July 26, 2014

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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A powerful habit: commit to being a better person

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You are flawed.

Accept it.

I don’t care what age you are, or gender, or what you’ve accomplished in your lifetime (or not) – you are flawed. There are things about you people don’t like, even if you’re unable to admit that that is true (which is a flaw) or you don’t see yourself the way those people see you (another flaw).
Here’s the truth: you’ve got problems and things you really need to work on, personally and professionally. We all know that’s true, so here the real question: What are you doing about it? [Read more]

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

ambition_by_tja88
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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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Dad tells a story of inefficient communication, and truly wasteful meeting management

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On a recent trip home for the Holidays, I was railing about such-and-wuch workplace goings on, when my father shared a story from his days managing projects in the construction industry.

as the “steel guy,” most of his work was done fairly early in the life cycle. The steel was cut, fabricated, delivered, erected, corrected, charged back, and his end of the project entirely signed off. Nonetheless, he was bound to attend these hours-long meetings at times, just to hear how the electrical inspection and finished carpentry was progressing. His activity on the overall project was long since done and over with, nonetheless, in the name of communication, he was required to attend. The fact that the meeting would never include any information he needed to hear was entirely lost on the meeting’s organizer. [Read more]

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When habits go bad – walking the extra mile

Let_Your_Mind_Do_The_Walking_by_jzcj5
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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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How Expensive is Perfection?

Buyer's View
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Last week I managed to chalk up 15 years of marriage, remarkably they were all consecutive and all to the same woman. I feel more than a little smug about this achievement (how my wife feels is a moot point).

I decided that the least I could do was to take the poor soul out for dinner so I dutifully booked a table at Sat Bains’ restaurant.

The first part of our 8 course taster menu arrived. Two immaculately presented waiters materialised holding a plate each and placed them in front of my wife and I simultaneously. It looked like a work of art, and it tasted… you will have to use your imagination. So it went for another 7 courses. Each course accompanied by its own, especially selected, glass of wine.

The bill, well I will leave that to your imagination as well. But as we all know quality costs and this was verging on perfection. [Read more]

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The paradoxical inefficiency of thought

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In order to attain high levels of ingenuity in products and activities, the environment in which those ideas are created must support an endless ocean of thoughts that yield very little value, in the hopes that, eventually, a single very good one will be produced. Generating ideas is an inefficient process, even if those ideas are generated around improving efficiency. [Read more]

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How organizations function is a matter of habit.

Old Habits Die Hard
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From micro to macro, the ways and means of operating are deeply ingrained. In organizations where things are delayed, pushed to the end, and hockey-sticked production is the norm, you will find meandering discussion, and a a sudden, sharp realization that they are running out of time and a quick, frantic blur of activity at the end is the only way to accomplish anything.
[Read more]

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It’s all in how you look at it – current state to ideal state

A_Change_of_Perspective_by_kuschelirmel
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within all the reasons why a process can’t be changed, won’t be changed, or why it did not work last time lies a vital component necessary for overall improvement to begin – a definition of the current state. What all those protestations are giving us is the perception of the current state that is held by the people who are living with whatever process, as suboptimal or utterly broken as it may be.

What the person sees is their reality. A reality where both people and things don’t work. What they are sharing, when they complain, is their knowledge of the way things really work around here. When improvement concepts are introduced, they tend to take the tone of “Here’s the way things can or should work around here.” When poorly introduced, the new ideas sound condescending at best, and threatening at worst. What those ideas represent, however, is the ideal state – the concept of the way things should work, even if we don’t know how to get from here to there.

So, how to overcome the reluctance and resistance? [Read more]

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Chronic problems are not problems, they are constraints.

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TweetIn any environment, among any group of people, there are going to be problems that just don’t go away.  You might have a critical vendor who is your only go-to source, but who is chronically late to contract.  You might have a genius employee who is a prima donna.  Or, you might have a moronic [...]

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