Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What's the point?

Why are you telling me what the speed limit is not? This type of sign and type of message serves no purpose. I don't ever need to know what the speed limit is not - I only ever need to know what it is. Yet, this type of message is so common.

Throughout the 80's and 90's we dined in the "No Fat" world the government espoused. And what happened? We got fatter and fatter because as long as something was fat free, it was assumed to be healthy. With that definition, jelly beans and fat free "snackwells" cookies were considered in the same family as chicken breasts and broccoli - what a load of garbage.

Fast forward to the "Low Carb" years of this last decade. We did the same thing - if it was low in carbs, then it was considered healthy. Now bacon and butter lead the health food parade.

The product of telling people what not to do only leads to failure. We might all borrow a good tidbit from the dog training world, where dogs are shown what to do and then rewarded for doing it. This works quite well with children as well. Don't get me wrong - I think that people need to be told "No" or "Stop" in the moment when they are doing something wrong, but whenever possible, this should be followed with encouragement and in instruction for how to do the right thing. I'm always reminded about this every time I see the End Speed Limit sign and start frantically searching for what the actual speed limit is - well, I know it's not 35 mph (but what is it? - 55 mph, 25 mph....?). Would a sign that told what me what the current speed limit is do so much more good - I sure think so.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting With Words

Today in Clear Creek's Leadership Development Program, we were blessed to have Will Mancini speak to us about Vision vs. Mission. Contrary to what I had understood, Mission is something that doesn't change. It's the overarching goal that you are always trying to acheive. Vision on the other hand, can change and should change in order to keep you focused on the mission. As an exercise for seeing how to cast Vision, we listened to the complete "I have a dream" speech from Martin Luther King Jr. and were asked to write down elements of the speech that were key parts of casting Vision.

Many of us may have heard the portions of the speech, but I'm completely convinced that all of us should listen to the whole thing - all 17 minutes of it. King paints an amazingly vivid picture with his spoken words. His tone and delivery transformed the written word into a speech that brought tears to my eyes and made me want to get up and take action - exactly what casting Vision is all about.

Do yourself a favor and listen to King's speech. You'll be better for it.