#1002 animated

When I was in Minneapolis, I, like many other visitors, was entranced by watching a light show that revolved around the top of a building.  The night we watched featured an aquarium full of animated multi-colored fish.  Apparently it also changes to reflect holidays, sporting events and the seasons.  It was quite entertaining.

I imagine that the technology to display it did not come cheaply, so I was surprised that it had no identifying information on any of the displays or on the building.  I asked my sister (who lives there) about the owner, but even she did not know.  Finally, I asked at the hotel and learned that it is the Target Corporation World Headquarters. Of course. It’s a great way for Target to live out their “expect more” brand — if only they would connect themselves to it.

It seems to be a missed opportunity that they don’t include a subtle bullseye every few rotations.  They manage to weave their logo into gift cards without distracting from the aesthetic or design value of them; couldn’t they do the same on their electronic display?

Think about what you have in your organization that could become a distinguishing marquee for yourself.  Do you have a prominent window, side of a building, mobile vehicle or boulevard that could proclaim your brand while adding to the aesthetics of the area?
And take a look around. Is your logo on display where you already have a presence (on t-shirts of community volunteers, on your service outlets or at your partnership locations)?  If you don’t tell your story, who will?

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

#1001 approximately right

Another thing Ken Blanchard said in his keynote: “One thing to remember about praising is, don’t wait for exactly the right behavior before you praise anybody.  If you do, you might wait forever.  Exactly the right behavior is made up of a whole series of approximately right behaviors.

He went on to give the example of teaching a child how to talk.  “Suppose you wanted your kid to say, ‘Get me a glass of water, please.’  The kid has never spoken before.  If you wait for that full sentence before you give the kid any water, what have you got?  You have a dead, dehydrated kid.  We just holler, ‘Water, water,” and one day the kid says, ‘Lauler, lauler.’  ‘My God, it’s his first word.  Get grandmother on the phone!’  That wasn’t water, but it wasn’t bad.  You don’t want him at age 21 going into restaurants asking for ‘lauler’, so after a while you accept only ‘water.’  Then you move on to ‘please.”

I think we follow Blanchard’s mantra with children, but we aren’t always good at it with ourselves or with employees.  Wouldn’t we be better off it we gave ourselves credit for walking 8,000 steps today instead of lamenting that we didn’t reach the magical 10K?  Could we do more to applaud the employee who had the courage to draft a proposal, instead of first critiquing the changes that need to be made?  Should we applaud the dozen phone calls that were made instead of asking about the one that wasn’t?

Be on the look out today for “approximately right” behaviors and give praise to those who are making progress.

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

Ken Blanchard, Keynote Address, ACU-I Conference, 1985

#1000 1K

One thousand.  It seems to be a tipping point of a number.  A thousand points of light.  Coach 1K (instead of Coach K) after Mike Krzyzewski earned his thousandth win.  A Thousand Miles song and A Thousand Acres Pulitzer winner.  And now a thousand blogs.  

One of the best things I did in writing blogs is to number them from the beginning.  If I hadn’t, I would never have guessed I had written this many.  One a day doesn’t seem like much, but they now amass more than a quarter of a million words.  Knowing where I stand allows me to look back on the One Thousand mark and feel a sense of accomplishment.

I am reminded of a speech given by author Ken Blanchard*: “One reason you want to record is so you can see your progress,” he said.  He spoke of Shamu, the famous whale, and how they trained him to jump over the rope.  They tracked his movements and praised him each time they raised the rope a little higher.

Just as it is important to take a moment to reflect on the accumulation of blogs or to celebrate when Shamu increases his leap, it is also worthwhile to acknowledge milestones in your organization.  

Think of what you can record with specificity so that you have a benchmark for when progress is achieved.  It likely would not occur to you to soak in satisfaction on a random day, but having some points to acknowledge can build reflection and celebration into your routine.    

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

Ken Blanchard, Keynote Address, ACU-I Conference, 1985

#999 ruckus maker

Yesterday was Ruckusmaker Day — one of the lesser known, but probably more important of the holidays.  Author Seth Godin wrote about commemorating those who make a ruckus:

…There’s a lot to admire about the common-sense advice, “If you don’t have anything worth saying, don’t say anything.”  On the other hand, one reason we often find ourselves with nothing much to say is that we’ve already decided that it’s safer and easier to say nothing.

If you’ve fallen into that trap, then committing to having a point of view and scheduling a time and place to say something is almost certainly going to improve your thinking, your attitude and your trajectory.

A daily blog is one way to achieve this. Not spouting an opinion or retweeting the click of the day. Instead, outlining what you believe and explaining why.

Commit to articulating your point of view on one relevant issue, one news story, one personnel issue. Every day. Online or off, doesn’t matter. Share your taste and your perspective with someone who needs to hear it.  Speak up. Not just tomorrow, but every day.  A worthwhile habit.

I found it an ironic commentary as I write blog #999.  For over 32 months, day in and day out, I have posted an entry.  And I note that in those 999 days, I have received 11 official comments on line.  Eleven.  Someone recently asked me if I had the comment feature turned off (I do not.)

I receive many emails from people who know me and verbal comments that indicate someone is reading what I write, but everyone seems to be reluctant to put their responses out there for others to see. 

If you don’t want to commit to Seth’s challenge to write daily, make the effort to acknowledge those who do.  Let those whose works you are reading know that the ruckus they are creating is relevant to you. And share your comments for others to read too so that the ruckusmakers know they are not alone.

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

#998 accelerated

Some friends recently took their daughters to the daddy/daughter dance sponsored by the YWCA.  Their daughters were ages 4-11.

When I was growing up, one of the cherished rituals of high school was going to your first Father/Daughter Dance.  It was a special occasion when you could get dressed up and go out on ostensibly your first “date.”  It was thrilling.

Now, girls are going out and even getting flowers at age four.  They are having graduation ceremonies from kindergarten, complete with cap and gown.  It’s not enough that they have cell phones and money and a crazy amount of independence, but now the rituals of teenagers are happening a full decade earlier.

I worry about the expectations that we are setting for our children.  Will college graduation mean anything if it is the umpteenth time they have marched to Pomp and Circumstance?  Will there be any events to commemorate coming of age?

It reminds me of the study where children needed to practice delayed gratification to receive two marshmallows later instead of one instantaneously.  Those who were able to wait were more successful in life.

How can we expect children to delay gratification when we are often unable (or unwilling) to do so as adults?  We are living in a world where there is no more waiting…

…but some things are worth a wait.  Try to figure out what they are so you can keep a few things sacred and special in your organization.  

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com

@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#997 viable

The conference I recently attended was held in Minneapolis.  At first, I’ll admit it seemed crazy to hold a convention in a Northern city in February, but by the end of my stay I was welcoming a dose of crisp winter air.

This was because downtown Minneapolis is connected by a series of skyways that allow you to stay inside virtually your entire trip if you wished.  You can walk from hotel to convention center to restaurants to Target to the mall — really anywhere — without ever facing the elements.  I felt like a gerbil in a Habitrail making my way from place to place.

But when you step back and look at it, the skyway system is amazing.  Think of the coordination that it took to first build, and now maintain, this elaborate system.  The skyways are all carpeted and refreshed.  They are only about a story off of ground level, so the truck paths around them needed to be coordinated so traffic could flow underneath.  

Truly, the skyway system is a testament to a shared vision and mission as businesses and the city worked together to be interconnected — literally.  It not only accommodates locals who work and shop downtown, but it has made Minneapolis a viable year-round convention destination.

Keep the skyway system in mind the next time you are challenged in collaborating on a project with others.  If the people of Minneapolis can pull this off, surely you can work out the details of your plans.

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


Thanks to Michael for the observation


#996 a balance

At a recent board meeting, we had an interesting discussion about the dichotomy between long range planning and short term innovation.  

The association contracts for conference space several years in advance, a practice that allows them to receive the best rate for all involved.  

The rub comes in when it is time for the event itself and an enthusiastic new program committee wants to implement innovations that were not considered in the original negotiations.  Often the spaces to do “more” or “new” are not part of the original agreement, and thus are either not available or are cost prohibitive to add.

At work, we weigh the savings of long term service contracts or software leases with the cost of being saddled with them after requirements have changed or when better products emerge.  Homeowners consider the full cost of ownership vs the mobility and liquidity afforded by renting.  

Foregoing flexibility and the ability to make changes are real costs that should be weighed against any monetary gains from a long term commitment.  Leaders need to consider both the benefits and costs of extended obligations and find a comfortable balance between the trade offs.  A good deal is about dollars and sense, not just cents.

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