Learning

I find it amazing what people can do when they put their heads together. Singularly we are but one voice in the wilderness. Yet, put us together, and amazing things can happen. I am working in a multinational class learning to run my business better.  I do this so I can better serve my customers (That’s You.)

We are working to make our businesses better, not for greed, or money, or fame. We are working to make our businesses better so we can reach out and do better for those who need to learn and grow. We each have our own idea of how we can help others.  Working to help others helps make the world a better place. We have people from many countries and continents all working together to better learn our craft.

Our goal is to learn how to develop and maintain a workable business which allows us to keep a flow of both good and goods to others who need the items and education.

The people who are teaching us are smart, energetic and willing to give of themselves and their time to help us to learn these wonderful nuggets of knowledge.

They say that as you rise into space and look down on the earth, you do not recognize borders. You recognize land and sea, clouds and ocean, some rivers and of course the great barrier reef and the great wall of china. You know that there are people down there. It seems to me the more we work with people and the less that we let invisible borders impede the flow of education and knowledge, the better we all will be.

I Am Under Construction

First off, I have to apologize for not being with you the first two days of this week and for that I am truly sorry. I know that the largest part of everything is to be there. I promise you that I will work hard to ensure daily blogs are there when you’re ready to read them.

 

Not as an excuse or reason for not being here, rather something good that hopefully affects all of us, I am now taking courses to help me with the work I do for you. These courses will hopefully help me to make better learning modules, better blogs, and to be able to share more information on those things which you are interested in hearing about.

 

In the meantime, I will keep the blog going daily Monday through Friday, and as time goes on, I will keep you updated on the how the training is going.

 

One thing I can mention now is that I’ll be doing some interviews in the next week or two to learn about to learn more about you and how I can better help you. The interviews are for gathering information they are not sales calls nor will I sell anything while talking with you on information calls. I am just an old scholar learning new ways. But the key thing there is learning. For most people, it’s learning the new that keeps you young.

 

If you would like to participate in the interviews, please let me know in the comments section, and we should be able to connect and set up a time and date it’s mutually agreeable.

 

Thank you for putting up with me, and starting tomorrow will be back to looking at neat and interesting things.

 

 

Be The Person You Want Helping You

Lately, I have read a lot from many entrepreneurs about which is more important, to make a lot of money or to help the client who needs that help?

This is a fair dilemma. If you don’t help people and do good for them or their companies you really can’t make very much money because you will not have many customers. If you spend all your time helping people giving away most of what you do and not making a sufficient income, you will not be able to continue due to a lack of funds.

This reminds me of a similar debate in manufacturing. To provide the customer what they are paying for, the winds need to build quality products. To earn sufficient funds to pay for the lines running, asserting quantity must be built and shipped to the customer.

Poor quantity means not enough product to satisfy the customer or keep the line running. On the other hand, poor quality means returns, reworks, and loss of reputation.

Let’s  look at this in action. You have a young line with new builders who have only the most minimum of training. The manufacturing manager steps on the line and tells everyone they will build and package 350 units by the end of the shift, or else she will find new people to build her computers.

The new people, needing the jobs to support their families and themselves are terrified and start doing whatever they can as fast as they can. Quality inspectors, who work for the manufacturing manager (poor choice in organizational structure) are letting all but the most serious of errors through inspection believing if the units are bad they will fail at the testing stations.

Although it’s a squeaker, the 350 units are built and shipped by the end of the shift. Everybody feels elated. Even the manufacturing manager has something on her face, although it’s not sure if what people saw was a smile, or sneer. Alas, this is just the start of the story and not the happy ending. The units shipped have a myriad of flaws, and the customer believes some units have major flaws which require repair before the units can be sold on the open market.

The 350 questionable units are shipped back to the United States from Europe and with 400 units that were built but not shipped underwent re-inspection and repair. When planning the economics of the line, a re-inspection and repair of units at this magnitude were never contemplated. The factory now has to pay for transportation of units, storage of units, a work crew to inspect and repair units, certification of the work by the customer’s inspectors, and re-shipment back to Europe. This is what we call a hidden factory. It’s not something you plan for your factory to do. Not something you’re going to get paid extra for. It is just a drain on the resources of the factory.

Let’s move this back to our question of the day and are we out to help people, or are we after the big bucks.

If you help someone, hopefully, they tell a friend. And if you help their friend, they’ll tell someone else, maybe two. If you build a quality product and put it in a quality program and charge a fair price, you may go far. Doing good things for people grows a following.   

If your product is filled with errors, grammatical problems, ideas that are irrelevant to the reader you may find items being returned and fees requested to be refunded. That is never a good start and is certainly a bad end.

So, what do you do? Do the best that you can make sure your work is relevant to your customer and you go from there.  And…

Be The Person You Want Helping You.

Are You an Original?

A simple question.   Are you an original or are you a duplicate?

It’s also a silly question, one asked, not to be insulting or demeaning; rather, one to look at considering. And either answer is all right

I am an adult educator and trainer by profession. I am also a writer and an artist. For some of these roles, I’ve done years of extensive schooling. For others, I have either taken other classes or worked with the help of mentors and informal education.

I keep an eye on what’s being talked about looked and taught online. I do this, first, because I need to learn and continue learning. Knowledge continuously changes and grows. I like to keep up with my contemporaries.  I truly believe that online learning, done right, is the best training you can possibly get.   Online learning can fit both into your time and your economic constraints (of these two items, time is the most valuable.)

I look at many offers for classes online, each selling the idea that they have the secret and that if you follow their way of doing things hundreds of thousands of dollars could easily be yours every year.  I have seen some ads which talk about a quick $5000, and others that suggest up to a seven-figure annual earnings.

The interesting part is as you look at their offerings and go to their webinars they start to merge together. Various deliveries give you the same information and lead you to the same actions and conclusions.

This puzzled me at first, then, as I looked at and contemplated this I began to understand. I came up with a plan which was suggested from one of my mentors.

 It works like this; the happiest, richest, and most content people are often those who pick a road early on and stay on it as they walked through life. This is true in religion, it is true in marriage, and it is very true in education. The reason for this is that the alternative to taking all roads at once turns out to be physically impossible and economically impossible. You just can’t do it, and it’s not very productive. Anyone jumping between roads headed towards their destination will find that the changes and costs will keep pulling them back towards the beginning, away from their goals.

If you have a religion that meets your needs, brings you closer to your God, to your beliefs and makes you a better person, follow it. If you have a marriage and children and it looks like a lot of work, that’s okay. Work it. Although things look better elsewhere, the look is just the wrapping on a package of things you don’t even know about yet. If you commit, stick with it. There are hundreds upon hundreds of educators online willing to show you the path to riches and greatness. If you have three or four that you believe in, follow them and stay with them. Jumping between various mentors and trainers can become costly, confusing, and more than taking your money it can steal your time. You can always get money, yet each of us only has so much time and no matter how we use it when it is used it is gone forever.

Yesterday I talked about outliers and the difference between being an outlier and following the crowd. If you wish to be an outlier, don’t be the crowd and don’t be a duplicate.

Be the Outlier…

                                  …Be Original.

 

 

Supporters and Mentors

Hi, how are you?

Did you spend some time researching what you would like to do in life?

Remember, it’s researching that will save you money and time. You don’t want to invest heavily in something and then after for six years of schooling and apprenticeship find out that you really don’t like to do the job that you just learned. Believe it or not, this happens to many people.

Part of your research should be finding people who are willing to talk with you and give you some encouragement towards your goals. Trying to improve, can feel like trying to move mountains.  Having people who are willing to help mentor you is a great benefit to your work and your morale.  Find your supporters and invite them to be on your team as mentors, collaborators, partners or friends.

Most people are proud of what they do, and it is easy to get people who will talk with you for 20 minutes. It is easier if they can feel you are not going to put them on the spot, ask for a job, or take too much time from them. Below we have some do’s and dont’s and some ideas on finding and setting up mentors.

Ask those who you admire and look up to in your profession if it would be all right for you to call them some time with a question.  People who rise up in their business are frequently proud of what they do.  Professionals like to talk with others about what they do and how it helps others.  Most of them usually make time (20 minutes or so) to talk to someone or answer a few questions. 

As the person seeking the advice of a professional or mentor, it is important you not waste their time.  When you talk with them, have questions ready to go.  Pay attention to them.  Ask follow-up questions; however, do not argue with them.  Whatever you do, do not ask a professional who is giving you a little of their time for a job.  Asking for a job would put them in an uncomfortable position and cause the interview to end prematurely.  If they ask you, then you can give them a copy of your resume.

An Exercise in Collaboration

Call ten supportive friends and ten people whom you respect and who work in the same profession you want to work in.  Tell the friends what you are doing and ask if they could be part of your support group. Ask if you could speak to them, on occasion, about what you are doing. 

Ask the professionals if you could ask them a question now and then, and count them as a mentor.  Keep track of who says yes.  This looks hard, and you will be surprised how easy this exercise ends up being.

What does a new person to an industry want to know what they want to become?  Each of us will have different questions.  Some of these issues may be:

  1. What does the professional I want to become actually do?
  2. What are the pros and cons of the profession I am going into?
  3. What does the job I want to go to pay?
  4. What are the milestones in the business that I should look for to tell me I am doing well?
  5. Who are the industry leaders in my profession and what sets them apart?
  6. How much do the industry leaders make?
  7. What is an industry leader’s lifestyle in my desired profession like?

Many people will give you 20 minutes to ask a few questions about what they do and how their business actually works.  If you ask to talk to anyone, they will probably say yes.  When you meet with them, you want to ask real and specific questions and honor the time limit agreed to unless they wish to spend more time with you

Here are some Dos and Don’ts.

Do

  1. Have questions ready.
    1. It is hard to think of the right questions on the spot.
  2. Be polite, the person you are talking to is freely giving their time.
  3. If you have questions based on what the professional says go ahead and ask them.
  4. Be on time.
  5. Dress professionally.

Do Not

  1. Ask questions that you can find out from their (or their companies) Website.
    1. Do your research.
  2. Ask them for a job.
    1. Asking for a job often puts them on the spot and ends the interview.
  3. Waste their time.
  4. Dress or act unprofessional.

Next time, we will evaluate the desired positions in relation to new technology that is taking over many positions. 

Have a wonderful day.

 

How Many Shades is your world

When I was young, I knew that I knew it all. I had been schooled in the church. I read the Boy Scout manual cover to cover. I passed high school. What more was there? I knew what I knew, and nothing else seemed to matter.

Many people, not knowing they are only looking at one surface of the multidimensional universe grow up this way. They believe their ways, and the ways they were taught, are the correct ways. And, anyone who thinks differently is obviously wrong, or misguided. It happens when someone believes there is only one right way to do things, and you were taught that one and only correct way. Why would someone teach you differently?

As I grew, I started to see things from different points of view. This made me begin to doubt if everything I knew was correct. As I went through the military, I learned, I saw, and I experienced. This caused me to consider other points of view.

I received my associate’s degree late in my military career. I had always focused on my work over myself and was slow to complete the degree. Yet as I finished the degree, it did make me think.

When I went back to college for a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, I learned even more. Learning more made me think more, and made me wonder if I had now learned everything, or if there was more. I made a decision to go back to school for one more degree which I had always wanted. I took a Masters in Education and Training, focusing on adult education, corporate training, course development and long distance education.

As I finished my Masters, I had recognized there is a whole universe of items out there which I know either nothing or very little about. Knowing I do not know everything is a victory. Now I know, that I am a continuous learner.

The question is not if we know everything or we don’t know everything. The question is what are we going to do about it. We start off in a very comfortable, very easy, black and white two-dimensional world. As we grow, we find out that the world is not black-and-white, rather a three-dimensional world with infinite shades of gray (sorry, not only 50.) And, then we have a choice.

Some people except the three-dimensional world and move  forward to explore it. Some people reject the three-dimensional world and move backward towards the black-and-white of right and wrong. One way offers the simplicity and ease of comfort found in a small structured community. Others find great enjoyment and challenge by learning and growing in the larger environment.

I am not one to say that one is correct over another. The question is for each individual. Do they wish to live in a two-dimensional world with the rigidness of only right and wrong answers? Or, do they wish to acknowledge that all thoughts may have multiple outcomes, each of which which is correct depending on the situation at any given moment?

Please let us know what you think.

 

 

Never Stop Learning

Today more than ever it is vital to be a continuous learner and stay up with the times. Some people believe that they did all their learning in school. Other people continue to take classes after college, and believe these courses supplement and suffice for their learning. And, others never stop asking questions and seeking answers.

Today I want to give you a few tricks to being a continuous learner and give you some suggestions that I hope will help.

The first and most important thing we have to do as continuous learners is to admit that we don’t know everything. If we don’t do step one, we will never do any of the rest because we will believe we know it all.

The second thing we do is to ask why. In Six Sigma, we are trained to ask why until we can go no further down the path of gathering information. Normally this step is called the ‘Five Whys.’ You ask a question. Find out an answer. Ask why. Find out another answer. Ask why, and continue until there is nothing to ask why about any longer.  Finding the answer will initiate research. Research is where you learn.

Part of being a continuous learner is keeping up with what you already knew, and the new changes in those fields. Another part of continuous learning is staying up with new knowledge and new technology. Everything is changing faster and faster these days.

There is an excellent book on the change that is called ‘Who Moved My Cheese.’ I highly recommend that if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet that you do so. It is a fast read, yet it is very interesting and a guide on accepting change.

So why would I say that it is very important to keep up with new ideas and new discoveries? The reason is, we keep up with new technologies or, we are left with the technologies that we know. Whether its books from the library, magazines, snail mail, or other technologies. What happens is, as you give up on technology and new ways of doing things, your level of current knowledge starts to fall by the wayside. If most items are written for a blog, or a website, or an e-book, and you’re not reading those, how do you keep up?

I love to read books. Real, hardcover books. When somebody hands me a handwritten note or sends me a thank you card which they wrote out themselves, it tells me that they took enough time and cared enough to make it personal. I still have a landline phone in my house. Yet I also have a blog on the web. I have two websites one is not up at the moment, a training site for my courses. A delivery system which delivers my blogs weekly and E-newspaper that goes up monthly and other wonderful things. I’m only 63 it’s way too young for me to give up and start ignoring technology.