Category Archives: SPECIAL TOPICS
Have you ever let your mind wander and thought about this question: ”If you were asked to get in front of a big crowd of friends/colleagues/coworkers and give a speech about your profession… What Would YOU Say?”
Well, my submission for this quarters American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) article is all about my approach to taking on this challenge. Specifically, the article: An ASPA Membership Address: What Would YOU Say? discusses four major areas I consider critical to realizing the potential educational role of public administrators.
Given the current state of American government and politics, The article was a personal privilege to write and share on a local, state, national and international level. I hope it is thought-generating.
One of the more challenging new-age trainings I would like to draft up and offer to leaders in any work setting would be:
Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change!
And I will bet that at first glance you are assuming the main topics of this class would be:
- World Affairs
- Health Care
Well I will admit that each of these areas would deserve discussion, but my strategy would be to take the discussion down to the grass-roots level. With that view in mind…check out these TOP 10 Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change topics:
- Even though a progressive business will pay for a special skill-building class…no employee wants to take it.
- Even though people refer to a certain leader as “The Wizard of Oz”…he still only uses social media options to meet with people.
- Even when the services offered by a public organization specify human interaction…they still work from home-virtually.
- Even when a fast-food restaurant re-opens its service counter…they still ask that you go to their kiosk and place your order.
- Even when employees are offered double-time pay to work a few extra hours…they choose not to work overtime.
- Even though training organizations have made virtual continuous improvement options more convenient…students “pretend-to-attend”…but still skip.
- Even though teacher learning and prep has modernized…their real time jobs are not the same.
- Even though we have 24/7 news casts and specialized info-channels…people seem less informed and more confused.
- Even though all of our governments attempt to improve our state and country…the more unsatisfied we seem.
- Finally, even though as seasoned leaders we utilize our solid knowledge and experiences to help future leaders…the more we question the value of our guidance.
I am sure everyone could offer at least one more Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change example to add to this TRIPLE III TIME message. My hope is that as you realize these difficult change lessons…that you are able to also identify reverse POSITIVE lessons of change.
I know you can.
As the years have passed it is very interesting when you learn a little more about yourself everyday. For example I have given extra time and real consideration thinking about the personal similarities between my Dad and me. My Dad was a total farmer and I am a public administration/consulting professional. As different as day and night…right??
I can not tell you about the multiple times…more even recently…that I realize I have acted/responded very similar to my Dad with regard to some issues. Whether the issue was “re-purposing” a piece of equipment or taking a certain position on the purchase of an expensive item…my Dad’s influence comes out loud and clear. One of the most negative influences however was “asking-for-help”. My Dad was beyond stubborn with regard to asking-for-help…even to the point of experiencing personal injury. I would never follow that type of example…would I??
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message: Asking-For-Help…Seeing the Camouflaged Wins! has both personal and professional importance. Think about it. Every time you DO NOT ask-for-help, you cheat yourself and others out of:
- Partnering For A Cool Project
- Two-Way Teaching & Learning Experiences
- Encouraging Confidence In A Special Area/Way
- Benefiting From “A Second Set of Eyes” To See Potential
- Attaining A Better Use of Time
- And Yes…Maybe Better Safety
I am sure there are many more Camouflaged Wins that may come from Asking-For-Help. “I can do it myself” or just being stubborn…standardly does not put you in the WIN column.
Some of us are VERY slow learners in this area but Asking For Help…Seeing The Camouflaged Wins! is a training seminar both my Dad and I could have benefited from!
Teaching an American Government & Politics class each semester is an educational experience for the students and for me! There are so many topics, issues and events that are part of our government system which allows for an always engaging and debate-filled class period. But I have to admit, my favorite teaching “tool” is my Public Understanding: Whose Job Is it? component. This quarter my American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) article is totally dedicated to explaining the high-value of improving Public Understanding: Whose Job Is it? government responsibilities. Too often citizens assume they know more about who-does-what at all government levels than they really do! As a result the volume of mis-information in the field of public administration grows.
I hope you enjoy the article: Public Understanding: Whose Job Is it?
Sometimes it is so important as a concerned U.S. citizen and career-long public servant to stop and evaluate the governmental decision-making processes in your own backyard. In my world of work Public Administration In Rural America has and continues to be an ongoing area of progressive concern.
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is my quarterly American Society of Public Administration article. In it I “gingerly” address the topic of aging rural elected officials and the limited decision-making credentials they often retain. As always I briefly offer a couple innovative system improvement ideas regarding these challenges. However as you read the article…think about small city, township, county and special purpose governmental units and their board make-ups. Concerns?
Every once in a while some action or message brings back memories of the multiple life lessons delivered to me by my Dad. And mostly they were provided not by words…but by assignments. Assignments like:
- Treating livestock the way I would want to be treated.
- Maintaining farm implements so they would last forever.
- Repurposing tools that have passed their original use.
- Put equipment “to bed” for the winter so they were ready to go when we “woke them up” in the spring.
- Oh yeah one more… to always shake someones hand like you mean it!
The size and purpose of the assignments changed with time… but the Responsibility “Roots” that were planted with me never changed.
I believe for the sake of quality personal and professional growth it is valuable to consider the source of your Responsibility “Roots”. When and where did the initial Roots get planted in you? Who was most responsible…what were they and how did you deal with them? These are all serious questions that can assist in growing and nurturing the Responsibility “Roots” that are part of your everyday life and world of work.
If you have a solid foundation and longer-term network of Responsibility “Roots” the more prepared you are when new/different responsibilities come your way. Think about it?? Do you have a habit of avoiding taking on new responsibilities and dread the thought of unique challenges? Or do you have a “Bring It On!” attitude that welcomes new challenges and views them as continuous learning opportunities!?
I know I was fortunate to have (and still have) great people involved in planting and expanding my Responsibility “Roots”. I believe it is helpful to periodically step back and review your entire history of Responsibility “Roots” development. As you do you will identify the best…ones that were not so helpful…and then better map your example-setting future. It is a very good history lesson.
Over time I have discussed the multiple motivations that drive the selection of topics for my weekly TRIPLE III TIME blogs and American Society for Public Administration quarterly articles. Sometimes the ideas come from a long-standing concern or concept. Others are generated by professional interactions or family principles.
This week I hope you enjoy the special discussions that led to drafting this week’s “combination” message. You should always enjoy giving credit where credit is due… so be sure to take note of the critical thinking and problem-solving efforts of some quality young adults!
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.
Mr. 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.
This weeks TRIPLE III TIME message is my quarterly American Society for Public Administration PA Times article entitled: Public Sector Continuous Improvement… Now or Later? As you can guess, in the article I try to encourage a greater focus on employing a standard of continuous improvement processes to develop quality and efficiency in the public/private non-profit service sectors.
Hopefully everyone reading this article will agree that NOW is the best time to move into a “zone” of public sector product/service continuous improvement. What a great common theme to rally around!
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:
- 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!