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
* See Blog #598, January 20, 2014
** See Blog #29, June 30, 2012
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
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
*eventually items are sanitized and donated to a shelter. The hotel also donates torn sheets & towels to the humane society!
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
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
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.
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
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
Source: Nowhere to hide by Harry McCracken, Time, March 31, 2014, p. 20