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: Is Branding The Issue?

As discussed in other TRIPLE III TIME messages, I never know when or where an appropriate topic idea for this blog may present itself.  Well for the last couple weeks I have been involved in an organizational conflict concerning the use of traditional company marketing colors and promotional designs.  One small group is very much intent on venturing out and using more new-age colors but conforming to the use of traditional logos and designs.  The larger business operations group is very much against “stepping-out” from tradition and has even sought high level backing for their stand on “keep it the same!”

I will bet 99% of those reading this TRIPLE III TIME message are waiting for me to recommend “Just go for it…be innovative…try something new…stay fresh…avoid the we have always done it this way trap!”  But remember there are always SO many extra considerations to both sides of any issue.

Well for this week I am going to recommend considering the COMPROMISE option.  Today I believe every side in a decision-making situation would benefit greatly from assuming a compromise position.  Think about it.  If we regularly assume an all or nothing position on every issue…there will never be a spirit of unified success.

winning pictureWith regard to this branding/marketing example, only compromise will make both groups feel successful and look forward to working together tomorrow.  If the small group wins their satisfaction will be short-lived.  Why, because the larger group has greater influence and connections…so the “distancing” will continue on and be part of the next challenge.

So who really wins??

TRIPLE III TIME: “And The Survey Says…!”

survey saysI would guess that most reading this TRIPLE III TIME message have heard the host of one of those TV game shows report the correct answer to a certain question by announcing:  “And The Survey Says…!”  And no matter if the contestant is right or wrong in their guess…the surveyed answer often is unique or surprising to the audience.  So here’s the leadership question:  Do you use the survey tool to help get a better awareness/understanding of your businesses status/impact?

During my entire professional career I have used a survey strategy to assist in making future planning decisions.  Now don’t assume that I prepared a classic research survey instrument with all of the “bells and whistles” that one finds in science/administrative journals.  No, most times I relied on putting together no more than five (5) basic questions regarding our service to customers, agency performance, public position, whatever…and just calling/emailing caring people to just get their input.  In some situations I would even ask the people I contacted to continue the “survey” with someone they knew to get more thoughts/opinions.  The goal was to obtain quality input with no pressure, expectations, timeframes or detailed discussion…just genuine reaction.

I believe authenticity sometimes gets lost or distorted by perceived expectations when seeking someone’s input.  By utilizing an occasional, simplistic “And The Survey Says…!” approach to information/opinion gathering, your opportunity to get frank help on “what next” can be effective and efficient.  No you will not get the anticipated perfection elements you may be looking for…but remember perfection really doesn’t exist.

TRIPLE III TIME: Assignment:  Write A NEWSWEEK Article!

It has been difficult to avoid discussing the COVID pandemic and its huge impact on people, organizations, businesses and governments.  TRIPLE III TIME messages are routinely committed to sharing progressive professional development thoughts and ideas for individuals and groups to ponder.  However, in the most recent past I have observed a great deal of confusion and indecisiveness with regard to returning to work, truly being “open-for-business” and how to send the “right message” to customers and the public at large.

NEWSWEEK PICTUREWell one of the consulting strategies I have used to get entities and individuals moving forward and envisioning their future is to give them an Assignment:  Write A NEWSWEEK Article!

What do I mean?  Exactly what the title of this blog message says:  Assignment:  Write A NEWSWEEK Article!

As we all move forward, we all need to share a vision of who we are and where we are going as an organization.  Topics that a “special editor” will (at a minimum) want you to cover in YOUR NEWSWEEK article may be:

  • Re-stating who and where you are
  • The value you bring to your region
  • Historical examples of how you have positively impacted people/your area
  • What makes you/your organization special…everyday
  • A select group of “I Bet You Didn’t Know” success facts about you and your business

It is critical that everyone take ownership in the future.  I believe the Assignment:  Write A NEWSWEEK Article facilitates and involves everyone to think about what do we want people to know about us…what we do/make that is special…and what our future means to everyone who reads the article.

(P.S.  I have never been disappointed in the results of making this assignment!)

TRIPLE III TIME: Pre-Presentation Planning

One leadership topic that never goes off the list as REAL IMPORTANT is Pre-Presentation Planning.  It really doesn’t matter if you are presenting to a group of five or fifty…making sure you are “armed and dangerous” with extra topic information is the only way to walk in and walk out of the event feeling successful.

TRIPLE III TIME PICTUREFirst, I believe it is always critical to leave the group with some form of “take-home” information piece.  In this day and age of information over-load, having something to look at…touch and retain some form of shelf-life, is just good communication.

Next, be sure to test yourself by anticipating all of the questions that could be raised by the group.  Simple or complex…off-the-wall or direct…try to prepare for all levels of questions.  Your ability to confidently respond will display a sense of confidence and completeness that will have valuable leadership “staying-power” within the group.

Finally, organize your presentation with a message design that will encourage them to invite you back!  That does not mean that you hold back a necessary item of organizational assistance.  Rather consider options of information that prescribe a design of future-viewing that is special to the group and one that only you can provide.

Pre-Presentation Planning is time well spent and an opportunity to introduce innovation…never waste it!

TRIPLE III TIME: Battles For Your Backing!

One of the most interesting and challenging areas of personnel leadership and management is observing the internal and external individual Battles For Your Backing.

Think about it?!

As someone involved in organizational or business leadership, consider the different conversations employees have with you on multiple work and non-work topics.  How often do they try to convince you that their view is the most righteous view?  Or isn’t it interesting for someone to bring up a certain policy change decision and subtly inform you of its good or bad organization wide impacts?  Lastly consider the number of times partner organizations “go-fishing” to determine your position on a certain agenda item and proceed to adjust your thinking on the issue to be more in line with their beliefs.

Picture 2Battles For Your Backing are a very natural, human instinct course of action in the workplace.  The most important LEADERSHIP consideration regarding these Battles is the manner in which you deal with them.  And for today…because there are so many areas to consider regarding the Battles For Your Backing topic, lets just start with a few simple TRIPLE III TIME professional suggestions:

  1. Always listen intently, there is always a piece of constructive information in any Battles discussion.
  2. Consider the source (you know what I mean) of the Backing request.
  3. Assess your ability to EQUALLY discuss the issue.
  4. Determine fact versus opinion.
  5. Ask yourself it you are “swayed” by the presentation or the information quality.
  6. Is the Battle topic one you would take forward to your supervisor?
  7. Think about the Battle benefits…is it for the individuals personal gain or organizational.
  8. Consider if the Battle topic is new…old…or recycled.
  9. Apply the “Timing Is Everything” phrase to the Battle request.
  10. Finally, be sure to prioritize your own list of Battles For Your Backing (or you may experience Battles Fatigue!).

Ok…yes, it is a TOP 10 list of Battles For Your Backing items to consider.  I am sure you can add more…but maybe this list is a good starting spot!

TRIPLE III TIME: Thinking Out Loud!

idea exchange

One of the “techniques” I use as I deliver instruction and teaching in my American Government & Politics class is:  Thinking Out Loud!  We all know what I am referring to…right?  Those times when you say something about an issue or problem…that is a direct result of what you are thinking.  Often the statements come out with less of an “opinion-filter” or in the form of an idea that has not been thought all the way through.

By using this technique…what am I hoping for?  Simply put…I am offering students the opportunity to freely think, offer ideas that are not impacted by history, politics or money concerns and finally allow for sharing personal thoughts and viewpoints without the fear of employment/professional negativity.

So why is Thinking Out Loud! a special TRIPLE III TIME message topic this week?  I guess my answer is all about “inspiring innovation”!  I believe that leaders, managers, teachers…those responsible for moving groups of people forward…can all effectively utilize this tool to encourage a free-flow of information sharing.  By allowing a safe, open environment for everyone to be Thinking Out Loud!…you will realize a wonderful gateway for cool business development ideas or organizational improvement.  Yes there is always the need to maintain group order and focus…but I can testify over and over that appropriate use of Thinking Out Loud! has produced great progress results in multiple situations.

The only simple requirements for Thinking Out Loud! to work are:

  • Everyone must be a good listener
  • Everyone must participate
  • Everyone must be open-minded

I said simple…right?


When you read this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message title:  “Asking the TOUGH…TOUGHEST Questions”…what do you think about?  Do you think about how you are doing in your relationships/performance on the job/planning for the future/or just simply…am I being the best person personally and professionally I can be?  Well no matter the topic Asking the TOUGH…TOUGHEST Questions is never easy!

So as you can guess, this is an extremely challenging topic to share quality ideas/suggestions about.  Even choosing the right words to make the best, most appropriate, positive points in this TRIPLE III TIME message has caused me to use more of my eraser than usual already…but here goes.

tough questionsFirst, understand that today in our world any issue has more “consideration factors” than in most years/decades past.  As a result the simplicity in asking good, effective, timely questions…regardless of topic, seems to have evaporated.  Instead it is necessary…even critical to allocate more time, more thought to asking the best questions.

Second, prioritize committing yourself to be someone Asking the TOUGH…TOUGHEST Questions as a matter of good business.  Additionally, make a commitment to ask them with true professionalism and for the purpose of helping “the cause”.  Your questions can not be self-serving but to share mutual awareness and development.

Finally, as you continue Asking the TOUGH…TOUGHEST Questions, those in leadership positions will begin noticing your value in being more knowledgeable, more clear and more progressive regarding challenging issues facing your organization.

Is Asking the TOUGH…TOUGHEST Questions easy? Absolutely not!  However, are there classy, professional development opportunities contained in taking part in this undeniable responsibility?  100% YES!


One of the communication problem areas that arise in every organization is deciding:  “Who’s job is it?”  Different employees who are responsible for different areas of production or service do not always make inter-organization communication a top priority.  Often, they follow a mindset that believes:

  • “He or she doesn’t need to know everything about this or that.”
  • “I think (insert name) or (insert name) will get this message out so let’s wait until they do it.”
  • Or simply: “Communication is not in my job description so I’m not going to start doing it now.”

Well, I believe that no matter your job or status in your organization/business, everyone…EVERYONE sometime may have to assume the role of “DELIVERING THE MAIL!”

mailmanAttaining and maintaining success in any organization hinges on GREAT internal and external communication.  Assuming someone is sharing your new product/service information, changes in customer service timelines, quality control responsibilities, the addition of a new employee or all of the above (and maybe more), is an area of operational responsibility that can and should be progressively shared.

DELIVERING THE MAIL” from a personal level increases message value, adds authenticity, encourages information sharing and most importantly puts everyone on an equal plane of knowledge and understanding.  If everyone is smarter in your world-of-work…every component will be more successful no matter the challenges.


onliningToday within this special TRIPLE III TIME message I want to share with everyone the feelings one has when they are asked a unique professional help question that they would NEVER have seen coming!  The question:  “Dr. Pichla will you help us with a workshop/training session on how to increase ONLINE PARTICIPATION in our organizations activities?  Can you picture THE LOOK!?  Me…who avoids online anything and lives to be face-to-face for professional positive energy and performance quality!

Well maybe they asked me specifically for the reasons I just wrote (and maybe it would help me too).

No matter the business or service sector you are working in, the need to be involved in online meetings, education, training, sales, performance measurements or planning must include EVERYONE.  I think it is also important to point out that regardless of the impacts the COVID pandemic has made regarding this issue, use of advanced technology for all the daily activities identified above…and in a much bigger way…is/was just around the corner.

Given this unavoidable ONLINE PARTICIPATION phenomenon and in response to the NEVER question, I would build my workshop/training session around answering several very direct “onlining” questions:

  • Does participating in an online meeting mean you can pay less attention or ask less questions?
  • Does conducting an online training mean as long as you get through your slides…all is good?
  • Who is responsible for participation quality in an online world?
  • How do you eliminate ONLINE PARTICIPATION “hiding places”?
  • Does participation…real participation take on an expectation of leadership?
  • Should lack of quality personal ONLINE PARTICIPATION have economic impacts?
  • How would it feel to NOT be included in an ONLINE PARTICIPATION business growth session?
  • Try to describe “all-in” when you think about ONLINE PARTICIPATION?
  • How do you get labeled “the best in the business” in the ONLINE PARTICIPATION category?
  • Is it appropriate to pick and choose your attention level regarding ONLINE PARTICIPATION?

We would have fun and together learn a lot?

Bottomline:  I would remind them that the best answer to QUALITY/GREAT ONLINE PARTICIPATION for anything is found when you look in the mirror.

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