Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Algorithms in Social that cant (!) spell don't sell, Cynics & Sentimentalists

Are the selling deductions from Algorithms in Social 
really so accurate or a load of Tisch Tosh ! ?

The appeal of numbers to control-minded business leaders is obvious:

 they are easy to test

and therefore to measure, unlike vague, slippery emotions !

We need numbers but....

False comfort in attempting to make all selling activities into a process can result in a sales management control mirage.

 Artificially allocating values to the stages of the sale can no doubt be algoritmised ( I have no idea if such a word exists.) and  may give the illusion of being in command or even a feeling of sales management . They are easy to test and measure.

There are plenty of sales force control systems up there in the Cloud for example sold as the nirvana of sales management. They are very helpful tools but certainly not the whole story.

British businesses, gripped in the vice of targets, crave quantification.

Yet the limitation of mere number creation and artificial process formulations to the world of selling and work of all kinds can been disastrous.

Do you remember when... ?

  Just think back to the  shortcomings of algorithm models of markets and compliance procedures and targets in the finance field. Consider the  'unfit for purpose' bureaucratic 'standards' of all sorts from  CRB check system that failed to protect many poor folk from Jimmy Savile to standards which failed to ensure nurses nursed instead of ticking boxes.

 Who know's what the shortcomings of the procedures  and algorithms for flood defences of our beautiful island. Will the mathematical models of water management and the actuarial insurance calculations  be found wanting we wonder ?

These number and process obsessed cults have therefore made what is measurable important, rather than what is important measurable. 

“They are like  Charles Dicken’s Hard Times Mr Gradgrind's useful idiots “ to adapt a quote from Simon Jenkins of the Guardian.

I still mistakenly imagine that like the 1960s TV series “The Prisoner” filmed in beautiful Portmeirion  played by Patrick McGoohan that   “I am not a number !”

An algorithm developed by a team at Tisch University tested their methods on anonymised data from 1.3 million randomly selected Facebook users aged 20 or older who listed their status as 'married', 'engaged' or 'in a relationship', according to the Cornell Chronicle.

  (Naturally enough this was reported in the press  on the feast of St.Cyril and St. Methodius-  more popularly kept as St.Valentine’s day Feb 14th .)

The Tisch team were able to identify the partner 70.5 % of the time. Others who might be chosen by the algorithm are most often family members or their partners.

The researchers were also able to determine, 68.3 % of the time, whether a given user was or was not in a relationship at all, and with 79 % accuracy if the relationship was a marriage.

Maybe such data can be used for those selling dating and wedding products and services.

I guess nobody is immune to advertising.  I am not.  I confess to buying loads of quite unnecessary stuff. The advertisers would not plough so much money into adverts if it did not work at some level.

Are Algorithms true ?

We are told that social media data can determine accurately who we are through algorithms. 

They can then use this data to help their clients target me in a focused way for advertising.

Yet when I look at the aligned sponsored advertising in my social network home page I do not recognise myself at all.

Apparently I am interested in the following:-

·         Beating rising funeral costs
·         Industrial deafness claims
·         Equity release calculator
·         Women looking for a date who spell can’t as “cant “  e.g. “Looking for a date? Our singles cant wait”
·         Gossipcop dot com.
·         Your life after 40 dot com

For those with whom I work and live amongst I doubt they would  recognise me from the above either. I doubt dear readers  who follow this blog would.

 Oscar Wilde’s quote on cynics  perhaps should always be paired with his definition of a sentimentalist. From Lady Windermere’s Fan

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn't know the market place of any single thing.”

Of course on Wilde's measure I  may be the  sentimentalist. But maybe I should be a cynic

After all to everyone in the “Village” back in the 1960s including the interrogator No 2 in his hanging egg shaped chair -  considered The Prisoner as No.6 !

 Good Selling folks

Related links

    You tube clip of The Prisoner

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sales Self Talk - Positive Mental Attitude - Positive Personal Pep talks

According to a legend in the 14th Century, two mischievous imps were causing mayhem in Northern England, the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral ( whose Patron Saint is St. Hugh !), where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop.

When an angel sprang out of a hymn book and told them to stop, one of the imps resisted and started throwing rocks at the angel, but the other imp hid under the broken tables and chairs.

The angel turned the first imp to stone, giving the second imp a chance to escape. It is said that even on still days it is always windy around the Cathedral, which is the second imp circling the building looking for his friend...

You may not believe in little demons like the Lincoln Imp, but maybe you are aware of their 21st century cousins the Doubt Demons the Indecision Imps of your self talk.

Have you noticed how champion tennis stars talk to themselves in matches ? Who are they talking to ? Maybe it is their distracting doubt demons or those irritating Indecision imps.

Sports psychologists encourage self talk.

For all Andy Murray’s shyness and discomfort  at TV interviews he is very vocal with himself during a match.  ( see quick sketches)

He goads himself to concentrate. 

He wills himself to win.  

He urges himself to succeed . 

He calms himself if he feels too anxious. He ,like many champions, talks to himself.

The specific mischief of indecision imps in Selling is to cause the mayhem of self doubt in ourselves.

Perhaps there are similarities between  professional tennis  stars and professional selling.


  Both jobs :-

  •                can be a lonely - a lot of time on the tour or on the road
  •                 require hard work 
  •                 entail the capacity to handle challenging individuals and dismissive attitudes ! 

 The stresses of the selling job can effect your mental health if you don't keep your thoughts, actions, and behaviours in check.  (Take it from one who lives with depression and anxiety ! )

Fortunately the stigma of mental health at work is beginning to lessen and there is help out there .
(See links at bottom of post if you need more information.)

All these stresses can combine to build a state of mind sapping resourcefulness. This is the perfect environment for those Indecision Imps to cast their spells of self doubt.

They can be dis-empowering especially with their inner conversations inside your head like “if only I didn’t have to… I wish I could… I don’t know how to… I can’t believe that this… Why doesn’t it… But I … “

One of the best ways to succeed in the combat these imps that play in your head is to build  powerful self-belief, drive , passion, focus and self worth.

One method is to set this negative self talk in stone is with the tool of positive self talk.

Changing your negative thoughts into positive habits requires 4 steps.

  1.       Scrutinise your current self talk

Firstly you need to become aware of these  thoughts.
Take notice of the things you say to yourself during your day
You might even find it helpful to record these – do a bit of  selling cognitive behaviour therapy (SCBT)

2.            Appraising your negative thoughts ( Your  Doubt Demons and Indecision Imps)

  • What proof is there to support this negative thought of yours?
  • What proof is there in opposition to it?
  • Is the thought expressed in the manner I would talk to a friend in my position?
  • What are the constructive ways of viewing this situation?
  • Am I really keeping things in perspective?
  • Even if there is some justification to this thought, how useful is it expending your energy thinking on it ?     

3.            Exchanging your negative talk for more positive alternatives

Generate a better version of you . Envision yourself as a winner. Like a Sports star who vision holding the trophy imagine yourself sealing the deal and making that great presentation.

At the beginning of a day, sit back and spend five minutes creating that thought association  that connects you to your path of success.

Remember the first sale is to yourself.

If you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect your prospects, decision influencers, buyers, colleagues to do likewise?

4.             Egg-on * your new self . ( Summon up your inner Viking )

*The 'egg' of 'egg on' is a variant of 'edge'  and nothing to do with birds' eggs, so to 'egg yourself on'  means to edge, or urge, yourself forward. derived from the Old Norse 'eddja'.

Changing thought habits can take time and practise .

Steps one two and three will take time to become second nature.

To support your new self , why not consult a few Biographies of Successful Business Role Models and seek out the attitudes they adopted .

As you read / surf their story ask yourself :-

What can I learn from their experiences?

How might I transfer the learning to my selling ?

What resistances did they encounter and how did they overcome them?

How would thinking like them help you ?

How much quicker could I succeed in my goals using their approach?

Back in the day this was called Positive Mental Attitude

If you want to read a classic on this concept, it was first developed and introduced in 1937 by Napoleon Hill in the book Think and Grow Rich.  It develops the importance of positive thinking as a principle to success

One technique for positive reinforcement is the use of "self-talk"  as above.

Certainly books by Dale Carnegie and Alfred Tack are also excellent on this area.

How about adopting a daily mantra  
“I feel happy. I feel healthy. I feel terrific. I feel a success at Selling”
 that way you can  petrify ( fossilise) those  irritating indecision imps and darned doubt demons and can put them in their  place.

By the way -The Lincoln Imp can be found  'trapped' in stone in the Angel Choir , in the wonderful Cathedral in Lincoln.

Related Links

Mindfulness  ( Scroll down from this link to find section on Mindfulness)

Selling Silence and Mr Selfridge

Mental health issues are on the increase. A recent article in the Daily Telegraph pointed out a report by Shruti Singh for OECD  “Job strain” has a significant negative impact on workers’ mental health with issues with supervisors, changes in the working environment and “too much work” being key problems.
It recommended that British employers should carryout workplace screening for depression and anxiety.
Mark Pearson, the deputy of the director of the OECD, said that ignoring the impact of mental health on the British workforce would be “a major economic error as well as social error” for the country.

People unable to work because of mental health issues cost the UK economy £70 billion each year with 40 % of all people claiming for disability benefits due to psychological issues

Information on Mental health and Contacts

Recovery Colleges
 e.g. CNWL Recovery College

Mental Health Foundation


Time to change

NHS Choices


Monday, 10 February 2014

Selling the comma down the river

Mark Twain once quipped “ People who can only spell one way are uncreative”.

Orthographical rectitude ( correctness in spelling and punctuation) is once again under attack. 

Associate Professor  of English ,John McWhorter of Columbia University has suggested the comma be abandoned in texting.  

Since Salespeople increasingly have heads down in their mobiles and tablets feverishly texting their boss, their colleagues and clients ,how should we respond to the liberal linguist John McWhorter's provocation or the edicts from conservative Grammar/Syntax/Spelling/Punctuation fascists?

Why does this matter in Selling ? 

Good written English from Salespeople conveys professionalism, creates an image of authority, establishes validity, enhances productivity, and retains a competitive edge over less literate rivals. 

The story  of Manager Mel's message to the Sales team

 A sales force led by Mel, a sales manager, once  received the following  from their Boss:-

“Time will not be wasted on small accounts.”

Half the team understood this to mean they should not call small accounts as Mel deemed this to be a waste of time. 

The other half interpreted the text to be Mel's opinion , suggesting that calling small accounts was a worthwhile exercise.

English is fraught with such dangers.

 In the development of English, the comma was introduced by Italian printers in the 16th Century. It replaced a kind of forward slash.

Not only can commas help with where to breathe, they can help in meaning. John McWhorter points out that texting is a form of speech.

What do you understand by the following sentence without commas?

Woman without her man is a savage.
Which is the savage,  the man or  the woman?

Maybe commas could help here .

Woman, without her, man is a savage   - Man is the savage

Woman without her man, is a savage.     - Woman  is the savage( Yet my Microsoft Word has done one of its squiggly green lines under man,  So I have offended the Grammar fascists at Microsoft , sorry)

 A response to Mel's  'small accounts' text  ( above) from one enthusiastic member of the sales team read

Let's sell Mel

Mel was not sure whether it was a comment on his/her management prowess or a sympathetic call to action and sell !

 All for a comma being sold down the river.

Related Links

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Are Twitter and Facebook eroding your salespeople's abilities to THINK?

How many boxes  of the five boxes would you tick for your team’s sales role?

[]             Do your salespeople need to set up personal and company credibility with clients for the purpose of realising benefits from the relationship?

[]             Are they required to effectively connect with clients in conversation and embark on the process of qualification, with the objective of gaining an understanding of the client’s needs?

[]             Do they need to generate initial interest from the client in your application, products or service and start the process of building rapport?

[]             Do they need to work in a structured way, with clear objectives, plans and reports in order to achieve goals and beat targets?

[]             When create value for the client will they need to negotiate and gain commitment?

 More than 2 ticks then they will need to develop both their analytic and reflective thinking skills with rigour. As likely as not,  your team's sales role could well be more complex than the 5 areas mentioned above.

The use of social networking sites through the plethora of multi device learning devices such as smart phones and tablets has been fantastic.

However my love of tech solutions for certain sales training  got a jolt today.

Daily Mail 5th Feb 2014 story on erosion of THINKING
Fellow  Learning Technophiles perhaps  we need to heed a warning low quality analytic learning that the rise of mutli-device learning using social networks are endangering.

Daily Mail  5th Feb 2014 page 5 Science Correspondent Fiona MacRae commented on some published work by Edinburgh University’s  Dr. Iyad Rahwan on a study of 20 people  in the way information is shared on social networking  sites Twitter and Facebook .

It appears that users are finding it more difficult to think analytically.

The study involved using three trick questions which despite being presented repeatedly,  participants tended to stick to their original answers and only got them right 25% of the time.
The same set of questions was show to a group  who were allowed to see each other’s responses. On the first quest they realised  someone else had the correct answer and changed their answer.

But on the second and third question they did no better than the original group despite being able to share information.

Dr Rahwan said this suggests the volunteers were copying each other without any real thought.

He added that there is danger that the rise of information sharing website such as Twitter and Facebook will makes us rely more and  more on the opinion of others, eroding our ability to think critically and making us unwilling to reflect. 

Related Links

Are you after some material to engage the ' little grey cells' ? (as Hercules Poirot might say )

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Social Selling today

  Think about this for a moment - Whenever you are on line there is an opportunity to amplify and reinforce your corporate brand and its value to your clients.

People buy from people, not companies 

People trust individuals, not corporations 

It’s the way business has always been done,

So how,  one might  ask does social selling 3.0  come into all this?

Clara Shih in Harvard Business Review suggests that social business complements traditional methods and allows for companies and their employees to manage and measure this engagement at scale.

She suggests that social business has developed in a series of waves.

The first wave of social business was all about employee collaboration, giving rise to products like Yammer, Jive, and Salesforce Chatter

Then came the next wave, external social business, rooted in customer service, corporate marketing, and communications. Many companies are still working through this stage by managing all social media at the corporate level. Here many in selling would associate where they are with social selling at present.

During last year, there was already executive commitment and discussion around turning internal social media projects into strategic imperatives owned by lines of business. Instead of discouraging employees from social media or making it optional, companies are making social business mandatory and part of the “standard issue” of communication just as email accounts became standard issue a decade ago.

In 2014, more and more companies will usher in the third wave of social business by empowering everyone across the organisation to participate. While corporate marketing teams continue to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for brand awareness,

What this means for Selling

 Sales teams and other customer-facing roles will increasingly tap into social networks for ways to authentically reach and engage their customers and prospects, build their credibility as a trusted advisor through value-added content, and provide higher levels of service – all to ultimately  increase business  and deepen relationships.

 Even for Non-sales employees in non-customer facing roles, the expectation will be that they represent the company whenever on line to amplify and reinforce the corporate brand and its value to customers.

To make it all work, Clara suggests companies instituting standardised operational procedures social business by
 (1) enabling and training employees to effectively use social media for business,

 (2) creating social business programs and guidelines,

and (3) applying key business metrics to turn grand visions of social media into real business 
process and ROI.

Related Links

Inarticulate Social Selling 3.0

Selling smiles - 9 smiles for salespeople

"There is not a soul who does not have to beg alms of another, either a smile, a handshake, or a fond eye"

So said the politician and historian  Lord Acton 1834 - 1902.

Here are nine ways smiles can be used to our advantage as Salespeople by sending out messages about our 
trustworthiness, attractiveness,  sociability and more !
A smile makes you memorable 

Maybe he is not a Cavalier nor laughing
but he has a memorable smile.
One of the best selling gems of the the Wallace Collection
A friendly face might make you more memorable. Work at Duke University ( 2008) by Roberto Cabeleza and colleagues 'introduced' volunteers to a number of people by showing them a picture and telling them a name.

Using MRI , the researchers found that both learning and recalling the names associated with smiling faces preferentially  activated the orbito frontal cortex , an area of the brain involved in reward processing.

1. The Trustworthy smile

 One signal that suggests we are trustworthy is a smile. Genuine smiles send a message that decision makers and influencers can trust and cooperate with us.

 Salespeople who smile are likely to be rated higher in both generosity and extroversion and when people share with each other they tend to display genuine smiles  (1)(Mehu et al., 2007 ‘Smiles when Sharing’). 

Some economists reckon that smiles have a value. In one study by Scharlemann et al. (2001) The value of a smile game theory with a human face -participants were more likely to trust another person if they were smiling.  This might be relevant to those involved in a negotiation or brokering a deal. This study found that a smile increased people's willingness to trust by about 10%.  (2)

2. Smile for forgiveness - let's face the music

When people do bad things they often smile when they are caught. Is this to their benefit?

According to a study conducted by LaFrance and Hecht (1995), it can be. 

We treat people who've broken the rules with more leniency if they smile afterwards. It doesn't matter whether it's a false smile, a miserable smile or a real felt smile, they all work to make us want to give the transgressor a break.  (3) 
This seems to work because apparently we find people who smile after breaking the rules more trustworthy than those who don't.
Obviously it is better not to do ‘bad things’ in the first place but as they say– to err is human.
Often salespeople can be put in a position of dilemma for example when pressed for guarantees and commitments beyond their control. They might weaken and do the wrong thing like over promise etc.  Then a smile might help when trying to repair the situation.
3.  Recovery from social slip-ups smile ( 'False step' Smile - faux pas)
 Has a client's name slipped your mind say at an exhibition stand or networking gathering?  If you've tripped on a social banana skin , embarrassment can be your go-to emotion.
 The function of embarrassment is to get us out of tight social spots (Keltner and Buswell, 1997). The embarrassed smiles we display involve looking down and sometimes we emit a silly little laugh. This is designed to elicit fellow-feeling from other people so they think less of the slip and forgive us more quickly.  Embarrassment : its distinct form and its appeasement (4) 
So the embarrassed smile helps us get out of jail free(ish).
4. Summoning up a smile out of politeness
Sometimes we smile both because it's polite and so that we can avoid feeling bad afterwards. Like when someone enthuses about how they saved a small amount of money with a coupon they found down the back of the sofa. It hardly seems to warrant a smile but you muster one anyway because it's polite.
In one study people were asked to remain stony-faced after hearing someone else's good news (LaFrance, 1997). They felt bad afterwards and thought the other person would think worse of them as a result.
So we nod and smile politely because otherwise we'll regret it afterwards.
5. Water off a duck’s back smile

A courier company that smiles !
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don't feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition interaction of body and mind).
N.B. : smiling at upsetting things may work but it doesn't look good to others. When Ansfield (2007) had participants viewing distressing videos, those who smiled felt better afterwards than those who didn't. But people who smiled at distressing images were judged less likeable by others.  (5)
6. Grinning for insight – wood from the trees smile
When we're nervous our attention tends to narrow. We stop noticing what's going on around the edges of a business situation and only see what's directly in our line of sight or thoughts. This is true in both a literal and a metaphorical sense: when nervous or stressed we're less likely to notice ideas that are at the edge of our consciousness. But to gain insight into a business problem, it's often precisely these peripheral ideas we need.
Signal a smile.
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think more broadly. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees. Smile to see the forest ;Facially expressed positive emotions broaden cognition (6) 
So a smile really can help give us a burst of insight.
7. Hide what you really think
Psychologists used to think that a genuine smile never lies. Fake smiles involve only the mouth, while real smiles—called Duchenne smiles by psychologists—reach up to the eyes. Recent research, though, suggests that 80% of people can fake the crinkly eyes central to a Duchenne smile (see Duchenne: Key to a Genuine Smile?).
So smiles can be used to hide what we really think, but it's still not easy to fake a real smile because they have to be timed correctly. A key to a trustworthy smile is that it has a slow onset, i.e. it takes about half a second to spread across the face. One piece of research has found that in comparison to a fast onset smile (about a tenth of a second to spread), slow onset smiles are judged more trustworthy and authentic .
8.  The money smile
Power of the smile:Argos use a smiling arc in the logo
Earlier we saw in 1. above that economists have calculated the value of a smile, but can a smile make us real cash? Apparently the broad smile of a waitress can: Tidd and Lockard (1978) found smiling waitresses made more in tips (there's no study on waiters).  Monetary significance of the affiliative smile:  (7) A case for reciprocal altruism 
More generally people in service industries, like flight attendants or those in entertainment and hospitality are effectively paid to smile at customers. But, watch out, a constant mismatch between felt and displayed emotion—called emotional labour by psychologists—can be exhausting, possibly leading to job burnout.
A smile may make money, but it can also be draining.
9. Smile and (half) the world smiles with you
One of the simple social pleasures of life, which goes almost unnoticed because it's automatic, is when you smile at someone and they smile back.
Power of the smile:Amazon use a smiling whoosh in theirs
As you'll have noticed, though, not everyone does smile back. Hinsz and Tomhave (1991) wanted to see what proportion of people would respond to a smile aimed at them with their own smile. Their results suggest around 50% of people reciprocate. In comparison almost no one responds to a frown with their own frown. Smile and half the world smiles with you, frown and you frown alone. (8)
Smile for longevity
If none of these studies can elicit a smile from you then think on this: people who smile more may live longer.

 A study of pictures taken of baseball players in 1952 suggests those smiling outlived their non-smiling counterparts by seven years (Abel and Kruger, 2010).  (9) Smile intensity in Photographs predicts longevity

Of course with this knowledge about the power of the smile we should heed once more the wisdom of Lord Acton 
"Power tends to corrupt
and absolute power 
corrupts absolutely." :)

Related Links

(1)(Mehu et al., 2007 ‘Smiles when Sharing’).


 (3) Why smiles generate leniency

(4)  Embarrassment : its distinct form and its appeasement (

(5)  Smiling when distressed When a frown is a smile turned upside down

(6) Facially expressed positive emotions broaden cognition

(7) A case for reciprocal altruism

(8)  Smile and half the world smiles with you, frown and you frown alone ?

(9)  Smile intensity in Photographs predicts longevity

Monday, 3 February 2014

Learning how to learn MINDFULNESS, Disruption and Instructor-led-Training 3.0 Learning Technologies Show 2014 Day two @LT14uk

"Out of mouths of babes and sucklings"

Reflection on Day 2 of Learning Technologies Show 2014 , London

I am in a Cafe Nero writing up my blog.

Musing for today :
 Why do they place the spoon on the left side of the handle?
Across the cafe from were I am sitting with my 'flat white', the spoon is placed on the left hand side of the handle – (why do they do that?) a mother is playing with her baby. 

It turns out actually it is the little boy’s nanny.

He is eight months old and is veritable learning ‘machine’.

 The nanny is playing with a plastic blue handball catching his eye and moving it about.

She tickles him with the ball, playfully drops it, and simulates the ball bouncing on the back of the sofa above his head .He turns rounds his head to follow it.   His eyes follow the journey of the ball. When the boy grabs the ball himself he brings it to his face. 

He licks the ball and even attempts to chew it.

As the play continues he smiles, he beats his arms simultaneously up and down with excitement.

 What I do observe is that from time to time he looks away from his Nanny.  He disengages from the game. His brain needs a rest. Then when he is ready he looks back for further stimulation. The child teaches his Nanny when to teach him. ( learner centric learning)

Training Surrogacy

In our adult world we often use the word to Nanny in a pejorative sense as in Nanny State’. Yet nannies take on a responsibility for a child’s safety in subtly different way from the parental possessive responsibility and love of the child.

They also guide, care for (curate) and facilitate their learning. 

The Nanny I am observing also follows the little boy’s searchlight gazing. Sometimes she follows his eye line and looks out of the window to see what attracts his attention in the frantic outside world..
Donald Taylor of Learning Technologies introducing Brian Solis

The cafe is on the roadside opposite a huge modern hospital. His search light eyes have now have a fixed gaze on me.! 

His stare locks on me even though a deafening ambulance siren is wailing along the road with a blue flashing light. The adults are distracted but he is not distracted.

 He gaze fixes on me like a heat seeking missile. ......

As adult learners our 'blue plastic balls' are many and various. Tablet screens, smart phones, PCs, video, chat .......The inexorable waves of technological advance in business learning are having significant impact on how we all learn and how those of us who share, curate and facilitate content must now act.

"Corporate Creationists" versus "Digital Darwinists "

 We can mimic those reacting sycophants in the boardroom who assure their CEO Canute sitting on his throne ( usually a 'he')  that the tech. tsunamis will not reach the executive suite floor and won't disrupt the business.. This 'not invented here' corporate creationism vies with the Digital Darwinism that most recognise as what is going on today !

Perhaps we can wait for the tech. waves wash over us and see whether we are lucky enough to survive the onslaught and then hope natural buoyancy will keep us afloat. 

We may find the subsequent treading water can even be recorded by ROI  metrics. This may gives us a sense of being busy and the illusion of  'control'  and evaluation but is questionably productive from a true learning perspective.

Just consider how we humans adapt to tech currently. 

For example some have developed ‘seek and peck’ typing skills, others  have developed their thumbs to such an extent that their thumbs can virtually tap dance, others stroke and caress their tablets with grace of an exponent of tai chi.  

Brian Solis presentation
via satellite theatres at
Olympia 2 exhibition Halls
Keynote speaker Brian Solis at LT14uk suggested a significant change in tech introduction is that formally it was imposed / introduced from above from the C suite. 

Now with an era of BYOD of demand for mobile tech introduction is bottom up. Such democratic access the learner is in the driving seat is a game changer.

Whether this is all completely new, I am not so sure.

 Change is inevitable but we need the likes of Brian Solis to shake us out of our complacency of lethargic reaction to technological change. To relearn the lessons of disruption, innovation and their effect on  the status quo.

 My coaching experience has taught me that  you cannot really ‘teach’ adults  anything . 

If they don’t want to learn they won’t.  Learning is a voluntary process. Much of learning is driven by self motivation and expectation.

If you as a learner come with an expectation to a training interaction with a driven hope  that ‘you  will conquer mountains’  the interaction probably will do this. 

If you come to an interaction with a mindset to expect a tedious and boring waste of time it probably will turn out to be so.

 If you come with the thought that they may be one or two things that might help it will as likely as not turn out to be so.

It is Brian Solis’ belief that the next decade must be willed instead of unveiled . This proactive effort will be set alight by innovation that disrupts thinking, behaviours and markets.

Solis considers that ideas are merely a commodity these days. He reckons the next decade will be defined by those who do more than innovate. The future lies in those who disrupt markets and industries.

Technological waves disrupt the current Business world status quo  to clamour for :-

  • ·         An upgrade
  • ·         Reboot
  • ·         Complete refresh

"To every season turn, turn turn...."

Solis sees 'our Now' - A time when anything and everything can be re-imagined.

"The way things are , doesn't necessarily reflect the way things ought to be."

"We have an opportunity to change the world and it starts with the way we see it for what it is and what we can make of it."

Innovative , disruptive companies  are more than great ideas. They solve problems that fundamentally change behaviour. They introduce a deviation in our current path to lead us in a new direction .

The Why difference ? Apple as a Disruptive Innovator par excellence

In everything they do they believe in challenging the status quo. The believe in thinking differently. The way they challenge the status quo is by making their products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.

They just happen to make great computers.

All they have done is reverse the order of what and how Apple sells to start with why.

Brian Solis' video presentation was
cut off 16.50 hrs on the Thursday Day 2
By starting with why , before the how and what  of your product or service Brian Solis argues  the you can build something bigger  than what you may originally  set out to create or discover something altogether new to pursue.

Unfortunately the video to Brian Solis’ presentation overran the period allotted for the satellite theatres in the hall so I and the many watching in the various satellite theatres did not see the conclusion of Brian’s presentation.

Earlier in the afternoon I attended two talks on human centred learning rather than tech driven learning.

Mindfulness is being taken up by more and more folk. For example at the 2014 World Economic Forum at Davos  this January, there were daily morning mindfulness sessions and even a presentation to conference by actress Goldie Hawn on the subject.
Michelle McArthur-Morgan Jigsaw@work

At LT14uk I attended a session on Mindfulness Based Emotional Intelligence by Michelle McArthur-Morgan of Jigsaw@work  Jigsaw@work . Contrary to what we may believe our brains generate 10,000 new brain cells each day.

With 1 in 4 people likely to suffer mental illness looking after our mental health  becoming increasingly important with the desperate attempts to keep on message.

Michelle asked if we wake up and immediately check facebook, emails etc. and last thing at night do we just check facebook , emails etc. once again.
Yet our bodies need to take breaks.

We need to take time out. Michelle took her audience through a few simple but effective exercises to focus on the moment not worry about the past or fret about the future.
She quoted data from Health and Safety executive

Apparently our brains need a break every ninety minutes or so.

One provocative challenge Michelle posited that Multitasking is actually less productive . she supported this from findings from Prof  Meyer of Michigan University .

Michelle gave us much to think about.It proved useful counter to Digital Darwinism in the short term we must centre ourselves more and focus on the present. Good advice to all in Sales about to meet with clients.

I thought you might like to her 5 simple ways to remain calm and have clarity of thinking when all around are losing it ( echoes of Rudyard Kipling's If ?)

  1. Pause and Breath   STOP what you are doing. Become aware of your breathing and do nothing intentionally
  2. FOCUS - DO NOT Multitask, focus on one task at a time
  3. BE PRESENT in the moment - Take notice of your internal early warning system, experience sensations as they arise in your body.
  4. BE AWARE of ASSUMPTIONS - check what assumptions and judgements you are making and challenge their helpfulness.
  5. BE KIND and COMPASSIONATE - remember to be kind to yourself and others. Do not have unrealistic expectations of self or others.

Jon Knight , Collaboration Specialist of Smarter Interactive
The second seminar I attended on Day Two of LT14uk was entitled " How do you delivery high quality instructor led training in a global recession and a competitive market?"

Jon talked us through a large scale project with IT Training Company Global Knowledge

Jon describing the features of the
master broadcast classroom

Having developed a successful system of satellite classrooms with interactive whiteboard connectivity for real time connection with the master classroom. 

The second stage of the project  enabled people to connect from home / office via a headphone pc kit live to the classroom. 

The next stage is make the system work on a mobile solution.

My 'flat white is consumed' it's time to publish thuis post.

Now that the Neuro Scientists tell us of the plasticity of the brain even in adults perhaps we could learn to learn again form the best of learners - babes and their skilled learning facilitators Nannies.

For now it’s time to leave the coffee shop.  

The boy needs to be helped to put on his coat, be strapped into his  Maclaren buggy  with the hood up for the challenges in the outside world beyond the warmth of the Cafe Nero  and  its safe training environment.

 It is raining outside in the street.

Why not observe a Nanny or Mum at work next time you are in a coffee house as see the parallels of how to guide our delegates  or lead colleagues  as we facilitate, lead and learn from them.

We all need to learn how to learn again 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings'......

Time to let go of the  spoon puzzle for today after the new age of digital learning is not about 'spoon feeding' !!!