impact you have on others, even if those others have four legs.

Employees often “bark” when change from the outside approaches.  Managers often are puzzled as to why there is so much fear or resentment.  The next time you are on either side of the change effort, think about my dogs.  Sniffing each other before barking may be a good strategy.

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


#483 honk

I was backing out of a parking space at the grocery store and saw that a man in a pickup truck was waiting for my space so I backed out further.  The woman across from me also saw that the pickup was waiting, but she did not see me (or vice versa).  You can guess what happened next.

After the impact, we both pulled back into our spots and got out to assess the damage (which fortunately was minimal).  Yet the man in the truck pulled by without so much as a second glance.

Another witness came up the aisle and was ranting about the man in the truck:  “Why didn’t he honk?  Why did he just sit there and watch you two hit each other?  What was he thinking?!”  I wondered that myself.

In many ways, the man who watched and did nothing was as much at fault as the woman who backed into me.  He had a birds eye view of impending trouble and did nothing.  I guess he was thinking that it was not his problem.

Do you find yourself in situations where you act like the man in the truck — staying out of situations where you could be of assistance because you aren’t really involved?  The thing is that you are involved, because you are seeing the situation and you are a member of the community where it is happening.  You have an obligation to “honk” — either literally or in a more formal or verbal way — when something wrong is taking place.  Don’t just sit there and watch a wreck happen — in a parking lot or in your organization.

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

#482 connected

Over the weekend, I also had the opportunity to make a brief stop at my alma mater, Western Illinois University.  The University Union there is anchored by a huge lounge, adorned by two walls of plaques on either side of it.

The West wall is named the Wall of Honor and houses plaques full of student leader recognition for various organizations.  Union Board leaders since 1966 are listed.  There are special leadership awards, Blue Key, Mortar Board, Order of Omega, Student Government and the like.  It is a perpetual tribute to those students who contributed their time and talent through the Office of Student Activities.

On the opposite wall is the Wall of Thanks which contains plaques listing the major donors to the university.  There are recognitions for the different donor levels and for special campaigns, and this wall is also full.

What Western realizes better than many schools is that the same names on the West wall are eventually listed on the East wall.  Student involvement engenders loyalty and dedication that often manifests itself into significant alumni contributions.  Those who receive later give.

Can you learn lessons from these two walls and think of how to foster connections in your organization.  Who benefited most from their work for you or was the recipient of your service?  Have you recognized them in lasting and appropriate ways?  And then can you facilitate a reciprocal relationship where they are asked to transcend generations with a meaningful gift?  Spend some time thinking about how you can create, then bridge, the two walls in your organization.

— beth triplett, ’81
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#481 McScramble

One more observation from the weekend, but this one is not about the inauguration itself, rather the journey there.  Twice we stopped at McDonald’s to partake in their $1 any size beverage promotions.  Twice, at two different McDonald’s, we had to weave our way through a construction zone to reach the counter.

Both restaurants were under renovation down to the studs.  The seating areas were entirely temporary tables and folding chairs.  The bathrooms had signs taped to the door and makeshift facilities.  The parking lots were full of cones.  Half of the counter was removed.  It was a serious rehabilitation in progress.

Some of you may know that McDonald’s has been struggling with sales recently.  The firm reported its first sales decline in a decade and the worst quarterly sales growth performance in nine years.  It seems that they are responding by renovating their restaurants.

You don’t have to have an MBA to do the quick math and realize that when sales are down it is a bad time to have capital expenses increase.  But beyond the cash flow challenges, there is added risk to the timing.

It is much smarter to innovate and remain current to keep your advantage rather than reacting to try and reclaim it.  Take a lesson from McDonald’s and avoid becoming complacent with any lead you may have amassed.  The time to invest and invent is when things are good, not when you are playing catch up.

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


Source:  Huffington Post Business, McDonald’s Sales Fall For First Time in Nearly a Decade, 11/8/12


#480 true blue

Yesterday I wrote about attending the presidential inauguration at Illinois College.  Among the many impressive things about the weekend, the one that was most surprising to me was the proliferation of the royal blue color on campus.  Their slogan is “Be True Blue” and let me tell you: they take it seriously.  

I will bet that a full 90% of IC staff had some element of royal blue as part of their ensemble on Saturday.  Cardigans, ties, necklaces, suits, blouses, shirts, dresses — you name it, and they had it.  Even the vast majority of students wore blue t-shirts to the ceremony so both sets of bleachers were a sea of royal during the event.  I have not seen this much of one color attire since my last St. Louis Cardinals game that is known for its inundation of red.

The Illinois College folks didn’t stop with attire.  The microphone cover, liners for the coffee urns, flowers on the table, stairwells, bulletin boards and even the stamp on the inauguration invitation were IC Blue.  It was an overt testimonial to school spirit and buy in.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a tag line or mantra that so readily lends itself to a specific color, but most do have some organizational color palette in place.  Think of how you can extend that level of branding beyond the corporate stationery or signage.  Can you take a lesson from Illinois College and really make a statement with your use of a limited color range?  Maybe it won’t work for everyday, but if you need to impress outsiders for a special event, I can vouch for the fact that this is one way to do it!

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