“That’s all you got?”
“I think I could kick it that far!”
“Better than the yellow at least.”
As I played my new favorite sport, Top Golf, the super-neat, computerized scoreboard shared these “motivational” statements after each of my shots. My friends and I laughed as funny (but biting) remarks flashed time and time again. Now don’t get me wrong … I totally deserved each statement because I totally suck at Top Golf. But I really don’t care! I have a great time just playing, and the score is not important to me. During a game last week, the manager asked our group if we minded moving to another bay to make room for a party. We didn’t mind at all, and he offered us a free hour of play. He noticed my score and laughingly encouraged me to just throw the next ball instead of hitting it. Please don’t think that he was being mean or hurt my feelings … he didn’t at all … but I then commented that the scoreboard was NOT helping my self-esteem with its snarky statements about my playing. The manager shared that the statements are designed to make you so mad that you will try even harder to make a better score. Huh?? Negative feedback to make me try harder??? Perhaps this method works for some people, but I have a hard time believing that negative feedback or negative motivation can EVER produce anything positive. Research shows that positive feedback and positive motivation in the workplace increases productivity, leads to achievement of organizational goals, builds better relationships, and develops stability of the workforce. And these positive remarks should come from managers, supervisors, and peers and should go up, down, and across the organizational chart. etc Strategies believes that positive feedback and positive motivation can produce a positive work culture and positive employees. Maybe Top Golf should include a few “Nice try!” and “Keep working at it!” remarks for players like me. Who knows? Maybe those positive remarks can help my game! It certainly can’t hurt it!!
In my last blog, I wrote about seeing things from different perspectives. After last week’s political and social events, I felt like I needed to continue a discussion about this same topic. As an elementary librarian and classroom teacher, I loved teaching my students about point of view. The best lesson involved looking at the different perspectives of different characters in a story, and the best book for this lesson was (and still is) Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! The story begins, “Everybody knows the story of The Three Little Pigs. Or at least they think they do. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Nobody knows the real story, because nobody has ever heard my story.” Alexander T. Wolf, also known as Al, then begins to tell the story from his perspective. He goes on to provide a very plausible version of the story with strong details to support his views. At the end, he claims he “was framed.” My students loved hearing the wolf’s side of the story, and we went on to study other literary works using multiple points of view. So why was this lesson so important? Looking at perspective or point of view helps us to understand the “why” of actions and events. Understanding that there are numerous interpretations of the same story helps us look beyond the one “right way” to see people, actions, or events. I love that once again, studying literature helps teach students important life lessons. It goes back to the younger vs older woman optical illusion from last week. Neither picture is the “right” answer. So why is it hard to accept that there are 2 “right” answers? Please understand that I am NOT suggesting that at times there isn’t an absolute “right” answer or that you shouldn’t have strong views and opinions … I’m only suggesting that if you take the time to see the other side’s perspective or point of view, perhaps you will see things you had not considered before, and perhaps these things can help you better define, defend, or even modify your own view. Working to see the other side is a win-win with no negative effects. Henry Ford said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.” etc Strategies believes that working to see things from another person’s perspective and understanding that many times there is no absolute “right” way can help you communicate and collaborate more effectively. And maybe we can teach children that seeing things from another’s point of view happens in real life and not just in fairytales
In the optical illusion to the left, do you see an older woman? Or do you see a younger woman? I love optical illusions like this one! When I was in elementary school, I checked out all of the optical illusion books from the public library and spent hours fascinated by the changing pictures. It felt like the pictures were “magical” -- just by looking from different perspectives, new and different images appeared. My partner, Karen, and I definitely bring different perspectives to our business (and to our friendship!). Last week, to finish up the end-of-the-year financial tasks, we scheduled a meeting for yesterday, MLK Day. A few hours later, Karen called me with concerns about meeting on Monday. I too had concerns about the meeting, but quickly discovered we were coming from two very different perspectives. Karen shared that the bank would be closed because of the holiday, so we would not be able to complete our banking tasks. I (on the other hand) was concerned because the weather forecaster said that it was going to rain on Monday, and I didn’t want to get my Converse tennis shoes wet. Yep … I was concerned about my tennis shoes while Karen was concerned about the bank closing. No judgement, please … I know her concern was more valid and important for completion of our to-do list, but the story illustrates that we approach things very differently. And these different perspectives help us to more creatively solve problems and develop new ideas. Work to see the different perspectives in your business and personal life. Hopefully, you have a “Karen” like I do, but if not, give yourself some extra time to think about things from a different perspective. etc Strategies believes that looking at tasks or problems from different perspectives can help develop new and creative solutions, approaches and ideas… and maybe even be a little “magical”!
I have a confession …since 1994, I have a list of every Christmas present I (or Santa) has ever given. Want me to prove it? In 1997, Santa brought Austin a Spirograph and Hayden a fire truck. In 2000, we gave my dad some Sam Houston State University dominoes and my mom a blazer and shirt. In 2002, we gave my nephews the PS2 game, Spyro. In 2004, Santa brought me a watch. In 2014, my husband received a tool box. Every year I also create a list of our Christmas card recipients to remember who to send cards to the next year. Because as a teacher I lived my life in school years, every August, I list out family and friend birthdays in my new, clean calendar. I also list the day to send the birthday card (usually the week before). I have to-do lists, grocery lists, bills-to-pay lists … the “list” goes on and on. Now you may think I am super organized or even a bit of a control freak, but the truth is -- I list things so I can remember. The Christmas lists help me NOT to give the same thing a few years later. The birthday list is to make sure I don’t forget to send warm wishes. The other lists help me to better utilize my time at the grocery or running errands or when I need to change credit card or banking information. So is the blog strongly suggesting that you too make and use lists? Not really. But I do encourage you to find the best strategy to use to help you remember things. Use a calendar or planner. Use your phone or computer to set reminders. Use sticky notes on the fridge, the bathroom mirror, or on your steering wheel. My mom stapled notes to her purse straps. My husband writes a note and puts his keys on top of it. Finding a way to help you remember things can help you connect with others, communicate information successfully, and become more productive, at home and at work. As this new year begins, etc Strategies believes that there are many effective strategies for remembering things. Find the one that works best for you. And let us know what you come up with … we’ll make a list to share with others!!
Dear Mrs. Hardegree -- You are the best teacher!
Dear Julie -- Thanks so much for your help with that lesson.
Dear Mrs. Hardegree -- Have a great week!
After 25+ years in education, I have lots and lots of short notes. (I need to let you in on a little secret -- I have kept them all -- yep, I have every single one of them.) Some of the notes are from colleagues offering gratitude, support, or encouragement. Other notes are from parents or workshop participants. But my favorite notes are from my students. Kids are pretty honest, so their words mean the most to me. One of my best notes is from Francisco, an 8th grader repeating 7th grade English while also taking the 8th grade course. He had to pass my 7th grade class in order to move on to high school. I admit that I cut him a bit of slack by accepting homework a few days late or allowing him a bit of extra time for assignments. I encouraged him and helped him with both the 7th and 8th grade work. But he did ALL of the required work and made the passing grade. One of his last computer class assignments was to compose a note to a favorite teacher, and Francisco picked me! He wrote about the extra time and encouragement I gave him, but he also wrote this, “When Mrs. Hardegree is in a bad mood, she will tell you that she is in a bad mood so that if she is not nice to you, you know it’s because of her mood, not because she is mad at you.” Now you might not see the great compliment in that statement, but I do! Francisco shared that knowing where he stood with me was important and made me a “favorite” teacher. To this day, that short note means so much to me because of Francisco’s honesty and sincerity. etc Strategies believes that a short note can have a great impact. Take the time to send a short note -- a quick thank you, a show of support, some words of encouragement. You can write the note at the top of a meeting agenda, on a client’s statement, or even on the back of a business card. Be honest and sincere. And I hope Francisco is still sending short notes…he’ll never know how much they can mean.