Category Archives: Triple III
This week is Spring semester class start-up at our community college. Remember, I teach two classes each semester and my single specific instruction area is American Government & Politics. As you can guess this is a fun, great, diverse course and between the two classes I have about 30 students in total.
One of my traditions every semester is to identify an individual professional development priority for everyone to improve on as a person and as a student. This Semester’s Priority: Communication was received with a good number of why…what…when…where…and how questions. Their concerns were not a surprise but my answer seemed to add up to a very important TRIPLE III TIME message.
Here are some summary bullet points of what I told them:
- Communication…good communication skills are the most important transferable skills…for EVERYTHING!
- Communication…good communication skills can open many opportunity doors…bad communication skills will close them.
- Communication…good communication in whatever form will cause you to be invited back for many progress opportunities.
- Communication…good communication defeats gossip.
- Communication…good communication can help you make a positive difference for yourself and others.
Well I could tell that my good communication discussions were reaching the “this is too much” for the first class level. However, for this TRIPLE III TIME message remember: (1) Communication has to happen so make it good, (2) Be aware of your own Communication strengths and weaknesses, (3) Make quality Communication part of your organizations culture, and (4) Help everyone understand THEY own their Communication…so THEY should make it the best everyday…EVERYDAY!
I believe it is important to start our new year 2023 out right by offering a message related to one of our principal topic areas: LEADERSHIP. If you look at the title: Everything-to-Everyone Leadership, you get the introduction idea of the challenge I am going to address. And like many LEARNING MOMENTS we discuss, there are no perfect answers to this expectation dilemma.
However as you listen closely to the podcast, I try to offer at least a workable idea to improve every Everything-to-Everyone Leadership event.
Enjoy the listen.
Time management is a regular personal and professional challenge that is felt in every life/work area. In fact as a unique testimonial to this issue, as I question young adults in my American Government & Politics classes about their greatest obstacles as college students, time management always makes it to the top of the problem list.
Well not surprisingly there are different workshops and online help sites that are designed to improve your ability to time manage. These options are a benefit in many cases, however I believe that no one gives the “art” of great time management the appropriate attention it deserves. Also, I can report that regardless of the consultant session topic I am recruited to train on… “help us a little with time management ideas” is always a request.
However, today this TRIPLE III TIME message reverses the responsibility for improving time management. Specifically we are going to look at the question: Are YOU Using OTHER PEOPLES Time Wisely?
Give that question some real…honest thought.
In your job as a foreman, employment counselor, teacher, division manager, corporate trainer (and the list goes on), do YOU take steps to use peoples time wisely?
Recently I was at an organizational update session with a series of people assigned 15-20 minutes to deliver their information. Guess what…over half got their information out in less than 10 minutes…but did they add another 10 minutes of non-important “filler” just to feel that they did a complete job??? YES!!!
Bottomline: When you think about helping people around you improve their time management skills…stop and look in the mirror too. Ask yourself if your communication practices/efforts are solidly Using OTHER PEOPLES Time Wisely (because it’s a two-way street).
And you know what I mean.
Every semester at the end of each American Government & Politics class the students and I conduct an “informal assessment” of the course. I ask questions like:
- Were the tests fair?
- Should we have used the book more?
- Were the weekly assignments too much?
Were the guest presenters good/have valuable ideas/concepts?
The results are always insightful, discussion-worthy and helpful as I plan for future class sessions.
This year I added one more discussion question to the list. As a student…what is your greatest strength… and then your biggest weakness? Here are a few examples of their answers.
There were several others but many could be combined with any one of these. Then “out-of-the-blue” one student asked: “What is your major strength and weakness?”
Well to say that I was caught off guard is probably an understatement…but I knew they wanted an answer!
The weakness I stated was that: “I am the most impatient person you will meet because I expect it done yesterday”. And on the strength side I said: “I practice innovation and believe there is always a better way of doing a job…any job… everyday…EVERYDAY!”
I believe I gave them the answer they were looking for but then I asked: “Why is the strength/weakness question important?” Silence…no comments.
I concluded the class by telling them that they should plan for a question about personal strengths and weaknesses every time they interview for a job. That today more than ever before companies/organizations are looking for people that can add-value to their service or product. And how you answer this question could make a real difference in your future.
I think they will do fine! But what about YOU…could you answer the strength/weakness question with confidence?
This week we are going to discuss an issue that impacts EVERYONE…as leaders, parents, co-workers, friends…EVERYONE! I can’t say that we are asking about a personality trait or something that was learned as you grew up. But this TRIPLE III TIME message is all about: Where Do YOU Fall On The Request For Advice/Input/Help “Scale”?
Ok, let me explain the question a little better.
When someone at home or in your workplace brings up an issue that they are having trouble dealing with…are you:
- The “Advice God” with the absolute right answer every time?
- The “Critical Evaluator” that criticizes all that someone has tried to do?
- The “Forever Analyst” that just believes taking more assessment time is best?
- The “There Are Many Other Issues Confuser” that makes the issue more complex than need be?
- The “Quiet Listener” that hears the whole story but says nothing?
- The “Did You Try This Suggester” that has unlimited ideas one can consider?
- The “My Experience Tells Me Teacher” that only considers a historic action?
- The “I Will Help Volunteer” that uses partnerships for progress?
My guess is that we have all experienced people in our daily lives that fits into one or more of these categories…but again where are YOU on the Advice/Input/Help Scale?
Well I will admit that there have been times and issues when I have fit into any one of the eight Scale examples. Why? Because it is the ISSUE that most often draws out the Scale option in you. However, the goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to help everyone examine their Advice/Input/Help Scale style and be better choosers of Scale options as issues come up. Is it easy…NO…but will it help build quality partnerships and better product/service outcomes…YES!
It is time to take a TRIPLE III TIME professional development survey for yourself and those that work with you.
QUESTION #1: How many professional development events do you and/or your workers participate in each year?
QUESTION #2: Do you assume personal and co-worker progress happens based on regular work experience, tradition, interorganizational interactions… other?
QUESTION #3: Do you/your organization make a conscious effort to fiscally invest in employee professional development…regularly or just because “it’s that time again”?
With much of my recent consulting work centered on helping everyone PRIORITIZE…I overlooked that Assumed Professional Development is an unfortunate organizational weakness.
What am I trying to say?
Today I believe everyone in every job and career planning area suffers due to Assumed Professional Development. Workers just like facilities need to be attended to… upgraded… modernized and shown appreciation for what they mean to an organization. Even high school and college students need to experience and feel a different form of professional development. The world of education has changed dramatically in the past few years…and wouldn’t it be cool to host a unique “Student-isms For Today & Tomorrow” workshop…maybe twice a year! A special session that would offer students self-improvement recommendations, ideas and insight on how to be a better student in the “school-place” everyday…EVERYDAY! Has anyone considered this challenge…yet?
Bottomline: Believing Assumed Professional Development happens “naturally”, is only a hope. Planned Professional Development is a strategic, strong form of preventative maintenance and structured growth in the workplace and perhaps for our students too. Think about it and let me know your reactions.
As a consultant you often get asked for advice or ideas on issues or projects that are not really in your area of expertise… yes marketing! But if you think about it…if the name of your company is: **INSPIRING INNOVATIONS, Inc.** it does make sense that potential customers may ask you about new, cool “innovative”, “inspiring” marketing ideas!
Well, don’t ever think that I would not take on a new challenge. And just to at least deliver this special message in my “comfort zone” style; here is a TOP 10 list of marketing thoughts to consider:
- Stay simple! Big words and long sentences don’t capture attention.
- Focus on one (1) service or product. Promoting a group of things at the same time often creates confusion.
- If possible cool colors adds “attention-drawing” value.
- Target market. Go to where your potential customers hang out…online or in-person.
- Experiment using different marketing options. Don’t assume what will or won’t work.
- Test market your initiative with those you trust. Make sure you ask and get honesty.
- Don’t be lured into being a marketing “copy-cat”. Originality matters.
- If your contact info is included…offer more than one option if possible.
- Product/Service exclusivity is an important marketing message.
- Finally however possible be consistent and regular. Sometimes marketing initiatives need to “age” to be noticed and effective.
You now have my first TRIPLE III TIME Marketing Advice message. I hope one or more ideas help.
One of the major action strategies I use everyday…EVERYDAY in my role(s) as a leader was/is to utilize co-worker EMPOWERMENT to maximize organizational performance and progress. What do I mean by EMPOWERMENT? Think about this simple definition:
“Empowerment-allowing people a choice of performance method and holding them responsible for the results.”
As an employee development tool, empowerment action makes a lot of sense and usually results in good outcomes. However, sometimes in my coaching/consulting moments, my client-customers ask a ton of good questions about “how do you make empowerment work”?
With those questions in mind, how about if we consider these TOP 10 TRIPLE III TIME ideas as The Recipe For EMPOWERMENT!
- Allow Empowerees (yes another new word) time to research work/performance improvement ingredients.
- Enable Empowerees to form new/unique co-worker alliances to improve products/services.
- Commit to the agreement that “perfection” is NOT the expectation…just improvements.
- Support failure in some areas as part of the creativity process.
- Do NOT add “we have always done it this way” comments as a component in your EMPOWERMENT recipe.
- Remember to permit Empowerees to change the recipe as the development process “bakes”.
- Plan for unexpected product/service expansion and/or diversity as EMPOWERMENT grows.
- Employ a new product/service “taste test” (i.e. evaluation system) to reinforce the “responsibility for results” promise.
- Be prepared for criticism and negativity from outside your organization.
- Utilize transparency with Empowerees and share outcomes (positives and negatives) with all involved.
EMPOWERMENT is progressively contagious. So, use The Recipe For EMPOWERMENT with positive optimism. I never regretted its use or potential!
Did you ever think about the option of studying your customers in the format of a science project? Think seriously about it. In my consultant role too often I find that businesses and organizations do not allocate enough time and energy to the natural rediscovery of who their customers are and how they may have changed over the last year or years. And if you are wondering how I facilitate the rediscovery process, here is a list of questions I toss out for individuals or groups to consider when thinking about Customers: Always A Science Project.
- Are your customers historically the same (i.e. male/female/age/income/urban/country/etc.)
- Are your products/services always changing and therefore always causing you to search for different customers?
- Have you ever ranked your customers in relation to their value to your company/organization?
- Do you want a different customer base?
- Do you not really care about a target customer as long as someone is coming through the door or visiting your website?
- Do you “test” new products/services to determine evolving value/need?
- Have you ever changed your hours of operation to consider alternate times to be open?
- Can you consider a transportable business location option…to go to where today’s customers are?
- Have you surveyed customers to help you determine “What-Else” to include in your product/service line-up?
- Do you think GOOGLE, McDonalds, GM, Frito-Lay, and other private and public entities engage in Customers: Always A Science Project actions?
I guess the most important point of this special TRIPLE III TIME TOP 10 list of customer questions is to NEVER TAKE CUSTOMERS FOR GRANTED! Be and stay up-to-date on your ability to be the best and customers will respond.
As our whole economy moves to better position itself locally and across our country…Goal-Setting individually and organizationally has never been more important. So when I read this quote from Orrin Woodward, an author/speaker and management expert, I knew it would be ideal for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message.
“A goal is a planned conflict against the status quo. By helping teammates develop believable and achievable goals, and the corresponding rewards for achieving them the leader can inspire his/her teammates without micromanaging!”
Did you re-read that first line? “A goal is a planned conflict against the status quo.” When I read that I thought immediately about:
- Innovation & Creativity
- Private & Public Entrepreneurship
- Pilot/Demonstration Projects
- Always A Better Way Vision Statements
Truly I can not think of a more determined and change-driven way of saying its OK to try something new and different!
Today I believe there exists a wide-open opportunity to use Goal-Setting as a motivator for every employee to offer up a new idea or two. If the Goal-Setting discussion process is facilitated correctly by leadership…the opportunity for personnel and company growth could be tremendous!