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Bridging digital divide
Alabama K-12 students master 21st century skills
Digital generations bring knowledge to life
Opportunities for smart people inside the firm
The few, the proud, the digitally disconnected . . . Digital native manifesto – creed of the “grown up digital”
Cross boundaries at your own risk
Part III: Saving the company – If the boss doesn’t “get it,” smart people will
Wouldn’t you just love to tap these phones?
Transfer the passion
Your organization recognizes the value of knowledge. A great deal of money has been spent on process and systems. But too many of your people aren’t enthusiastic adopters. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could transfer their energy from those outside social networks they love and get the same kind of knowledge-sharing and collaboration going at work? You can.
Smart People bridges the gap
smart People magazine taps into the social networking craze and connects the energy to the work place. It’s a cool tool to help people realize the benefits of both networking and knowledge working. Now you can co-brand the magazine with special features specific to the organization. Then you make it available to all your knowledge workers, even clients and suppliers. They’ll love it, and it will change the culture and the way things get done around your place.
Smart People and Smart Organizations
Contact Smart People publisher, Jerry Ash email@example.com for details. Or call him: 813.335.1355
Volume 1 Issue 6 oCToBeR 2009
6 Digital native manifesto 9 Heavy lifting
German student and a journalist write creed of the “grown up digital.” We give “weight”’ to intangible thoughts like opinions. Why?
Cover story 4 Space invasion
In business or personal conversation, cross the boundaries at your own risk.
Also in this issue
Eight norms of readers 3 The Knowledge Factor 30 KM Six Pack Part Five of a series of six articles introduces newly engaged employees and managers to the basics of knowledge-based enterprise.
10 Bridging the digital divide 13 In the U.S. Congress
Alabama school systems inspire students to master 21st century skills.
Hearings focus on STEM education – science, technology, engineering and math.
14 The few, the proud . . .
Marines retreat from social networks while others push the envelope plus virtual panhandling and where’s the money?
16 To err is human
To make a mistake is a different matter. When are missteps okay, not okay?
18 In-your-face dressing
I make so much money, I don’t have to dress to impress.” Sets bad trend.
20 Free “intraprise” – Part I 22 Trust your teammates
“Sticking together” is highest form of collaboration according to 7’4” pro. Can’t do it on your own? Fruitful opportunities for entrepreneurs inside the organization.
24 Saving the
If the boss doesn’t “get it,” the future is in the hands of ordinary smart people people.
company Part III
Without letting your boss, company or clients know.
28 Sneaky vacations
Your ego is the reason. Here are some tips on overcoming your fear of failure.
29 Do generational differences matter?
If the differences matter, what do we do about them?
In the November issue
Mojo boosters: Is your mojo in “slow mo”? Coming: Five simple ways to increase your energy output. Innovators got to do it! They don’t take lessons, read books, they just do it. It’s kind of like creative autism. Dog sense: Although you wouldn’t want them to balance your checkbook, dogs can count.
2 SMART PEOPLE
About Smart People
Following the eight norms of our readers
Publisher Jerry Ash firstname.lastname@example.org Managing editor Michele Ash email@example.com Technology by Boris Jaeger firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic design by Associated Professional Services email@example.com Social network hosts Facebook Daniel Delgado Alan O’Neill Linkedin Skip Boettger John Veitch Boris Jaeger Ning Avigdor Sharon Twitter Jack Ring Alice MacGillivray mixxt Boris Jaeger
The editorial policy of Smart People magazine follows the “Eight Norms of Net Geners” as described by Don Tapscott in his book Grown Up Digital. We include Digital Pioneers and Catching Up Digitals. This is a new media publication in every sense of the word. It is published online using the interactive channels of Web 2.0 to enable ‘prosumers’ – people who want to have a hand in shaping the magazine – to collaborate on content and direction. The Eight Norms we use as our guidelines are:
Freedom: Net Geners demand the freedom to choose. The more the better. The Internet has enabled that right and we eagerly compete in that environment. Customization: The magazine will continue to evolve as Smart People representatives host discussion groups in the social networks and advocate changes in the magazine. Scrutiny: We expect smart people to examine our value and determine whether our magazine is unique and worth time and money. And, we expect to be continually tested. Integrity: To earn your trust, Smart People must deliver quality, relevancy and truth by sharing the best of knowledge and information from the most reliable of sources. Collaboration: Smart People magazine has been developed in collaboration with social networkers in an open, online worksite. Our prosumers continue to be our ‘board of directors.’ Entertainment: We learn and we do our best when we’re having fun. Smart People magazine is deliberately quick and lively and full of meaning, all at once. Speed: No one ever said magazines were speedy. But they’ll say it about this one. The magazine may be a periodical, but the flow of conversation is now. Innovation: There’s never been anything like Smart People magazine. We dare to be different because we think differently and we urge our readers to think differently too. We heed the Eight Norms because we believe in them.
Alice macGillivray Smart People Networkers Robert Wendover Generational Studies
entire contents copyrighted, 2009, by Associated Professional services, publisher. All rights are reserved. Contents may not be republished (in print or electronically) without permission of the publisher. opinions expressed are those of the writers and may not represent the opinion of Associated Professional services or smart People magazine. smart People magazine Associated Professional services 1811 Atrium Drive sun City Center, Florida 33573 Phone: 813.634.4397
Tom Davenport Information Technology Jane Dysart Library and Information Science David Gurteen Knowledge Management
The Smart People magazine Board of Directors is being carefully and methodically constructed to assure broad representation of the personal and professional interests of our audience, ranging from experts to ordinary smart people. We invite suggestions and assistance. Contact Jerry Ash: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Carol Kinsey Goman As a consultant and professional speaker, I often travel by myself and frequently dine alone. This affords me the opportunity to combine two of my favorite pastimes: eating great food and watching people. One night at dinner in an oceanside resort, I noticed a man and a woman seated across the room. It was a beautiful image and it caught my attention.
Cross the boundaries at your own risk
The couple sat in silhouette, framed by a large picture window, while the setting sun turned the background shades of yellow, orange, magenta and deep purple. Then I began to observe the couple’s body language. During the course of the meal, I watched the man lean toward the woman – and saw her respond by pulling away from him. He leaned toward her again – and again she pulled away. The more the man leaned forward, the more his dinner companion would tilt back. By dessert, he was almost sprawled across the table and she was practically falling off her chair. I couldn’t hear a word they were saying, but it was perfectly obvious that whatever he was proposing – she wasn’t signing on! He would have been much more successful if he had (literally) backed off. Last month I was reminded of that episode as I sat at another restaurant watching two men at the bar. This time I was close enough to overhear their conversation, so I knew that one man was in sales and the other was a potential client. By the time they’d finished their drinks, I also knew the deal was dead. And it wasn’t anything that was said. In the midst of a normal “gettingto-know-you” conversation, I watched the salesman move so close to his prospect that the client began, very slowly, to inch away. This went on for some time, but finally the client could stand it no longer. He excused himself to make a phone call – and left the restaurant shortly afterward. One of the easiest mistakes to make during an encounter with someone is to misjudge how much space the other person needs. Anthropologist Edward Hall coined the word “proxemics” to describe phenomena like territoriality among office workers. And it was he who first noted the five zones in which people feel most comfortable dealing with one another. (It’s as if we’re standing inside an invisible bubble that expands or contracts depending on our relationships.) n The intimate zone (0-18 inches) is reserved for family and loved ones. Within this zone we embrace, touch or whisper. This close contact is appropriate only for very personal relationships. n The close personal zone (1.5-2 feet) is the “bubble” most people in
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COVER STORY the United States like to keep around us. This zone is used for interactions among friends or familiar and trusted business partners. n A far personal zone (2-4 feet) is for interactions we prefer to conduct “at arms length” and in this zone we can communicate interest without the commitment of touching. n The social zone (4-12 feet) is most appropriate for the majority of most daily business interactions. It is where we interact with new business acquaintances or at more formal social affairs. n The public zone (over 12 feet) is mostly used for public speaking. The amount of space required to feel comfortable varies from individual to individual. People who don’t like being touched will tend to “keep their distance” from others. People who touch others while talking will want to get close enough to do so. Space can also vary depending on the amount of trust in a relationship. A general rule is: The greater the distance, the lower the level of trust. We also make assumptions about relationships based on zones. If we see two people talking at a distance of around two feet from each other, we assume they are engaged in the kind of conversation only possible between those who know and trust each other. So, their spatial relationship becomes part of what is being communicated. Gender plays an important role too. Men who don’t know each other well tend to keep a greater distance between them than women who have just met. This difference in interpersonal distance as determined by gender is even true in Web 2.0’s virtual online worlds (like Second Life) where many of the rules that govern personal space in the physical world can be found in the virtual world. And, of course, the comfortable distance between participants varies with culture. In the U.S. most business relationships begin in the social zone. As the relationships develop and trust is formed, both parties may subconsciously decrease the distance to more personal zones. But if one of the parties moves too close too soon, it can result in a communication breakdown. Those who feel powerful and confident will usually control more physical space, extending their arms and legs and generally taking up more room. In doing so, they may unknowingly infringe on another person’s territory. Police interrogators often use the strategy of sitting close and crowding a suspect. This theory of interrogation assumes that invasion of the suspect’s personal space (with no chance for defense) will give the officer a psychological advantage. I’ve also seen managers standing uncomfortably close to employees in order to emphasize their status in the organization. Not a good idea. Scientists agree that people’s territorial responses are primitive and powerful. And a mistake here can trigger a truly deep-seated response. When someone comes too close in an undesirable way, it triggers a physiological reaction in the other person as heart rate and galvanic skin responses increase. The other person then tries to restore the “proper” distance by looking away, stepping behind a barrier (desk, chair, table), crossing their arms to create a barrier, pulling back to create space, or tucking in the chin as an instinctive move of protection. Getting too close is an especially improper move in circumstances where workers, colleagues or clients are in danger of feeling emotionally or physically threatened by the invasion on their personal space. Anyone who oversteps space boundaries is perceived as rude, aggressive or socially clueless. So keep your distance. Respecting another person’s space can help you build rapport with your colleagues and close sales with your clients.
Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, is an author and keynote speaker who addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Her latest book and program topic is The Nonverbal Advantage – Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work. For more information, contact Carol by phone: 510.526.1727, email: CGoman@CKG. com, or through her Web sites: www.CKG. com and www. Nonverbal. Advantage.com.
The digital native manifesto
Robert Dürhager is a student of philosophy and computer sciences at the Free University of Berlin with a special focus on the culture of the Internet and its impact on society. Timo Heuer works as a journalist and is a trailblazer for the Web. His special concern is the future of the Internet and journalism. Together they have produced a manifesto for digital natives.
By Robert Dürhager and Timo Heuer We are the assimilators of digital culture; the lives we lead are digitized. This is our manifesto. It is intended for all those who want to communicate or collaborate with us. We are the ‘Generation Internet’ We are the evolution of the television generation whose collective fate of passivity even now still marks culture and society. Because the lives of viewers take place behind closed doors, they develop their own individuality in opposition to the herd. Yet whilst the television generation still hides behind pseudonyms in its excursions into the interactive Internet and never drops the role of the passive visitor, consuming content merely in a new way, we are the ones who truly live out interactivity as pro-active users. This makes us individuals in the differentiation of our networks, ubiquitously and pervasively online, as peers in constant touch with our networks. The exchange of culture in the net is our mission; an open society is our goal. The Net impacts the world We digital natives understand virtuality as part of reality. Even if virtuality is not a physical phenomenon, it still has a major influence on thought and feeling. Consider the Internet as a mental space to see that its impact is true reality. For us being online is not a flight from reality but participation in the virtually extended real world of the 21st century. Networks make better problem-solvers We work in networks and collaborate in dynamic and open network teams. Collective intelligence plays a big role in our working lives. Crowdsourcing is a concept that doesn’t just shape our way of working but our whole way of thinking, too. The huge range of communication instruments now on hand – from microblogs to Wikis – means that we can collaborate with others at any time on any kind of topic. A job that used to take hours can now take only a few minutes with a microposting. We do not measure the difficulty of a problem in terms of how much knowledge any one individual has but rather by his/her ability to communicate in networks. Depending on the degree of individual networking, we can almost always find a solution to every problem. Even so, crowdsourcing can only function when the work is accessible to all. This is why we digital natives call for digital openness and digital modernization of the world of work.
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LIVING Too many ideas have withered before seeing the light of day. They never had a chance to change the world or at least garner sympathy for the venture. Flexibilization, mobilization and globalization of work Traditional nine-to-five jobs are a leftover from the industrial age. It is now high time to free work from the constraints of rigid labor models. As network individuals, our global contacts are in different time zones so that traditional working hours are counterproductive for us. And we also want to bring more flexibility into the way we do our work. Different tasks can be combined to make for quicker and more efficient performance while the synergy thus created can enrich content with new ideas. In a similar vein, we are not bound to any particular workplace and prefer to use the spot that seems most convenient at the moment – a café, an office or a home office. The Internet gives us easy access to all the relevant data and instruments no matter where we are. Flexible, open domain modes of work, flat hierarchies, participation, trust, motivating challenges and results-oriented proper payment are the qualities of work we subscribe to. Work can only be a private affair Along with proper remuneration, our value system also recognizes the importance of personal development and personal motivation. Such a schema makes it difficult to differentiate between private life and the world of work. For us it’s a fact of life that many matters and concerns fall into both categories and thus must always be measured against personal benchmarks and general moral values. This means we rate a workplace in terms of the opportunities for personal growth it offers us and the motivating qualities of the working environment. What we value in companies is not just such transparency and openness, but the social interaction they afford us with other employees and the work environment. Our commitment to the public domain Because we know that our strength lies in public collaboration, we freely share our intellectual capital and thus create resources of knowledge freely available to all. Competitive modes of thought are strange to us even though we do engage in competition, striving for better ideas and public acknowledgment of what we have achieved. We recognize the potential of free knowledge and call for free access to all research findings and learning material supported by taxpayers money. We equally call for all institutions of education to be given the financial and material support that enables them to use all the media competencies needed to pass on such information to future generations. For us it is of the very essence that free knowledge resources are financed, nurtured and made freely available to everybody. As digital natives we support all initiatives that seek to make information and tools freely available and reuseable. We view new media in general as an opportunity for a better world. Their ability (in the sense of the Latin virtus for strength or virtue) to disseminate and process information enables people to communicate and interact with one another in a huge variety of unprecedented ways. This means that even now our digital culture is calling geographic, cultural and thus also political boundaries radically into question, offering a genuine opportunity to create a participative and democratic cosmopolitan world. We digital natives are citizens of the world and one of the first global generations. The first step toward a participative democratic global politics would be unlimited transparency of political business and
NeXT PAGe SMART PEOPLE
The digital native manifesto
decision-making coupled with the development of online participation in all its multifarious variety. The Net has its own culture We understand the Internet as a socio-cultural space. We inform its content with our real identities and enrich its sociability with our own social relationships. In the framework of legality – and sometimes in constructive dialogue with the same – it is we who are the executive, our morals the judiciary and our code the legislature. It is our vigilance that elects a fourth estate. In the global diversified reality In 2007, Robert Dürhager began a blog on Internet philosophy on the multi-author project he founded [www. philosophieblog. de]. As a blogger and speaker at media conferences, he develops and publicizes philosophical theories on ‘e-democracy social Activism’, ‘open everything’ and networked identity. In 2008 he was elected to the Working Committee of the social media Working Collective which aims to establish standards for surveying and researching social software and co-founded the socialbar; a series of open events which connects civil society initiatives in various cities and gives them a deeper understanding of the potential of Web 2.0.
of our networks, what we consider as relevant is above all that which is socially relevant. Our multi-dimensional networks offer us the means to exchange experience and make collective evaluations. Given our social relationships, proposals and data from one of these networks are particularly important. As digital natives we are fully aware that our culture is dependent on technological progress. And this is precisely why we make early use of technical innovations – both to sound out the possibilities they embody for developing our culture, and to use our feedback to counter and
correct bad courses of development. The Net belongs to the future Like every medium, the Internet also has its weak points. Yet interactivity and networking make for greater transparency which is why the Internet is superior to other mass media. The opportunity it provides for poly-directional communication also enables the creation of a much more highly differentiated picture of reality which makes the Internet itself the ideal medium for a postmodern world. Rightly so, the Net is establishing itself as the leading medium and its open culture is more suited than any other to serve as the benchmark for the just society of the future.
Timo Heuer discovered his passion for media at a very early age when he published and sold his own “newspaper” to neighbors and friends. From August 2008 to July 2009 he was an intern at the T3N print magazine in Hanover, Germany. Timo Heuer is a member of the Think Tank 30, the young think tank of the Club of Rome. He is also a blogger (www.timoheuer.com) and a typical early adopter.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Germany. http:/ /creativecommons. org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/de/ deed.en_US. The manifest was translated by Paul Morland. The article was first published in German language in: Buhse, W.; Reinhard, U. (Hg.): DNAdigital - Wenn Anzugträger auf Kapuzenpullis treffen. whois, 2009: 12-17. ISBN: 978934013-98-8, link: http:/ /tinyurl.com/dnad-book
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Hey man, that’s too heavy!
Weighty. Heavy. These are words we routinely attach to intangibles like thoughts and opinions. But how do these words affect our thinking? What do these words have to do with seriousness and importance? Why do we weigh our options, and why does your opinion carry more weight than mine? New research suggests that we can blame this on gravity. Heavy objects require more energy to move, and they can hurt us more if we move them clumsily. So we learn early on in life to think more and plan more when we’re dealing with heftier things. They require more cognitive effort as well as muscular effort. This leads to the intriguing possibility that the abstract concept of importance is grounded in our very real experience of weight. Could the various metaphors involving weight derive from our body’s actual struggle with the force of gravity? In a study appearing in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, University of Amsterdam psychologist Nils Jostmann and his colleagues speculated that actually carrying a heavy weight, rather than a light weight, would make people judge issues as more important in various ways. In a series of experiments, volunteers held clipboards, some heavy and some light. While doing so, they were asked to fill out a number of questionnaires. In one study, they were asked to estimate the value of various foreign currencies and indeed, the researchers found that those with the heavy clipboard saw the money as more valuable and important. The researchers also tested the effects of weight on the more abstract idea of justice. Volunteers (still holding their clipboards) were presented with a fictional scenario in which students were deliberately excluded from an important university decision, and were asked how important it was for them to have a voice at the table. Those with the heavier clipboards saw the exclusion of the students as a more important justice issue than did those with a lighter load. They ran the same experiment a couple different ways, always with the identical result. That is, the actual heft of the clipboard made volunteers think more elaborately and more abstractly about a number of issues. This research adds to the emerging literature on “embodied cognition” – which suggests that the body is crucial for how the mind works. “Gravitational pull not only shapes people’s bodies and behavior, but influences their very thoughts,” the authors conclude. Jostmann also notes that this can work in the opposite, “misleading people to take lightweight, but in fact important matters, too lightly.”
Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article “Weight as an Embodiment of Importance” and access to other Psychological Science research findings, contact Catherine Allen-West at cwest@psychologicalscience. org.
Bridging the digital divide
By John Norton Kurtavia, a first grader at George Hall Elementary in inner-city Mobile, Alabama, sits at a computer bigger than she is and strikes several keys. A window pops up on the screen and when she clicks the “play” button, we see a colorful image of a group of firefighters battling a blaze. As the documentary slide show rolls by, we can hear Kurtavia clearly and succinctly narrating from her own script, describing a field trip her class made recently to the Mobile Fire Training Center and several area fire stations. “They had a black and white dog,” Kurtavia says when we ask her to sum up the experience.
Alabama provides students 21st century skills
“It was a fire school. We learned how the firemen keep safe when they’re putting out a fire. We sang songs about fire safety and heard the alarm go off. They had a puppet show.” This six-year-old girl from one of Mobile’s most depressed neighborhoods is fully aware that her photostory – one of many student-created products posted to the school’s WetPaint wiki site – can be viewed by anyone anywhere in the world with Web access (http:/ /tinyurl.com/ya4fcmw). To Kurtavia, it’s an exciting process that allows her to share something important from her own life experience. “Other children can learn from this, too,” she says. Kurtavia is less aware that by creating this Web-based product, which requires her to analyze and synthesize information from different sources, she has begun to make her way across the digital divide – taking her first steps toward a future in which such skills will be essential to her success. Equity in the new millennium Like most labels that emerge as shorthand ways to dramatize a problem, the expression digital divide has developed layers of meaning over time. Can we simply define the digital divide, as Wikipedia does, to be the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital and information technology, and those without this access? Consider, though, that some schools serving students on the wrong side of the divide may (as a result of federal and local funding or grant opportunities) have multiple computers in every classroom, fully equipped technology labs, a totally wired building with wireless Internet capability, and a certified technology teacher. Teachers and principals in high-poverty schools who participated in the Alabama Best Practice Center’s Microsoft-sponsored 21st Century Learners program say that the technology gap is not just about hardware and software – or the basic training needed to use digital tools in the classroom. It’s also about: n Home access – Many 21st century-minded teachers in more affluent schools are extending their students’ learning experiences by creating Web sites, blogs and wikis that engage learners before and after school in discussions and projects. In higher-needs schools, the percentage of students with high-speed Internet access at home is much lower, making it difficult for teachers to justify online enrichment activities outside of school hours.
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LEARNING n Parent concerns – While parents at every socio-economic level have concerns about the potential negatives of technology and the Internet, these concerns are more pronounced among families where adults have little personal experience with the “digital age” and rely on secondary sources of information (news media, church, social gatherings) to form their opinions. When parent resistance is high, schools are less likely to pursue activities that require access to Web-based tools, email accounts, and the like. n Focus – In schools with many struggling students, the intense focus on raising student test scores and trying to meet the federal No Child Left Behind law’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmarks discourages using new technologies and new ways of teaching. Computers often become instruments of remeditation and drill, rather than portals to Web-based tools and networks to help students develop problem-solving and virtual collaboration skills. n Staffing – Several rural and inner-city principals told us that – given the smaller recruitment pools available to them – it’s more difficult to hire teachers who have a background in technology-infused teaching, or at least some enthusiasm for acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills. In rural areas in particular, schools often have older, more stable faculties who frequently prefer to stick with tried-andtrue methods. n Sustainability – What happens when a high-poverty, high-performing elementary school develops a strong focus on 21st century learning but sends students on to a middle school with little awareness or interest in integrating technology into instruction? While this problem is by no means unique to high-needs schools, it is more common – and the consequences of this lack of continuity are more dire for students in poverty. In the minds of urban and rural educators determined to narrow the digital divide, these are obstacles to be overcome – not impenetrable barriers that relieve their schools of the obligation to help their students develop the skill sets (http:/ /tinyurl. com/ybejvmu) experts say will be sought after in the 21st century workplace.
information. But in our school we’ve come to see that it is a lot more than that. It’s about “Our kids must learn it here” whole new ways to work and think and learn, to conduct Nearly 100 percent of your business and your life.” students at George Hall Tomlinson knows well Elementary meet federal that the first responsibility of poverty guidelines. Many teachers at George Hall is to walk to school through a assure children have the math crime-worn neighborhood and literacy skills they need to where it is not unusual to become self-learners. see illegal drugs and stolen Hall meets that property being sold from the obligation unequivocally trunks of automobiles. Principal Terri Tomlinson – it’s a National Blue Ribbon School that has also earned estimates that fewer than 15 Alabama’s Torchbearer Award percent of her students have (recognizing high-achieving, access to high-speed Internet at home. “If our kids are going high-poverty schools) five years running. to learn these 21st Century But Tomlinson and her skills, they are going to need faculty are not satisfied to to get it here in our building.” invest all of the school’s time Tomlinson says many and attention on basic skills K-12 educators across the and the lower tiers of Bloom’s U.S. still see technology and the Internet “as just another NeXT PAGe way to obtain or manage
Bridging the digital divide
Taxonomy of Learning (http:/ / tinyurl.com/7pjm6p). They want their students to have the same chance to compete in an innovationbased economy as children from the most privileged public schools in Alabama and the nation. With the right support and leadership, Tomlinson says, teachers can have the best of both worlds. She uses the example of George Hall’s regular field trips, (http:/ / tinyurl.com/y9ew5el), which not only expose children (many of whom have never
before ventured much beyond their inner city neighborhood) to the larger world but are carefully integrated into the reading and writing curriculum. “Deep learning is not just being able to regurgitate the definition of a word,” she explains. “It’s actually being able to reach that level of understanding where you’ve really ingested that word and you can put it back out in various ways.” After each field trip, students return to school and create Webcasts documenting what they have seen and learned during their travels. “The children are actually talking about where they’ve been and what they’ve learned, using new vocabulary in authentic contexts,” says Tomlinson. And Hall’s students want to get it right, because they understand that a vast Web audience may be listening and learning from them. Fourth grade teacher Amy Lowe, a leader in developing the school’s digital divide
initiative, says students have come a long way in a short time. “I think what we’re finding out is that if you expose them to learning with digital tools, they are much more ready to do these things than we think.” Media specialist Patti Westbrook summed up the view of many teachers at George Hall when she said: “These children can’t be limited by where they are, where they live, or where they were born. It’s our job as teachers in this school to show them there are no limits to learning. There’s nothing they can’t do, with the right teaching and coaching and the right use of technology.” The Alabama Best Practices Center was established in mid-1999 by A+ as a public/ private partnership to focus on improving student achievement by raising the quality of teaching through professional development. John Norton is an education writer and virtual teacher community developer based in North Carolina. He is editor of Working Toward Excellence, www.bestpracticescenter.org/ publ/wteindex.html, the journal of the Alabama Best Practices Center.
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In U.S. Congress
Committee looks to improve K-12 STEM education
Regardless of the current Federal emphasis on teaching basics and relying on test scores, President Barrack Obama initiated a new emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and a U.S. House subcommittee continues to look for ways to improve the program.
The House Committee on Science and Technology’s Research and Science Education Subcommittee held a hearing this summer to examine how the public and private stakeholders in an urban K-12 system can work together to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education both inside and outside of the classroom. Specifically, the hearing focused on Chicago, and the exemplary collaborative efforts there involving the private, public and nonprofit sectors. “In hearings and reports we have repeatedly heard that innovation is key to maintaining a high standard of living for all Americans, and that we need more teachers and more graduates in the STEM fields if we want our country to continue to lead in the global economy,” said Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Lipinski (Democrat–Illinois). “But we know there is no panacea and no one entity that can solve this alone. Reform of our STEM education system will require coordination on multiple fronts and across many diverse stakeholders.” Improvements in the nation’s STEM education system are vital to maintaining and strengthening our economic competitiveness. Since many decisions in education happen at the local level, the committee took a case-study look at how STEM partnerships and systemic initiatives are working in the Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in America. “Chicago’s diverse population of over four hundred thousand public school students, its top-notch universities, and the commitment of local industry, the school system, and city leaders make it an ideal case study for understanding what works in improving STEM education and what can be done at the federal level to encourage best practices across the country,” Lipinski said. Subcommittee Members heard testimony from witnesses representing many of the key stakeholders in K-12 STEM education. n Maggie Daley, chair of After School Matters (ASM), discussed the important role of informal education and what ASM is doing to teach and engage young people in STEM fields. n Dr. Wanda Ward, acting assistant director for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation (NSF), testified about the NSF’s role in providing support for systemic approaches to STEM education through programs such as the Math and Science Partnerships program. n Michael Lach, Office of Teaching and Learning at Chicago Public Schools, discussed the successes and challenges of the many STEM education partnerships and initiatives that have been developed in Chicago. n Dr. Donald Wink, director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Chemistry and director of Graduate Studies in Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois, discussed the university’s role in helping with K-12 STEM education, especially through NSF support. n Katherine Pickus, divisional vice president of Global Citizenship and Policy at Abbott, testified about the importance of a STEM literate workforce to Abbott and about the role that Abbott scientists play in improving STEM education in their own communities. The subcommittee has made STEM education a top priority during the 111th Congress. This was the third hearing this year.
Visit the Web site: http:// science. house.gov/ default.aspx
The few, the proud, the digitally disconnected . . . plus virtual panhandling and where’s the money?
By Chris Reimer Although some branches of the military are actively using social networks for missionrelated work, the U.S. Marines have decided against them. Recently, the USMC officially banned social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter from military networks, although individual Marines are still welcome to use them on their own time, with their own hardware. The reason? The official directive says “the very nature of these sites creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage.” Hard to argue with that. It’s a not new concern, of course. Since at least World War II, military personnel have been warned about revealing too much in their letters home. And the risk of leaks increases as technology becomes more portable. Earlier this year, someone found sensitive military information on a used MP3 player purchased in Oklahoma. Now, it will be interesting to see if the other services follow the Marines’ lead, or continue to use these tools to communicate internally and with the public. And if the military does move away from social networking, will corporate America follow? The virtual panhandler As the Web evolves, it’s only natural that more and more human activities will be reinvented in some kind of virtual counterpart. Unfortunately, they won’t always be good ones. Certainly spammers deserve to be considered “organized” criminals, not to mention phishers and the owners of botnets and various other kinds of ne’er do well. (Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Botnet is a jargon term for a collection of software robots – or bots – that run autonomously and automatically.) But we’ve noticed a new kind of independent agent working through Skype, that’s managed to virtualize the experience of panhandling. You can reach Knowledge Street through Skype, as shown by the buttons on our profile page. Since we’ve got that contact point just hanging out there, and since we haven’t opted to block strangers, we occasionally get a cold call, generally in the form of an instant message. These panhandlers almost always present themselves as young women from the developing world, although they could just as easily be geezers in Teaneck, N.J. They’re nice folks, really, and just want to chat with someone. In Skype’s early days, this was actually suggested as a benefit, a way to meet new people in other parts of the world and thereby broaden your horizons. Theoretically, that’s still true. With the panhandlers though, the chats escalate pretty quickly to sad stories about not having a computer at home or needing money for an operation. For a time, Skype had its own “Send Money” feature which made it really easy. Now, the panhandlers also have to coax you over to PayPal. But if they’re good, that’s probably not too hard. Where the money goes If you like graphical displays of complex information – and hey, who doesn’t – you should take a look at the recently launched Federal IT Dashboard [http://it.usaspending.gov]. It’s a layered graphic interface that displays cost, schedule and milestone information on everything IT within the federal government. Everything that’s happening is described as an “investment,” which may be a bit of spin doctoring, but assuming it’s telling the truth, this is an impressive level of transparency. According to U.S. CIO Vivek Kindra, “The entire country can now look at how
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CHOOSING we’re spending money and give us feedback . . . . We’re going to tap into some of the best ideas and the best thinking.” The site itself is a mashup of existing technology and was built in only six weeks, which is pretty impressive all by itself. At the top level, you can identify investments that are in trouble, and then drill down to see what’s wrong. (The Department of Veterans’ Affairs Blood Bank Modernization Program isn’t doing too well.) There are some cool analytic displays to show how departmental budgets have changed relative to each other over the last five years. It’s easy to spot projects that are behind schedule and/ or over budget, but there’s not much that would tell you why, or what’s being done about it. There are also quite a few places where standard links take you to “match not found” messages. Still, it’s just a beta version, and it’s certainly a good start. The Senate likes it. Your own personal card catalog Speaking of tools, we stumbled across one that inspired a deep sense of gadget lust. Sadly, it’s only available for the Mac, but we’re passing it on for what it’s worth. We know there are some Mac users among our readership. Quite a few, actually. The product is called Delicious Monster, for somewhat mystical reasons, and it’s a library/inventory system designed for books, movies, music, software, toys, tools, electronics and video games. If the item in question has a Universal Product Code, you just point it at your Webcam. Or if you have a lot of stuff in a lot of different places, you can use a wireless barcode scanner instead. Once Monster recognizes the UPC, it finds the appropriate image on the Web, downloads other pertinent information and displays the results on photorealistic shelves. You can also enter items by hand, so it could be used to catalog pretty much anything. There are also hooks that track the current value of what you own, and ways to manage the lending of your stuff to family and friends (with a calendar function to remind you when things are due back). If you just want to be more organized, it’s a cool tool, although this kind of inventory can be very handy if you need to file an insurance claim. As far the underlying data, you can print it, export it or sync it to your iPhone. What more could anyone ask? Besides a Windows version.
Chris Reimer is co-founder, principle-knowledge management, editor in chief and writer for the company newsletter and guru at Knowledge Street a consultancy in Morristown, N.J., U.S. Previously he held an internal KM and communications position at Fujitsu Consulting, the international consulting arm of the Fujitsu Group. Knowledge Street Web site: www.knowledgestreet.com
To err is human.
To make a mistake is a different matter.
By Julia M. Rahn A debate exists as to whether making an error is the same or different as making a mistake. In baseball, an error is the act of a fielder misplaying a ball in a way that allows a batter or base runner to reach one or more additional bases, particularly when such an advance should have been prevented given ordinary effort by the fielder. The fielder made an error. He misjudged the speed, direction or height of the ball coming at him. While errors are tabulated at every game, some legendary mistakes show a profound difference between errors and mistakes. For example: Pete Rose will never be in the Baseball Hall of Fame even though he was considered one of the best players in baseball history. Rose was found to have bet on baseball while he managed the Cincinnati Reds. This mistake led to him being banned from professional baseball and his legacy as a truly great player forever tarnished. Using these two baseball examples, there is a distinct difference between making an error and making a mistake. An error is made when a person’s perception, judgment, skill acquisition and development is at fault. A mistake, however, happens when a person acting out a particular behavior knows that the action is illegal, unhealthy, and is related to other negative consequences. If you are truly playing your best game whether it be on the field, in the boardroom, or selling on the street, and an error occurs causing you to lose the ball, a contract, or a sale, you can re-evaluate your position and see what you could have improved upon to reach your goal. On the other hand, if you are consciously trying to “get ahead” by fudging numbers and lying or relying on altered states of consciousness (intoxication for example) to get by, these mistakes will result in very negative consequences. While lying and cheating are certainly mistakes that get individuals into significant trouble and hardship in the workplace, there are smaller mistakes people make daily at the office that are just as disastrous. Some common mistakes at the office:
A principle in knowledge management holds that people should be encouraged to risk making mistakes in order to foster innovation. But when is a misstep a forgivable error and when is it a stupid mistake?
n Procrastinating n Having “just one more” cocktail at Friday’s happy hour n Dealing with your anger passiveaggressively n Eating three cookies instead of one n Padding the expense account (also illegal) Errors, on the other hand, have to do with human judgment and perception. When one makes an error, he or she does not believe or know at the time that the action in question will end with negative results. A baseball outfielder certainly doesn’t know he is going to miss the ball; in fact he most likely believes he will make the catch and throw a runner off base. Business owners and managers are not making a mistake when they hire someone after an interview who does not work out. Staff members are not making a mistake when they wrongly estimate how long a job takes and the results add to the cost of a project. These examples are all errors. Everyone makes errors. The bright side is that everyone can learn from their errors to decrease the chance of making these errors again. Learned lessons are the antidote to making new errors
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CHOOSING while a mistake, especially when you are conscious of making the mistake, is just a mistake and all consequences are a personal responsibility and liability. A problem exists that many people lump errors and mistakes in the same pile. If they make an error they either blame themselves, others or try to deny that it happened. When this is done, no new learning occurs and the chance of making the same error increases. In fact, denial and blame lead to increased feelings of shame, anger and anxiety. These negative feelings are the exact emotions that impair our judgment and perceptions which in turn increase the likelihood of future errors! Furthermore, it is believed that people make mistakes as a way to cover up these negative feelings, just adding to the original problem The best way to handle making an error is to first remember to breathe once an error has been found. You need all of your resources possible to figure out what happened, create a new plan of action. Sufficient amount of oxygen to your brain will greatly support your efforts. Next, you need to reflect on what happened. Just look at the facts, no blame or shame needed. Decide where the error occurred and then devise a plan of action that will rectify the situation, and help prevent such an error in the future. You also must remember that an error may have occurred because you were playing in new territories. A new salesperson for example, will have to learn many new skills to be successful at sales. A human resource employee will have to conduct many interviews until their perception and the process results in few errors. Thus, help is needed when errors are the result of insufficient knowledge and skill development. Luckily, there are plenty of instructors, mentors and fellow colleagues with whom to consult to develop a new plan. But in the end, the new plan will require practice to improve your skills. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it sure helps in developing new skills. No one likes to make errors but isn’t it reassuring to know that an error is not the end of the world? Baseball teams still win World Series, businesses continue to generate a profit, and relationships stay intact even when errors have been made. Errors remind us that we are human beings who have the opportunity to improve our skills, increase of profits, and enjoy life to the fullest as we continue to live and learn. Julia M. Rahn, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and founder of Flourish Studios® – a multi-faceted learning center. In addition to running Flourish Studios® and working individually as a therapist with her clients, she is a speaker and consultant. To find out more about Dr. Julia and Flourish Studios®, visit www. icanflourish.com
In-your-face dressing means trouble
By Sandy Dumont The dot-com revolution brought with it a new dress code as young Such arrogance foretold of mass bankruptcies in later years. Nevertheless, money talked, and the fashion victims listened and followed. Casual Friday became de rigueur, even in the most conservative establishments. Once-formal bankers, investment brokers and lawyers now loosened up on Fridays. In time, it became a bother to dress formally. “Business casual” and “corporate casual” were born. The recent successor to business casual is the “in-yourface” dressing that announces, “I’m so hip and with-it that I don’t have to wear a boring business suit or a tie.” These professionals are commonly seen in a black silk Armani T-shirt and expensive sport jacket. For women, the look consists of suggestive attire, chandelier earrings and too much makeup. There are problems other than the “in-your-face” message that this look sends. For one thing, it easily creates the impression that you are “slick,” and maybe headed for Las Vegas instead of the boardroom. Some females have even observed that this look can sometimes give the impression of a man being a womanizer. In either case, credibility goes down dramatically. And if you have a slim build, something else happens. Normally when a sport jacket is worn with a shirt and a tie, these garments fill out the neck area of the jacket so that it doesn’t pull away from the shirt at the neck – a real “no-no” if you want to look polished and professional. However, with a thin T-shirt, very often the jacket may not fit snugly at the neck, causing the neck to look frail or weak. Other “in-your-face” looks include inappropriate ties that suggest, “I’m so successful that I can wear Mickey Mouse or baby pink ties to the boardroom.” Or, women who refuse to wear makeup or proper business attire to the office. Beware of this stance. Menswear designer Joseph Abboud recently booted two investment bankers out of his New York office because they were not wearing ties. Abboud said, “They blew it because they offended me by being too casual.” Ultimately, casual attire suggests a casual attitude. However, “in-your-face” attire suggests a smug attitude, which most people resent. When a person of the stature and power of Donald Trump takes an “in-your-face” stance and wears a pink tie in New York City, it sends the false signal that such a tie must be a Power Tie. It is not – not even in Palm Beach or other cities in the Deep South, where pastel ties are popular and accepted. Pastel ties are for the country club or dining out with friends. In real “power” situations, they cause a man to look less powerful. Of course,
millionaires with more money than style decreed suits were dead and ties were an abomination. It was the birth of “in-your-face” dressing that decreed, “I make so much money I don’t have to dress to impress anyone.”
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CHOOSING powerful men often live by the credo, “Do as I say, not as I do.” In other words, for them, power trumps decorum. Unfortunately, “copycats” of this “in-your-face” dressing who do not live in the Deep South risk having their credibility decreased. True professionals know instinctively that in order to be taken seriously, a serious appearance is required. They dress to impress, even though this attitude may be more subliminal than conscious. Most people make an effort when calling on an important client because they know it affects the outcome. Their attitude is positive, and their appearance should also be positive. In-your-face attire is smug or arrogant. We had a brief foray into “madness” with the dot-com revolution, and during that time “monsters” were created in the working environment. Outraged employees protest today that they don’t want to return to formal business attire. They love corporate casual and simply do not want to be bothered with dressing up again. It is still arrogant and inyour-face to think that your comfort is more important than your client’s attitude toward you. Young “GenY” female employees wonder why they are not permitted to wear their suggestive club attire to the office. Satin and lacy stretch camisoles fall into an entirely different category than inyour-face attire. Pop stars spawned this look, and what young business professionals forget is that they are not pop stars. They are business professionals who must represent their company in a business-like manner. As one male executive responded, “We don’t sell that.” A recent university study concluded that females who wear suggestive attire to the office lose all credibility when they are in management positions. Only females in lower positions with little hope of promotion were not judged negatively in suggestive attire. In reality, if women are informed of the negativity of suggestive attire and refuse to change, it would be as in-yourface as a baby pink Mickey Mouse tie. Sandy Dumont, The Image Architect, is executive director of the Impression Strategies Institute and is a professional. She conducts keynotes and breakout workshops. Get a free book and five-part Image Course at www.TheimageArchitect.com.
Consumer innovators similar worldwide
As the world marketplace expands, a new study shows how marketers can more shrewdly channel their resources to target “consumer innovators,” people who are the most likely to adopt a new technology or manufactured good, when launching a product worldwide. It turns out these consumer innovators have a lot in common, despite their cultural differences. “Global Consumer Innovativeness: Cross-Country Differences and Demographic Commonalities” was led by Gerard Tellis, director of the Center for Global Innovation and a marketing professor at the usC marshall school of Business who collaborated with co-authors eden Yin (university of Cambridge) and simon Bell (university of melbourne). Among the study’s findings: n In assessing an individual’s propensity to try new products, demographic predictors (age, wealth, education and mobility) were common, despite strong cultural differences. n Certain demographics predict consumer innovativeness in certain categories. For example, younger consumers (ages 20-29) are more eager to buy automobiles than other age groups. n Consumer eagerness for new products varies substantially by product category and country. For example, the countries most eager to try new food products are sweden and Canada while India, Korea, China and Brazil are less eager. n Brazilians are most eager to buy cosmetics, while Japanese are most eager to buy electronic products. To read the complete study, visit http://www.gtellis.net/Publications.aspx
Part 1: Free ‘intraprise’
Fruitful opportunities for smart people inside firm
By Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot One characteristic of the entrepreneurial organization is that it successfully implements enough creative ideas to make a surplus of fruitful opportunities for all its people. For example, one of the U.S.’s most successful furniture companies, Herman Miller, which is full of innovating teams, has grown and avoided almost all downsizing despite frequently changing market conditions. In this day and age it takes a pretty steady stream of innovation and continuous improvement for any organization just to stay in place. To get ahead, both individuals and organizations need to anticipate and direct change, and learn from it. This requires that the people doing the work take responsibility for improving it, using all the information and experience they can muster. Many organizations big and small are still able to generate enough new products and services to create new jobs – at least as fast as the old ones are destroyed through automation and obsolescence. 3M’s internal entrepreneurs or “intrapreneurs” generate so many new products that 30 percent of their sales are new within the last five years. 3M now has 60,000 products and they keep growing. Innovation isn’t just a matter of creativity, because in any company people know far more about how to make things better than we see implemented. Innovation depends on people who approach their work like an owner/entrepreneur,
This series provides more than talk. Note the number of highlighted company names representing known cases.
even if employed in a big organization, to turn more of the good ideas into realities. Without a wide distribution of entrepreneurial energy, without many people in many different teams figuring out a piece of the larger dream and making it happen, corporations get stuck in old ways, age and die. Oticon, the highly successful Danish hearing aid manufacturer, was aging and dying when the company was turned upside down, and the employee choices became the new management structure. Now employees volunteer for tasks and projects all over the company, sometimes working from several teams and learning many skills that add up to whole-business effectiveness. They have dissolved bureaucracy by establishing a voluntary network within the organization based on the internal market choices of people and teams. And since becoming more entrepreneurial the company’s profits have grown six fold in two years. It normally takes a North American automobile company five or more years to develop a new car. The Chrysler Neon team did it in just 31 months. The secret was a highly entrepreneurial new product team, comprised of people from all the different
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CREATING functional areas of the organization, empowered to make most of the decisions themselves. However, the bulk of the teams in any large organization are not directly creating a new product for customers; they are providing services to others within the organization who use those services to provide what the final customer wants. Teams provide accounting, market analysis, product design, information technology, maintenance, telephones, components, transportation, raw materials and so forth. The effectiveness of these services determines the overall effectiveness of the organization. How do you keep teams with internal customers from wasting the organization’s resources? Hierarchical control isn’t subtle enough. A strongly free internal market can discipline a network of teams without relying on hierarchical control. At AT&T, PR functions were traditionally delivered either by a dedicated PR staff within a division or provided by the corporate PR group. Then Jerry Santos experimented with user choice. A small group called PR Creative Services was set up and allowed to sell its service in competition with the main corporate PR function. Their internal customers only pay when they use the service. The pressure of having to sell their services rapidly lead to a “can do” attitude and the group motto, “What the customer wants when they want it.” Setting themselves up as and my hard hat hangs on the an internal business rather hook. At night I am running than a traditional staff group an entrepreneurial garbage has so sharpened their ideas collection business. I’m of service that the group is already making more at night growing at a time when many in four hours than I do during staff activities in AT&T are the day in eight. My boss downsizing. Marilyn Laurie, will be so surprised when I AT&T senior vice president of tell him why I am quitting, public relations says: because he hasn’t even “Despite unrelenting noticed that I have a brain. In cost cutting throughout our fact, he wouldn’t know a good business, Creative Services idea or employee initiative if it has kept a healthy balance walked up and bit him.” sheet and has grown to meet The most powerful single demand. We’re applying tool for replacing bureaucracy the lessons we learned through Creative The need to get rid of good employees Services to the way we is almost always a symptom of an earlier manage and evaluate failure to nurture the entrepreneurial work throughout AT&T public relations.” teamwork within the organization. When your customer has the choice whether to with entrepreneurship use your services or not they is the discipline of a free get even more attention than market system. Markets tend the boss, because in the long to coordinate work more run what the boss thinks will effectively and distribute be determined by whether or responsibility more widely. not your customers use your services. Read Part II in the coming The key to making an November issue. organization externally focused is to provide internal Gifford Pinchot is cochoice so those groups founder, Pinchot & Company, serving customers can get Washington State, US; author, what they need to do it well. speaker and consultant on Bureaucratic management innovation management. evolved so the few could His best-selling book, direct the work of many, Intrapreneuring: Why You with rules and practices to Don’t Have to Leave the reduce rather than increase Corporation to Become the initiative and creativity of an Entrepreneur defined the majority. A tale we have the ground rules for an heard in a seemingly wellemerging field of enterprise: the managed corporations that is courageous pursuit of new ideas not unusual: in established organizations. “When I come to work in Elizabeth Pinchot, co-founder, is the morning, I take off my an executive coach, consultant brain, hang it on that hook and author, with 30 years of over there and put on my experience coaching hundreds of hard hat. When I leave at intrapreneurs. Web site: http:// night my brain goes back on www.pinchot.com
Basketball star says trust teammates
A view of collaboration from a 7’4” pro
trust among team members. After all, if you know no one is Trust is essential in backing your ideas, why try to today’s business world. Every implement them? The chance day people talk about how of failing is too great. important trust is, yet few The world of professional know how to create it. basketball offers the perfect Trust comes when learning example: In people know they can count basketball, one person’s job is on you. Trust comes when to guard the basket. people know you’re there for As long as that person is them. When people protect doing his job, his teammates each other, there is trust up the court can take risks and – it’s that simple When you’re try to steal the ball from the committed to others and their other team. well-being, you can expect an If they’re unsuccessful extraordinary commitment in with the steal and the return competition happens to get by In the NBA, basketball them, they can count on the players follow the concept person guarding of “sticking together.” the basket to They know by protect the protecting each team and other, working keep the collaboratively rival and standing from united scoring. against the If competition, the team their chances members of winning can’t count greatly increase. on each other, In business, the only they’re not way you can do your job going to take risks. effectively, be creative and be They’re going to play it innovative is when you know safe. They’ll stay in front of that someone “has your back.” their man, do their best to not When you’re confident let him score, and stay in a someone is watching out defensive mode rather than for you, you’re more willing taking an offensive position to take risks to increase the and going for the score. bottom line. Unfortunately, in Same at work. People may most companies, people are have some good ideas, but just there to collect a paycheck. they don’t voice them because There’s no creativity, no they don’t feel protected. innovation and no risk-taking, They don’t feel that sense all because there’s no sense of of trust or appreciation, so By Mark Eaton they stay under the radar and do just enough to not get fired. They become clockwatchers who only care about themselves and their own agenda. As a result, you have a company filled with people who know only how to complain and whine rather than take action and responsibility. Now you no longer have a team; you only have divisiveness. n If you’re an employee, encourage fellow employees to step out and take risks. What would it be like if everyone on your team truly felt safe? If you want to be invaluable, be the person people can count on. If you want to have enduring relationships, look out for others. Put others first. When you protect others, they take risks. They know they won’t be criticized should they fail. When you protect others, you create an environment of safety and freedom. That’s what supports innovation and the immediate response required in a world and market characterized by incessant change. When you protect others you sometimes give up an opportunity or put yourself on the line. But when you do that, you show people you care. n If you’re in management, become a protector. Encourage
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CREATING your people to come to you with ideas. When you decide to implement one of the ideas, let your employees know you completely support them. Win or lose, you’re there for them. If you must, think of your employees as your children. As a parent, your first priority is protecting your young. Just like children, adults do their best when they feel cared for and safe. So if you want peak performers, create an environment where everyone feels safe. The ideal manager is like the coach who stands up for his team. The ideal manager who creates an atmosphere of trust is really creating a space where people will exceed expectations. n Observe how behavior changes in the workplace with the implementation of this concept. One glimpse of trust starts a wellspring of performance and confidence. Think about it . . . if your supervisor said to you, “That’s a great idea. Take this project on. You have my complete support,” how would you feel? You’d probably feel a sense of shock, and then a sense of eager anticipation. You’d be excited and quick to tell others on your team what just happened. Then your co-workers would think, “Wow. I have an idea, too. I want to talk to the boss about it.” So one simple gesture of trust can create a sense of energy and enthusiasm in the workplace, which is really what everyone wants.
The more management communicates with the staff that they’re creating an environment of trust, the more ideas and innovation that people will bring to the table. n The keys to performance and success: Trust and loyalty are what distinguishes a team from a group. They’re what make relationships irreplaceable and irresistible, and people invaluable. When you fight for another person and transcend your self-interest, you change the world. Trust comes when people know they can count on you . . . that you’re there for them no matter what. When people protect each other, trust is inevitable. It’s that simple. When you commit to protecting others, you can expect an extraordinary commitment in return. Trust sets people on fire. When you defend another,
you find courage that you didn’t know you had. Fighting for someone else and doing more for others than you do for yourself brings out the best in yourself. And that’s where you find the win. It’s called the magic of teamwork. Mark Eaton is a speaker and coach who works with organizations and individuals sharing the commitments that bring about teamwork, breakthrough success and sustained cultural change. Mark’s inspiring journey from auto mechanic to record-breaking NBA basketball player, combined with his practical strategies and principles, help organizations play and win in the biggest game out there. You Tube: http:// tinyurl.com/ybfwpqz; contact: email@example.com
Part III: Saving the company
How ordinary smart people will change the organization
This concludes a three-part series on the failures of many organizations to recognize and capitalize on the value of human knowledge. Where those companies still don’t “get it,” the future is in the hands of ordinary smart people.
By Dave Pollard I have written before about what I call Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), which is an attempt to enable workers to do this more effectively. My problem has been that PKM is impossible to sell to senior management, because they perceive no value to themselves. I toyed with the idea of trying to sell it to front-line workers directly, perhaps by starting a magazine called Working Smarter. The problem with this is that everyone is at a different stage in evolution toward PKM, and there are no standard answers or approaches — we each have to muddle this through for ourselves, based on our own “knowledge set” and information behaviors. But perhaps if we outlined a future scenario of where this PKM trend is headed, we might be able to evolve an approach that would accommodate the needs of both individual workers and the organizations struggling to cope with this phenomenon. To this end, let me start with a story of a young business analyst named Jon. A composite workaround story Jon spent the first week in his new job with Giant Co. trying to port all the information, contacts, subscriptions and software tools he had been using in his three previous jobs to his new company-supplied computer. He was stymied at every turn. He was not allowed to put the tools he was familiar with onto his new computer because they were “not supported” by his new employer. He was blocked by the security firewall from using Webmail in the office (“we consider this to be something employees would only use for personal non-business purposes”), even though all his business contacts and subscriptions were on it. He was blocked from accessing YouTube (where many of the videos he had prepared for his previous employers, and some educational videos he referred to regularly, were stored). He was blocked from using IM and Skype, so he was cut off from his global network of experts and colleagues who used IM and Skype exclusively for instant, free knowledge sharing, advice and quick lookups of useful research materials. He was blocked from using Vyew, so instead of being able to call people outside the office for quick, free conferences with screensharing, he had to use the company’s expensive payper-use audio conferencing system (and everyone on the call had to be pre-authorized), and send a huge deck of screen captures by email to participants in advance. He wasn’t permitted to work from home. When he worked on weekends from home, his Web access to his work email didn’t work properly, and because his coworkers didn’t use it, he was told it would be months before they would start trying to fix the problems with it. After a long delay, he was approved for VPN, but only on his work computer, so he began lugging it home every day, only to discover that it degraded performance so much that even accessing email with it was agonizingly slow. His boss dropped into Jon’s cubicle about six weeks after he had started work, and found Jon working away happily. But to the boss’ surprise, Jon had two computers sitting side-by-side on his desk. Jon explained that his work computer was connected
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WORKING to the organization’s network, and he used it only to access messages and documents behind the firewall, which Jon would immediately forward to his personal email account, or (using a USB drive) quickly transfer over to his own machine. All work was done on Jon’s own machine, which was connected to the Internet (and all Jon’s contacts, subscriptions and documents) by a wireless connection that Jon paid for personally. Because all Jon’s outgoing emails came from his own machine, 90 percent of the email he was receiving from fellow employees was now being sent to his personal email address (most people didn’t notice or care that Jon’s ‘reply to’ email address on his messages wasn’t his company email address). Ten of his co-workers at the company had followed his two-computer example, and were using IM rather than email for their communications. The boss asked whether it didn’t take a lot of time to transfer between the two machines, and Jon replied “Less and less all the time.” Jon’s boss left the office unsure whether to praise Jon for his innovative workaround, or report him to IT to make sure Jon wasn’t exposing the company to security risks. This is a composite of a number of real cases of young people working around dysfunctional information systems I have witnessed in the last two years. I expect it’s going to become more and more common. Let’s suppose that, in 20 years, Jon’s information behavior becomes the norm. Eventually organizations will have to face the problem, and end the guerilla war that is brewing between the IT security people and Gen Y in a growing number of companies and institutions. I think it is unlikely that most will be able to resolve the perceived security threats in such a way that they could allow the Jons of the world to do what they want inside the firewall. What is more likely is that, just like the calculator and telephone, the laptop (soon to become even smaller and more powerful) will evolve to be a ubiquitous personal device that people will carry with them everywhere. At that point having redundant computers (and phones) on everyone’s desk will become absurd, and IT security can start to focus on protecting confidential data from being accessed, rather than trying to lock down employees’ appliances. At that point, the role of the rest of IT, and KM, will have to change completely. Here’s a scenario of how I think it might look: OrgInfoFlows2 Major information flows in organizations, c. 2025? In 2025, every individual in every organization uses his or her own personal computer for both personal and
work applications. Almost all information is Webbased, with organizations’ proprietary information only accessible through authorization software. Email has disappeared, replaced by a virtual presence application that includes instant messaging, screensharing, voice/videoconferencing, filesharing, calendaring, tasklists. Employees maintain a “Company Sector” on their machines in which they put information that can be accessed 24/7 by other employees. Most people also maintain a “Public Sector” on their machines in which they put information that can be accessed 24/7 or subscribed to by anyone in the world (this has replaced blogs and
How ordinary smart people will change the organization
Dave Pollard is former chief knowledge officer of ernst & Young, coaches entrepreneurs and writes “How to save the World” which ranks high on the blog lists in Canada – http:// blogs.salon. com/0002007
applications like Facebook), and Community Sectors in which they put information that can be accessed 24/7 by other members of that Community. The aggregation of the Company Sectors of all employees of an organization replaces the corporate Intranet of past generations; it can be viewed by anyone in that organization. The aggregation of the Community Sectors of all members of a particular community replaces the community tools (forums, wikis, etc.) of past generations; it can be viewed by anyone in that community. The IT department is still responsible for maintaining security around the organization’s proprietary information, but very little content is left in this category. IT also checks that the information in employees machines’ Company Sectors is appropriate for sharing, and auto-replicating properly. The KM department still manages the purchase of external information, though almost all information in 2025 is free; information producers have realized that their business model is to apply that information to specific customers’ business environment, in consulting assignments, rather than trying to sell publications. Most of the mainstream media were nationalized after they went bankrupt using their traditional business models, and now operate as public services.
Most of what the KM department does now is trying to facilitate more effective conversations among people within the organization and with people outside the organization, including customers.
Publisher’s note: Thus ends a realistic view of the current and future work culture based on social, political and economic trends. If 2025 ends up as Dave Pollard envisions it, the impetus will be a natural adaptation to a changing human environment and driven by a some pioneering organizations and a bounty of smart people, not the least of which are the digital natives described in this issue’s manifesto (pg. 6). Dave Pollard was discouraged by the idea of a magazine to help people understand the promise of personal knowledge management. Those of us who have launched Smart People magazine are, perhaps, a bit more reckless. But then our scars in the battle of Knowledge management aren’t quite as deep.
They facilitate many meetings that use the virtual presence application, especially those that involve more than five people. That facilitation includes organizing the meeting, distributing advance materials, facilitating the discussion (conflict resolution, staying on schedule, etc.), and even recording, editing and publishing the meeting as appropriate. They run courses in effective conversation, meeting and presentation skills. In addition, the KM department conducts environmental scans and conducts research in areas the organization wants to focus on, and publishes and runs short video presentations on the results. They also browse the content of the aggregate of the Company Sectors of all employees of the organization, notifying managers and employees of content that may be worthy of follow-up, and they assist employees to manage their subscriptions to people’s Public Sector content. And, when the organization holds sessions and conferences on strategy, risk, innovation or customer relationships, the KM department is on hand to do advance and just-in-time research.
26 SMART PEOPLE
By Theresa Rose
Rid yourself of analysis paralysis
Have you ever found yourself endlessly obsessing over an issue, unable to move beyond it? When dealing with a problem or potential opportunity, do you ever have dozens of seemingly unanswerable questions swirling around your brain? If so, you may be suffering from one of the most common afflictions known to the modern worker: analysis paralysis. At some point we have all found ourselves in the crushing grip of this dreaded condition where we simply can’t make a decision no matter how much we want to get to the end zone. We convince ourselves that we don’t have all the facts, the timing isn’t quite right, something bad will happen if we take action, or we just haven’t conjured up the right solution yet. These feelings of unreadiness and unsteadiness cause us to squander precious time and lose our peace of mind. What is the root cause of this all-too-prevalent mental malaise? It is our own egos. The ego convinces us that we haven’t done enough legwork because of one reason: it doesn’t like the unknown. Imagine your ego as a person who is deathly afraid of heights. It would rather remain firmly, safely planted on the ground instead of jumping out of an airplane to experience a thrilling skydive. When you are about to embark on something new, your ego senses that change is imminent; it’s in a panic, your ego will betray you if you allow it. It will plant all sorts of ridiculous scenarios in your head in order to keep you from acting. In your quiet moments, it will whisper in your ear that you will lose your job, home, family and livelihood if you make the “wrong” decision. Its most fervent desire is to have you frozen in fear until the wonderful opportunity – whether it is that completed project, the fantastic promotion, your big move, or the new job – passes you by. Even though the ego is a formidable foe, it is not infallible. Here are a few steps to help you move off dead center and back into action: n Set the timer Give yourself a defined period of time to finish the process of data gathering. Chances are you probably already know everything you need to know. If you like, you can bop around in your cerebral spin cycle for a few more days and pick up those last bits of information. However, it is important to accept the fact that there will always be unknown factors; you will never have all of the data about a particular subject. When you come to terms with the inevitable unknown, you can then make a decision based on what you know today. n Listen to your gut What does your instinct tell you to do? What option brings you the most satisfaction and joy? What feels right? When your fear is no longer driving the decisionmaking process, you can trust the guidance you receive from your intuition. It is the most talented business analyst you’ll ever have at your disposal.
n Ask for a second opinion Now that you have an idea about what you want to do, run your arguments past an impartial judge such as a trusted friend or colleague. Make sure you don’t choose
NeXT PAGe SMART PEOPLE
Rid yourself of analysis paralysis
someone who is vested in a particular outcome or who will tell you only what you want to hear. Present your cases as if you are in front of the Supreme Court; make them clear, succinct and convincing. Encourage your friend to ask you questions in order to solidify his or her understanding. When you are finished, ask for feedback on your arguments, both on content and delivery. Where in your presentation did you have the most energy? Confidence and enthusiasm are always good indicators of the most appropriate solution.
n Do a mental dry run. Once you’ve decided on which path to take, begin the journey in your mind first. Mentally play out your decision exactly as you wish it to be. Fill in all of the details of the outcome, including your feelings, the environment, the reactions of others, the financial benefit, and any other positive result stemming from your decision. Mentally replay this imaginary outcome until you feel utterly confident in moving forward. n Take the leap. Make a commitment to act by a certain date and follow through on your commitment without hesitation.
Sneaky vacations Without letting your boss, company, clients know
By Bridget Ayers All of us with office jobs dream of vacations to sunny beaches and happy climes. sipping from a drink with an umbrella in it and lounging in a beach chair. Well, you don’t have to limit yourself to one getaway a year. If you’re mobile, you can pull off an extra, sneaky, just-between-you-and-me vacation. All you need is the right equipment and a little planning. If you travel at all, you’ve probably got most of this: a laptop/notebook computer, Internet access, smart phone or iPhone and some kind of dedicated phone number. The laptop/notebook and Internet access is fairly obvious. most hotels now include high speed Internet and many beach venues project their WiFi out to the water. The smart phone or iPhone is also important because you’ll want to link it to your email address and/or any company-used chat services like skype. If you have a dedicated phone number you can probably forward the number to your cell. Finally, don’t forget the sunblock. Getting a tan will give you away for sure! Bridget Ayers, president, GsW Consulting, marketing, san Diego http://www.thegetsmartblog.com/
Rest assured that you will hear the nagging voice of your own second-guessing ringing in your ears. Expect it. It is nothing more than your ego’s final ‘Hail Mary’ attempt to keep you locked in a state of inertia. All great leaders hear that same nagging voice, yet they choose to act anyway. You can do it, too. The most important step to bust through analysis paralysis is to adopt a trusting, Zen-like attitude. Remind yourself that whatever happens is supposed to happen. There are no mistakes, wrong turns or missed opportunities. If you remember that, in the larger context, everything occurs exactly as it should, you can cut yourself some slack. Any outcome is far preferable to the physical, mental, and emotional price you pay when perpetually brewing in fear, doubt, and uncertainty. Isn’t it time to take off those cement boots and take the leap? Theresa Rose is an inspirational speaker and author of the new book, Opening the Kimono. As founder of Serious Mojo Publications, she specializes in fresh approaches to energy management, productivity and creative development. Her experience includes owning a healing center, senior manager of a Fortune 100 firm, and vice president of a consulting firm. Visit www.TheresaRose.net.
28 SMART PEOPLE
Do generational differences matter?
As a follow-up to the Digital Native manifesto (page 6), this writer asks if the generational differences matter and, if so, what do we do about it?
By Teri Aulph I’ve been watching discussions on Twitter and other social media sites regarding the impact of a multigenerational workforce. I read one tweet explaining Gen Y, Baby Boomer, Gen X mean nothing. The exchange went on to explain the terms to describe the various generations were created by people to generate issues that are nonexistent. The source of this theory stated there was no impact. I have great appreciation and respect for all views, whether I agree or not. I think the freedom to believe as you choose is fundamental to who we are as individuals and you can see evidence of this on any social media site every minute of every day. You will also see the passion people have to “voice,” for lack of a better term (I prefer it to type), their thoughts, feelings and opinions. I often wonder if their need to “voice” runs parallel with their need to be heard. From my point of view, I think if you line up 10 employees ranging from one to three years of experience up to 15 to 20 years of experience, you will find dramatic differences. The first that jumps out is that the lower end (less experience) have grown up with technological advantages unknown in the formative years of those with 20+ years experience. They are adept at using technology and can leverage these talents in the workforce putting them light-years ahead. There are those with 20+ years experience who have kept up with technology, understand it, know how to use it and enjoy the advantages it has to offer. But if you listen carefully among a group of employees who represent both ends of this spectrum, those with 20+ years will defer to those at the lower end for their expertise. I personally believe this is how it is supposed to be and, if managed well, allows alliances to form as we rely on one another. The group with more experience brings just that – more experience. They have made more mistakes and celebrated more success, so have had the opportunity to learn and adapt. They often have much more product knowledge, business acumen and historical data that are paramount in the “big picture.” The wisdom that comes from experience is impossible to duplicate without putting the time in. This is exemplified as companies are scrambling to put Knowledge Management systems into place as we watch the Baby Boomers begin to retire. The impact of this generational migration could dramatically change the way we view the demographics of our workforce and what they bring to the table. Do yourself a favor. Accept the fact that all groups are needed and bring value. Develop work teams with diverse experiential demographics allowing a natural transfer of knowledge. Accept that each group feels they are the most important – probably necessary attitude for success. Allow healthy debates on subjects from all areas and voices. At the end of the day, what rises from the debate will, most likely, be the best of both worlds. Teri Aulph, president, Teri Aulph Consulting, executive coach with proven success in talent management, organizational design, change management and operational excellence. Over 10 years as a business executive with Fortune 500 companies, as well as other companies large and small. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE K FACTOR
KM Six Pack #5
By Jerry Ash True story: A company installed an expensive software program to assist call center technicians in diagnosing and solving problems customers were having with their copying machines. Trouble was, technicians weren’t using the software. So, the company held a contest that offered a handsome bonus to the technician who solved the most problems over a period of time. Much to management’s horror, the first place prize went to a company maverick named Carlos, a technician who was always out of step with company procedures and didn’t use the database. Second place went to a new employee named Sharon who didn’t even have the software yet. Her secret? She sat across from Carlos. Knowledge is personal. Direct management of knowledge can only be practiced by those who have the knowledge – and that’s you. Personal knowledge management (PKM) is nothing new, but the way people manage their own knowledge is changing in a knowledgebased society.
People: Managing, not hoarding, personal knowledge
Carlos is a good example of the power of personal knowledge, and Sharon is a good example of the power of shared knowledge. Just as it is imperative that companies learn to facilitate KM, it is critical that individuals discover how to manage their own knowledge better. The concept of personal knowledge management (PKM) became somewhat muddied in the beginning when some of its advocates described it as “personal branding.” Tom Peters, in his Brand You 50 book wrote: “Forget ‘they.’ This is your life. Period.” That was Peters’ first of 50 ways to “transform yourself from an employee into a brand,” implying one should skip networking, collaboration and company loyalty; stick to the “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me). That’s the old “knowledge is power” myth. The new PKM is all about partnering – with other professionals, colleagues, customers, the company and sometimes even the competitor to share and to learn. Perhaps it should be called interpersonal knowledge management (IPKM). Here are a few tips on managing your own knowledge: • Think about what you know that you’re using, not using.
This is the fifth in a series of six articles introducing newly engaged employees and managers to the basics of knowledge-based enterprise.
• Think about what you don’t know and how it could help you. • Think about your own interests, ones being utilized and ones not. • Think about strategies to get your knowledge and ideas connected to projects. • Think about strategies to add to your personal knowledge through networking. • Think about how you can get involved in departmental or crossfunctional teams. • Think about how you and the company can get the most bang for your brains. • Think of yourself as an entrepreneur, one among many. • Think of your relationship with the company as partner, not employee. • And if you are Carlos or Sharon, think about becoming an adviser to management, providing a responsible critique of the software and why people don’t use it. See Six Pack #1 through 4 in the May through September issues [www. smartpeoplemagazine.com]. The series will be completed in the November issue – Networks: Sharing, learning, discovering together.
30 SMART PEOPLE
Economic crunch affecting your people? Is doing more with less stressing them out? Do something for them and the company.
Co-brand Smart People magazine and make it available to everyone – employees, suppliers, even customers. It’s one cool tool that reaches out to the digitally connected to transfer their passions for social networking, online learning and research from the outside-in. Results: Less stress. Happier, more creative and collaborative workers. And higher productivity to offset the lean years.
Contact Smart People publisher, Jerry Ash email@example.com for details. Or call him: 813.335.1355
If you believe in Smart People, raise your hand!
The people behind this magazine are the vanguard of a volunteer community intent on helping people leverage the knowledge and networking power of the Internet to make living, learning, choosing, creating and working better for all of us. It is an enormous task we undertake and we need you.
Marketing professionals • Social networkers • Community leaders • Prosumers • Writers • Subject Experts • Collaborators • Partners • Affiliates • Communicators • Researchers • Champions • Leaders • Activists • – and just plain ordinary smart people
Contact Jerry Ash, Volunteer #1
P.S. As in all sharing, you will get more than you give by being a part of this grand project – if you value the learning, growing and experience to be gained here.
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