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September 2013 | Volume 12, Issue 01


ENCORE effect

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suit up



’m a fan of “real talk.” Sometimes it can be to a fault, but I don’t see the value in sugar-coating when there is an opportunity for improvement. Maximizer is No. 3 in my top five Gallup themes, and I definitely own it! Having said that, can I be real with you? The National FFA Delegate Process has a major flaw, and I have little control over fixing it. There! I said it. For the last two years, the process has undergone a number of improvements, largely due to a committed group of state staff who saw the same opportunities for betterment. We’ve streamlined procedures, documented how situations are handled and openly shared the inner workings of how the process operates. With all of our changes though, we can’t seem to change the fact that delegates have a hard time understanding the impact of their work. I think James Whistler said it best, “An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision.” Truth be told, we may never see the payoff of the work that we’ll undertake in Louisville, Ky., in just a few short weeks. I’m sure that the delegates at the 1933 National FFA Convention didn’t expect that this year, 80 years later, we would celebrate the jacket that they voted to adopt as our Official Dress. I doubt that those who voted to allow women into FFA membership in 1969 would have predicted that, today, the number of female competitors surpasses the number of male competitors in nearly every national-level career development event. Serving the organization as a national delegate requires vision beyond our time in the blue corduroy. FFA has remained relevant for more than 85 years thanks to those who have made recommendations that they would never see implemented. With the right amount of patience, faith and vision, we can be part of securing another 85 years of relevance for FFA.

where we find ourselves accountable to our stakeholders. Whether an official delegate or not, the process makes time for our voice to be heard. Create dialogue surrounding the committee topics and the constitutional amendment with those in your state. Engage your members, teachers, alumni, state staff and sponsors in the process. Once you’ve gathered your opinions, testify during public hearings on Wednesday morning of the convention and expo. While you’re at it, solicit the ideas of those who have come before you. While it’s easy to see your state officer year as “my time to shine,” recognize that past state officers have experiences that you have yet to enjoy and their perspective should carry some weight. When you zip up your jacket every morning during convention and expo week, you suit up for something bigger than yourself and your state association. Your role in the process isn’t about you; it’s about those who you were elected to serve. It’s about more than 557,000 members nationwide who will be affected by the decisions made this year and the countless FFA members who will be impacted in years to come. You are suiting up for them. Henry Miller said, “Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” You have a golden moment before you; will you choose to suit up?

Shane Jacques is the education specialist for the National FFA Delegate Process and State Officer Programs with the National FFA Organization. He has a degree in agribusiness management from the State University of New York at Cobleskill. A self-proclaimed Strengths nerd, he is certified by the Gallup Organization in Strength-Based Education and is a licensed facilitator of the Habitudes curriculum. He served as state FFA president in Rhode Island during his time as an FFA member.

To be sure, some of us may not have the chance to serve as an official delegate on behalf of our state association. Let’s be clear that our role in shaping the future of our organization isn’t subject to whether or not we wear a yellow delegate badge at the convention and expo. As state officers, we’re in a unique position



Suit up for them. by Shane Jacques

Bright Ideas • Volume 12, Issue 1


A MAN OF TRUTH In 1936, a motivated 21-year-old black man walked into the only residential center where blacks could receive a higher education in his home country. Earning a degree at the University College of Fort Hare in South Africa meant living among the African elite and for this young man, it meant supporting his sisters and widowed mother and the dream of one day realizing national rights for justice. Just a year later, the blossoming sophomore was elected to represent the student body. However, many students charged the administration with particular injustices in campus life and had boycotted the mandatory election. Thus, this young man saw the boycotted election—his election—as unjust. While it would have given him both favor with the administration and a position of influence, he declined the elected position. Twice.

DEVELOPING . CHARACTER. the impression you make by Tyler Tenbarge

Wanting to reassert authority over the growing student rebellion, the university headmaster gave the young man an ultimatum: accept the position or be expelled from Fort Hare. That day, the young Nelson Mandela packed his bags and walked out the door of the only place that could give him a real future in South Africa. The education doors closed on Mandela that day, and so did the odds of his family’s prosperity. The realization of his personal dream for national justice faded. Mandela based his life on what was right. Time and time again, the eventual resident of South Africa would continue choosing to adhere to the truth, no matter the suffering he would endure. He could have accepted the election, seeing it as a means to the end of influencing the administration for justice and setting himself up for greater influence in future justice activities. He didn’t. He stood up for the truth. So, Mandela was expelled, later imprisoned, persecuted and alienated. Eventually, elected president of South Africa, he became one of the most influential men for the cause of justice in our age—and among the strongest examples of character. Everything we do speaks to who we are; big, small, totally private or blatantly public. All of what we do becomes part of our character. Mandela understood this; he built his character around the truth.



WHAT IS CHARACTER? The English term character comes from the Greek kharakter, meaning an “imprint” or “impression” as on a coin. Another translation is “an engraved mark on the soul.” Your character is the impression you make on others, what they take with them of you when you depart one another. These impressions are made every time we interact with others or even when others speak of us to people we don’t even know. You don’t know Mandela, but you do have an impression of him. I’d bet it’s positive. Our actions form our character. Others perceive your character by encountering you in person, from your activity online and via others even when you aren’t present. What do you think advisors, teammates and students say about you? What impression are you making? Today, our lives are more public than ever; telling others who we are, what we believe and where we are heading. As state officers, we are in the public eye more than most and students see us as role models. You were elected, like Mandela, and others are watching your decisions.

ONLINE AND REAL-TIME IMPRESSIONS We make “impressions” in two realms. Online, we send thoughts, feelings, beliefs and photos soaring through cyberspace and onto the screens of anyone who follows or has friended us. In fact, most who read this article grew up communicating these and many other things online as part of daily life. However, unlike the online aspect of our lives, our real-time actions merit realtime responses. As Alex Schnabelrauch mentions in this very issue of Bright Ideas, we don’t get as much time to weigh what we say before we post, nor do we get to look at something and thereafter pretend we didn’t see it. Real-time responses reveal more of our natural inclinations, and not only is real-time more revealing, it’s also a more significant realm. In his new book Contagious, Jonah Berger reveals that only 7 percent of communication happens online. Not 47. Just 7. The other 93 percent is real-time, in-person. However, all 100 percent creates impressions. Both are real. We ought to be just as concerned about our actions real-time as our actions in cyberspace.




Online and/or real-time choices I made today:

The reason/truth that decision was grounded in:

The impressions my choices made:

Though tired, I finished my 4.5 mile run with Mary.

I didn’t want to give up, because I had committed.

I appeared strong. I finished with her. Turns out, she was tired, too. We helped each other!

I avoided Sam at lunch and in class, again.

I don’t like him. Maybe I’m jealous that others think he’s “soooo cool.”

Others didn’t see my dislike for Sam. But, personally, it’s not good for me to live like this.

I did not eat extra sweets.

I want to be healthier— taking care of myself is good.

People may have seen me struggle or exercise discipline.

Impressions I want to make tomorrow:

The reason/truth that impression is grounded in:

Online and/or real-time choices I should make tomorrow:

I want to let my running partner know how much I appreciated her continuing to run.

I need her to help me stay motivated to finish. I don’t want to become proud or arrogant that I am stronger than her.

I will thank Mary for continuing to run with me this afternoon. Maybe I should also avoid posting anything on Facebook about how much I ran today, so I don’t build my own ego, and since I can get proud sometimes.

I want Sam to know I’m jealous— because I respect his gifts, but without risking getting too vulnerable or angry with him.

I know I am not Sam. I have different gifts and a unique mission. Sam has people he admires, too. I need to acknowledge his gifts and mine, too.

I will make eye contact with Sam tomorrow. Even if I cannot start a conversation with him, I will at least acknowledge his presence. It will be a start.

I want to let others see that they can be disciplined, too.

Doing the right thing is easier when .I will avoid dessert at one meal others are with you in fight. tomorrow or maybe avoid a snack—whichever one presents itself.

FORMING OUR CHARACTER Mandela left Fort Hare, and he never received his degree. But he built his character upon truth. Because his choices were grounded in timeless truths, we speak of him still today.

(above) One way to reflect on how our choices are forming our character is to take a few minutes each night to list some choices we have made and the impressions that resulted. When we see these casual relationships, we become aware and motivated for change—or for continuing in virtue. We can also contemplate acting better tomorrow.

Everything you do makes an impression and forms your character. At a time—and during an officer year—when your life is so public, why worry so much about the walls of the web haunting or harming when the impressions of all of our actions are “engraved marks on the souls” of others? When only a fraction of our time is spent online, why not take a few minutes to consider what your life is communicating in person? At an infinitely more important level, why not consider who you are and whether that version of you is based on what is timelessly true? Stay Tuned: In the November issue, we will look at virtues that constitute action and form character in “Claiming my choices.” Following, we will look more at how we can begin living virtuously like the inspiring saints of our time in “Attaining virtue: How can I become more virtuous?” (Jan. 2014) and “Sustaining virtue: How do I persevere in virtue?” (Mar. 2014).

Tyler Tenbarge is a former state and national FFA officer from Indiana and is currently studying for priesthood for the Diocese of Evansville at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. After serving as a facilitator for the Washington Leadership Conference, he has remained involved in FFA by developing and facilitating various pieces of curriculum and content for state FFA officers. He also blogs at

Bright Ideas • Volume 12, Issue 1


AUTHENTIC TEAMWORK Starting with self by Dustin Clark My profession of coaching college basketball has many parallels to my years of service in FFA. In both positions trying to get the most out of individuals while working within a team dynamic is fundamental. We all want to be part of a championship team, but first we must understand that a championship team is made up of championship-worthy individuals. Come with me as we discover what will make you a championship-level state FFA officer. The 12 months of service a state officer takes on is a grueling test on one’s body. It’s not uncommon for state officers to become ill, even to the extent of hospitalization. Now that I’ve scared you, let’s figure out how to prevent illness and injury. First, it is imperative to have the right “fuel” entering your body. So how do you ensure that you are eating healthy during this crazy year of service? Just like mom always said, the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Even if it’s a bagel, fruit from the hotel’s continental breakfast or a breakfast bar... something is better than nothing. I found lunch to be the hardest meal to eat healthy because you often have limited time. The best way to make sure to eat well is to schedule at least one hour for lunch every day to guarantee that you have time to find a healthy option. While many things are often outside of your control, during this year the one thing you can control is your personal schedule. Dinner is the easiest meal



to eat healthy because you normally attend a function that serves a healthy meal option or you are on your own schedule and can find something good to eat. The second tenet to staying physically healthy is to exercise four days per week. Working out boosts energy, helps relieve stress, creates endurance and fosters self-esteem. The workout doesn’t have to be intense or long. It is important to get a sweat going and elevate your heart rate. Almost all hotels have a workout room, so being on the road is no excuse. The key is getting in a groove and being consistent. The last tip to staying healthy during your year of service is sleeping eight hours each night. I know this is seemingly hard to justify, but it’s something that has to be done. Be selfish with your sleep. Lack of sleep affects all of us differently. Whether it causes moodiness, lack of focus or illness, none of these are conducive to being effective state officers. As a state FFA officer, you are expected to be an expert in agricultural education issues, agricultural facts and leadership development. As daunting as that may sound, it’s actually a knowledge base that you have been acquiring your entire life. But there are a few things you can do to stay on top of your game. All of us are experts in a segment of agriculture because of our supervised agricultural experiences; however, the

challenge is to know a little about a lot rather than a lot about a little. The easiest way to know a little about every sector of agriculture is to pick five websites that are representative of the industry and visit each site every day. This will allow you to have an educated discussion on any topic. By virtue of the leadership experiences that have gotten you to this point in your FFA career, you are an expert in leadership. However, one thing that I found helpful was to read one leadership development book a month. I’m not sure I learned too many new leadership qualities, practices or theories, but I did learn how to accurately verbalize the leadership philosophies I had both seen and practiced over the years. One of my favorite lines is “to whom much is given, much is expected.” The expectations of state officers are high. The last tenet of being an effective individual during your year of service is — knowing expectations. The first expectation you must fully understand is what your state FFA association expects from you. If you feel like you aren’t sure exactly what your state staff expects, schedule a time to talk with them. The next set of expectations that you have to know is what your team expects from you. These can only be defined with collective discussion and participation from all team members. Perhaps the most important expectation to set is your own personal expectations. At the end of your year, you

have to be satisfied with how you served. Invest time setting expectations for how you will live, act and serve daily so that each day is maximized. Once all expectations are known, have the discipline and work ethic to meet them. You have been selected to serve based on your ability; now reward members and supporters with your work ethic. Healthy living, becoming an expert in your field and knowing expectations will make you a championship-level state FFA officer. In the coming issues, we’ll discuss how a group of championship individuals can become a championship-level team. Until then, have fun living to serve!

Dustin Clark is the director of basketball operations for the University of Maryland Terrapins. As a past state and national FFA officer, he has shared leadership lessons learned in agricultural education with college basketball players to help them reach their potential on and off the court. Dustin has been a part of highly successful coaching staffs at Texas A&M University and the University of Maryland.

Bright Ideas • Volume 12, Issue 1





by Alex Schnabelrauch KATIE, “stalker ninja” – likes, retweets and comments on every post, picture and wall she can access.

friends and followers. (Names have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.)

ALAN, “newsfeed buster” – daily averages: 7.4 Grumpy Cat memes, 4.3 chain posts and 17.4 Farmville notifications.

The scary part? That means they’re judging our tweets and Instagram photos, too.

SARAH, “TMI drama queen” – constantly tweets a mix of Hunter Hayes lyrics, repetitive <3s and Taylor-Swift-style, no-name-attached hater-grams only using hashtags. True life: We all do it.

As a state officer, we know the image we’re supposed to portray in our 3D, day-to-day interactions. Online, it’s a whole different ball game. We can also get a bad reputation for our words and actions online.

No matter how open-minded we claim to be, we all judge others on social media. Just like I’ve judged some of my obnoxious

What can state officers say online? Who should we add? What pictures can we post? You’ve got questions; I’ve got answers.

Alex Schnabelrauch (Henry) is a past state and national officer from Michigan and has served as a national FFA conference facilitator. She graduated from Michigan State University (Go Green!) with a degree in agriculture and natural resources communications in 2012. Alex currently works as communications coordinator for the Michigan Milk Produces Association, a member-owned dairy co-op.



Up front, you should know that my answers might not be what you want to hear. They aren’t easy and take conscious, intentional work to implement. But, I can promise to be frank and tell you what most people won’t – your tweets, pictures and pages are affecting your reputation… and not always in a good way. You should also know that your state staff might have even higher expectations of your social media presence, which should take priority over what I’m about to share. So let’s take a look at some of the “deadly sins” that have the potential to damage your rep this year and beyond. They’re based on personal experience and comments from past FFA members, sponsors and employers. They will come back to bite you later…like a nasty karma boomerang with teeth.



Social media allows us to connect instantly with people across the globe without censorship or limitations. (Props to the First Amendment!) But, just because we can say or do something on Facebook, doesn’t mean that we should. Using social media to connect with members and sponsors can definitely strengthen our impact as state officers. Yet, it can also blur or erase the lines between the FFA world and our personal lives. Don’t fall into the trap! Establish concrete online boundaries by avoiding landmines that could alienate your audience and by refusing to cross the line of professionalism. Only post if you can answer “yes” to all of these questions:

✓Would I want my grandma, parents or role models to see this?

✓Would my most uptight friend approve? ✓Am I staying away from topics that could offend or “turn off” even a few of our members? How about our sponsors?

✓Am I able to post this update without negatively impacting my influence on stakeholders?

Am I representing my family, association and the National FFA Organization well with this post?

✓Am I using language, linking to sites, quoting song lyrics and posting pictures of which my state FFA staff would approve?

True, you may have strong opinions about certain issues (faith, politics, social issues, agricultural issues, etc.). Regardless, you’re representing a broad range of members with differing views. Compassionate respect to all people and views is clutch when it comes to online credibility. Save controversial opinions for the debate team. If you’re in doubt about the appropriateness of your social media updates, check out to run some tests on your online image.



It’s tempting to rant about that person who cut you off on the highway, complain about an unreasonable professor or call someone out (with or without their name) online. But under no circumstances should you press “post” in these situations. No one likes (or hires) a Negative Nancy, Passive-aggressive Paul or Whining Wanda.

Of course there’s the obvious “no drugs and alcohol” rule. But what might a red Solo cup insinuate? Pictures of you in bathing suits or in provocative poses or outfits might give members an unspoken “green light” to begin not-soprofessional conversations. (Refer to rule one.) Ask an honest and trusted friend to go through your snapshots with a fine-tooth comb. If there’s a question, delete it! And remember, once something is posted or sent, it can never be totally deleted. Snapchatters beware: screenshots can be deadly.



Sure, members like seeing pictures of your teammates hanging out. I’m sure they like your new outfit. And who doesn’t enjoy your hand-on-hip pics? But remember, social media is supposed to be… social — two-way communication. Take off the blinders and use these sites to connect and form relationships. Tag chapters or individuals in your statuses after a visit. Ask members to post their words of appreciation to a sponsor online. Visit a member’s page to comment on a picture. Social media is another way to take the focus off us and drive home the awesome accomplishments and personalities of our members and supporters.



Many of us spend our days texting and trolling Facebook with thumbs of steel. But that doesn’t mean we should carry our texting lingo over to social media. Avoid using abbreviations (LOL, OMG, ROTFL, etc.) and slang. As state officers, we want to maintain a mature, positive image. Wrecking our rep online also hurts the reputation of FFA in the process. Also… DON’T USE ALL CAPS! IT’S ANNOYING, HARD TO READ AND SCREAM-Y. No one likes screaming. Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, edit your post two to three times before you hit send. Watch out for autocorrect and homonyms (there, their and they’re). Even simple mistakes are judged under the harsh social media microscope.



Less is more. According to market research, once-a-day posts on Facebook are more than sufficient, and stick to no more than four to five tweets per day, please. Enough said.

Writing is a great way to let off steam. Nevertheless, Facebook and Twitter aren’t the place to do it. Get a journal and collect your not-so-positive or personal thoughts there. You’ll thank me later.

If you get nothing else from the past few hundred words, and are still reading, here’s the one major takeaway: think twice before pressing send, and when in doubt, don’t post at all.


Stay safe online, and may the social media force be with you!


If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, pictures are the Facebook faux pas that sink millions of reputations. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter, pictures are indeed worth a thousand words… but what are yours saying?

Bright Ideas • Volume 12, Issue 1




ENTER THE STUDENT’S WORLD What is on their mind? What do they care about? What concerns and joys do they have?

Earning the right to be heard by Becky Sullivan



acilitation is unlike any other type of learning process. Facilitation is not merely telling your students what you want them to know. It is not a “death by PowerPoint” presentation, and it is so much different than a teacher-student relationship.

Facilitators have the role of guiding students toward new discoveries that are as selftaught as possible. Truly great facilitators will talk only 20-25 percent of the time through a workshop—leading the students through activities and stimulating questions. The rest of that time, the students are actively engaged in a joint-journey of learning.

Ag girl, leadership nerd and “FFA groupie” are all nicknames Becky Sullivan has been dubbed and worn proudly throughout her career as a state and national officer and conference facilitator for the National FFA Organization. A graduate of Kansas State University, she currently works at the Kansas Department of Agriculture dealing with local food promotions and international value-added food exports from the state.


SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE Think about what is trending in your audience’s world? What social media sites or phone apps are hot right now that you can chat with them about?


How does a facilitator, who usually meets students right before the workshop begins, mobilize their participants to be present and active in the workshop journey? One word: rapport.

Be open and authentic about how you are feeling and be willing to share vulnerable personal stories relating to your workshop’s purpose.

An unknown author once said, “To get anybody to buy from you requires three things: rapport, logic and emotion. Rapport means the buyer trusts you. Logic means that buying makes sense. Emotion means that buying feels good. Use all three tools.”

Show each person the same respect you would show yourself or an adult. Remember you are all on the same level; this means you can celebrate and participate together throughout the day.

Facilitators sell soft skills, which is a hard sell because the product is a self-contained tool. Focus on building rapport and make a hard sale an easy one — Factor #1 of Facilitation: Build rapport.

Rapport itself means building a relationship, a trust among people that gives you the right to be heard. Without rapport, your message sinks. Rapport begins before you ever start facilitating and builds throughout the entire workshop.


Introduce yourself, shake hands and learn students’ names as early as possible. Attempt to remember at least three student’s names before your workshop even starts. Utilize names when students engage.


HAVE FUN TOGETHER Participate with your students in activities when you can, let loose and have a ball together. Rapport must be present for students to absorb and try on the new skill sets your workshop is designed to equip them with.

OFF THE SHELF The Encore Effect, by Mark Sanborn by Bethany Parker THE READ Do you believe that you are in the top 10 percent of all people who do your job? If so, why?

Bethany Parker (Bohnenblust), a graduate of Kansas State University, served as a state and national officer from Kansas. Now she works with The Traveling Team campus ministry, investing in college students across the country and in several countries while helping them to determine their life purpose. She and her husband, Morgan, love their adventures together.

Most people would say they desire to be the best at what they do. Author Mark Sanborn, a former National FFA Officer, offers this key to being the best: “Deliver a remarkable product in a remarkable way, and you’ll have people coming back for more.” That’s what The Encore Effect is all about according to Sanborn: “When people constantly demand more and more of whatever it is you do.” Sanborn says the secrets of being at the top of your game lie in five steps: Passion, Prepare, Practice, Perform and Polish. We’ve heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” but Sanborn takes us to the next level in our performance by acknowledging the need to know our target audience, the need to identify our true passions in life and the need for feedback from counsel. He even takes time to look at pitfalls we may face. Sanborn relies on his experience in leadership development to relay to us that many aspire to become great leaders, but few attain. If our goal is to perform at our highest capacity as a state officer, then discover what makes people beg for an encore of our year.

THE REALITY Every state officer wants to deliver a workshop or speech that people will be talking about for years to come. We all want to be remembered and perform well; that’s one of the primary reasons we’re trained by our state and national staff—to perform at our best. Yet, no matter how well-trained we are, there is a quality that stands as the foundation of this encore effect. Sanborn says, “It is discipline that enables us to do what needs to be done even when we are not at our best.” Amidst the schedules and demands of a state officer, our discipline to carry on may be the quality that determines our performance. Being a person of discipline means when someone hands a responsibility over to you, they can mark it off their list as completed. Being a leader of discipline means we perform the same when we’re with Greenhand members as when we’re with the president of the United States. Discipline is more natural to some personalities, but it can be developed by all. Discipline is worth developing because as we have well-performed days, they become well-performed weeks that lead to a well-performed life.


“It is discipline that enables us to do what needs to be done even when we are not at our best.”

Reflect on your personal discipline. Ask your teammates if they would characterize you as a person of discipline.

With an accountability partner, have a monthly check-in on your progress.

Challenge yourself to have a “discipline act of the day.” For example, pass on dessert at dinner, workout for 30 minutes, say no to a purchase or memorize a meaningful quote.

A well-performed day leads to a well-performed life.

Bright Ideas • Volume 12, Issue 1


Bright Ideas National FFA Organization 6060 FFA Drive Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960


Introducing a new development opportunity for state FFA officers: The State FFA Officer Programs are made possible through sponsorship from the following organizations as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Join fellow state officers from around the nation as we read and discuss this year 's selection: The Traveler 's Gi ft by Andy Andrews. See your state staff for your copy of the book and access to the online discussion.

The State Officer Common Read program is a part of the State Officer Pathway, which is sponsored by CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. FFA Mission FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

The Agricultural Education Mission Agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resource systems. The National FFA Organization affirms its belief in the value of all human beings and seeks diversity in its membership, leadership and staff as an equal opportunity employer. The National FFA Organization is a resource and support organization that does not select, control, or supervise state association, local chapter or individual member activities. Educational materials are developed by FFA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education as a service to state and local agricultural education agencies.

September 2013 Bright Ideas  

September 2013 Bright Ideas

September 2013 Bright Ideas  

September 2013 Bright Ideas