#1429 chain of commerce

When I was in Pella, I think the only store I recognized in the downtown area was a Hallmark store. It made me realize how much franchises have changed the course of commerce:

> The growth of franchises has helped facilitate long-distance relationships, be it family or friends. It’s easy to give a gift from your local mall, knowing the recipient can easily return it to their branch of the same store at their local mall. 

> Spanning geography also comes in handy for service, like buying a car in one city and repairing it at a dealer in another state. 

> There is a sense of comfort due to the familiarity. You can go to a new town and know what restaurant has food that you will like, you know how it is prepared, and you have a good idea of the price range before you enter. The adventure may be gone, but chances are higher that the place will meet your expectations because you know what you are getting before you go there.

> On the down side, places now look so much more homogeneous, even in Europe, because the same stores are everywhere. There are many fewer “local” establishments that give character to the place. It used to be I knew I was in Chicago because of Marshall Fields and New York with Macy’s, but now Macy’s has no allure because it is everywhere.

Franchises and the growth of chains are one more way that we are all interconnected, but don’t get complacent about the chains being “your” stores. Keep in mind they are part of a larger enterprise and a portion of the profits go elsewhere. This weekend as you’re out spending money, be intentional where you do so. Buying local doesn’t mean the local chain.

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




#1428 wind at your back

I was in Pella, Iowa last week, a town that has enthusiastically embraced its Dutch heritage.  In addition to the thousands (literally) of tulips in bloom, one of the main attractions was the windmill. This is a giant structure, 134 feet tall, and a functional one. The Vermeer Mill turns wheat into flour powered only by the wind.

The windmill in Pella is a replica of an 1850’s structure, but reminded me of the modern wind turbines that populate the countryside today. Wind energy is so prevalent in Iowa that a turbine is the predominant graphic on our driver’s licenses. Is this another case of everything old being new again?

Vinyl albums and turntables are making their way back as a method of choice for playing music. Brewing beer and growing gardens are now popular pastimes instead of done only by necessity. Fluorescent is showing a comeback in clothing, featuring styles and colors in neon shades just like in the 70s. 

We are quick to look ahead and often forge forward without looking at the past. Let using wind as power be a lesson to propel you forward with a nod to the inventions that came before you. Not everything new has to be totally new.

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


#1427 worn out

Yesterday I wrote about Money Smart Week and shared a picture of the bag of shredded currency I received. It got me thinking about shredding, and how elimination is part of the organizational life cycle.

The Federal Reserve Bank shreds about $23 million every business day, and that is just in Chicago. Dollar bills wear out in about 21 months, and the $5 bill wears out in about 16 months, so the Fed is continually shredding currency in addition to issuing new bills. 

In organizations, there is often a focus on what needs to be added, but Money Smart Week gives us an occasion to pause and consider what needs to be removed. What habits do you have that you should “shred?” What policies are in your organization that need to be reissued with a new look? Have you evaluated what you offer and thought of updating it, just as the Fed does with counterfeit-prevention measures?

Shredding isn’t just to get rid of confidential materials. It’s a declaration of permanence that we are done with this item and are moving on: no storing it only to revisit it at a later date; no ambivalence about whether it will be useful again “someday.” Take the bold step to be like the Feds and create a process that routinely evaluates and shreds what is worn out in your organization.

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


Source: Money Smart Week materials: Why Does the Fed Shred? and Did You Know?

#1426 shredded

I was at the library the other day and walked out not only with a book, but with a bag of money! They were giving away sacks with approximately $364 of genuine U.S. currency, so of course I had to get one.

Lest you think I am kidding you, here is a photo for proof:


The bag of shredded currency is a metaphor for the money people waste on unnecessary or frivolous spending. Like the money in the bag, it is real money that gets frittered away, little by little, with nothing to show for it. In fact, the bag of shredded bills is more exciting than some of the purchases I have made.

I think of the children’s book Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday*. He didn’t shred his money, but he made small, inconsequential purchases until his money was gone. “Good-bye fifteen cents,” he says, over and over. I am sure many can relate to his habits.

Think about your budgeting at home and at your organization and see if you can’t make some changes that improve your fiscal health. Money Smart Week (April 23-30), highlights ways people can be more aware of and better manage their personal finances. At the website, there are dozens of resources on financial literacy, credit, budgeting and more. 

It’s fun to get a bag of shredded cash at the library, but money without values looses its allure when applied to your real hard earned greenbacks. Use Money Smart Week to take steps so your budget isn’t unintentionally shredded going forward.

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

*Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst, 1978. (Yes, it’s the same Alexander who had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.)










#1425 gen Z

I recently participated in a webinar about Generation Z, those born between 1995-2010. It’s hard to believe that those students are in college when it seems like just yesterday they were born.


The presenters (Dr. Corey Seemlier and Meghan Grace) shared information about many trends impacting this generation. One that was of particular note to me was their interest in “creative entrepreneurship.” The speakers pointed out that for all their lives, side businesses have been a part of the landscape. From Uber, Alibaba, Etsy to Airbnb, people they know have been making money on the side or on their own. Turning a hobby or passion into a business no longer has high entry barriers or involves significant start-up funds. If you are offering a service, you can just start offering it.

Another influencer of this generation is budget cuts. They have know a tight economy for much of their lives, and seen the impact of budget reductions in schools, colleges and even in families. As a result, they are more financially conservative and more likely to save than previous cohorts. Combine this concern about money with the ability to make a little extra on the side, and you can only imagine where the generation is going.

The study of generations may not change the path people are on, but it helps to understand the motivating factors behind group behavior. If you haven’t read about this latest wave of young people, I encourage you to brush up on your ZZZs. As graduation approaches, more and more of them will be entering the workforce and it behooves us all to know how to create environments that will capitalize on their Zeal and Zest for social change.

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

#1424 homage

In a stroke of brilliance and I am sure in a flurry of activity, Corvette ran full page ads in several major newspapers on Friday, April 22.  As you recall, the legendary singer Prince died on April 21. So, in less than 24 hours, after an unexpected death, the car maker whose “little red Corvette” was immortalized in Prince’s song by that name, played homage to him in print. They conceptualized, designed and did media buys overnight. It was a stroke of genius.

If something tragic happened to someone important to your organization, are you prepared to take steps to acknowledge it? Does someone have the initiative and authority to take action? Have you thought ahead as to what action you might take?

Corvette set the bar high for an appropriate and timely response. The lyrics may say “baby, that was much too fast,” but as recognition goes, “baby, that was spot on perfect timing.”

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

#1423 unique

Normally I am a big fan of Coca-Cola’s advertising, but I don’t understand their new “Diet Coke, It’s Mine” campaign. 

Their advertising claims: “each bottle is unique.” But if you look at the bottles, unless the variation is some nearly-invisible minor tweak, they all look the same to me.

Even if the bottles were different, I am not sure what difference it would make in beverage sales. It could even be working against them as sales for Diet Coke declined in North America and Europe in the first quarter of the year.* 

I don’t do well with gimmicks, and this seems to fit the bill. If you want to make changes for a good purpose, go for it. If you want to alter your design to fit the season or commemorate an event, knock yourself out. But the point of “millions of unique looks” escapes me, especially when they all look the same.

Be cautious about using the word “unique.” Chances are the only thing unique about it is your belief that it is.
beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
leadershipdots@gmail.com

*Source: Coke’s namesake sodas see declines from the Associated Press in the TH, April 21, 2016, p. B5.

#1422 move ’em

Last weekend, I was at the Goodwill store as a purveyor of cheap stuffed animals for my dogs to shred. While there, I encountered a sale: $15 for 15 items of clothing.

It was a stroke of inspiration for a store like this to clear out the winter inventory and make room for the spring merchandise. One dollar per item was almost irresistibly cheap, and “forcing” customers to purchase a bundle achieved the goal of mass exodus much more than $1/garment would have done. 

I was there with a friend, and once we had four items between us for which we would have paid full price, the rest was “free.” We left with two winter dress coats, two sport coats, a pair of pants, three pair of shorts, three sweatshirts and four hats. For $15. And we were not the only ones in line with a full cart.

This is yet another example of how having an intentional goal can drive your strategy in different ways. If the aim was to “move ’em on out”, the 15 for $15 ploy was more effective than a cowboy rustling cattle.

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

#1421 an answer

I believe people often feel like they need to have “an answer” to give others when asked about certain things. As a result, people do things that provide an acceptable explanation, and buy themselves time without being held accountable. 

Examples of this include:
> Q: “What are you doing about X department?” A: “We are hiring a new person.” or “We’re going to reorganize.”

> Q: “When are you going to get married/have a baby/buy a house?” A: “We need to see what happens with the economy.”

> Q: “How are you resolving X problem?” A: “We formed a committee to address it.” or “We have a meeting about that next week.”

> Q: “When are you going to do that thing you always talk about?” A: “It’s on my bucket list.”

> Q: “Have you found a job yet?” A: “I sent out resumes and am waiting to hear.”

Even though the answer is just a place holder, people seduce themselves into believing that action is occurring. Forming a committee may eventually address the problem, but the problem still continues right now. Those resumes may ultimately lead to a job, but the actual answer is “no, I have not found a job yet.” The real truth is uncomfortable, so people become masterful at the non-answers that are conversationally acceptable responses.

It’s legitimate to evade the issues in chit chat as not everyone who asks deserves a comprehensive reply. But if you find yourself believing the answer you give, it’s time to stop the song and dance and own up to the hard reality.

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







#1420 high five

Want to do something that promotes cooperation, shows appreciation, makes others feel recognized — and is free? Then today is your day!

The third Thursday in April — today — is National High Five Day, a holiday you may not have on your calendar, but one that has been celebrated since 2002. The High Five is one element of physical touch, and studies have found touch promotes cooperation and collaboration among those who receive it.  

I never gave much thought to the gesture, but apparently others have. There is a TEDx Talk by Doron Maman that includes the correct way to do a high five (watch the elbows of the other person, not their hand or eyes.)  

There are several variations of the high five, including the Baby Five (using one finger), the Air Five (no actual contact) or the Fist Bump. (read about others)  They even sell special devices that allow you to blast confetti from your hand when you high five someone — whether that be at a wedding, sporting event or party.

You may not want to walk into your boss’ office today and give her a High Five, but there are likely people around you who would appreciate the acknowledgement of their actions. It is hard to be demure when mutually giving someone a high sign, so you can infuse your environment with a festive spirit by participating in National High Five Day today. Just keep an eye on those elbows!

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

High Five to Natalie Keller Pariano for the research