#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

#1419 reveal

During the afternoon, I accompanied an artist-in-residence to an elementary school where he did magic tricks and juggled for the students. They were enthralled by his act, and wanted to know how he accomplished his feats. “I read,” he said. “I taught myself how to do magic and juggling and you can teach yourself, too.” That was the extent of his revelations.


But at a reception for the sponsors later that evening, he shared a few insights to his magical slight of hand. He also admitted that he had done some of the tricks early in his career that had failed — some miserably — yet he continued doing them. He was supposed to make scarves “disappear” into a fake thumb, yet they didn’t all make it inside. Another time, the “thumb” fell off. Still another misstep occurred when he had a chemical that turned water into gel so it didn’t run out of the cup. He tried the trick with cola instead and ended up pouring pop all over his volunteer’s head! 

The bottom line is that magic isn’t always magical. Just like things in real life that look like they are easy: it isn’t always the case. Instead of wishing for your magic trick to transport you to a better place, do like Bob Kann does and practice, practice, practice your reality until it appears to be too good to be true.

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

#1418 convenience

As I returned some DVDs to the library, I had to park, get out of the car and walk several feet to get to the building to return them in a drop slot. There is no drive-up receptacle for returning items, and when I asked about it, I was told that the employees did not want one as they would have to go outside in inclement weather to retrieve the items. 

It is inconvenient for me to walk to the building; it is actually difficult for a handicapped person to make that journey or more of a hassle for a parent who doesn’t want to leave their child in an unattended vehicle even for a few moments. 

This is a case where non-profits could take a lesson from businesses and try to make things more convenient for the consumer instead of the employee. There are other examples where the desires of the organization have trumped the service mentality:

> Many colleges have the closest parking reserved parking for faculty and staff, making the student (aka customer) walk the furthest to the buildings. Imagine if the employees at a store took all the prime spaces instead of parking further away. 

> Many government or service offices are closed outside of M-F 8-5 hours. Think if businesses operated that way. I am sure those in banking or retail wish that they weren’t open on Saturdays, but for the customer’s convenience they are. 

I believe strongly that happy employees are more likely to create happy customers, but like everything, you must strive to strike a balance. Shifting too much in one direction will leave you with happy staff members with no one to serve!

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

#1417 history

Over the weekend, I went on an architectural walking tour of our downtown. There are many historic buildings there, and I anticipated hearing stories about the structures that were built in the early 1900s. I did.

What I did not anticipate was hearing about buildings that were built in the 1960s. Interspersed between beautiful art deco and Gothic frontages were buildings that were devoid of any embellishment and looked rather plain. Our guide talked about how a new movement aims to determine what to preserve from the 50s and 60s as prime examples of modern architecture, and to figure out how to to do it.  

“I don’t agree with the look and some of it is horrifying,” he said. “But you have to put yourself in their mind as a 1950s retailer and appreciate it for what it represents.” He talked about ways to “respect the past without replicating it,” and how to acknowledge that modern architecture is part of our history.

The tour gave me a new lens with which to view our city. Not only do I understand more about the grand structures that remain, but I also have new eyes with which to see the more modern buildings that surround them. 

What is in your organization that you should be preserving, even if it is “horrifying” to you? Designs, packaging, programs and practices may seem antithetical to what you have become, but they have helped make your organization what it is today. Take a tour of your own “downtown” and earmark what is to be preserved, rather than purged. Your future will thank you.

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

What has been preserved
What needs to be!




#1416 thick

I recently met someone for breakfast at Hardee’s and while I was at the counter I was looking at their regular menu. They had a big banner touting their new bacon cheddar fries. They serve “Thickburgers” and 2/3# patties. The menu lists curly fries and onion rings. I thought to myself that I had never realized it, but Hardee’s had staked their niche on the non-healthy segment: they were going for the market that was not calorie-conscious. It seemed to be a clear brand choice and I was inwardly applauding them for going this route with gusto.

So imagine my surprise when I looked at my tray liner and it had a dietCoke pictured and a bun-less burger, made large by a pile of condiments. It said: “Explore the other side of Hardee’s — seedraH.com.” Turns out that seedraH is Hardee’s spelled backwards, and it welcomed me to “the other side of Hardee’s: a little healthier, just as tasty.”  

I was sad to see that the chain was not staking its claim on big burgers, rather it was now promoting low carb burgers, any burger wrapped in lettuce, swapping fries for salad, and suggesting no mayo or cheese. It doesn’t give the calorie count for the low carb Thickburger (which seems like an oxymoron) but presumably it is less than the 1340 calorie Monster Thickburger they offer.

Why does everyone think that they need to be all things to all people? I was excited when I saw a clear brand position, and they took away that clarity when they extracted the carbs. Take a look at your organization’s “menu.” If you can’t get a clear picture of who your audience is, maybe you need to get it through your thick head that you are diluting everything by your lack of focus.

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