leadership dot #1643: black

All of the informal conversation this week has been about the Thanksgiving holiday and what people did over the weekend. I usually have a mental health retreat instead of partaking in the Thanksgiving festivities, but not this year. In addition to traveling over the river and through the woods for a feast, I ventured out on Black Friday.

Black Friday is an exercise in prioritization. You need to have a plan and know specifically what you want. You need to determine what item/bargain is most important to you, and head to that department in that store first. You may have to forego other treasures to get your top item, but chances are you will succeed in obtaining your #1 pick.

Or you can prioritize sleep over bargain hunting, or sanity over crowds, and not participate at all.

I found most stores were offering “Black Friday sales” that resembled normal sales and were nothing to lose sleep over. But some shoppers were decked out in Christmas sweaters with antler headbands and had been part of the frenzy for hours. They prioritized the experience, regardless of the savings or lost time standing in lines.

Use Black Friday as a metaphor for your upcoming holiday experience. Prioritize what is most important to you and intentionally go after it — but let the rest go without regret.

beth triplett





leadership dot #1642: lean in

In her book Lean In, executive Sheryl Sandberg offers observations and advice on many topics, but her thoughts on feedback really resonated with me.

Sandberg writes: “Feedback is not truth. It is an observation grounded in impressions and observations. There is rarely one absolute truth. It is not the truth. It is my truth and your truth, but feedback allows us to know the impression we make on others.”

Sandberg suggests that people seek out feedback more than praise by asking:

> How can I do better?

> What I am doing that I don’t know?

> What could I be doing that I don’t see?

I think that often people take feedback as a declaration rather than an opinion, and often deliver feedback in that manner as well. Instead she suggests:

> Opinions should not be brutally honest, rather delicately honest

> When communicating hard feedback, less is more

> Communicate with appropriate authenticity

All of us are making impressions every day, and it is often in our best interest to learn how we are being perceived. Take Sheryl Sandberg’s thoughts to heart, and lean in to grow from what you hear.

beth triplett

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, 2013


leadership dot #1641: right way

I recently attended a party and a woman complimented me on the scarf I was wearing. “I really like scarves,” she said. “But I don’t know how to fold them to wear them the right way.”

Since when did there get to be a “right way” to wear a scarf? 

I wear a scarf most days during the winter, and there is no folding involved. I scrunch it up, wrap it around my neck and stuff the excess into my shirt. It never looks the same twice, but that is irrelevant.

I think people feel about many things the way the woman felt about scarves: they don’t try for fear of failing or doing something ‘wrong.’ 

When there is a “right way” or “wrong way” it implies that someone else is deciding what is acceptable and what is not. Don’t give away your power, even on the inconsequential things. As often as you can, put yourself out there and be the one to decide your own version of right.

beth triplett

leadership dot #1640: burn

It is a gift to be able to explain something complex in simple terms. 

Mayo Clinic is attempting to do just that through a series of Health Highlights. These full-page ads provide specific information (eg: To lose 1 lb. of fat per week, burn 500 calories per day more than you consume) in a visual and understandable way. The average person could look at this ad and determine ways that they could achieve calorie-burning.

I am sure the hardest part of developing these ads is determining what to leave out. 

Look at the latest informational material that your organization has produced. What could you cut? How could you make your message more clear? Is it obvious as to the key point you are trying to communicate?

Mayo’s ad says “time to burn.” While they meant calories, maybe it’s time for you to burn some copy in your next publication.

beth triplett

img_6752 img_6753

leadership dot #1639: proposal, 2.0

A man and his girlfriend were shopping at Sam’s Club and stopped by the jewelry counter. They looked through the case at engagement rings, and the clerk asked if they would like to see one. “Yes,” the man replied.

Soon he had the ring in his hand, was down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend – right there in Sam’s Club! (She said yes.)

It reminded me of the dot I wrote on Monday about proposals not needing to be lofty. Marriage proposals don’t need to be fancy either. 

Yes, people spend hundreds of dollars and an inordinate amount of hours creating the right atmosphere and perfect moment to pop the question. Or they do it in Sam’s. Either way, there is still an engagement.

Focus your time on the marriage, not the wedding. Spend your time on the work, not the proposal. Fancy is highly overrated.

beth triplett

leadership dot #1638: make

Today, instead of joining the crowds on Black Friday or spending more time in front of the television, why not opt to make something instead? A growing number of communities are making that possible by providing a Makerspace, a place that allows people access to equipment and resources to make something tangible.

“To describe them simply, makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone.”

Makerspaces have often been appearing in libraries; quite the contrast from the traditional quiet racks of books. The new Makerspace in our library has a 3D printer that can print plastic, metal and wood filament objects, a Go-Pro camera, an Ozobot and Makey Makey for coding, button machine, die-cutter, sewing machine, and many other tools and technology. We saw a demonstration and it was like being in a candy store: you just wanted to touch things. 

The library’s hope is that people will come together to work on projects and share ideas, now through technology instead of just through print. “The emphasis [of the library] remains on lifelong learning and literacy, but as with the variety of information formats, literacy has expanded to include technology literacy,” states their brochure.

Look around your community and see if there is a makerspace available for you to gain hands-on experience with a new set of tactile tools. You never know what you’ll be able to create.

beth triplett

leadership dot #1637: contributions

I recently attended a meeting and found a piece of paper that someone had left behind. The sheet read:

10 Things that Require Zero Talent

1. Being on time

2. Work ethic

3. Effort

4. Body language

5. Energy

6. Attitude

7. Passion

8. Being coachable

9. Doing extra

10. Being prepared

Today, as you gather with family and friends, you may have moments when it would be good to pull out this list and make some contributions to the Thanksgiving feast. It takes more than good cooking to make warm holiday memories.

beth triplett