The State of our Learning and the Demand for Curation

There’s this demand to be filled, and we aim to serve: Let’s fill it in the value-driven, living with our aloha way.

LEARNING is cropping up on my radar quite a bit lately. It’s one of those highly desirable values on the list of any Alaka‘i Manager, one we never completely ignore, yet how focused are we with our learning? Do we just wing it, or do we learn by design?

Are we being purposeful, or are we caught up in someone else’s should-ing expectations of us?

The State of our Learning: Scattered

I suspect these open questions are why learning themed articles and discussions are “cropping up” for me more often too. It’s as if the universe is asking me to pay attention and get more deliberate about it, for I do feel like I’m very scattered in my learning since our Aloha to Joyful Jubilant Learning, where our monthly themes had given me such a community-driven focus. Now it’s sort of like I’m walking up and down a buffet table with a tasting fork, and never filling a plate to sit down for a whole meal.

I don’t mean here on Talking Story, for I do think we have been very focused on the Take 5 Game-Changing we set our sights on for 2010. However I am feeling that we could use some help in the grand scheme of things, better sorting out everything happening around us. When I ask you to please have Talking Story be a course of study for you, I do feel I should help you do so.

Informational content is easy to come by in today’s world. We have a ton of choices, and so many of them completely free —case in point, this and your RSS reader full of other blogs, many offering free how-to ebooks which offer to teach you something. However that’s part of the problem we face, isn’t it. Knowledge is abundant, and you have to sort through it. Not everything is a keeper.

When you seek to lead and to manage well, you must be selective, and be sure that any designated keepers will be optimally useful. (As a refresher of our L/M definitions, we want our leading to be a source of energy, and not drain it. We want our managing to channel all available energies in the best possible way.)

We all must sort through a bunch of rubble to find the gems: There’s fast food and processed stuff on that buffet table with little to no nutritional value at all.

Take reading for example, which is but one kind of informational input (the written word). Count me as one who is a big fan of how self-publishing has become so easy for everyone deciding to try it, yet that old barrier to entry authors once had —a publisher/gatekeeper —did lessen our choices in a selective way (even if motivations were more about marketing)” only the proven chefs got a place for their dishes within the spread. Now the gatekeeping is up to you and your own discretion: You’re judge and jury (or food critic, if we stick to one metaphor at a time.)

No doubt about it: LEARNING is definitely one of those areas dear Alaka‘i Manager, in which you must do for yourself, and then do for your team if you are to serve them well.

Do what? Curate the available knowledge, and then design any learning which will happen.  Now that’s yummy.

The Demand for Curation — Ho‘ohana Utility

I think we were onto something at Joyful Jubilant Learning back when the site was an active constant for us: Themes do help us curate learning a bit… they serve as an initial filtering of our choices, because we will have to eventually make selections:

curate 2 |ˈkyoŏˌrāt|
verb [ trans. ] (usu. be curated)
select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition) : both exhibitions are curated by the museum’s director.
ORIGIN Middle English : from medieval Latin curatus, from Latin cura ‘care.’

So step one accomplished: We have brought our MWA value themes back to Talking Story this year, and they definitely have helped us filter. To recap:

Our Talking Story Themes in 2010:
If you are newly catching up with us here, our themes no longer align to precise calendar windows, and we nalu it (go with the flow). Knowing of past themes will also frame the archives for you:

We’ve done well! So much so, that  I’m thinking it’s about time we jump to a new theme, so let’s do it: If the universe thinks ‘Ike loa (our Hawaiian value of learning) is a great idea, I’m all for it. How about you?

Get selfish to start — I mean it. When I say you need to “do for yourself first” I’m very sincere. You’re a much better manager for others when you take care of your own needs first, for that’s the way that you fortify your aloha spirit:  You are investing in your own well-being. An empty buffet table feeds no one (couldn’t resist).

I also think it will be helpful to revisit learning versus teaching as we proceed (I’ll put it on the blog post list).

For now, answer just two questions today, and share them with me if you would (your feedback helps me be a better coach, as is my happy gig here):

  1. What focus would you like to achieve with your learning over the next few weeks as an Alaka‘i Manager?
  2. Why? Can you explain that tug you might be feeling, or the kind of MWA curation you feel will help you?

Learning Curation with the Alaka‘i Twist

I am asking that you get very personal and verb-actionable with me. We all know of the benefits to learning, and I don’t intend for this theme to be one where we repeat them and preach to the choir: Let’s actually get learning done in a much more satisfying and useful way: Let’s become LEARNING CURATORS.

Think about these sentences:

Effective leadership in communication continually creates “tribal curation.” Alaka‘i Kākou translates to the “language of we.”

When we Ho‘ohana we get great work done, and we feel great. We are accomplished within our tribe (i.e. within our Ho‘ohana Community)

We already have our content, and a lot of it (thankfully contained in a great model). So this will not be about producing more: It will be about achieving fabulous utility from our learning as a direct hit on our prevalent, all-the-time objectives: Leading to create human energy as our greatest resource, and managing to channel that energy with respect and aloha, and for optimal benefit, where everyone involved wins.

Review this post to refresh your memory with why answering your why is so important, and so helpful: What are you leading? (What you lead is your Passionate Why)

Wow. My brain is already going crazy thinking about this… I bet yours is too!

Photo Credits:
We’ve picked something up on radar! by Don Solo, and
Asian Specialties by Sanctu, both on Flickr

Read the story behind the book: Ready? Become an Alaka‘i Manager in 5 Weeks!
Get your copy on


  1. Rosa Say says

    One type of curation just done: Took a look at your “Ho‘ohana Community hit parade” during the month of May and added it to the Tumblr: Top 10, with a single sentence synopsis of each:

    Most popular according to YOU and your clicks/ tracking via Feedburner:

    1. What are you managing? Simple question, yet the fact that so many different answers are possible is part of the problem.
    2. Willing and able to be human Are computers overriding our common sense?
    3. Imagine having a Thought Kit (introducing Business Thinking with Aloha)
    4. How do you define a great meeting? To have the noun, define the verb.
    5. Bring back the Staff Meeting. Boycotting staff meetings is absurd. Meetings are not a problem dear manager; bad meetings are. And make no mistake; you need them.
    6. Monday is for Managing with Aloha. Good to see this on the list!
    7. What are you leading? That is, what’s the charge you’re leading, and why do you bother?
    8. Helping without hurting. Tough love, and Mālamalama (more enlightenment).
    9. Beautiful Confidence. All the credit for this one goes to Liz Danzico, her quote resonates so strongly.
    10. The Real Problem with Leadership. And how you might be part of it. Hope not.

    Iris Banner on Flickr

  2. Rosa Say says

    This seems to be a good place to collect/ take note of some of the articles giving me this feeling that “LEARNING is cropping up on my radar quite a bit lately.” There have been several, but these two are sure to throw your mental gymnastics into overdrive to start…

    At The Economist: Never too old to learn

    Older executives are shunning corporate training. This is a problem both for them and the firms they work for… “LIFELONG learning” is a phrase beloved by business schools. But not, it seems, by their clients.

    At the Ivey Business Journal: Coping with Complexity

    Coping with the complexity of today’s business environment is not about predicting the future or reducing risk. It’s about building the capacity, in yourself, your people, and the organization to adapt continuously and learn speedily, in order to maximize the chances of seizing fleeting opportunities.