Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Source Of Praise

I’ve been working as part of a civic organization and recently noticed some illuminating behavior. One member of our team gets fairly constant praise for average work.

I never thought much about it, but then as results got worse, the praise increased. It has gotten to the point where pointless adulation is a significant part of board meetings.

Only then did I figure out that the member is initiating the barrage of praise. It seems to be addictive, more validation needed every month.

Once I noticed how the praise was being generated, I saw that a further technique to look good was to blame and complain about other team members, push them down.

At first I could accept that behavior as occasional bad manners, poor conversation skills, whatever. But that’s really not constructive in a volunteer organization, and surely is the root cause of the chronic complaint of lack of help.

For me, the big lesson is that meaningful praise has to come from someone else. For 20 years I’ve led Talk Your Business, How to make more and better sales right away! After thousands of promotions, I trusted my customers and got the best description ever.

The smaller lesson was revisiting advice I got from a carpenter when I was a construction contractor, “It’s okay to talk to yourself, just don’t tell yourself any lies.”

How does this change your perspective?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reference Year

I was listening to Joe Scarborough explaining our current economic situation. He has said repeatedly that our situation comes from choices that were made in the ’70’s, shaping subsequent choices that control what we can do today.

In The Direct Economy, I’m showing how our current situation is changing our optimal organization for getting things done.

Yet I keep seeing previous patterns in new opportunities. They don’t turn out to be real, but they remind me vividly of previous successful opportunities. It’s a businessman extolling the vanished organizational pyramid or an amputee feeling phantom pain. It was there once, and I wish it still was.

My reference year was 1995. That was the time I would go back to, when I last had the key. There has been a further fifteen years of the economy sliding out of whack, and now we have to admit to a new reality.

I’m luckier than most. I got one “do-over” from a previous job and nailed off in succession the four largest sales in a global company’s history. But I never expected it, and it was the only time I have ever gone back to a previous employer.

What was your reference year? How has your reality changed from then?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Education 2012

Happy New Year!

The purpose of education has changed. It’s past time to change the methods and results.

For Socrates, a scroll could be read twenty times before crumbling. Read it each time to twenty students and you have squared the impact of the technology. Efficient.

It was really expensive to read alone in the Golden Age.

In the 1400’s, before Gutenberg, young scholars would go to University to get their education, principally to memorize the great works. Scholars were repositories of ideas for their society, walking, breathing, search engines, since a wealthy household might own two or three books. Scholars weren’t expected to put their knowledge to practical solutions, but to share their knowledge as tutors and speakers.

Classical education began as the efficient way of learning, holding, and distributing knowledge before printing.

Today some classic educators hold to that model. I can remember, as a scholarship student at a private academy, being mocked as hopelessly bourgeois (trade oriented), by a snooty trust fund academic, the end of his granddaddy’s mouthwash empire. Go Ben Franklin!

For the past decade, I have been privileged to work with students and teachers at the elementary, high school, college, and post-graduate levels. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Except for the apocalypse purveyors, there’s not much demand for memorization. Even with a really fast pen, it’s hard to out-produce a search engine.

The purpose of education is increasingly to make something, whether it’s a good story, an app, a performance, or a rocket. Then make something else. Malcolm Gladwell writes that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.

Learning new facts is a necessary step in creation. Learning new facts in the context of creating a deliverable is more productive than learning theoretical facts without immediate usage.

Rafters were my key to decoding trigonometry.

What about theoretical physicists?

I would rather back a theoretical physicist who has experience building some of his equipment. Betcha he knows the guidelines for soldering copper water pipe, “Neat, but not gaudy.”

This week, get out there and make something. Put it on the refrigerator. Next week make a better refrigerator, then go read and love Makers.

Please MAKE a comment!

Events next week:
Capital Technology Management Hub
Tuesday, January 10, 6:30 – 6:35 pm
Arlington GMU Campus
Founders Hall, Room 126
3351 Fairfax Drive Arlington, VA 22226


Association Of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
Thursday, January 12, 6 – 9 pm
Alfio's La Trattoria,
4515 Willard Ave, Chevy Chase MD 20815