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  • Firefly News Flash, September 2014, The Firefly Group
    Hurt has about learning in businesses and organizations At this post Hurt makes the point that conferences and other face to face meetings should focus more on the interaction of participants than the transfer of information He cites a review of 355 studies of learning and information retention which indicate that the quality of the learning design is more influential than the delivery method Instead of filling a conference with expert lecturers Hurt recommends structuring the environment and activities to maximize networking and peer interactions Referencing additional research about people s preferences for learning in the workplace in both 2013 and 2014 Hurt highlights these findings 85 of today s workforce wants collaborative learning experiences 79 want learning opportunities where they can have discussions and conversations 75 want to be able to access personal and professional networks Only 32 want formal structured lectures or e learning opportunities This is where peerology becomes important If people attend conferences and meetings to interact with other professionals what are the opportunities and mechanisms we can design that will maximize their learning opportunities Hurt suggests we reconsider what we mean by an SME Instead of an SME being a Subject Matter Expert who has packaged knowledge to hand off to learners Hurt defines an SME as Subject Matter Experienced With this distinction we can challenge our mental model about what learning is and who initiates it We can explore the possibility that everyone has something to contribute to the learning of the whole group When we consider the costs of transporting people to a conference the important question is what they can do together in one place that they cannot do in a webinar If people are all together why have them spend their time passively absorbing information that they can easily get from the web Instead capitalize upon peer to peer sharing coaching and networking Create opportunities for peerology and enable people to discover the thousands of teachers that surround them Ideas Peerology Applied Although Jeff Hurt laments the ability of conference organizers to break their reliance on subject matter experts one conference stands in contrast The North American Simulation and Gaming Association NASAGA is a group of educators instructional designers academics trainers and consultants dedicated to a playful approach to learning Their annual conference this year in Baltimore Maryland from October 8 12 2014 has a fifty two year history of peerology Yes you ll find a keynote speaker or two but you probably won t sit reading slides dictated by a Subject Matter Expert Instead every breakout session will have you the Subject Matter Experienced practicing exploring experimenting and learning And the common denominator of every conference is play Play helps people relax allows them to make mistakes safely challenges their old mental models and opens them to new ideas It enables them to build stronger networks than friending on Face Book and it allows people to disseminate deeper ideas than on Twitter In fact every NASAGA conference I have attended

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/September%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, August 2014, The Firefly Group
    brick in the wall How the World Sees You by Sally Hogshead HarperCollins 2014 ISBN 978 0 06 223069 0 www HowToFascinate com Ideas Stand Out or Fit In What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead Nelson Mandela We go to great lengths to be noticed Some people perform stunts and post them to You Tube Others upload photos to social media Still others blog sport the latest style or strive to beat a Guinness world record I believe being noticed is an expression of our desire to have meaning in our lives Whether we state it explicitly or not we want to know our purpose our reason for being Everyone or at least Americans wants to know what value they are delivering what difference they are making what contribution they are adding what legacy they are leaving And for some popularity is equated with meaning But as the quote by Nelson Mandela suggests there is a higher purpose for our individual purpose making a contribution that is meaningful for the people around us This is what makes the work of Sally Hogshead powerful It opens a window on the unique things we do naturally and highlights their significance for other people As we learn about the impact we are having we discover more ways of sharing our talents and more situations in which our contributions will be appreciated In his fictional series The Tales of Alvin Maker Orson Scott Card writes about an alternative reality in which individuals possess unique extraordinary powers Some can see the future some can manipulate natural elements to create objects some are fantastic teachers or leaders A theme throughout the seven books of the series is that of not only discovering one s special talent or knack but figuring out how when and where to use it Many characters struggle with whether to use their knack for a creative common good or selfishly and destructively Wouldn t it be refreshing if the goal of every manager was to take away the barriers that prevent people from offering their best selves in the workplace Wouldn t it be wonderful if the objective of every team leader was to help their members identify and employ their hidden knack Then instead of being forced to conform to ridged expectations people could shape what they have learned about themselves to fit alongside the work of their colleagues and like the walls of Machu Pichu build a resilient foundation for their organization Activities The Power of You If you would like to initiate a discussion about the value of individual contributions to a team goal try this activity T hen how people reacted and what difference it made for your team The Power of You Time 15 min Materials 15 to 18 inches of string and eight metal washers for each

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/August%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, July 2014, The Firefly Group
    words is affected by two other dimensions that Vogt describes Scope refers to the breadth of the question How many people how much time or how much space is included Consider these examples What is the most important thing you can do to improve the environment of your neighborhood What is the most important thing we can do as a nation to reduce our carbon footprint The second question is more powerful because it encompasses a larger group and a more comprehensive concept But depending on the context the first question might be more powerful for a particular individual Context however brings up the third dimension of powerful questions which is Meaning Here are two examples How can we protect ourselves from cyber attacks by the Chinese How can we collaborate with the Chinese to increase cyber security Powerful questions that focus on meaning also challenge mental models and basic assumptions They bring people to a deeper level and encourage a more creative response to what could otherwise be a complaint or blame session The next time you need to get to the bedrock of an issue consider modifying your inquiry by altering the Architecture Scope or Meaning to make your questions more powerful Then with other readers Ideas Mighty Powerful Questions Considering the three dimensions of a question to make it more powerful is an obviously useful tool Even just becoming more aware of a question s architecture can help diffuse an emotional situation and help people focus on what will make a difference or solve a problem Powerful questions can spoil the blame game in mid court It also seems that we could consider additional dimensions that affect the power of a question For example there is Intention Why are we asking our question what is the reason behind it Do we want to measure a person s understanding provide information seek agreement inspire creativity solve a problem satisfy our curiosity or make our own point Usually intentions like these are positive but there are also negative reasons for asking questions such as staying in control putting someone down or provoking a confrontation The 99 Word Story reveals that any answer can become a small piece of the puzzle that a question might be trying to solve And that s all the more reason to be clear about your Intention Another dimension to consider is Tone Listen to a question over the phone and you ll know much more about the speaker s Meaning and Intention than if you read the same question in a text message Tone can convey curiosity disbelief accusation alarm and humor among many other emotions My observation is that when we have a burning question we are focused on asking it We rarely worry about whether it will smolder and die or light a fire under someone But by considering more than one dimension of a query we can ignite a spark for deeper dialogue Here is a summary of the dimensions of

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/July%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, June 2014, The Firefly Group
    produce a mutually beneficial project But let s face it North American culture emphasizes competition and individual success Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the advantages of common action We might even do a bit of arm twisting to convince others that teamwork is better than individual achievement Yet in Chinese culture there is a sense of fun lightheartedness joy My daughter explained that the character used for laughter in Hézuò also means to laugh out loud as in Ha ha ha Cooperation for the Chinese is a process a way of being together while accomplishing work The emphasis is on a shared experience rather than just the goal What would it be like if your next team effort included humor and a sense of playfulness at the same time that you achieved your goal Would there be less tension and more productivity If you give it a try what happens Ideas Got Humor Get Serious I recall the scolding tone of a supervisor who criticized my use of a game for teaching This topic is too important she said I want people to take it seriously Yes there was laughter in the room but it was Hézuò laughter with work No one ridiculed the topic but everyone reveled in the experience of learning as they cooperated to solve problems and find answers When we enjoy the company of others we are motivated When we are motivated we accomplish more Doesn t it make sense then to create a work environment that s fun For all the hours in the day that we devote to work don t we deserve a little delightfulness How would our results change if we were able to incorporate more joyfulness into our work How might we do that while ensuring that the job is still taken seriously One answer is suggested in the 99 Word Story Here was a situation when I thought I needed to have an advantage I was competing when it really wasn t necessary Of the millions of other people writing in just 99 words had anyone ever written the same story Of course not Each author tells their own story The same is true in your team Everyone has their own contribution to make so give them opportunities for serious sharing Trust that their best intentions will bring positive results Then chill out laugh together and cooperate Activities The Joy of Cooperation You can jumpstart a conversation about cooperation with your team using Chinese characters Here are step by step instructions for an activity to inspire an environment of Hézuò in your organization You can also download a PDF of this activity that includes the Images and Cooperation Poster Goal To apply new concepts of cooperation to an existing team Participants Any sized existing team Materials Three Images A B and C printed on paper or projected on a screen Cooperation Poster Procedure Explain to the group that you are going to give them an opportunity to reconsider

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/June%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, May 2014, The Firefly Group
    well too bad Others Dweck has found see intelligence as being malleable We can take experience add knowledge and make a plan to follow a different strategy in the future If you are smart you are lucky If you aren t smart well you can change that Dweck refers to the first group of people as having a fixed mindset while the second she says have a growth mindset The former are stuck with a binary set of options either you ve got it or you don t The latter have many more options in fact they create multiple opportunities out of adversity challenge and contact with novel situations In her book Mindset Dweck explains how a growth mindset can be advantageous in business and leadership personal growth and success parenting and coaching and personal relationships You can learn more about her work at her page on the Stanford University site or at the site for her book In addition the following links have a one page diagram which summarizes the differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset http www brainpickings org index php 2014 01 29 carol dweck mindset http www classroom20 com profiles blogs the more i practice the Mindset by Carol Dweck Ballantine Books 2007 ISBN 10 9780345472328 Ideas Growth If you look closely at nature it s all about growth And in springtime evidence is especially easy to find Early flowers persevere in spite of a late snowfall Small shoots force their way through tiny cracks Trees keep adding new buds even while they become weak due to disease At a recent trip to Muir Woods north of San Francisco I learned that giant redwoods can sprout from the roots of a central tree Often that tree is no more than a charred dead stump But surrounding it newer shoots can grow into giants nearly 400 feet tall Who would suspect that a blackened stump without branches leaves or seeds could produce more than half a dozen new trees Who would bother looking for a way to use an aluminum pot with a hole in it Admittedly there can come a point when we should give up on some projects when old items become more burdensome than useful or when an individual has taxed our patience But the advantage of a growth mindset is that it actually creates more opportunities With a growth mindset a tattered towel becomes many things a polishing cloth part of a quilt or raw material for a bird s nest With a fixed mindset it s just a deteriorating rag Some psychologists are convinced that a growth mindset has survival value Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has found that positive emotions enable people to be more creative and invent more solutions to a problem In contrast when people experienced negative emotions they came up with fewer solutions and felt even more depressed as a result People with a positive approach tend to build a

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/May%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, April 2014, The Firefly Group
    modern iteration globalization have normalized an expectation of 24 7 productivity Factories run day and night and businesses respond to markets that are always open in a distant time zone The advent of the electric light bulb meant there was no reason not to be working or playing at any hour It has extended our time of wakefulness and confused our internal clocks And the Puritan work ethic makes it difficult for us to make up for lost sleep go on a vacation or take a nap because not being busy is seen as being lazy Randall provides examples of the practical application of sleep science Subjects have shown they can learn faster and remember more when they follow a lesson with a nap of 20 to 30 minutes Athletes perform better when they take a nap before a game and when competing does not conflict with their circadian rhythm energy dip in the early afternoon Travelers can overcome jet lag more quickly by adjusting their exposure to bright morning light And anyone can fall asleep more quickly by limiting their time in front of the light from TVs and computers in the evening hours Dreamland does not disappoint on other tidbits of sleep trivia For example sharing a bed will just about ensure a poorer night of sleep than sleeping alone It s just too easy to be disturbed by your partner Children who take a mid day nap have improved curiosity are more sociable and have a positive influence on the temperament of their whole family Dreams are like personal biological therapy enabling us to incorporate new and stressful experiences with what we already know Most missteps on the battlefield including friendly fire are caused by a lack of sleep Rather than continue a listing of ideas contained in Dreamland I recommend you read it yourself It s well written so it won t put you to sleep though it may give you some ideas for a better night s rest Dreamland by David K Randall W W Norton Company New York 2012 ISBN 978 0 393 08020 9 Ideas Sleep s Conundrum Sleep is such a curious state It s an activity that engages us several times a day we fight it we crave it and we are overcome by it Yet when we fall into it we cannot describe sleep It s difficult to even pinpoint the moment we fall asleep Only a measurement of brainwaves can determine that In fact the more desperately you try to fall asleep the more elusive sleep will likely be In his book Randall describes a study about the relationship between physical activity and a person s ability to sleep well Researchers found that the amount of exercise was not as important as whether the subjects thought of themselves as being fit Those who felt good about their physical activity whether they exercised a lot or a little rested better at night Having one less thing to distract them their

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/April%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, March 2014, The Firefly Group
    paid one grain of rice the first day But on each subsequent day the payment was to be a doubling of the day before Though it sounds like a pittance by the 30th day the advisor had earned more rice than the whole kingdom could produce Because we don t expect it exponential growth can catch us by surprise Violent weather events over population of the planet the sudden disappearance of an endangered species global warming and a project cost overrun are all examples We find ourselves frantically trying to shovel our way out of a big accumulated mess Share your examples of snow you ve had to shovel then check out the Ideas section below for some suggestions about avoiding the effects of exponential growth the next time around Ideas Cold Hard Lessons How can you avoid becoming frozen in your tracks by the perfect storm of conditions created by exponential growth Here are a few ideas that occurred to me while I was chipping away at the pile of snow on my deck Be Aware Scan the environment and be watchful for potential problems that might accumulate Had I been paying attention to the back of the house instead of just the front sidewalk I would have seen a job that needed doing much sooner Don t Wait When awareness does bring something to your attention act on it as soon as you can while the problem or conditions are fresh Snow is always easier to shovel when it s fresh If you wait it becomes compacted and frozen Take Small Bites If problems or tasks do accumulate establish a reasonable pace Chip away at the job and conserve your strength If I pile too much snow on my shovel at once I ll strain my back Work Steadily Don t become overwhelmed by the size of the job and remember that short rest breaks enable consistent work Looking at the pile of snow to be cleared is discouraging but an occasional glance at what I ve completed is rewarding Use the Right Tools When you ve got a big job having the appropriate resources is critical For me the shovel with the bent handle reduces back strain The spade is better for chipping solid ice Don t Expect Perfection When the situation is out of control perfection becomes a luxury It may not be necessary to hold the project to the same standard you would typically expect It was important to get most of the snow off my deck but I didn t need to remove it all Wait Until Spring Do the very best you can but if you can t achieve perfection many problems take care of themselves in their season Most likely there are other ways to weather the effects of exponential accumulation Perhaps you have discovered some too If so please share them with me Activities Trouble that Doubles If you always had a plan B if you could prepare for the completely

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2014/March%202014.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, February 2014, The Firefly Group
    line and it s free Connect Create a Culture of Appreciation in Your Organisation http connect creativefacilitations com Stephanie Pollack M A Stephanie at CreativeFacilitations com Ideas Appreciation Scarcity Perhaps you experience a regular sense of appreciation for your work or your contributions around the house and in your community Perhaps you are known for your consistent thanks and the ease with which you offer positive helpful feedback But perhaps not If the statistics cited above are correct most of us don t feel appreciated as often as we d like And that means most of us also are not expressing our appreciation as often as we should Why I have some ideas Biology Scientists who study the brain confirm that we are hardwired to look for danger This they say is adaptive It keeps us out of trouble We are also wired for social harmony especially with people who are most like ourselves Expressing appreciation to them strengthens relationships while we are naturally averse to showing the people less like ourselves that we appreciate them Pride It takes a humble person to admit they have been assisted by someone else If I demonstrate that I can juggle appointments projects and people all by myself I must be a pretty incredible person Concede that I had a little help Forget it Status It s also difficult to give kudos to people lower on the organizational chart especially if they are paid less If someone who deserves appreciation is lower in status why should I risk my standing by acknowledging their contribution See Biology and Pride Media Pop culture and television in particular seems to thrive on controversy Sharing differing opinions is typically a good thing but creating rivalries that force all of us to choose sides is deadening The constant tension distracts from the common ground we share which is a source of mutual appreciation Productivity We work to make or accomplish something But sometimes we become so focused on measuring productivity that we ignore the people who did the work the ingenuity it took to complete it and the hurdles that had to be overcome in the process People are just as important as the numbers Abundance Studies show that wealthy people donate a smaller proportion of their income to charity than people who have a low income When we have more than we need we tend to become protective worried that we might lose what we ve earned As a result we spend our energy accumulating even more wealth and less time enjoying what we already have and appreciating those who helped us get it So how can we counteract these barriers that keep us from appreciating others One solution is suggested by the 99 Word Story With so many hindrances to appreciation it s no use waiting to get the feeling Start acting like you appreciate others now After a few instances your efforts will snowball until you really do feel like Christmas Activities Snowball Effect Here

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