PAR: Problem, Action Result
Problem: My marketing plan for the admissions office of my college included placing some advertising in national print media, but we didn’t have the financial resources to make that happen.
Action: I knew that one of our corporate partners wanted to promote its diversity initiatives. I proposed we develop a print advertising campaign co-branding the recruiting message.
Result: The final pieces delivered dual messages of recruitment for prospective students and recruitment/placement of potential diverse employees. Through this campaign, both messages were successfully received with increased admission interest and placement at the company. The project also launched more advertising initiatives at the school.
PARLA: Problem, Action, Result, Learning, Application
Problem: During my Peace Corps experience as a volunteer in Guatemala, absolutely nothing ever went right. From no water and electricity for three weeks to getting to the health center on time by foot, donkey ride, and a canoe “ to weighing a baby on a fish scale, hanging the scale from a thatched roof, and the roof coming down on me. Or putting on a conference in rural Guatemala and only one nurse shows up, and only briefly, too!
Action: I adjusted my attitude. I learned to adapt to conditions unlike anything I was accustomed to. I made up my mind to embrace the reality of life in Guatemala and the needs of those I served.
Result: Despite the frustrations, I began to make a difference in people’s lives. For example, along with my team, I helped to ensure that more native children received inoculations against disease. The next time I put on a conference, I had learned enough about communicating with the local population to assure better attendance.
Learning: I learned that expectations sometimes lead to disappointment and that I need to keep my expectations realistic. I bring that philosophy to all aspects of my life, especially blind dates, and live by the divine principle that everything happens for a reason, and 99 percent of the time, it is to learn a life lesson from it.
Application: Now, when I facilitate a meeting of professionals, and certain individuals show up and some do not, I don’t get upset as much because the energy of those who attend enhances my facilitation and helps me learn.