Friday, November 16, 2018

Three Things Students Should Think of When Writing

Three things students can think of when writing are helpful for providing thorough answers to questions. It doesn't matter if we are discussing papers or class questions because professors are looking for well thought out answers. Higher education does support specific knowledge but it is more about a way of thinking than anything else.

1. Critical Thinking and Evaluation-The person has evaluated alternatives and thought critically about the information.

2. Logical Discussion and Connection-The logic used to create that conclusion is consistent.

3. Substantive Reference that Supports Conclusion-There are non-biased details that support the conclusion (theory). 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What is the Difference Between Preferences in Work Style and Performance?

Managers should be aware that there are differences between work style and work performance. Not all people will work the same, have the same personalities, or have the same approaches to problems. Diversity of approaches is an advantage to organizations but sometimes managers may want to stifle differences without being truly aware of why they are doing it.

Performance is the ability to completed items, conduct work, and finish projects. It is the total completion of the end product (at least for that work function) and its value to the organization. If the workers is completing what is required of them and doing well then they are "doing their job" as far as an contractual obligations are concerned.

Work style is how they do that work. Unless you are in manufacturing where there is one major way to complete tasks people of high intelligence and capacity prefer to use their own abilities and methods to get things done. Pushing them down specific paths limits their potential, output and motivation.

Over our professional lives we learn what works and doesn't work. Work style gets developed in ways that enhance strengths gets things done. When we try and narrow that into a style that isn't innate in the worker we may end up inadvertently damaging their performance. In essence, we take our own personal styles and micro manage them onto others.

This stifles creativity and performance in the long run. Seasoned managers hire the right people, give them the task and then let them get it done their own way. They may give advice when it is helpful but they trust the professional to know when the advice is valid or not. The higher you go in education and experience the more freedom from work style requirements you should have. This ensures you are a creative, capable person, versus a blind worker.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Advantage of Compartmentalizing Non-Core Business

Businesses change and adjust over time. Sometimes we know a section of our business is not our core business and could be managed in-house or through outsourcing. There are other times the function may become irrelevant in the market (i.e. dvds in the age of streaming) and be sold or closed in the future. Compartmentalizing these business aspects may be helpful.

If they are integrated into your other core operations it will become increasingly complex to untangle as the business adjust course. There is a fundamental difference between having these non-core operations responsive to business needs and integrating them fully.

This means they have management that works within a particular cost center that nearly functions as a separate entity except for at the very top of the organization. It is the creation of an intentional silo so that decision making and expenses are different from the rest of the organization.

Sometimes it is helpful to bill different departments so that there is an expense associated with the transaction. The entity pays rent and has profits and expenses that help to ensure that it is cost effective for the business. If expenses get too much outsource, if they become cheap it is possible to add business from outside sources.

One can determine these rates by determining what it would cost to have these services offered from the outside of the organization. Essentially, you are out sourcing your business to yourself.

Compartmentalization has the advantage of easy breaking off of the business while putting the mindset in place what the "core" business is. Financially and legally you are preparing to separate except you are not forced to do this. The level of separate will depend on the current state of affairs and can be furthered as the core business changes. As an additional bonus the "core" business concept will stick in the minds of workers leading to greater focus.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Are Students Preferring Faster and More Media Rich Learning Environments?

A few colleagues and I worked on some research as it associates to online student learning. The research was relatively simple but basically asked a series of questions to students in a number of classes. The end result was students wanted more technology. What did they want?

1.) More Interaction: They liked to engage with their classmates and learn from each other.

2.) More Videos and Recordings: Students enjoyed listening to videos and podcasts more than actual reading.

3.) Critical Thinking: Students enjoyed critical thinking and problem solving. The process of creating solutions excited them.

What they didn't like.....

1. Reading: Students didn't like reading large text books.

2. DQ: They didn't necessarily enjoy DQ unless there was a problem solving aspect to it and some social interaction.

What we should do.....

It would make sense for us to consider the option of breaking up large books into smaller reading integrated throughout the course. In addition, where videos, pod casts, etc... can be used they should be implemented. Furthermore, helping students to interact more and solve problems collaboratively is helpful. One may also want to use more solution based DQ.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Economic Benefits of Long-tail Marketing as an Exercise of Collective Capitalism

Marketing can be collectively organized or it can be decentralized and chaotic. In the world of marketing both methods can create brand awareness through focal and dispersed action. Information distribution is also a form of marketing as companies rely heavily on it to make investment decisions. Having useful information that is easily searchable is helpful to the process of discovery, research and investment.

Companies can disseminate information just like governments and associations can. The only difference is that they are not often as coordinated as collaborative efforts. However, even this chaotic individualized approaches creates data chains that are often picked up in search engines and databases.

We understand the benefits of creating a long-tail of marketing online with products/services while we don't often think of a city as a business. Yet the awareness of the region is directly associated with the amount of times certain words are repeated in popular media. Information must be available for public consumption and digestion.

Part of the problem is how we think about marketing and the necessary contributions for coordinated activity. Many organizations contribute some money to marketing organizations but don't often contribute enough or work outside those organizations to ensure that they are maximizing regional benefits. Their mentality may be, "Why should I pay for something the big companies will benefit from?"

This is often a result of different businesses and not having consensus on the marketing image and what industries should be within the brand image. Greater education is needed to show businesses either not in the cluster, or as support to other businesses, that rallying around a few core regional concepts can lead to greater prosperity for all through preferences for local businesses.

The idea has merit as we consider the Trickle Down Theories often supported by Republican candidates and the use of local labor that makes up essential beliefs of Democrats. Collective Capitalism encourages pro-societal and patriotic economic behavior that has a direct effect on our economic health.

To get each of the businesses to at least partially agree to incorporate certain concepts as sub themes within their own marketing campaigns and contribute financially to collective marketing campaigns means that there must be community engagement in the process of brand development. Each person, and business, within the local economy should be aware of what the region stands and should buy into the local economy in a way that improves performance through knowledge and collective focal points.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Why You Won't Change Most People's Minds - So Stop Trying!

People formulate opinions throughout the day. They do not have the time or energy to think long and hard about any such conclusions because they must focus on more pressing issues. For most people, once they made a quick heuristic decision most will not go back and revisit their assumptions. Pushing people to rethink and use critical thinking to make more accurate assessments is likely to be met with disdain and possibly even anger making it a relatively useless strategy in most situations.

Let me say that I have some experience in contract labor negotiations and higher education so my job is/was to influence others so this is not useless advice. The key difference between those you can influence through logical discussion and those you can't is willingness.

Willingness- The willingness to learn and make new conclusions. Another term for this is open-mindedness versus close mindedness. 

Those who are willing come to the table to negotiate, need advice, may want to learn, or simply are in the process of growing. They are willing to take a minute to reassess the information and how they constructed their previous conclusions.

Most people don't rethink their original assessments even when such conclusions have little logical consistency. That takes to much energy and is often emotionally uncomfortable.

To reassess a situation means that the person may be wrong, may not have been aware of all the information, or the situation has change. it requires not being afraid of adjusting ones judgement.

Healthy people like to be considered fair and thoughtful. Reassessment and judgement is a normal process while unhealthy people view it as a challenge to their self-worth. One will consider the new information and the other will argue back vigorously.

Those who should be honored are those who are willing to consider new information and make rational conclusions while those who should be discarded are judgmental and close-minded. Arguing with the latter is a useless process that is only full of frustration as no amount of "good points" will make it past their filters and will likely be met with an angry emotional response. In today's political process, it may be best not to try and win arguments but only ensure certain values and beliefs are heard!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

4 Reasons You Should Still Love the Traditional Lecture

There has been discussions on how the Traditional Lecture is going out with modern technology that seems to enjoy sound bites more than depth. The lecture still has an important place in higher education and should be maintained.

1. Cognitive Commitment: The lecture requires a cognitive commitment to follow and learn from.

2. Community of Learners: People who attend lectures often meet each other and create a community of learners.

3. Quality of Learning: While certainly you can learn from many different channels of knowledge tansferrence the face to face method is the most rich for remembrance.

4.History: Lectures are methods of Learning that date back to ancient Greece and Mesopotamia.

University of Madison Wisconsin Old Campus in Pictures

Throughout the years I have maintained a love of old campuses, the buildings, and the lifestyle. While jogging around in the morning I was brightened by the beautiful waterfront campus with traditional buildings a thriving street full of businesses that runs right from the library.

Pictures of Fall Leaves-Hiking in Brilliance

Hiking through the woods is one of my favorite past times. As the season cools the leaves change and you will find many of the hiking trails becoming beautiful over time.