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Archive for hazel wagner

In Search of Deeper Learning

Deep Learning

A new book by Mehta and Fine about remaking U.S. high schools says their research shows it is the extra curricular work in teams to accomplish a big task, such as putting on a theater production, where they learned and enjoyed the most.
The authors, credit these type of projects with instilling critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication, all I suggest essential in the business world. The authors also included content mastery though I would say given the ease of using technology to look things up, is not as important as having enough knowledge to recognize what you do and don’t know.
Instilling the the skills that make up critical thinking can improve collaboration and effective communication because it requires bringing in various viewpoints, asking good questions, listening effectively to each other, and working through more than one logical position or argument.

Crucial Conversations

Who do you attract into your conversations and teams at work? Are they as much like you as you can find? Do they think like you? Does that feel good!?

Consider for a moment what happens at work if everyone thinks alike. Why do you need more than one of you?

Instead consider for another moment what happens if you work with people who complement you, who think different, who add to the diversity and options to be considered. Now this may seem confrontational and difficult at first. But at least you would all be needed because you are not just clones.

Being open to the value of different opinions and viewpoints can result in much better decisions.

Your Knowledge, keep it growing

No one can take your education away from you. What you learn is yours forever. OK I know there are diseases that can rob our memories. I’m not denying that. But other than that your life is enriched by knowledge, by curiosity, by interest, by paying attention, by seeking more understanding, more than anything else you can acquire.

focused attention by conscious breathing

Conscious Breathing
You will relax whether or not that is your intention when you do conscious breathing. Slow down by counting to 3 as you breathe in, hold for 3, then slowly breathe out to the count if 3. It feels so good, do it again. 3 or 4 breaths like this will allow you to more easily face your work and life challenges or just get back to work calmly.

3 ways to help your memory at the same time

The advantages of using 3 of your senses instead of only 1

When you take notes as a mind map from something you are reading or listening you will be using visualization and kinesthetic senses as well as hearing (auditory). In addition, you will be engaging your brain, your deep thinking, as you organize the ideas on paper which organizes them in your memory.

Your results, memory, and understanding, will have multiplied.

Your Mental Shortcuts

Mental shortcuts, we all make them throughout the day. In a sense, they are necessary coping mechanisms your brain has been developing your whole life. Because there is no way to pay equal attention to everything within eyesight, earshot, and close enough to touch, our brain has developed filters to let in what it believes you need to know and leave out a large majority of what is going on around you.
Consider for a moment how you function during your daily drive or ride, or even walk, to work.
Most of what you pass by is a blur. Most of what you pass you take little or no interest. So much so that when you arrive at your destination you will not remember seeing or hearing most of what was actually there.
Your cognitive bias made those decisions for you. The filters you have built up to protect yourself from over stimulation and clutter worked.
But, and that is a big but, did you miss something that in the past wasn’t important but now is? Did you assume you knew what happened but really didn’t?
We can’t function in a busy world without our filters and we can’t take for granted that we didn’t miss anything important.
So what can you do? Ask others what they saw and heard. Ask for other viewpoints, other experiences, to add to your own. Be open minded about what you might have missed or added into a scene because of your filters, your own cognitive biases. They, too, have biases. Together you may both get a more complete picture.
Ask open questions and listen openly to the answers.

Multitasking means Asking for a ‘do over’

When you multitask you do a mediocre job of each, or worse. Think of the times you were doing email while on a conference call. No one could see you so you thought no one would notice; until, the boss calls out your name with, “what do think of that?”
Oh, oh! Now you have to admit you weren’t paying attention. Now you need to ask your boss for a ‘do over.’

To keep your focus on the meeting you might try listening so hard you are paying attention to the meaning, not just the words.
Or you can mind map the subjects during the meeting.

For sure, you don’t want to be thinking about what you will say when it is your turn. That, too, will mean you won’t be able to answer the boss’s question.

Be Convincing When You Present

Learn how to give convincing and appreciated presentations 

Being able to sell your ideas and recommendations is a requirement for career advancement. Learn the 5 steps to take to make all your presentations business worthy.  

Being able to stand up in front of colleagues, in front of customers, or in front of your executive committee and nail that message, will advance your career.

Being smart isn’t enough.  Being knowledgeable isn’t enough.  Having done the research isn’t enough.

Avoid too much information, data.  Only include enough to support your conclusion.  Let them ask for more if they want it.

Create a beginning, middle and end to the story that supports your recommendation.

No slides with PowerPoint lists. 

Data can be the handout at the end, the leave behind.  Some will read it because they accepted your premise and conclusion.  Some will feel they already understand and don’t need to read it.

I will be offering an online course to address this topic.  Let me know if you or someone you know would be interested.

Which is More Important? Creativity or the Ability to Inspire

We can find research to support which ever side of an argument you need. Is that hard to believe? Here is an example.
I do seminars on creativity and powerbrainstorming (™) so this research supports its importance: “according to the Adobe® (Nasdaq:ADBE) State of Create global benchmark study. The research shows 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society, yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.”

80% say creativity is most important.

But another study by IBM of 1700 CEOs by AMA of 50,000 leaders proved’ 80% say the ability to inspire (which I also teach and do seminars about) is the most important trait for leaders and teams.

So here is a take-away, both are important and you will get different statistics depending on how you ask the questions.

The power of sincere questions

Questions are a sign of intelligence, of interest, of curiosity, of caring about the other person and the topic, and of being a critical thinker. Can you think of anything else you can say that is this powerful?

Questions, to be able to drink in that power, must be paired with power listening.

Once you ask that question, it is essential that you become silent, wait for and pay attention to the answer.

Some people try to answer their own questions. Some think that the other person pausing to think before answering means they don’t know what to answer.

Just like asking the question is a sign of interest in the other person, waiting and paying attention to the answer is a sign of respect.