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This morning I received a mystifying email from China. The body reads:
Anyone know what's going on here? Did I intercept a terrorist message in code?
I have to admit that I rather like this home page design I knocked out for Didaxis last year:
This is a continuation of my notes from Paul Harmon's Business Process Change.
Paul walks us through the notational schemes for modeling organizations, processes (where the top swimlane is always reserved for the customer), and activities. Why the differences? Because each is at a different level of detail, paralleling the Rummler-Brache model. (An excellent summary of the model appears on page 160.)
Harmon thinks that managers of the future should be as fluent with business processing modeling tools as today's managers are with spreadsheets and organization charts. Work gets done in processes. Managers are responsible to see that work gets done in the processes they manage. This involves planning processes and managing processes. Planning involves setting goals and expectations, estalishing plans and budget, providing resources and staff, and implementation. Controling has to do with monitoring the process, reinforcing success, diagnosing deviations, and taking necessary conrrective actions. Process measure derive from general measures of customer satisfaction with the outputs of a process. From these measures, we work backward to measure how each department might contribute to customer satisfaction.
Six Sigma has evolved into a systematic approach to process improvement.
Business Process Reengineering earned a bad reputation when people came to view it as a heartless tool for Chainsaw Al's, a euphemism for downsizing. The activity itself, drawing an ideal process on a blank sheet of peper is still a worthwhile thing to do. It's called for in major reorganizations, simplifying how things are accomplished, eliminating non-value-adds, and closing gaps and disconnects. Paul suggests a "business process redesign pattern" for each of these.
Paul credits Tom Davenport's Mission Critical: Realizng the Promise of Enterprise Systems with helping popularize packaged software apps for improving and integrating systems. SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle refer to their apps as "best processes," although by definition, there are average processes. When I read Davenport's book, I missed the point, thinking this was the way you'd want to do things no matter what; I didn't appreciate that any of this was new.
Installing ERP apps is backwards compared to the blank-sheet-of-paper idealism described earlier. You start with a solution and then modify your processes to accommodate the software. ERP software is not that simple to change; if you expect to make major changes, perhaps you shouldn't be considering ERP in the first place.
Chapter 13 gives a history of software development that I am not going to go into, save to say that these days lots of development is driven by models rather than coders.
Important development framework for enterprise software architecture was written by IBM's John Zachman in 1987. (See here.
I found this a very enlightening book, although I'll admit to leafing through the last 1/3 rather rapidly. No matter. This one will be on my reference shelf.
What illegal shenanigans will those crafty spam artists think up next?
These are excerpts from Metrics, an eBook available in the store.
Learning about ROI seems to be enjoying a renaissance in the training industry. Workshops and certificate programs abound. However, the courses I've looked at teach things that no business manager would buy. Here, let me tell you why I feel that way.
Metrics are measurements that matter. The Industrial Age is over. Measures that fail to account for intangibles are misleading.
Decision-makers use metrics to
Metrics are in the eye of the beholder. They are not simply the application of a rote formula or accounting rule. They are subject to interpretation. This is what makes metrics worthy of discussion.
Training jargon doesn't play well in the executive suite, so you need to express yourself and position what you bring to the table in business terms.
If only I had $10 for every time I've heard training managers lament that they can't separate out the impact of the training from everything else that was going on. Some suggest that certain employees go untrained to provide a control group. (Forget it; the Hawthorne effect* would skew the results.)
|*In a classic experiment in the 30s at Western Electric's Hawthorne Works, researchers found that workers were more productive when they cut the lights up. Also, when they cut the lights down! Conclusion: Workers are more productive if you pay attention to them. Placebos work.|
Why would you want a control group anyway? Business is not precise. Deciding whether to invest in more training or increasing bonuses is not some physics experiment requiring 6-place accuracy. Consider John Wanamaker's regret, "I know only half my advertising is effective. If I only knew which half." Wanamaker didn't become a department store mogul by cutting his ads; he did what his gut told him to do.
Who decides whether an iffy investment, like Wanamaker's ads or your training program, is worthwhile? Your sponsor. The sponsor is the person who most strongly influences the decision on how to spend the money. The sponsor is your client. The sponsor decides what markers constitute proof.
You've got to describe the linkage of your initiative and business results quantitatively, using assumptions your sponsor will buy into. You must be explicit about the what-if's. Do this in writing, as a "Performance Agreement" that:
The Agreement also shows that you understand the business and that you're on the same page as your sponsor.
Before you get too far into metrics, ask yourself, "Does it matter?"
One of the few aspects of accounting that I like is The Principle of Materiality. This principle says that if it doesn't matter, don't worry about it.
For example, if Chevron-Texaco?s accountants uncover a $32,000 error in the sales department?s expense budget, they don't make Chevron-Texaco note the error in its annual report. Chevron rakes in $100 billion a year. $32,000 is a drop in the bucket; it's immaterial. Now then, if the accountants find a $32,000 discrepancy in your personal expense report, that's material. Send us a postcard from the slammer.
You can?t measure everything. Therefore, you should seek to measure important things. Let everything else coast. Don't fritter away time on the small stuff.
While training directors may have different objectives from CEOs, everyone in today's business world shares one need: they want it all now. Benefits you don't see for two years are hardly benefits at all. Given enough time, a million monkeys at a million terminals could develop your entire curriculum, with Flash animations and a repository of SCORM-compliant objects. Nobody's got time to wait.
An appropriate metric for most eLearning is time-to-proficiency. How long will it take until your people are performing competently? By competent, I mean able to meet or exceed the expectations of customers, be they internal or external to the organization.
ROI is often a mask for uncertainty or an attempt to quantify cost/benefit with accounting principles that don't count people as assets. The business return on eLearning investment should be so obvious that you can figure it out on the back of a napkin.
Traditionally, executives assume training has little or no impact on revenue, so they measure training benefits in terms of cost savings. This works against eLearning, where increases in top-line revenue generally exceed reduced expenses by a wide margin.
ROI or cost/benefit analysis is relative, not some absolute value like the speed of light used to be. Where you stand depends upon where you sit. CEOs don't care about learning objects or LMS. Line managers focus on the performance of their unit, not the overall corporation. Training directors don't allocate resources to business transformation. One size does not fit all.
Present-day accounting is an anachronism. Invented half a millennium ago to maintain accurate shipping records, double-entry bookkeeping helped Venice dominate its part of the world. Formal accounting worked well when you could go out to the warehouse to count your assets. In the information age, it's an inappropriate yardstick for measuring anything. Most assets drive home every night.
In a nutshell, the basic problem is that accounting recognizes nothing but physical entities. Intangibles are valued at zero. Vast areas of human productivity -- ideas, abilities, experience, insight, esprit de corps, and motivation -- lie outside the auditor's field of vision.
Again and again, I've found the largest overall cost of any corporate learning endeavor is the cost of people's time. I'm not talking about salaries and benefits; I refer to the value they would have created had they not been tied up in training. Opportunity cost per hour is not a fixed amount. A salesperson's time during working hours in peak buying season is worth much more than the same individual's time after closing time in non-peak season. eLearning often enables the employee to shift learning to those non-peak hours.
I could go on for another ninety pages. In fact, I do just that in a newly published eBook titled Metrics.
Innovation is thinking outside of the box. Growth is accomplished by adapting to an ever larger set of boxes
Thank you, Josef Albers
Enlightened thinkers dump the confines of boxes altogether. Limits exist but they are hardly linear. You don’t even see the outer boundaries until you push up against them.
Give the steering wheel to the right brain. The idea space becomes amorphous. Innovations seem to appear out of nowhere.
|Customarily, the Workflow Institute distributes reports and updates only to members. This one's on us, to celebrate our debut. This is our abbreviated forecast. For the full version, go here|
Tonight I started reading Business Process Change: A Manager's Guide to Improving, Redesigning and Automating Processes, by Paul Harmon. Doesn't sould like a cliff-hanger, does it? It's kept me up way past bedtime.
I'm about 70 pages in, and so far it's great. Paul ties together TQM, Michael Porter, Business Process Re-engineering, Workflow, ERP, CASE, Six sigma, Business Process Redesign, and the net/eBusiness -- all steps leading to today's Business Process orientation. Systems thinking, flows, silos, value chains, alignment, process architecture, and the work of Geary Rummler: it's all here.
These concepts appeared after I'd graduated from B-School. I'm familiar with them all, but from journal articles or the Web or some process of osmosis from the New York Times. I had missed the connections. I'd also failed to appreciate:
The Geary Rummler I remember from the 70s was a behavioralist. I never bought into the stimulus-response oversimplification of the Skinnerians, so I dismissed Rummler as just another bag of ISPI claptrap. Duh!
The chart below, from Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart, which Rummer wrote with Alan Brache in 1990, pried my eyes open. How had I missed their book? This little 3x3 table is profound.A performance framework (Modified after a figure in Rummler and Brache, Improving Performance)
Goals & measures
Design & implementation
Organizational goals and measures of organizational success
Organizational design and implementation
Process goals and measures of process success
Process design and implementation
Activity or performance level
Activity goals and measures of activity success
Activity design and implementation
Now we come to the business process architecture committee or planning committee, the group that should know what business processes support what goals. In theory, the strategy group feeds the planning group which in turn proposes changes in business process and IT infrastructure.
I have to wonder if this is real or pipe dream. Most of the organizations I've worked in were driven by personality, not logic. Thinking back to the banks, software companies, and high-tech hot-shots I've dealt with, I really don't know if they were doing something this logical when I wasn't looking or if this Business Process stuff is ahead of their curve. (Big company denizens, please comment.)
Turning to organizations, Paul notes that "An organization chart doesn't show the customers. Equally important, it doesn't show the products and services the company provides to customers, or where the resources needed to create the products and services come from in the first place." This is the silo problem. If you respect the lines on the org chart, you may optimize your unit at the expense of the whole. You win the battle but lose the war. If you've read me for a while, you've heard this before. Locals optimize their fiefdoms at the expense of the federation.
The antidote is "systems thinking," i.e. The Fifth Discipline, taking a broader perspective. Paul says "The alternative is to try to figure out how to assign strategic goals to departments without a clear idea of how the departments must work together to achieve the desired outcomes."
Next we come to notation. A process diagram is a workflow diagram with "swimlanes". Most often, suppliers on the left side, customers on the right, and a presumption that the chronogical flow is left to right. Processes have rounded corners, events and objects have square. Useful models incorporate drill-down, and this keeps the heavy forest from obliterating the trees.
|Reasoning||Less Intelligent||More Intelligent|
|Emotional Stability||Affected by feelings||Emotionally stable|
|Openness to Change||Conservative||Experimenting|
|EXTRAVERSION||Introverted, socially inhibited||Extroverted, socially participative|
|ANXIETY||Low anxiety, unperturbed||Easily worried and generally tense|
|WILL||Open minded, receptive to ideas||Resolute and determined|
|INDEPENDENCE||Accommodating and selfless||Independent and persuasive|
|SELF CONTROL||Free-thinking and impulsive||Structured and inhibited|
|WHITE||is neutral and objective, concerned with objective facts and figures|
|RED||relates to anger and rage, so is concerned with emotions|
|BLACK||is gloomy, and covers the negative - why things can't be done|
|YELLOW||is sunny and positive, indicating hope and positive thinking|
|GREEN||is abundant, fertile growth, indicating creativity and new ideas|
|BLUE||is the sky above us, so is concerned with the control and organisation of the thinking process|
makes rules and sets limits
disciplines, judges and criticises
advises and guides
protects and nurtures
concerned with data and facts
considers options and estimates probabilities
makes unemotional decisions
plans and makes things happen
|CHILD||Free (Natural) Child||
fun-loving and energetic
creative and spontaneous
compliant and polite
rebellious and manipulative
... the "OK Corral"
I'M NOT OK
"I wish I could do that as well as you do"
"Hey, we're making good progress now"
I'M NOT OK
YOU'RE NOT OK
"Oh this is terrible - we'll never make it"
YOU'RE NOT OK
"You're not doing that right - let me show you"
People move around the grid depending on the situation, but have a preferred position that they tend to revert to. This is strongly influenced by experiences and decisions in early life.
"I'm OK, you're OK" people are in the 'get on with' position. They're confident and happy about life and work, and interact by collaboration and mutual respect, even when they disagree.
I'm OK, you're not OK" people are in the 'get rid of' position. They tend to get angry and hostile, and are smug and superior. They belittle others, who they view as incompetent and untrustworthy, and are often competitive and power-hungry.
I'm not OK, you're OK" is the 'get away from' position. These people feel sad, inadequate or even stupid in comparison to others. They undervalue their skills and contribution and withdraw from problems.
I'm not OK, you're not OK" is the 'get nowhere' position. These people feel confused or aimless. They don't see the point of doing anything, and so usually don't bother.
The central concept of TA is that Transactions between people can be characterised by the Ego State of the two participants. What's more, the Ego State adopted by the person who starts the transaction will affect the way the other person responds.
For example, Mr A says "what time will they arrive?", and Mr B replies "at 2pm." This is a simple Adult to Adult transaction.
However, if Mr A adopts a Child state: "I'm worried that they might not arrive on time," that will tend to produce a Nurturing Parent response from Mr B: "Don't worry, we'll still have plenty of time to talk to them."
We all need and seek care, attention, love and recognition from others, and in TA, a stroke is defined as a unit of recognition. With children, strokes are obviously sought and given: they show off their new toy, or misbehave to get attention, and know the adults will respond right on cue. But grown-ups do the same: working hard, deliberately making mistakes, arriving late, or simply arriving home and sighing "what a day!"
Strokes can be positive or negative, and it's generally better to give a negative stroke than none at all (because that may be taken as negative anyway). But in many business organisations, strokes are subject to a set of unwritten rules:
don't give positive strokes freely;
if you give positive strokes, make them conditional;
don't ask for positive strokes - certainly not directly;
most positive strokes are insincere ('plastic');
never give a physical stroke - by touching someone;
don't miss a chance to give a negative stroke.
The result is a cold, unfeeling environment where normal human emotions are generally suppressed. Even in 'warm' organisations where it's OK to express feelings, strokes are still subject to certain norms - such as not giving them to people above you in the hierarchy.
In the absence of a free exchange of strokes, people manipulate others in order to get the strokes they crave, and start playing games.
The complexity of the TA model leaves it open to manipulation, or "Games". You adopt a Child state because you want someone's help, or a Parent state to make them do something for you. But often the games end up damaging the relationship, and the type of game someone plays is influenced by his or her life state.
Examples of games players are:
The Persecutor: "if it weren't for you", "see what you made me do", "yes, but".
The Rescuer: "I'm only trying to help", "what would you do without me?"
The Victim: "this always happens to me", "poor old me", "go on, kick me".
(right side of body)
(left side of body)
reading, writing, naming
perception of signicant order
complex motor sequences
perception of abstract patterns
recognition of complex figures
In mid-1999, The User Illusion convinced me that conscious vs. unconscious is a more important split than left vs. right brain. "Inside us, in the person who carries consciousness around, cognitive and mental processes take place that are far richer than consciousness can know or describe. Our bodies contain a fellowship with a surrounding world that passes right through us, in through our mouths and out the other end, but is hidden from our consciousness." The nonconscious is largely in control but the conscious thinks it's in control. An amazing book. It will take me a while to propogate its concepts into the Jayhoo Way.
Relativity theory is deterministic, meaning that when given a specific set of conditions, precise outcomes are predictable. Quantum physics, on the other hand, is probabilistic, meaning that when observing a specific set of conditions, change enters into the picture, and predictions can be made only of probable outcomes. Current thinking is that both types of processing, programmed and learned, go on in the brain and similar compatibilities will occur in the marketplace (with today's and neural network computers.)
From a review of In Pursuit of Happiness: "the invisible foot," says Milton Friedman. "That's the law of unintended consequences."
Life is about happiness -- which people (when pressed) generally concur isn't a new BMW or an orgasm, but rather lasting and justified satisfaction with one's life as a whole. Happiness includes the self-respect that comes from accepting responsibility for one's life and earning one's way in the world. It flows from realizing your innate capacities by doing productive work and overcoming ever more challenging obstacles, impelled more by your own inner imperatives than by the mere need to make a living.
See Finding Flow
You might also look at my thoughts on taking your own advice
From Healthy Pleasures, by Ornstein and Sobel...
Happiness changes little even after delightful or devastating life changes.
Man's plight... Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy; happiness is the longing for repetition.
Happiness springs from how much of the time a person spends feeling good, not from the momentary peaks of ecstasy. Simple pleasures are more allied with happiness than are strong, momentary feelings.
When we are in a given mood, such as sadness, anger, or joy, we are more likely to recall other times when we were in a similar mood. This is probably why seemingly minor uplifts such as receiving flowers can "make your day." The mind tends to overgeneralize... Small changes in our current contents of mind have great future consequences.
Make it a weekly goal to think about positive current events and daily experiences as much as possible. Focus on what you have, not on what you lack. The good feelings are likely to spill over into a healthy, optimistic view of your future.
Expecting to be pleased, healthy people cultivate a set of positive illusions. They inflate their own importance and have an exaggerated belief in their ability to control their destiny. They believe that other people hold them in high regard. Human beings never directly perceive the outside world; most judgments are comparative.
When bad things happen, as they will, pessimists explain the causes in stable, global, internal terms.
We often bet our lives on the stories we tell ourselves about the world, but rarely hear them while they are being told. Try to listen carefully to your continuous internal monologue. If we know that our story of the world controls our life, we can choose to rewrite the unpleasant elements.
There is a direct link between good health and knowing what is going on around us, understanding how economic and social forces operate to affect one's life and in general understanding how things work.
Some people have censored so much of themselves for so long that they forget what it is they do feel and think.
from Multimind by Robert Ornstein
"Our illusion is that each of us is somehow unified, with a single coherent purpose and action. That we are consistent and single-minded is a built-in delusion." We do not hear or observe ourselves the way we experience others.
"I know my own mind." But we don't know it very well.
Some conflicts are nobody's fault -- not caused by the badness or madness of one person; it's between the people. linear cause and effect do not apply here. (generally, if something good comes from a relationship, i figure the contribution is mine; if it doesn't work, that's your fault. it's never my fault, i'm merely reacting.) actually, the problems are the product of the relationship. it's just as you can't reduce the properties of water to the properties of either hydrogen or of oxygen.
Ornstein and Erlich: Human culture shaped over a million years; man a sight animal. Focus is on the short-term, visual (mastodon coming); we miss the gradual, invisible (greenhouse effect).
Ernest Poser of McGill University in Montreal found in treating schizophrenic patients that randomly selected undergraduates produced more positive change than did psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers.
Robert Ornstein, The Mind Field
from Do What You Live, the Money will Follow
from a talk by Robert Ornstein:
Humans were designed to operate in a world of 20,000 years ago.
We're good at dealing with change (e.g. crack), not constancy (e.g. cigarettes). Cigarettes are six times as addictive as crack!
Consciousness is a weak force in many people's mind. There are many selves inside.
Half the people ever born in the history of the earth were born in my lifetime.
Response after failure shows conquest of embarrassment and confidence in the future; it is a mark of dignity and basic health. Moreover, the analysis of failure is an indispensable activity which demands leisure and time.
Successful people generally have more errors to their credit, and often bigger ones, than unsuccessful people. They view these in the same way that scientists view failed experiments: not as moral setbacks but as the necessary concomitants of discovery.
...one of the most difficult problems we face in life: that of distinguishing between the temporary and the lasting things; between the truly urgent issues and the clamor of trifles.
from a later talk by Robert Ornstein on his newly released The Evolution of Consciousness:
The mind is a squadron of simpletons.
Rationality is only one small facet of mind. It's impossible anyway. (A comprehensive truth table will take a lifetime to figure out anything.)
The primary ability of mind is to adapt to the world. The finishing touches of mind development took place before the cave paintings at Lascaux.
Our self image of rationality leads us down the wrong path. "Cultural literacy" doesn't help anyone adapt or stay safe in the world.
Experiment: People asked to contribute to a good cause; 20% give. People get same pitch + "even a penny would help," 60% give. Explanation: one of the simpletons let the guard down. * * * Similarly, Jim Jones requested that folks "Help the poor for just five minutes." He said that once you got 'em, you can get 'em to do just about anything. Foot in the door. * * * Same situation if people asked whether folks can put up a 6' x 8' Drive Safely sign in their front yard (60% yes), IF they've first put up a 3" x 5" card in their window promoting the beauty of California!
We don't see trends. 540 people die of handgun murders every week in this country and no one cares. 10,000 die every week from smoking tobacco.
We're only 100 generations from the birth of Christ; no time at all in biological time.
There are 450 billion tons of humans on earth. (Something's off here: we'd each weigh 90 tones.... Maybe he's counting our dwellings and factories.)
More people are added to the population every month than existed worldwide at the time of Christ. We need ever-evolving systems of education to cope with these changes.
Self-consciousness is one of the simpletons. It creates resumes: "I did this, I did that...."
(At this point, I read The Evolution of Consciousness. My notes follow.)
SOB - Same Old Brain
Earliest mental routines were developed for quick action and survival.
The idea most people have that they are consistent is an illusion. The self is just one of the simpletons--one with a small job.
Our real history is "written" in our bones, our blood, our neural systems00and was written before we were writers. Physical evolution has had millions of generations to work and we are a mere 100 generations since the time of Christ.
Mind is on-line, responds to changes. Unexpected or extraordinary events have fast access to consciousness.
People misjudge others greatly because they interpret temperamental differences--speed of action, cleanliness, messiness, as reflections of the conscious mind. But we have little or no control over these things.
The world we experience is all a dream of the mind.
Memories go through a lossy compression algorithm. We uncrunch memories from fragments much as the anthropologist reconstructs the whole skeleton from a few bone fragments.
The mind ignores large changes because our ancestors could do little about them. A terrible approach in a crowded environment or a long-term relationship.
You have to learn to observe yourself as though you were another person. This way, you don't keep explaining why you did something, as we usually do. You develop a detachment and start to think of your selves as him and her.
At the time of the agrarian revolution the total human population was less than 10 million. Today, almost that many people are born each month. (About 10,000 years back)
We're 2000 generations form Neanderthal, 750 from Lascaux.
from Ornstein's The Roots of the Self
Three main roots:
The high gain person is internally aroused; there's enough going on inside. Thus better at tasks that require attention. Not into parties, sex, danger.
We each have a set point on these dimensions.
"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them...." Gabriel Garcia Marquez
We grow through reduction. We are continually pruning our neural connections. Danny Hillis on consciousness from Wired, January 1994
We'll end up with intelligent beings and not be able to tell any more about how they think than we can tell about how we think. And I think that once the bishop has had a long conversation with them, it will be a very natural step to extend moral law to them.
Consciousness is just a stupid hack. We have a lot of specialized hardware to code and decode grunts--conversation. Presumably you've had this experience of somebody explaining something to you and you misunderstand them, but your misunderstanding is actually much better than what they were trying to explain to you! That's taking advantage of your understanding hardware. Well, ti turns out, since you've got all this hardware sitting around, you use the following stupid hack: Whenever you're thinking, you play the idea out on yourself and you explain it to yourself in hopes that you misunderstand it. You compress it into sort of this encoded representation, and that compressed representation is consciousness. In fact, if you disconnected it, you would only get slightly stupider. But not so as anybody would notice.
Ornstein, The Right Mind
Alexithymia is Greek for "no word for emotions." This is a mental disorder in which a person has extreme difficulty in verbally expressing feelings and fantasies. Alexithymia is thought to contribute to psychosomatic illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sociopathic personality. And this difficulty is present to a great or lesser degree in many people who are healthy as well as ill. I think that most women consider it a pretty normal male condition…
Facts are stored and processed in the left hemisphere but the right mind sets the context and makes sense of it all.
Leader traits from Warren Bennis
Leaders operate on instinct, leader strike hard and try everything, leaders are ready to put themselves at some risk, and leaders use chaos to make changes.
Learned Optimism by Martin E. P. Seligman
The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault.
Learned helplessness is the giving up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn't matter. Explanatory style is the manner in which you habitually explain to yourself why events happen.
Inescapable events produced giving up. Clearly, animals can learn their actions are futile, and when they do, they no longer initiate action....
People who give up easily believe the causes of the bad events that happen to them are permanent: The bad events will persist, will always be there to affect their lives. People who make universal explanations for their failures give up on everything when a failure strikes in one area.
Depression is pessimism writ large. Normal depression is extremely common . .it's the common cold of mental illness. (The belief that your actions are futile is the cause of depression.)
Pessimists' explanations for bad events are personal, permanent, and pervasive.
The belief in self .improvement is a prophecy just as self-fulfilling as the old belief that character could not be changed.
A = Adversity
B = Belief
C = Consequence
D = Disputation . .argue with yourself (Evidence? Alternatives?)
E = Energizer
Use optimism/pessimism scale in choosing sales people.
Mensa 1 in 50 132 IQ
Intertel 1 in 100 137 IQ
International Society for Philosophical Enquiry 1 in 1,000 150 IQ
Triple Nine Society 1 in 1,000 150 IQ
Prometheus Society 1 in 10,000 160 IQ
Four Sigma 1 in 30,000 164 IQ
Titan Society 1 in 100,000 168 IQ
Mega Society 1 in 1,000,000 177 IQ
"Reticence" is the term that best describes a shy person's reluctance to relate to others. Reticence is an unwillingness to speak unless prodded, a disposition to remain silent, an inclination not to speak freely.
While publicly the shy person seems to be going nowhere quietly, inside is a maze of thought highways cluttered with head-on collisions of sensations and noisy traffic jams of frustrated desires. The same tendency toward self-analysis and appraisal of one's thoughts and feelings signals psychological disturbance when in becomes obsessive. Shy people often carry it that far.
Too much nervous energy is expended in anticipation of an event and wasted on minor details of its execution (like me planning out phone calls in elaborate detail).
Military brats are often shy as a result of having moved around a lot.
Being able to step out of yourself and into a role, a character behind a mask of anonymity enables a basically shy person to perform in person (Carol Burnett).
If you are tired of being shy, no longer want to survive on a diet of social leftovers, or feel unhappy seeing people you care about too shy to enjoy the opportunities life is offering, the time has come to change all that.Four basic kinds of charge are called for. Changes in
At the core of shyness is an excessive preoccupation with the self, an overconcern with being negatively evaluated. Shyness and low self-esteem go together.
You must come to recognize the extent to which you are living out other people's scripts. You cannot have a well developed sense of self if you are acting out programs written by or for others.
If you have but one life to live, live it with high self-esteem!
Decide what you value, what you believe in, what you realistically would like your life to be like. Take inventory of your library of stored scripts and bring them up to date, in line with the psychological space you are in now, so they will serve your where you are headed.
Look for the causes of your behavior in physical, social, economic, and political aspects of your current situation and not in personality defects in you.
Remind yourself that there are alternative views to every event.
Never say bad things about yourself.
Instead of thinking and saying, "I am a shy person," start thinking and talking about yourself in more specific terms; describe specific situations and specific reactions.
Anxiety, boredom and passivity generate more fatigue than does the heaviest of labors. "Good to see you around." A nod of recognition, a smile, a wave of the hand, a look in the eye. that little action starts your new career as an actor.
Like a method actor, you must learn to dissolve the boundary between the so-called real you and the role you play. Let your actions speak for themselves and eventually they will be speaking for you.
Role playing is a vital ingredient in the development of social skills. It involves taking action and experiencing how it feels to take those actions. by suspending the "self" for the "rote," you are granted permission to engage in behaviors that are normally off-limits. Your overbearing, all-monitoring consciousness is not allowed into the show. Enacting a role different from that which is usually for the person results in corresponding private changes in attitudes and values.
The emotional mind is associative. It confuses reality and symbols of reality. Perception is reality. It indiscriminately connects things that merely have striking features. The emotional mind reacts to the present as though it were the past.
The rational mind makes logical connections between causes and effects.
Because it takes the rational mind a moment or two longer to register and respond than it does the emotional mind, the first impulse in an emotional situation is the heart’s, not the head’s. There is also a second kind of emotional reaction, slower than the quick response, which simmers and brews first in our thoughts before it leads to feeling. This second pathway to triggering emotions is more deliberate, and we are typically quite aware of the thoughts that lead to it. In this kind of emotional reaction there is a more extended appraisal; our thoughts—cognition—play the key role in determining what emotions will be roused. Once we make an appraisal—"that taxi driver is cheating me" or "this baby is adorable." A fitting emotional response follows. In this slower sequence, more fully articulated thought precedes feeling. More complicated emotions, like embarrassment or apprehension over an upcoming exam, follow this slower route, taking seconds or minutes to unfold—these are emotions that follow from thoughts.
The results reported in emotional intelligence seem too good to be true. Children in Oakland were found more responsible, assertive, popular, helpful, understanding, considerate, harmonious, and democratic. Kids in Washington had better social cognitive skills, self-con troll, effectiveness resolving conflicts, tolerating frustration, working with peers, sharing, socializing, etc. kids in new york city were less violent, more caring, more cooperative, more empathic, and better communicators.
The goal is a relationship that can deal well with differences. (For some, the goal of a relationship is a make-believe world without any differences.) To achieve our substantive goals, we need effective working relationships, relationships that have a high degree of rationality, understanding, communication, reliability, non-coercive means of influence, and acceptance.
Be unconditionally constructive. Follow guidelines that will be both good for the relationship and good for me, whether or not you follow the same guidelines. Beware of partisan perceptions; don't forget how differently people see things. ("Where you stand depends on where you sit." We remember information so that it fits a coherent story.)
Accept responsibility and apologize. We often fail to take responsibility for our feelings because we blame them on the other person in a relationship. Emotions likely to have a constructive impact: security, optimism, confidence, acceptance, respect, concern.
One way to instill a constructive emotional state in ourselves is to recall a time, place, and circumstances when our morale was high -- and then mentally step back into that situation....
In some cases, our understanding of a situation creates a problem in our heads that is not there in reality.
Ongoing relationships often need a fresh look.
HOW GOOD IS OUR RELATIONSHIP?
GOAL Am I trying to win the relationship or improve it? How well do we resolve differences? How often do I think about improving the process of working together over the long term?
GENERAL STRATEGY Do serious substantive issues disrupt our ability to work together? Do I tend to retaliate by doing things that weaken our ability to deal with each other in the future? Do I ignore problems or sweep them under the rug rather than deal with them?
pp. 178-79 for more
* * * *As mediator, get each side to present the other side's point of view until the other side agrees they've got it right.* * * *
At least 12 of the 15 fundamental desires seem to have a genetic basis, Reiss said. Only the desires for citizenship, independence and fear of rejection don't appear to have a genetic component. "Most of these desires are similar to those seen in animals, and seem to have some survival value," Reiss said. "This indicates they are genetic in origin." Myers-Briggs Types I'm an INTJ; Uta is an ESFP.
Source of Energy
E Extrovert 75% of the populationenergized by people, need lots of contactshoot from the hip, spontaneouswants to change the worldgeneralists, lots of interest, lots of balls in the air, superficialedits on the fly
I Introvert 25% of the populationenergized by thoughts, need time to reflectthink twice before they talk oncegreat actorswants to understand the worldspecialists, depth, focusedneed time to preparethe "internal messenger"...wannabe correct
according to the Chronicle's Grab Bag on 4/27/91, time passes quicker for the introvert
How Things are Found Out
S Sensing 75% of the populationexperience things from the senses, practical, need lots of datanow people, grounded in reality, focus on the actualfacts, just the factsinductive/Edison
N Intuition 25% of the populationintution, inspiration, innovation, want little datadeductive/Einsteinfuture-oriented, speculative, hunchesideas, not factsimagination
The Deciding Process
T Thinking 50% of the populationlogical, objective decision-making, impersonalprinciples: laws, policy, justice, standardsdoesn't show feelingsfocus on task
F Feeling(s) 50%subjective decision-makerlikes harmonyvalues: social values, extenuating cirucmstances, devotionfocus on relationshipshows emotion easily, warm
How We Structure Our World
J Judging 50% of the populationsettled, seeks closure, decisivefixed, quick to judge, get show on the roadwork ethic, outcome-orientedplanner
P Perceiving 50%pending, keep options open, tentativeflexible, plenty of time, gray areasplay ethic, less seriouslet it happen
Exercises to Develop Extraverted Preference Skills
become actively involved in a grouptalk out an idea with someone as it's being formulatedintroduce self to strangersshare a private thought with a non-friendshare process as it is happening--feelings, thoughts, desires, fantasies
INTJ's order of preference is intuition, thinking, feeling, sensing. In other words, feeling and sensation are de-emphasized.
Common pitfalls are appearing so unyielding that others are afraid to approach or challenge me. Criticizing others in their striving for the ideal. Ignoring the impact of my ideas or style on others.
To develop, I need to solicit feedback and suggestions, learn how to appreciate others, learn to give up impractical ideas, focus more on the impact of my ideas on people.
Topic 95: Re .design the sdc conference?# 57: Tue, Sep 8, '92 (19:17)
Introverts and Extroverts...
Introverts essentially feel their internal worlds (and the internal worlds of others) are relatively static, and the external world needs to be "adjusted" in order to compensate for discrepancies between their internal state and the outer world. That is to say, an introvert feels that changing the outer world is easier than changing their inner world. This compensation can often occur simply via withdrawal, which is why the introvert is commonly thought to be inward .directed, though this is somewhat misleading, as my wife noted later. Extroverts, on the other hand, view the external world as relatively static, and their internal worlds (and that of others) as essentially dynamic. In the face of external pressure their first assumption is to either adjust themselves, or attempt to convince others to adjust themselves (usually via dialogue or debate of some kind).
To my mind, introverts and extroverts can have successful interactions when and if both types respect the other's dynamics. Introverts often find extroverts to be insensitive and painful to interact with; this is because the extrovert is often asking the introvert to change themselves, something seen often as almost a physical threat to an introvert, and they perceive the extrovert's request for change as a fundamental lack of respect. Extroverts, on the other hand, find introverts to often be stubborn and "selfish"; an extrovert may feel that the introverts' attempts to control their external environment as insensitive in itself. However, both perceptions are simply misunderstandings. The introvert is not being selfish, but simply reacting to what seems to be a direct threat to their personal integrity and self .image; the extrovert is not being insensitive, but simply asking the introvert to do what seems to them to be quite reasonable (something they are able to do themselves quite easily).
introverts prefer to interact with people who either already share their views, or with other introverts who will respect the sanctity of their internal worlds and not "invade" them (or "violate" them) with invasive ideas or presentations.
Introverts have a hard time accepting the behavior of extroverts as anything but invasive and rude; extroverts have a hard time accepting introverted behavior as anything but selfish and stubborn. Both concepts have to be thrown out the window before real progress can be made. Extroverts have to cool it, introverts can try to ignore the more annoying aspects of extroverted behavior.
reading david keirsey's please understand me II, I'm glad to see him both build on and distance himself from isabelle myers and her jungian theory trip.
· the starting point for keirsey (as for myers, earlier) is delightfully
humanist. we are indeed different from one another. and there's nothing
wrong with that. but of course. what carter saw as weaknesses were probably
my strong points. more important for me to find a fertile and appreciative
environment than to try "shape up" to someone else's standards.
· keirsey starts with historical roots (aristotle, plato frank baum, pygmalion, eric fromm, etc) and goes on to identify two defining human fundamentals: how we deal with words and how we deal with tools---
· taking keirsey's measurement device, I come up more solidly INTJ than ever before:
· the two-by-two matrix is sufficiently simple to use in offering different paths through instruction for learners. the same approach might offer tailored EPSS.
"Thinking like a professional means sticking to the basics. The basics are founded on common sense, and they include: being on time, never missing a deadline, speaking when spoken to, shutting up when not spoken to, being honest about expenses and other funds, giving your time and entry to the job without reservation while you are on the job, showing consideration for your colleagues, seeking solutions, not perpetual conflict--and last but not least, being willing to go out on a limb and push for an idea you truly believe in.
Shared Understanding "Genuine knowledge resides and proliferates where people live and work, not in some abstract formal realm. Good tools should support and augment that knowledge as it is rather than attempting to 'engineer' it to fit some model-theoretic framework entirely divorced from the work itself. We desperately need more and better software tools whose design reflects this fundamental insight, and that will therefore aid our best people in articulating, modifying and improving their understanding of the work environments they inhabit. Most crucially, we need tools that will substantially assist knowledge workers -- and today this category should include nearly all workers -- in sharing their understanding across the currently rigid boundaries of functional specialization."
Christopher Locke and John West, "Concurrent Engineering in Context," Concurrent Engineering, November-December, 1991.
Teaming and Learning
"Business is finally recognizing that division of labor is increasingly ineffective as the basis for an organization in an environment of constant rather than occasional change.... Management control is replaced by management coordination of the work of others who may know more than the manager, and decision making occurs in the team rather than in the hierarchy."
Peter G.W. Keen, Shaping the Future: Business Design Through Information Technology, Harvard Business School Press, 1991.
"The growing emphasis on high-technology production means greater demands on the competence of each individual employee. And so the element of comprehensive, life long learning for all members of the enterprise will probably turn out to be the most characteristic feature of work in the 21st century."
Robert B. McKersie and Richard E. Walton, "Organizational Change," in The Corporation of the 1990s, Oxford University Press, 1991.
Cognitive psychology--which treats people as information-processing creatures--was not a field until recently.
"Know thyself," advised an inscription on the ancient Temple of Apollo at Delphi. But what is it that you know when you know yourself? How do you gain this knowledge, and what should you do with it? Such questions are at the core of personality psychology, which explores both self-knowledge and knowledge of others.
Some personality psychologists compare everyday life to a play in which we put on different faces or play different roles for different audiences. In fact, the word personality comes from the Latin root persona, meaning "mask." The impression we make on others-or the mask we present to the world-determines how people feel about us.
Our everyday "performances" have a profound effect on our lives, so it pays to understand how others see us. But are the acts we put on for others an indication of who we really are? Do our outward behaviors reflect our true personality? A complete picture of personality includes a look at thoughts and feelings, the unconscious, genetics, and society.
When our own opinion of ourselves is at odds with what other people think, we tend to assume that no one knows us better than we know ourselves--I must be right, and they must be wrong. This egocentric position makes little sense, especially when a large number of people all agree about what kind of a person you are. Perceptions from one observer are inherently less reliable than the consensus from ten observers, even when you are the one observer.
You may have noticed an usually heavy flurry of posts here at internettime.com over the past week.
Cast your eye over to the right. See the new heading, Professional Interests? I prune, summarize, and rearrange my digital goodies in these topics. I'm always on the lookout for exemplars. These are my beliefs and my research area. (I long ago gave up on bookmarks. Too many machines, too many browsers, too linear for my taste.) At long last, I have this collection of words and pointers in undated reference pages indexed by Moveable Type and Google-searchable.
Forgive me if I've overloaded your modem-line. The peak season on this is over.
Please use the Professional Interests pages as a reference for interests we share. Supplement my choices with your comments.
At a think tank session at eLearning Producer last month, Will Thalheimer displayed this well-known graph...
...and then documented the fact that it is total fabrication. Fiction. The stuff of urban legend.
Will heads up Work-Learning Research. Here's what he's found on tattered history of this bogus graph.
Structure follows strategy. (Strategy = plans and policies by which a company aims to gain advantages over its competitors.)
Time is all we have. Barnaby Conrad
There is no free lunch.
Perception is reality.
Be here now.
Become who you are! Nietsche
Perform every act as if it is all that matters.
Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Chinese Proverb
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood. Daniel H. Burnham
Imagination rules the world. Napoleon
Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought. Henri Bergson
One person's constant is another person's variable.
One person's process is another person's content. Jay
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian. Harold Kushner
Never, Never, Never, Never give up. Winston Churchill
In my life I've experienced many terrible things, a few of which actually happened. Mark Twain
The word processor is mightier than the particle beam weapon. George Carlin
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. The Talmud, also Anais Nin
None of us really understands what's going on with all these numbers. David Stockman
Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got. Janis Joplin
If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, you're right. Henry Ford
There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. - From the tomb of Machiavelli
The truth will set you free - but first it will piss you off.
An invasion of armies can be resisted but not an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo
We look at the present through the rear-view mirror.
We march backwards into the future.Marshal McLuhan
Don't just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade. James Bennis
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. Eric Hoffer
It is best to learn as we go, not go as we have learned. Leslie Jeanne Sahler
Edward De Bono on
Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change. Frank Lloyd Wright
My father was a contemptible man. I owe my success to not following in his footsteps. He was lazy; I work very hard. He frittered away his talent, and I nurtured mine. He was poor as a church mouse, and I'm worth $550 million." John Sperling, founder and CEO of Apollo Group
The real voyage of discovery, wrote Marcel Proust, "lies not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes."
To get a different view, go up to the balcony. Look at the big picture. Look down from a higher level to gain a broader perspective. Try to discern what’s really going on. Back away from the trees to see the forest.
"I shall pass through this world but once; any good things, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, or dumb animal, let me do it now. Let me not deter it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." --John Galsworthy
From a review of In Pursuit of Happiness: "the invisible foot," says Milton Friedman. That's the law of unintended consequences.
Martin Seligman: Life is about happiness -- which people (when pressed) generally concur isn't a new BMW or an orgasm, but rather lasting and justified satisfaction with one's life as a whole. Happiness includes the self-respect that comes from accepting responsibility for one's life and earning one's way in the world. It flows from realizing your innate capacities by doing productive work and overcoming ever more challenging obstacles, impelled more by your own inner imperatives than by the mere need to make a living.
Fast Company, May 1999, Tom Peters
Distinguished project work is the future of work—for the simple reason that more than 90% of white-collar jobs are in jeopardy today. They are in the process of being transformed beyond identification—or completely eliminated. “WOW” projects add value and leave a legacy (and make you a star.)
“Will we be bragging about this project five years from now? If the odds are low, what can we do right now to turn up the heat?” Draft people as if you’re an NBA general manager – get the hottest people you can. And pick projects like a venture capitalist: bet on cool people who have demonstrated their capacity to deliver cool projects.
Point of the exercise is not to do a good job; it’s to use every project opportunity that you can get your hands on to create surprising new ways of looking at old problems.
Never accept a project as given. That’s someone else’s way of conceptualizing the project!
Reengineering by Mike Hammer (See HBR '89). Managing, or administering, businesses doesn't work today. What a retched work--administer. It conjures up the image of a bureaucrat.
The apotheosis of mid-20th-century administrator was Robert McNamara at Ford. McNamara didn't know anything about cars. He knew nothing about making cars, nothing about selling cars. He was a financial analyst. He had a deep, unspoken assumption that work didn't matter.
Reengineering means radically changing how we do our work. Work is the way in which we create value for customers, how we design, invent, and make products, how we sell them, how we serve customers. Reengineering means radically rethinking and redesigning those processes by which we create value and do work.
Titles: I would rip out VP/marketing and replace it with "process owner of finding and keeping customers."
In a reengineered company you have to leave behind this single-function mentality and wear more than one hat. You need to do whatever it takes to keep the customer coming back. Managers are not value-added. A customer never buys a product because of the caliber of management. Less is better. One of the goals is to minimize the necessary amount of management.
If you are designing a business for a world of stable growth, then you want the Adam Smith, Frederick Taylor, Henry Ford model. Trouble is, stable growth does not characterize our environment today.
"Folks, we're going on a journey. On this journey, we'll carry our wounded and shoot the dissenters."
A worker is someone who cares about a task, about getting things done, and is basically working for the wage at the time. We don't need workers in our company. We need professionals. A professional is someone who focuses on the result, on the customers rather than on tasks. Professionals need coaches and leaders.
London: What do you think about all the talk today about "re- engineering the organization." One word I've heard you use is not "re- engineering" but "de-engineering."
Wheatley: Yes, I put that word out to the world. We really have to "de-engineer" our thinking, which means that we have to examine how mechanistically we are oriented -- even in our treatment of one another. This is especially true in corporations. We believe that we can best manage people by making assumptions more fitting to machines than people. So we assume that, like good machines, we have no desire, no heart, no spirit, no compassion, no real intelligence -- because machines don't have any of that. The great dream of machines is that if you give them a set of instructions, they will follow it.
I see the history of management as an effort to perfect the instructions that you hope someone will follow this time -- even though they have never followed directions in their whole life.
How is the world going to be different because you and I are working together?
Author: Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers in A Simpler WayThere is a simpler way to organize human endeavor.
This simpler way to organize human endeavor
requires a belief that the world is inherently orderly.
The world seeks organization.
It does not need us humans to organize it.
This simpler way summons forth what is best about us.
It asks us to understand human nature differently, more optimistically.
It identifies us as creative.
It acknowledges that we seek after meaning.
It asks us to be less serious, yet more purposeful, about our work and our lives.
It does not separate play from the nature of being.
The world of a simpler way is a world we already know.
We may not have seen it clearly,
but we have been living in it all our lives.
It is a world that is more welcoming,
more hospitable to our humanness.
Who we are and what is best about us can more easily flourish.
The world of a simpler way has a natural and spontaneous
tendency toward organization.
It seeks order.
Whatever chaos is present at the start,
when elements combine, systems of organization appear.
Life is attracted to order --
order gained through wandering explorations
into new relationships and new possibilities.
OLD ways die hard. Amid all the evidence that our world is radically changing, we cling to what has worked in the past. We still think of organizations in mechanistic terms, as collections of replaceable parts capable of being reengineered. We act as if even people were machines, redesigning their jobs as we would prepare an engineering diagram, expecting them to perform to specifications with machinelike obedience. Over the years, our ideas of leadership have supported this metaphoric myth. We sought prediction and control, and also charged leaders with providing everything that was absent from the machine: vision, inspiration, intelligence, and courage. They alone had to provide the energy and direction to move their rusting vehicles of organization into the future.
Michael Crichton: In recent decades, many American companies have undergone a wrenching, painful restructuring to produce high-quality products. We all know what this requires: Flattening the corporate hierarchy. Moving critical information from the bottom up instead of the top down. Empowering workers. Changing the system, not just the focus of the corporation. And relentlessly driving toward a quality product. because improved quality demands a change in the corporate culture. A radical change.
the first constant in the job of management is to make human strength effective and human weaknesses irrelevant. That's the purpose of any organization, the one thing an organization does that individuals can't do better.
Managers are accountable for results, period. They are not being paid to be philosophers; they are not even being paid for their knowledge. They are paid for results.
These are the factors stressed by GE in its new management process:
Dee Hock on Management
An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it. Ultimately what determines the organization's performance is the approach to management its leaders take. Some of Dee Hock's management principles, in his own words:
PhD in Leadership, Short Course: Make a careful list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don't do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.
Associates: Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities.
Employing Yourself: Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is idiotic to replicate your weakness. It is essential to employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment are radically different from yours. It is also rare, for it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.
Compensation: Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality. As Napoleon observed, "No amount of money will induce someone to lay down their life, but they will gladly do so for a bit of yellow ribbon."
Form and Substance: Substance is enduring, form is ephemeral. Failure to distinguish clearly between the two is ruinous. Success follows those adept at preserving the substance of the past by clothing it in the forms of the future. Preserve substance; modify form; know the difference. The closest thing to a law of nature in business is that form has an affinity for expense, while substance has an affinity for income.
Creativity: The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture. You must get the old furniture of what you know, think, and believe out before anything new can get in. Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.
Leadership: Here is the very heart and soul of the matter. If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself--your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers. Use the remainder to induce those you "work for" to understand and practice the theory. I use the terms "work for" advisedly, for if you don't understand that you should be working for your mislabeled "subordinates," you haven't understood anything. Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, and free your people to do the same. All else is trivia.
Whenever Dee Hock talks to people about chaordic organizations, someone always wants to know, "Where's the plan? How do we implement it?" But that's the wrong question, he says, because an organization isn't a machine that can be built according to a blueprint.
"All organizations are merely conceptual embodiments of a very old, very basic idea--the idea of community. They can be no more or less than the sum of the beliefs of the people drawn to them; of their character, judgments, acts, and efforts," Hock says. "An organization's success has enormously more to do with clarity of a shared purpose, common principles and strength of belief in them than to assets, expertise, operating ability, or management competence, important as they may be."
The organization must be adaptable and responsive to changing conditions, while preserving overall cohesion and unity of purpose. This is the fundamental paradox facing businesses, governments, and societies alike, says Hock--not to mention living cells, brains, immune systems, ant colonies, and most of the rest of the natural world. Adaptability requires that the individual components of the system be in competition. And yet cohesion requires that those same individuals cooperate with each other, thereby giving up at least some of their freedom to compete.
I'm slowly converting my blogs to XHTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Content and format will exist independently of one another. This makes for rapid "reskinning" of the sites, readability on PDAs and phones, and leaner code. That's not enough to get me to unlearn old HTML habits. (I may need aversion therapy to program new code snippets into my fingertips.)
My real motivations for complying with web standards are:
Internet Explorer renders the same code like this, squeezing the heading into an odd layout:
Mozilla screws up the text alignment in the right column:
Life's too short to use programming tricks to accommodate browser variations. Here's my Workflow Learning Institute page, which is coded in XHTML, as rendered by three different browsers. They are identical.
Rant alert. It really, really, really gets my goat that Microsoft, having illegally crushed Netscape, has abandoned Internet Explorer. Opera and Mozilla are easier to use, faster, and are laden with cool features. By contrast, IE is truly lame: no resizing of text, no tabbed windows, and klutzy controls. Having cut off its competitor's air supply, Microsoft has no motivation to improve its product, save that of satisfying its customers. Customer satisfaction doesn't seem to matter to Redmond. Message to Bill & Steve: We have long memories for crap like this. /rant.
Disclosure: I am a bibliophile. No, make that book addict. My house is filled with overflowing bookcases. Books are my friends. I never leave home without one.
Nontheless, I am beginning to wonder if the nonfiction book isn't becoming an anachronism. The world flows; books are still.
A couple of weeks ago, I completed writing a 100-page document on the metrics of corporate learning. It's a file. I labeled it an "eBook." My promotional copy says, "I pulled together my thoughts on measuring results, added some how-to material, stole items from past white papers, listed the best sources I know, and packed 30,000 witty words into an eBook, named Metrics."
At least one in five buyers sends me a snail mail address so I can send them the book. How can I get the point across? I sense we need a new term for "living book." I never intend to print this book. Several reasons why:
Interested in how to measure the results of corporate learning? Buy Metrics. Since I bear no printing and shipping costs, I can sell it for $25.
In 1970, Uta and I lived in a high-rise apartment building in Wiesbaden, across the Rhine from Mainz. Naturally, we toured the Gutenberg print shop and museum.
The concepts of moveable type and the printing press bring automation to mind. Seeing a Gutenberg Bible up close brings you back to the reality that medieval times were manual. Printing was but an intermediate step in preparing a bible. Next came the artwork. Color was applied to "illuminations" by hand. Books were revered as art objects. Furthermore, you weren't about to stuff one of these tomes into your pocket to read on the plane. (Paperbacks were not invented until four decades later.)
Gutenberg Bible, print run of 183 copies, 1452-55
Contrast this with the Internet Archive Bookmobile. The bookmobile is "a mobile digital library capable of downloading public domain books from the Internet via satellite and printing them anytime, anywhere, for anyone." These bookmobiles are traversing India and parts of Africa. They can download, print, and package any of 25,000 titles for "a buck a book."
Brewster and his son on tour with the bookmobile.
For most of us, book conjures up an image of a physical thing. The dictionary's first definition reads
The Columbia Encyclopedia notes that the physical aspects needn't be books' defining characteristic:
What should we call a book o' bits?
Seb Paquet writes Seb's Open Research, a blog with "pointers and thoughts on the evolution of knowledge sharing and scholarly communication." He wrote me from New Brunswick that he planned to be in San Francisco today and we decided to rendezvous.
Late Wednesday Seb sent me an email that he was going to a party in my neighborhood in Berkeley the next evening and perhaps we could meet there. So I put on my Santa suit, wandered over to Jerry Michalski's house (I thought he lived in Sausalito; he's actually a neighbor), and met an absolutely wonderful group of people, some of whom I knew through their blogs.
The story continues...
At the party, Gordon Moore (no, not that Gordon Moore), invited us to drop by the Internet Archive for lunch the next day. Seb was new to San Francisco, so this morning I led him on a whirlwind tour on the way to lunch. Among other things, we tangled with Union Square, the Post St. shops, Chinatown, North Beach, cable cars, the Marina, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Seal Rock, Great Beach, and Golden Gate Park.
Brewster aims to capture and preserve all the books, magazines, television, the web, software, and music created by humankind, and to make it accessible to the entire world. He thinks of it as "making the free world work." It's a 25-year goal.
In addition to the Archive staff, clustered around the luncheon table were a chap from the National Library of Iceland, another from the National Library of Norway, two people from the Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders, a guy from SBC Global, a volunteer from Boston who is helping the Archive capture music, and others.
The Archive is moving its computers into a new data center. The fellows moving the PCs joked about carting around "100 Terabytes in a U-Haul." The Archive runs on a complex of nearly a thousand computers. Their typical computer includes four 250 gig hard drives, a terabyte in all, and costs about $1,400. They consume about $500 worth of electricity every month.
From the Archive's site:
Why the Archive is Building an 'Internet Library'
Libraries exist to preserve society’s cultural artifacts and to provide access to them. If libraries are to continue to foster education and scholarship in this era of digital technology, it’s essential for them to extend those functions into the digital world.
Many early movies were recycled to recover the silver in the film. The Library of Alexandria — an ancient center of learning containing a copy of every book in the world — was eventually burned to the ground. Even now, at the turn of the 21st century, no comprehensive archives of television or radio programs exist.
But without cultural artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. And paradoxically, with the explosion of the Internet, we live in what Danny Hillis has referred to as our "digital dark age."
The Internet Archive is working to prevent the Internet — a new medium with major historical significance — and other "born-digital" materials from disappearing into the past. Collaborating with institutions including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, we are working to preserve a record for generations to come.
Stewart Brand has written:
"The Internet Archive is a service so essential that its founding is bound to be looked back on with the fondness and respect that people now have for the public libraries seeded by Andrew Carnegie a century ago.... Digitized information, especially on the Internet, has such rapid turnover these days that total loss is the norm. Civilization is developing severe amnesia as a result; indeed it may have become too amnesiac already to notice the problem properly. The Internet Archive is the beginning of a cure — the beginning of complete, detailed, accessible, searchable memory for society, and not just scholars this time, but everyone."
One amazing aspect of the Internet Archive is its reliance on volunteers. The fellow assembling the music archive does it as a labor of love. Today was the first time he had met Brewster or visited the Archive. Similarly, Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders spreads the task of proofreading amongst five hundred active volunteers. Some people check a page a day, others complete dozens, and some folks do this almost fullltime. Interested? They'd be glad to have you join in "preserving history one day at a time." Thus far, PGDP has proofed a million pages. They've posted 10,000 public domain books to Project Gutenberg. Charles Franks says they're tracking their target of proofing a million books in ten years. The strength of numbers at work--along with the genius of chopping the work up into small pieces....
Conversations with Jerry Michalski, Jerry's mom, Steve Larsen (Net Perceptions), Peter Merholz, Seb Paquet, the Archive people, and dozens of others have generated so many ideas and connections that my head feels about ready to pop. I'm going to have my morning coffee, browse through the New York Times, and let "the boys in the back room" process my neural firings.
Well, I find I have to get out a few thoughts.
I am filled with optimism that we can make the world a better place. Folks like Jerry and Brewster are going to help us do it.
Everything in the world is connected or becoming so. At present it's like the "Internet cloud." You don't see the lines of connection but you trust that they are there. I'm beginning to perceive something parallel, sort of "Reality Soup." I appreciate that everything (systems, people, places) is connected, I don't see most of the connections, but just realizing I'm in the soup simplifies my worldview.
Now, I'm going to go get that coffee.
“ICH BIN EIN BERLINER…”
… about this time every year!
Report from Online Educa Berlin, Dec. 3 to 5, 2003
By Peter Isackson, Didaxis, Paris
Let me be brutal. Online Educa Berlin, which has just finished, is an interesting conference, offering a rich and diversified panorama of what people are actually doing with eLearning. But more than that, it’s now an essential one for those of us here in Europe and probably for a lot of others around the world. Though a long-standing member of the Advisory Committee, I have no vested interest in the event, and admit that this year, for the first time, I thought I could live without what had become a pre-Christmas ritual and duty. I agreed only at the last minute to chair one of the parallel sessions. And although I still think a number of significant (and less significant) things can be done to improve the overall quality and pertinence of the conference, if I’m to judge by the comments of the participants and my own renewed impressions, I have to congratulate the organizers on their impeccable performance.
Online Educa is
an immensely successful conference, having grown from a level of participation
of roughly 300 to the 1,428 who attended this year, which is already a
whopping 300 more than a year ago. As a regular since its launch in 1995,
for the first time I suffered from agoraphobia. Most of time, I truly and
disconcertingly felt lost in the crowd, although it was the same environment
(Berlin’s Intercontinental Hotel) where for years I had the feeling of
being a member of a family, albeit a visibly growing one. I had the impression
this time that some of the brothers and sisters had disappeared (which
may be the result of fabulous success --- making such events superfluous
for them -- or frustrating failure, making them unaffordable or inappropriate).
But who were all these new cousins? One answer was given immediately by
the organisation: the Dutch had replaced the Finns as the most populous
delegation. But they weren’t alone. The invasion – unlike that of
marginal event in a marginal field, Online Educa took
on significance in its early years as a magnet for Europeans working
in fields related to eLearning. It
created its niche as an annual platform for largely informal and intellectual,
non-commercial exchange among Europeans (principally) but served also
as a link with the rest of the world, including the
Online Educa’s spirit of open exchange among trainers, university staff and small producers of both eLearning content and tools produced a number of practical consequences, some of them to do with business, others with technology and yet others with pure pedagogy. In the period roughly from 1995 (its inception) to 1998 the presentations were largely dominated by announcements of what I prefer to call “pro-active eLearning policies” (quite often programs to be implemented locally with a varying degree of imminence) and speculation about or attempts to predict the future, i.e. “what we think it will be like when people starting using networked technology for training and how committed we are to achieving this”. Today, only the big IT vendors (Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Sun, who have taken over after the telecom providers’ vanishing act following the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000) are left to paint the eternally rosy picture of what our future based on integrated enterprise systems will be like, a future that will be delivered thanks to the massive adoption of the technology they have developed to meet our present and future needs, which of course they’ve also taken the immense trouble to identity for us.
Standing room only for the plenary session
As a measure of how far we have come while things remain, in other respects, essentially the same, I remember that in 1995 the only significant commercial online training service being proposed was Berlitz for language learning (which has since been abandoned), whereas Microsoft was busy impressing a receptive public with its outstanding new platform for a virtual university, Blackbird, thanks to a seductive, graphic PowerPoint pitch with more bells and whistles than usual. Never heard of Blackbird? Nobody at Microsoft seems to remember it either. But at a time when Bill Gates was struggling to take a still ambiguous position on the emergence of the Web (“are browsers necessary, and if they are, how do we establish a monopoly?”), his company was occupying the terrain and scaring away the opposition with its educational vapourware delivered in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and well-placed press releases. Microsoft’s position as platinum sponsor this year of Online Educa is linked to its launch of another educational killer application, Class Server. In keeping with the trend to tone down of hype and reassure (rather than aggressively attack) markets, Class Server appears to be a real product, this time addressed principally to secondary schools, reflecting Microsoft’s strategy – already perfected in the street corner drug-dealing industry -- that it’s best to pull the new generations into the fold as early as possible.
In the beginning of Online Educa, when eLearning was still a dream in the mind of the European Commissioner of Education and the World Wide Web was itself little more than a whimpering newborn, a serious confusion existed between distance learning defined as “telecommunications enabled education and training” and its offline cousins, CBT and multimedia. This confusion has only recently disappeared as the Internet has become democratised in Europe and the all-purpose notion of blended learning, with its miraculous healing powers, has been received as an article of faith amongst cutting edge educational theologians. While the background issues of organization and methods for universities and enterprises still attract the bulk of the presenters’ attention, several new themes have recently come to the fore and are likely to have more impact in the years to come. The ones that struck me this year were: flexibility, quality, culture and rich media.
This theme reflects a number of complementary strategic orientations and embraces notions such as change management, blended learning and contextually appropriate learning “in the face of changing learner requirements” (to quote Ashish Basu, president of NIIT, India). Basu claims to be describing “third generation” eLearning, somewhere beyond time and space, but not quite the Twilight Zone. This correlates strongly with the “just for me” principle announced with great fanfare already a year ago by IBM in its role of prophet of the future, always ready to push a catchy new slogan in the belief it will stimulate desire for a new generation of integrated enterprise solutions.
In practice, the concept as described by Ashish Basu seems slightly more human – and therefore possibly less efficient, but considerably more likely as a standard scenario -- than IBM’s vision of embedded learning that embraces both “just in time” and “just for me”… but also “just for everyone else in the team”, since my personal experience of data gathering and production, furthered by my instantly perfected presentation performance (formatting the raw data) is automatically fed back into the system. Richard Straub (IBM Europe) promises just such a perfectly calibrated solution to the hurried and harried sales consultant eager to convey instant, perfectly structured knowledge to his prospect in the interest of signing a major deal faster than the competition. (What happens when the competition buys into the same technology and catches up will only be answered at a future conference as IBM can be counted on to deliver another generation of tools for competitive advantage).
Richard Straub: the future according to IBM
the flexibility and adaptability of the system in terms of strong and sophisticated
development methodology complemented by what he calls a “layered help desk”,
where actual people with different levels of qualification handle the inevitable
demands on the system. These people will continue to be instrumental in
ensuring that the content is not only just in time, but also dynamic, adapting
to the unknown or at least unanticipated (because he quite rightly recognizes
that we can never anticipate all the critical features of context). Another
aspect of Basu’s pragmatism is reflected in
his conviction that with the right methodology and philosophy, time to
market (and therefore cost) can be significantly reduced. He didn’t fail
to mention that this is particularly true when the production takes place
The reasoning developed by both Basu and Straub reflects a new awareness that now seems pervasive: change, in the Heraclitan world of the information society, is the key to everything. The world and the economy aren’t just global; they’re dynamic. Flux rules. Here are a few examples of the kind of reasoning we hear:
The best news of all, according to Basu, is that dynamic content costs only a tenth of the price of stable content (CBT, WBT).
The concern with quality reflects the budding maturity of the field. The first wave of experimentation not only produced results that are a challenge to interpret, but has also come up flush against the critical problem of standards, linked in turn to the definition of the criteria to be used for the choice of tools. (The trend seems to be away from one size fits all to the notion of something for everyone, but probably not the same thing). As far as quality itself is concerned, we find ourselves once again in the world of speculation about future intentions and trends. One of the speakers (Claudio Dondi) describes a major, well-funded effort to define quality in eLearning and establish the essential criteria. He notes as the aim of the project -- with which SAP, Sun and Accenture are associated as well as European consultants and think tanks – “to establish a European eLearning Quality Forum” at some point in the future. These experts and consultants appear to be both humble and non-directive: they’re not going to tell us what to do but create a space in which we can discuss it. This is one way of recognizing that there are, as of yet, no visible landmarks. It’s worth remembering, however, that when navigating in uncharted territories characterized by a dearth of landmarks, there’s always the danger of hallucinating them. But with considerable humility, everyone seems to recognize we’re not even there yet.
This isn’t to say that a lot of detailed work hasn’t already been done and that we aren’t already in the phase of experimenting new ideas to see whether they may (or may not) apply. There were twelve presentations on the topic of quality, most of them outlining their approach to the question, which usually reflects the collaborative strategies shared among a number of committed partners. Europe is manifestly ready to fund projects on this theme because there’s the feeling that it may possibly have long term industrial and economic consequences. Getting people to agree on quality criteria (whether applicable or not to real situations) is one way of stimulating a new industry: the different actors can be expected to align their strategies on those criteria, which makes marketing and internal selling much easier. This of course introduces the complementary theme of standards, which curiously wasn’t given any prominent importance as a specific theme in this year’s conference.
The question of standards did make an appearance (curiously) within the realm of culture, a session officially dedicated to two complementary themes: localization and intercultural learning issues. Eric Duval, president of the Ariadne Foundation and technical editor of IEEE learning object metadata standards made some pertinent observations about the state of play in the realm of standards and the link with transcultural concerns.
Culture, like change, appears to have become something of a buzzword in the industry, and is used for various purposes and sometimes cross-purposes. The awareness of issues having to do with culture appeared throughout the conference, with the leadoff by one keynote speaker (Francesco Miggiani, Italy) who spoke on the theme of the Cultural Dimensions of Change, essentially summing up received wisdom on how to run eLearning as a change management project. Culture in this context was corporate culture but implicitly included notions of learning culture that a number of other speakers also developed, often in relation to trainer behavior, institutional behavior and plans to train trainers and initiate learners into new methodologies.
session I ran focused on a range of questions from best practice in localisation
A majority of the participants at Online Educa seem to be working on the production and implementation of eLearning. Those who are looking for ways of surpassing the current limits of eLearning tend to manifest an interest in vocal and visual media as a way of extending the scope and interest of what has been essentially an illustrated text-based medium. There is the realization that if learning output is confined to the text medium (supplemented by replies to multiple choice questions), the desired outcomes of learning (behavior, discourse and in some sense, being) will remain underdeveloped as well as being impossible to assess. It also means that eLearning will be confined to a class of people with a somewhat sophisticated level of literacy.
Rich media provides a means of diversifying the contents we provide, giving them more depth and making them more dynamic. Significantly, those who appear to be the most interested in its future see it as a way of diversifying learner output as well. It will empower learners and probably turn out to be instrumental in stimulating motivation.
Rich media has suddenly become a popular theme at Online Educa. It is quite naturally linked to the idea of mobile technology, possibly because companies such as Ericsson (who were present) are looking in that direction. Vendors such as Macromedia (a sponsor of Online Educa and publisher of Contribute) and Wimba (a supplier of user-friendly compressed and streamed audio for asynchronous and synchronous use) are beginning to have an impact on the marketplace, offering the means not only to author with a wider range of media, but also to allow learners to produce their own documents and communicate them back to the server with disconcerting ease.
In the session on culture the question of the impact of rich media was raised not only in the framework of the democratisation of eLearning (extending the possibilities of communication between cultures), but also as a factor of acceleration in the evolution of a global eLearning culture that accommodates the widest variety of national, regional and linguistic cultures. Related to this, of course, is the service it will render in language learning and sensitisation to a diversity of foreign languages (and their cultures).
In contrast to previous conferences, the 2003 conference revealed two other tendencies I consider to be significant: the engagement of traditional publishers and, for almost everyone, a certain clear-headed honesty and frankness that hasn’t always been the dominant feature in this business.
It’s remarkable to discover that an increasing number of European educational publishers in their specific national markets have moved towards a standard policy of complementing their hardcopy publications with an electronic supplement. This is moving increasingly towards sophisticated forms of eLearning and is beginning to have an impact on teachers, who suddenly find themselves with something to work with and build on. As a one-time multimedia publisher and partner of several established publishers, I’ve followed the trend in Europe over the last ten years and done my best to accelerate it (mostly in vain). The publishers have been coming to see what was going on for the past five years. Now they’ve begun to report back on what they’re actually doing and how they expect it to grow. It’s ironic that most of them remained observers as McGraw-Hill, Pearsons, Vivendi and a few others made the big speculative bets (hoping for a quasi-monopoly on a gold mine) and then as the big players pulled out, came forward to address a local (not a global) marketplace whose rules and habits they were more aware of. Their thorough engagement is also linked to the structure of European national educational marketplaces, which the global players will always having difficulty addressing.
Few speakers hesitated to
point out the difficulties encountered and the challenges they face in
pursuing their training, teaching, development and research. The purely
optimistic, utopian discourse that has been so characteristic of the eLearning community
is now reserved to the diehard “solution” vendors. In her keynote address,
Brenda Gourley, Vice Chancellor of the
Few people find themselves in a position to say, simply, “we’ve implemented it and it works”. It may well be the characteristic of a maturing marketplace that reports of difficulty and failure become far more interesting than success stories. Freud himself said that there were three impossible professions: pedagogy, politics and psychoanalysis (all beginning with a p). If someone actually found the silver bullet, perhaps we would all be so bored -- having nothing to say -- we would stop thinking about the issues altogether, ensuring that pedagogy would become a dead science, like astrology.
If the prevailing angst is any indication, that day seems a long way away. The honesty of the participants was both refreshing and stimulating. Even the World Bank (represented by Hans Fraeters), once a proud beacon of eLearning in a benighted world (some would say this is a replica of the Bank’s political and economic behavior in the world), demonstrated outstanding humility and a concentration on the very challenging issues for which no simple solution has yet been found. It made you believe that the world is a less grim place than certain powerful politicians seem intent on making it.
There was another phenomenon that struck me, as an expert in the field of language and culture, a phenomenon which somehow seemed less apparent when the conference was still an intimate place. Few conferences exhibit the contrast and diversity of cultures present at Online Educa. Listening to speakers from more and more diverse horizons brought home to me the central paradox of the new global culture that uses English as its lingua franca. The paradox concerns the acceptance of the practical need to be fluent in English and the discouraging failure to cultivate elementary communication skills. The issue is very much a European issue, but it’s also a global one.
The most German (or Prussian!)
of German cities, Berlin obviously
speaks German. Its historical isolation after World War II meant that even West
Berlin was less exposed to English than most
Online Educa demonstrates the vehicular role of English, but also highlights the dangers. Although English is the standard second language for 90% of the population who have a chance to study a foreign language and is recognized as the best way to get by from country to country, Europe as a whole still doesn’t possess a true English speaking culture. The reasons for this are probably both political and cultural. The British failed to impose their particular model, possibly because they’ve always been shy of Europe and even today regressively cling to English-speaking empires of the past (their own) or the future (that of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld). Eurospeak (a nebulous style of English prevalent at the European Commission in Brussels) is a curious mix of American and British models filtered through the phonological systems of each native language. Eurocrats (the officials who work for the Commission) spend 80% of their time speaking English and therefore are generally what one would call “fluent”. But theirs is a very odd form of fluency. Eurospeakers, almost as a duty, appear to make a conscious effort to convey their national origin through their accent, rather than adapting it to the range of styles available in the language. I can only speculate on the possible causes and see these two as primary:
It’s difficult to imagine a greater obstacle to empathetic listening. In contrast, the native speakers use their rhetorical baggage to push their wares, develop their ideas and create an image of being more commercial.
I ended up asking myself, is the European neglect of communication skills a reflection of a conscious refusal of what’s perceived as American insincerity, the disingenuousness we associate with talented snake-oil vendors? Is it at the same time a refusal of the British style of sophisticated understatement that always seems to imply a form of cultural superiority, the arrogant heritage of the Empire? Or is it simply a reflection of the fact that most training and educational professionals see their profession as still concerned only with the transmission of knowledge, not of the culture (values, behavior, communion) in which knowledge is a mere technical component?
There is a movement towards
stronger communication skills and it seems to me most of the presentations
in the parallel sessions these days are more engaging than they were several
years ago. The organisation has made a point of trying to ensure the quality
of the speakers as communicators, however strong their scientific credentials
may be. It’s a pity that, for political reasons, it hasn’t always been
possible to do so with the keynote speakers, many of whom are chosen largely
on the basis of their role as representatives of public bodies (national
or European). Still, my feeling is that Europe and
the rest of the world ought to make a serious effort in developing its
own public rhetoric in international English, a rhetoric that need not
be specifically beholden to either the
In spite of a relatively slow
start, eLearning may well have achieved a deeper
commitment on the part of active professionals here in Europe than
One reassuring element for me was what I might be tempted to call – speaking very subjectively -- the “redemption” of Online Educa, which I had begun to feel was in danger of selling its Faustian soul to its corporate sponsors, the ransom of its success and continued growth. The organisation has done an admirable job of reconciling the aggressive presence of the big name IT vendors with the moral and intellectual force wielded by the wide range of participants mostly from European institutions and enterprises, most of them engaged professionals. Indifferent to the vendors’ relentless marketing, the European worker bees have continued to build together and now buzz with an increasingly common – if, alas, still rather monotone – language full of hope and bonhomie, complemented by a certain professional intensity and a growing sense of commercial reality.
Left in the background were other more dramatic global questions that I know worried the organization earlier in the year, particularly related to the issue of European-U.S. cooperation, something that’s perceived as increasingly necessary for success in the transition towards a productive e-culture. Could this be a metaphor for the current global political predicament? If in politics the reconciliation of the U.S. and “old Europe” (essentially Germany and France) hasn’t yet been accomplished for reasons everyone has an opinion about, Online Educa demonstrates that there may well be a more solid ground for understanding and mutual achievement within the eLearning profession itself and across all continents. Let’s hope everyone can learn from it.
Paris, December 2003
Menlo Park (SRI)
eLearning Forum Season's Party
December 2003 - Jay Cross
Your 16-year-old daughter says she’s going to take sex education at school and you’re relieved, but she tells you she plans to participate in sex training and you’re unnerved. Why? Because outside of education, you learn by doing things.
Small wonder that executives hear the word “learning,” think “schooling” and conclude “not enough payback.” Executives respond better to “execution.”
Everything is connected. Each of us is enmeshed in innumerable networks. You’re linked to telephone networks, satellite networks, cable feeds, power grids, ATM networks, the banking system, the Web, intranets, extranets and networks that are local, wide, wireless, secure, virtual and peer-to-peer.
Social networks interconnect us in families, circles of friends, neighborhood groups, professional associations, task teams, business webs, value nets, user groups, flash mobs, gangs, political groups, scout troops, bridge clubs, 12-step groups and alumni associations.
Human beings are networks. Scientists are still conceptualizing the human protocol stack, but they affirm that our personal neural intranets share a common topology with those of chimps and other animals. Once again, everything’s connected. Learning is a whole-body experience.
Moore’s Law doubles computing power every 18 months, bandwidth doubles twice as fast, and connections grow exponentially with each node. Interconnections beget complexity, so we have no concept of what’s ahead.
Six years ago, Intel CEO Craig Barrett said, “We’re racing down the highway at 150 mph, and we know there’s a brick wall up ahead, but we don’t know where.” We still don’t know where that wall is, but today the car would be hurtling along at 1,800 mph.
Change is racing along so fast that the old learn-in-advance methods are no longer sufficient. While network infrastructure is evolving exponentially, we humans have been poking along. Because of the slow pace of evolution, most human wetware is running obsolete code or struggling with a beta edition. We’ve got to reinvent ourselves and get back on the fast track.
In a world where we don’t know what’s coming next, what constitutes good learning? We’re in whitewater now, and smooth-water sailing rules no longer apply. In whitewater, successful learning means moving the boat downstream without being dumped, preferably with style. In life, successful learning means prospering with people and in networks that matter, preferably enjoying the relationships and knowledge.
Learning is that which enables you to participate successfully in life, at work and in the groups that matter to you. Learners go with the flow. Taking advantage of the double meaning of “network,” to learn is to optimize one’s networks.
The concept that learning is making good connections frees us to think about learning without the chimera of boring classrooms, irrelevant content and ineffective schooling. Instead, the network model lets us take a dispassionate look at our systems while examining nodes and connections, seeking interoperability, boosting the signal-to-noise ratio, building robust topologies, balancing the load and focusing on process improvement.
Does looking at learning as networking take humans out of the picture? Quite the opposite.
Most learning is informal; a network approach makes it easier, more productive and more memorable to meet, share and collaborate. Emotional intelligence promotes interoperability with others. Expert locators connect you to the person with the right answer. Imagine focusing the hive mind that emerges in massive multiplayer games on business. Smart systems will prescribe the apt way to demonstrate a procedure, help make a decision or provide a service, or transform an individual’s self-image. Networks will serve us instead of the other way around.
For tech networks, foundation meta-processing skills will foster the growth of self-determined learning. Personal knowledge management systems will store memories and facilitate rapid knowledge sharing across one’s network. Alter-ego agents will seek out and present us with a balance of normal alerts and fringy out-of-the-box wake-up calls.
It beats schooling.
Jay Cross is CEO of eLearningForum, founder of Internet Time Group and a fellow of meta-learninglab.com. For more information, e-mail Jay at [email protected]
360 degree views of Stonehenge. Absolutely stunning.
There's wonderful writing in the blogosphere if you have the pointers to find it. Caterina:
It seems to me that the shadow cast by one's mind, that is, the sphere of knowlege that one's brain may encompass, is finite, has a certain limit, and stays within that limit; that one thing remembered causes another thing to be forgotten; that one carries one's own personal circumference of attention, and that, try as one might, try as I might, that is, I cannot cram more understanding, more thinking, or more knowing into this pre-ordained or self-limited Knowosphere. That someone else knows something and I don't doesn't cause me to relax into the noosphere, though there are certain things I am happy not to know, i.e. I haven't the faintest idea what football team is likeliest to triumph this year, and am satisfied that certain problems, (an understanding of cube roots, fathoming Kant) fall outside the realm of my concern.
I can relate. I've given up on football, cube rootes, and Kant, too.
Today I participated in a demo of Breeze Live, Macromedia's new synchronous technology. Wow. Macromedia was having internal server problems, so Peter Ryce plugged his modem into a phone line and still managed to give a snappy performance.
Peter showed us a Breeze presentation (that is, PowerPoint ocnverted to Flash), video that had been converted into Flash (supposedly a push-button operation), hi-res jpg photos, and other content from a library. He flipped into app sharing -- and recorded that vignette for immediate playback. He called up some "Flash Paper," Macromedia's Flashy Acrobat-like tool (except lightweight).
Tom King clicked open a webcam, quite clear but the size of a large postage stamp. I clicked a link and my webcam shot appeared right next to Tom's. Given that Breeze Live comes with voice over IP, this could be a nifty coaching environment.
Tom and Peter use the metaphor of a conference room to describe the Breeze Live environment. Unlike conferencing solutions that are over and done with when everyone exits, a Breeze Live Conference Room is persistent. I can go back where we were this afternoon and find the same set-up, the same presentations, the same content library, etc.
I'll report back after I've tried Breeze Live. After all, this was just the demo. (Scroll to last item of the link.)
Fortune Favors the Bold: What We Must Do to Build a New and Lasting Global Prosperity by Lester C. Thurow
Calculated risks must be taken by bold people to accomplish substantial and sustainable growth, be it in a company or in society. History is filled with examples from cultures that were able to acquire new technologies and use them in productive ways. This suggests the need for chief knowledge officers who would provide a competitive advantage by helping organizations navigate the developing global knowledge-based economy. Those who leap sometimes lose, but those who do not leap always lose.
This just arrived from Mark Rosenberg:
The exhibt floor was jammed with a multitude of vendors simulating everything from firing shoulder launched missles, to jet trainers, to house-to-house combat. Most of the vendors work exclusively for military clients and there was only one company I recognized from the more generic training venues (Click2Learn).
Anyone who thinks simulation can't teach should spend an hour at a show like this. The opportunities are everywhere. All it takes is money (in the $$millions). A real eye opener.
You won't see one of these at ASTD!
Unbelieveable realisim (and unbelieveably expensive)!
Jet trainer landing simulation…crashing is no problem!
You might want to visit Marc's site if you're not familiar with his work.
Slogan on I/ITSEC's homepage: "Enhancing Warfighter Performance Through Advanced Learning Technology."
(Don't tell my neighbors in Berkeley I'm visiting this. It's much more respectable to tour porn sites.)
from I/ITSEC's site:
Initiated in 1966 as the Naval Training Device Center/Industry Conference, the conference has evolved and expanded through increased participation by the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Industry.
In 1979 it became known as the Interservice/Industry Training Equipment Conference. The Services have steadily evolved toward a total systems philosophy in the acquisition of training equipment and training delivery systems.
In 1986 the Conference name was further refined to the Interservice/Industry Training Systems Conference (I/ITSEC) to recognize the increased importance of Manpower, Personnel, and Training aspects in the systems acquisition process.
In 1992 the name was further changed to the Interservice/Industry Training Systems and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) to reflect the consolidation of the Manpower and Training Committee (MTC) and the Technology and Innovations in Training and Education (TITE) Conference with I/ITSEC. This change emphasizes the importance of education and the man-machine interface in meeting force-training requirements through simulation training.
In 1997, to reflect continued growth and changes in the industry, the conference name was refined to the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).
Remember the Viet-Nam Rag? Country Joe lives right down the hill.
Come on Wall Street, don't you slow.
Man, it's war a go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
by supplyin' the Army with the tools of the trade.
Gimme a F.....
Serendipity! Ain't it grand?
I was just following up on an email from Jon Levy announcing that he's left HBS publishing to join Monitor Group. That rings a bell. Oh, sure, they're the guys who bought Global Business Network. I used to follow GBN's booklist suggestions religiously when Stewart Brand was choosing the tomes. It was so brilliant to send your customers books. Cheaper than brochures and so much more meaningful. Astute marketing.
This evening, I happened upon the Ideas section of Monitor's site. There's great stuff here. Click on the topics in the left column. I enjoyed reading Learning, Ecommerce, Management, Marketing, Strategy, and Technology.
Giving away ideas. It's akin to sending out books. It's the old "an informed customer is a better customer" strategy. Educating people to buy. Win-win-win. It will never go out of style.
Continuing my explorations, although I should either be in bed or vacuuming, I happened upon the current GBN Book Club site. Treasure Trove! A wonderful way to riff through ideas and pick what to explore more deeply.
When I attended college, back in the days when owning a typewriter made you high-tech, I was proud of my collection of time-saving paperback summaries like 100 American Plays or my mastery of the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, the touchstone for locating reviews of books assigned for reading, written at the time the books were published. It's so easy now, just mousing one's way through the great ideas. Kids, when I was your age, I used to walk five miles through the snow just to get to the school bus. Now the Internet dumps it in your lap. (Well, perhaps I'm exaggerating a little. About the snow and the miles. Maybe it was bicycling a mile on the asphalt to school. Whatever. It was more arduous than your childhood, I assure you.)
People who complain about having too much information miss the flip side: If you're looking for an example of something, you don't have to wait very long.
David Grebow and I were chatting this afternoon about Sam Adkins' post on the Learning Circuits blog, the one that starts out saying training doesn't work, eLearning doesn't work, and KM doesn't work.
I was comtemplating the 80% of training that misses the mark. At that moment, an example pops up on my screen. This one's so bad I recalled GEN Frank Anderson's advice at TechLearn, "If you're riding a dead horse, dismount."
As if by magic, a dead horse appeared:
What's wrong with this? Multiple choice is not a great way to teach history. The Shakespeare 'toon takes at least five times as long to ask a question as you'd spend to read it. The cuteness wears off in a minute or two. You need to download a 7.5 MB Flash ap just for the demo; imagine the length of a course! Only a complete fool would find this compelling; they'd learn more watching television.
Years ago, Electronic Arts brought out a game called Pinball Construction Set. This was pre-Windows, and great visual experiences were rare. I spent countless hours dragging bumpers and rails to create my own personal pinball games. I'd play a while, then modify the game. It was a wonderful metaphor. Make-your-own-game. And then make it better.
Ruder Finn has just released a Picasso Construction Set called Mr. Picassohead, and it is great fun. Perhaps even better than Pinball Construction Set. A Flash ap, it's free and the learning curve is about five seconds. You simply must try this.
Here's my first Picassohead:
I bet I could develop a Technical Proposal Construction Set if I wanted to.
Thanks to Stephen Downes for the pointer.
Overture is a recent Yahoo acquisition. Their new direct mail piece is headlined "Increased Sales Leads." I just received one addressed to:
Okay, so they confused a personal name with a company name. But I begin to question the validity of their algorithms when I received four more copies addressed to:
Analog Devices CEO
Internet Time Group
Internet Time Group
CEO of Visa
Internet Time Group
I guess I'd better get my sales leads elsewhere.
Ross Dawson and I shared a late lunch in rainy San Francisco this afternoon before he fled east to lead what sounds like a really cool workshop in New York on Thursday. If I were in New York, I'd head over to the W on Lex for this event in, well, a New York minute.
Ross is author of Living Networks and the session in New York puts the book into practice.
The Social Network Analysis meme is making the rounds. At the Dave Winer dinner in Berkeley a week back, I asked my table, "How many of you are not doing something with social network analysis?" Community, collaboration, and context are hot. But analysis is still just that. It sort of lies there, waiting for someone to pick it up.
So Ross is experimenting with Social Network ENHANCEMENT. Now that you have a map to experts and kindred spirits and so forth, what do you do with it? On Thursday, attendees will be wearing Meme Tags that chirp when you're in the proximity of someone with similar connections. How do they know? The Spoke network is feeding participant profiles into the tags. Chirp, chirp, chirp, hi, who do we know in common? And now that we've figured that out, let's play with some collaborative work tools.
Setting up the Workflow Learning Institute with Sam Adkins has me revisiting Vilfredo Pareto's 80/20 rule. The overpowering inefficiency that workflow learning goes after is the 80% of virtually any workflow cycle that is wasted on transfer time, slack, idle moments, distractions, looking things up, and so on.
Here's a cycle. Of anything. It's the time from starting one item until starting the next. Of manufacturing a widget, of making a sale, of processing a loan application, whatever. Time and time again, we find that only 10% to 20% of the time is spent on the real task, adding value. That's the green. The remainder is "other." It doesn't add value. What more do you need to know?
Peter Drucker tells us that "Knowledge worker productivity is the biggest of the 21st century management challenges...(it is the) only real competitive advantage in a global economy."
How can we knock some of the inefficiency and slack out of knowledge work? As I said earlier, I'd love to be able to attend Ross's session in New York.
Naturally, Ross is also a blogger.