It is now the first week of our new year 2022!  And although I was thinking about a message of inspiration and future-thought… I decided we need to start with a “head-on” TRIPLE III TIME topic:  Do People REALLY Hear Me?

Think about it.

CHARLIE BROWNIn this day and age of fast, extensive and multi-faceted communication…it is very necessary and appropriate to regularly ask yourself:  Do People REALLY Hear Me?  As I thought about the value of this message I couldn’t help but remember the Charlie Brown cartoons/comic strips where the terms “Wha-Wha-Wha-Wha” were regularly used to demonstrate that no one was really listening to someone important.  I believe that too often today when we speak or when we listen…the “Wha-Wha-Wha-Wha” syndrome takes effect.

So what’s the potential remedy to resolve the “Wha-Wha-Wha-Wha” syndrome?  Here’s a few TRIPLE III TIME ideas:

  • Use a blended written & voice strategy to convey your message.
  • Don’t be the only, continuous voice when making a point…allow others to share the responsibility.
  • Make it a regular practice to ask:  Did you hear/understand what I said?
  • Apply a strict time limit to each topic and to the overall time dedicated to an individual or group meeting/training.
  • Don’t be afraid to use today’s techno-options for unique short communication “lessons” to help people hear you.
  • Consider fun, informal small group “Wha-Wha-Wha-Wha” syndrome resolution sessions.

The answer to the Do People REALLY Hear Me? TRIPLE III TIME topic question does not have to be controversial or negative.  If everyone understands that professional discomfort is a natural part of personal and professional growth…the answers to achieve quality hearing/listening may come much easier than you think.

TRIPLE III TIME: Having The Toughest Talks

Toughest Talks Image 7Everyone knows about the challenges and discomforts that come with Having The Toughest Talks with someone.  Whether its about under-performance with a co-worker, the canceling of an agreement with a partner company or service provider and/or trying to resolve a conflict issue with a family member or friend…the discussion moments are tough!  In response some ignore or hide from the challenge(s) hoping that it might resolve itself.  Others might take a “my way or the highway” hardline approach just to move it forward (good or bad) in some way.

No one “enjoys” the Having The Toughest Talks moments.  I know that I have touched on this issue over the years in other TRIPLE III TIME messages, but today it is time to give it a special TOP 10 “helpful thoughts” blog segment.

  1. Treat the person/persons how YOU would want to be treated during a Having The Toughest Talks situation.
  2. Gather as many “facts” as you can regarding the challenge…but stay open to new/additional facts as the tough talks continue.
  3. Do NOT enter Having The Toughest Talks discussions with your mind already made up on what will happen afterward.
  4. Appropriately use each person’s age and experience as measuring tools in assessing the situation.
  5. Leave other people’s opinions “at the door”.
  6. Listen well and take notes.
  7. Correctly compute the values related to action options (i.e. firing the person/canceling services/personnel reassignment, etc.)
  8. Consider the precedent-setting issues that will result from your action or inaction.
  9. Don’t ignore the option of postponing action on the issue. Sometimes delayed action is a solid positive step for all sides.
  10. Finally understand the high-value of compromise while Having The Toughest Talks.

I am sure there are more than these TOP 10 “words-of-wisdom” that would be helpful when Having The Toughest Talks.  Please add them to this list and build your own set of resolution recommendations.  Responding to Having the Toughest Talks incidents will always be “a work in progress”!


Over the years our TRIPLE III TIME messages have mentioned and discussed the importance and long term value of mentors and life advisors.  I believe we should all have at least a couple individuals that are regularly available and professionally comfortable to reach out to…no matter the issue.

two men talkingMr. L & Dr. B have been my 40 year (plus) mentors and life advisors.  They always provide common idea-sharing support and wisdom…but at any given moment have the capacities to specialize in a professional or personal area of concern.  As a result they both have contributed in different ways to my innovative style and professional approach with useful information and “furture-ish” guidance.

But there’s the III question:  When do YOU fill that special mentor/advisor role for someone?  Let me offer an example.

Recently a friend and colleague called just to share concerns about a tough education related issue.  We talked for some time but unfortunately I was not able to offer him a real solid solution for his problem.  However, the conversation ended with this statement:  “I know we didn’t find a good answer to my issue but just hearing your quiet, listening voice has helped me a lot.”

The moral of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to always…ALWAYS give someone the best information, help and support you can.  The example I mentioned caused me to reflect on others who have looked to me for mentoring and life advice…and I found it happens much more often that I realized.  Maybe its my age and graying hair…but it is a special honor just to be consulted.  So because you will not instantly recognize your “mentoring-moments”…be genuine and positively thoughtful every time.

Thanks again Mr. L & Dr. B.


How many times at work or at home do you “assume” that you are getting accurate information on an issue or believe that a person acts a certain way because that’s the way you have heard he or she has always been?  Do you always assume the worst in most cases?  Do you believe a story about someone because it fits your assuming belief patterns?  Or are you afraid to question or check the reality of a story or information…because maybe you will find that you are wrong in your assumptions?

IMG_2779Unfortunately, I believe that too often everyone, everyday experiences a number of unprofessional or personally hurtful incidences which cause them to fall into assuming potholes!  And although the pothole may not be maliciously intended or just the result of unplanned negative words…the result is an assuming pothole for someone just the same.

So this week my TRIPLE III TIME message is to AVOID ASSUMING POTHOLES.  By this I mean to not only try to become a “non-assumer”…but to also avoid being the initiator of assuming potholes!  I understand that in life and in the world-of-work, assumptions sometimes have to be made.  But before you take action with regard to an assumption, keep these points in mind:

  • Opportunities are often lost due to poor assumptions
  • People recognize and appreciate non-assumers
  • Don’t assume but instead give people the “benefit of a doubt”
  • Understand that you learn more when you approach a person or situation assumption free
  • Trust suffers with poor assuming… both with others and trusting yourself
  • Appreciate the questions that come from genuine non-assumers
  •  Remember that smart people are smarter because they don’t assume

There are a lot of thoughts involved in this AVOID ASSUMING POTHOLES message.  Be sure to give it appropriate and adequate attention.


Did you ever think about APPRECIATION as an “action word”?  Yes, telling someone you appreciate them for what they have done is an action.  But let’s consider how strategic, genuine messages of APPRECIATION Will “Generate” further positive activities, initiate innovation opportunities, build on sharing concepts/ideas, and encourage an excitement for “what next”!

Too often people just accept traditional impact responses after offering words of APPRECIATION to someone:

  • “I didn’t think anyone really cared”.
  • “It’s just part of what I am supposed to do”.
  • “Thanks but it’s really no big deal”.

But what would happen if people who were conveying APPRECIATION customized their words:

  • “What you did with your report will give us more time to upgrade our technology for everyone!”
  •  “The way you altered our accounts payable process will save us a ton of admin money!”
  • “Your partnerships with all of those organizations will put us in a better service spot and not be taken advantage of or for granted in the future!”

IMG_2661This TRIPLE III TIME message is designed to motivate you to become more individualized/personalized in your words of appreciation.  I believe authentic and “futurized” messages of APPRECIATION Will “Generate” unplanned and often unrecognized personnel motivational opportunities.  Give this concept a fun try.


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!

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