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Thoughts to Ponder

Issue 10/7/03

Jo Britt-Rankin, M.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean, University of Missouri Extension

Good afternoon

Maybe this should be "Thoughts from the Road." It seems it has been a while since I have written. I have traveled many miles in recent weeks. Much of the time I have been able to visit with regional faculty and I appreciate the time I have to do so. I want to share with you some of the things that I have gleaned from my travels.

Words of Wisdom
To pass the hours in the airport, I picked up a quick read book which I hope to share with each of you in the very near future. Leslie Yorker and Charles Decker co-wrote a book entitled BEANS. Four Principles for Running a Business in Good Times or Bad. Similar in format to FISH! or Who Moved My Cheese, this is a quick 1-2 hour read and is so invigorating. I knew I was hooked when I read the forward. It states the philosophy of being successful . . ."Hire the best people you can, allow them to be who they are, treat them fairly and reward them regularly, instill in them a love for serving the customers and the customers will come back faithfully."

This book is filled with basic common sense application for generating passion for what you do. Although the book is centered around a locally-owned coffee shop, it is very applicable to any organization that works with the public. As I said before, it is my hope to share this with each of you in the near future. My hope is that it is as energizing to you as it was to me.

Speaking of Travels
As I began my note, I indicated I have been on the road. Since July 1, I have been out of Columbia and to the following regions (and states)
CM--2 trips plus 9 days at the Missouri State Fair booth
EC--2 trips
NE--2 trips
SC--4 trips
SW--1 trip
WC--2 trips
Out of State--3 trips

I have more travel plans for the coming months as well. I want to thank those of you who have extended an invitation to me to join your category meetings. As I have told everyone, I don't need to be a part of the program but would appreciate time to visit each region. I have the following regional category meetings on my calendar:
CM--November 12 (Will join you for lunch at Boone County Extension Center) SE--November 13 @ Jackson
SW--December 8 @ Greene County Annex
WC--October 21 @ Jackson County Office

If you have extended an invitation and I have failed to list it above, please let me know. Also, thank you to the NE & SC regions who allowed me to join their meetings in August.

I would add that it doesn't have to be a special meeting for me to make the trip. I went to Camden County's Extension Council Picnic a week ago Tuesday. It poured rain but it did not dampen our spirits. We moved inside for a great meal and fellowship. I believe my time in the regions is a great investment into this position, obviously, I cannot be at every event. But each time I travel, I learn from each of you the needs of your specific community. I hope I can use that knowledge to then create resources for programs and personnel. As I have said many times before, I view my position to be one of a facilitator to aid you in accomplishing the program goals of your disciplines.

Communication is the Key
We know that there is an art to communicating and it takes more than one person to communicate. In a rapidly changing environment, effective communication is a must. As I have visited with many of you in my travels, everyone must share their thoughts, feeling, and ideas to be successful.

I want to remind everyone that I have an open door policy. You are always welcome to share with me. I will not guarantee that we will agree or that I can make the changes you feel are needed, but I will do my best to listen and incorporate your ideas into our overall goals. If I can facilitate change or find resources needed, I will do my best to move our organization forward.

2004 UOE Annual Conference/PIEs
The 2004 UOE Annual Conference will be held May 18-20 in Columbia. As you have seen in the Weekly News, Jo Turner is the chair and much of the program will be devoted to in-service opportunities. I have met with the campus specialists and asked that they submit 1-page proposals for in-service opportunities. I would extend the same invitation to each of you. If you feel there is a specific topic that should be covered during Annual Conference, please submit a 1-page proposal (using the PIE guidelines on the UOE website) to me by November 3. I will select the offerings and make room reservations by the first week of December. In-service opportunities can be either half or full day programs.

If you have any questions or ideas for programs, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Coming Full Circle
They say that great all things come full circle. Well, in an attempt to better market HES Extension programming and the impact of our programs, I have decided to begin publication of something similar to the former HES Impact, For those of you who were here with Barb Froke, you will remember the Impact. The new publication will be a quicker read, possibly in a newspaper format. I hope to have the first issue in print by January 2004. I am not sure whether this will publish once or twice a year. We are still determining that, however, I can tell you that it is my desire that this information come directly from what each of you submit in your PRLLs. We have hundreds of PRLLs submitted annually and we need to use that valuable information to market our program.

We will print between 2,000 and 5,000 copies. These copies will be made available to county office, policy makers, FCS teachers, FCE clubs, alumni, and friends of HES. If you have any ideas for stories or distribution points, please forward your comments to me. We are beginning to put together the first issue and I am very excited.

So be checking your mailboxes in January for our first edition of the "MissouriFamilies News"

In Closing
Let me close with these words.

"Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress." -- Lloyd Alexander

I wish to optimistic thoughts, safe travels, and a great week.

Until next time . . . Jo



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