April 21, 2014

Training and Education – What is the correct value for you?

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As Continuous Improvement practitioners, it is natural (even a passion) to always seek ways to improve ourselves and the value we drive to our colleagues and the companies for which we work. During our quest for this personal and professional development, sometimes we know precisely which areas we wish to improve our skillsets and where we need to concentrate our efforts, and sometimes we seek to satisfy a curiosity of some subject matter.

Once we decide on what we wish to learn, we need to decide on what level of knowledge and competency we wish to possess at the conclusion of our being taught and, most importantly, we need to ensure that the method we select for conveying of that knowledge and competency to us will yield those expected results. Therefore, during this evaluation process, we must always remember the following corollary; the level of effort required is directly proportional to the depth of the knowledge and competency acquired.

We must also evaluate the “Comparative Value” of the efforts and results, with Comparative Value being defined as; “the investment requirements associated with gaining the knowledge versus the benefit gained to oneself and one’s company.” [Read more]

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If the student has not learned, the teacher has not taught

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For all of us with children, we understand that each of our kids understand things in their own way and, to complicate things, the way they absorb information tends to change slightly as they develop.

As business professionals, however, we tend to ignore learning styles and simply dump information into emails, shared workspaces, and whiteboards expecting everyone else to understand our words and our intent. The worst of us will then proclaim that anyone who doesn’t understand simply isn’t qualified for their position. Sometimes this goes all the way to the point of exercising hiring/firing authority to simply dismiss people who don’t see the world according to the same point of view, or not hiring them in the first place. [Read more]

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Delegating by capacity

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Delegating is supposed to be about understanding the work flowing through your organization and then assigning that work based on skill sets and availability of the resources within your control. What I’ve experienced in far too many situations, however, is where delegating work takes place via a mechanism of “I am going to horde as much work for myself as I can and when I simply can’t do it all any more, I’ll leak out small bits of tasking for you to take care of.”
[Read more]

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Snowy boots: A reminder that enjoyment enhances skill

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On a walk in the woods this weekend with my sons we discovered the trails were still covered by a good foot of heavy, compacted snow. I contemplated turning around but the boys were having a blast and convinced me to just keep going. Falling into the snow up to their knees at times didn’t sway them in the least. We worked much harder than was needed had we decided to walk on an asphalt trail in a park, but we carried on just to enjoy the day and be near each other.

While you can do work for money and do a fine job, imagine how much greater of a job you could do for a belief in addition to a paycheck. As my boys demonstrated, even children will work hard for something they believe is worthwhile. If you can combine that kind of belief with a skill so well developed people are willing to pay you for it, I can only imagine the degree of success that could be attained. [Read more]

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In the age of engagement, you can’t thwart ambition

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There are more articles, books and posting out there on engagement, creating engagement, the benefits of creating engagement, and so on than I can count. So, of course, I’m going to write a post about engagement (Once in a while, I do like to suppress my contrarian urges and go along with the crowd). Instead of yet another voice telling you how to generate engagement, however, here’s a tale of how to make sure it gets utterly destroyed. [Read more]

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“Discipline, effort, patience and courage”

patience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrosepatience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrose
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Thanks to StumbleUpon, I came across on article on Psychology Today entitled “What to Tell Kids After Failures and Mistakes.” The Author, Salmansohn, describes some recent research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck, who advocates an “Incremental theory” of learning.

Incremental Theorists believe that success is achieved through putting in the necessary hard work. According to Dr. Dweck, a big key to a successful life is to embrace being an “Incremental Theorist” – so when failure or disappointments occur, you are ready to overcome them.

This quote from the article is powerful: “Discipline, effort, patience and courage are hugely important core values for kids to grow up embracing.”

They are also hugely important core values for adults to maintain, too. [Read more]

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I don’t recommend lunch & learns

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I’ll probably incur the wrath of quite a few consultants and HR organizers out there, but I have to state my case. I simply hate the practice of “Lunch and Learn” sessions.

My objection is simple: Lunch time is my time. When it is lunch time, I like to read, surf the web, play games on my smart phone, take a walk, run an errand, or shoot the bull with my friends. I even like to eat while doing these things, too.

What I absolutely don’t want to do during lunch is talk about work. [Read more]

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A few comments on the language of texting

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I stumbled into a short conversation recently on the value of text-speak or, perhaps more accurately, I was told how text-speak was utterly lacking in value and rotting the minds of the teenage population.

Texting is, indeed, an odd form of communication. You do have to marvel in curiosity at the chronic need for immediate information exchanged, not to mention the superficiality and triviality of the messages being sent. Nonetheless, I retorted, you do have to appreciate the enormous creativity involved in the phrases that kids are developing, as well as the implementation of problem solving skills in order to fit as much information as possible into as few characters as necessary. Given my affinity for efficiency, I like the trend. [Read more]

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Toy Dogs and the trouble with short-term thinking

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Last night was one of those unfortunate, frustrating nights in our house. At 3:10AM, the dog decided he needed to go out into the yard, which caused him to prance loudly around our bedroom until we woke up to let him out. Although he woke up both my wife & I, I was awake enough to get out of bed first (which rarely happens), so I let the dogs into the yard, brought them in, and went back to bed.

About 15 minutes later, before either of us could fully doze back to sleep, the 3-year-old started to cry in his bed. [Read more]

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When habits go bad – walking the extra mile

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Habit tells me that to get places without my car means I have to walk. If I rode my bike more often, the thought to get on the bike and ride down to the mechanic’s shop would have been as natural as the thought that tells me I have to put on shoes before I go out the door most mornings. Also, I could say, if I’d developed a better habit of stopping and thinking…to weigh alternatives….before doing….then I would have realized I didn’t need to hike all the way down to the shop. I might still have wanted to, but I would not have needed to.

So, in a way, my habits let me down. [Read more]

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