Friday, April 5, 2013

Drinking the Kool Aid


Confession time:  I’m a sucker for an engaging speaker with a message to share and personality to spare.  Consequently, I love conventions like the one I’m attending this week, because I get to hear people come in and talk about whatever it is they talk about.  Today, for instance, we got to listen to a man named T.J. Sullivan, who apparently speaks with college campuses around the country.  His topic of choice is “student leadership”, though I might suggest that really just means leadership.  His target audience might be students, but life has convinced me that the keys to being a successful leader don’t really change all that much, no matter what other roles you might have.

I won’t go into a bunch of details, except to say that today he talked in particular about motivating the “middle third” of your club/job/church/whatever.  This operates on the theory that every organization has a “top third” of over-achievers, and a bottom third of slackers, and those two groups are pretty much a given.  But the true success of a group is to be found in the middle third who simply need little motivation and maybe encouragement.  The whole idea made a lot of sense to me.

It also brought back a lot of memories, as my old job had very similar beliefs on the surface, but, other than letting us listen to some motivational speakers from time to time, they never did much about it.  It is my sincere hope that our PTK group does not fall into the same trap.  Those of us who are actually putting full effort into this experience are excited about some of the things we’re hearing, and are eager to find the ways to share them with our other members and make our chapter more effective.  I don’t want to be disappointed and find that it’s all just so much lip service; if I’m drinking Kook Aid at a party, I don’t want to be drinking alone. 

Oh, and besides good speakers, I also was in a breakout session which included a cut-throat game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  I might have preferred to make it a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock, but I never can remember all the words to that one.  Besides, this game was played in a tournament style, until you reached the last man standing.  Turns out the last man was actually a woman.  More importantly, the woman was me.  Score!  Got a nice little drinking glass for winning.  I’m guessing they’re hoping I’ll use it to drink some more Kook Aid.