#1033 simple

I recently had two occasions where I became frustrated because something didn’t work. 

My Fitbit battery was low so I replaced it, only to have the entire device go black.  I thought I had a bad battery, so I made another trip to Target and purchased a new one.  The same thing happened — zip on my Zip.  I had my mechanically-inclined friend try to fix it.  Nothing.  

So I emailed Fitbit customer support.  Two days later I received instructions on how to make sure the “silver battery tab is flush with the outline in the tracker housing.”  I moved the piece of metal that is about the size of an earring post a distance about the width of an eyelash.  It worked beautifully.  

Then I wasted another 15 minutes of my life trying to get my phone to sync with the wireless speaker.  I tried every button and gizmo to get music to play, but silence.  Until I realized that the volume on my phone was on zero.  Oops.  One swipe of the finger and The Boss was in my office.

Sometimes it is the simple things that trip us up.  We tend to look for complicated solutions to problems or overlook the obvious.  The next time you are faced with a problem, be it mechanical or cultural, take a moment to try the easy solution first.  It may just do the trick!

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

#1032 misperception

At the closing of my house in West Virginia, the young mother who was buying it seemed very anxious.  I tried to reassure her and reiterated that the house had great charm.  “Oh, it’s not the house,” she said.  “Your dogs were home when we viewed it and my young son thinks that they will still be there,” she said.  “He can’t wait to move in and play with the puppies!”


While we may think we are more rational than a small lad, we often make assumptions in the same way.  We transfer traits from one product to another or assume that characteristics associated with a purchase will continue:  buying a certain brand of clothing will make us seem fashionable.  A cowboy hat will instill us with Southern magnetism.  A certain car will help us be perceived as young and cool.  A select address will infer success.

The puppies don’t always come with the house.  Keep that in mind as you evaluate what you are really buying.

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

#1031 H2O

To the eye, water is water is water; it all looks the same.  But if you add a story to it, the liquid becomes far more valuable.

My sister sent me a postcard from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine Florida.  The Spanish explorer Ponce deLeon was searching for the mythical waters in 1513 when he landed in Florida.  Today it serves as a tourist attraction and Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where visitors can drink the water from the Spring of Eternal Hope.  I don’t believe in the de-aging powers of the water, but in case you do, you can buy some online at fountainofyouthgiftshop.com (for far more than a bottle of Aquafina!)

I also just saw an entrepreneurial use of water in a lokai bracelet.  These look like plastic bracelets children would wear, but they cost $17.99 because they contain water from Mount Everest (the highest spot on Earth) and mud from the Dead Sea (the lowest point on the planet).  If you believe the source, you may pay the premium price to “find your balance, whether you’re on top of the world or down on your luck.”

Water from many other sources is sold for far more than the nourishment that comes out of your tap.  Think about the narrative that you can add to the service you provide that will allow you to add value to what you deliver.

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







#1030 expert

We had a professional photographer on campus this week to take some pictures for our admissions publications.  One of our staff said that they would like to consult with him about what camera to buy.

“I get asked that kind of question all the time, especially around Christmastime,” he said.  “But I tell people that unless you want a camera that costs over $3,000, I don’t know anything more about them than you do.  You can use your iPhone!”

At first it seemed odd that a professional wouldn’t know anything about something in his field, until you realize that “his field” has nothing to do with amateur picture taking and YouTube quality videos.  He operates out of an entirely different realm, and is an expert in that sphere, but our world of photography and his don’t intersect, let alone overlap.

Think about how you define your circle of knowledge.  Have you defined an expertise in a very narrow band or are you a generalist in a broad category?  Do you specialize in an area that some may find limiting, but in which you are able to be at the top of your field?  Would you rather be sought after by a few in a niche or by many in a mass market?

Different lenses yield different shots.  Knowing more about a very little may be the angle that captures it for you.

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


Quote from Dan McClanahan


#1029 shades

I wear transition lenses that change from clear to dark depending on the light.  I still don’t understand why, but I can’t tell at all that the lenses are changing.  I walk in from the daylight only to be startled by my reflection and seeing that I am essentially wearing sunglasses when I did not even notice them turning darker.  Nor do I notice them fading back to clear; they truly are seamless in their transition.

I think about this as a metaphor for other changes that occur.  Those who are experiencing the change may not even notice that differences are occurring.  You are gaining weight.  The sick person is becoming weaker.  Your automatic savings is growing.  The paint on your walls is fading.  The car is deteriorating.  The tree has grown taller than your house.

These changes are all noticeable to those who only see them occasionally. They may, in fact, be startling to others who haven’t see the differences evolve.

Is your change happening all at once — like putting on sunglasses — or is it more akin to transition lenses where the change process is less pronounced?  Each type requires a different method of preparing for it, recording it and managing the process.  Think about what type of sunglasses will make your future look brightest.

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

#1028 the same

Continuing yesterday’s theme of what our infrastructure has in common, it reminded me of an icebreaker a student did in the teams class I am teaching.

She timed groups of students for five minutes and asked them to make a list of all they had in common.  They came up with some very creative things, but failed to list most of the obvious traits:  they were all human, all had 2 hands, 2 eyes, 2 feet; all were able to see, everyone could speak English, all had hair, all were wearing clothes, all were from the U.S., etc.  If they just listed in-common body parts it would have easily taken the allotted time.

Most groups also focused on tangible things, and neglected to list the intangibles that they had in common: they were happy, tired, sad, friendly, honest, loyal, kind, etc.  This, too, could have generated another long list.

This exercise is a good introduction to a group who is prone to overlooking the obvious or who needs to see things from a different perspective.  Sometimes things seem harder than they really are because we fail to see what is right in front of us.  Things that are pervasive tend to fade into the background and become invisible.

Whether it is the lowly 2×4 or the fact your fellow travelers are all wearing shoes, focus today on things that you otherwise would not see and challenge yourself to make new connections out of the commonalities.

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

#1027 in common

As I have written in previous blogs, the options to personalize and customize abound.  Almost everything today comes with options, choices and ways to make it your own…


…unless you look closely.

Our infrastructure is remarkably standardized.  Houses are built on a 2×4 platform with uniform sized drywall sheets and rolls of insulation.  Electricity in the U.S. comes out of same-size outlets through AC 110 circuits.  Residential plumbing has standardized pipe sizes.  Cabinets come in uniform size increments so they can be mixed and matched.

Computers run on very similar operating systems to allow sharing of information.  There are a limited number of gasoline choices for our vehicles, which fit into standard size garages and parking spots.  Coins are the same across the country so they work in vending machines and meters.  Telephones can call other telephones and radio plays on all radios thanks to airwave standards.  

Our Christmas lights and hair dryers will work in any home in America and my butcher will give us the same pound of meat as yours will.  Calendars, clocks and cups all measure the same increments.  

Instead of focusing on all that is different or celebrating the choices we have, take a moment and pay attention to what is the same.  How is your workplace the same as another across the country?  What does your school teach that others do as well?  How is your organization like several others?  

Just like the basic 2×4, a common platform can be the basis for building greatness.

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