Tag Archives: learning

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learning together

Learning Together Is Still An Option

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There are plenty of people who have decided that the online, virtual learning options are a better choice. At the same time, there are plenty of people who insist learning together, live, in-person is better.

What works best for you? Are you committed to only one path?

First, let me clarify that the discussion here is related to adult education, not K-12, or not necessarily a traditional post-secondary education.

In the workplace, how is your team learning?

Are they doing it together or more isolated?

Is time a factor? Can everyone participate in training at the same time or are staggered options more attractive?

When someone reads word for word from the slide deck is that a waste of time? You’ve granted them your attention, would it better to just read it yourself?

Learning Together

Most online platforms allow breakout rooms? Do these work for bringing thoughts, ideas, and interaction forward? They can.

Are you able to learn together whether you are on-line or in-person? What about asynchronous learning versus synchronous learning?

Learning together is a powerful option. So is instructor or facilitator led development.

There is power to connection. Power to group interaction, decision by consensus, and synchronized brainstorming.

People may have changed some of their habits. Habits about a movie theater or watching at home. Habits about eating out or cooking in, and even habits about how they will choose to socialize.

Is there still power to learning together. I think so.

Like most things in life, there is more than one way to do it.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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memorize

Memorize or Look It Up, Which Type Are You?

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Is your first action to memorize the information? Another choice is to plan to look it up again when needed. Are you one of these types or somewhere in-between?

Thirty plus years ago, it seemed the primary method of developing or honing a skill was to memorize the tactical components. This made experience so much more relevant.

The auto mechanic who knew the engine inside and out and could recite torque specifications for the crankshaft bearings, connecting rods, and cylinder head, had more value when compared with the less experienced oil-changer.

It is also true for the computer programmer who understood Control Language, Assembler, and Machine Code. Today, high-level software instructions shield most application developers from the lowest level instruction code.

It’s probably true in architecture, engineering, and even in health care, what once required deeper understanding and foundational skills is somehow replaced with higher-level, simpler instructions.

The school-age kid wonders about the need to learn the fundamentals of math when there is a always a calculator in hand.

Does it matter?

Memorize or Look It up

Like many things in life there are arguments either way.

Do you only have to learn enough to be able to look it up? Is that true for a heart surgeon, the bridge builder, or the CPA?

The most simplistic argument is, what happens if you don’t have access to look it up?

What if you don’t have the calculator, what if you don’t have YouTube, or Google? What if?

How will you learn how to do the next thing? Will creativity automatically develop, or does it only happen with those who have the curiosity to ask a deeper question?

Does history matter? What is the historical perspective?

It seems to me that fundamentals still matter. If we only know what we can look up then there isn’t much value in your contribution.

Studying, learning, and memorizing are the ground work for employee value.

Everything else might just be a robot.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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slow growth

Is Slow Growth Better Than No Growth?

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The easy answer is, yes. Slow growth is probably happening all around you, sometimes you don’t even realize it. Yet, a lack of action can lead to no growth, and worse, decline.

The operating environment lovingly known as Windows was first released in 1985. It’s grown a lot in 35+ years.

It may have been hard to see it growing from day-to-day but over longer periods it is easier to see.

Much of your daily environment has been changing and growing across months, years, and decades. In addition to computing products, look at transportation, radio and television, and even kitchen appliances. Growth, and lots of it.

People often take for granted what is happening for the development process. Whether it is a technology device or professional growth.

Change and growth often go hand-in-hand, but change can also lead to decline. Stopping or stalling is often the first indication that some decline is about to emerge.

My belief is that the airline industry has declined. The service and reliability of schedules has been in deep decline since the 1990s. While there are many influences and factors, from my experiences, it is a fact. It’s declining.

What are your personal aspirations? Are you growing personally or professionally, or have you stalled, or worse?

Slow Growth

There are many metaphorical expressions and evidence of unrecognized growth. Trees are a great example, they seem to grow very slow, then suddenly, with a more intentional observation, they are big.

Something big or something small, there is change every day.

An idea, an expression, or even an opportunity to see something differently than you have before.

People learn to listen better (hearing is instinctual, listening is a developed skill), observe better, and even be more empathic or generous.

Stops or stalls don’t last very long. As quickly as they happen, without appropriate action they are just about to decline.

This is exactly why whatever is happening in your environment, you need to change. It may be slow, almost unnoticed, but across time it still matters.

Slow growth is always better than no growth.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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learning more

Learning More, Are You Doing It Regularly?

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Are you in the habit of learning more? Do you find pleasure in learning, or do you feel forced?

There is the formality of learning. Go to school, attain a high school diploma. Go to college and attain an advanced certificate, a degree, or maybe go all the way, maybe even multiple times. We might label this as formal education.

What about other forms of learning?

Are you reading?

What about writing, composing your thoughts, tightening your words and message, creating an illustration or meaning for others. Can you do that and is there learning involved?

What about podcasts, YouTube, or other digital tools, are you using them?

And of course, we can’t forget about experience. Experience may often be summarized as on-the-job experience, or even information passed down from others, and put in to practice by someone not so experienced.

The concept of being an apprentice has been around for centuries. Apprentice reportedly originates from the word aprentiz which is an Old French word that means, “someone learning.”

What have you learned lately? Are you still learning?

Learning More

Formal education matters. Your definition of formal education, not so much.

Is there any value to learning something that on the surface you really aren’t interested in knowing?

In most traditional college or university settings there are pieces of the curriculum that don’t really interest those in pursuit of the degree. Yet, they are in the curriculum because there is a connection to the future. A bet or a chance that discovering something about the topic today, will pay off.

These are all elements of what might be labeled formal education. They are not necessarily a specific requirement to meet today’s need, but one of value for the future.

The quest to learn more often develops at a young age. The childhood erector set might one day produce an engineer, or a telescope, an astrophysicist.

You might also have learned from Grandma or Grandpa. How to treat people, how to be respectful, or even how to plant a garden or bake a pie.

Discovering things through interest may be learning. It probably doesn’t feel forced.

Formal learning provides a structure and ideally creates a well-rounded outcome.

Regardless of how you do it, do it regularly.

It’s for children and adults.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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time value

Time Value, Are You Getting The Benefit?

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Time value might be a measurement you’re familiar with even if you don’t recognize it at first. It seems most people believe that good things take time, but how is that value measured?

When you first learned how to tie your shoes it may have taken some time, and some additional practice. Now you can tie your shoe in one or two seconds.

You might paint a picture with some water colors. It might have taken you an hour or more. The picture can be scanned or duplicated with a copier in less than one minute. It’s not an original, but it still has great value.

The same is true for nearly anything you do. At first, things take more time. After you get some practice it all seems easier and faster. The quality doesn’t have to be sacrificed and the time for delivery improves.

What is the real value of time?

Time Value

In the workplace, teams often seek solutions for problems. The easy problems, or the ones that have occurred before are more easily solved. The time to fix is minimal. That means more value for your investment of time.

Complex problems are a little different. They are often complex because there is a bigger learning curve. There is some time required to discover the root cause, strategize on ways to approach it, and ultimately some trial and error until the solution is fully realized.

It is a constant battle against the undiscovered or the unresolved. The value of your time and the associated performance improves when you put in the effort.

Cheap and easy takes less time. The value of cheap and easy is less.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Hard learning

Hard Learning, Have You Experienced It?

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Hard learning doesn’t necessarily mean difficult. Have you been known to learn something the hard way?

Life is full of lessons if you open your mind to see them.

Sometimes I ask seminar participants, “What is a learning moment?”

Someone almost always quickly jumps to the explanation of a mistake, a failure, and then that circumstance becomes an opportunity to learn from the mistake. Makes sense, right?

I usually ask a second question, “Can you learn something from an experience when things go right?”

Simple, yet often overlooked. In many cases, you will get more momentum when you focus a little more on the things that are working. When people recognize the correct way, they can replicate it.

In success or in failure, there are learning moments.

Hard Learning

What have you learned the hard way?

Maybe it is closely following posted speed limits, or coming to a complete stop at a stop sign? A costly and embarrassing traffic citation may be a lesson learned the hard way.

Perhaps in school or college, it was studying for the exam, not procrastinating until the last minute, and to get started early.

In the workplace, it may be learning what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Workplace success is as much about navigating as it is about being right or wrong.

Have you learned to be more organized? Do you have your Word documents or Excel spreadsheets stored in a logical manner with meaningful names in specific folders? Can you find them when you need them?

What about a missed bill, paid late, resulting in an additional charge? Does that pinch? Have you learned?

Life is full of lessons. Some of them are learned the hard way.

Learning may not always be difficult, but sometimes it is hard.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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learning investment

Learning Investment, Is That What You’re Making?

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Many people invest in retirement programs. Some people invest in real estate. Buy a home and count on its value appreciating. What about learning? Are you making a learning investment?

You have daily, weekly, and monthly bills. Turn on the lights, drive to work, or pay for cable TV? These really are not investments, they are more in line with what you would consider expenses.

While some of those may be consistent with the cost of doing business or earning a paycheck, they really aren’t a direct investment.

Is learning an investment for you?

Have you attended college or some form of specialized training? Did you have to take out a loan, or save really hard in order to pay for it? If so, is it an investment or an expense?

It may depend on what you do next.

Learning Investment

Making a commitment to improving your skills is probably not an expense. It’s not the same as the cost of doing laundry or buying food.

An investment would suggest that you are spending time, money, or the energy to do something or create something that is going to provide a return later. The idea of course is that the return has more value than what it originally cost.

It’s an investment.

When you buy a book, and read it, it might be an investment. When you sign up for a workshop or take a class, it should be considered an investment.

If you join a trade association, a Chamber of Commerce, or some form of professional organization or club, it might be an investment.

Most motorized vehicle purchases are not an investment. They depreciate instead of appreciate in value. The same is true for your electronic purchases, such as your smartphone, laptop, or camera. They may be tools or toys, but they are likely not an investment.

Learning produces or enhances skills. It may add to your competence and your ability to earn more.

You can attend college or go to a specialized seminar. The act of going may feel like an expense. Being committed to learning and using the knowledge gain is an investment.

Learning may be one of the most economical investments you can make.

Do you see it that way?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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outcome commitment

Outcome Commitment, Do You Have It?

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Each tick of the clock or the change in the small series of figure eight shaped LED bars means time is in motion. Many people see their work as a race against time. Do you have outcome commitment or are you just running through the motions?

At the start of a shift, people are either looking to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, or they’ve thrown the switch, and the count down to the end of the shift has just begun.

Going through the motions is a terrible waste. It means that there really isn’t progress and that the outcome of yesterday is all that remains as a guide for today.

Things are different now. A switch was thrown in early 2020 with the Worldwide pandemic.

The switch meant that moving forward was going to require change. While some progress was hindered and government agencies forced closed doors and shutdowns, others were on the move.

There was change, a shift, and a pivot.

Outside of government forced closures, those with great commitment had to trudge on.

Outcome Commitment

Workforce sectors were forced to learn and grow all the while education is reportedly in shambles. Young people in traditional K-12 education systems are reportedly struggling, while in the adult world those who choose to make learning a priority have grown.

The difference might be a reflection of the commitment.

There is a chance that something better is on the other side. It’s on the other side of disappointment, despair, and devastation. The opportunity is there for those who are committed.

When you know where you are going and you can describe it, there is a much better chance you’ll get there.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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learning commitment

Learning Commitment Changes Your Job

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Commitment means commitment. It isn’t about a half-hearted approach. Having a learning commitment is often visible, and it’s always a game-changer.

Many small businesses start from a hobby, an interest, and lots of initiative. Some of those small businesses will grow very large, some not as much.

There are two reasons for the differences between small and large. The first is that the owner may not want to grow it big, and the second reason is that something gets lost in the commitment.

Although on a smaller scale, workplace employees have similar outcomes. Employees that are really committed to the mission often rise above the rest. Those approaching their work half-heartedly, not so much.

Many employees suggest that they are committed. Is that suggestion visible?

Learning Commitment

Spotting commitment really isn’t that difficult.

Committed employees study.

They study the actions and behaviors of role models. They also encourage and desire training, they study written materials, watch videos, read books, attend conferences, and are always committed to learning.

Change is an obstacle or a blessing. A hurdle to jump or an opportunity to capture.

Someone who is coasting backs away from obstacles and hurdles. The energy commitment is lacking, the drive towards creating more success doesn’t really matter.

If they’re on the clock, the clock continues to click and they are satisfied with that.

They are content and complacent.

Having a learning commitment is a game-changer. Each successive learning experience is a win. It’s a win for the organization and it’s a win for the employee.

You can always identify who’s committed.

They’re uncomfortable with coasting.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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rebel leaders

Rebel Leaders May Make a Positive Impact

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Are you a little bit rebellious? Are you one of the rebel leaders?

I’m not talking about law-breaking, unpeaceful protests, or insurrection. I’m talking about coloring outside the lines, bending a few rules, or going a slightly different direction because you believe it will result in a better outcome.

Many people believe that being a little bit of a rebel makes you a good leader.

Could it be true?

Innovation comes to mind. If you always follow the exact same guidelines or style, what changes?

Learning something new comes to mind. If you believe that there is more to discover, something new to try, and you’re willing to step a little beyond your comfort zone, are you leading while learning?

Making the project successful comes to mind. When you pull out all the stops, do the things naysayers caution against, and show up with a project completed, on-time, and with a happy customer, is that winning?

Rebel Leaders

There are many characteristics of leadership. Having high integrity and ethics certainly represent some of the characteristics. So are things like being persistent, working within the bounds of the rules and regulations, adhering to safety standards, and being respectful to everyone.

Remember though, that leaders lead. Leadership often comes with the cost of a little more risk. A different level of challenge and a mindset focused on completing the mission.

Leaders don’t ignore well-intended feedback, they welcome it. They are always striving to make things better and more efficient. They’re ready to improve profit margins, increase customer satisfaction and grow sales.

Not leading means you’re avoiding new ideas, shunning all feedback, and being so locked in that you never change. It is being stuck and cowering away because out of weakness and fear.

Just beyond the limits may be the next big thing.

Leaders lead.

They might also be just a little bit rebellious.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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