Book Review: The Future of Work by Jacob Morgan

Jacob Morgan

Learning leads to more learning. Networking leads to more learning. It just can’t be helped! I am a case in point – you might remember that I blogged about taking Jane Hart’s course, Modernising Training Content (she is British hence the spelling of Modernising), in April. She is one of our major influencers. In the course resources posted, Jane Hart referred to a Forbes article by Jacob Morgan that had a great diagram of the 7 principles of the future worker. I then followed links to his other Forbes article, The Evolution of the Employee. I began following his blog and viewed the podcasts he had on his web site with interesting business leaders, all talking about the future of work. 

Morgan is of the millenial generation, but has a global perspective on the future of work. I enjoy reading his blogs, articles in established publications such as Forbes, and visiting his site. When an email arrived in my inbox asking me if I would review his book on Amazon and offered a free eBook copy of The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization to do so, I immediately said yes! I am glad I did, and decided to not only review it on Amazon but to highlight the book here in our blog as it is very congruent with what we have been blogging about. Read more

Six Ways to Dig Out of the Blogging Doldrums

It was my turn at the WLS blog post helm this week.  I spent hours and hours on a post that I could not finish. There was a reason for that; it lacked focus, flow, conclusion, and zip. The only passion I had was to get out of having to write it.

I was stuck in the blogging doldrums. I emailed Lisa that my blog post was delayed for yet another day, and then another day. She remained stoic and supportive as always.

Jerry Seinfeld, courtesy of

Courtesy of

I did not want to open a gap in our weekly publishing calendar. James Clear’s Next Avenue article referring to Jerry Seinfeld’s strategy for creating when the muse has left us brought this point home to me. A young comic asked Seinfeld for tips to improve his craft. Seinfeld advised that the very best way “to create better jokes … was to write every day.”  The young comic recalled:

“[Seinfeld] told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red Magic Marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day,” Isaac recalled.

Seinfeld continued: “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

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What does the Women’s Learning Studio do, anyway?

Doris and I have had our share of challenges when we try and explain what we do to individuals, groups, organizations, and friends and family. We struggle with not going into too much detail, and not being too glib. When we go into too much detail, people really get confused and eyes start to glaze over. When we do the short version, no one understands the services we offer.

We have heard the following:

“What software are you selling?”

“I really need someone like you to teach me how to use my smartphone”

“You do webinars, right?”

“I don’t know how to turn on my computer – you teach that don’t you?”

“I already know how to use email and text. I don’t need your services”

You get the drift.

Our struggle then is reaching out to you, our target audience, with a clear message about what we do, in accessible language, and with service descriptions you want to buy. Our problem is that we aren’t really selling a product (some will argue with us about that), we are selling an online learning experience that is not a course, webinar, or the sequential, content-driven educational model I certainly grew up with. We are selling the future of learning and work. Read more

Part 2: Algorithms and Big Data’s Impact on Our Privacy–What Can We Do?

My interest in the “tyranny of algorithms” phrase led to my writing a recent blog post  on our privacy risks in the onrush of algorithms and big data. The exploration brought humorous consequences, i.e., I nearly drowned in too much information on big data and privacy.   I needed an algorithm to make sense of it all!

I had promised to tell you “if there was anything we could do as citizens, internet users, and organizational leaders to protect ourselves and others from becoming information chattel.” However, the deeper I went, the darker and more complex the topic became. I finally resurfaced, recognizing that I could not make this research my life’s work…and had to give you something to consider!

In this blog post I will offer three kinds of insight. Read more

Why Tech Leaders Desire Liberal Arts Graduates

In recent years, we have heard a lot about STEM careers (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) ensuring a secure future in the workplace. STEM programs have been promoted in schools to encourage students to become interested in these generally well paying professions. As a result of this emphasis, Liberal Arts studies and colleges have fallen out of favor and are viewed as a waste of time and money by many. The general sentiment was that getting a liberal arts education was tantamount to “antiquated debt-fueled luxury goods.” as Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder puts it. Although he studied Philosophy at Stanford, he doesn’t credit his education with contributing to his success.

Recent articles in The Future of Work from FastCompany, Forbes, and US News and World Report argue otherwise. Read more

Part 1: Algorithms & Big Data’s Impact on Our Privacy

Data crunching has grown so sophisticated and powerful,

privacy researchers now warn that tracing identities from a pool of supposedly “anonymized” data is not just a possibility,

it’s a certainty.

, NBC News

Recently, I ran across the phrase “the tyranny of algorithms.”  It sounded important and something I should know more about in my quest for digital literacy. I tried to puzzle it out. Tyranny? Was that the heavy boot of a despotic ruler grinding into the backs of millions of people? Algorithm sounded mathematical. I thought it might be a way to sort data to find answers.

I googled the phrase.  Many resources surfaced. A  short Khan Academy video explained algorithms.  The first definition surprised me with its simplicity and application to any project. Their examples were traveling from home to the train station or making a grilled cheese sandwich. It said:  “algorithm (noun) a set of steps to accomplish a task.”

The second definition explained computer algorithms: “start with input data, do complex calculations, stop when we find answer.” The video (4.5 minutes) made it easy to understand algorithms. Read more

Networking for Personal, Local, Regional, or Global Change

Every once in a while I go on a TED Talk or YouTube binge. Not really a binge, more like an immersion into new concepts, ideas, thinking, and people to read more of and about. Once on the TED or YouTube sites, I search for topics or peruse the lists of additional videos that are visible on the side or below the one I am viewing. I subscribe to TED Talks, so I get the talks of the week in my email in box. Some weeks I am not tempted to watch any of the highlighted ones, and sometimes I watch them all. It all depends on my available time, interest, and willingness to while away several hours in the pursuit of learning. Today was a rainy day, perfect for this kind of activity.

The TED Talk that caught my attention from the get go is entitled: What happened when I open-sourced my brain cancer. The artist Salvatore Iaconesi was diagnosed with brain cancer. Instead of continuing with recommended treatment, he decided to create a web site, La Cura (Italian for the cure), put his scans and medical information online, and ask for help healing his whole body, mind, and spirit from those in cyberspace. His site went viral, he received advice from neurosurgeons, oncologists, artists, musicians, regular people. With their help, he formulated his treatment plan, found the surgeon and hospital he used, and changed his lifestyle.

Read more

…the best learning is often self-taught

I read a good bit of the New York Times and Tampa Bay Times last Sunday. It was a luxurious and sensuous use of time as I shared the couch with a greyhound; placing read newsprint to my right and picking up the next unread section from the pile on my left, sipping coffee as I pondered. Sugarman—the greyhound, who can read human body movement and meal preparations in the kitchen—two rooms away—was content with an occasional, quick ear massage.

Two articles riveted my attention. Because they relate to learning online, I would like to reprise a few points here. Read more

Changing at the speed of light – more workplace trends

The last few weeks we have been blogging about workplace changes: the contingent (contracted) worker economy; new platforms acting as “match-makers” for project-based workers and companies; future worker skills and abilities. As if this was not enough change, the two most recent issues of the Harvard Business Review surfaced even more: blowing up HR and working with an augmentation mindset. My world, and my head, are spinning!

photo from:

In December I blogged about the Association of Training and Development changing its name to the Association of Talent Development. Many members of ATD are in HR departments, and provide in-house or contracted workplace training. This shift reflects some of the suggestions in the “Blow Up HR” article in HBR July-August 2015 edition.

As work is automated, and machines get smarter and develop artificial intelligence, workers are already and are going to continue to be displaced. Augmentation, according to HBR in the June 2015  edition, is

seeing smart machines as partners and collaborators in creative problem solving

The article states that augmentation will usher in a new era of work as humans and machines meld.

How is blowing up HR and learning to partner with machines connected?

Read more

BYOD (+SD) to Freelance When and Where You Want

Educated self-starters with digital skills and tools can freelance, earn income, and network to learn to stay ahead of the crowd.

My husband had an outpatient surgical procedure recently. He received excellent care, everything went the way it was supposed to, and he was discharged within the estimated time. What interested me (beyond his quick recovery) is that two of the three RNs who cared for him are contract workers. These professional freelancers projected the same caring attitudes and skill set as the employee nurses. The freelancers were open and friendly making them very approachable; I asked them about their work arrangements. Read more