Learning and Staff Development in an Age of On-Demand

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

We live in a world where demand and expectations drive quality of living, or at least what we perceive to be quality. Missed last night’s episode of Game of Thrones? No worries (okay, except for the danger of spoilers). You can literally speak into your remote control and your television will catch you up. Want to know the weather forecast for the next week? Siri will have your answer in a matter of seconds. Our expectations are growing dramatically with each passing year as a result of this desire for immediate delivery of what we want. The on-demand culture has not only affected our home life but our professional lives, too. Today’s workforce is expected to be immediately productive on everything needed for the job. But is this realistic? How are we supposed to be 100% knowledgeable when each release of a product has a whole new batch of features and functionality? Often, the user interface and UX are dramatically changed. The reality is that the rapidly changing nature of technology is in conflict with our on-demand desires. We want everything now, but we can’t have that, since everything changes too quickly. To meet this demand, we need to have ways to teach and learn more quickly. Company hierarchies must be willing to encourage learning and development within their workforce to truly get the best possible results from staff. What do you mean when you say, “learning and development”? Learning and development is exactly what you think it is. It’s a way …

Seth Godin, Jedi Master of the Connection Economy?

Eric Braun Blog 0 Comments

I just got back from a talk by Seth Godin at Tufts University. As expected, it was inspiring. His core message to students was to get out there and connect. It’s a connection economy. Connect and you get noticed. Do something to help others connect, and we will notice you and care about you. This is essentially a new take on his “permission marketing” concept of past: turn strangers into friends and friends into customers. Today, says Godin, success means being a connector. But the more he talked, the more I felt that he meant more than that. He seems to take Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point concepts of Connectors, Mavens and Sales People and make them all requirements of a successful entrepreneur. “You have to be all three of these things.” He did not say this in so many words, but he did say, “Pick up the microphone while it’s still available.” This is essentially what a Maven does, right? Speaking out will help you build your network of connections and followers. The more you speak out, the more of a sales person you will become. And of course, it’s all about the 10,000 hours, too. Do it, do it, do it. You will fail, but you will fail less over time. If you’re not doing something that rubs someone the wrong way, you’re probably not pushing yourself, and you will be doomed to a life of mediocrity. As Tufts students, the audience is not prepared for mediocrity, but Seth …

“Fail Fast” – Teaching the Success of Failure

Eric Braun Blog 0 Comments

  In the past few weeks, I have run into “failure” several times. First, a colleague wanted to have a get together to talk about our collective failures in starting companies, which led to a roundtable discussion. Then, it seemed like I encountered more and more stories of failure at every turn — from my students to my fellow entrepreneurs, from videos I use in my class to articles I came across on the Internet. From the ubiquity of failure, it occurred to me again (my brain has gone down this path many times before) that failure is a natural part of life. I found myself telling my students not to be afraid of failure and, in fact, to embrace it. “Fail fast,” I said, “so you can pick yourself up, redirect your efforts and try something at last slightly intelligently better. This approach often leads to ultimate success. Just because 9 out of 10 startups fail does not mean that they fail forever. It means you may have to fail 9 times before you succeed once. But my students still have trouble embracing failure. As a society, we worship success so much that we think that failure is bad thing instead of part of the learning process. As toddlers, we only learn to walk, because we fall down enough times to figure out how to do it successfully. We only learn to talk, because when we say, “I want food”, it comes out “Goo-goo gaa-gaa”, and we do not …