#790 Thelma

I recently facilitated a retreat where part of the day involved watching Simon Sinek’s TED Talk about starting with why*.  I also shared the map of Indiana and made the point that if you know the why or the goal (i.e.: the metaphorical “Indianapolis”), you can get there by going north, south, east or west.**

Someone asked the question:  “It all seems so obvious.  Start with defining the goal then go there.  Why don’t more people do it?”

I had two answers.  First: because it is hard.  It may sound easy to know why you want to do something, but it really does take some reflection and digging.  

But my second answer probably stops more people:  it requires collaboration.  Trying to define a common “why” requires time on task, and you can’t do it independently.  More often than not, people go off and do their own thing (set their own goals) vs. spending the time to work with others and come to a common understanding.  

It may be easier just to jump in the car and start driving, but the journey will be more rewarding if you take time to coordinate with your travel partner.  Thelma needed Louise and you need someone too.  No one has an awesome road trip driving alone.  

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


* See Blog #598, January 20, 2014
** See Blog #29, June 30, 2012


#789 tune in

I was walking down the street in Washington DC and someone touched my arm to get my attention.  Apparently he had been trying to call out to me, but I did not realize it.

Earlier that week, I found myself turning to answer multiple people, but then I realized they were talking on their phones instead of to me.  It seems that everyone in the city wears Bluetooth ear pieces or headphones.  A whole world of conversation was going on — but electronically, not face to face.  Except for the person I described who was insistent, I did not communicate with a human for hours.  Eventually I tuned out all the chatter, believing that it was not directed to me.

What has become background noise for you?  Have you tuned out messages that your colleagues, children or friends are trying to tell you?  Does the majority of your communication occur over broadband instead of coffee?  

Your life will be richer if you make your next conversation face to face instead of ear to ear.  

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


#788 lost

As I was getting in a hotel shuttle to go to the airport, the driver asked me: “Did you bring your own pillow?”  He was inquiring because it is his theory that no one leaves with their pillow — everyone forgets them.  He went on to tell us of all the things that people leave behind, and how they need a whole room to store the orphaned items.*  

His question made me more aware of the leaving-things-behind phenomenon that occurs with regularity while traveling.  Just outside of TSA screening, someone left their boarding pass and passport.  Undoubtedly they set it down to put their shoes or jewelry back on, and in the process of gathering their Ziploc bag, luggage, coins, computer and such, the most-important-documents remained on the table.  The supervisor got out a log and entered them on it before stowing them away for safe keeping.

At the gate, a flight attendant came running down the jet bridge with a child’s backpack that was left in the overhead bin.  It was too late to reunite the young traveler with his possessions, so once again a log came out and away the bag went.

All of us are travelers, whether we are physically going between places or just on the journey of life.  Are there things on your trip that would be good to lose along the way — habits, grudges, bad memories, fears?  Or things like the pillow that may be best to leave at home — preconceived notions, bias, self-doubt?  What is like the passport that you should take more care to protect — relationships, integrity, courage?

Getting out of your routine — whether by true travel or in our own home — can be a great way to rethink the baggage you carry around.

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


*eventually items are sanitized and donated to a shelter.  The hotel also donates torn sheets & towels to the humane society!

#787 pull the plug

There have been several events this summer that have been impacted by weather.  It is often a tough decision to know whether or not to set up and hold the program, or whether to call it off due to the predicted rains.

Those who are most invested in the event make the call.  They have put months of sweat equity into planning the event, they stand the most to lose financially if it is cancelled and they clearly will be the most disappointed if it is called off.  

Those who are least invested in the event are the ones who are deciding whether to attend or not.  They look up at the sky or at the Weather Channel app on their phone, see that it is raining or sure looks like it could, and decide to make other plans.  If they were in charge, they would pull the plug early and move on.  Many probably suspect that the event isn’t even being held.

More often than not, if the event is held, it hosts a fraction of the attendance that would make it spectacular.  A few die hard fans watch from their cars or brave through the mud with umbrellas, but it isn’t really the fun festival that the organizers envisioned.  

Similar things happen all the time where the most invested are making decisions that are different than the least invested would prefer.  The IT department buys a sophisticated software system that the end users hate.  They don’t buy a simple program that the end users would really use and could benefit from.  Companies invest in expensive professional development for staff, but don’t provide them with basic supplies to do their job.

If you are a decision maker, think of what those impacted would want you to do.  You may move heaven and earth to make the concert happen, but the audience would rather be home and dry instead.

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

#786 the nose knows

It’s not enough that retailers are tracking us in the aisles and our phones are tracking our buying habits.  Now it’s the nose that is being targeted.

In an attempt to appeal to all the senses, retailers are now installing diffusers to make an impression on consumers.  Scents vary from colognes in clothing stores, “clean cotton” in appliance stores, caramel popcorn in stadiums, spring rain in airports and even customized scents for special events like the Olympics.

Scents are becoming big business.  The global scent market grossed $200 million in revenue last year and it can cost up to $25,000 to develop a specialized scent or “olfactory logo”.  But companies are investing as it not only drives sales, but the customer perceives that it shortens waiting time (thus its use in banks, airports and places with lines).  

We have long targeted what the eye sees; we have paid attention to the tactile nature of fabrics we touch, often played music as part of the sensory experience in our environment, and provided food or drink for clients to taste.  Scent seems to be the last domain.

What scent would represent your organization?  Is there a message you can create through smell, whether overtly or subtly in the background?  Think about what your nose knows and how to manage the environment for all your client’s senses.

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


Source:  New type of branding makes ‘scents’ to retailers by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz for the Chicago Tribune in the Telegraph Herald, May 4, 2014, p. 9B.

#785 the handle

If you think about work like pulling a wagon, then vacation becomes a chance to stop pulling it.  Many people who take time off are able to do so.


But there are others, who even though they aren’t pulling, can’t quite seem to put the handle down.  

They may not answer emails, but they read them.  They may not call in the office, but are regularly checking to see who called them.  They bring work to read on the plane or a laptop to “get a few things done” while they are away.

Before summer is totally gone and the structure and routine of fall return, take some time to put the handle down.  All the way.

Take a lesson from the hit song in Frozen and “let it go”.  Even a short break can do wonders if you truly disengage.

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


#784 hide and seek

One more implication of Major League Baseball’s fascination with technology: they are using it to enhance the fan experience.  MLB is testing the use of beacon software which allows your smartphone to transmit a location signal to them.  The app determines precisely where you’re sitting and can direct you to the nearest concession stand — or better yet, to the stand with the shortest line.  It can track your purchases and function as a built-in loyalty card, rewarding you when a cumulative purchase quota has been achieved.

The technology in stores allows retailers to send you coupons for the section of the store you happen to be shopping in at the moment.  Grocers can link your electronic list to the store and have your phone signal you when you’re near something that is on your list.  And no more headsets for walking tours in museums; your phone will automatically know where you are and provide you with information for the piece you are viewing.

Is it helpful or creepy?  A great use of technology or too Big Brother-ish?  Will it equate to “cookies” for bricks and mortar stores and give those retailers knowledge that right now only on-line sellers enjoy?

No matter how you answer those questions, industry leaders predict that the beacons will become commonplace within a year.  If you know when your customers or donors are nearby can you capitalize on that?

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


Source:  Nowhere to hide by Harry McCracken, Time, March 31, 2014, p. 20


#783 data drawings

Yesterday I wrote about Major League Baseball and their obsession with measuring every nuance of the game.  

Illustrator Craig Robinson married his love of baseball with his artistic talents to put a new spin on baseball numbers.  He took hundreds of data points about some of the lesser known baseball facts and created beautiful infographics to depict them in a book.

An example:
How many points do MLB hats earn in Scrabble:  http://oldtimefamilybaseball.com/post/41074611447/craig-robinson-mlb-cap-logos-scrabble

Another example:  If players actually stole the bases they stole it would be 2,757 stolen bases x $89.99 = lost value of $284,102.43.  The leading base stealer would have a total value in the range of a Class 4 felony.   

Robinson has been able to take data and give it meaning through infographics.  If your organization is going to collect data, try to find a way to give others a context of what that data means.  Infographics speak much more to people than a page of data.  As we become more visual, our numbers need to follow suit.  

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


You can see more of Robinson’s baseball infographics at:  flipflopflyball.com

Source:  Flip flop fly ball by Craig Robinson.

#782 micro measures

Is there one statistic that baseball does not capture?  I doubt it.  The sport that is stat-crazed has taken it even further as Major League Baseball has gone even more high tech.  Now cameras will be placed throughout the field, allowing fans to track every nuance about catches, hits and plays throughout the field.  It’s no longer just pitches that will be micro-analyzed; now you’ll now that a player hit the ball at X speed, it went X feet and traveled at a specified angle. 

This, of course, will lead to geometry-in-action as fans calculate where a ball will land, how fast the player ran, the speed of the throw to first and whether or not the umpire got the call right.  It is a math geek’s dream game, and MLB hopes that it will allow average fans to become “more invested in their favorite player’s performance.”  

Think of all the new categories for the Hall of Fame.  It’s no longer about hits leader or RBI leader, but fastest steal, quickest release from the glove, jump speed off the base, percent efficiency in which the fielder reached the ball, time of the first step of the fielder after the ball was hit.  Literally, they are tracking all of this.

On one hand, the new metrics will allow teams, players and fans to add a whole new dimension to the game.  On the other hand, it becomes so granular that the big picture is lost.  It doesn’t really matter about how fast the throw travels to the base; what matters is whether or not the runner is safe.

In your organization, don’t get so lost in measuring the small stuff that you fail to place enough weight on the numbers that really matter.  All stats are not created equal.

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


Sources:
‘Tech’ me out to the ballgame by Frank Seravalli for the Philadelphia Daily News in the Telegraph Herald, March 9, 2014, p. 9B

Baseball brings new tech to the plate by Daniel Roberts in Fortune, April 28, 2014, p. 18

#781 delightful

One of my admissions counselors received a note from the parent of one of her recruits.  The mom thanked her for taking care of all the details in the admissions process and assisting with his transition.  I am sure that it will be on Emily’s bulletin board for a long while.  

She (obviously) shared the note with me, and hearing about it made me feel good too.  It’s always nice to hear that families are happy with us…

…and we so rarely have it in writing.  Even though Emily will work with hundreds of students this year, it will likely be the only note of thanks that she receives — not because she doesn’t deserve them, but because no one takes the time to send them. 

Think about all the support people who impact your lives and how infrequently someone (you!) take the time to send a thank you note to them for it. 

The nurse that comforts your child when getting shots.  The clerk that goes the extra mile to serve you.  The service technician that actually explains what he did.  The teacher or paraprofessional who took some extra time with you.  The vet who showers love on your pooch.  The person in another office at work who always comes through for you.

It is rare enough when handwritten thank yous are sent for anything these days, so you can really make someone’s day if you take the time to send one to an unusual suspect.  Make it your challenge to be that one who actually does it, instead of just thinks it.

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