Design Blitz Raleigh: Group Leader

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On March 5th, Tyler Dockery was invited to attend Design Blitz in the Red Hat complex in Downtown Raleigh as a representative of Wake Tech Community College.

Design Blitz Raleigh: Group Leader

Challenge: The challenge will be a step by step process of students working with me to develop their definition of a creative person, their ideas of what a ‘workplace’ is and then prototyping and creating an example of their ‘ideal creative workplace.’ Creative packets will be presented for you that walks you through the 5 step design process we are going to promote at this event. One or two lead teachers in each area that will help you with any students and/or situation you might run into. Ideally, we want to focus on fantastical thinking, out of the box thinking, the more creative the solution the better… we aren’t as focused on a perfect model or brand with this event, we want the concepts and thoughts to shine through and the focus to be on the process of what they are doing rather than the end product. Each group will have 5 students and 1 or 2 industry volunteers. You’ll document each group’s process through an app developed by Betaversity.


Aftermath: I wanted to share with all of you the Betaversity site that has the images from the Design Blitz event on it. Sorry for the delay in posting it out, we were waiting for a site update to go through first before emailing it out. When you go to the site you’ll find a list of all the teams. In order to see one of the projects you’ll have to login as a team, any team. I listed a login below that you can use. After you login you’ll have access to click on any of the teams and go through their design process. Because of the technology issues we had at the event you’ll find that some groups have more developed images and processes than others, but hopefully in future years we’ll have this better worked out. Thanks to Betaversity for setting up the site and the step-by-step design process embedded within the projects. I hope you find this site a good artifact of what happened on that rainy March day.

Again, I appreciate all the support and help from each of you (teachers and volunteers). Feel free to share the site information with whoever you think might be interested.

image (1)



Design Blitz Raleigh: Design Panel Member

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On March 5th, Tyler Dockery was invited to attend Design Blitz in the Red Hat complex in Downtown Raleigh at the Design Panel as a representative of Wake Tech Community College.

Design Blitz Raleigh: Design Panel Member

As a panel member, I sat with architects and the video designer from Red Hat. The panel answered questions regarding architecture, graphic and web design, video and social requirements among other items. Students were very interested in software and packages, freelancing while in school, what kind of computers people respected or required.

Topics ranged across multiple tracks as time went on, and the feeling was similar to my first class teaching. Nervous? Yes. Energized? Absolutely! It is always interesting to know that your knowledge is more than just “satisfactory” when facing a room with 200 people in it.

After the panel discussion, I pressed business cards into the hands of several individuals and carried on individual discussions with 4-6 students. Afterwards, I was asked to return next year. I think this sounds like a great idea, and frankly I can’t wait.

Cultivating Successful Grant Leaders

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Grant writing for success

Cultivating Successful Grant Leades

Cultivating Successful Grant leaders was presented on Wake Tech’s Main campus in Raleigh NC. The presenters Kate Pattison and Kat Ngaruiya’s goals were clearly set at the beginning: Foster ideas, identify planners and help provide support, and encourage others to become grant leaders.

From idea to planning to Primary investigator
The team wanted us focus on the difference between an idea and a grantable, actionable idea.

Three key areas: An overview of Grants, Leadership, Collaboration

An Overview of Grants

We had tomake small groups and define what we thought a “Grant” was. My groups definition: A grant is money set aside to sponsor/implement ideas or projects that are actionable and real with a tangible, final product within a schedule of activity (achievable within a specific timeframe). Their definition “A sum of money given by an organization, for a particular purpose.”
A grant proposal is defined as “A response to a funders request for proposals”.

So, what is it that funders like to see?
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS. “IF necessitiy is the mother of invention, vision is the father of innovation”

Funders like to see innovation and vision. They like to see long term goals, or a step on a long-term goal. To drive this home: THis is what you are doing, this is where you’re going, and this is what you’re going to do too get there.
Solid Blueprints. Here are the courses we’ll teach, here’s the clarity of the outcome. Here’s what you’re “building” with the grant and the funds. It might be one shot, or it might be one shot, mutliple kills, and they want to know. This will help put you in course with others.
Sustainable Ideas. They don’t want your idea to die once funding runs out. what is the future of the project? if the grant is a pilot project, how will this be grown, nurtured and sustained? Where do you see funding coming from? will you train employees or train the trainers once completed? As a press release shows that the grant was completed x years ago, but they have served xx students. They want to see the idea sustained over time.
The budget. Show where the money will go, and how it will be used. What is the scope of the proposal and how will the monies be used? What does the grant specifically fund, and how can you show them what you’re using. If the funds are used for only equipment, Show equipment. If you’re making new roads in the school, show marketing, scholarships, tables and reception items relating to locations. You want if possible, the institution to take over the funding or the grant monies and foster the project.
Finally, never underpromise and overask for money. Similarly, NEVER ever overpromise and overdelivery
Evaluation: Measuring Success and Failure. Its a good idea to include the success and failure criteria. Will the evaluator be internal or external? Look in the RFP to see the evaluation criteria if it exists. Its a good idea to keep a log. Failure is not always a negative, because innovation might be so difficult to create. If you are evaluating your project, you can create lessons learned and self-evaluate. Track what you can do, and not do. Can you find new strategies? and solve differently? can you make adjustments or do you need to cut and return the unused portions of funding.

Hands-on activities at this point included a grants checklist and revisiting a successful grant. Did it align? Mostly it did.


  • Leaders have goals.
  • They think about the big picture and the little details.
  • They have strong project management skills.
  • Check on specifics outlined.
  • Are amenable to following rules and regulations.
  • Are comfortable taking risks and okay with failure
    • cover the 3C’s

    • curious
    • collaborative
    • communicative


Make sure that the college, key stakeholders, psychology, college mission, are covered and represented in the grant. It is important to have a collaborative spirit when working on grants. Grant development ultimately implementation is a team effort. Know the strengths and weaknesses of the team members.

Having the right team members, and recruiting the right team members for the job is critical. Make sure you have informed them and gained consent prior to publishing your document. You don’t want to surprise them! You wouldn’t want to be surprised and committed to work on materials without your previous knowledge.

Another hand-on activity here focused on who the individuals named in the project, or who should have been identified

Grant resources can be found at the sponsored projects and federal relationships page of the Wake Tech Website

Tyler Dockery Attends Women’s Mentoring Network Lecture

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Tyler Dockery listens as Melissa J. Nixon discusses Discovering Courage at Wake Tech
Melissa J. Nixon discusses Discovering Courage at Wake Tech

Melissa J. Nixon is a powerhouse of positivity. In her lecture entitled “Discover Courage” at Wake Tech’s Main Campus today, Melissa J. Nixon encouraged male and female students alike to discover the courage that they needed to make the impact they wanted in their lives, their community, and their bottom line. Door prizes were given out, and everyone walked away feeling empowered to take on their tomorrow.

In her talk, Melissa J. Nixon (hereafter referred to as Melissa Nixon) stressed the importance of courage and confidence. Courage and confidence are noted as the two main game changes to propel a woman forward with velocity into the life they want. Without these ideas, student may cause themselves to remain comfortable in your life and career.

This stagnation is something I speak with my students about often in Graphic Design I, II, III, and IV.

Many leaders live and lead in the space she defines as “Just Enough!”, a space which enables enough success for individuals to be proud of their accomplishments, but never moves you to pass the true fears which make the biggest impact truly possible. In order to have this kind of significant impact in the collegiate and professional careers we have, we must learn how not only to show up, but to lead the way in a marketable way that makes a difference in our income, our influence, as well as the culture, strategy, and bottom line of the organizations we are serving. This could be the school we attend, the job we have, the community organization we are part of, or our community as a whole.

At the end of this lecture and QA forum with Melissa Nixon, students seemed enthused about what lay ahead, and how they might start making a valuable impact. Granted, not everyone was keen about actively conquering their fears, but there were several practical steps outlined which they could use to help them on their way.

Being one of the few males in the meeting made this a special training for me, and I felt some of the practical steps here could be very helpful in my own approach to 360 degree leadership.

WebAwards 2014 Juror: Tyler Dockery

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This year, I was selected as a Juror for the 2014 WebAwards presented by the Web Marketing Association (WMA).

WebAwards 2014 Juror: Tyler Dockery


Initially, I opened my own WebAward nominating account, receiving this message:

Thank you for creating a WebAward Nominators Account. This account is going to be your portal to the WebAward competition. Here you will receive news regarding the awards only provided to participants. You will be able to see the current status of your entries and edit them if necessary until the beginning of judging. In addition you have valuable tools to help market your award if you win.

However, after nominating several websites and filling out my profile, I was contacted by several members of the WMA. Their phone messages were short and sweet, suggesting that my personal work, website, and career path would make me an excellent judge in this juried competition. I accepted their proposal, and subsequent invitation.


In this competition, I judged many, many applicants. In the final round, I judged 12 applicants. This was a fantastic competition, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating and representing both Wake Tech Community College and Dockery Design.

Winners should be available: September 2014

LEA115: Habits of Successful Leaders

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Lead115This was hosted by Denise Lorenz and Deb Oronzio

Planning for Results Managing Priorities Creative Problem Solving

In the beginning, we rated ourseles on the 10 habits of successful leaders and the 20 bad habits of leaders. I was fairly happy with my results, but honestly it would take a fair amount of work and adjustment to quash these. If you’re interested in learning where you stand, try visiting our class examples at http://www.slideshare.net/bright9977/10-habits-of-the-great-leader

Part One: Assessing Your Leadership

leadership habits

The training hopes to introduce practical ideas and techniques for short and long term planning with an improved focus on results. We also seek to help define criteria for prioritization of your work and a system for managing to those priorities.
Introduce a five-step, structured process for problem solving in teams or groups.

Wake Tech Mission & Vision

The MISSION of Wake Technical Community College is to improve and enrich lives by meeting the lifelong education, training, and workforce development needs of the communities we serve.

Our VISION is to be a college that exceeds the expectations of our stakeholders for effective lifelong education, training, and workforce development by providing world-class programs and services. Wake Tech will structure its operations, training, and educational programs around the CORE VALUES of accountability, respect, responsibility, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

Part Two – Planning, Priorities and Problem Solving

Planning for Results

Types of Planning

  • Planning for Results
  • Strategic Planning in Higher Education
  • Wake Tech Mission and Values
  • Types of Planning
  • Obstacles to Planning
  • Planning for Results

Wake Tech Core Values

Accountability is essential for an environment of learning. Those who are accountable stand by their words and actions, taking full responsibility for what they create and for what they contribute to the community.

Respect is a prerequisite for enhancing learning. Community members who respect themselves and others help create a safe, yet open, climate of learning.

Responsibility is the root of success. Students who assume personal responsibility for their education will reach their goals. Responsible students also make contributions to their communities.

Critical thinking is the fundamental purpose of higher education. The ability to solve problems through the application of the appropriate skills is critical to all disciplines.

Communication is increasingly the key competency for living and working in the information age. Communicating effectively in oral and written forms through traditional and new media is a powerful tool for personal and career success.

Collaboration, by bringing together individual knowledge and talents, creates teams that are greater than the sum of their parts. Such teamwork maximizes benefits to individuals and the community.

Making the Plan Work

Leadership – Defining leadership roles and responsibilities. Creating a commitment to the plan.
Communication – Attention given to each affected group of plan to lessen resistance.
Assessment – Monitor plan’s progress and assess its outcomes.

Plan Process Considerations

  • Create a diverse leadership team to gain variety of perspectives
  • Foster readiness and shared sense of need for change
  • Gain historical perspective of previous planning efforts
  • Anticipate concerns and develop strategies to address them
  • Engage faculty and staff to ensure openness and inclusion
  • Identify needed resources

Obstacles to Planning

  • Lack of Awareness
  • Culture of Immediacy
  • Lack of Initiative
  • Fear Factor
  • “We’ve never done it this way before“
  • “We’ve always done it this way”
  • “What happens if we fail?”

Planning for Results

  • Develop a sense of direction and purpose
  • ID factors that affect the College
  • Understand circumstances contributing to past successes (or failures)
  • Coordinate efforts – include your team
  • Ensure availability of adequate resources
  • Develop “What If” Scenarios
  • Establish Performance Standards
  • Establish priorities

Prioritizing Your Time

A Guide for Prioritizing

Set 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) for the day. If you could only do three things today, what would I feel the most fulfilled in doing?
Focus on providing value. How much value will this provide me, or someone else?
Think long-term. Will this make a difference a week, month or year from now? Five years?
A Guide for Prioritizing. First things first.
I will focus on completing my most important tasks early in the day so that if my afternoon gets busy, I can still finish the day feeling that I accomplished what I wanted to.
Have a clear vision. Is this activity moving me closer to my vision? Will it make much of a difference tomorrow or next week?

Meeting Management

  • Do you need a meeting?
  • Plan the meeting – Begin with the end in mind.
  • Select the appropriate participants.
  • Distribute agenda and work materials in advance of the meeting.
  • Begin and end the meeting on time.
  • Appoint a facilitator and time-keeper.
  • Designate follow-up actions with due dates.
  • Publish meeting minutes – including action items – within 24 hours.
  • For those with action items, work into priorities matrix.

Structured Problem Solving Process

  • Identify the stakeholders
  • Define the problem
  • Understand the problem
  • Identify solutions
  • Pick a solution
  • Implement the solution
  • Measure the results
  • Revise and repeat
  • Tackling Your Committee “Opportunity”
  • Define the problem.
  • Do you really have enough information for this?
  • Who would you need to involve? (A “committee” isn’t always the best option.)
  • To get creative, you need to get outside of the box – to get out of the box… you need help!
  • What information would you need to collect?
  • What do you already have?
  • What do you need to research / create?
  • Tackling Your Committee “Opportunity”
  • Once you have all the information you need – what possible solutions can you identify?
  • What will they cost?
  • How easy / difficult will they be to implement?
  • What will drive results?
  • Get in the way?
  • Tackling Your Committee “Opportunity”
  • Select a solution – build consensus.
  • How will you measure your results? (If you can’t measure results, how will you know if the problem is fixed?)
  • Plan your implementation:
  • Who needs to be on board?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What needs to be done to support implementation?
  • Implement, measure, evaluate and revisit.

Part Three – Reality

Managing Interruptions

  • The phone
  • The email
  • The “drop-in”
  • Contracts with your “significant others”
  • Boss
  • Colleagues
  • Students
  • Wrap-Up

    As a result of today’s discussion, what will you?

    Start doing?
    Stop doing?

Monday Morning Leadership

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Monday Morning Leadership is a book by David Cottrell about leading your team, cutting out the non-important things in your daily routine, and doing the right thing. I was given this book by Chris Knotts, Director of Enterprise Marketing at ASPE, Inc, and old friend of mine even before I took on a role at Knotts and Associates.

This book was an excellent read, outlining multiple ideas of leadership in 8 short sessions. It was very interesting to see the ideas represented in this book when looking back at my leadership training in the past (most recently the word “pity party” used in the ECGC leadership sessions. (you can choose leadership or ECGC from the tags menu to access all leadership training and ECGC articles at any time  🙂  ).

One of the most important things I took away from this book was the idea that you need to keep the Main Thing The Main Thing. And, surprisingly, the main thing for Wake Tech, the college I teach at, is 3 things:

  1. Provide the best, most comprehensive, and excellent programs that we can
  2. Provide our Students, Faculty, and Staff with the tools they need to succeed and excel
  3. Provide educated, trained individuals into the local community workforce

If we aren’t doing the first, we can hardly be doing the second. If we aren’t doing the second, there is no way we are doing the third.

I have actually read this book through twice, and I think I’ll read it again. Strongest revelation I found in this book: Being a leader is as far above being a manager as a manager is above a worker. This can easily be seen in terms of drivers and passengers in a car. The whole team is set on a direction, with a similar vision, but it is the leader’s responsibility to get them there. The passengers have the freedom to talk, listen to loud music, goof off, sleep, surf the web on their phones, but the driver has to get everyone to the destination safely, and preferably on time. The decisions the leader makes are different ones, and there is certainly more responsibility, but also the freedoms of the driver are reduced as well.

I will be reading this off and on to help with my leadership qualities. The author also recommends taking some time out to read other books on management and leadership. If you set aside a half-chapter a night devoted to leadership, you’re likely to get in a book a month- 12 a year. In 15 years, that’s about 150 books. Can I become a better leader simply by reading books and taking actions?

I think I’m willing to find out. – Tyler Dockery