Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Take Your Goals from SMART to SMART as Hell!

  • Are you frustrated by misalignment during performance reviews or evaluations?
  • Do you wast time and energy trying to understand what's expected of you?
  • Do you struggle to create alignment between you and your employees, clients, managers, customers, vendors, teachers, or family?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to attend our SMART as Hell: Goals session in Rochester, NY on August 2nd, 2012.
In this one-day training, conducted by Glenn Hughes, you'll learn the four types of evaluation, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. You'll use the SMARTometer - the first tool that allows you to accurately measure the quality of your goals. You'll create a SMART as Hell goal for a task or 'soft skill' that's difficult to measure. Finally, you'll apply the SMART 6-step process to align evaluation expectations with those who measure you.

This program has been approved for 6.5 recertification credit hours through the HR Certification Institute. We guarantee that you will improve the score of your goal during this session, or you'll receive free coaching until your goal is improved.

Get control of your work, your life, or your team with goals that are SMART as Hell.

This event will be held at the beautiful Inn on Broadway in Rochester. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lessons from the Martial Arts

Previously, I mentioned a Bruce Lee quotation book that contained some excellent reflections on teaching. Anyone who knows me knows that I will now have to pull on that thread and see where it takes me (or what cloth I pull apart).

So, I went to my other favorite used book store and scoured the martial arts section, looking for any teaching wisdom that I could find. Two books caught my eye - "Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching" by Carol A. Wiley, and "Martial Arts Teaching Tales of Power and Paradox" by Pascal Fauliot.

When I opened "Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching", the first quote I saw said,
"If you follow the present-day world, you will turn your back on the Way; if you would not turn your back on the Way, do not follow the world" - Takuan.
The quote immediately resonated with me, as - according to the reactions I get - I'm the last man on earth without a cell phone. I'm not sure what 'the Way' is, but I'm pretty sure that cell phones are not...

Studies of 'flow' conclude that uninterrupted time is a prerequisite to reaching a flow state in any activity. Surely, it is possible to own a cell phone while maintaining uninterrupted time, but no one I know has succeeding, and it's an experiment I'm uninterested in pursuing.

So, I will 'not follow the world' (with regards to cell phones) anytime soon.
In what ways do you 'not follow the world', in order to find 'the way'?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Learning Moments: Empty Nest Syndrome

Our empty nest

Well, we had a baby hummingbird that we named summer.
We watched mom build the nest and tend the eggs.
Then we watched our little hummer grow up.

Sunday night, Summer flew the coop. We went outside around 6pm and found the nest empty. Summer was sitting about 3 feet above the nest on a small branch. We watched her for the next two hours as she tested her wings. She seemed unable or unwilling to fly downwards. She just kept going higher and higher - sometimes grabbing branches that were too big for her feet, and then slipping and grabbing another branch.

When mom came for Summer's nightly feeding, she also found the nest empty. That kind of freaked her out. Summer was about 30 feet above the nest at this point, on the other side of the tree. As mom flitted madly about, Summer did something we had been waiting over a week for... she made her first noise. She called and called, but mom seemed to have very poor echo-location skills.

It was painful for us, to say the least. We could see summer, we could see the mom, but they couldn't find each other. This went on for about 30 minutes, until mom finally found summer and was able to feed her. We watched mom feed her until the sun went down and then we left them, hoping that summer makes it through her first night out of the nest.

I looked around on Monday morning. Mom was to be flying around, but no sight of Summer.
I climbed up and took a photo of the nest this morning. If you click on the image above, you'll see what I saw - another egg! Hummingbirds lay eggs in pairs. I'm assuming this one will not hatch, but I'll keep an eye on it over the next week to make sure.

Monday night, we saw Summer again. She made it through her first night, which was a relief to both of us. We look forward to watching her grow up.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Make Work Great (one person at a time)

Last week I received my copy of Ed Muzio's new book, "Make Work Great".

I'm a big fan of Ed's work (writings, videos, and presentations), because he's one of the few thinkers out there who is trying help individuals build a bridge between great tools and productive relationships.

Also, because he's a great guy who happens to be a friend. Full disclosure: I acted as one of the 'peer reviewers' for "Make Work Great" last summer. I'm also the instructional designer for the companion one-day workshop.

Ed's 'Overtness' framework - which combines overtness of task (purpose, impact, incentive, progress, resources, and capability) with overtness of relationships (clarity, questions, approach, and agreement) - is a powerful tool. This framework helped me look at what I do and how I interact in a new light.

Ed's goal is to increase output - while reducing stress - in the workplace. This book points us in the right direction. I highly recommend you check it out.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Learning Moments:

Baby Hummingbird

How cool is this? We've got a baby hummingbird in our backyard. With the help of a stepladder, I took some photos.

We've named him/her Summer (the hummer) because, well, it's summer! We've been watching Summer for the past week, as he/she grows quickly from a little hummer with a tiny beak to the point where it's positively bursting out of its' nest.

Today, Summer is moving a lot. I expect that he/she will be flying off within the next few days. Until, we plan to enjoy the process (and then clean all the 'residue' off of our back patio.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Learning Moments:

So... you wanted to get close to nature, huh?

We spent the fourth of July weekend at Point Reyes National Seashore, where we ate a lot of oysters, drank a little wine, did some reading, and fit in a couple of 8-mile hikes.

One of those hikes was the trail out to Tomales Point. Now, I know that it's been a rainy year in California and that the wildflowers did quite well. This was a little over-the-top, though, don't you think?

There is a trail that ran straight between me and Angie in the photo above. You just can't see it through the growth. While that may look spectacular (and it was even better in real life), it wasn't so spectacular on our legs.

We've walked this trail a bunch of times before and even debated taking a different trail this trip. Once again, however, we learned that, 'one can never step in the same river twice', because everything changes. As long as you're open to it, even seemingly repetitive events can create a brand new experience.

Four Lessons for Teachers from Bruce Lee

Last week, at one of my favorite used book stores, I picked up a book of quotes by Bruce Lee, called "Striking Thoughts".

I knew Bruce was a bit of a philosopher and definitely a sharp guy, otherwise I wouldn't have looked at the book. But, I didn't expect to find so many great thoughts about teaching and training:
  • "Remember, I am no teacher; I can merely be a signpost for a traveler who is lost"
  • "The ideal teacher - not 'what' to think, but 'how' to think"
  • "Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing it is a path to success and truth"
  • "Where method is, freedom is not"

I have often said that facilitation is more like zen than any other activity I can think of - Bruce's words confirmed that for me.
Can there be four better lessons for teachers and students than:
  1. Take my words and do with them what you will. Your milage may vary...
  2. Observe and explore my process, not my content.
  3. Failure is not only to be expected, but welcomed and even celebrated.
  4. If you didn't hear me the first time, reread 1, 2, & 3!!