How the Boss does the Training

“Why don’t I hire a training company to teach managers critical thinking?  The answer is simple: The lesson sticks better when the CEO teaches it.”

Dave Rothacker has a post over on Joyful Jubilant Learning which thoughtfully considers how a culture of learning comes to fruition in a business. Dave says knowledge must be valued, and he ends with saying,

“Combine intent with content, add discipline and surround it with interested associates and you have a culture of learning.”

If only it were that simple. (Not that disciplined intention is simple!)

Ironically, with all it takes to run a successful, sustainable business, that “content” part of Dave’s quote proves to be what’s most elusive. We tend to focus on teaching the tasks that keep us repeating the same things we’ve always done, and so no wonder most CEOs don’t teach those things; if they repeat doing them, they probably won’t maintain their edge. And they’d probably be bored in the teaching, because they’re over it!

What they need to teach instead, is the kind of content that may have never happened yet. They need to teach concepts like generating change instead of adapting to it, and how to defy conventional wisdom in the creation of new insight.

Dave nails it in his example: CEOs need to teach everyone else in the company how they THINK.

For instance, there is that ability a great CEO innately has with looking ever forward. Can they explain how they project into the future, and why they keep doing it? Can they explain the scenarios that keep them up at night? Can they explain why they will never be satisfied, and why that is a very good thing that they won’t?

The most interesting and useful “content” a CEO can teach is what they instinctively do; that “critical thinking” piece. It is something that the best teachers and educators in the world struggle to teach daily when the best they can do is try to inspire someone to actually do it, and thus experience it.

A culture of learning takes way more than smartly designed lesson plans in company classrooms. It takes CEOs brave enough to push the decision-making that counts into every active mind employed in a company. It takes CEOs brash enough to demand consistently nimble execution of those decision, and CEOs tenacious enough to hold people accountable.

That would be training in the real stuff that matters each day, and that would rock.

Telemarketing is Broken

Rant alert + Coaching essay (If you are a telemarketer open-minded enough to accept it that way.)

If you are a telemarketer, I’d like to ask that you think about something: In fact, I insist on it.

  • Telemarketing to people at home, in their private, personal time, is VERBAL SPAM.
  • Training your callers to argue with them, is VERBAL PROSPECT ABUSE.

If the person who answers the call begins to get frustrated and starts to raise their voice, after trying to be polite and empathize with the caller that YOU set up for failure, WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED?

The system doesn’t work. REINVENT it. Get smarter. And please, stop abusing both your staff and a prospect you will now never, ever turn into a customer.

Rapid Fire Learning | April 2007

It’s that time again; Steve Sherlock is taking his turn at hosting Rapid Fire Learning for us on Joyful Jubilant Learning. Ready? My charge to you this month was ‘Imi ola: Create Your Best Possible Life. How did you learn to do so?

1. I learned to take a new approach with that productivity staple called the To Do List. Mahalo to Tim Milburn for the inspiration!

2. I am currently learning how fortunate I was to earn my career stripes in the private sector, where we rarely will say, “We can’t.” I continue to love the business world of free enterprise when I compare it to the shackles of government and academia; within this month I have been challenged to be more effective in my coaching of those within those worlds. It requires me to be much more persistent, resilient and tenacious without purely being stubborn.

3. Self employment is a great teacher, and every April I learn much more financial literacy (and about how the private sector continues to finance the public sector”)

4. I learned about the phrase, “the banality of heroism” in learning what we’re capable of.

5. I am just beginning to learn how to lead a Learning Project for the growing Joyful Jubilant Learning Community, and I couldn’t be happier about it being in the workplace playground of strengths management. So far, I have learned I must deliberately position myself so that I can give my best where I have the best to give.

What about you? Please share your learning with the rest of us: You never know who you’ll inspire!

Here’s my tracking: January ’07, February ’07, March ’07.

The word is WORK

How would you define it?

For me it’s been ho‘ohana.

The quickie Hawaiian lesson:

Hana is the word for work as a noun.
Put the ho‘o in front of it, the noun becomes the verb, as in to work.
Value that ho‘o, and it means to make something happen!

Work consumes about a third of your life. (Think: 24 hrs = 8 asleep, 8 working, 8 left.)

This sentence jumped out at me in an article called “Workplace Democracy ”“ The emergence of a community of independent workers” (link thanks to Anne Zelenka at Web Worker Daily):

Work in its basic form can be viewed as something someone does that brings them dignity while making a contribution to the world in which they live.

Mark Dowds, co-founder of

I like that.


Work comes in so many people-defining shapes and forms. [Flickr photo credit.]

Are you up for the one-sentence challenge? How would you define work?