#661 toot your horn

I saw That Tree photographer Mark Hirsch in yet another magazine.  He has been on CBS and NBC News, NPR, in the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Denver Post and theguardian.  He just had a feature in Midwest Living magazine and he has 33,000 followers on Facebook.  Two years ago he was an ordinary freelance photographer in Wisconsin and now he has national exposure.  And an agent.

How would things be different for you if you had an agent or campaign manager? Do you have a talent or niche skill that would benefit from additional exposure?  If someone had the task of promoting you or your work, what material would they have to work with?  

I think that all of us are doing great things for some aspect of our lives, but we often share these talents with only a limited circle.  Don’t wait for someone else to be a cheerleader for you.  Be your own “agent” until you establish yourself enough to warrant someone else to do that job.

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

#660 small world

More than a billion people have ridden Disney’s It’s a Small World ride…and I would bet that all of them left with that maddening little theme song stuck in their head at least for awhile!  

It’s a Small World debuted 50 years ago, first at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.  It opened at Disneyland in 1966 and has been a park favorite ever since.  People sing along to the song during the ride and, whether they like it or not, after they exit the attraction.  

In celebration of the ride’s 50th anniversary, Disney is providing an opportunity for people to sing it on camera and join in a “global chorus”.  At www.SmallWorld50.com you can also make your very own Small World doll and join with celebrities who are celebrating this anniversary.  

In addition to being fun, your participation will also benefit UNICEF.  So take a minute this Sunday to check out the site, create a doll of your own and sing along with the world.  

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

#659 champion

I was in a meeting this week where we were talking about a project that needs a champion, and it soon became clear that taking an idea from concept to implementation requires a special skill set that not everyone has.

We identified several people who would be great behind the scenes, but did not possess the vision to develop something different and noteworthy.  Several others were mentioned who had potential, but not the stature or credibility to make change happen.  Others were seen as too confrontational or too meek to pull off the task.  

When we got to the short list of potential leaders, we realized that they were already busy with several other new projects that they had either initiated or they had been given.  We were preparing to ask them again, just as they had been asked several times before.

As we think of professional development programs for people or individual skill building for ourselves, we should add “how to champion a project” to the list.  It requires the ability to straddle vision with pragmatism so that the idea actually materializes.  It necessitates excellent human relation skills — both to empower those who are open to the idea and to manage those who oppose it.  A champion has to be an articulate cheerleader who can share context and rationale with facts as well as emotion, and provide enough structure to make a lofty idea become doable.  They need political savvy, street cred and the ability to look past the naysayers to see the possible.

If you know someone with those skills, pay close attention to what they do and how they do it.  It is a talent that will have great value if you can add it to your repertoire.

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

#658 welcome

About a month ago, I made a reservation at the St. Regis hotel in Washington DC.  They gave me the conference rate for the two nights during the event, but due to limited airline schedules, I need to arrive the night before.  The rate for that night was not included in the conference discount so it cost more.

Amy, my “reservation consultant”, suggested we contact the conference organizer and see if they would hold a block for the night before.  They would not.  Amy emailed me back after several weeks telling me that the rate still had not been included in the block price.  I was impressed by her follow up, but thought the story was over.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive another email from her yesterday telling me that she has still been working on finding me a lower rate. She discovered that the AAA rate would actually be $50 less than the original quote so “did take the liberty for changing the rate for you.”  

It’s one thing for people to give good customer service when they are face to face with the client, but it’s another thing when the customer and service are separated by both time and distance. 

Amy wrote that “we look forward to welcoming you!!”  With advance service like this, I feel welcomed already.


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

#657 rite of spring

Yesterday, our local Dairy Queen opened for the season.  It’s an independent store in an old residential neighborhood, not one of those fancy Brazier restaurants that stays open all year.  This Dairy Queen is exclusively walk-up window and is only open from March until September.

You wouldn’t think this was noteworthy, but it is.  In addition to offering the best ice cream in town — don’t ask me why they are different, but they are — the opening of this DQ has a tradition that signifies the start of Spring.  Each year on their Opening Day, they provide free ice cream cones to everyone who comes to the store.

So, of course, I drove for 10 miles, past two other DQ restaurants, to get my free treat. And even though it was 29 degrees, there was a line of other crazies doing the same thing.  I believe it is a ritual of hope more so than wanting a $1.59 cone for free; if DQ is open, then there is some promise for warmer weather.  For me, it is more reliable than Phil’s shadow.

This tiny old storefront has to do something to generate business with the locals since only those who are residents would ever find them to patronize the place.  So they run one little ad and give away free cones.  The word of mouth it generates is good old fashioned social media — people talk about this DQ being open and many frequented there last night.  One bite reaffirms what they have known all winter, that this DQ really is better and worth the trek across town to get it.

How can you establish your presence in a crowded marketplace by doing something that generates buzz and good will?  What can you do in your organization that becomes an anticipated tradition?  Perhaps giving away ice cream cones could work as a strategy for you too?  Everyone loves a free smile!

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

#656 take 2

We have the ability to re-do so much in our world.  Everyone uses the “undo” button on the computer.  People take advantage of the “replay this game” feature on computer games.  We have the ability to move items out of the trash.  Students are often able to repeat courses or redo assignments to improve their grades.  We can reverse DVDs and record things again, or delete pictures in favor of a better pose.  So much is fleeting instead of permanent.

I think the pervasiveness of flexibility causes us to become more careless and less concerned about doing it right the first time.  I can sit at a computer and ramble, because I have the confidence that I can cut and paste and move things around.  When things were done in long-hand, this was a luxury that did not exist.  When things were typeset and printed on presses, I suspect more care was given to the document than is now when you can hit “print” and fix something in a second if you don’t like the alignment.  If you truly were saying “I do” for life, you may think harder than if you approach marriage as something you’ll try out.

As consumer goods become more disposable and permanence more fleeting, I think we are losing a spirit that comes with putting down roots and saying forever.  Instead of undoing things, think for an extra moment about doing them as you want them in the first round.

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

#655 super

I was grocery shopping with a friend and asked which flavors he wanted.  “The same one as before,” was his answer.  “If I was a Super Hero, I would be Rut-man.”

His comment got me thinking about an exercise we do at our leadership day where we ask students to select a super power they would like to have and draw a picture of it.  We have had a wide range of answers, from being able to speak every language, to the ability to turn the weather to Spring, to being able to be able to see through walls.  It is both fun and a good way for students to learn something new about each other.

A more serious application of the super power question is used by my sister in interviews.  She asks the candidates in advance to come prepared to tell her what super hero trait they would bring to the organization — in other words what can they do better than anybody.  

Some of the answers she has received:  Statafficiency:  a combination of strategy and efficiency that allowed the candidate to think clearly and get stuff done; Logic Motion: can rapidly hold complexity; or Seeing the Matrix: sees the big picture and connect it to the day-to-day.

These exercises are really two sides of the same coin: the power that you would like to have vs. the power you do have.  While one is fantasy, in reality everyone does something better than most.  Think about how you can be a super hero for your organization and in what trait you excel.  Even Rut-man aces predictability and can be a source of stability in his world.  You don’t need a cape to contribute in super ways.

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