Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Read Any Old Books Lately?

Keep your very old books repaired and treat them gently.jpgYou probably read a variety of material–hopefully, some of it related to work or to personal or professional development. For interesting perspectives, try reading books and magazine articles about supervision, management, leadership or personal development, written thirty or more years ago. You will find that much of the material could have been written yesterday, while some of the material is is amusing or irritating, viewed from 2008 perspectives. Any old, non-fiction book can be a wonderful window into the world of the past

One of my prized possessions is a reference set of 6 books, first printed in 1907 and reprinted in 1910. I have used those books repeatedly and find them to be fascinating and worthwhile for many reasons. For one thing, it’s very interesting–and sometimes poignant–to read articles about historic figures, written while they were still living. Nicholas II and Alexandra, his beloved Tsarina, and their children had not yet been executed; Theodore Roosevelt was no longer the president but was active in conservation projects; John D. Rockefeller had just given over fifty million dollars to various colleges (In 1910 money!). 

In the section on physical development the comment is made: “It is not enough to exercise the limbs and muscles to build strength. Every man, woman, boy and girl should also exercise their hearts and lungs. This can be done through daily rapid walking, or exercises such as arm swinging for prolonged periods, to increase breathing and pulse and develop strong pulmonary and vascular systems. Without a healthy heart and lungs, the other muscles have little value.” So much for aerobic health being a fairly modern discovery!

I have a dozen or so books on supervision written from 1935-1985 and find them to be tremendously useful for comparison and contrast about training topics. I often read an excerpt from one of those books without telling participants the publication date. For example, the chapter of one book on leadership is titled, “Teach Young People To Work.” It discusses how young people coming into the work force need to be taught to take responsibility and to do more than just enough to get by. Young employees, the author says, often have unrealistic expectations and want all the benefits of tenure long before they have paid their dues as a valued employee. Then, I show the book and read the date of the copyright: 1967.

You can find old books and magazines at estate sales and garage sales, online, in used bookstores, and sometimes in the homes of older relatives and friends–like me! Some classics are costly, but I simply look for any old reference book, or books on topics about which I teach.  I also let people know I’m looking,  and I occasionally receive an old book or magazine in the mail.

In yesterday’s training journal post I mentioned using old photos or scans from old books or magazines in PowerPoint slides, and that is another reason to look for older publications. However, the main reason is to see the issues and concerns of supervisors, managers and employees decades ago. It’s also interesting to consider how the books and magazine articles written today will seem to those who collect old resource material in 2050.

February 22nd, 2008 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Supervision and Management | 3 comments

Photos In PowerPoint Slides

This makes me appreciate technology!PowerPoint slides are the subject of many articles and posts on the internet. The purpose of this post isn’t to discuss the overuse of  PowerPoint, or the poor quality of many of the slides being created by trainers and presenters, or the fact that if you stand in the dark to show them you might as well go back to a 1960’s era slide show–I’ll write about that some other time–but to suggest a way to enliven the slides and make the text more memorable.

I use PowerPoint slides much as I did overhead transparencies: Text for key points, but with something visual to make the point stick in the minds of participants. One way to do that is to use a few photos in a presentation, much as one might use a photo to add interest to a post such as this one. The attention of audiences is gained immediately when a photo is on the slide, along with important text. (Does the Kodak Instamatic camera look familiar? Remember the flash cube on a stick?)

Of course, technical or professional topics can be illustrated with appropriate photos. And, using photos of people doing the tasks involved with a training topic is an obvious way to put interest in a slide.  Those who have been to my classes know that I use old photos of myself as a police officer as part of my introductory material.  When many in the class know me already I leave out the photos, and inevitably people will ask if I’m going to show them later, because they told others in the class about them.

In addition to these more obvious uses of photos, photos that illustrate a concept are also useful. Photos are particularly useful for illustrating text about personal and professional development, conflict and conflict resolution, setting and achieving goals, workgroups and teams, and then and now. This also allows you to avoid poor quality clipart. (Although I’m not opposed to all clipart–another post topic!)

I often have the photo appear while I briefly discuss a concept, then I have the key text appear. Sometimes I will ask what concept the photo represents, or if anyone has ever seen something like that and thought about the concept we’re going to discuss. When someone says, usually with heavy, but humorous sarcasm that they’ve seen the object, but never thought of that concept, I laugh with everyone else and tell them they will always think of it from now on. I’ll bet that’s true!

 Consider these photos and how they might be used in some of your presentations. Remember, the topics don’t have to be related to the subject of the photo, you only need to link it in some way.

  • Highways, roads, paths, lanes, bridges, street signs and lights, construction zones.
  • Vehicles: Old, new, wrecked, towed, expensive, with bumper stickers, with interesting or funny license plates.
  • Industrial areas: Doors, locks, trucks, security guard buildings, boxes, dumpsters, graffitti.
  • Airports: You can often get great photos of planes taking off, parking lot filled with vehicles, and people.
  • Nature: Flowers, weeds, weather, rocks, water, storms, aftermath of storms.
  • Animals: Domestic and wild, but not doing inappropriate things!
  • People: I’m thinking of having a few students pose for photos illustrating communication scenarios, so I can use them in other classes. If you are training within your own organization, old photos of former or current employees with the office equipment, cars, clothes and hairstyles of the era, can be fun. As a fun farewell after a week-long class, I have sometimes used a photo editor to put faces of students on clipart images. I don’t use those to illustrate important text. And, it was very time-consuming!
  • Almost anything in your home or office can illustrate a point: A book cover, phone, watch, glasses, scissors, pen, key, hot stovetop element, dying plant, broom, or food item.

Photos from stock sites are far too expensive for your purposes, and they look too commercial. The same thing applies to photos from photo and clipart subscription services. I’m not going to preach here about the use of photos from the internet, or photos from magazines or books. Those are usually copyrighted and you may or may not be able to use them legally–that’s up to you to find out and decide. I often look for very old books with old photos, or old magazines and catalogs, as a legal alternative. I have found old photos that were tremendously interesting and that cemented thoughts in the minds of participants.

One surefire method to avoid copyright problems is to take your own photos or use photos taken by others who have given you permission to use them. You don’t need a very fancy camera, tripod or any equipment other than a digital camera with a telephoto lens–although a nice camera and a basic tripod can make it easier to produce some excellent photographic material.  Spend a day or two taking photos now and then. When you download them, think about how all or part of a photo could be used in a presentation. Play around with the photos and topics until you find an interesting nexus.

Insert the photos using the insert/file feature in your powerpoint slide, size it to allow a text box, then type in the text. Do not use more than a few photos in a presentation, and do not attempt to make them all amusing–that will only irritate people.

If you use good judgment and effective photos you will enjoy making your slides, and most importantly, participants will enjoy looking at them. And, anything that captures the attention of participants in a positive way and makes the material memorable, is a good thing.

Here are some photos and scans I have used recently.  How could you use something similar? Challenge yourself to incorporate your own photos into PowerPoint Slides and see if you don’t find it fun and worthwhile for you and the participants.

70 Ford Pinto Teaser Ad.jpgKansas Car Wash Sign-Sarcasm Is Free Here Today-07.JPGJudaculla Rock Postcard-Ancient Rock Markings.jpg








February 20th, 2008 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | 2 comments

Make Yourself Do What You Can

You and I have thought it, but Ralph Waldo Emerson was the one who said it first: “Our chief want in life is someone to make us do what we can.” That want and need for someone to force us to do what we could do if only we would do it, is why we are willing to pay others to help us make the changes we want to make in our lives and careers.

Paying someone to direct our actions, chide us for making excuses, and applaud us for success may be well worth it.  Professionals or experienced people may have knowledge and resources you don’t have, and they may know tips and techniques you would never think of on your own. If you have serious problems physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, you will need more than self-help.  However, many of the activities of a life or career coach, advisor, or counselor are things you could do for yourself–and you could gain knowledge and link with resources that would help you in others ways, as well. Consider taking yourself as a client. Use the knowledge, skills and attitudes that have helped you be successful in other areas–and that you have probably used to help others–to be successful in dealing with personal and professional challenges.

1. If you hired a professional advisor or coach, what would he or she do or say in the first meeting with you? What will you be told to bring to the meeting and what will you be asked to provide as background material? What will your advisor ask you about, and how will you respond? How do you think the first meeting will end?

2. What realistic goals will you be helped to set? Will you be given a chart or graph, or asked to keep a journal or make a report regularly?

3. What plan of action do you think your advisor will develop for you?  What will the plan look like from the viewpoint of what you will be guided to do less of and more of, and what will you do instead of or addition to the things you’re doing now? How often will be you be expected to do substantial work toward your goal, and what will you be expected to do?

4. What will your professional person do for you to help you achieve your goals? For example, if you hire a health and fitness counselor, will he develop a shopping list or training program for you? If you hire someone to help you in other areas will she give you reading materials, find local resources or develop a list of daily activities?

5. When you are tempted to not follow the plan, or if you have failed to do your daily work, what will your advisor do? What methods will your advisor likely suggest for avoiding temptation, sticking with your plan, and reaching your goal?

6. How will you know you have accomplished your goals, so you can have your last meeting with your advisor? Picture yourself shaking hands with him or her. What will your life be like when your advisor says “Congratulations!”?

Being your own advisor, counselor and life coach, is not the same as being your own lawyer. If you have been successful in most of the other areas of your life, you have the time, wisdom and ability to guide and direct yourself to doing what you know you can do. To make it doubly rewarding, present yourself with a bill when you’re done, and buy something worthwhile with the money you’ve saved!  

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February 19th, 2008 Posted by | Food, Fitness, Fun, Personal and Professional Development | one comment

Blogs, like life, are a work in progress. This is the story of one pilgrim’s progress.

I’ve talked about having a blog format website for months–even years. But there has been one huge barrier to getting it done: Me.

I tend to procrastinate anyway, so that hasn’t helped. Plus, I didn’t want to keep a journal in the literal sense. Primarily I wanted to share and compare thoughts about the areas in which I train and present. And, I had felt if I couldn’t produce something like the best of the others I’ve seen, I didn’t want to do it. (I’m over that now.) Then, there is the ongoing issue of having limited time for writing brilliant entries. (I’m over that illusion, too.) Another issue is that I wanted to combine a business website with a blog, but didn’t want it to seem like either. That is why I’m calling this a training journal.

For years I’ve told people that one day I’d have a way for them to contact me, find out about training and presentations and share thoughts about supervision, leadership, personal and professional development, favorite quotations and interesting trivia–including the trivia of some of my activities. However, in spite of thinking about doing it, talking about doing it, wanting to do it, being encouraged to do it and knowing I needed to do it for business reasons, it never happened.

This is the first entry, and before long I’ll be able to say (casually, as though it’s a minor detail and I don’t want any fuss or bally-hoo over it) “Yeah, I have an online training journal. Check it out if you want to. No big deal. Just something I threw together in 1,356.5 hours.”  There will be changes over time–some of them over the next few days and weeks–but I’m hoping to keep it simple with the primary goal of posting regularly.

Thank you Dr. Jeff Adams  www.drjeffadams.com for your encouragement. Really, you were the one who made it happen. Cheryl, you will undoubtedly get a crown in Heaven for your patience when I’ve called Jeff so often. Also, thank you Shannon, Casey, and Larry, for listening to me fidget about this project.

Thank you Dr. William Gorden of the Ask The Workplace Doctors website www.workplacedoctors.com as well as Robert Adams (aka Pastor Bulldog) http://bulldogs-are-survivors.blogspot.com, and my very young, older brother, Julian Lewis, for demonstrating the importance of gaining and using technological saavy, even past the time of having a career need for it.

Thank you Troy Vitullo of Troy Vitullo Consulting, who has been doing web consulting since 1997. Check him out at www.troyvit.com. Troy has been a great source of advice about this project as well as other website development issues I’ve had. He must think I’m the biggest idiot in the world, but he’s never once acted like it.

Thank you Mark, Ava, Hutch, Angela, Rich, Pat, Patty, Darrin, Letty, Dean, Janet, Karen, Sharon, Tom and Gail, and especially Marcia, who have proven to be wonderful sources of support and fun over time–and to whom I’ll refer often, and also use you as guest contributors now and then. I think that will add to the usefulness of the site, and give you something to do with your idle hours.

Now do your duty: Read regularly, comment often and forward the link to your hundred or so dearest friends.

Someone suggested that I develop a catch-phrase to close every entry, but that doesn’t work well for me.  So, this first entry will close with a quote most of you have heard me use many times. Thomas Carlysle said it in the 1800’s and it’s still true:

“Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask no other blessedness.” If you found your work and can still find reasons to enjoy it, you ARE truly blessed. Share your positive feelings with others–that’s what I’m hoping to do with this blog training journal!  ###

January 11th, 2008 Posted by | Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | no comments