LEARNING MOMENTS: Educationing Your Organization

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Sometimes in your career-building journey you try-out different actions and attempt to determine the best ways(s) forward.  You never know for sure if certain activities are the best… if the timing is right… and/or if your initiative for development even makes good progress sense?

This very special Educationing Your Organization Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast is about my time as an agency leader and my non-traditional design for developing the organization. It was a unique, fun time. I know you will enjoy this podcast discussion.

TRIPLE III TIME: What is YOUR Niche?

In the world of consulting, you sometimes get requests for help that are a little bit “off the beaten path”!  Maybe a special research assignment on a past president or designing a new/alternative learning opportunity for a challenged group.  But a most recent opportunity that was proposed/suggested really has challenged my innovation foundation.  A special small professional group has requested my help to answer the question:  What is YOUR Niche?…for each of the individuals on the Team and then for the Team itself!

Well after I weakly said “sure I will help”, I did what any good researcher would do:  I GOOGLED the term Niche to find the most direct definition.  The results of my GOOGLE question offered the following:  “Niche-A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment/a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.”

Well the definition started me in a good direction but I realized I need to ask the Team a number of simple but very important questions:
Whats My Niche

  • Why is knowing your Niche important?
  • How will knowing your Niche help improve your organization?
  • Who really cares about your Niche?
  • Does everybody really have a Niche?

Thankfully, our workshop will occur in the near future…but for today I believe there is an important hidden TRIPLE III TIME message in this Niche project.  Think about answering the four Niche questions about yourself.  If you have a real good picture/idea of your Niche…wouldn’t it naturally help in life and at work?  I probably didn’t even realize the times early in my career when I tried to identify co-workers Niches and then blend them together for great product/service results.  Likewise, by realizing my Niche and the organizations I work with/for…I know have created high value partnerships that have excelled beyond my/our expectations.

I look forward to helping the group answer the question:  What is YOUR Niche?  And maybe you take some quality time and find yours!

TRIPLE III TIME: “Stretching Flexibility”

Yes it is the start-up of a new college semester…and yes I am again teaching a couple classes in American Government & Politics.  It is satisfying to know and see all of the students in person and again draw on their real attendance energy when in the classroom.

It is always my practice to spend the first class period as a “get-to-know-you” moment.  Of course we cover course expectations but before we end that first class I always try to give them a special word…phrase…or sentence that specializes the learning time that we will share.  So this semester I told them we will discuss the need and importance for every professional to begin:  “Stretching Flexibility”

What does this mean to the students…why is the combination term “Stretching Flexibility” so major that each student would talk about it after they complete the class?

flexibleWell first as I continually stress to every class that American Government & Politics impacts everyone and everything in their daily lives… “Stretching Flexibility” actions must be applied.  For example in the area of education, we must continue to learn and teach with more of a non-traditional mindset.  Likewise with the speed of medical science…we must be more open to the fact that quality treatments can be developed in shorter time periods (i.e. stretch our capacities to be flexible in trying new medicines).

The class will also regularly talk about the magnitudes of technology in all fields of employment and how only by Stretching YOUR Flexibility will you be able to effectively and efficiently work in the new economy.  Additionally during the conduct of every class session we will address the quiet, increased personal/professional value of Stretching and being more Flexible in applying your observation and listening skills.

As we near the end of the course hopefully they will know that “Stretching Flexibility” means that CHANGE will be the most constant occurrence in your life.  And finally in my pursuit of theming “Stretching Flexibility” for the class, I will challenge them to look around and see if they can locate a local, regional, state, national and/or international Champion who “Stretches Flexibility” everyday…EVERYDAY.

It will be a good semester.  I wish you all could join us!

TRIPLE III TIME: TIME MANAGEMENT

As you age the challenges of managing your time seem to grow more every day.  I guess this should not be a big surprise because the older you get…the more you realize that your “time” is limited.  So maybe it’s appropriate for this reason and maybe more for all of us to give TIME MANAGEMENT some special attention this week!

First think about where time management challenges come from.  Are most of them generated by employment…family…personal finance…or unforeseen life issues?  Second try and determine if certain circumstances drive more time management issues to you or does your life/work style build the incidence of endless challenges and thereby rob you of quality time.

Hour glassI believe everyone…EVERYONE should seriously assess and personally redesign their own TIME MANAGEMENT strategy…monthly!  Creatively addressing the issue of TIME MANAGEMENT on a “keep it fresh” and pre-planned basis is a professionally strong activity.  We talked about it before…the speed of change…advances in technology…and a global economy…all demand a persistent TIME MANAGEMENT effectiveness review.

Ok, ok…I can hear the question:   What specific TIME MANAGEMENT considerations do I employ?  Well, consider these:

  • Prioritize completing tasks that enable co-workers to advance their work.
  • Perfection doesn’t exist…so do a good job and move on.
  • Take on a leader mindset…and don’t allow for time wasting distractions/discussions.
  • If you are unsure of what tasks are most important…ask management.
  • Minimize multi-tasking…it often reduces product/service quality.

One last thought:  My grandpa used to remind me to not waste or give away your time…”cause it comes to you in a limited amount”.

TRIPLE III TIME: “Finish The Starts”

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One of the more challenging professional development areas I frequently become involved in is having discussions about the critical need for everyone to:  “Finish The Starts”.  What am I talking about?  Specifically, the topic of “Finish The Starts” deals with those in the world of work that really enjoy taking on a new project or different area of responsibility…but never seem to totally finish tasks they start.  Instead, they work real hard and get an assignment to a solid level of completion…and it is looking good…but then they jump to another new or unfinished work area!

This “Finish The Starts” workplace phenomenon seems to affect all occupational areas.  Administration, construction workers, techno-builders, maintenance/custodial people, educators, elected public officials, farmers and the list goes on.  And remember individually they are all well intentioned, quality workers…they just need to be encouraged and reminded that they need to “Finish The Starts”!

Therefore, the goal of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME “Finish The Starts” message is to simply offer a special TOP 10 list of thoughts on how to improve addressing this issue:

  1. Always remember completion of one start allows another new start to better begin.
  2. Prioritizing finishes sets a good workplace example.
  3. Too many starts…equals too few finishes.
  4. It is OK for co-workers and supervisors to promote “Finish The Starts” as a priority to employees.
  5. Share your Finish versus Starts strategies to ensure everyone understands.
  6. If appropriate delegate Finish or Start actions to improve progress in both sectors.
  7. Don’t assume co-workers/supervisors can read your mind and understand/support your Finish/Start work diversity style…JUST SAY IT!
  8. Asking for “Finish The Starts” advice from colleagues shows leadership.
  9. Multiple starts with limited finishes may reflect poor time management.
  10. Remember: HALF DONE is just that…HALF DONE!

Bottomline:  I believe everyone gets caught-up in the “Finish The Starts” challenge from time to time.  So keep these TOP 10 handy just in case.

LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast: “On Paper or Online?”

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Transition and new age expectations are part of all aspects of our work/life activities. And although our August Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast topic about communication options sounds simple: “On Paper or Online?” … in practice it is often confusing on which option would be best.

This month we take a practical common-sense approach to discussing the use of traditional paper communication practices versus the ever improving online, social media options. Shelf-life, age and shareability are all part of this Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS message.

Listen closely… I know it will help!

TRIPLE III TIME: YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!

We have all heard the expression:  “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!”  And you have also heard the statements:

*”I have the worst luck…things never go my way!”

*”I tried everything but I am someone where good luck just doesn’t come my way!”

And what if you do a quick self-assessment…which statement best exemplifies your style/position?

I am a total believer in the phrase:  YOU Make Your Own Good Luck!  Why?  Because as you take on certain work/life projects…your attitude/approach will very much dictate the LUCK you feel.  Your positive approach/statements will be infectious and will cause others to contribute quality positiveness to your cause.

Also, the progressive energy you generate will cause you to look and research other good opportunities that may be related to your initiative and that too will convey a GOOD LUCK message.  Additionally people are naturally attracted to positive people. As a result, the potential for them to bring with them GOOD LUCK opportunities and cool experiences goes way up.

Building and having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK! attitude/approach costs you nothing.  However, having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” attitude/approach can result in priceless unseen/unexpected benefits.

YOU decide.

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TRIPLE III TIME: Make The Call

This week I had a pretty good plan surrounding the TRIPLE III TIME message I would share.  Then I received information regarding a wonderful work colleague who was making a very important life change.  My first thought was to send her a fun, thoughtful, supportive email that she could re-read if she wanted to.  I could “word-smith” the message so I captured as many important issues that were significant to both of us during the many years we worked together.  Then I realized that is NOT what I really wanted to do.  And for many, many reasons I decided to…and did Make The Call!

phone callUnfortunately in this age of over-communication via social media…I believe the simple act of making phone calls to hold a real conversation has become “old fashioned”.  People believe that texts and emails save valuable time in your work/life day.  I understand that they may…but can anyone defend the conversation quality of those types of communications.  And yes there are many other forms of social media communication that are high tech, fast and continuous…but do they contain the best elements of sincerity and friendship?

My life/work action recommendation is that when in doubt…Make The Call.  Sentences become more than words on paper, smiles develop from hearing the details, memories become legacy building blocks, and the value of a promise of staying in touch becomes real.  Making calls does not have to be a “monopolizer” of your time…rather a reinforcement mechanism for maintaining your life/work career-long network of true colleagues.

Thanks to JB and SB for helping create this message and thanks to TR for reminding me what’s important.

TRIPLE III TIME: Who’s In The Room?

Isn’t it always a challenge to try and maximize attendance at training sessions, staff meetings, recruitment events and/or other assemblies that you often spend a whole lot of time, energy and money planning?  Then even as the activity is underway, isn’t it natural to spend extra time reviewing Who’s In The Room?  And guess what…isn’t it also likely that after the session is over and the presenter was absolutely excellent…that more time is utilized discussing the fact that the room was only half full instead of feeling good about the quality of the event!!

AuditoriumWell let me first admit that I have fallen into the Who’s In The Room? evaluation mode too many times.  My assessment of an event has been driven more by attendance expectations…rather than the excellent learning that was achieved by those participating.  Simply put I focused more on those NOT in the room…rather than those who were!

The goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to encourage EVERYONE to always dedicate the majority of your leadership/management attention to who IS in the room for critical trainings, meetings and events.  Think about this issue in terms of time management.  Consider:

  • Time wasted while trying to understand/rationalize poor attendance
  • Understanding that you CAN NOT positively impact people who didn’t attend.
  • Realizing the extra special product/service quality improvement impacts that were shared with those that DID attend.
  • The importance of measuring more than attendance.
  • The opportunity to have more personal/individual time with attendees that may turn out to be “priceless!”.

In closing let me say that I no longer allow myself to over-focus on event attendance.  Instead I emphasize appreciation to those who honor their commitments and responsibilities…and make sure they receive the best opportunities and support I can offer.

TRIPLE III TIME: Talking “Dress Code”

Now that the major “working from home” phenomenon has eased and face-to-face customer service has been prioritized…has anyone given much thought about the pandemic effect on tomorrow’s “dress code”?  Do you think that our recent health scare and distancing from people would/should be a reason or rationale for softening what should be professionally worn to work…no matter your occupation?

Strangely I have received interesting comments from both sides of this issue.  Some say that the pandemic and work-from-home experience will lessen the importance of appropriate work attire…and heightens the focus on one’s work capabilities.  On the flip side I have heard several individuals indicate that they believe workers will make efforts to improve their workplace image with “a better look” than they had maintained in the past!

career long uniformWell first I have to admit that I don’t recall ever Talking “Dress Code” in any of my nearly eight (8) years of TRIPLE III TIME blogging!  Second with my position on this issue I may show my age…and emphasize the value of tradition.  Regardless I do feel it is prime time to give yourself a cool fresh start.

I believe “looking like you mean business”…means a lot.  Looking your best displays pride in what you do and who you represent.  This does not mean looking better just on Monday’s or boss visitation days.  Looking like you mean business should be an every work day priority.  This Talking “Dress Code” work ethic came from my Ma and Dad.  Despite their farming world-of-work, they understood the value of looking professional EVERYTIME the opportunity or responsibility required it.

Bottomline:  Look like you mean business in your world of work.  The quiet respect and attentiveness you will receive will be worth the effort.

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