(#298) Do You Have “Hell, Yeah” Goals?

February 7, 2016

When you establish new goals,  consider these four components.
Give your goals a second R.E.A.D.

During one of my recent podcast recordings, film producer Pepper Lindsey posed an intriguing question:  “What does success look like to you?” (This podcast will air on March 15, 2016. Click here for more information.) What a wonderfully thought-provoking query.  Consider it for yourself. Is success for you measured by money, fame, a certain title, ego, an opulent life style, a simple lifestyle, making a difference in your community, driving a larger car, or taking trips? Something else?

Derek Sivers, in his book Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, asks a similarly interesting question:  “How do you grade yourself?”

Does success to you only matter if other people notice? Does success only matter if (for instance) you have your name on a park or building? Or is it more connected to the programs you helped start in that park or building—programs that will live well beyond you and your name recognition?

sivers

Both of these questions tie directly to why we want to do what we want to do—our goals.

Goals can be powerful motivators. They provide direction, purpose and energy.  And, if we are not clear on the what and the why of our goals they can lead us in unhealthy directions. We may even beat ourselves up because we have not achieved a certain goal (“Life is passing me by”; “I’m not getting any younger!”).

How are we grading ourselves? How do we define success?

Have you had a remarkable career (read: you have made a difference for those around you) but because you have not reached the “next level” (however you define that) you do not consider it a success? What is important—the difference made or the title not achieved?

Do you take on projects and tasks that you’re truly juiced about or do you settle for anything with the hope it will bring you something.  Sivers proposes you only consider those goals to which you say “Hell, yeah!” Projects that give you energy and purpose

We all have different versions/definitions of what success looks like and how we grade ourselves. The point: Be aware of  and understand the assumptions you make when establishing your goals—and ask whether they meet your definition of success. Allow me to use a personal example.

I learned early on to carefully weigh whether I will take on a speaking or writing opportunity.  I use what I have come to call my R.E.A.D. principle. That is, for me to take on an engagement (a new goal), four components must be in place.

  • Relationship. I have to work with people I enjoy and respect. This requires validation by and for all parties and not manipulation by any party.
  • Excitement. I have to have enjoyment preparing for and doing the event. This is a major piece of the “Hell, yeah!” factor.
  • Authenticity. I have to be allowed to be my authentic true self. Don’t ask me to be something I am not. Yes, the event is about your needs and your people. However, if who I am does not fit that need, then we should not sign a contract. (Why would you even ask me?)
  • Difference. I want my participation to make a difference in the lives of the people in the audience. I don’t want to waste their time with exhortations and clichés.

You see, my goal is not to have an engagement. It goes beyond the numbers. My goal is to have the right engagement. If the potential gig does not have a proper R.E.A.D. for me, I will no longer agree to it.

When setting and re-evaluating your goals give them a second R.E.A.D. and determine if you can enthusiastically yell, “Hell, yeah!”

Video Recommendation for the Week:

While this video clip looks at entrepreneurial decisions, consider where and when you can apply this in your life. Yes, when you “work for someone else” you may feel you have fewer options to say “Hell, no!”

And then, that might provide reason for another conversation to have with yourself.

Make it a wonderfully successful week as you pursue your “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#366) Why Not You?

May 28, 2017

Speaking and writing does not belong to some elite group of individuals.

Have you considered publishing or speaking to broaden the powerful impact and reach you already have on those around you? It could be for a small local audience or something larger. You might do it for money—or for the sheer passion you have for a particular topic.

Later today (May 28, 2017), I will have the opportunity to facilitate a workshop at the annual NISOD Conference in Austin, Texas.  I will pose a simple question, “Why not you?” If you don’t share your talents, who will?

I hope to encourage participants to consider sharing their accumulated wisdom through publishing and/or speaking. I will be talking to college professors, advisers, and administrations. But whether you manage a retail store, teach students, serve customers in a restaurant, nurse patients in a hospital, coach a little league team, manage a household, or lead your community, you have experiences to share.  Speaking and writing does not belong to some elite group of individuals.

Take a moment today, and consider all that you have to offer with respect to your accumulated wisdom.

To be sure, just because you want to write or speak, does not necessarily mean you should write or speak.  And just as assuredly, not everyone has the talent or temperament for speaking and writing.

Before you brush aside the idea, though, consider what you have that others may be interested in learning.  From parenting, to surfing, to gardening, to home renovation, to mentoring young minds, you make a difference in your world. Here are a few questions to help you sort through your thoughts to share your wisdom. I encourage you to work through these with someone who will give you trusted feedback.

  • WHY do I want to publish and/or speak? Is it for ego, profit, passion, or the need to share an important lesson?
  • WHO cares about my work—and why should they? Huge question! If you decide to speak or publish, who will be interested enough to listen?
  • WHERE do I find opportunities? Local community organizations? Regional and national conferences? Letters to the editor? The community newspaper? A national magazine? Self-publishing?
  • HOW do I develop a supportive learning community of associates to help me develop your writing and speaking talents? And, how can I help others to find their voices?

When we start examining these types of professional and personal growth opportunities and questions, we identify and clarify our inner desires, strengths, and challenges. And we increase our chances to connect and form collaborative, supportive networks, and create community.

Rather than saying, “I’m not a writer or speaker” I hope you will consider (and act upon) “Hey, I can write and speak, too…just never thought about it.” Find a mentor to help you begin your journey.

In fact, you may find yourself saying, “Hell, yeah, that is for me!”


Video recommendation for the week.

Your story has power!


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#361) Where’s My Trophy?

April 23, 2017

How would you develop a meaningful and effective employee recognition program?
What represents “average” and what looks like “excellent” at your workplace?

Transformational leaders understand the importance of timely, authentic, and meaningful employee recognition.   The leader knows her people and what best motivates them. (For instance, accolades must resonate with the different generational mindsets that may be in the work setting.  Boomers may crave financial reward and titles, while millennials favor flexibility benefits.)

Even though the All Stars generally standout, there will be shortsighted, why-not-me workplace citizens who have difficulty recognizing and acknowledging the good work of others. What’s a leader to do in order to connect with all team members?

One of the last scenarios in my new book gives readers the opportunity to grapple with the best way to recognize employee efforts.  While I wrote the scenario specifically for college and university faculty, you can apply it to other professions. Take out the reference to “faculty” and insert your occupation or job title, for example.  Instead of “department chair,” use “manager” or “supervisor.”

Whether we talk about faculty, corporate managers, dockworkers, or administrative assistants recognizing them for a “job well done” seems like commonsense to overall personnel development.

Your work environment may adeptly understand and expertly execute employee recognition. If so, I would like to learn about your system. Leave a comment on this blog.


Video recommendation for the week.

Let me set the stage for the scenario.

For more hands-on introductory videos, visit my video playlist.


As you and your colleagues grapple with this scenario, consider if Professor Hadit works in an environment where everyone believes he or she is excellent. If that is the case, then hasn’t “excellent” in that environment actually become “average”? Excellent indicates far above the average. What represents average and what looks like excellent at your workplace?

The scenario:

“Got a moment?” asked Professor Hadit as he stood at his colleague’s office door.

“Sure, come on in, Don. Have a seat.” Professor Binder pointed to the seat at the side of his desk. Both professors taught in the English department on their campus. Don Hadit it was the current department chair. He had been in that position for two years.

“Not sure where to start, Ann, other than this is the stereotypical case of doing what I thought was right only to catch grief from every direction. Remember the campus meeting we had last week with the campus president?”

“Yeah,” replied Ann. “I thought it went well. Very positive. Especially the recognition of the ‘all-stars’ in each of the departments. Finally, nice to see faculty recognized for what they do well.”

“Well, there’s the rub,” said Don with a sigh. “We, the department chairs, were asked to pass along the names of some of our faculty who have done something well over the last semester. We could only give four or five names. The president wanted to reach out and thank those folks. So, I did that. Thought it was a good idea, too. Unfortunately, my phone has not stopped ringing, the email inbox keeps dinging, and there have been a few unpleasant conversations—or should I say diatribes—in my office.”

“I don’t understand,” offered a confused-looking Ann. “About positive recognition?”

“Yeah. It seems people got very upset—I mean red-in-the-face mad—that they weren’t recognized. Some went as far as to tell me why the people I chose were not deserving of such recognition. I’m flabbergasted. Feeling a bit blindsided. Even had one person claim the only reason you were recognized is because we are friends outside of campus. Gee. Since I observe every teacher in this department and conduct thorough evaluations, I thought I was in the best place to be objective.”

Ann raised her eyebrows and blew a slow breath.

“I’m not sure how to rebound from this one. Frankly, I’m mad as hell. Got any thoughts?” asked Professor Hadit as he slumped into the chair and stared straight ahead at the wall. “I feel like we’re stuck in a place where everyone has to get a trophy!”

Reflect on This

  • If you were in Professor Hadit’s position, would you have proceeded any differently when asked by the campus president for a few of the “All Stars” in your department? Briefly explain.
  • How does your workplace recognize its All Stars? How should it recognize the All Stars?

Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#344) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2016 In Review

December 25, 2016

May your 2017 goals lead to your actions and your actions lead to your dreams.

While sitting in an Austin hotel room at the end of May 2010, I wrote my first post for this blog. At that time, I had three goals:

  • Experience a new (for me) aspect of social media
  • Develop and flesh out new ideas
  • Provide something of value—not just another cyber rant.

I believe I have accomplished the first and the second. It is up to you whether I have accomplished the third. My blog posts contain videos, book recommendations and summaries, questions to ponder, and always a takeaway to apply immediately to life.  I have remained true to my commitment to publish one blog post per week. This post marks the 344th consecutive week.  And I know that I am #alwayslearning!

Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing.  I would love to hear what you found of value on this blog. And, please feel free to share any ideas you have for future posts.

As has now become tradition for this blog, this last-of-the-year offering lists each of the previous 51 posts I have made to this blog this year. Along with each title, you will find a statement about each. Perhaps a nugget or two will provide inspiration. I have linked each title to the actual blog should you want to read it, re-read it, or share it. Thank you for your continued support and comments.

I also have included (1) the top five (by number of views/visits) blog posts for 2016; and (2) top five blog posts since I started this journey in 2010.

*Top Five 2016 Posts on this Blog*

1.  (#308) Thanks. You’re Helping!

2. (#309) Thanks. You’re Not Helping!

3. (#295) His Heart Created A Wonderful Life

4. (#299) The First Forty Years

5. (#297) In Their Words: Leadership and Collaboration

 

*Top Five All-Time Posts on this Blog*

1. (#194) Honor the Past. Celebrate the Present. Embrace the Future.
2. (#86) A Model for Critical Thinking

3. (#18) Crab Pot Mentality!
4. (#93) SQ4R: Strategic Reading Strategies for the Classroom and Beyond

My video that accompanies this post is my most watched YouTube video.

5. (#219) The First Day of Class: People Before Paper!
All the best to you and your family and your friends as you create and enjoy your 2016 journey. May your 2017 goals lead to your actions and your actions lead to your dreams.

2016 in Review

 

  1. Community Resilience * Maybe we can approach resilience as a condition of not only being adaptable to a disaster but also living and sustaining a healthy life that avoids (or, at least, prepares for) disaster before it happens.
  2. Benefits of Remaining a Continual Learner * It can help us fill in gaps between assumptions and realities.
  3. His Heart Created a Wonderful Life * Stay healthy and hug a little longer.
  4. Not Us. Them! * The campus is not about the president, professors or custodians—it’s about the community.
  5. In Their Words: In Their Words * The leadership concepts and exhortations in this post can be summed up in a word, RESPECT. Respect for your abilities, respect for your followers, respect for your team, respect for the mission, respect for humor, and respect for relationship building.
  6. Do You Have “Hell, Yeah!” Goals? * When you establish new goals, consider these four components. Give your goals a second R.E.A.D.
  7. The First Forty Years * If you held me down to provide the “secret sauce,” I’d say it is simply giving each other space.
  8. Is Grit a Crutch? An Excuse? A Strategy? A game Changer? * To disregard fortitude ignores the importance of personal effort. No, it does not always “pay off” like we might want it to. Grit, though, is a contributing factor on our journey.
  9. Authenticity: What Does It Look Like For You? * As you live your life, Please take my cue, To thine own self be true.
  10.  Show Muscles * We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices.
  11. Give Your All Stars the Spotlight * Find a way to let your colleagues share what they are proud of and how they do it.
  12. Random Thoughts on Overload, Gratitude and Connectedness * But wouldn’t it be a shame if we create such unforgiving filters that the positive, the joy and the connections never make it through?
  13. Question. Grow * “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”Epictetus. “Question everything.” Einstein.
  14. The Power of Empathy for Self * The first person we have to lead and be true to remains ourselves.
  15. Thank You for Paying Attention to Me * Do you treat those you lead and those you follow with dignity? Do you do the same for yourself?
  16. You’re Helping! * Laurie and I remain deeply indebted to many, many friends for their positive thoughts and love.
  17. You’re NOT Helping! * I totally understand that many people just don’t know what to do when someone in front of them says, “I have cancer.”
  18. Plussing + Amplification = Authentic Quality * What can you do this week to plus a situation and amplify someone’s position?
  19. Grade Inflation. Have We Arrived In Lake Wobegon? * Grade inflation/distortion has consequences for self-efficacy, self-awareness, and self-competence.
  20. Organizational Climate and Culture * Those who don’t understand the importance of relationship building to affect culture change are not leading but simply taking a meandering walk.
  21. Information Literacy 2.0. WHO is the WHO of Your Information? * We need to pay more attention to the sources of our information and we now need to question whether the sources are real people.
  22. P2P: Building a Story * Every encounter is a story waiting to happen; a story waiting to be written.
  23. Play Your Song, Now * What song lives in you?
  24. Process, Trust, and Organizational Growth: An Optimistic Approach *  Trust is what teams, students, teachers, employees and leaders need in order to challenge the process on the way to a better answer.  
  25. Finding Your Passion Is Just The Beginning * Once we discover what we feel is our passion (or at least, our interest that could become a passion), the work has only begun. 
  26. Bigger, Shinier, Newer Not Necessarily Better * Maybe I can help start small movement for change in the big
  27. Relationships and Leadership * The demagogic hot head may catch attention—for a while. But soon he will burn his staff out.
  28. No Need To Be An Island * Regardless of your calling or situation, collaboration and communication are powerful forces. There is no need to be an island.
  29. The Nudge: Everything Sends A Message * We take chances, we fail, we learn, we grow,
    and we move forward.
  30. Excellence And The Ordinary * Those striving for and maintaining excellence constantly want to know more—get to the next level.
  31. Who Sets Your Agenda * Why let someone else interrupt my thought process and mindset with what they see as something I “need” to know “right now” from the “world out there”?
  32. What Motivates Your Reasoning * It can be very easy to point out the window…The challenge is to look into the mirror.
  33. Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Lunch Money * Don’t let anyone deny who you are.
  34. Where Is Your Focus Space? * It seems I do some of my best thinking when I am not in my workspace.
  35. Structures For Organization: Implications for Teaching and Training * Just because it was tossed, doesn’t mean it was caught. Just because it was talked, doesn’t mean it was taught.
  36. Waiting For A Life Guard? * What have you been fearful of leaping into—but would really like to experience? What are you curious about doing or exploring?
  37. Textured, Colored And A Bit Off-Center * By going a little off-center, we start to see things that can enhance our view. We open ourselves up to larger possibilities and opportunities.
  38. I Saw Two Kids Playing * Every step of the journey does not need a checklist.
  39. Quieting The Mind * My goal is to quiet the restless mind briefly now and then build to a more sustained practice later. 
  40. 100 Years of Resilience * Life is not about me, it’s about others.
  41. Questioning Risk * It’s OK to go into uncharted and murky waters. Diving in headfirst is optional.
  42. Drive Like Your Kids Live Here * When we attempt to connect with people, we need to make it relevant to them. We need to connect to their stories.
  43. Politics, Anxiety, And A Few Coping Strategies * How and with whom can you share love and goodness this week?
  44. Wellbeing Is A Skill: From Balance To Integration * Wellbeing does not just happen.
    It requires thought, planning, and follow-through. Workplace leaders have to be role models.
  45. Don’t Be Defined By Your Past * Do we need to have a life-altering event to find peace?  How do you find your place of peace? Have you found it?
  46. Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Place * How would you feel if you found out you could never come back to your “place”?
  47. Learning From The Low Vibrations * At times, we find ourselves caught up in the low-vibrations of negativity and defeatism. Draw on the strength within, around, and above.
  48. It’s Up To You * Treat your dreams like your property. If you don’t protect them from theft and damage, who will?
  49. Drop And Leave * I have witnessed people play a disappointing game of “drop and leave” with their goals and dreams.
  50. Let’s Review * This week spend some time looking in your rear view mirror. 
  51. Reflect, Remove, and Replace: Focusing On The Space * All of us have experienced times when one or more of the slices, sectors, segments, or spaces of our lives no longer seem to serve us.
  52. A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2016 in Review * A listing of the previous 51 blog posts for 2016.

Make it an inspiring week, a wonderful holiday season, and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#317) Finding Your Passion Is Just The Beginning

June 19, 2016

Once we discover what we feel is our passion
(or at least, our interest that could become a passion),
the work has only begun. 

One day in class, a thirty-something student raised her hand to ask a question about my professional journey. She was a conscientious student who was searching and attempting to zero in on her life’s passion.  She wondered, “How long did it take you to get to where you are, professor?” I reflected for a moment, thinking of my writing, teaching and speaking careers. “Oh,” I said, “about thirty years and I still have a lot to learn.”

I could literally see the her shoulders slump, her face scrunch up and her head lower and shake ever so slightly from side to side.

She knew she would have to work. Just not quite that long.

In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth debunks the notion that passion is something that comes to us like a bolt from the blue, a sudden revelation that changes our life’s trajectory; and that once discovered we have it made. She states that science has proven that “passion for your work is a little bit discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.” (p. 103)  I think my student knew about the discovery; had a bit of understanding about the development; but little clue about the deepening. And anecdotally, I don’t think her case is that unique.

Image: dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The discovery part of the passion process comes from Brailling the world. Exploration, discovery, curiosity and interactions.  It’s not a one and done that we will discover with simple introspection Duckworth contends.   This is where “play” can be very beneficial. It allows us to dabble, have fun and sort through experiences.  (I’m not sure we will find our life’s passion/interests by being glued to “breaking news alerts” which are, basically, somebody else telling us what they discovered and why we should care about it.) We have to find our own agenda.

Once we discover what we feel is our passion (or at least, our interest that could become a passion), the work has only begun.  We have to develop it.  Like a talent or skill, we need to engage in, as Duckworth calls it, “a proactive period of interest development.”  We have to stoke the curiosity. When we continue to read, listen, observe, and participate we gather more information. The interest deepens—or we might discover this isn’t what we really want. And the process begins anew.

The final piece of the passion journey, according to Duckworth, comes in the form of having “encouraging supporters…who provide ongoing stimulation and information” about our passion.  This feedback is critical.  I’ve written often on this blog about the importance of relationships.  Duckworth affirms the importance of supportive networks.

The student who asked about my journey had enrolled herself in college to find her way.  Her question of me represented one small piece of her journey—a slice of her discovery path. Her physical reactions to length of time required to polish the passion indicated another benchmark on her journey: she would need grit to persevere and reach her long-term goal.

Video recommendation of the week.

If you have not viewed Duckworth’s popular TED Talk, I’d recommend it. Below you will find a short interview where she hits broadly on the idea of perseverance.

Where do you stand in the discovery, development, and deepening cycles? How do you (or could you) play the role of supportive network for someone who is in the discovery or development mode? Do you encourage the process and joy of play (for others and yourself) when it comes to the discovery phase?  How do you stay curious? What have you done today to deepen your passion? Are your goals, in fact, Hell, Yeah goals that inspire you to enjoy the journey of work and learning?

Stay curious about your development and growth, my friend.

Make it an inspiring week  and H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at The Growth and Resilience Network (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#316) Process, Trust, And Organizational Growth: An Optimistic Approach

June 12, 2016

Trust is what teams, students, teachers, employees and leaders
need in order to challenge the process on the way to a better answer.  

Earlier this week I stumbled upon some notes from a meeting I attended more than two years ago. The tile: “Conversations about Solutions.”  My colleagues and I were discussing various student challenges and possible solutions.   My jottings revealed a real plussing/amplifying session—not a collective monologue of gripes. We were pitching not bitching.

That day we focused on the fact that so many of our students came to us looking for “the right answer” instead of searching for an understanding about the process.  Unfortunately, this oft-stated complaint about our educational system highlights the emphasis placed on minutiae and following the leader, rather than on reflection and process.

Coincidentally, I recently watched a TED Talk by Astro Teller of X (formerly Google X).    He used two related metaphors to describe how he and his colleagues tackle issues of importance: Moonshots and The Factory.

Moonshots represent their ideas—big and audacious visions about how the future can be different. The Factory is where they do the messy work of both “harnessing enthusiastic optimism” and working “to kill our project today.”

Image: khunaspix@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: khunaspix@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At first it sounded contradictory and negative to me. On one hand Teller and his team would come up with wonderful ideas and with the other carve them up. Actually, it is an enlightened and positive approach to teamwork, solutions, and process.

Teller and his colleagues wanted and needed to know about the Achilles heel of their thinking up front before they got too far along in the process.  More than just looking for “the right answer,” they wanted to be sure to expose as many obstacles as possible; know what lies ahead from the get-go.

Contrast that with the ineffective manager who presents an idea (many times dictated from above) to a committee under the guise of “let’s have a discussion.” Unfortunately, anyone who disagrees or comes up with authentic concerns gets tagged as “not a team player.”  No plussing allowed. Forget about amplifying. Forget about the messiness of exposing an Achilles Heel. You end up with people moving lockstep toward the dictated “right answer” and the process be damned.

Back to Teller and his cronies.  They don’t see exposing flaws as a negative or that the moonshot on the drawing table is dead.  The exposed (possible) flaws allow for deeper conversation and a more profound product. Or, if needed, postponing or ending the project.

A personal example. I am at the point now with a book manuscript where I need to/want to have deep and reflective feedback.  Not meaningless compliments. I need authentic and honest feedback. Toward that end I’ve sent my work to nearly two dozen experts and practitioners around the nation for their considered critiques.  This manuscript is my current “moonshot” and I need to engage in the messy work of revision before I put it out there in the marketplace.  It’s the process that makes the final product, not the final product that dictates the process. I trust in the people I have solicited for input.

Maslow identified security as the second level of his famous hierarchy of needs.  For security we need trust. And trust is what teams, students, teachers, employees, and leaders need in order to challenge the process on the way to a better answer.  True, a math problem may only have one correct answer, but shouldn’t we at least embrace the eloquence of the process?  Who knows maybe that will set the stage for embracing the messiness of creativity and teamwork on the way to another product.  As one of my colleagues once said, “Let’s get the thinking better.”

Author Brené Brown recently stated, “We need cultures that support the idea that vulnerability is courage and also the birthplace of trust, innovation, learning, risk-taking, and having tough conversations.”

Video recommendation of the week.

Again, Teller of X: “Being audacious and working on big risky things makes people inherently uncomfortable…Enthusiastic skepticism is not the enemy of boundless optimism. It’s optimism’s perfect partner.”

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at The Growth and Resilience Network (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#315) Play Your Song, Now

June 5, 2016

What song lives in you?

I had the opportunity to listen to Kai Kight speak this past week in Austin, Texas. He titled his thoughts “Composing Your World.” Using his violin and stories from his journey, he poignantly drove home two oft-repeated life lessons.

Image: dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Don’t regret what might have been. Kai related how years ago his mother, with tears in her eyes, told him of her breast cancer diagnosis. The tears were not tears of fear, not tears for the unknown or the chemo treatments that lay ahead. No, they were, Kai told the audience, tears for the past. Tears for experiences not lived.
2. Play your song. Kai is an accomplished violinist. He can masterfully play the masters. But as he developed his craft he remained restless. He wanted to play his own music. Every opportunity he had, he would construct his own pattern of notes and melodies. These excited him. The scripted music that his conductor led the orchestra through did not juice him.

Video recommendation of the week.

Kai’s metaphor gives us a another powerful reminder to use our precious time to construct and live a life of meaning. Rather than shedding tears for an unfulfilled past, embrace the promising present, play your song, and think of the wonderful opportunities in front of you.

A number of years ago I delivered a breakfast keynote to a group of realtors. As the audience finished their meal, I encouraged them to evaluate their lives and consider being “responsibly selfish.” That is, I challenged them to take care of their needs. Get to the gym, pick up the musical instrument they always wanted to learn to play, write that novel that was inside of them, or make the difference they can in their communities. Live their authentic lives.

I remember how one person in the audience got upset with my message and later sent me an email stating that “selfish” is easy but not good.  For me, that is where “responsibly” comes in. Think of it as an “investment” in yourself. It’s not license to ignore responsibilities, go into debt because “I deserve [fill in the blank],” or lead a hedonistic lifestyle for the sake of meaningless pleasures.

We all have responsibilities to tend to (children, business, partners, financial obligations, and our own health and well-being for instance). AND we have an opportunity (obligation?) to experience our lives, embrace the present, and create our own songs.

What notes are inside of you? What song can you share with the world to make it a better place and you a more complete person?

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#314) P2P: Building A Story

May 29, 2016

Every encounter is a story waiting to happen;
a story waiting to be written.

This blog has often covered the importance of relationship building. It remains a key feature of my 7Rs model for for student, workplace, and life success.  Each principle touches and impacts the others. Healthy relationships are integral to growth and resilience.

You’ve heard of “B2B” (Business-to-Business) relationships. There’s also “P2P” relationships (Peer-to-Peer) in the area of file sharing and computing resource sharing.

I’d like to put a twist on “P2P” for “Person-to-Person” connections. A most basic form of human interaction. We meet someone, we bond, or we don’t. The meeting can be strictly utilitarian, a passing connection never to be entered again. Like the one you might experience at an airport restaurant or checkpoint.

Or the meeting can lead to something more lasting. Whatever the purpose of the meeting, what happens in that initial instant can leave a lasting impact.

A recent article on Entrepreneur.com stated “Increasingly, investors look at customer retention to determine whether an entrepreneur’s product or service will ultimately succeed in the marketplace.”

Colleges and universities focus on student retention.  While reasons students remain at a school are as varied as the students themselves, factors such as quality of course work, affordability, feeling of connectedness with the campus and classmates, and quality of facilities and experiences contribute to overall satisfaction.

Alessandra Ghini, helped Apple and Starbucks market their products.  She said in a recent interview, “We focused on the moment of connection, whether it’s a barista knowing your name, or you having a quiet moment over coffee with a friend.”

Every relationship is a story waiting to happen; a story waiting to be written.

Image: amenic181@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: amenic181@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We just changed our home cable service, in part, due to great customer service by one company, and not so impressive customer connection by another.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I walked into a local national/franchised sandwich store here at the beach. Here is the story that staff created that day.  They mumbled a scripted hello as we walked through the door barely making eye contact or showing any authentic emotion.  One thing led to another and we finally requested a refund and walked out.  Later that night I posted about our poor service and received the following email from some company representative.  It appears here verbatim without any edits by me (except that I did remove the company name from the email):

Mr.Steve, i am sorry to hear that your last visit wasn’t a pleasant experience. we understand the service wasn’t adequate or up to par with [company name] standards. we will make sure this never happens to you or any of our customers again. we would love to keep you as a customer and keep you returning to our restaurant. we hope that we get to see you in the future, cause we wont allow this to be a reoccuring problem. if you have any questions or would like to speak to the manager. fell free to call with and concerns or questions. we will be happy to provide you with the service you just seemed to lack on your last visit. 

Hmm. A typical non-response response (and more).  I also received a tweet in another company correspondence stating “we would like to make this right. We have notified the District Manager. We hope you give us another chance.”

Never heard another thing from the company. I assume they will do what they said. But the company wrote the end of that story for me.

The barista who knows your name and drink order makes a connection and begins a story.  The non-attentive (or poorly-trained) staff also create a story. Two different beginnings creating two different endings.

Every interaction creates a story. Some short. Some long-lasting. Some forgettable. Some memorable.

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 

 


(#313) Information Literacy 2.0: WHO Is The WHO Of Your Information?

May 22, 2016

We need to pay more attention to the sources of our information and 
we now need to question whether the sources are real people.

A note to my blog followers: This week’s post marks the sixth anniversary for this blog. Thank you for following and sharing my weekly posts. It all began in an Austin, Texas hotel room at the end of May, 2010.  I had just completed facilitating a session at the NISOD annual conference and decided it was time I dove in to the blogosphere.  Please let me know if you have ideas for future topics. Now, let’s begin year #7 for the Growth and Resilience blog.
_____________________________________________________________________________
It has become cliché to talk about the explosion of information. We’ve either seen or heard statistics like:

  • 5 million pieces of content are posted on Facebook every minute.
  • 72 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • Nearly 300,000 tweets are posted on Twitter every minute.

And we could go on about the millions of emails sent, thousands upon thousands of photos and video shared on Instagram or Snapchat.  Blogs, like this one hosted by WordPress.com, number in the tens of millions.

In both of my books, I wrote about basic information literacy skills.  I cautioned that just because there’s a lot of information doesn’t mean that it’s good information. Even did a short video on the topic a few years ago.

The third question I pose in the video above (“How will you evaluate the information you found?”) takes on added importance today. Not only must we determine whether accurate information has been presented, we need to pay more attention to the source of the information. When I speak about source evaluation, I stress the importance of understanding bias, scope, depth, and background of a source.  According to an article in the May 2016 edition of Wired, we now need to question whether the sources are real people.

Huh?

Samuel Woolley and Phil Howard present an argument that bots—“spam accounts that post autonomously using programmed scripts” and fictitious names—have inundated the web. According to TwitterAudit, for instance (on May 22, 2016), @realdonaldtrump registers at 76% real and 24% “fake followers.”  @hillaryclinton comes in at 79% real and 21% “fake followers.”  Go to TwitterAudit.com and give it a spin.  As the site itself states, this is not perfect (meaning, it too would need more vetting and evaluation as part of an information literacy exercise.)  Oh, and when I typed in @stevepiscitelli, the “audit” showed 13% “fake followers.” Hmm.  Note: These findings are not indicting a person or entity that it is creating the fake followers. I know I have not done that. The findings do indicate that we need to at least ask some questions about the numbers and comments concerning “followers.”

“So what’s the big deal?” you may ask. According to Woolley and Howard, “Automated campaign communications are a very real threat to our democracy. We need more transparency about where bots are coming from, and we need it now, or bots could unduly influence the 2016 election.”

Image: digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: digitalart/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And, it can go beyond election campaigns to other discourse on the web.  Not only do we need to discern what is real, but we now have to pay attention to who is real.   This may not be a totally new dimension as we’ve had robocalls for years. If you were around during the Watergate years you may remember the “dirty tricks” campaign associated with Donald Segretti of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (Nixon).  But the stated magnitude and reach of these bots is enough to give us pause.

In a social media culture that gets wrapped up in numbers of followers, likes, shares, and views, bots add another dimension.

Read wisely, my friend.

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars). 

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#312) Organizational Climate and Culture

May 15, 2016

Those who don’t understand the importance of relationship building
to affect culture change are not leading but simply taking a meandering walk.

At the end of this month I’ll address an audience in Austin, Texas on strategies to motivate people within an organization to take charge of their own professional growth and resilience. One of the categories for conversation is that of incentives and disincentives, within an organization, for professional and personal development.  When I shared the items on this list with my wife, she asked about two in particular.

“What is the difference,” she asked, “between institutional culture and institutional climate?”

Every organization would do well to ask itself the same question.  They are connected but they most definitely differ.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Culture refers to the deeply held behaviors and expectations that an organization has built over time. It’s more than the way we do things around here. It’s the way we have done things around here for a long time.

Climate more aptly describes “the shared perceptions and attitudes about the organization” that have an impact on the employees and the clients they serve. These can change with new leadership. The climate change, however, in of itself does not necessarily create culture change.

In other words, people will come and go but culture remains over time.

Consider a meteorological metaphor.  This past Christmas season saw unseasonably warm temperatures in many areas of the nation.  In the Northeast for example, traditional ugly holiday sweaters gave way to shorts and t-shirts.  Can we conclude that due to this recent temperature change that the culture of that part of the nation will change? Will people decide to toss out their boots and parkas and forever replace them with flip flops and tank tops? Doubtful.  The momentary (climatologically speaking) change will not have a sustainable impact on the behaviors and expectations that have accumulated over the years.

The same in an organization.  A new leader can come in and offer a vision of cultural change. But if the leader cannot deliver then she will not affect cultural change. I’ve seen it in higher education. A new president arrives promising sweeping changes (always touted for the better in his or her perception).  Two, three or more years later and the culture remains. Why, because the new management provides superficial climate changes.

Perhaps the new management team presents something along the lines of “we will right-size our workforce to better serve our client base. We will be more nimble and responsive.” In addition to “reorganization” management brings in new people with needed “skill-sets.” The spoken word implies a cultural change to provide more appropriate service delivery.   Changing the workforce will not in and of itself bring cultural change. In fact, if the new people (part of the climate change) do not fit with the existing culture damage may be done to what had been working in the culture.  What the people of the organization may only see is massive job loss and/or salary reductions–and new people who do not appreciate what they have done to build the organization to that point.

Video recommendation of the week.

Listen to what Tony Hsieh experienced in his pre-Zappos culture-and what he created at Zappos.

Yes, the climate has changed with the new management initiatives. But if the message is explicitly or implicitly delivered that “you should be happy that you still have a job,” well do you really think that will lead to sustainable cultural change? Again, doubtful.

Edgar Schein, a recognized expert in the area of workplace culture, says that employee engagement (part of the culture) is dependent upon managers understanding the human factors of leadership.  As Schein states, “There is beginning to be recognition that relationships matter. Our pragmatic culture that’s all about get the work done, don’t bother me with feelings and relationships, is working less and less well…”

Those who don’t understand the importance of relationship building to affect culture change are not leading but simply taking a meandering walk. And their climate change may just result in a walk in the rain without an umbrella.

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


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