#1179 color

While I was out shopping over the weekend, I came upon a display of coloring books — for adults.  I thought it was a gimmick at the craft store, but then I found them at two other places.  Apparently this is the new “hot item.”

I can see where these would catch on.  There has always been something simultaneously relaxing and rewarding about coloring — you can see the progress as you fill in each space.  It allows for creative expression — especially the adult versions that have no standards or expectations of what it “should” look like.

I am not sure what adults would use as their medium — certainly the spaces are far too small for crayons.  They just call out for Sharpies, but I was surprised that the pages are printed back to back and would make bleed through an issue.  Maybe colored pencils will make a comeback too?

I was mostly disappointed to see that the pages are tightly bound, and there are no perforations.  Are adults beyond tearing theirs out and posting them on the refrigerator to enjoy both the artwork and the compliments that follow?  I don’t think so!  

The next time you need to de-stress or slow down the hectic pace of life, consider picking up a coloring book.  In this high tech world, a little low tech relaxation may be just what is needed to help you color your world happy.

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



#1178 erase

For most of my life, the only color duct tape came in was gray.  Even though the product has created a whole cottage industry of products and uses, all the innovations were still in one steely color.


A few years ago, duct tape options exploded and it is now available in every pattern you can imagine.  Hello Kitty, rainbow, camouflage, Superman, butterflies, neon, zebra…the list goes on and on.

But this season, duct tape has gone a step further and created tape that functions as either a chalkboard or as a whiteboard.  I imagine there are good uses for this product, both for functional labeling and for purely decor.  

But is it really necessary?  Couldn’t you just pull off the piece of tape and replace it with a new one instead of erasing it?  And how many times do you really re-label a container?  Especially a container that was labeled in chalk or dry erase marker that would easily wipe off.

Some days, I think manufacturers invent new products just to have something new rather than to fulfill a real need.  This is one of those times.  Before you bring your next idea to fruition, ask yourself if it really adds value — or whether it just adds.

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




#1177 chalk it up

The local Red Robin recently remodeled its interior.  I was surprised to see that instead of adding more televisions and high tech devices, they actually went more old school.  The prevalent decor: chalk.

Inside the lobby is a floor to ceiling chalkboard where guests can doodle while they wait.  The heading:  “Starving Artist?  Draw, erase, repeat”  Nice pun on the “starving” part!

Instead of placemats or coloring sheets for the kids, they receive individual chalkboards where they can draw their favorite ingredients onto the hamburger. 

Both features were far more fun than the standard decor and tied in nicely to their brand.

You don’t need to be fancy to make an impression and to tell your story.  The next time you are changing up your environment, think beyond the technology and gadgets.  Chalk it up to nostalgia, but maybe Red Robin is drawing on the right emotions for success.

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



#1176 invincible

Yesterday was new student move-in day on our campus.  It is one of my favorite days of the year, not only because students and the energy they bring have returned, but because it is a day filled with so much promise and hope. 

I was reminded of the current Kelly Clarkson hit “Invincible”.  For the longest time, I thought she was singing invisible.  And it occurred to me yesterday that most of the new students fall into one category or the other.  Some feel that they are kings or queens in a new land and the world is theirs to conquer.  At the moment, there are no worries about grades or money or success; they are invincible.  Others are scared to death, afraid that they won’t make friends or ever fit in; they feel invisible.

There are only a few distinct letters in the two words, but a chasm of difference.

I think the choice for new students at the moment is a paraphrase to the famous Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you’re invincible or invisible, you’re right.”

Which will you be today?
 

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

#1175 peaches

As I have recently been training a new staff member, I have been trying to strike a balance between the pragmatic and the contextual topics that we cover.  It is important for her to know the nuts and bolts of the job, but equally as important for her to understand the “why” behind the way we currently do things and the larger purpose of our work.

For a new employee, it is a hard balance to achieve.  There is so much to be learned seemingly simultaneously and the work still needs to be done while learning.  I think the same is true after the initial learning curve, and many people let the developmental side slip away in favor of the urgent.

I am reminded of the Peach Tree Analogy created by Dee Groberg.  If you think of the “peaches” as the results you want to achieve or the projects you need to do, and pay attention only to them, your tree will eventually die.

You must also pay attention to the trunk which is the “means”.  The trunk is tangible intervention that you can see:  training, meetings, infrastructure, etc.  You need to tend to the trunk, yet you can’t have sustained success with the trunk alone.

Groberg advocates paying attention to the roots as well, likening them to the source of alignment.  The “roots” are philosophy, vision, values, character, culture that need to align in order for the trunk to thrive and for the peaches to be plentiful.  His analogy maintains that water is trust and that it must have a continuous flow throughout the whole tree for the fruit to blossom.

It’s a simple analogy, but a good barometer for staff to follow.  Everyone must pay attention to all the parts of the tree in order to be truly successful.  You need to spend the time getting to know colleagues and mission as much as you need to dedicate time to improving the process.  You need to avoid the drought that comes with a lack of trust and damages everything.  

Tending to the whole tree, instead of focusing only on the fruit, will make life more peachy in the long run. 

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

 

#1174 identity

A former supervisor of mine served on a panel regarding presidential transitions.  The portion that he covered: transitioning out.  

“Do not have your identity inextricably linked to your position or to the institution,” he wisely said.  “It is really important to have an identity separate to that.”

Keith Lovin was in the presidential role when he made his comments, but I think they apply to everyone.  If you are only what your job is, it makes it harder to have a balanced life.  It also makes it more difficult to have a rational view of how you are doing and to know when it is time to leave if so much of you is wrapped up in your job.

No matter what your position, I think it is good advice to cultivate a rich life outside of it.  Have hobbies or volunteer roles that expose you to a different set of people and pleasures beyond your work life.  Remember that you are wonderful even when your job isn’t going so well, and that you are fallible even when the work is clicking along smoothly.

Your position can be a major portion of how you see yourself and how you spend your time.  Just don’t let it be the only view you have when you look in the mirror.

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

#1173 spouse

I live near U.S. Grant’s home and finally made a point to visit the landmark.  I did not learn that much new about the General, but I did learn about his wife.

Julia Grant was the first presidential spouse to be called the First Lady.  She played an active role in Ulysses’ presidency: reading his mail, attending Senate hearings and meeting with presidential staff.  Julia was the first spouse to have her own press secretary (this was 1868!) and to send out releases for her own causes, including women’s suffrage. She also was the first to write her own memoir.

The statue of Julia Grant is one of only three former First Ladies memorialized in statues. Less than 5% of the statues in the country depict any woman (a fact Jed Bartlett learned the hard way in an episode of the West Wing.)

In 1868, women were incredibly strong, but it was not common to share that strength publicly.  Julia carved out a role for herself and helped shape her husband’s presidency and the path of the country.

What role can you create for yourself today?

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