Instead of amassing buttons as a hobby, the next collection I may curate is that of vending machines. I continue to be amazed at the ingenuity and variety of what businesses disburse through the humble dispensary: baby products, school supplies, acne medication, beer, library books, electronics, live bait, and regional artworks, just to name a few.

The latest addition: dispensing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Boston Logan Airport. In case the familiar Hudson store is closed, the PPE machine has got you covered for your flight. Through it, you are able to buy reusable and disposable masks, infrared or digital thermometers, Tylenol or Aleve, Vitamin C, sanitizer, wet wipes, gloves and even a PPE Daily Sani-kit. It’s a regular pandemic-proofer at the press of a button.

Vending machine mechanics remain the same for a large array of items, making it far easier to meet changing needs. It did not take long for some enterprising retailer to capitalize on the newest demand and provide products that a year ago would have sat idle, and when the desire for PPE fades the equipment can be restocked with products that appeal to different audiences.

Take a lesson from the vending machine world. Invest your time and resources on the fundamental infrastructure and create a solid foundation from which to continually adapt.

Thanks, Meg!

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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