Archives For Learning

Topics related to how we learn and grow.

Let’s Peel That Onion Back

joe —  Tue 19-Jun-18
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SmockI am confident that 98% of you are going to disagree with this week’s column. Many of you might even think I’ve lost my marbles as I have typically sided with the opposite position on this topic. In the end, however, pragmatism won out.

I was reading a column by Travis Bradberry where he implored his readers to stop using those ridiculous buzzwords that are regularly attributed to the pointy-hair boss types. Bradberry discusses the cringe that comes over the audience when someone says “low-hanging fruit,” “win-win,” or “bang for your buck.” I think Bradberry’s position says more about us as a receiver than it does the pointy-hair boss, and that’s not good.

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For the Love of Constraints

joe —  Sat 2-Jun-18
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Giraffe airplane hero“Oh, and by the way,” is one of those love/hate phrases for me. It often comes just after I have accepted an assignment from someone, and right before he high-tails it out of the room in fear of my response.

Boss: “Joe, I’d like you build me a device that will allow a giraffe to fly.”

Joe: “Um, ok.”
Boss: “Oh, and by they way, you can’t use any known methods of flying.”

While it feels like a Dilbert strip in the making, I’ll show you how these seemingly unreasonable qualifiers have led to some great breakthroughs in thinking. I’ll also give you a tool you can use to help your thinking as well.

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Fail Fast Should Fail Faster

joe —  Thu 24-May-18
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Stop just stopDid you ever find yourself repeatedly using a phrase, only to later discover it is meaningless, misleading, or simply wrong? I find these phrases often have meaning when they first come out, but take the wrong road once the prevailing zeitgeist takes ownership.

Today, I want to ask all of you that are using the phrase “Fail fast, fail often” to stop. Having worked a significant time in the corporate innovation space, I hear this phrase several times a week. The idea behind fail fast, fail often is that failure creates learning opportunities. When these learning opportunities are done early enough in the product creation cycle they can help you avoid making bigger mistakes later, when the stakes are higher.

Great idea; mom and apple pie. But that’s the problem, it’s so mom and apple pie that it becomes easy to say without understanding the complexities of what it requires to implement.

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Head Full of Doubt

joe —  Sat 23-Sep-17
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Calvin  gun powderAh, wisdom – that wonderful state we each believe we have today but somehow lacked when we were younger. In most cultures wisdom is highly respected. For a creative person, which I consider every one of you, wisdom can be your worst enemy.

Many of you know that I am a Calvin and Hobbes fanatic. Something about a naïve boy and his imaginary tiger unabashedly taking on the wisdom of the world captivates me. Calvin is the heart of many a creative soul.

Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes, is a fascinating man. His inspiring life-story of right versus might, retiring early, and holding to his principles is one that I highly recommend reading. One surprising revelation is that Watterson never considered himself an artist, at least in the traditional sense. Continue Reading…

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

joe —  Sun 3-Sep-17
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Bad launch
It’s not very often you hear an expert telling you “you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life,” especially when it comes to something as simple as breathing. Those are the words I heard two years ago as I started to have some problems with my voice. I learned that I am not alone in this Venn diagram. Roughly 90% of us are breathing wrong and with some simple changes we can improve a number of important things in our life.

It’s been two years since I was taught how to breathe properly and I’ve discovered that breathing shares a lot in common with thinking – most specifically problem solving. Breathing turns out to be an excellent model for problem solving and likely shares a similar failure rate. I use the term cognitive breathing to represent the tight relationship between breathing and thinking. That’s what we will be talking about today. More on that in a minute. Continue Reading…

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Your Tactics Are All Backfiring

joe —  Sun 6-Mar-16
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Someone is wrong on the internetWhen was the last time someone asked you for your advice on who to vote for President? I thought so. Why is it then that so many of our friends offer their advice when no one really wants it?

Because someone did.

The people that want it are the people that already agree with the post – no one else. Oh wait, there was one other person – that guy that loves to argue. I’ve already unfriended him. No one ever said, “Man I hope someone will come along today and convince me I am wrong.” I have never seen an opinion swayed as the result of those posts.

If you are posting information trying to persuade others to change their mind, there is psychological research that says that not only are you ineffective at changing opinions, you are hurting your cause. It is this research that demonstrates why all the tactics to bring down Donald Trump are failing.

On the paved highway known as rational thought, we humans have quite a few illogical exit ramps known as cognitive biases. These exit ramps are like Stuckey’s, we can’t explain nor resist the lure of a good pecan log roll. Continue Reading…

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Quick, Give Me Three…

joe —  Fri 22-May-15
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ResolutionsIt was December 29th, 2009. I remember the moment well. For the first time in forever I had decided to cave in and make a New Year resolution. I haven’t made one since. Why should I? That one still stands as something I have yet to accomplish.

“Therefore, I hereby declare that in 2010 I resolve to ask more questions.”

It seemed like such a simple thing. I was really good at it when I was 5 – annoyingly so. Somewhere along the line to adulthood I decided that what I knew was more important than what I didn’t. Continue Reading…

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