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Answers are Cheap; Advice is Not

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Answers, facts, solutions, data, statistics have never been cheaper.

We used to have to go to the library. Or flip to the back of the textbook.

But now we visit Wikipedia. Or Google it. Or ask Alexa.

Answers are objective solutions to technical questions.
What's the capital of Montana?Who was the 27th President of the United States?What are the criminal arrest demographics in New York City?If one train left New York for San Francisco at 6am.....?When is and what's the path of the next solar eclipse? What report does our corporate policy require we complete for this...?What headlight bulb belongs on a 2003 Chevy Malibu?  Though they may be complicated, answers and solutions are exact. They have end points, where the question or problem is definitively satisfied. Like a final exam with 100 multiple choice questions.

And with artificial intelligence, robots, and machine learning, answers are becoming even cheaper, more accessible, and in-demand.

But advice is expensive. It costs …

Weekend Building Blocks - 01 DEC 2017

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There's no value in collecting blocks unless you're connecting them to build something awesome! I've been on the fence as to whether my Weekend Building Blocks is a worthwhile project. For the past two (2) months, I've been reading a lot of crap...hardly the stuff worth the effort of sharing. This week, however, was different. So...I'm resurrecting Weekend Building Blocks this week. Just don't expect it every Friday as I'd been doing. haha.

Finnish schools. All-of-the-Above. Sapien tools. Micro-lessons. Bad slide design.
Self-Managing for Complexity. Harold Jarche talks about preparing kids for the future, using Finland's education system as a case. Integration and phenomenon-based teaching are at the heart of the reform. Jarche also draws parallels to the modern workforce.Our secret formula for writing (effective) multiple choice quizzes.Joel Smith addresses problems with multiple choice format test questions. He then offers suggestions on how to craft…

Teaching My Kids To Gamble

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My children are so young not all of them are even in school yet. Whether they're old enough for the classroom or not, these curious little buggers do a damned fine job at picking up life hacks outside the formal education system.

Mom was at work when one of the kids stumbled across my case of poker chips. Within minutes, we were playing a game.

"So the Jack is like an eleven (11)?"

"How can an Ace be both like a one (1) and sometimes better than the King?"

I took up the role of The House. The Bank. Vegas. But unlike a real dealer or pit boss, I talked them through each of their decisions. The assumptions. The risks. The opportunities. The rewards.

I am in many ways a tinkerer. An experimenter. A generalist. A strategic thinker. A forecaster. A non-linear mindset kinda guy. The more I read up on others who have either been labeled as or self-describe in those ways, the more value I place on those traits. As such, it only makes sense that I want to nurture the s…

Bastardizing Training

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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

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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

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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?

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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…