Bastardizing Training

I hate Training.

The word, not the learning format. And maybe hate is a bit strong.

But still probably not what you expect to hear from a police Training Coordinator and Firearms Range Master.

I'm edgy about the word Training because it's inappropriately become a catch-all for a wide variety of methods used to develop employees for the workplace. Training just so happens to be a one of them, rather than the broader umbrella of human development and learning.

And I'm a stickler for language when I believe its ill-fitted application has farther reaching consequences. In this case, I contend the terminology gives a connotation of standardized programming, conditioning, and mechanization that should simply not exist in much of the development of our people.

Training is really but one delivery format used to change behavior or performance. What immediately comes to mind is a toddler's potty-training. There are clear standards...or at least expectations. Training is about a…

When Teaching the OODA Loop is a Waste of Time

Let me start off with what might be a controversial statement: No one can "use" the OODA Loop.  Whether one has knowledge or understanding of US Air Force Colonel John Boyd's Observe-Orient-Decide-Act cycle or not...well...matters not. OODA is part of our natural human "operating system;" we experience it regardless of our awareness or consciousness of it.
From birth to death, we live our entire lives perpetually "corkscrewing" through OODA. We see, feel, taste, hear, smell things. We make sense of it (the best we can!). We make decisions. We learn new (whether right or wrong!) things. We repeat. Over....and over....and over again. 
We don't consciously choose whether this cycle happens. It just does.

Life continues down the axis of time, identified by the white stick in the above photograph. Increments of time are fixed. The blue Slinky winds around the axis, representing one of two things: change and mental processing. When the Slinky is compre…

Leadership is about Values, Not Right vs Wrong

We've all heard the phrase that leaders have a moral compass. Or that managers do things right, while leaders do what's right. Or that leaders have the courage to stand up for what's just in the face of adversity.

The flaw with these statements is that it plots a false belief that we live in a binary environment of Right vs Wrong. That there is a way. And if a supervisor, or influential person, or teacher, or mentor, or coach, or authority figure moves in the direction in that sense of righteousness, s/he is a leader. To us. Or to me.

I'm just not buying that definition of leadership anymore.

We, as individuals, move according to our highly personal values, beliefs, and priorities. They guide our decisions - big and small. Who we marry - and why. Where we live - and why. How we vote - and why. What we do for a career - and why.  What crusades we fight - and why. 

I'd bet you are heavily influenced into choosing your answers and intentional behaviors by a confidence or …

Toxic Personality or Workplace Hero?

Last week, I published a satirical blog where I put a negative spin on eight (8) stereotypical personalities, behaviors, and traits in the workplace. 

When taken at extremes, each of these eight (8) can be toxic...which is exactly how I portrayed them.

But how can these same stereotypes be reframed as heroic? Let's have a look at the other side of the coin: 

FLASH CARD LEARNER. She owns knowledge and data. Better than mere possession, she actively hunts for it. She knows where to look and how to filter the signal from the noise. I use the saying "connect-the-dots" about finding relationships between things. Our Flash Card Learners are the ones who first collect-the-dots. This woman will bail you out of trouble when you can't keep your facts and figures straight.

ONE TRICK PONY. This guy's got depth. He's an expert in his field, albeit a narrow field. The generalist just can't go as deep into the problem as your One Trick Pony. When there's an issue in his…

Can you identify these personalities in your workplace?

I'm a policeman. I'm also no stranger to toxic personalities, traits, and behaviors in the workplace. But the more I interact with those in corporate settings or other organizations and industries, I realize we allhave the same people among us. There's eight (8) stereotypes in particular I'd like to highlight:

FLASH CARD LEARNER. Do not be impressed by the master of memorization. He bathes in facts, acronyms, nomenclature, and jargon. He recites isolated statistics and bits of data without any sense of context. You swear this guy goes home and shuffles a stack of flash cards just to stay on top of his game. You prefer to google the information when you need it. Keep this guy on your team for the local tavern's trivia night.

ONE TRICK PONY. She may embrace the term hyper-specialist. But what we really mean is that she's got one skill, in one area, to solve one problem. The One Trick Pony excels in such a narrow field of expertise, she mind as well stay at home unt…

Weekend Building Blocks - 29 SEPT 2017

There's no value in collecting blocks unless you're connecting them to build something awesome! Changing people's minds. Learning Management Systems. Mount Stupid. Machine learning. Athletes and Navy SEALs.
Why You Should Stop Trying to Change People's Minds.David Marcus talks about engaging with people who hold opinions that are different than our own. In age of social media (and anonymity within it), we need not look far for differing perspectives...and the anger and disrespect that comes with it. What benefit is there to these engagements? LMS Features: What To Look For In a Learning Management System. Dr. Ayesha Habeeb Omer talks about ten features that a learning management system should have. As e-learning, distance learning, blended learning (...or any of the other of the "______ learning" buzzwords) grow in popularity, LMS will equally growing in demand. I've been lucky to be using an LMS that is responsive to the instructional designers' idea…

Weekend Building Blocks - 22 SEPT 2017

There's no value in collecting blocks unless you're connecting them to build something awesome! Defining terms within systems thinking. Student agency. Failing firearms trainers. AI and organizational values. Scribbling ideas.
Tools for Systems Thinkers: The 6 Fundamental Concepts of Systems Thinking.Leyla Acaroglu dials down the intensity and returns us to the basics of systems thinking. Whether you're brand new to it, or been studying it for years, Leyla's piece defines and explains terms in a simple-to-understand method.The Intersection of Critical Thinking and Student Agency. Jenny Pieratt argues that teachers too often (and wrongly!) focus on the outcome of knowledge and less on the process of thought. But how can we develop learners who take control of their own learning? Is it possible to teach our students how to think?A Tale of Two Failures - Part 1: Two way the firearms and tactical training industry gets it fundamentally wrong. Dustin Salomon critiques the l…