TRIPLE III TIME: Overthinking & Innovation Don’t Mix!


Who out there is an “overthinker”?  You know…someone who has a quest for perfection in everything and/or refuses to start a project until everything…EVERYTHING is “just right”!

Well…let me say it out loud:  Overthinking & Innovation Don’t Mix!

Having been labeled a life long innovator in multiple areas, it is very difficult for me to work with an individual or group that will not kick off a new initiative until every possible service/product scenario is thought through and corrective action build in.  This challenge was/is always a concern when working with government project funding.  No one wants a new project to fail…but often just the action of delaying start-up can cause “innovation minimalization”!  Progressive momentum, partner participation, customer perceptions, lessened prioritization and strategic project timing can all be negatively impacted by implementation Overthinking.

I believe in most cases there is something very special in the purity and newness of an innovation that is protected from historic Overthinking processes.  Likewise I believe that although Overthinkers mostly have good intentions for their “what about this or that” questioning, however uniqueness and creative potential can quietly become lessened by just one simple change.

Overthinking & Innovation Don’t Mix!

Give creativity an open-forum for trial and error.  Maybe you will realize even more innovative positiveness than was even projected!

Leadership At It’s Toughest: Telling People What They DON’T Want To Hear!

“When was the last time you stood up and delivered bad news?  It can be scary and uncomfortable.  As humans, our instinct is to want to be liked by those around us, but truly brave leaders know that if we want to make change, sometimes we have to deliver the cold, unpalatable truth.”  (GREAT TED TALKS:  Leadership, Harriet Minter)

Harriet Miller’s quote is simple, honest and complete in its analysis of how difficult it is to try Telling People What They DON’T Want To Hear!  Think about it.  As was “distantly” discussed in earlier III messages…EVERYONE is faced with this responsibility at some point.  This setting may occur in a supervisor-to-employee, friend-to-friend, mentor-to-client, counselor-to-participant and of course parent-to-son or daughter situation.  In every case it becomes a leaders role to effectively define and explain the problem and hopefully find a way to a positive solution.

Those who are not “brave leaders” may choose to delay, avoid, ignore, hope the bad news goes away or that someone else delivers the bad news message.  However none of these options help any problem…instead they may even contribute to making it  bigger!

The main point of this TRIPLE III TIME message concerning the Leadership At It’s Toughest:  Telling People What They DON’T Want To Hear! topic, is to recommend always taking a BRAVE LEADER role.  Remember the saying:  If not you…then who?  I think it is necessary to apply this question when addressing a bad news issue.  Would you want someone else to explain the problem, consider appropriate discipline or propose a good solution?  

I believe YOU know my BRAVE LEADER answer.


TRIPLE III TIME: What Would Make YOU Better?

During the past year or so…in my role as a consultant and community college administrator…I have consistently asked “organizational customers”…what class or training opportunity would make you better?  And although I thought everyone would be able to quickly and easily consider my question and toss out a few learning examples…most times it just generated more questions.  Questions like:

  • Do you mean in my job or at home?
  • Do you mean a college class or just a workshop?
  • Would it be just one class/session or might it be one that meets many times?
  • Are you asking about one that would grade you too?
  • Can you define “better”?

Well as you can see my observational research told me that most were not sure how to exactly answer the question and/or what to designate as an area they need to improve in?!


What Would Make YOU Better?  The goal of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is to indirectly motivate you to think about how YOU would answer this question.  Did I believe it would really be easy…NO?!  But unfortunately it seems to be a question individuals do not often think about.  Plus because it is a combination professional/personal topic area…it often generates the need for deeper response considerations.

I can report that when individuals or groups sincerely address the What Would Make YOU Better? question, the results can be extremely progressive!  The “Better” answer sometimes is as simple as taking a personalized computer class…or as involved as a series of time management sessions for all in your organization.  However the best part of whatever actions are taken…is that professional ownership of the improvement is required!

TRIPLE III TIME: “Assuming” Has No Value

Many have heard me say in the past:  “Assuming means that you can read someone’s mind…and I have never had that work out for me!”  Remember?

Well this week I want to use this TRIPLE III TIME message opportunity to offer even more detail to these long term words of advice.

First, I believe it’s important to point out that given all of the change we have experienced in just the last few years…nothing in the world of work can be assumed as the same.  People in certain jobs have changed…products and services have changed…so don’t apply the ASSUMING approach to any of these areas.  You will be let down.

Second, think about the whole category of communication.  Are there really just one or two standard professional ways of sharing a message or document?  NO!  Therefore if you are ASSUMING you will get a return phone call, letter or maybe a personal visit…don’t hold your breath!  You will be let down.

Finally, one of the biggest drivers of ASSUMING falls under the categories of work and family traditions.  Think about these statements.  “We have always done it this way.”  “We always meet on this date, time and this location…IN-PERSON!”  How many assumed strong traditions have faded or have been greatly altered in the recent years?

Picture OptionMy TRIPLE III TIME advice is to try and limit the personal and professional discomfort resulting from the ASSUMING situations you become involved in.   Because “Assuming” Has No Value.  Rather take it upon yourself to answer questions more completely, make necessary phone calls, attend in-person meetings, make appropriate reminders even if seemingly unnecessary.  And most importantly help others beyond expectations.

The results will be a better adjustment to change factors, better quality communication, more positive revision of traditions and less assumption pitfalls!!

Did I just hear someone say:  “Are you a little more calm now!”

LEARNING MOMENTS: Show Them and They Will Join!

Inspiring Innovations Learning Moments Logo

This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast borrows from the movie Field of Dreams with its style of messaging: “Build It & He Will Come” to introduce a valuable innovation start-up strategy.

Show Them & They Will Join!

As you listen to the description of how important it is to recruit organizational colleagues to more successfully introduce “innovativity”, I hope it motivates you/everyone to increase professional connectivity.

There are multiple ideas and positive development principles in this month’s podcast. Enjoy the listen.

TRIPLE III TIME: “He or She Ain’t the Boss of Me!”


I am guessing and hoping that everyone is giggling or even laughing out loud as they read this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message title:  “He or She Ain’t The Boss of ME!”  And as I have thought about this topic, I am believing that most…if not all of us have heard this exclamation a time or two.  Maybe it was said in jest…or maybe in an angry frustrated moment.  However, I would bet that few have taken the time to assess the personnel influences standing behind this negative proclamation?!

So this week I want to take a serious TOP 10 look at the “behind-the-scenes” personnel influences that drives the:  “He or She Ain’t The Boss of ME!” statement.

  1. Does this statement come out due to confusion on who answers to who?
  2. Are there one or two individuals that incorrectly assume they are managers or directors?
  3. Do your operations directives have oversite gaps?
  4. How current is your organizational flow chart?
  5. Is your agency/business driven by a team of micro-managers?
  6. Can innovative thoughts and actions be assumed in your place of business?
  7. Do your employees worry more about what certain people think or a quality product/service?
  8. Does organizational history of leadership overshadow what is actual today?
  9. Are job titles, earnings and/or tenure allowed to over-impact REAL Boss of Me issues?
  10. Does everyone have an opportunity to lead or follow based on assumptions or expertise?

These are all serious questions regarding the “He or She Ain’t The Boss of ME!” concern. Consider them one at a time to discover any Boss of Me issues that need to be addressed.

TRIPLE III TIME: “Partnershipping”

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First let me just say this out front…:  NO I don’t think Partnershipping is a real word!  But for today I don’t think those responsible for dictionaries will care.

Second, I believe that too often today individuals, organizations and/or businesses do NOT embrace Partnershipping as a first priority when building a new initiative.  And when I refer to Partnershipping I don’t just mean groups getting together…I am referring to simple, individual, person-to-person partnership actions too!

As I work with different organizations or individuals on planning for the future, I standardly ask them about their current and anticipated Partnershipping strategies.  The unfortunate response is:  “Well we are thinking about that…but it’s way down on our list of priorities.”  And the rationales that follow include:

  • It would take too long to get everyone on the same page.
  • They probably wouldn’t be interested.
  • It is mostly our responsibility.
  • There isn’t enough money to make it worth their while.

Are these the rationales of a Partnershipping Drop-Out?

I realize I am framing the task of effective Partnershipping in a light-hearted way…but please know that it is a high-value professional development asset.  Most of my best leadership and innovation achievements were (and still are) the result of old and new Partnershipping!

Bottomline:  Make Partnershipping one of the first considerations when starting or restarting an initiative.  Great minds can and do think alike.

TRIPLE III TIME: Public Sector Entrepreneurship III

This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is my quarterly American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) guest columnist article.  As you can guess from the title:  Public Sector Entrepreneurship III…not only is this my third segment on innovation in the public service arena, but also one of my most favorite topics to discuss!

The special inspiration for this third entrepreneurship piece is contained in Robert F. Kennedy’s memorable words:

“Some men see things as they are and say Why?  I dream things that never were and say Why not?”

I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did preparing it.

Public Sector Entrepreneurship III

TRIPLE III TIME: The Art of Hiring The Right People

Picture2One of the most challenging responsibilities for leaders of any business or organization is hiring the right people.  During times of economic progress the recruitment and selection of new employees becomes even more difficult due to the limited number of available hires.  And even when the pool of employment candidates is higher, the challenge of selecting the best person gets clouded based on qualifications, the results of every interview and thoughts about “fit” in your group(s).

Perfection again is not possible in The Art of Hiring The Right People.  However British-born American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek offers some great advice with the following quote:

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money.  But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

In my organizational leadership days, I was lucky enough to follow the hiring strategy outlined in Mr. Sinek’s words and surround myself with the right people.  Did money sometimes become an issue…yes…but most times the greater challenge was to find the right place for individuals  who “fit” our agency…but were not in the best employment position where they could make their maximum contributions to the “cause”.

The most important take-away from this week’s TRIPLE III TIME… The Art of Hiring The Right People message, is to prioritize the personnel-values contained in Simon Sinek’s quote.  Regardless of your business or organizations service or product, you as the leader/owner know the beliefs, blood, sweat and tears that make your entity “the best in the business”!  Therefore, never minimize these factors when hiring.

LEARNING MOMENTS: “Where are we going… you will know when we get there!”


This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast gives my Mother a special voice in providing a unique professional growth message. The “setting” for the MOMENT is classic… and the LEARNING is simple but too often overlooked.

And I am sure you are wondering about the title: “Where are we going… you will know when we get there!” and how it fits as a label for this month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast?

Well listen closely and you will find out!

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