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On Memorial Day, Remembering Leaders of Yesterday and Today

My father was a decorated World War II veteran, and Memorial Day is certainly about remembering all of our fallen veterans, but for me, especially my father. He was in Africa, England, all over the European theater during the war – one of the first to ship out, one of the last to return. We have a big scrapbook he kept during the war about where he went and what he did as a quartermaster in the Big Red One. He did not talk about his experiences with us until the end of his life, and even then, not that much. When my sister and I took him to the newly opened World War II memorial in Washington, DC he viewed the friezes along the walls and started to cry. “The war was really like that”, he told me, overcome with emotion. My father was a veteran for peace, and believed in equal rights for all. He lived his beliefs.

As I remember my father, I also remember his quiet brand of leadership. He and my mother were mentors for many people, were active in our community, and were consulted often for their opinion and good sense. Both of my parents were modest people, and helped others see what would work for them, doing so with compassion, good listening skills, and strong advice when needed. They were just my parents, so I did not really realize their leadership qualities or positions when I was growing up. Now I do. Read more

5 Steps: Tear down those cubicle walls and unleash the genius within!

We all have our rituals. On Sunday, mine is putting laundry in the washer, getting something hot or cold to drink (weather and season dependent), and then reading the New York Times online. I may have moved to Maine almost 30 years ago, but I am still a New York girl at heart!

As I was performing this ritual last week, an article jumped out at me as certainly germane to the Women’s Learning Studio blog posts for the last several weeks on learning with others online.

It caught my attention just because of the title: The End of Genius, an opinion piece by Joshua Wolf Shenk. He begins the piece with: “…the lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network, as with the crowd-sourced Wikipedia or the writer’s room at “The Daily Show” or — the real heart of creativity — the intimate exchange of the creative pair, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney and myriad other examples with which we’ve yet to fully reckon.” He gives examples of how genius morphed from everyone having genius within (pre 16th century) to solo creator after the Renaissance. Read more

My learning journey for this week

Sometimes the stars, forces, energy or whatever you want to call it align. Of course, sometimes they don’t, but this week they certainly did. I was getting ready for a presentation for a face-to-face conference. My presentation topic was: Do It Yourself Online Learners: the skills necessary to be a lifelong learner in the digital age. The audience members–teachers in adult education and literacy programs–are  usually after specific tips, tools, and strategies to use in their classes. Given this, I was struggling with why my audience would care about my topic and how I could impart the importance of digital literacy skills for a networked age in a practical, useful way. Just as I was heading deeper into my Diigo library, Google search, and other research methods, help arrived in the form of 2 articles that seemed as if they were written just for me.

The Harvard Business Review June 24 edition has a cover article on How to Spot Talent by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, a global executive head hunter. The tag line is what got me interested in reading the article: Hint: Experience is overrated. Not wanting to lose my focus on my task, I intended to skim the article, but the premise called to me as well as the stated purpose for caring about networked learning and learning out loud so everyone can join in the learning:

…the question is not whether your company’s employees and leaders have the right skills; it’s whether they have the potential to learn new ones.” Read more

Journeying on the Enterprise 2.0 Networked Learning

Remember the Star Trek Enterprise, traveling into space where no one had gone before? For businesses, organizations, and those in the workforce, the new way to travel to impact innovation and ROI is on the Enterprise 2.0 of networked learning.

Enterprise 2.0, coined by Andrew McAfee in 2006, is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies or organizations, or between them, and their partners or customers. Social software enables people to connect and collaborate online, and platforms are the digital environments in which these interactions are visible and persistent over time.

Harold Jarche, in his Organizational Learning in the Network Era blog post outlines the systemic factors and the necessity of sharing power to enable organizational learning in Enterprise 2.0. His main points are: Read more