Tag Archives: learning

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learning opportunities

Learning Opportunities Really Change The Outcomes

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Is attending the seminar a punishment or an opportunity? Education at all levels makes a difference. Do you see learning opportunities or do you see time wasters?

It’s sort of comical how several people can observe the same subject matter and see completely different things.

Values, beliefs, and trendy positions lead some people to appear to believe in something that they may know little or nothing about.

In the workplace, groups form, subgroups form, and there are workplace politics. Politics about who belongs and who doesn’t. Politics about who works, contributes and puts in their time, and of course, who doesn’t.

Many organizations are on a quest to enhance their culture. They want to build stronger more intact teams. They want to improve their communication efforts and get everyone on the same page.

How will they do it?

Learning Opportunities

The best organizations seek to learn more. If time matters, and it always does, the faster you can improve efficiencies, effectiveness, and productivity the better.

The best people in the best organizations make an investment in learning.

A seminar or workshop is not a punishment. It is an opportunity.

If you can learn something new, refresh on something you’ve heard before, or turn a habit slipped into a reinvigorated quest to get better, you’ve gained.

I’ve observed people who fight and argue to stay out of the workshop. At the same time, I’ve observed people who fight and argue that they want in the workshop.

The perspective is different.

Workplace cultures are different.

Learning is something you become part of, you’re pulled, not pushed.

Changing the outcomes means you’re changing the approach. A new twist, a fluid approach, or something different. It’s more than doing the same thing differently, it is doing different things.

Different things change outcomes.

It’s a learning opportunity.

-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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more education

More Education, Who Needs It?

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Do you need more education? Some people believe that they don’t need education beyond high school, and some even less than that.

Is education really a racket? Some people say it is.

Even Pink Floyd had something to say about education.

There are plenty of high salary people with what some would say is a limited education. Yet, it is probably safe to say that the more educated you become the higher your earning potential.

Is it about Learning?

When we swap out the word education and replace it with learning, things change a little.

One trouble spot is the concept of the quality of what is learned.

Learning how to dodge, weave, and play corporate politics may not be taught in a community college or ivy league business school. You tend to learn it from experience. For better or for worse, that experience often comes from role models.

Duck Dynasty is an American television series. Many view it as the name of a business. Although its true name is Duck Commander.

The Duck Dynasty brand, is an image, a role model, and although ZZ Top may disagree, it is quite possibly the spark that ignited the long-beard trend.

We also have images of what corporate life at Google looks like, what big government looks like in Washington, D.C., and some images of the chillaxed lifestyle of the rich and famous of Miami or Southern California.

There is also a reasonably good chance that you are none of those.

Yet, plenty of people will grow the beard, tote around technology like it is a picture of success, and politic on social media channels like a know-it-all from a prominent urban community.

It’s what they’ve learned or inspire to be.

More Education

You don’t need a formal education to learn how to run a Ponzi scheme. Although some college and university graduates decide to do it. The same may be said about the success of star athletes, business owners, and the Executive Chef.

Learning helps build your character. It shapes decisions that you’ll make.

If you decide to drop out of school and you achieve some success then school may appear to be a waste of time. You made a decision and got results.

If you decide to pursue post-secondary education by earning a certificate, a degree, or multiples of either, and you achieve some success, you may decide that formal education had something to do with it.

All of the decisions you’ll make today and tomorrow will have something to do with what you’ve learned. There is a good chance that as you make your next big decision, you’ll look at the presumed success and failures of your life experiences and your role models.

More learning is never a waste of time.

It becomes part of your character. It isn’t forced, it’s welcomed and appreciated. The moment you decide you don’t need it is likely a moment that you made a decision that will limit everything that happens for you next.

Everyone needs to learn more.

Do they?

Do you?

-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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character depth

Character Depth Will Determine Leadership Decisions

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Life experiences matter, so does formal education, the deeper your knowledge and understanding the better decisions you can make as a leader. Character depth will matter, because it is part of who you are.

Character may be described as a sum of your values, beliefs, and knowledge. It is also connected to how you apply all of those. It shows itself through your words, behaviors, and responses.

Everyone’s path in life may be different. What people read, espoused values from family and friends, and formal education will have an impact. Today, beyond just reading we have other vast influences, such as video, television, and even virtual realities.

Your life choices and decisions will shape how you navigate the future.

This is why learning is so important.

Are You Learning?

People learn in different ways. Some argue that they don’t need a formal program of study. Perhaps, that is true. Yet, at the same time if their learning is limited to only their immediate surroundings or culture their depth is limited. Their frame may be too narrow.

There are also differences between reading, studying, watching videos, and listening to podcasts, when compared with learning directly from an expert.

In life, people drop out of high school, they drop out of college, or never finish other types of educational programs.

There are unexpected pregnancies, loss of loved ones, or loss of a job.

Many twists, turns, and surprising outcomes.

Does this matter? The easy answer is, yes.

It is not so much about what happened, but more about what you learned.

What you learned from any experience will drive what choices or actions you’ll take next.

Did you learn?

Character Depth

Nearly every day I hear stories about formal leaders making difficult choices.

Some stories are about bad choices and some are about not understanding options. Go a little deeper and it may be that so-called leaders don’t even have the understanding that they should be making a choice. They do nothing.

Doing nothing may be an option, yet if it is not a conscious choice it may be problematic.

Leadership often circles back to expertise. While much of the expertise may be technical in a given field, it also requires great depth in the human side of things.

In the workplace, great leaders understand the technical as well as the psychology of work. They understand people.

Those who lack formal expertise, those who lack education, are limited. When their frame is very narrow, of course, they lack depth.

Depth becomes part of your character and the decisions you’ll make are limited by the information (knowledge/expertise) that is within your reach.

Sometimes there isn’t a video to watch. Sometimes there isn’t a podcast to listen to or a book to read.

The best leaders build their character across time from a wide range of experiences and learning.

How deep are you?

-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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Skill building

Skill Building Is Asset Creation For You

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Are you skill building? Right now, today, for your job and your future, are you building more skill?

We know that one person’s trash may be another’s treasure. We’ve heard it many times. Perhaps we’ve even collected some of it.

When it comes to knowledge, skills, and abilities many people only want them when they are necessary on their resume.

Do you recognize skills as an asset or something to build only if you must?

Colleges and universities to try sell you an asset. Workplace training and continuous learning should also be considered an asset. Is that your view?

Malcolm Gladwell, has suggested that committing to 10,000 hours of work in a particular subject or discipline may make you an expert.

When you need your car repaired, an electrician for your home, or visit a doctor, you expect a pro, correct?

Being an expert or a pro is an asset. You build that asset. Across time, with discipline, and continued interest.

You likely string together many hours, make a few sacrifices, and leave the scene sometimes very tired and hungry. It’s growth, it requires effort and energy.

What if you don’t?

Skill Building

If you find learning to be a nuisance, a disruption, or a waste of time because there is other, real work to be done, then you probably are not on the road to becoming an expert.

In the workplace, it is common for the technical expert to get promoted to supervisor or manager. Does she have the skills required?

Technically, for the discipline of the trade or activity, probably, yes. However, the skills necessary to be a good supervisor or manager? Probably not so much.

The opposite can be true as well. Not every trade, production, or service area requires a manager who has the technical skill. In many cases it is just as effective to have a well-skilled, expert supervisor who can learn a little about the skills required for the work at hand.

What are your assets? Are you building them?

Waiting until you think you need a skill is too late.

Think about what you are spending your time doing and about the asset you are building.

If you don’t want to grow then don’t expect to be promoted or hired.

-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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repetition creates learning

Repetition Creates Learning or Ignoring

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Teaching a dog a new trick involves repetition. You do it over and over again until it becomes a behavior. The idea is, repetition creates learning.

Is this always true?

Sometimes, it would seem, that repetition invites shutting down or shutting out. The idea that we’ve heard it so many times we now choose not to listen.

Another harmful side effect of repetition is the element of safety. We’re reminded of this in the fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

It might really be about balance. A balance between enough repetition to create learning and not any more than just enough.

Repetition Creates Learning

In our workplaces we struggle with repetition.

We have the recurring email threads. The information asked for or the information being pushed out. The length of the courtesy copy list grows, readership declines, costly mistakes occur. Balls are dropped. Customers are unhappy.

Commerce struggles with repetition.

It’s in the marketing, in the message, and in the email blast. We see the television commercial for the tenth time and we’ve already started to ignore it.

Government struggles with repetition.

It is the warning message. The surgeon general’s advice. A governor’s opinion. The color code of your county. Wear a mask. Social distance.

Too much and we shut it out.

Just Right

Athletes practice for repetition and learning. The presenter practices her speech. An actor memorizes a line, the body language, and the feeling of the scene.

It doesn’t seem to matter which direction we go with repetition and learning. There is a maximum for return on investment.

The key then, is to provide enough repetition to get noticed, get the point across, or improve the skill. Everything beyond that starts to take away from everyone’s level of interest or desire.

Getting it just right is a hard skill to practice, and to learn.

-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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experiential leading

Experiential Leading, Are You Doing It?

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There is a lot of talk about hands on learning. You’re reflective and learning something. Is there such a thing as, experiential leading?

Twenty years ago, when technology started to accelerate for on-line learning many thought it was the beginning of the end for traditional classrooms.

Sure, somethings changed, and perhaps more people are being reached with educational opportunities than ever before.

Enter the year 2020. A nasty virus spreads and the threat (or hype) create a run on supplies. Countries close borders, flights are cancelled, and ships are harbored. The fear is abundant.

Some K-12 schools close doors, some colleges and universities follow.

On-line classes they propose. Yet, will the students get the same level of education? It has been a question for twenty years.

I think the answer is both yes and no.

Some students, those who are really motivated, will learn. They’ll push the envelope cramming information and studying at a similar pace as always. Others will probably take advantage. Do little, make an appearance on-line, and get by.

The same is really true for practicing leaders.

Experiential Leading

Every day, virus or no virus, people in leadership roles have a chance to engage or just get by.

Some workplaces have closed. “Work from home,” they say. Yet, what are the metrics? Are accomplishments measured by timelines and milestones? Are they evaluated by past performance, benchmark data, or simply by subjective management oversight?

Experiential takes on many forms. Hands on is just one example. The key for experiential is that the involved person is reflective on the work they are doing. They are seeking more knowledge, more information, they’re learning.

Today is a great day for experiential leadership. Tomorrow will be as well.

In some cases, where you work is not as important as how you work.

Great leaders’ practice, reflect, and learn. Even when no one is watching.

-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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energized action

Energized Action and Learning Something New

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It isn’t always about what we know. Often it is more about what we do with what we know. Do you have energized action?

We hear about it before the meeting, the workshop, or the conference breakout session.

I’m not attending because I already know that stuff.

That’s about as basic as it comes, I’m going to a different session.

These meetings are so boring, we always talk about the same stuff.

There is a difference between knowing and action. How you react to opportunities will often depend on how you look at them.

Open to Opportunity

Many people stop listening, often before they even start listening.

There are the stereotypes, biases, and the “set ways” that often keep people from learning more.

Our mindset and how we approach opportunities with differences depends on what happens next. What happens next is your action.

A coffee shop owner may have different business experience from the clock shop owner. One business author writes about finance, the other about marketing. The YouTuber gets a million hits from the skateboard event, another from an artistic display of human generosity.

Energized Action

When we block out new or different information, we set limits. We shelter and close the frame on our design. Having a frame can help us digest new or large volumes of information but never adjusting the frame will limit future outcomes.

Energized action comes from the willingness to adjust the frame. It comes from exploration, risk, and a propensity to see opportunity in differences.

You may feel like you already know it all. You may feel that you’ve mastered the craft. Yet, you may be surprised how things look through a different lens.

You want your next opportunity? You want energized action?

Give opportunity a chance.

-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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workplace mentoring

Workplace Mentoring Should Be About Learning

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There are several choices we make during workplace mentoring. We can do only show and tell and encourage people to memorize the steps or we can invite them to learn more too.

Technically, there is a significant difference between mentoring and coaching. Although the words are often used synonymously, they are different. Professional coaches spend decades honing their craft, mentoring is different, it is much more about show and tell.

There is still plenty of opportunity for the mentee. An opportunity to learn more about the process and procedures, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the how, the why, and the purpose.

When employees connect with the sense of purpose, they are much more committed to their job role. Not only are they more motivated, they are also more loyal. 

Memorize or Learn?

People can memorize the lyrics to a song yet they don’t necessarily learn something new.

We often put things into our memory. We may memorize features about our car, the software we use, and the menu at the local diner.

All of this is not necessarily learning.

Learning is more involved. It was why you had to learn more about math and not just memorize your multiplication tables.

Workplace Mentoring and Learning

When workplace mentoring takes mentees to a more advanced level of learning, not just memorizing, it benefits everyone. Just like in math class, they may seek only the answers, but learning the how and why will help with knowledge transfer and inspire a commitment to action.

You may be a mentor or mentee, learning more will always provide a deeper and more impactful experience.

It is likely much more than just a job.

For everyone.

-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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educational illusion

Is an Educational Illusion Stopping You?

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It seems that there are always two sides. On one side people worry that they’re not enough and do nothing about it. And on the other, they never stop trying to prove their credibility. Are you suffering from an educational illusion?

It is quite simple really. People make decisions about the reasons why. They decide on the placement of blame.

Why you weren’t hired, promoted, or respected by peers. Many blame education, and throw their arms up in disgust, or are constantly enrolling in the next degree program.

Make no mistake that education matters. It matters a great deal and often, especially in an on-line World of “punched cards” coming up short can be problematic. If you can’t check the box, you’re not getting in.

A medical doctor isn’t going to be able to practice without the degree. A lawyer needs a degree and to pass the bar exam. Most university professors need a doctoral degree.

Educational Illusion

Outside of specific professions there is wiggle room. Some career opportunities, good paying ones, only require a high school diploma.

Which camp are you in?

Are you working hard, taking advantage of gaining experience while also exploring opportunities for additional education?

Or, perhaps you are working hard and have tried to explore advancement, yet have come up short? Are you convinced that the reason you didn’t advance was because of a lack of education?

In either case, additional credentials may not be the obstacle.

There are many cases where the advanced degree, the credential, the certificate, or the card punched is not the real obstacle.

Sometimes the real obstacle is a lack of persistence, determination, and courage.

Sometimes there is a difference between reality and where you place the blame.

-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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people learn

Making People Learn, Is That Possible?

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Is it possible to make people learn? Can learning be forced or is it more about people being self-motivated and self-directed?

Have you ever considered what the straight A student learned? What about attaining a 3.98 or 4.0 at the University? Have those students really learned?

The question sometimes comes down to, “Learned what?”

In many classroom curricula the savvy students figure out the way to get the perfect score. They are smart about navigating the educational environment.

Yet, have they really learned the material or just the material as it pertains to testing?

Experiential Learning

Many people bring up the concept of experiential learning.

Often, they connect this to hands-on learning. Sure, it may encompass hands on, yet experiential is really about reflection and experiencing the learning opportunity.

Experiential learning can occur with a case study, a screwdriver, or by clicking a mouse to apply different courses of action to a data set. It is nearly wide open. The key is that the learner is engaged and is reflective of the presenting opportunity.

The self-directed desire to learn may be much more reflective than the act of studying to get a good test score.

Making People Learn

Making people learn may be possible but what will the future outcomes hold? If the learning is not enticed with a desire to do more, be more, or build upon more, is there a point?

Is there a difference between the person who reads the book because there will be a test or the person who reads the book with an inquiring mind?

Will reading the book result in a grade or new knowledge? It could be both, but which would you place more value in, learning based on desire or because a grade will be given?

If you look around, kick up some dust, and stir the pot a little, you’ll likely find that the most successful people are lifelong learners.

Not because there will be an academic test when it is over, but because in life they want to be prepared for when they are tested.

-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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