leadership dot #2655: reclamation

It is in the best interest of beverage producers to promote recycling – better to encourage it while it is voluntary than to have plastic bottles outlawed or significantly taxed.

Toward that end, Coca-Cola has created a new ad campaign (alas, only for Europe) that combines recognition of its brand with directions to the nearest recycling bin. At a recent music festival, the ads drove recycling rates to 85%!

Maybe it was the billboard or maybe the fact that a recycling bin was publicly available – either way, the combination should be used as a model for future festivals or in neighborhoods.

I hope that Coca-Cola brings its recycling campaign to the U.S. – and that other beverage makers contribute to the effort. Just think of what the Clydesdales could do with this!

Until they join in, make your own fun signs to direct the cans and bottles toward reclamation instead of the landfill. Art contest anyone?


Thanks, Meg!

leadership dot #2654: enhanced

I’m listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Talking to Strangers and it’s a whole new experience in audiobooks. Instead of one narrator reading the verbatim copy from the print version, Gladwell produced this book more like a podcast: it has music, interludes, and audio clips from the source giving the quote instead of another reading it. It’s definitely not your grandmother’s book-on-tape!

I think a parallel example is if a book on Kindle came complete with videos, animations and hyperlinks. I know this occurs already with “e-features” in online versions of magazines and I imagine that books aren’t far behind.

All of this rich media serves to enhance the content and, in my opinion, also serves to diminish the imagination. I rely on books to take me to new lands – in my head. I don’t need literal pictures or audio to create characters if the author is competent in their craft.

It’s often said that movies aren’t as good as the book – in large measure because our own interpretation is different from what the director’s was. Let’s leave it that way by leaving it open for us to craft whole worlds in our imagination instead of being spoon-fed what was in someone else’s head.

leadership dot #2638: capacity

A recent news article shared the story of a high school cross country team that takes dogs from the animal shelter along on their morning runs. A member of the shelter’s staff saw the team running by the facility each day and realized there could be a mutually beneficial connection. The shelter could have volunteers able to really exercise their dogs and the cross country team could add a new purpose to their otherwise routine practices. I love this idea!

Think about how you can adapt the same principle to fulfill your needs – who already does what you are seeking? Maybe mall walkers could push baby strollers and provide parents with an hour-long respite; frequent fliers could serve as document couriers or an aspiring pianist who needs an audience could pair with a nursing home which needs entertainment.

People are out there every day with the capacity to serve multiple purposes with what they are doing already.

In what non-traditional ways can you capitalize on this?




leadership dot #2635: grotto

The Dickeyville Grotto is unlike any other. The grotto is actually a series of shrines, paying tribute to numerous religious icons as well as to patriotic legends – all done in stone that is embedded with brightly-colored objects from all over the world. The shrines are comprised of things you don’t expect to find in Wisconsin: “colored glass, gems, antique heirlooms of pottery or porcelain, stalagmites and stalactites, sea shells, starfish, petrified sea urchins and fossils, and a variety of corals, amber glass, agate, quartz, ores, such as iron, copper and lead, fool’s gold, rock crystals, onyx, amethyst and coal, petrified wood and moss.” People just walk through and have wide-eyed stares at what is before them.

The entire grotto was built from scratch by Fr. Matthias Wernerus from 1925-1930. He must have spent most of his free time constructing the shrines, fences and structures that reflect his love of God and his love of the United States. It stands almost a century later as a testament to his labor.

I hope that today, as well as on most days, you are able to dedicate your time to something that you love just as Fr Werenerus did. Maybe it’s not building a shrine or grotto, but I wish for your labor to be filled with the same level of love.


leadership dot #2634: flourish

In a tourist town full of little boutiques, one clothing store begins to look like all the others. The location is essentially the same, the merchandise is similar and even the inside décor tends to become monotonous.

One creative retailer found a way to create a distinction by hand-making her hangars. Beyond their obvious function, the hangars served as works of art and a way to make this boutique stand apart from the others. Every hangar in the store was unique and a collection of them was featured prominently in the window display. I remembered that the jeans I was looking at were at that store because of how they were hung.

What is a small touch that you can add to your organization or service to make it just a tad different from the others? Chewy (used to) include a dog treat in their shipments. Hallmark gives a Gold Crown seal with each card. Dairy Queen puts a curl on the top of its cones.

Think of the flourish you can add to help your organization’s brand flourish in a crowded marketplace.

leadership dot #2624: ruminate

It has been a long time since I have presented a workshop on a topic that is brand new for me but I am doing so in October. I am having so much fun with it already!

Because it is new, I have been very conscious about preparing early. I purchased two books on the subject. I have asked friends and colleagues to send me their resources. I have started making notes. And because it is on my mind, I “suddenly” see articles, social media posts and videos that will help me.

I am sure all these resources were there before but because the topic wasn’t on my radar, they did not make a connection for me. It reminds me again of the importance of allowing time for ideas to incubate.

We all pay attention to the things we are focused on. By planning ahead, we create the space for rumination and the addition of new inputs. Ideas (and workshops!) are better when we incorporate a pre-action phase just to think.

leadership dot #2620: hiding

Ever since I waterproofed my boots on the patio I have been left with an intermittent reminder of the task – every time it rains, the silhouette reappears only to disappear when it dries. I have always thought that this concept was an untapped marketing opportunity – why not do art or graffiti or advertising in waterproof spray – leaving a seemingly pristine surface in dry weather and an unexpected message when it is wet.

This could be used to point people into stores: “Umbrellas sold here” or “Come in out of the rain and check out our clothes” or “Hot coffee to take away the damp chill”. Art could be ducks enjoying the puddles or other weather-appropriate designs, etc.

I just learned that I wasn’t the only one with this idea. The Rainworks organization has been doing street art using Superhydrophobic coatings and have achieved the same effect – providing hopscotch grids and messages on sidewalks and leaving a bit of joy during otherwise dreariness.

What message could you hide until it rains? Surprise someone by putting a can of waterproofing spray to a new use.

When wet
Same space when dry