‘Tis the season where many businesses in town are offering gift card specials: “Spend $20 and get a gift card with $25 on it” or “Buy a $50 gift card and receive a free meal”, etc. If you had the money, you could load up on a year’s worth of meals and save yourself a bundle.

But it’s not only the individuals that are impacted by the gift card frenzy. The big companies are making a fortune off the money that people pre-pay them for the cards. In 2016, Starbucks had $1.2 billion loaded onto their cards – just think of the interest they gain off of that.

Reframe your view of gift cards this holiday season and come to think of them as giving the store a free loan of your money. They may incentivize you to do it but it’s not out of benevolent generosity; rather it’s a business decision where they are the ones getting the gift.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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