TRIPLE III TIME | Public Administration: Endless Lifelong Learning

This quarters American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) article: Public Administration: Endless Lifelong Learning, represents a reflection of a major professional element of my career in the public service arena. Working in a public administration role uniquely requires a continuous improvement focus in multiple lifelong learning categories. They are all “naturally” built into public service jobs, but rarely are professionally identified as Endless Lifelong Learning responsibilities… but they are.

Be thoughtful as you read the article. Each paragraph offers an additional career reflection. And for those employed in public service, I hope the article adds value to everything that you do.

Public Administration: Endless Lifelong Learning

TRIPLE III TIME: Teams/Teaming By Assignment or By Wish?

Over the last nine (9) years (yes nine years of TRIPLE III TIME messages) we have talked about Teams/Teaming and why they are important in our everyday worlds of work.  But to be honest I really didn’t understand nor take stock of the critical “building-block” advice that was often contained in each message.  Whether the value was with other staff members or partners in a product/service area, Teams/Teaming never lowers in professional value!

This week however we will look at Teams/Teaming from a special angle.  As people have discussed the structure of their Boards with me as part of consulting, we talk about the difference between being “ASSIGNED” to a Board versus someone who “WISHES” to join a Board.

magnifiedThink about it.  Consider the commercials that show someone being picked for a team because they are cool and the best.  Or back in grade school when people were picked ahead of you because they were better at a certain sport/activity.  Are you thinking?  Would people pick you or your organization/business FIRST to be on their TEAM??

Before you answer that question, I think you need to first consider another set of TOP 10 questions:

  1. Do you try to retain an “always progressive” professional stance?
  2. Do you embrace a teaming priority to ensure everyone wins together with any project?
  3. Does your group feel pride and proud of what they do…what they produce?
  4. Does your organization retain a questionable “pick me-pick me” over-whelming communication style?
  5. Does your agency portray an attitude of always being ready for the next challenge?
  6. Do people feel safe coming to you for input?
  7. Do leaders think of you/your group when they consider setting an innovative precedent?
  8. Would people/organizations brag that they are Teams/Teaming with you/your organization?
  9. Would someone want to join your Board based on your history?
  10. Would someone want to experience “repeat-business” with you or your group?

Teams/Teaming By Assignment or By Wish is an interesting self-analysis activity.  Give it a try.

LEARNING MOMENTS: “Questioning Your Decision-Making”


This months Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast title speaks for itself and needs no additional explanation. The habit of “Questioning Your Decision-Making” isn’t new, but I believe in recent times it has become a more dehabilitating habit for those in a leadership role.

I am assuming everyone will be able to relate to the discussion points raised in this critical podcast. And I also hope that everyone will think strongly about my recommendation for improvement in the “Questioning Your Decision-Making” area.

Enjoy the listen and we will take on another topic next month.

TRIPLE III TIME: The Missing Piece

Missing PieceDid anyone ever take a class in high school or college that was all about just WORKING WITH PEOPLE?  Maybe something entitled:  Introduction To The Challenge of Understanding Working People? Or People Interaction Principles 101…201…301 and on and on!  Now don’t think I am talking about a one or two day workshop or an online/virtual series of discussions on and about people problem issues.  No, I am talking totally about the absence of specific coursework with an instructional focus dedicated to the multiple aspects of successfully just dealing/working with people?!

Now that I have your attention…think about the potential diversity of topic areas!  Different age group issues, poor/middle-income/well-to-do individual impacts, the influence of education, family dynamics and so many more.  But remember this isn’t about social work or mental health counseling, it is about surviving and hopefully even thriving as a business/organization co-worker, supervisor and leader…WORKING WITH PEOPLE.

This weeks TRIPLE III TIME message:  The Missing Piece is more of an awareness lesson instead of a list of “leader-like” recommendations.  Becoming skillful in WORKING WITH PEOPLE is NOT an easy task.  However my work experiences have taught me a few things.

  • Try to learn all of the work/non-work talents and skills of workers. It displays “caring” in a working together way and may help the organization.
  • Adopt the belief that we live in a “show-me world. And with this in mind show people that you are prepared to help with any job… any time.
  • Communicate and share business/organization information to the maximum. Secrets build “grape-vines”…and you know the rest.
  • Blend different teams of people to work on projects whenever possible. Success and progress is everyone’s job would be the lesson learned.

Customize your efforts to find The Missing Piece in your workplace.  The impacts could be GREAT!

TRIPLE III TIME: Marketing Advice…Who ME?

who meAs a consultant you often get asked for advice or ideas on issues or projects that are not really in your area of expertise… yes marketing!  But if you think about it…if the name of your company is:  **INSPIRING INNOVATIONS, Inc.** it does make sense that potential customers may ask you about new, cool “innovative”, “inspiring” marketing ideas!

Well, don’t ever think that I would not take on a new challenge.  And just to at least deliver this special message in my “comfort zone” style; here is a TOP 10 list of marketing thoughts to consider:

  1. Stay simple!  Big words and long sentences don’t capture attention.
  2. Focus on one (1) service or product. Promoting a group of things at the same time often creates confusion.
  3. If possible cool colors adds “attention-drawing” value.
  4. Target market. Go to where your potential customers hang out…online or in-person.
  5. Experiment using different marketing options. Don’t assume what will or won’t work.
  6. Test market your initiative with those you trust. Make sure you ask and get honesty.
  7. Don’t be lured into being a marketing “copy-cat”. Originality matters.
  8. If your contact info is included…offer more than one option if possible.
  9. Product/Service exclusivity is an important marketing message.
  10. Finally however possible be consistent and regular. Sometimes marketing initiatives need to “age” to be noticed and effective.

You now have my first TRIPLE III TIME Marketing Advice message.  I hope one or more ideas help.

TRIPLE III TIME: Recognizing & Appreciating “Security Blankets”

Did anyone ever GOOGLE the term “Security Blanket”?  If you did, my guess is that you found’s definition and meaning to read something like this:

“Someone or something that gives a person a sense of protection or a feeling of security.”

Now at first glance, you may be wondering which TRIPLE III TIME topic area does Security Blanket fall under?  Communication?  Professional Development?  Innovation?  Leadership?  Or maybe that Special Topics area!

Let me explain.

Throughout my professional career, I have been fortunate to have co-workers that have provided me with that “sense of protection or a feeling of security.”  Whether it was during a major Board meeting, preparing for an audit/monitoring visit, or delivering a workshop message, having individuals in the room that know, trust and support me has made me a better leader, communicator, and innovator!!

Likewise, I know I have reversed the Security Blanket role when I have attended a colleague/co-workers event/meeting.  I could feel the extra confidence they had knowing I was there to support them and benefit from the learning they were offering.  However, most often Security Blanket benefits are received in an unspoken and unthanked style…and are only quietly acknowledged.

This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message title:  Recognizing & Appreciating “Security Blankets,” says it all.  I recommend we break the Security Blanket silence and toss out a “THANK YOU” whenever you realize or experience a Security Blanket moment.  Today I wish I could go back and let individuals or the gang know how protected and secure they made me feel everyday…EVERYDAY!

But I guess this TRIPLE III will have to fill the void for today.


“There probably isn’t a more significant or more critical challenge for any leader at any level than supporting accountability and fairness.  In the final analysis there will always be people who reject accountability if it doesn’t immediately support their cause or situation.  And sometimes doing the right thing can come at a high price.  Nonetheless, it is evident that most people thrive in an environment in which accountability and fairness define the organization’s culture.”  (Dr. Lew Bender)

Selecting a meaningful quote from my mentor, colleague and long-time friend Dr. Lew Bender was not difficult when I considered ACCOUNTABILITY as this week’s specialized TRIPLE III TIME message focus.  In his classes, workshops and written articles…Dr. Bender has always had a comfortable, common-sense manner of bringing forth critical issues and making them applicable in anyone’s world-of-work.  He has followed that “trend” in his quote on ACCOUNTABILITY.

But wait…what does all of this great information about Dr. Bender’s instructional style have to do with this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message:  Advancing Branches of an “ACCOUNTABILITY TREE”?

The answer is simple!  First take another look at Dr. Bender’s quote and pull-out the separate terms that all connect with ACCOUNTABILITY.

  • Critical Challenge
  • Fairness
  • Cause/Situation
  • Doing Right Things
  • Leader
  • Support
  • High Price
  • Organizational Culture

Then picture an “ACCOUNTABILITY TREE” with all of these very important terms shown as “branches”.  Can you see it?  It truly represents a very progressive, impactful visual.

Accountability Tree[10332]

The Bottom-line III Message:  I believe most organizations or businesses do not train their staffs well in the area of ACCOUNTABILITY.  No matter the focus…individual…teams…or the entire entity, everyone should consider, reflect and contribute to Advancing Branches of an “ACCOUNTABILITY TREE”.  Issues like clear expectations, honesty, directness, behavior, performance, roles, and communication all have a place on an Advancing Branch!  And if these factors are progressively dealt with by ALL…the Branches WILL advance and grow.  If not…will you know what will happen.

And as always…THANKS Dr. Bender for your help and support!

LEARNING MOMENTS: Understanding – Understandability


It is difficult to devise a way to slow down the speed and volume of information that is shared with us every minute of every day. The result is a growing lack of comprehension of the Who – What – When –  Where and Why’s of actions and events going on all around us.

Hence we need to think about our capacity of: Understanding – Understandability! 

This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast first discusses the reasons we are facing an Understanding – Understandability dilemma. And in the final minutes of the podcast, I try to offer a few recommendations to ease this dilemma.

I hope you enjoy the listen.

TRIPLE III TIME: “If You Have A Better Idea…?”

TRIPLE III TIME message ideas often show up because of situations I never saw coming!  Just a few months ago I was asked to help conduct interviews with young adults to offer them insight and perspective about the interview process, questions often asked and the “behind the scenes” purpose of many topics that may be brought forth.  It was a fun, interesting time…but the REAL new life experience for me came at the end of the session when five of my interviewees asked if they could now interview me?!

Of course, I say YES…and although the questions they asked were pretty basic, one stood out and has generated the topic for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message.

“What was your main philosophy as an innovation leader?”

I know I had a very puzzled look on my face.  Plus, as I searched my mind-history for a good answer, I couldn’t think of any MAIN philosophy that drove my innovation leadership style.

But then out of nowhere the absolute, true response to their question came out very naturally.  I told the group that as I developed an innovative idea, project or program and naysayers regularly had all kinds of challenges to moving forward on the concept…my leadership philosophy was (and still is):  “If you have a better idea…put it on the table.  But if not we are going to get GOING!”

By my voice tone and strong delivery of this statement, the group understood my philosophy very clearly.  There were no additional questions about the philosophy…rather lengthy discussions on the innovations I was privileged to be part of.

I recommend that all reading this TIRPLE III TIME message look inward and discover YOUR MAIN LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY!  Think about what you stand for and what you consider a personal/professional growth philosophy.  It is a wonderful, revealing action.  Let me know what your philosophies are!



One of the major action strategies I use everyday…EVERYDAY in my role(s) as a leader was/is to utilize co-worker EMPOWERMENT to maximize organizational performance and progress.  What do I mean by EMPOWERMENT?  Think about this simple definition:

“Empowerment-allowing people a choice of performance method and holding them responsible for the results.”

As an employee development tool, empowerment action makes a lot of sense and usually results in good outcomes.  However, sometimes in my coaching/consulting moments, my client-customers ask a ton of good questions about “how do you make empowerment work”?

With those questions in mind, how about if we consider these TOP 10 TRIPLE III TIME ideas as The Recipe For EMPOWERMENT!

  1. Allow Empowerees (yes another new word) time to research work/performance improvement ingredients.
  2. Enable Empowerees to form new/unique co-worker alliances to improve products/services.
  3. Commit to the agreement that “perfection” is NOT the expectation…just improvements.
  4. Support failure in some areas as part of the creativity process.
  5. Do NOT add “we have always done it this way” comments as a component in your EMPOWERMENT recipe.
  6. Remember to permit Empowerees to change the recipe as the development process “bakes”.
  7. Plan for unexpected product/service expansion and/or diversity as EMPOWERMENT grows.
  8. Employ a new product/service “taste test” (i.e. evaluation system) to reinforce the “responsibility for results” promise.
  9. Be prepared for criticism and negativity from outside your organization.
  10. Utilize transparency with Empowerees and share outcomes (positives and negatives) with all involved.

EMPOWERMENT is progressively contagious.  So, use The Recipe For EMPOWERMENT with positive optimism.  I never regretted its use or potential!



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