Author Archives: peggyburns

Starting with “Fine”

It may be telling that Pete often finds inspiration for blog posts in business articles and publications, and I’m often moved to write by something I read in less relevant sources.  I don’t know what that “tells,” in fact, but I’m sure it reveals something about us as bloggers. Read the rest of this entry

A Confession of Confused Values

 Legendary Oklahoma weathercaster Gary England was the subject of an article in the August 11, 2013 issue of New York Times magazine.  The author of the article, after spending three days in Gary’s studio, noted that “One tension of covering severe weather is that you often find yourself rooting for the storm.  You don’t want it to do serious damage, of course, but you would like it to be interesting, and these desires are often at cross-purposes.” Read the rest of this entry

Tips from a Leader

Pete and I are committed to passing on “tips” via this blog, even when those tips didn’t originate from our own experience.  I read an August 10, 2013 NY Times interview by Adam Bryant with Hugh Martin, CEO of Sensity Systems (and previously with Apple and 3DO), that inspired this post.  Here are some of the principles Martin relayed:

Communication is critical. – Martin has a weekly “no-holds-barred” meeting with his entire staff.  “We talk about anything that’s important and it’s a great opportunity to model behavior to every single person in the company.”  How often do you meet with your entire staff?  Do they get to generate at least some of the topics for discussion?  How have you communicated that they can speak honestly without fear of repercussion? Read the rest of this entry

Repeat Performances: A Rant

Sometimes a school transportation director or manager who has been to one or more of my presentations pays me the ultimate compliment:  “You’ve made a difference for kids.”  What more could I ask for?  Well, the “more” I seek is a sense that the same problems don’t constantly recur.

I’m a story teller, and the stories I tell in my presentations are the situations I read about in lawsuits.  They can make for heart breaking reading, tragic tales, but serve as excellent training tools.  And so, when I put my hard-core lawyer’s suit of armor on, and steel myself to the reality that these stories are about real kids who have, often, suffered real pain, I can actually find some perverse satisfaction in coming across a new story. Read the rest of this entry

Preparing Students for the World Beyond

We frequently urge school transportation professionals to see themselves as an integral part of the education process.  At the same time, I often become aware of drivers’ reluctance to comment on students’ inappropriate communications, disrespectful behavior, and failure to follow the rules.  Sometimes that reluctance is the subject of court cases that have led me to say, often, “Doing nothing is never the right thing” when students bully or harass other students.  “Doing nothing” is certainly “never the right thing” when students fail to follow essential rules of conduct that are directly related to the safety of everyone on the bus – rules as basic as staying in their seats while the bus is moving. Read the rest of this entry

Billboard Inspirations

White blank billboard, blue sky behind. Outlined with clipping path.

What’s on Your Billboard?

We travelled by car recently from Pueblo Colorado back home to Kansas City after our nephew’s high school graduation.  I love a car trip, but the scenery on this particular stretch leaves much to be desired.  I amused myself by seeing how I might modify the billboards that proliferate before you reach a town of any real size.  Read the rest of this entry

Don’t “leave the porch light on”

When it comes to department, district or company policy, we tend to be on autopilot until some new technology, new national crisis, or new “hot button” issue jogs us into policy development.  Although hasty, “knee-jerk” reactions may not always be advisable for a whole host of reasons, there’s another reason to lay low and see if there’s another option to policy creation.  When we attack that new issue with new language we can draw unwanted attention and scrutiny from employee unions, the media, parents and others when we would have done better to “not leave the porch light on,” as one labor lawyer recently put it. Read the rest of this entry

Proclaim Your “Name”

An interesting article in a recent New York Times Magazine section caught my eye.  Its title was “Forecasting Fraud,” and it focused on the phenomenon of one’s misrepresenting themselves by using titles that are not entirely accurate.  The article’s central example was the ubiquitous TV weatherperson who is referred to – often inaccurately – as a meteorologist.  While a meteorologist has specialized education, many of the people who report rain or shine may only qualify as a “weathercaster” rather than a meteorologist, since they can claim only professional experience, and have no special course work or degree. Read the rest of this entry

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