TRIPLE III TIME – This Semester’s Priority: COMMUNICATION
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!
LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast: Everything-to-Everyone Leadership
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.
TRIPLE III TIME: Using OTHER PEOPLES Time Wisely
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.
TRIPLE III TIME: A Quarter-By-Quarter “Growth Chain”
It is the New Year: 2023! And by now we have all heard about the multiple New Year resolutions/promises/wishes…that are put on the “to-do” list by everyone! However, (just to be difficult) I am feeling really confident that NO ONE has put out a new year resolution that says they will create and climb A Quarter-By-Quarter “Growth Chain”?!
Ok…go ahead and ask: “What is he talking about when he refers to A Quarter-By-Quarter “Growth Chain”?
Well I believe everyone needs to have at least an informal process and schedule to motivate themselves in the area of personal/professional/ or organizational development. Too often we make pledges and plans to initiative and accomplish certain things…but somehow they get lost in the everyday-isms. By creating and climbing A Quarter-By-Quarter “Growth Chain”, I am confident measurable achievements can be made.
How do you start a “Growth Chain”?
First close your eyes and picture a traditional supply chain design that identifies “scaling-up” over 2023’s four (4) quarters. Second consider a personal/professional/or organizational development you will like to address at the beginning level of your Growth Chain. The development challenge doesn’t have to be “world-changing”…it just has to be something you feel would make a difference if initiated! Then as you make progress and move your first challenge up the Growth Chain over a ninety (90) day period…you would start another objective again at the beginning level.
Can you see it?
Using a supply chain visual has always been helpful to me as a director and consultant. Applying this approach in a personal…”Growth Chain” way allows you to focus…be creative…flexible…and recognize achievements.
Good luck in 2023 and have fun with your Quarter-By-Quarter “Growth Chain”!
TRIPLE III TIME: Lessons About Expectations
As I have thought about this final TRIPLE III TIME message for 2022, my mind has gone in a ton of different directions! First I thought about a “BEST OF” III list for the year…Nah? Then I considered highlighting a couple experiences that have come my way as a teacher, consultant, parent and/or friend…again NAH? Finally, as I zeroed-out all of the ideas that just didn’t seem to qualify as a special year-end, extra meaningful message, an almost too natural, too appropriate topic idea came to mind:
Lessons About Expectations!
What exactly am I referring to when I suggest discussing Lessons About Expectations?
Well this past year I had assigned myself a lot of high expectations with regard to what I wanted to achieve professionally in multiple areas. High expectations in my role as an innovator and organizational development consultant. Creativity expectations as a college instructor and campus director. Attendance growth as a student recruiter and event sponsor. And renewal of connections with friends and colleagues to expand my network of great, inspiring people!!
For those that really know me… even good progress in one or all of these areas would register as “expectation-adequate” in my mind. Right or wrong this is/has been my style. But I found there are some very life-style Lessons About Expectations when I selected my TOP 5 for 2022:
- Two great speakers told me (as I whined about poor attendance at their event): “Marv the people who are meant to be here…ARE…so be proud!”
- One quiet student told me: “I have learned more in your class than in any one of my high school classes…so don’t change anything!”
- A successful businessperson reminded me: “Most groups have not experienced the good times/people you have…so be patient and help them at their speed!”
- I complain that I never know how many people REALLY read these III messages…then I get an email from someone in Australia that says: “I really liked the one about your father last year!”
- A long-time friend/colleague explained that: “Marv you don’t always need a TOP 10…5 points to consider will do!”
So although there are other very valuable 2022 Lessons About Expectations… please enjoy these TOP 5 as we look forward to 2023.
TRIPLE III TIME: Avoiding Leadership Inconsistencies
If someone asked you if you were always consistent in your leadership decisions… style… policies… what would your answer be? Or if someone accused you of always being somewhat inconsistent as a leader… what specifics would you find yourself thinking about?
Well in order to better apply our focus to this week’s TRIPLE III TIME topic: Avoiding Leadership Inconsistences, let’s begin with the official definition of Inconsistent.
INCONSISTENT: “Not staying the same throughout…acting at variance with one’s own principles or former conduct.”
In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, the challenge of not (at least occasionally) being somewhat inconsistent in one’s leadership responsibilities is understandable. First, think about how decisions and strategic discussions are shared and viewed not only instantly online, but potentially with a much wider audience than ever before. The resulting internet-driven opinions and observations offered naturally as “unofficial” responses often create more personal leadership action questioning and “second-guessing” than in the past!
Next think about the inconsistencies that may be generated from the always expandings social media level of information-sharing that occurs on a daily basis. I can think of several times I received extra/valuable information shortly after making a critical decision that would have altered my action!
Finally consider the impact of in-person versus online/virtual meetings. Was the leadership topic discussion as high quality as it could have been when conducted online? Was there a solid feeling of information-exchange confidence…or were the decisions/style/policy questions all just adequate? I know everyone knows what I am referring to.
Avoiding Leadership Inconsistences is a priority preventative maintenance activity for all leaders. The need to selectively, directly, and time-appropriately address decision areas has become more critical in our modern-day business/management worlds-of-work. Your time is YOUR TIME…. use it wisely and use whatever time you need to be leadership consistent everyday… EVERYDAY!
TRIPLE III TIME: Strengths & WeaknessesTRIPLE III TIME:
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?
LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast: Fine Tuning Your Listening Channels
It is the final podcast for 2022! And although we have discussed fun, important, thought-generating topics every month… this month is totally special!
This is the first time I have had a guest/guests on the podcast with me. One of my American Government & Politics classes were very persistent with their request to be part of a podcast discussion… and this month, they “got-their-way.” Although brief, I know their input on our Fine Tuning Your Listening Channels topic was right on track.
I hope you enjoy the listen and we will talk next in 2023.
TRIPLE III TIME: Where Do YOU Fall On The Request For Advice/Input/Help “Scale”?
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!
TRIPLE III TIME: Assumed Professional Development
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.