#837 the long view

Washington Post article recently had an interesting observation about what you aspire to in your career.  Writer Jamie Fuller wrote that “everyone always talks about how they want to be president, but the job the truly ambitious should actually aspire to is hold is ‘former president.'”


What prompted her comment was the exchange that occurred between former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at a recent gathering about their new leadership scholars program.  Here are two former rivals having more fun than I have seen in a long time.


Take the long view on your work and your relationships.  All the stress will someday be behind you.  Lead your career in such a way that there is more to you than your job, so that when your career is over you still have a sense of who you are.  And treat others well so that if you find yourself sharing a platform with them in retirement, you can enjoy yourself as much as these two did.
— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Photo:  Jonathan Ernst for REUTERS, September 8, 2014
Story:  What’s better than one laughing ex-president?  Two laughing ex-presidents.  The Fix by Jamie Fuller, Washington Post, September 8, 2014

#836 Dot Day

On Friday, I wrote about using children’s books in training.  Another book written for young adults is not only being used in training; it has even inspired an international movement.

Today is International Dot Day — I wish it was to commemorate leadershipdots, but instead is a global day of celebration about creativity.  Dot Day 2014 has over 1.6 million registered participants from 80 countries.

It began with a simple children’s book by Peter Reynolds.  In the book, a student is convinced she cannot draw so the teacher encourages her to just paint a dot on the paper and make her mark. One thing leads to another, and eventually the creativity flows.

In 2009, Traer, Iowa teacher Terry Shaw used the book in his classroom and then suggested to the author that a Dot Day be created.  The day has evolved into not only an international program, but also a forum for celebrities to showcase their work (http://www.celebridots.com).  A free Educators Guide (at www.thedotclub.org) suggests that everyone wear dots today and “share your creativity with the world.”

The premise of The Dot and leadershipdots is the same:  Start. Get over the intimidation of making that first mark. Start small and connect the dots to make bigger things happen.  

Try to do something so you personally celebrate International Dot Day.  Take that first step and put your own version of a dot on the page.

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


Thanks Megan for sharing!

Source: http://seadnooneever.com/2014/08/06/an-iowan-teachers-success-story-you-may-not-know-about-international-dot-day/

#835 insight

I received a survey from Acura wanting to know how I felt about my new car.  It was the longest survey I have ever taken, but they did a good job of making me feel like they truly wanted my input.

My car model has only been available for a month, and I applaud them for wanting to get it right.  The original release was delayed so that they were sure it was ready. 

Now they sent me a survey entitled “what went wrong”.  It listed virtually every section of the car, from cup holders to the transmission, and if you marked that you had any kind of problem at all it gave a dozen options to specify what the issue was and provided open ended comment sections so you “could provide as much detail as possible”.  

An example:  interior: do interior surfaces scuff or soil easily?  Is it scuff or soil?  Which surfaces?  What color is your interior?  Does the scuff easily wipe off?  Have you contacted the dealer about your problem?  And on it went.

The final question was also open ended:  Please give one comment (positive or negative) that we could share about your experience in the first month with your car.  If most people are like me, they will gain a host of testimonials to help convince others that the new model is working well.  

You know who uses your services.  Ask them for feedback about a month after they buy when the thrill of the purchase has worn off and they have meaningful input to give you.  You’ll gain not only insight, but goodwill from those you ask.

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

#834 circuitous

I came home last night to find a notice on my door that I had missed a delivery by UPS.  It is the title and registration for my new car — something I definitely need since the temporary permit expires on Monday!

When I do get this document, it will have logged more miles than my car has (literally).  So far it has been scanned 16 different times as it traveled from Englewood, CO to Commerce City, CO to Louisville, KY to Danville, IL to Davenport, IA before arriving in Dubuque.  No wonder it is arriving within hours of the temporary permit’s expiration.  

The envelope wasn’t delivered because it requires a signature, so I have two options:  take the day off and wait for it on Monday or drive to an inconvenient place to pick it up.  I will have to strategically time my lunch hour to do so since here are the hours of UPS “Service” Center:  8am-12:25pm and 1:30pm to 6pm.  Am I to believe that they only have one person covering their office and that person has to take lunch during the prime lunch period for their customers?

It seems to me that with all the technology and tracking systems that UPS has — and apparently the very limited in-person staff — that they could develop a proactive system instead of a reactive one.  Couldn’t they have sent me an email saying “we’re going to deliver Friday, will you be home or do you want us to hold it?” or allowing me to authorize a neighbor to accept the package for me.  I could have saved them a trip and I could have picked it up on my way home last night instead of coming down to the wire on Monday.  

I’m sure your organization has processes and protocols for how things work.  Maybe you can consider deploying them to increase the convenience on the front end instead of just documenting the steps along the way.

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




#833 story hour

A colleague called me looking for ideas for a staff professional development series.  He was hoping to do an on-going series for a team with a wide range of experience and wanted a way to address multiple topics.

My suggestion for him:  a book club — only not in the traditional format, rather a reading circle utilizing children’s books.

I have used children’s literature in leadership training for decades.  They are short; often broach sensitive topics in ways that allow people to be comfortable in discussing them; they come with illustrations that make great visual aids, and are much more affordable than adult hardcovers.

I have a list of dozens of titles that I have used, but some ideas to get you started:

> Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (as discussed in Blog #797, August 7, 2014) would be a great way to prompt a discussion with those stuck in the status quo.

> The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka is a wonderful way to talk about myths, perceptions, open mindedness and first impressions.

> Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst can be used as a resource about budgeting and paying attention to what is important.

> Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy can open a conversation on stress management and making time for yourself.

> The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting is a beautiful book about how everyone can be a teacher and that it is never too late to learn.

>  William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow can be used to start a discussion on stereotypes, gender roles or even addressing the issue at hand instead of avoiding it.

> Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a classic to teach vision, creativity, creating your destiny and the impact of choices.

> Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox is a wonderful way to end a retreat or workshop as it contains lessons about memories, learning from others and how different things mean different things to different people.

There is something magical about storytelling. I think you’ll find your adult audience just as entranced as a younger one if you incorporate children’s books in your next leadership program.  Happy reading!

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


If you’d like a copy of the list, email me at leadershipdots@gmail.com

#832 unspoken

Do you remember where you were 13 years ago today?  Chances are that you do.

I am sure for the families and friends of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks, they not only remember the day, but the last words that were spoken to their loved ones.  How many people said — or more likely did not say — something that they would alter if life provided the opportunity for do-overs?

Take a moment today to pause and be grateful that we live in a country where such attacks are the exception rather than the norm.  And then take another moment to say what you would want to say to someone since you are fortunate enough to have that chance.

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

#831 tossed aside

Yesterday as I searched on the web for a picture of the “evidence pad”, I came across an entry that explained the history of the legal pad.

As the story goes, in 1888, long before the days of recycling, paper mills used to discard the scraps and sortings that were trimmed away from other print jobs.  An industrious entrepreneur, 24-year-old Thomas Holley, worked at the mill and envisioned a use for what was currently going to waste.  He founded his own company to pad the scraps and sell them at a discounted price.  

A local judge asked that the original margin be added, and thus the name legal pad was born.  The only official requirement to be considered a legal pad is the left margin (called the down line) to be drawn 1.25 inches from the left edge of the paper. 

There is no known reason for how the standard pads became most popular in yellow, but the canary versions outsell their white counterparts by 2 to 1.  Most “legal” pads today are actually made in the 8-1/2 x 11 standard size and legal size documents have been prohibited in federal courts since 1982 due to the additional storage costs for them.

Holley took something that was considered useless and turned it into an icon.  What is around you that has value that others can’t see?  Is there something your organization throws away (or gives away) that actually could become productive in another way?  Try to take a fresh look at your by-products and see if they can’t take on a life of their own.

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


Source:  Old Yeller: The illustrious history of the yellow legal pad by Suzanne Snider in Legal Affairs, May-June 2005.  http:www.legalaffairs.org/issues/May-June-2005