TRIPLE III TIME: Negotiating With Confidence & Class

We are all sometimes…somewhere placed in a situation when we have to utilize our negotiating skills.  The issue or issues being negotiated may appear simplistic and easy to respond to…but often there are multiple “behind-the-scenes” challenges that only come to light as the discussions/debates of negotiating unfold.

So how do you identify and develop YOUR negotiating skills.  Do you obtain them from parents, bosses, teachers, colleagues….or mostly from experiences?  Yes, again there are helpful seminars on negotiating but have you ever sat down and considered the “art” of Negotiating With Confidence & Class and maybe a TOP 10 list of ideas that may help?!

Well just in case you haven’t given Negotiating With Confidence & Class much thought, this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is just in time to offer a few helpful hints.

  1. Minimize the number of major issues addressed at one setting.
  2. Be sure you know what YOU want…but don’t show-up with a “decision-made” attitude.
  3. Be sure everyone understands the issue the same way/completely/with common grounding.
  4. Recognize and appreciate the negotiation responsibilities and skills of others in the session.
  5. Listen with both ears and with both eyes.
  6. Ask intelligent and respectful questions.
  7. Try to NOT allow a “postponement trend” to evolve.
  8. Negotiate options that enables everyone to “win” something.
  9. Remember negotiated resolution actions must be thoughtful and doable.
  10. Finally, never under-respect the importance on how the negotiated decisions impact the future of others.

Negotiating With Confidence & Class may require you to professionally “change chairs” to best understand the positions of others during discussions.  And if you do it well…I promise respect will follow.


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?


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!

Communication 2

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.



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?

Do you organize your thoughts/trainings to be as simple and direct as possible…or to guarantee that you fill up your 2 hour training time?
Do you look at the clock and realize you have covered everything you need to in a meeting but still have 10 minutes and fill it with BLAH-BLAH-BLAH?
When you prepare for a meeting do you ask yourself:  “Am I trying to cover too much?”  The fact that YOU are asking yourself the question says “yes you are”.
At the end of YOUR training/teacher/presenter time…do you forget the first things you covered?

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”?

Growth ChainFirst 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.

Higher Expectations

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!

Leadership consistency


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!

Image[11149]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. 

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