Author Archives: Inspiring Innovations, Inc.

TRIPLE III TIME: Consider the Source

Recently I was on the road to meet with a group about an organizational development challenge and I decided to change my radio station channel to one I had listened to for years on my way to work every day.  Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that something was different. The talk radio message was mostly the same… but I WAS DIFFERENT! My thoughts about the traditional radio messaging were not at all the same… my views about their position on certain issues differed greatly… and interestingly I turned the radio off.

Slide1This weeks TRIPLE III TIME message: Consider the Source is intended to push you to consistently have an OPEN FRONT DOOR for new/alternative sources of local/state/national/international information.  What am I suggesting? I believe too often people settle into a traditional framework for news and information.  The result is that our opinions and positions on every issue are driven by only one or two sources. And when you start wishing to hear something new, different, better…make sure you: Consider the Source.

Just like any process… what goes into the process… has a huge impact on what comes out.  So, think about your own personal and professional processes.  Do you allow/look for diverse sources of new information to shape your position(s)?  Do you Consider the Source when you endorse a certain view or action on an issue? Or do you just tune into W-OLD (I borrowed this from a GREAT Harry Chapin song) to guide you?

Today more than ever before it is critical to maintain an OPEN FRONT DOOR for newness of information and diversity of opinions… everyday… EVERYDAY. And remember, always Consider The Source!

Learning Moments Podcast: GROOMING Staff for What Next!

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Investing development time in your staff will ALWAYS give leaders a solid return-on-investment! So, this month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast focuses on the importance of GROOMING Staff for What Next!  It will help each individual staff, your organization/business as a whole and especially you as the leader in making tough decisions about the future.

I hope you enjoy this LEARNING MOMENT.

TRIPLE III TIME: “WHAT’S MY NEWSLETTER?”

option 2Too often employees at all workplaces are “just there” and rarely get the opportunity to share personal thoughts about their views on the world-of-work. Think about it. What if you were assigned the task of preparing a special NEWSLETTER for all of your co-workers to see for this week… what would you say?

Well, I believe it is important for everyone to think about this type of assignment. And just to help give everyone a few ideas about how you might answer the “What’s MY NEWSLETTER?” question… I thought a special TOP 10 may be in order!

  1. Would you compliment the product/service quality of your organization?
  2. Would you highlight problem personnel issues?
  3. Would you discuss concerns about the lack of communication in the organization?
  4. Would you indicate that too many people know too little about what your group does?
  5. Would you brag about what you all have accomplished in the last year?
  6. Would you offer ideas/innovations that could enhance product/service growth?
  7. Would you write testimonials from co-workers about feeling valued?
  8. Would you compliment or complain about leadership?
  9. Would you talk about ways to recruit people to fill workplace vacancies… because you care?
  10. Or would you decline the offer to complete the “What’s MY NEWSLETTER?” assignment because you are unaware, afraid or just don’t care?

The “What’s MY NEWSLETTER?” task is a unique form of self-analysis/self-evaluation.  And it just might help you with some insight to improve workplace challenges!

You can send me YOUR Newsletters… just for fun.

TRIPLE III TIME: “Did You Ever Try…?”

INNOVATION has been the main “focus-of-help” for the individuals and groups I have been working with over the last few months. Whether the area of development concern was managing growth, redesigning staff expectations and responsibilities or devising alternative ways of marketing to draw in new customers, the main ingredient of the solutions I proposed was: INNOVATION.

Picture1Hey…but guess what?  My INNOVATION-based solutions weren’t embraced?! Instead, the decisions were to use old-style solutions to resolve old-style problems.  And because I never know were ideas for important TRIPLE III TIME messages may come from…I could not pass up the opportunity to positively “spin” why INNOVATION NOW can/should be the priority.

First, think about all of the progress needs identified in the first paragraph.  I believe it is critical for leaders to drive INNOVATION in these areas.  What do I mean? I mean that leaders should begin progressive discussion by asking/suggesting “Did You Ever Try…?” just one simple new concept or initiative! Remember simplicity matters but also by initially asking for everyone’s input… you quickly lessen the “defensiveness-isms” (yes, I know it’s not a real word) that often kills INNOVATION.

Next as a problem-solving, progressive solutions leader you must be persistent in initiating your “Did You Ever Try…?” proposal.  Do not accept multiple excuses about how or why your INNOVATION may not work! Rather insist that because no one has tried the idea before… no one can truly testify to its workability.

Finally, if at all possible… leaders must progressively insert themselves into the implementation of the INNOVATION tryout.  Inclusion is a professional courtesy that often is not used effectively by leaders and thereby is not accepted by individuals or groups as part of the “Did You Ever Try…?” help process.  Instead the “change agent leaders” are just left on the outside looking in…and, unfortunately, aren’t able to provide the necessary longer-term continuous improvement “therapy”.

INNOVATION is just changing, improving to grow and thrive.  So, when a leader/co-professional suggests: “Did You Ever Try…?” think deeply about this TRIPLE III TIME message before you answer.

TRIPLE III TIME: Old to Some… New to Others

Old to Some New to Others pictureThroughout my career in employment, training, education, business and community development, I/we have always tried to stay ahead and “on-the-cutting-edge” of the systems. Whether I was designing a new program, partnering with a non-traditional organization and/or creatively utilizing technology to solve a customer service problem, I/we made it our standard business procedure to advance beyond the norm.

A great strategy, mode-of-operation…right?  But what happens to professionals when they move out or their “zone” or area of expertise?

Well, let me just say that my long-term mentor and former college professor was SO right when he advised me to “never assume or believe that everyone has been where I have been or experienced what I have experienced.” Hence it is critical to understand that in almost every situation, what is Old to Some… is New to Others!

So why is this an important TRIPLE III TIME message?

To be an effective communicator/leader, you must always strategically position yourself between the old and the new and establish a mid-ground special foothold to maximize your message effectiveness.  If you start too far ahead… it is impossible for the old gang to see where you are going.  Likewise, if you go too far back those dreaming of a new future become disinterested quickly and lose their focus on what next!

So, do I have an ideal solution to this age-old dilemma? … No?  Just know that Dr. B had to remind me over and over about this challenge… and that if I wanted individuals/groups to invite me back to help them as a consultant in the future… I needed to master the: Old to Some… New to Others issue.

TRIPLE III TIME: Leadership Learning “CHAIN-LETTER-STYLE”

Did you ever have that “WOW-that was cool” moment when you experienced some form of Leadership Learning Lesson? And then as the day or week goes by… think about how great it would be (and would have been) if you had just taken time to share it with a network of colleagues and friends?!

Option 3Well as I debated drafting this Leadership Learning “CHAIN-LETTER-STYLE” TRIPLE III TIME message, I couldn’t help but believe that there is probably a special computer “app” that could easily accomplish my purpose. However, I also remember that it is leadership critical NOT to assume anything! So, as you ponder the most effective and efficient way to share special leadership “bites”, let’s plan to use the tried and true “CHAIN-LETTER-STYLE” methodology just to get the word out!!

What am I proposing? Let me outline my strategy:

  1. Put together a short list (maybe 5) of leadership colleagues and friends.
  2. Make a professional promise to yourself to identify at least one (1) “WOW – that was cool!” Leadership Learning Lesson that you have experienced in the last 5-10 days.
  3. Write a short two (2) paragraph explanation of the Leadership Learning Lesson.
  4. The Leadership Learning Lessons can be focused on:
  • Personnel successes
  • Partner building
  • Communication improvements
  • Delegation actions
  • Marketing plans
  • Innovations
  • Fiscal creativity

The list can be endless… but I believe simplicity would be key.

  1. Then on a bi-monthly basis send it “CHAIN-LETTER-STYLE” (yes you can email or text them) to those on your list, and encourage them to follow your sharing example and prepare their own Leadership Learning Lessons and pass them on!

Does this prevent cool leadership ideas from falling through the cracks… YES!  Does this sound easy… YES!  Does it sound old-fashioned… YES!  But does it make LEADERSHIP LEARNING a personal responsibility… YES!!

Learning Moments Podcast: TOP 10 Professional Hiding Spots

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One of my career-long challenges has been to remove Professional Hiding Spots.  Call them excuses for not taking the initiative… reasons for avoiding personal responsibility… or issues that limit someone in a professional role from being an effective, example-setting leader.

This month I hope you enjoy my discussion of my TOP 10 Professional Hiding Spots. Chances are you will recognize most of them… hopefully from observation and not personal practice!

Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

TRIPLE III TIME: Failure

thumbnail_imagesWe have covered a ton of fun, serious and not-so-serious topics since we began the TRIPLE III TIME blog messages in 2014.  So when I was challenged this last week and asked why I have never shared my thoughts about “Failure”… I did my own research and they were right! Failure has never been a special TRIPLE III TIME topic.

So here we go.

First I will admit that I typically do not think much about failure when I am pursuing a new idea/action. Mostly my mind is totally dedicated to building, creating, partnershiping, financing and starting-up the initiative. My long-time colleague and co-leader (JHL) for many years always believed that if our new idea was the right thing to do… then we just “went-for-it!”

Second with this “right thing to do” motivation… I don’t think we ever failed.  Sometimes we didn’t get to where I hoped we would or as fast as I dreamed, but most often we blazed a pretty good innovation, progress trail.  Failure is just a regular piece of calculated risk-taking.  And if you think extra hard about risk-taking, if you don’t do it and always just stay the same… you are accepting that falling behind personally and professionally is OK?!

Finally what are my TRIPLE III TIME advice points regarding a “Half-Full-Glass” approach to Failure concerns:

A. Failure should NOT be part of any new concept planning.
B. Remember even partial success is strategic continuous improvement.
C. Colleagues want to always partner with “Tryers” and not “Samers”
D. Think of all the new computer “Apps” that show up each day… do these creators prioritize Failure?
E. Ask yourself why are SHARK TANK shows/events so popular? Because trying is the beginning part of succeeding.

So simply: If you don’t… for sure you won’t.

TRIPLE III TIME: “I Don’t Need No More Trainin”

thumbnail_image1 (1)While in the workforce development career area all my adult life, I would like to go back and add up the number of times I have heard that statement.  Young or old… high schooler or degreed people… those from a rural area or big cities the “I don’t need no more trainin” was not uncommon when jobs were my job!

On a personal level, I didn’t want to go to college, but my Ma and Dad thought it was the right thing. I didn’t want to drive 200 miles twice a week for two years to get my Master’s degree, but my Boss told me it would make me better. Finally, many thought it was a waste of time and money going after a Ph.D. (especially when much of it would require a lot of computer time… which I still dislike), but I wanted to be a life long learning example for my sons and my co-workers.

Well, today I am privileged to be able to teach college classes… and that would NEVER have been possible if I had followed the “I don’t need no more trainin” strategy.  And as I think more deeply about it… every additional learning step I have taken has truly helped me be more to everyone around me… EVERYONE!

So, this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is to never fall into the “I don’t need no more trainin” mindset.  Every learning, training opportunity is high value… and a lifelong value no matter how big or small the experience. Relaxing back into a comfort zone that numbs your interest in learning more… can quickly make it difficult to reignite the need to learn more fire.  Making it a habit to enter into a new learning/training opportunity every chance you get can only increase your “SPECIAL”.

Thanks Ma and Dad.

TRIPLE III TIME: The Luxury of Upgrading

WinnerRecently a colleague asked me how often I revise my approach to teaching my class. She indicated that it had been a couple years for her… but somehow, she was feeling that the students just weren’t “into-it” as much as they used to be.  Well as you can guess this caused me to look in the mirror and conduct a quick self-evaluation.  Was I in the “same-old-routine” category and not following my “Always A Better Way” philosophy??

First, let me reassure you that I seem to revise my approach not just once a year… but the students would say “he changes the game every week!”  But the more important message I want to stress in this week’s TRIPLE III TIME is for everyone to recognize and appreciate: The Luxury of Upgrading.

Do you understand my point?

Self-improvement and making positive changes in the way YOU do the work that you do… is a true luxury. I would be shocked if your supervisor/BOSS told you to:

  • Quit smiling so much
  • Don’t dress so good
  • Limit the number of quality items you produce
  • Please don’t improve… just stay the same
  • Don’t come in 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late
  • Stop volunteering to serve on work teams

The Luxury of Upgrading yourself, your workspace and the product or service you provide is a special freedom rarely appreciated.

Maybe re-read this message a couple times and smile about it with friends.  But don’t waste this luxury opportunity.

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