#882 be

An ad for the seasonal Halloween party store asked: “Who you gonna be?”.  While they were referring to costumes, I think it is a question that you could ask yourself every day.

The choices of occupations are almost limitless, but who you choose to be is even more open to you.

Are you going to be the innovator who comes up with a new idea for your team?

Could you be the peacemaker who works to build bridges between disparate parties?

Or maybe you will be the worker-bee who handles the logistics to make plans become a reality?

Today do you choose to be the futurist who challenges assumptions and the status quo?

Are you the one who will be the comforter of the sad and downtrodden?

Perhaps you will be the one who adds that extra touch to help something become special?

Or can you be the one to be the dot-connector and make linkages between new thoughts?

I am reminded of a quote by Mayim Bialik: “It’s powerful to shut everything down and just BE. We are, after all, human BEings and not human DOings, right?”


Take some time to reflect on the question of who you are going to be — not just for today, but for the lifetime to come.

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

#881 necessity

Tomorrow is the big day, so many people will be scrambling tonight to put together a Halloween costume for a party or trick-or-treating.  Some have put great time and effort into costumes for themselves or their children.  I am sure that the Elsa and Anna costumes from Frozen are sold out!

But if you find yourself facing October 31 with no costume to be had, there are many options still available to you.  In fact, some of the more creative costumes cost the least and happen at the last minute.

Some suggestions for you:

> Cover yourself in small boxes of cereal and add a knife or noose = serial killer

 > Cut out a map, put the states on a string and wrap it around you = America On-Line (remember them?)

> Wear a slip = Freudian slip

> Wear an apron and carry an iron = Iron Chef

> Cut out a Pi symbol and put on an orange shirt = pumpkin pie

> Tape a $1 bill to each of your ears = Buccaneer (buck an ear)

> Put the words “Go Ceiling!” on a shirt and carry pom poms = ceiling fan

You get the idea.  Look at objects around you and see them in a new light.  Challenge yourself to utilize clothes and props that you already have rather than spending money on a one-time use costume.

Exercises such as this will sharpen your skills — not just for Halloween, but for problems and situations to come.  

It’s a treat when you have creativity in your bag of tricks. 

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

Some ideas from Real Simple, October 2011

#880 fabric

Today is a casual day at work — one of those serendipitous days when the staff association sponsors a “tailgate” potluck lunch and everyone can wear football jerseys and jeans.

My guess is that people will be more productive than usual.  While I wear suits most days and most wear professional business attire, there is an inherent energy that comes from casual wear.  

I know for myself that when I am more comfortable, I spend less energy on carrying myself, worrying about clothes, etc.  I do some of my best writing in a raggy sweatshirt and sweatpants (at home, of course!)

The irony is that there is also an inherent energy that comes from being very dressed up — a shot of adrenaline comes with that special new outfit or “board meeting attire”.  I become more attentive and carry myself differently, as do others when they are wearing their best.

Mixing up the dress code for a day is an easy way to infuse some momentum into your workplace.  Encouraging casual attire around a theme or incentivizing dressing up for an occasion can help staff to feel differently and approach their work from a fresh perspective.  Even a new “uniform” shirt can change the feel of the environment for a short while.

Be intentional about the fabric you are weaving in your culture.

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



#879 midnight

You have probably heard about the importance of writing down goals and making them specific.  It is good advice.  

I recently read an article by Dr. Phil that took the goal-setting process one step further.  “The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline,” he wrote.  “The deadline you’ve created fosters a sense of urgency or purpose, which in turn will serve as an important motivator, and prevent inertia or procrastination.”

How often have you thought about doing something “someday?”  You may even have a written bucket list, but unless there is a timeline for accomplishing those dreams they will remain nebulous and likely undone.

At work, be skeptical of those who share plans, but without a timeline attached.  It makes for an easy way to weasel out of accountability or to provide excuses.  

A deadline is different than a timeline.  A deadline implies that the task will be finished by the set date, whereas a timeline is a suggested path for implementation.  

The publisher of the daily paper doesn’t dream about getting today’s edition out on time; she has a deadline to do so.  Think of yourself as your publisher and set a firm deadline to get your dream out the door.  

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


http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6032668?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

#878 fit

Last week I watched the movie Draft Day with Kevin Costner.  I did not pick the movie, and must admit I was not too excited about seeing it, but am very glad that I did.

Draft Day is about the NFL Draft; more specifically about Costner’s character as the GM of the Cleveland Browns and his picks for the draft.  The movie showcases the dilemma facing Sonny Weaver (Costner) — does he pick a superstar who has some character questions or a less-talented player who is full of heart?  

The movie does a good job of portraying many of the pressures the GM faces in making his choice.  The owner, fans, other players and coaches all weigh in with passionately held opinions.  There are pros and cons on both sides, exacerbated by the fact that the superstar’s statistics are factual while the other guy’s traits are intangibles based on gut feelings.  There is no easy answer.

Think about how you assemble your team.  Whether through hiring, volunteer recruitment, inheriting of a work group or through some other fashion, as a leader you may be faced with the choice of deciding between heart or talent.  

For Weaver, he went for fit “no matter what”, a choice with which I heartily agree.  It may not be easy to sidestep pedigree and sparkle, but character and passion are almost always better indicators of a champion.  It’s something to keep in mind on your next “draft day.”

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


#877 the standard

Last night I watched All the President’s Men as a personal tribute to Ben Bradlee who died last week.  Bradlee was the editor of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal.  Nixon’s resignation occurred just a few years before I entered college as a journalism major, so we talked a lot in class about the Post’s coverage and the implications for our profession.  

Bernstein and Woodward showed great tenacity in pursuing leads and finding the story, but none of it would have been published if it weren’t for the courage of Ben Bradlee.  He had two young reporters, lots of anonymous sources and implications of crimes in the highest levels of government.  It was gutsy of him to give the stories the green light.  

At the time, it would have been so much easier for him to bury the story.  No other media outlet was reporting on it.  The White House press secretary was belittling him by name.  Even people in his own newsroom were skeptical.

But Bradlee took the heat and allowed Bernstein and Woodward to press on.  His willingness to “stand by our boys” changed the course of history.  

When Bradlee retired in 1991, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said “the editor’s standards would endure for ages hence.”  Try to do your job in such a way that the same could be said about you when you pass the mantle.

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



#876 don’t meddle

We recently brought in a facilitator for a retreat with our board of trustees.  He shared with them best practices for a board, one of which was to remember that the board should be diligent about crossing the line into managerial responsibilities.

His guideline for appropriate board actions: “Noses in, fingers out!”

Translated this means that the board has the authority to bring any issue to the agenda, but needs to delegate the operational aspects of an issue.

It’s a good mantra for boards of all kinds, and even some words of wisdom for supervisors once a project has been assigned.

Keep up the interest without meddling and everyone will be better (and happier!) for it.

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

Thanks to Zeddie Bowen