Top Two Features of Real Genius (it’s not giant popcorn bombs…)

Sand bucket on the beach of Punta del Este, Uruguay. David (CC BY 2.0)

What makes up a Genius? Most of us in North America imagine the “geniuses” who come up with great new ideas as people who seem to have everything lined up, who don’t need anyone else because it’s their singular genius that makes the day. True brilliance shows in people who get everything done the right way, quickly and efficiently. They are born that way, ready to go.

The science writer B…

Top 5 Job Assignments to Produce Learning (revisited)

Employees at Mid-Continent Refinery [ca. 1943 Tulsa, OK (LOC). By John Vachon]

Here are the Top 5 job assignments to produce learning with commentary: [full post]

Coordinating Work Is Harder Than The Tasks Themselves

Man drawing complex diagrams on whiteboard. (c) alphaspirit. Shutterstock.

This complexity level of the real business, the coordination of other people’s efforts, is the essence of management.

Communities of Practice Help Teams and Their Managers Perform Better

Employees at Mid-Continent Refinery [ca. 1943 Tulsa, OK (LOC). By John Vachon]

Robert McDermott has written an excellent (if aged) introduction for people who don’t yet understand Communities of Practice (CoP). He compares and contrasts them to teams, and describes how a community of practice can complement teams in team-based organizations in a way that the Matrix Organization (“does the Matrix have YOU?”) does not.

Matrix organizations are almost always a bad idea…

Learn More & Faster By Doing Something Else (That’s Similar)

Young worker at the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad 40th street shops, 1942.

Implicit in discussions of learning curves in organizations (and explicit in most) is the idea that focused, uninterrupted learning is best. Learning curves (which go down and to the right, please note) are descended because of doing the same thing over and over.

That may not be quite the case. In “Learning by Doing Something Else: Variation, Relatedness and the Learning Curve” [PDF], Melissa…

Learning Curves Need To Be Steep!

Training in China for the AP1000 reactor. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Raccoon describes the basics of learning curves — they go down and start at the top, so you actually want them to be as steep as possible to get back to parity and start process improvement. He points out that all people learn.

Top 5 Job Assignments That Produce Learning

Advertisment design study for Pierce Arrow automobiles (1915). By Edward Penfield. Via Library of Congress collection.

Not every posting is equivalent to build great managers. That’s pretty clear to even the densest of us (me). What’s not is which of the quality postings will produce better learning than others.

Morgan W. McCall, in Lessons of Experience: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job (1988), cites the following as the Top 5 job assignments to produc…

How Do You Know If The Training Was Worth It?

Training in China for the AP1000 reactor. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

While reviewing training literature recently, I stumbled on Daniel R. Tobin’s The Knowledge-Enabled Organization: Moving from “Training” to “Learning” to Meet Business Goals through some serendipitous web searches. My enquiry first led me to his website that dealt with “The Fallacy of ROI Calculations for Training”. An obvious ploy to perk up my ears. The article is an abbreviated version of t…

Making Learning Computer Programming Accessible For Normal Students

Swanage Jazz Festival 2012. Excelsior Vintage Jazz Band. (c) Rob Schofield. (CC-A/ND)

Mahmoud et al. say that introductory programming courses have unacceptable failure rates, with “reported withdrawal, failure and D-grade rates approaching 50%”. In an interesting take on the problem, they decided to change they way they teach instead of complaining that the students had to change.

The Oral Culture of the Professional Intellectuals: How Consultants Can Learn

At rehearsal of Oliver Twist (Broadway, ca 1912). Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

If professionals have this higher form of knowledge, how it is best transmitted? Most firms want training — “how to” lessons.

But what growing professionals need is learning opportunities.

My wife used to be a professor (before retiring early) and we still hang with young professors. We were at one’s house yesterday for lunch (roast chick with fresh bread: mmmmmm!) and started talking…

Copyright ©2002-2014 E. Forrest Christian. All Rights Reserved.