#1216 for the taking

While I was out walking, I came upon a house that had about eight items set outside on the lawn with a rudimentary sign that read “free.”  One of the items was an old wash bin that I thought would make a great planter.  As soon as I walked home, I hopped in my car to retrieve it.  Gone.

So were the pair of crutches, a couple of old pails, a trellis and flower pots.  In the span of maybe 15 minutes.

I wonder if there would have been such interest on the part of myself or the others had there been a price tag on the items.  Would I have raced back to pay $2 or $5?  Not nearly as likely as wanting it for nothing.

Free is a magic word.  It makes people interested in things that they may not be interested in for any other reason.  How can you sprinkle some of that fairy dust on the products or information in which you hope to spark interest?  

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

#1215 the nose knows

The other day I was picking up a “deposit” that my dog made while out walking.  I said to the person I was with: “Of all the senses that could be enhanced, I would pick smell the last.”

She proceeded to tell me about someone she knows who has no sense of smell.  The woman has spent her lifetime working in maintenance doing jobs that can have offensive odors to some.  She has also served on many trips as a missionary, going to places that can be olfactory-challenging to tolerate.  In short, she has capitalized on her reality and turned something that could be considered a limitation into an advantage.

Can you smell a lesson in all of this?  Try to sniff out another perspective on something to turn a downside into an upside instead of turning your nose on the problem.  

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

#1214 deliver

Our regional grocery store has just launched on-line shopping, and done so in a big way.  Each of the stores has hired several full-time people to pluck things from the aisles to fulfill electronic orders.  Customers can schedule pick-up times or delivery.  Elsewhere, Twitter ads are looking for “an amazing team” to shop for or deliver groceries for instacart.com in Minneapolis. Suddenly, it seems so “yesterday” to actually stroll through the grocery aisles and load up your own basket.

Has on-line grocery shopping finally reached a tipping point where it is common instead of a novelty?  If I listen to several of my colleagues, I would believe that it is.  They are walking commercials for the service, touting its convenience, savings from avoiding impulse/junk food buying, and ability to stay in the car with the kids.  And all this is before the weather even turns nasty!

I am delighted that many of my neighbors will be shopping from home.  It means less traffic in the store for me.  I want to be able to thump the watermelons myself.  I turn my nose up at lots of the produce, but load up on what looks good.  I want to be there to see if the pears are soft and the grapes are hard.  I want to look at the ham in the deli and pick up the bunch of flowers that is not yet fully blossomed.  I guess I am a visual shopper more so than an efficient one.

But how great is it that we have the option?  There will be a portion of the population that will love your organization if you can provide a more efficient service.  Another sub-set will want high touch.  Still others will favor the cheapest route, while a different group will place a premium on choice.  

The key is delivering good service: whether you deliver it in person, to your customer’s car or to their home.

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




#1213 forward

As you are watching football today, think about this perspective about the game.

Jordin Sparks’ dad gave her this advice when she was preparing for her American Idol audition:  “It’s like football.  There’s always somebody coming up behind you that’s bigger, faster and stronger.  You just need to focus on what you’re doing and not worry about them.”

When you look over your shoulder, what are you fearing?  Are you evaluating yourself against others rather than making the most of what you have?  Do you worry more about what others are doing than the magic you could be making?

Take the advice from Jordin’s dad and look at the goal line instead of behind you.  The only way to score is to move forward.

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


As quoted in an interview with Jordin Sparks by A.J. Jacobs in People magazine, September 14, 2015, p. 32


#1212 vote

Our town recently had a school board election that initially ended in a tie.  Literally 1,589 votes each.  Eventually, corrected counts from one precinct and the absentee ballots brought the total to a margin of 65, but that was a day later.  They left Election Night in a dead heat.


At least they received votes.  Elsewhere in Iowa, a candidate who was running unopposed for a school board seat did not receive any votes, not even his own.  He farms and works another job and was “too busy” to vote that day!

Votes are like dots — one doesn’t usually seem to make any difference, but almost always they do.  Never have the illusion that you are only one person and your vote doesn’t matter.  In two cases this month alone, you could have determined the winner.

Always cast your ballot, metaphorically or literally, and use the voice you have been given.

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

#1211 overseeding

I just had my lawn aerated and overseeded in preparation for next year.  With two large dogs, my grass needed some help just to stay even!


The instructions that came with the overseeding were simple: keep it watered and let the grass grow!  I cancelled my lawn service for the rest of the season and hope that Mother Nature continues to cooperate with the hydration. 

I have only missed one regular mowing, but already I am antsy about it.  The existing grass is growing too, and I hate having a shaggy-looking lawn. I have to resist temptation to cut it now so as not to roll over and then cut down the fragile new seedlings.

I think my lawn is a metaphor for other activities that require patience.  We can’t see the planning that goes on behind the scenes in our organization, so we change course and don’t let the original plans take root.  Maybe we plant seeds, but don’t water them and wonder what went wrong. Or we don’t see instantaneous success from our efforts and declare the project to be a failure, or perhaps the grass doesn’t grow because you skimped on the seeds.

Twenty percent of the earth’s vegetation is grass, and there are some plants from 1000 years ago that are still living today.* Don’t mow over your organization’s plans or values too easily and they may grow to similar stature and longevity.

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

Source:  Turf Talk from Lawn Doctor, Fall 2015




#1210 marks

Today is National Punctuation Day, further proof that there is indeed a day commemorating e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  In addition to being a tribute to the grammar purists, today also brings attention to the evolving nature of punctuation.  As our methods of communication become less formal and more concise, the role of commas, periods and exclamations take on new roles as well.

Punctuation serves many purposes that were unheard of twenty years ago.  Parentheses and colons were the precursor to emoji icons: (-:  Of course the @ symbol has become ubiquitous in email addresses and Tweets rather than on store invoices.  The pound sign or number symbol has gained a new name as a hashtag to connote its prominence in social communication.  Excel gives special commands to the use of $ and the apostrophe.

I wonder what meaning punctuation will have in the future.  Will the % become the new identifier for the yet-to-be-invented app?  Will & signify a shortcut for communicating a whole new message?  Will the caret ^ perform a command and replace function keys?

Punctuation is one of those things that we take for granted, and ignore, until something goes awry.  If only for today, pay attention to those little symbols that are interspersed on your pages.  They are the road markers in the sentences of life, and you’d have a lot harder time navigating without them.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com

@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com