I Don’t Know


It’s clear we like to know where we’re going. The idea of mystery, question marks and pure unknowns disturbs us.

The statement of “I don’t know” can be liberating.

Many won’t go there. We’ve been duped into believing that we have control, can master anything we set our minds to, or there is a solution for every problem. Terry Walling once wrote that the best leaders know how to live with the questions. As tough as that is to swallow and live, I agree, from my own experience. There’s something about moving forward without an answer. There’s something inspiring about moving forward without knowing (exactly) where you’re going. I’ve had so many twists and turns over the last ten years, I’ve come to a peace about the dance. It is life.

In America and other parts of the world, we’re trying to keep the status quo and be innovative at the same time. It doesn’t work. We want to find talent, but we don’t want to get too close to our gut instincts. We want to give advice on employee wellbeing, but don’t want change the structure. Many organizations turn to data and technology to replace what only a human can do. It’s almost like a throwing up the hands approach. When the robots take over, then I’ll bow down to the alter of data. It’s really just a mask anyway, for those who can’t look into your soul, or their own. Data and technology is mostly a spice or flavoring. The human is the main ingredient. Always has, always will be. 

Am I advocating dumping research into the cures for cancer or diabetes? Am I saying data won’t help the talent recruiter make better decisions? In no way do I believe that. However, anything used to make up for our intellectual laziness and discipline will only be a band-aid on a gunshot wound. I think we need more of doing what we know we need to do, instead of analyzing endless data/excuses.

Here’s how to start embracing your “I don’t know:”

  • Understand that being in a place where you don’t have an answer is not an indictment of your intelligence. Anyone who condemns you for your I don’t know is an insecure…you know the right words
  • Understand we live in the age of titles, certifications, etc., the truth is found in the pursuit and not an outcome with a label
  • I don’t know leads to knowing. It’s a sad irony how we miss the boat here. By the way, companies like Google are looking for this in the people they hire
  • A full and vibrant life is found in those able to embrace the unknown.
  • Surround yourself with people who are on a similar journey. It will keep you strong in a faux world


You Are the Disruption


As I’m sure you’ve heard, disruption is the groovy thing to be in. VCs dream of it (the success part anyway), designers and developers are pushing to make it happen. I have a little different take.

You are the disruption.

I’m really sick of hearing about the latest and greatest gadget that will revolutionize life as we know it. Disruption and advancement are great, but if we don’t see a change in human behavior, it will be a complete and utter waste of time.

Humans are moving backwards, technology is moving forward = not sustainable.

What is being left in the dust are the choices of life. I really wish the schools would require courses in life management. Imagine what an impact that would be! No judgements here, but we suck at making good-to-great choices. I think average would describe our best day.

Ok, I’m ranting! Now, let me give you a concrete example:

Diabetes is near epidemic in the U.S., Type 2 most applicable here. The diagnosis of the disease is typically related to obesity. The main causes are rooted in diet choices and lifestyle (sedentary behavior) choices. These choices are cannot be separated from the outcomes (heart disease, stroke, cancer, and amputations). Ironically, we refuse to turn around.

I sat in a meeting with the head of diabetes research for a large university a few weeks back. In that meeting, the development of a pill to combat the accumulation of visceral fat was described. If you didn’t know it, visceral fat is the killer fat because it accumulates around our organs. In so many ways, the research is focused on developing a pill to fix what we refuse to do for ourselves. We’ve seen the enemy.

So here’s a real disruption; join me in making choices that shake up ourselves. No more blaming the President, the tea party, our parents, our employer, you get what I mean. You might even start a ripple.

This is a big deal, friends.


Dehumanizing the Employee


In my last post, I rang the bell about the gap between human development and the advancements of technology. The disharmony is evident to many. Within the large and mid-market organizations, there is another disturbing trend afoot. We are witnessing the dehumanization of the employee.

Dehumanizing the employee occurs as many employers are looking to advance efficiency and innovation. It’s a false belief that those twins can move human development the way technology does with automation or research.

One area worth looking at is the process many organizations use to hire talent. Keep in mind that the talent is made up of flesh and blood. I realize this can also be a source of real frustration for those in talent recruitment. Technology has convinced many senior leaders that vast problems are solved in the hands of inventive software.

The idea of using screening software has a place. However, it’s proven, the folly of hiring based on keywords. The old saying, “we hired your resume, but what we got was you” is on mark here. More critical thinking in this spot is what we need. Seems like that would remedy the incongruent state of the talent recruitment processes.

So the dehumanizing continues. What do we do now that the horses are out of the gate?

  • Put on your big boy pants or big girl skirt, and be a leader with integrity and vigor
  • Change the culture. This is not for the faint of heart, but if you do the first bullet it will increase the odds in your favor
  • Stop listening to the marketing
  • Trust only those who’ve been hurt deeply. They will be honest and real
  • Close it down, quit, move on, if that’s what it takes. Better to live to fight another, than die while still breathing

The Problem with Technology


There are so many cool things about technology. To be living in this time you might feel lucky. If you’re someone like me, who lives with a chronic disease, your literal life may be impacted by the advancements technology brings. I am thankful.

However, there is a problem with technology.

As the advancement has moved at warped speed, so has the decline in the state of human beings. The state of:

  • integrity
  • wellbeing
  • economics
  • status quo
  • culture

The above 5 are just my mine. Would you add something to the list? Do you agree? Do you see the trend? Do you see the danger?

I met with a development officer from a local university a few weeks ago. The research group she helps is doing some really intriguing things in the world of diabetes care, more specifically finding a cure. Their work runs the gamut, from islet cell therapy to using 3d printing as a tool to further expand breakthroughs.

By the time she had completed her story, my head was spinning. It gave me hope and it made me pause.

What good is the work if beneficiaries are determined to kill themselves despite the prospects of a better day?

I told the development officer that some of the dollars raised should be used to fund solving the problem of poor choices. Its the 800 pound gorilla. Would solving that problem fix everything? I’m not smart enough to say, but it’s clear much of what plagues us inside our head would be improved dramatically.

This irony didn’t begin yesterday.

The Trouble with Entitlement


Had a bit of an epiphany last night about entitlement. Specifically, the trouble with entitlement and what it leads too. This post is about human beings. The government issues are for different writers out their in the blogosphere.

The trouble with entitlement is it connects directly with a nasty habit called taking things for granted.

In my world, I often hear family and friends decry taking things for granted. Most of the motivation for this comes from all of us getting the unexpected/shocking news of someone dying or someone losing something valuable. The list includes family, friends, health, and much more. You know the old saying around you don’t know what you have until its gone.

I believe taking things for granted has an evil twin, and his name is entitlement. Entitlement is a deadly trap on multiple fronts. The biggest relates to a since that I’m owed something. For example, I was downloading an update to some software last week. In that process, there was a failure. I had to start over. I caught myself saying something like, “this is not supposed to happen, I don’t have time to wait on this.” Humanly speaking, we’ve all been in that situation. The ugly truth is I felt entitled to technology working the way I wanted. So the story goes.

Our words may not utter what is really going on inside, but we do walk around with this idea that:

  • “I’m supposed to have smart, successful children.”
  • “I’m supposed to have a spouse who will not cheat.”
  • “I’m supposed to have health that doesn’t fail.”
  • “I’m supposed to have a career that lasts forever.”
  • “You’re supposed to be there when I need you.”

I’m sure you could add to the above. The truth is we’re not entitled to much. Most of what we have (Life) are gifts. Seems to me, thankfulness should overrule our attitude of entitlement. Imagine what impact that would have on our wellbeing.

How Technology Will Change Education

This post was written by Erin Palmer, a writer for Bisk Education which was founded byNathan Bisk in 1971. Bisk works with universities such as Villanova University, a leading institution that offers online certificate programs.

For the most recent generation of college students, technology is a way of life. Having grown up with the internet and the evolution of mobile devices, today’s students live a life integrated with technology. With the growing popularity of online programs and social networks, many older professionals are also engaging in technology in order to help advance their careers.

Colleges are competing for both traditional and online students. As a result, educational programs are enhancing the use of technology to offer multimedia presentation, video lectures, class blogs, podcasts and other useful applications that were unavailable or underdeveloped just a generation ago.

Students as Consumers; Professors as Mentors

Students are beginning to shop for the best value for tuition dollars. Offering a course that is also videotaped and catalogued for easy reference, available for podcast and includes a blog or other interactive message board for additional assistance appeals to students at all levels. If a student can set a course of study and pick and choose topics necessary for a particular field, then professors transition into a mentoring role, placing students in the driver seat of a more individualized education. For returning students who have had extensive knowledge through professional development, flexibility is a strong selling point.

Programs that allow testing for introductory or pre-requisite credit, grant partial credit for professional proficiency and offer flexibility in subject areas are appealing to working professionals who seek specific courses of study within wider disciplines. Offering multiple course formats which are compatible with the technology most familiar to students not only makes the subject matter more appealing, but also makes good business sense for colleges and universities.

Expanding Collegial Networking

Offering courses in a variety of formats with blogs and message boards open by subject area allows for greater discussion across disciplines. Think of the incredible networking and problem-solving potential in setting up mentored educational experiences where international students can discuss topics such as sustainable campus innovation, engineering or infrastructure development via video chat and discussion boards across disciplines and countries.

In addition, students in business can extend the concept of a “classroom” into a network of action through local community projects, making a positive impact socially while gaining relevant real world experience. With courses arranged with technologies that make scheduling and pacing flexible, students can integrate the theory with the actions through community-based projects. College professors and community partners can form positive and powerful alliances with a virtual classroom and reference materials that are available from personal mobile devices anywhere a student happens to be working.

Educational Culture Reflects Societal Change

Since the days of Plato and Aristotle, education reflects society. Students are consumers and the best professors have always been keen mentors. With a student base that is more socially aware, connected and globally conscious than ever before, education will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the students who consume it.

In the coming years, the majority of professors reaching full professor tenure will have spent their entire lives with the internet. Online learning will have fully integrated into their lifelong intellectual and professional development. This evolution will bring additional classroom innovations as the technology continues to evolve alongside the intellectual applications of it. Through colleges of education and ongoing teacher development currently aimed at filling the gaps, K-12 classrooms will also become more consistently tech-based.

Education Will Evolve With Technology

The next generation of students, professionals and community leaders will emerge having utilized technology throughout their entire lives. Education will continue to evolve to reflect the needs of new students. The increasing tech-savvy of the new generation will promote further advances in technology, which will then be incorporated back into education. Technology’s impact on education will be a constant and ever-changing process.



The iPhone Experience

This is my first experience with posting via mobile phone/smartphone. The iPhone was the catalyst.

I was a Blacberry user for many years, but the iPhone has moved me to a new frontier-a better one.

By the way, I know I'm a late adopter here. 🙂