Got Change!

coins IIEach December my kids’ elementary school has an end of year fundraiser called the Winter Store. The Winter Store features items personally made by the 6th grade class students as they learn about commerce, cost of goods, and profit margins. Items are placed on display in the library for sale before and after school. It’s a great learning opportunity for the older students and provides a fun store with inexpensive gifts for the rest of the students to buy.

This year I had the pleasure of accompanying my two youngest sons (6 and 8 years old) to the store. Each boy was given a crisp 5 dollar bill to spend on whatever item or items he wished to purchase. With a variety of gift options and crafts there was a plethora of options to choose from ranging in price from $1 to $5.

We arrived 15 minutes before school started, but the library quickly filled up with enthusiastic youngster each holding their precious coins and dollar bills, eager to make a purchase.

My two boys approached the buying opportunity differently. My eight year old son quickly scoped out a couple of items he dearly wanted. He snatched them up asking me to hold on to them while he socialized with his friends. My six year old on the other hand roamed around and around the display tables, the sheer number of options virtually overwhelming. As the time for school to start quickly approached I began prodding him to make his final decision.

Only minutes before the bell rang he finally selected two items and we got in line to pay. I noticed my older son had selected gifts that added up exactly to $5, his total spend amount. My younger son on the other hand had $3.75 worth of items. I brought this to his attention letting him know he had another $1.25 to spend.

“Quick, go find something else for $1.25 while I wait in line to pay” I said.

“No Dad, I want change” he replied with excitement.       

The concept of buying something paled in comparison to the excitement of getting change!

Each boy arrived at the cashier’s table to pay for their goods. The cashier helping my younger son took his five dollar bill and then placed a dollar and a quarter in his small hand. “Here’s your change” she said.

His eyes opened wide, his grin spread from ear to ear. He lifted his open palm towards me showcasing his money and said “See, I got change.” Then he joyfully scampered off to class.    


The 1989 comedy movie, UHF, portrays actor and songwriter ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic playing the role of George Newman. George is an obsessive daydreamer who can’t keep a job, but ends up managing his uncle’s TV station. Throughout the movie a man in dirty, tattered clothing is seen begging people for change. “Change, change mister…” he calls out.

After having ignored the man several times George finally stops, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of coins. He holds out the change to give the man. Instead of merely taking the money the man begins counting the coins, when he reaches 100 cents he takes the money and places a one dollar bill in George’s hand. “Gee, thanks mister” he says.


2013 will soon come to an end and the New Year will roll in. Inevitably change will occur in many ways for many of us. Change is a part of life, often seen as something to accept or endure. Change can create worry, fear of the unknown or concern about things getting worst or having less than we previously had.

Maybe it’s time to have that childlike excitement toward that idea of change. Maybe it’s time to view change as getting just as much as we’re giving. Maybe it’s time to alter our paradigm of change.  

Accepting change is good. Embracing change is better. Looking forward to change and creating change is best.

Here’s to a New Year full of change!

photo credit: xJason.Rogersx via photopin cc


If You Cannot Measure It …Five beliefs that erode workplace motivation (Part 5)

A great article on placing importance on things that can’t be measured. People, relationships, emotions, attitude – what motivates and inspires, these are things we maybe should focus on more at work. Then numbers and results will naturally follow.

Blanchard LeaderChat

bigstock-Measurement-With-Caliper-44942719As we have discovered with all five of the eroding beliefs in this series of posts, completing this statement falls off the tongue:  If you cannot measure it, it doesn’t matter.

I was a longtime aficionado of SMART goal setting when the “M” stood for “Measurable.” However, over time, I found that a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal simply was not SMART enough. I changed the “M” to “Motivating” and moved measurable into the “S” (Specific). Adding another dimension to make my goals more emotionally compelling worked for me. It seemed to work for others, too. Now the science of motivation explains why.

The nature of things that cannot be measured.

Setting measurable goals and outcomes is important. Having a defined finish line in front of you can be positively compelling. In my previous post, I encouraged leaders and individuals to ensure a higher level of results…

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