Ten important posts on working smarter. Our algorithms highlighted them as the most popular this year. Find the most important articles daily at http://workingsmarterdaily.com.
DAVID WEINBERGER | MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2014‘A new report on Ithaka S+R ‘s annual survey of libraries suggests that library directors are committed to libraries being the starting place for their users’ research, but that the users are not in agreement. This then calls into question the expenditures libraries make to achieve that goal. The questioning is good. am not sold on it. MORE >>
ADAPTIVE PATH | THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2014‘The truth is, nobody knew if this was going to work. It was, after all, a terrible idea. The idea was this: Sell a service that nobody’s ever heard of. Something that, even when you explain it, comes across as vague and abstract, and of questionable value. Tough sell. Our terrible idea worked. None of that ever sat well with us. MORE >>
DOC SEARLS | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2014‘“Influence” is hot s**t these days. Linkedin has been making a big deal about it; and it seems to be working , according to Dharmesh Shaw , a Linkedin Influencer: First of all, there’s the sheer power and reach of the platform. When I write on my personal blog (which is reasonably popular) an article will get roughly 5,000-10,000 views. MORE >>
JANE HART | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014‘I spent the weekend compiling this year’s Top 100 Tools List, updating the website and producing a slideset that I have uploaded to Slideshare and embedded below. I’ve Social learning MORE >>
JOHN HAGEL | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014‘What better day than Labor Day in the US to explore movements and narratives? Labor Day emerged directly from the powerful labor movement in the US. Throughout history, we’ve had a lot of movements that have shaped our economic, social and political arenas. believe we’re on the cusp of a new wave of movements. What is a movement? What happened?MORE >>
- Reflecting on reflection HAROLD JARCHE | TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2014
If you want to learn what’s going on in learning and development worldwide, join me in Berlin this December for Online Educa.
You’ll connect with colleagues from a hundred countries!
This is the 20th anniversary of this forum of thought leaders in business, education, and government.
Is it worth it? I certainly think so. This will be my tenth Educa.
Ah, the joys of modern medicine.
I’ve begun taking a drug that requires me to restrict my diet severely. I’m not allowed to eat aged cheese, sausage, draft beer, sourdough bread, or anything else that contains significant amounts of tyramine, an amino acid that helps regulate blood pressure.
Eating the forbidden fruit can cause severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, vomiting, a fast or slow heartbeat, tight chest pain, a lot of sweating, confusion, dilated pupils, and sensitivity to light. People have died after bingeing on cheese.
So many foods are restricted (sauerkraut, bacon, caviar, peanuts, vermouth!) that I need a way to remind myself of what to avoid. I hope visualization can prop up my memory.
If pictures aren’t your thing, here’s a good list from the National Headache Foundation. (Tyramine can cause migraine headaches in people who are sensitive to it.)
Foods to Avoid on a Tyramine-Restricted Diet
The following foods have limited amounts of tyramine. It’s okay to consume up to 1/2 a cup daily.
I assembled the list from Wikipedia and a dozen medical sites. None of the sites list all of these items. The list on the Mayo Clinic site is typical:
“Tyramine is naturally found in small amounts in protein-containing foods. As these foods age, the tyramine level increases. Some foods high in tyramine include:
- Aged cheeses, such as aged cheddar and Swiss; blue cheeses such as Stilton and Gorgonzola; and Camembert. Cheeses made from pasteurized milk are less likely to contain high levels of tyramine, including American cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, farm cheese and cream cheese.
- Cured meats, which are meats treated with salt and nitrate or nitrite, such as dry-type summer sausages, pepperoni and salami.
- Fermented cabbage, such as sauerkraut and kimchee.
- Soy sauce, fish sauce and shrimp sauce.
- Yeast-extract spreads, such as Marmite.
- Improperly stored foods or spoiled foods.
- Broad bean pods, such as fava beans.”
The amount of tyramine depends on how the food was processed and how old it is. Tyramine increases as a food ages. Pickled, smoked, fermented, or marinated meats are generally high in tyramine. Fresh produce is okay if you eat it within 48 hours of purchase. Nuts are never okay. A draft beer contains 25 times as much tyramine as a can of beer.
Along with 100,000 other people, I’ve enrolled in a free MOOC on The Science of Happiness.
Week 1: Introduction to the Science of Happiness
Will be available starting on September 9
Week 2: Happiness & Human Connection
Will be available starting on September 16
Week 3: Kindness & Compassion
Will be available starting on September 23
Week 4: Cooperation & Forgiveness
Will be available starting on September 30
Week 5: Midterm Exam (and time to catch up on course material)
Will be available starting on October 7. Must be completed by November 18.
Week 6: Mindfulness, Attention, and Focus
Will be available starting on October 14
Week 7: Mental Habits of Happiness: Self-Compassion, Flow, and Optimism
Will be available starting on October 21
Week 8: Gratitude
Will be available starting on October 28
Week 9: Finding Your Happiness Fit and the New Frontiers
Will be available starting on November 4
Will be available starting on November 4. Must be completed by November 18.
I’ll post about my experiences as we march through the material.
“The Science of Happiness” is being produced by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley; course co-instructors Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas are the GGSC’s founding director and science director, respectively. The GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: Not only does it sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, it also helps people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. “The Science of Happiness” is a prime example of the GGSC’s work.
So said John G. Sperling of the day his brutish father died.
Until age 15, John was dirt poor, sickly, severely dyslexic, and frequently beaten. He rose to become the most successful education entrepreneur in history. I worked for John in the mid-seventies, before the meteoric rise of the University of Phoenix. He was an amazing man.
John died last week at the age of 93. The New York Times has a thoughtful obituary.
This was a man who was obsessed with doing whatever he thought was right, regardless of prevailing opinion. Overcompensating for his miserable beginnings, John became an audacious visionary with the wherewithal to take action.
A good place to find out more about John is his autobiography, Rebel With A Cause:
I did not become an entrepreneur until the age of 52. I created my first company with no thought for building a business, per se, but merely as a way to preserve an educational innovation from being destroyed by a small-minded bureaucracy. I had designed a program specifically for working adults that would allow them to earn a degree in the same amount of time it took full-time students on campus. Because this challenged many of the sacred tenets of academe, it was met with hostility bordering on rage.
My involvement was to develop John’s first business degree program during those indeed hostile times.
John told me he wanted our graduates to be able to talk like business people. It was a Turing test — Can you tell the accomplished business person from the recent winner of an accelerated degree? Our performance objectives were rather thin. The subject matter bore a suspicious resemblance to my first year courses at Harvard Business School.
While still in the midst of development, I hired and managed the sales force to sell it. Commission only. John was adamant that we were a profit-making business venture and needed to pay our bills as they came due.
Gather talent executives from two dozen Fortune 500’s for a long weekend of conversations about what matters most. Meet in an inspirational spot on the Northern California coast.
Kevin started Future of Talent ten years ago, and I’ve attended every one! This one weekend per year has profoundly shaped how I think about learning, talent, and the future of HR.
Late September’s session has a few more openings.
Call me if you’d like to know more. Disclaimer: Kevin is a personal friend, but I’m not on commission. I promote this event because I’m a true believer.
Three days a year helps keep sharp people sharp. Not a bad deal.
To see Big Data at work, look to Google, where number-crunching on a massive scale has changed hiring and management practices. Measurements and analytics rule at Google. “All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics,” according to Kathryn Dekas, a manager in Google’s “people analytics” team. Google’s conclusions have a bearing on where CLOs should be focusing their efforts.
If you interviewed for a job at Google several years ago, you might have been asked to answer questions like these:
- You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
- What’s the next number in this sequence: 10, 9, 60, 90, 70, 66 … ?
- Using only a four-minute hourglass and a seven-minute hourglass, measure exactly nine minutes—without the process taking longer than nine minutes.
- A book has N pages, numbered the usual way, from 1 to N. The total number of digits in the page numbers is 1,095. How many pages does the book have?
- A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
Your odds of getting an interview greatly improved if you had a high GPA, astronomical SATs, and graduated from an Ivy League college because the founders believed these things were important.
No longer. Brainteaser questions have been banned, Google recruiters no longer ask about grades, and you don’t have to have a college degree to land a job.
In an interview published in The New York Times last June, Lazslo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations said, “On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”
College didn’t matter either. Statistics found that GPAs and SAT did not correlate to success on the job, so Google stopped using them. Even earning a college degree rarely seemed to make a difference in job performance, so Google no longer requires a degree to get hired.
Students in school learn to give specific answers. They memorize and parrot back explicit information. In the workaday world, often there is no pat answer. The challenge is to formulate the questions as well as the answers. Google is seeking people who can solve problems that don’t have a clear answer.
The numbers told Google that its most innovative workers “are those who have a strong sense of mission about their work and who also feel that they have much personal autonomy.” Google looks to what people can become as they grow on the job, not where they come from.
Leadership. “We’ll want to know how you’ve flexed different muscles in different situations in order to mobilize a team.”
Role-Related Knowledge. “We’re looking for people who have a variety of strengths and passions, not just isolated skill sets. We also want to make sure that you have the experience and the background that will set you up for success in your role.” Technical hires — about half of new Googlers — must demonstrate their ability to code,
How You Think. “We’re less concerned about grades and transcripts and more interested in how you think. We’re likely to ask you some role-related questions that provide insight into how you solve problems.”
Googleyness. “We want to get a feel for what makes you, well, you. We also want to make sure this is a place you’ll thrive, so we’ll be looking for signs around your comfort with ambiguity, your bias to action and your collaborative nature.”
Bock says. “The No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not IQ. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.”
Google is more interested in who people are than what they know. Experience is the teacher, not the classroom.
Your company’s situation may differ. Google is exceptional, an outlier, and it draws on an extraordinary talent pool. But all-in-all, Google’s findings bring into question training’s usual focus on knowledge over personal growth.
How much of your organization’s investment in L&D centers on developing people rather than teaching skills? At Google, self-directed continuous learning is the norm. Job rotation is fluid. There’s little formal training.
If Google doesn’t value college credentials, it makes one wonder about the national drive for STEM education.
I’ve posted answers to the brainteasers at http://internettime.com/google
This article appears in the June issue of CLO Magazine.
The American Society for Training and Development has ceased to exist. Now it’s the Association for Talent Development. I have mixed feelings about this.
This is hardly the first time this professional association has taken on a new name. In 1947, it came to life as the American Society of Training Directors. That left out lower-level trainers so development replaced directors in a name change and the doors were opened to everyone in the training business.
That change was a good move. Trainers flocked to the organization. They learned stand-up skills and how to conduct a needs analysis. Vendors of packaged training courses filled ASTD’s exhibit halls. Members of the Instructional Systems Association, a group of business owners, wryly called ASTD “the union.”
About ten years ago, the association felt the need to switch monikers once more. Shouldn’t the club be international? Was training really the primary focus? The Board enlisted the help of identity consultants and branding experts and eventually decided on a new name: ASTD. Just initials that didn’t stand for anything.
Naturally, the name changed flopped. People would refer to ASTD, the American Society for Training and Development.
A couple of years ago, pressure began to build again. Every business you could name was going global. This “America” label was confining. Worse still was the word training. Say training to managers and they think school, teachers, classrooms, and courses. Professionals know that schooling is not the ideal way to help people learn. True learning is experiential, social, incremental, and engaging — the opposite of typical training. Training is generally a backwater in the HR department, and HR is hardly the brightest constellation in the corporate firmament.
Executives say people are their most important asset but pay scant attention to training because they know in their hearts that school-style training doesn’t work very well and they aren’t aware of the modern alternatives to help people learn. It’s wise for ASTD to drop training from its name.
Which brings us to talent. Talent has been a management hot button since McKinsey first scared executives with the notion of talent shortages and the ensuing war for talent. The problem is that there’s not enough to go around.
In this sense, we’re talking about people, the way that the entertainment industry refers to performers as talent. When you’re faced with a shortage of, say, engineers, you put recruiting into high gear. Look at the talent management function in most corporations, and you’ll find lot of recruiters, some people concerned with retention, and not a whole lot of emphasis on developing the people who are on board. You won’t find any trainers.
For ten years, I’ve been on the Faculty of the Future of Talent Institute, a colloquium of talent managers from forward-thinking corporations. I’m the token training guy. The attendees take the need for corporate learning very seriously; it’s just not part of their jobs.
All of which brings me back to the Association for Talent Development. One would expect the membership to be talent developers. But are there any talent developers??? I’ve never seen that designation on a business card. Do trainers need to rebrand themselves?
And who’s talent and who’s not? Does talent encompass senior management? Or is it like show biz, where performers are talent but producers and directors, no matter how talented, are not?
The extended enterprise is the organizational form of the future. Because the highest returns come from doing what you’re good at, major corporations will be shrinking to their core expertise. All other activities will be outsourced to partners, specialty firms, suppliers, contractors, and temps. Are these people talent? In an increasingly complex world, an organization would not want to deny them the opportunity to learn along with the core group.
I’ll go out on a limb here. I’ve been in business long enough to see the demise of everything from the typewriter to the minicomputer. I suspect that talent is jargon that will go out of favor when a more apt term comes along. I give it five years.
In the meanwhile I offer best wishes to the Association for Talent Development.