One big difference between adults and kids is their attitude towards learning. Kids just go with the flow. They seek out new ideas and adventures. As adults, most of us are pretty complacent. This is normal, but not good. One way to keep learning while keeping up with all our daily responsibilities is to read blogs. People tell me they don’t have time… to read, think, learn, etc. Really? Do you have time to be a role model for your children? Here are the ones I like…
1) Mashable.com bite sized news of the digital world & relevant biz stuff.
2) Occam’s Razor web stuff including analytics, measures, etc. clear, lucid and insightful
3) Escape Into Life awesome art of all kinds
4) In Over Your Head Julien Smith’s occasional writing on hitting life — head on
5) Laughing Squid various music, stuff and nonsense
6) Soulpancake.com art, science, humor, philosophy designed to open your mind
7) The Atlantic Monthly blog short and long thought -provoking articles, photos
8) The Inspiration Room “a global effort designed to influence, affect and involve creative communities in the development of a world standard for inspiration”
9) The Cynical Girl “Hard core punk rock pixie of the apocalypse. Blogging about work, money, power and politics. And cats.”
10) Outside Innovation Patty Seybold’s blog on enabling customers to lead the design of your business processes, products, services, and business models.
Photo credit: Hand Over Mouth Mel B.
This week I had the privilege of meeting a woman who has battled the forces of judgment and sadness with grace. She also has translated the difficulties of her life into beautiful art. The journey of integrity is often a very lonely road. Principles are expensive; financially, psychologically and physically.
During our conversation, I was reminded how easy it is to judge others. Often, we’re not conscious of our negative feelings; we don’t deliberately set out to be judgmental or cruel. It’s just that these OTHER people…
– look different from us – It’s no longer just someone’s skin color – now we judge them because they wear a hijab or a turban
– don’t share our ‘values’ or religion. Religions are full of judgements. If someone ‘shares’ our religion we automatically assume they are ok. But the mafia killed people regularly and were ‘good’ Catholics. Just because someone is a different religion than yours, doesn’t automatically make them good or bad. People need to be judged on the content of their character. Hmm… where did we hear that before?
– have different life or work experiences. Maybe they worked only in start-ups or only in one company. Does this make their opinion or their input any less worthy?
It’s much easier to think that these ‘strange’ people are wrong or misguided than try to understand where they are coming from.
Even worse, these ‘different people’ threaten the safety of our ‘little world.’
As the world becomes more connected and collaboration becomes the norm for innovation and customer management (along with most other business functions) we need to closely examine our definition of who’s okay in the world. And it begins with our our private lives. Teach your children well – they learn by what you do, but they are tremendously affected by what you say.
I recommend that we actively seek out diversity in our friends and colleagues. Have lunch with someone who is 30 years your junior/senior. Seek out the people at your organization who are different. Talk to them, learn about what’s important to them. You will be richer for the effort and your organization will reap the benefits for years to come.
Photo credit : Joan of Arc
In the world of work there is a lot of discrimination. Yup, I said it out loud. Not the kind that can be legislated or regulated against but bad nevertheless. In the 1960′s it was long hair, today, it’s ‘body art.”
In a recent article titled, “Top personal attributes employers hate about you;” piercings and tattoos are listed among several ‘undesirables’. The article states if people have these, employers are less likely to consider them for promotion. Yikes!
I don’t really understand why. Look, I’m a Boomer, I get all the dress for success ‘stuff’ we’ve been raised on and understanding one’s customers is very important. It is never a good idea to appear disrespectful to your clients. However, I believe that most people would continue to ‘buy’ from you whether your IT, HR or sales person has a tattoo or not.
Not considering them for employment or promotion because they look different from you is a big problem.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished us to, ‘judge on the content of a person’s character,” (or in this case, their work output) ” not on the color of their skin,” (or in this case whether or not they have a tattoo or a piercing. ) Let me clarify… if someone is inappropriately dressed for an environment for safety or collegial reasons– then that’s not acceptable. But I don’t think that sneakers, flip flops, jeans, or some tattoos etc. are inappropriate in most environments.
The millennial generation (20 something’s) love their body ink. It nearly a rite of passage for many. In 2010, nearly four in ten persons age 18 to 29 had at least one tattoo. (Pew Research)
Get used to it folks, it’s here to stay and there’s nothing wrong with it.
Photo credit: Big hand, small hand Xurble
I am a child of the 60′s; a hippie and a non-conformist. I worked in Corporate America for over 2 decades. I enjoyed it and I learned so much. What I didn’t love was figuring out what to wear.
First… there’s no such thing as business casual for women. As much as I’d like to show up in a pair of Dockers and a sport shirt (NOT) … or it’s equivalent… I’d be glad to.. but there is no equivalent.
Second … The idea that “clothes make the man” is passe and needs to be rethought.
Third… Check out this article titled,” 5 Reasons to Ditch Your Dress Code” You may get more out of having a culture of flexibility in employee dress than maintaining strict standards.
Fourth… Diversity of people can lead to creativity in thought and action.
This doesn’t mean having no standards in dress. Clearly there are certain clothes that are inappropriate in a business environment. Also, a culture that allows casual dress but tolerates disrespect isn’t doing itself or it’s employee any favors. Hard work, communication, listening and customer focus are more important than whether someone wears jeans. Build trust with your employees and peers and we’ll all benefit.
Photo credit: Photographer Irum – sneaker
At work, the war between the kids (20 somethings) and the old people (50 somethings) is over. The kids have won.
For those of you who think this isn’t true, let’s consider the facts.
– The workplace is officially BYOD – Bring Your Own Device… in a short 5 years the IT department has gone from “we don’t support that” to “we’ll help you get your job done on whatever device you need.”
– Bye bye Blackberry– 5 years ago, in “Corporate America” — the Blackberry was the go-to device. Their market share has fallen from 41% to 10%. A person no longer needs a big corporation’s network and device to be mobile & productive.
– Letting technology do what it does best is a win/win. When we can use technology to remove distance barriers between people…e.g. online learning, online petitions, Facebook and collaborative tools like Google docs, dropbox and flickr– we substantially improve productivity and outcomes.
However, we need to keep pushing on the very important HUMAN side of the equation. The things machines can’t do (and likely never will) are the keys to making this new digital, “cyberspacy” world work for all of us.
- Empathy, Passion, Listening, Respect, Courage.
Listen to Marc Presnsky (who first talked about digital natives and immigrants in 2003) talk about the responsibility of educators in using technology. We can all learn from this.
Photo credit: familymwr -eye of the holder
I work with companies on multi-generational workplace issues because I heard so many complaints about the “younger generation’s” poor “communication” skills. Gen Y employees may be different in many ways other from other generations; but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or wrong — they’re just different.
One common complaint I hear is that younger employees want to give and get “constant feedback.” Most of us oldsters are uncomfortable with this. Being stoics, we think everyone ought to just ‘get on with it.’
When Jimi Hendrix (my favorite musician of all time) burst onto the rock scene and created new sounds with his guitar…including standing in front of a wall of amplifiers.. many people thought it was awful… the rest of us… thought it was awesome. A new kind of musical sound was born… music to some… noise to others.
So it is with workplace feedback. Let me introduce you to Cleargears.com, take a quick video tour here. Conceptually, these tools allow your workforce to provide you (bossman or bosslady) with regular feedback and in turn, allows you to understand whether your feedback is being accepted and implemented. Wow – what a concept. Real time feedback. Making you uncomfortable? Get ready – this is the world is headed.
Take a look at Rypple.com; they call it social performance management– “a web-based social performance management platform that replaces the traditional performance review with an easy and collaborative approach. People always know where they stand and are accountable for achieving their goals.” By the way… so are you.
Whatever the tool and no matter how you feel about providing feedback to your team, I suggest you figure out how to listen better. The future of your organization depends upon it. Remember the shark… survival goes to those who adapt.
Photo credit: Milt. Retirement and Financial Freedom
Recently I came across an article titled, “7 Jobs You Never Heard of and Why They’re Awesome,” e.g. futurist, greensman (not keeping the putting green nice..) and parabolic expert. Do you think these sounds silly? Think again.
It might seem odd to remember elevator or telephone operators, but what about travel agents, department store clerks (try to find one these days) or assembly line workers. Ten years ago a fair number of people held these jobs.
Today a lot of people have titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago, e.g. Director of Inbound Marketing, Content Marketer, Java Developer, .net Developer or Internet Security expert, etc.. If you believe what Wayne Gretsky (aka the great one… hockey player) said, “Skate to where the puck’s going to be, not to where it has been…” and apply that to your career, it’s possible that your next job could be something you’ve never even heard of.
If you were born after 1980… it’s very likely you will have a job that hasn’t even been invented yet (not to mention being actively engaged in creating new companies.)
When I speak to educators I remind them that it is their responsibility… along with business leaders… to find out what skills will be needed and to start today to create programs to prepare our future employees. And this is not just for young people! Boomers and Gen Xer’s need to change too.
Because if we, as Americans, don’t figure this out…someone else in the world will and if we think the economy is ugly now…
This is not the ‘responsibility’ of politicians and/or ‘someone else’. Each of us must be prepared. Consider the shark or crocodile– they’ve been around a long time while many other creatures have become extinct. Adapt or die.
Image credit: Oldster’s view
I’m fortunate to have 3 grandchildren under the age of 4 and yes, it’s as fun as everyone says.
There’s joy in watching them grow but there’s also a BIG LESSON. Here it is…
They fail… a lot. And they do it with a big smile. They fall down, the say words wrong, they make ridiculous observations about us…
How about us? When did learning become something SO serious. We get older and suddenly we have to be good at everything? If we have to learn something new we get impatient, even angry at ourselves for not:
learning fast enough/being smart enough/knowing how to do it and on and on.
If you aren’t “falling down” regularly, you are probably not learning very much. That’s why being a parent is an interesting journey. You are guaranteed to fail regularly (whether you realize it or not!)
Today, you have a choice. Learn something new, take a chance. I’m getting ready to learn a new kind of art. I’m a little freaked out. What if people tell me they don’t like it. What if the stuff looks ugly? This is what risk takers face everyday.
Write down the top 3 risks you are taking this week/month/year. You can tell if it’s a real risk if you feel like talking yourself out of doing it and you have all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it worked out in your head. So please, fall down, take that risk. Tell me about the risks you’re taking and I’ll keep you up to date about my art experiment. Everyday I’m talking myself out it so I know it’ll be worthwhile.
Photo credit: Zazzle.com
This is what I heard in 1969 when I sat with 150 other young people outside a public building to protest the war in Vietnam. My friends and loved ones were fighting and I felt I had to take action.
Whether I was right or wrong in my beliefs; I was speaking up. It was scary but I felt it was important.
Today’s younger generation, Gen Y (aka Millenials b. 1980-2000) is also taking it to the streets. In the form of The Occupy movement. The press criticizes them for:
- not having a clear agenda
- not really knowing what they want
- being lazy and protesting as a way to get out of work
When I saw this last minute prep list for today’s May Day protests, I thought about 1969 and what it would have been like to have websites to help prepare us and cell phones to take photos of abuses and communicate with friends. Some of this sounded very familiar…
- Know your rights: The ACLU has some good basic info on your legal right to protest here
Other items are heartening:
- Know how to identify legal observers: Observers from the National Lawyers Guild will be on the ground throughout the day.
You may or may not agree but they are speaking up. They are not lazy or self absorbed — they are fighting for their future.
Photo Credit: RedhatRob.com
How many blogs do you read?
Do you know what an RSS feed is?
If not, think of it as an inbox. A virtual inbox where you send information that you want to read later on. Google reader is a good tool (RSS) for managing electronic information.
I send the posts from about 40 different blogs to my reader and at night when I’m watching TV — I scan through my inbox. Would I rather be reading something else? Yes, often I would, but this is what I need to do to stay in business.
If you’re a job seeker… how are you adding value to your network? Are you synthesizing information? Are you a producer of content not just a consumer?
Not sure which blogs to read? How many civil engineering blogs do you think there are? well, here’s the top 50! and here are the top 10 dog blogs… and top 10 science blogs. Read as many as you can, be interested and interesting.
My point is… get used to getting your information from a real time resource like blogs, twitter, ning groups, etc.
If we are going to be effective at work, model appropriate change behavior for our children and proactively manage our personal growth– we need to change and fast. Like taking vitamins for our health, we better learn to absorb new information everyday.
Photo credit: Mylotphotos.com