Category Archives: SPECIAL TOPICS

Our Founding Fathers: What Would They Say?

First I have to report that even after writing articles for the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) for a bunch of years, I am still “reawakened” when they assign everyone’s quarterly submission dates!

So YES… I’m saying it’s my turn already.

 My newest PA TIMES article is a reflection on: Our Founding Fathers: What Would They Say? with regard to four major topic areas. The topic areas were picked based on their status as priority concerns to every U.S. citizen. I could have written much more on every topic… but I know my thoughts on each area will get you thinking too!” 

Enjoy the read. PA TIMES Online: Our Founding Fathers: What Would They Say?

TRIPLE III TIME | Public Administration: Endless Lifelong Learning

This quarters American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) article: Public Administration: Endless Lifelong Learning, represents a reflection of a major professional element of my career in the public service arena. Working in a public administration role uniquely requires a continuous improvement focus in multiple lifelong learning categories. They are all “naturally” built into public service jobs, but rarely are professionally identified as Endless Lifelong Learning responsibilities… but they are.

Be thoughtful as you read the article. Each paragraph offers an additional career reflection. And for those employed in public service, I hope the article adds value to everything that you do.

Public Administration: Endless Lifelong Learning

TRIPLE III TIME: Recognizing & Appreciating “Security Blankets”

Did anyone ever GOOGLE the term “Security Blanket”?  If you did, my guess is that you found Dictionary.com’s definition and meaning to read something like this:

“Someone or something that gives a person a sense of protection or a feeling of security.”

Now at first glance, you may be wondering which TRIPLE III TIME topic area does Security Blanket fall under?  Communication?  Professional Development?  Innovation?  Leadership?  Or maybe that Special Topics area!

Let me explain.

Throughout my professional career, I have been fortunate to have co-workers that have provided me with that “sense of protection or a feeling of security.”  Whether it was during a major Board meeting, preparing for an audit/monitoring visit, or delivering a workshop message, having individuals in the room that know, trust and support me has made me a better leader, communicator, and innovator!!

Likewise, I know I have reversed the Security Blanket role when I have attended a colleague/co-workers event/meeting.  I could feel the extra confidence they had knowing I was there to support them and benefit from the learning they were offering.  However, most often Security Blanket benefits are received in an unspoken and unthanked style…and are only quietly acknowledged.

This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message title:  Recognizing & Appreciating “Security Blankets,” says it all.  I recommend we break the Security Blanket silence and toss out a “THANK YOU” whenever you realize or experience a Security Blanket moment.  Today I wish I could go back and let individuals or the gang know how protected and secure they made me feel everyday…EVERYDAY!

But I guess this TRIPLE III will have to fill the void for today.

An ASPA Membership Address: What Would YOU Say?

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.

An ASPA Membership Address: What Would YOU Say?

TRIPLE III TIME: Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change!

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:

  • Economy
  • Politics
  • World Affairs
  • Health Care
  • Technology

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:

  1. Even though a progressive business will pay for a special skill-building class…no employee wants to take it.
  2. Even though people refer to a certain leader as “The Wizard of Oz”…he still only uses social media options to meet with people.
  3. Even when the services offered by a public organization specify human interaction…they still work from home-virtually.
  4. Even when a fast-food restaurant re-opens its service counter…they still ask that you go to their kiosk and place your order.
  5. Even when employees are offered double-time pay to work a few extra hours…they choose not to work overtime.
  6. Even though training organizations have made virtual continuous improvement options more convenient…students “pretend-to-attend”…but still skip.
  7. Even though teacher learning and prep has modernized…their real time jobs are not the same.
  8. Even though we have 24/7 news casts and specialized info-channels…people seem less informed and more confused.
  9. Even though all of our governments attempt to improve our state and country…the more unsatisfied we seem.
  10. 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.

Image for Triple III Time

TRIPLE III TIME: Asking-For-Help… Seeing the Camouflaged Wins!

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??

WRONG!!

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!

Farmers Son

TRIPLE III TIME: Public Understanding: Whose Job Is It?

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?

Public Understanding: Whose Job Is It?

Public Administration In Rural America

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?

PA Times Article: Public Administration In Rural America

TRIPLE III TIME: Responsibility “Roots”

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.

Banyon Tree

TRIPLE III TIME: U.S. Citizenship & Voting 101

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!

U.S. Citizenship & Voting 101

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