Myth – Net Generation

Net Gen Skeptic: Another Dutch Study Fails to Find the Net Generation.

Another study doesn’t find a generational aptitude for digital technology from Mark Bullen. I do fear that we keep going down this path to move K-12 education online to save money since “that’s how these kids learn.”

Personal observations about digital natives after guest speaking at Kennesaw State University Communication’s class.

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Governance: Who Should Come to the Party?

Governance: Who Should Come to the Party? « LIVING IN LEARNING.

For me, governance is the who, what and why driven by business strategy. Gary Wise correctly points out that that “performance objectives” should not be part of governance. That’s a tactical issue with ownership falling into many hands. Performance objectives often fall into how and should not be the responsibility of governance.

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Objectivity and “new” journalism

Objectivity has changed – why hasn’t journalism? | Online Journalism Blog.

Transparency is the new objectivity. It’s access to information from multiple identified sources.

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Blog site watches WI Senator

Here’s a site that popped up in late January following Wisconsin Senator Glenn Grothman. Came across this via @mamier262 whom I follow on Twitter. Too bad I haven’t see this Social Media approach with our Georgia state legislature.

What did Glenn Grothman get wrong this week?.

Update: after some limited searches, no dedicated sites found for Georgia legislators like the way-out-there Bobby Franklin from Marietta.

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If it was only this easy

Listened to Martin VanDerSchouw, author of  Flavor of the Month, last night at PMI Atlanta meeting. Four key topics were discussed – strategy, performance metrics, process and service above status.

With strategy, VanDerSchouw harped on avoiding shiny objects (presuming that also relates to the book title.) Strategy is understanding everything you do defines where you’re going.  Every project furthers the strategy and everyone, including those lowest in the organization, must understand, articulate and support the strategy.  For performance measures, VanDerSchouw argued that changing the measure changes the behavior, in his words “tell me how you are going to measure me and I’ll tell you how I will perform.” Manage starts, not finishes, resonated with the PMI crowd. “Manage start dates and level of effort and don’t burn your margin of safety.” His last point is that we’re conditioned for mediocrity. With processes, process accounts for 85% of all errors. [no source cited]  PMs become keepers of lists and lists lead to missed items and minimization (think George Miller, The Magical Number Seven.) There’s no perfect methodology and this statistical gem, 30% of all initiatives fail is there is only one methodology. [again, no source] Since he prefaced his talk with Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, XP as approaches, presume these are the referenced methodology. Finally, by service over status, he encouraged practicing servant leadership.

VanDerSchouw is spot on with strategy and impressing that into the organization. My big issue with the talk is that he grossly oversimplifies people change. If all we had to do was change the how one is measured, wouldn’t schools, government and corporations working better too? Would all projects be successful? Change is hard and requires leadership and commitment to nurture and sustain change. As a change model, I like John Kotter’s Leading Change.

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Death to Panels

On a recent #astdchapters leader chat, I went off on my usual rant about panel discussions.  I don’t like panel presentations. Many professional associations over rely on this programming approach; it’s lazy. Most panels are haphazard collections of too many members and a moderator with little or no preparation. The end result is a non-cohesive program that leaves us scratching our heads, “just what was all that about?” For me, a single or co-presenter program is the best approach for learning.  Conferences use the single/co-presenter approach for sessions. When was the last time you saw a general session with a panel?

Panels can work with expert moderation and a small number, four or less. [Side note – attended SoCon11, 90-minute discussion with six panelists (seven were scheduled) with Q&A, see my earlier thoughts here] The moderator must organize the panelists well before the presentation date; outline the topic, program objectives and how it relates to the audience; identify three/four points; coordinate and collaborate on these points and set time limits and cues. The moderator must to step in and control since he/she is the audience advocate.

If you must here’s some suggestions for panels:

  • Have each panelist give a petcha kucha presentation (20 slides, 20 seconds per slide)
  • Have each panelist prepare and deliver an elevator pitch
  • Have each panelist create a haiku or limerick

Be creative, have a forceful, expert moderator. Insist that the panelists to have some skin in the game, be prepared and perform.

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Random Zen

Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
Every failure brings lessons.

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SoCon11 02/05/2011

I attended SoCon11, sponsored by Center for Sustainable Journalism,  this past Saturday at Kennesaw State University. Price was right, interesting people I know were attending and/or presenting. However this event was disappointing.  We checked in, networked, tried to get the wifi working and then trooped into an auditorium for a too short keynote by Lee Raine from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and way too long panel discussion. I am not a fan of panels unless expertly moderated and small, no more than three. Saturday’s panel focus was Social Media and Mobile Perspectives with SEVEN panelists. We get read the bios with a very distracting screen supposedly complementing the speaker’s role, organization, google searches and Wikipedia searches over the panel shoulders. The panel was all male since the lone female wasn’t present. Organizers, this is a problem.  Ironically, women outnumbered men 18 to 11 as breakout presenters.

Granted I was cranky since the promised wifi didn’t work well, here’s a suggestion. If you insist on  large panels use this approach that the E-Learning Guild employed at DevLearn 2010 in November. Have each panel member present in the petcha kucha style to establish their point of view and expertise (really why should we listen to him/her). Petcha kucha is 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, one focused presenter and quite entertaining. Certainly will put a sizzle into the presentations. If you promote a #hashtag, display the Twitter back channel for all to see and respond.

On the breakouts – one for two. First was disappointing on ROI that seemed to be a “hire me” session but the second breakout was outstanding, filled with great and practical tips to use right now from Barbara Giamanco. Finally, no conference nor session evaluation form via paper or online survey.

Here’s hoping that the promised slides appear.

UPDATE – some slides are now posted, thanks 2/7/2011 4:44 PM

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Scott Adams on Comparing

photo by Mike Johnson -

Scott Adams Blog: Comparing 01/27/2011.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams is onto to something here. We’re not very good at comparing. He proposes a course in comparison that includes sunk cost, time value of money, illusion of fairness, risk evaluation, considering the source, considering the wider context, etc. Read the post for the entire “curriculum.”

Lacking skills to compare alternatives leads to the partisan divide we have now. Making decisions because we just “know ” wastes time, effort, resources and demoralizes. Our inability to discuss alternatives as adults, give us the zero sum solutions – I win, you lose.  Let’s embrace and compare practical solutions that are give-give.

Update 03 FEB Listened to This American Life: Kid Politics, Act 2 Climate Changes, People Don’t. In this act, an articulate 14 year old climate change skeptic is presented evidence about climate change. We’re talking data,  peer-reviewed research. This comparing error is comparing data with opinion. In today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution OpEd section Focus on killers, not weapons they use, a reader compares 30 round magazines in handguns to bats and asks, “shouldn’t we ban bats ( …etc)” since they can be used as weapons.

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Talent Management Revisited: Where are we now?

» Blog Archive » Talent Management Revisited: Where are we now?.

What exactly is talent management?  Is it the employee life cycle from hire to retire? Or all the bits in between when you must find the right person for a critical role, leadership or individual contributor? Suspect that there’s not a leading practice that can be lifted and dropped from one organization to another. From the corporate days, the challenge with identifying and developing talent was management reluctance in sharing the best talent. We’d spend days identifying the ready now or ready later candidates only to have the “owning” manager block a developmental assignment. Sadly, no enterprise-wide application will help if managers don’t realize their role is developing and then sharing talent. And that may mean losing talent to other part of the business.

Interesting piece from Bersin on the revival of this concept and the struggles that HR has in owning that strategic role in organizations.  Talent manage is not a piece of software, it’s a guiding principle with evolving processes in an ever changing business world.

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