#1063 batty

We have a staff member who is deathly afraid of bats, and we give him a lot of ribbing about it. 

But apparently bats are no laughing matter.

My sister is undergoing a series of shots in preparation for a trip, and received rabies shots as part of the visa requirements.  They may serve her well in the States too, as it is now recommended that if you see a bat in your house, you head in for rabies shots.  

Bats bite so lightly that you may not know you have been bitten, and if the bat is carrying rabies or the bat disease lyssavirus, the result without treatment is fatal. The bite or scratch may be so insignificant that you failed to notice it, but once the symptoms appear, death is eminent.  Especially if a bat is seen after you have been sleeping, it is time to run to the doctor, instead of just running away from the bat.

Rarely are there protocols that are so one sided: mortality from rabies without treatment = 99%; treatment with little or no delay = 100% effective.  

Bats can be a lesson that even the little things — or something that is almost invisible — can have a large and significant impact.  Are there metaphorical bats “biting” people in your organization — creating fissures in the culture or harming the fiscal health in ways that are so insignificant that they aren’t noticed?  

Think of your equivalent of “rabies shots” that you can administer today instead of waiting for the untreatable symptoms to appear.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com

@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Source: en.m.wikipedia.org: “Rabies”

#1062 pecking

In the center of our campus is an atrium, with a 70 foot high vaulted glass ceiling.  Occasionally, a bird enters the enclosure and frantically flies from one end to the other trying to get back out.

Last week, one such bird was perched on a pipe by the window, pecking away in a vain attempt to escape. It obviously couldn’t comprehend “glass” or “windows” and did not have the intelligence to go back out the way it came in. I know a bird doesn’t have the capacity for reasoning, but I kept thinking of how frustrating it would be to see your freedom and have no knowledge on how to reach it.  

Contrast that with humans, who do have the capacity to see alternatives. Yet, many times humans know that what they are doing is not working, but still keep pecking at the window anyway.

If you find yourself on one side of the glass when you’d rather be on the other, take advantage of having a brain bigger than the bird’s and use it to develop options to change your fate.  Take advantage of your rank in the pecking order and stop pecking away.

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



#1061 equality

Yesterday’s blog about equality reminded me of a lesson from diversity speaker Bill Grace. He was describing the impact of no lines at the men’s restroom during a break in his presentation, whereas there was a long line at the women’s facility.

Both restrooms had the exact same facilities; the line was because it takes women longer.  That was equal treatment under the law.  Some architects and builders are providing facilities for women that are a third larger than those for men — that’s equitable access,” he said.

Think about how you address the needs and fair treatment of your customers and staff.  Are you providing equal treatment or equitable access?  Do you require everyone to follow the same rules, or do you make accommodations when flexibility is required?  Have you made adjustments that reflect the reality of the situation?

Think about the restroom story the next time you are making decisions.

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


Source:  Iowa Association of College Admission Counselors newsletter by Ann Johnson, April 2011

#1060 inequality

When you think of gender equality, you may consider fair wages, discrimination-free work places or female access to the same positions and perks than men enjoy.  One area you may not consider is money itself.

Women on 20s is a national organization seeking to compel a change in whose face is on U.S. currency.  Instead of Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill, W2O is conducting a national campaign to raise awareness that all of America’s bills feature men.  This organization hopes to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (which guaranteed women the right to vote) with a change in who is featured on our paper currency.

So far, the organization has conducted a national campaign and narrowed the list to four finalists:  Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller.  You can vote for your choice every day until midnight on May 10th at: www.womenon20s.org/vote2

“Women have always been an equal part of the past.  They just haven’t been part of history,” says Gloria Steinem.

Whether you vote for the change in currency or not, think about how you have (or have not) honored segments of your history.  You hold bills every day and may not have considered the message they send about equality.  What in your organization is blending into the background without consideration to the overall message it makes?  And, most importantly, what will you do to change that?

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



#1059 for some

Just as I noted yesterday about MSN recognizing a niche component of the audience, PetSmart has done the same with those who consider their pets as part of the family.


A vinyl graphic greets visitors as they enter: 
Welcome to a furrier version of parenthood.


The headline of their ad in People reads:  “Pethood.  It’s just like parenthood.  Except with occasional fleas, harder bath times and no eye rolling in the teenage years.”

Not everyone considers their pets to be one of their children.  Many have pets that don’t have fur, and PetSmart devotes half of their store to serve those needs.  But they have decided to be bolder with their messaging and go deep with one segment of the population.

I think the parenthood theme will have great appeal for some people, and likely it won’t resonate with others.  Good for PetSmart.

How can you rethink your messaging to speak specifically to a defined segment of your audience?  If what you are saying will be liked by everyone, perhaps you should rethink it and try again.

A furry parenthood isn’t for everyone, but for those who have four-legged hairy children, you know where you can find others like you.

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


#1058 inquiring

It is about 3500 miles from New York to London, but the fascination with the English royals seems to have transcended that space.

On the MSN News app, here are the main headers across the page:  Top Stories, Royal Baby, US, World.  Yes, the Royal Baby, who wasn’t even born as of this writing, has its own main category on the news feed.  What will it be like when there actually is a birth?

I admit to being interested in the royals in a casual way; no where near the “superfans” who have already been camping out for days in anticipation. But there are those out there, and MSN is trying to capitalize on that passion.

It is expected for MSN to regularly supply a news feed of credible news, but what harm does it do to throw in a little frivolity every now and then if that is what people have interest in?  

Think about what your audience really wants from you.  Do you have the equivalent of a Royal Baby topic that could boost interest in your organization?  Can you share information of something from “behind the scenes” that may be off the beaten path but would interest your clients?  Is there a way to provide your “superfans” helpful information before it becomes public?

Inquiring minds do want to know.  How can you capitalize on that?

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





#1057 grateful

I recently attended a retreat about gratitude and it reminded me of a project John Kralik undertook several years ago.

He was down in the dumps; “anything but thankful” is how he termed it.  But instead of wallowing in his misfortunes, he decided to be grateful for what he had and pledged to write a thank you note a day for all of 2008.  By 2010 he published a book of his notes and continued writing for several years after that.

Kralik offers three simple steps of how to craft a note that effectively expresses your gratitude:
1.  Make your note handwritten.
2.  Be specific about what you are grateful for.
3.  Keep it short — three or four sentences.

I have been the lucky recipient of many expressions of gratitude over the years.  I have saved them all, in a special file that I drag out and look at on occasion. It is hard to be sad after just a few minutes of reading.

You don’t have to be as ambitious as Kralik to make someone’s day today.  Spend the few minutes that it takes to thank someone.  You can be like Kralik and thank the Starbucks barista who remembers his name or the surgeon who relieved him of pain.  Or you can stay closer to home and express your gratitude to someone who has helped you recently or just made you smile.  

Either way, “thank you” are two beautiful words to give as well as to receive.

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


Source:  Up your gratitude by John Kralik in Parade magazine, January 1, 2012, p. 12

Also see: A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik or www.365thankyounotes.com