Thursday, 31 May 2007

101 Helpful Notions That Might Change Your Life



1. General Cognitive Psychology, because this will introduce you to ideas about how we make sense of the world, especially the actions of other people

2. Versatility because by learning enough to generally understand a wide range of subjects rather than become a qualified specialist (unless of course, that is what you choose to do) this increases your repertoire of tools and techniques, which in turn makes you more adaptable to different situations.

3. Mental Maps,A. Korzbyski because becoming aware of them is helpful in understanding what people regard as important. They are also termed ‘mental models’ because we create a ‘model’ of our world and run our experiences, expectations and ideas through it to explain and predict events.

4. Re- Framing, because knowing how to do this can help you can change your mental map, and the mental maps of others.

5. Critical Theory, because maintaining a healthy scepticism about the other people’s ideas and their suggestions about what they think you should do means you have more control over your life

6. Knowing Doing Gap because unless you navigate across it and try it out on the items above you will continue to believe things that are written in 101 lists uncritically and not extend your learning

7. Autonomous or Self directed learning because developing confidence in your own judgement about what to learn, how to learn it and sources of authority will give you more control over your life

8. Bloom's Taxonomy, because this will allow to judge what sort of learning and training you are being given, and where you sit in terms of your personal development

9. Neuro Linguistic Programming, because you need to be aware of its value, prolific use and its potential misuse at the hands of those with no integrity

10. Magic, because this will show you how people use misdirection in order to exploit our often mistaken assumptions about space, time, and causal links in order to mislead us.

11. Leadership, because this will show you how to distinguish between good and bad examples, and enable you to lead others well, lead yourself competently, and follow supportively.

12.Marketing, because this is a very misunderstood concept that has useful applications in many organizations and situations. It will help you identify the ‘value’ of something and how to see the world from other people’s point of view

13. Astronomy, because this will teach you about the way science has developed and world views have changed. It will also remind you of how tiny and precious the Earth is.

14. Learning how to Learn, because this will explain that learning is something that gets better with practice. This means that you will increase your knowledge and know how at an ever increasing rate if you put the effort in.

15. Change, because then you will understand why some people resist change and you won’t get frustrated when they do as you say. You will also learn about the diversity of ways to encourage change too.

16.Meta Messages, because this will explain how messages are communicated on different levels. This in turn will explain how people mis-communicate.

17. Human Resource Management because then you will understand the people development and restructuring initiatives that are often imposed on you. You will be able to identify the underpinning philosophies and if necessary take issue with them.

18. Business Strategy Corporate Strategyapproaches, because this will explain how senior managers make sense of their businesses and organizations, and it will show that there is no single right way.

19. Mintzberg's Configurations because they will give you helpful characterisations to explain how your organization is structured and how it fits (or not) with you and the world it lives in

20. Selling Skills, such as SPIN selling and Miller HeimannStrategic Selling because we are all in the business of selling something, so why not get better at it.

21. Gardening, because it teaches systemic thinking by showing how things done today can effect situations much later, and that by affecting one part of the system you affect the whole system

22. Personal Responsibility or What part do YOU play in the problem, because this avoids displacing 100% of the responsibility for things happening into external events and other people

23. Gambling, because this shows how people are a mix of the rational and the emotional, and that when they don’t understand things they make up explanations (Heuristics) to make themselves feel better

24. Painting, because this encourages to pay attention to things you might not normally notice, and it allows a diversity of expression of the same subject

25. Philosophy, because at the general / laymans level it shows how views and opinions have formed and changed since the ancient Greeks. It also shows that many of today’s issues concerning ethics, truth, science and so on have been around for a long time.

26. Epistemology, because this is the study of ‘how we know what we know’ so become knowledgeable at this a impress everyone down your local bar. Become too knowledgeable in this and loose your friends.

27. Ontology, because this is the stuff arguments are made of. You don’t agree? That’s because ontology isn’t ontologically relevant for you. Don’t know what I mean? That’s why you should explore the notion of ontology.

28. Hypnosis, because its more prevalent than you think. Imagine…knowing more about hypnotism, and you just have.

29.Word Salad because the meaning over the use in the deliberations won’t encourage you to look this up right now.

30.Power, because you are naïve to ignore it

31. Paradigm, because it’s a term that is bandied around a lot and not many people really know it refers to. Read Thomas Kuhn for more

32. Falsificationism, because Karl Popper gives and explanation of how old ideas die and new ones survive

33. Empiricism because it’s a fancy word for ‘give me the facts’, however there are problems with empiricism and it helps to know what they are.

34. Branding, because as it has been known to turn a room full of marketers into a herd of experts. It is partially understood and you could impress your CEO if you understood it deeply, because you might save him money and create more custom.

35. Database design, because most people only know word, excel and PowerPoint. Knowing the basics will improve your productivity and make you more powerful with information

36.Wines of the World, because you never know when you might want to impress someone.

37. Conceptual Models, because these help structure your understanding of complicated things like human behaviour, processes, organisations

38. Systems Thinking because this helps you understand the interconnectivity of complex systems by drawing easy to follow diagrams. Helps you think in ‘circles’ rather than ‘lines’, and so lets you ‘see’ things simultaneously rather than sequentially

39. Johari Window because this makes you aware of what you know and what you don’t know about yourself and others

40. Knowledge Spiral because this explains how we gather and share information (or not)

41.Taken for granted assumptions because becoming aware that we have these shows how we can get blind sided by surprises and restrict what we notice in the world.

42. Transaction Analysis because this I one way of explaining how we interact with each other. Particularly interesting are the notions of Parent , Adult Child, Routines and Games we play, Discounting others and Rescuing.

43. Double loop learning(C.Argyris) because this explains how some people and organizations stay stuck re-solving the same old problems time after time.

44. Service Marketing because it explains how its not WHAT you do that counts it HOW you do it, by talking about the intangible aspects of any relationship.

45. Negotiation methods because this will help you protect your interests

46. Presentation techniques because this will help you get your ideas across in a persuasive and compelling way.

47. TRIZ, because it is an interesting approach to problem solving and there are lots of resource available on the web via TRIZ journal

48. Total Product Concept, because this helps you understand the difference between what a product ‘is’ and what a product ‘does’, this in turn means you will be able to express ‘benefits’ of things rather than just features

49. Linguistic Register, because this will enable you to communicate with people who are at different positions on it. The higher up the register you are the more likely it is that you will be able to communicate in more varied ways.

50. Positivism, because this will help you understand the view point of people who believe that social sciences (human affairs) can be understood, predicted , and controlled in the same ways as quarks, electrons, atoms, molecules, and other natural science things

51. Social Constructionism, because this will help you understand people who believe that there is no objective reality and that we construct our world and its meaning through language. Extreme positions form tis point of view are the ‘politically correct’ merchants who believe most of us lack the intelligence to distinguish between the adjective ‘black’ in the rhyme baa baa black sheep and derogatory use of the word. They might also be cringing at the use of constructionism and yelling that what I really mean is constructivism. You get my drift…

52. Hermeneutics because this you will understand people who like to interpret or understand the interpretations human beings place on events.

53. Core Competencesbecause you will stop confusing the term with skills and realise something profound about the combination of different skills. Check out one of the originators.

54. Semiotics because then you will understand why you have an inexplicable urge to buy a particular type of car because it talks to you. You will also look at deodorants and things in a complete new way.

55. Anchoring because you will learn how we become attached to thoughts and feelings and be able to do something about the one’s you don’t want

56. Self Development because you will be able to critically assess which areas of self development are appropriate for you without falling in love with first approach, model, technique that helps you see things differently.

57.Integral Thinking because this will provide you with a helpful framework for self development

58. Spiral Dynamics because its offers and interesting way of explaining different world views and why they don’t always see eye to eye

59. SERVQUALbecause this will help you measure the gaps between service expectations and service delivery in a wide range of personal and organizational situations

60. Mind Mapping because it will enable you to see how your self and others think and enable you to share ideas easily, make sense of complicated issues, and simplify your work

61. Influence because this will make you less susceptible to the techniques of others who wish to shape your thinking and reduce your resistance

62. Decompression Zone because you will become aware that when you enter the first five yards of retail shop you are being manipulated to change from being a ‘browser’ into becoming a ‘shopper’

63. Servicescape because you will learn about the methods retailers use to extract more money from you than you intended to spend

64. Master of Business Administration because you could waste a lot of money not knowing the difference between good and bad ones. You could also end up working for someone who has got one and they might think it entitles them to respect

65. The difference that makes a difference because Gregory Bateson noticed some really helpful things to do with how we notice things.

66. Metaphors because they reveal the hidden patterns within situations and we can learn from these. Don’t believe me? Think of situation that is puzzling you. Invent a fairy tale that characterises it, then invent a science fiction story that characterises it and finally a Hollywood film script. What do you notice?

67. Value Proposition because knowing what this is will make you money

68. Social Judgement Theory because this will explain why people make their minds up so quickly

69. Chunking because this will help you categorize things into useful groups, see how people make sense of the world in different ways, control conversations to achieve agreement on principles. Get people to focus on what you want to talk about

70. Love because there are lost of different sorts

71. Parliamentary democracy because its different to democracy

72. Educating because its different to teaching

73. CRM because its not software its and attitude

74. Loyalty Effect because it might not exist. If you read Andrew Ehrenberg you might be surprised

75. Cultural Web because it’s a great way to characterise any sort of organizational space

76. Organizational Learning because it can offer explanations of how things go well and badly in organizations. It also offers an alternative to the ‘orange meme’ macho management approach. Don’t study this and ‘You’re Fired’

77. Perceptual Maps because they are good for pictorially showing how products, companies and other things relate to each other using two axes depicting things of significance. You could use it show your partner how you differ on length of mother in law stay for e.g.

78. Truth because the more you realise how hard it is to explain what it is the more you will be wary of people who say they know it

79. Post Modernism because it will help you understand why some people think that criminals should be let into them parks as a treat

80. Coaching and mentoring because many people who undertake this role do nothing of the sort.

81. Charm because this can lower your defences

82. Trust because this is too easily given away

83. Strategy because you will stop confusing with Plan

84. Innovation because it is a process that goes beyond technology and products and helps people create choice in their life

85. Worry because Ray la Montagne sings about it

86. Arrogance because it will stop you trying to write lists like this one

87. Humility because it helps you keep an open mind

88. Politeness because it keeps everyone calm

89. Karate because it makes you aware of your space and your physical capability

90. Curiosity because it stops you falling asleep

91. Competitor Fixation because it means you are destined to follow

92. Customer worship because it means you are destined to be servile

93. Heroism because it shows human potential

94. Synchronicity because there are always opportunities to learn

95. Page 437 of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Everything because it discusses taxonomy and you will realise how management meetings go pear shaped as a result.

96. Tenacity because it helps you achieve results

97. Forgiveness because you can get on with the rest of your life

98. Fear because you will benefit from knowing where its exists

99. Consumerism because it might be helpful to develop conscious choice

100. Moccasins because they are worth walking in someone else’s for a while

101. Individuation
because that’s where we are headed

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The difference between marketing, PR, advertising and branding

Check this out to check how you are doing a) thinking about a topic that might not be your bag, b) your critical thinking skills. I would add other possibilities such as 'Branding' - I promise to be a great lover, or (as the 'potential consumer of love) I hear you are a great lover, or You've always been a great lover, 'Marketing' - I'm in the business of making you feel great every minute of every day or What makes a good lover for you?, 'PR' I never had sex with that woman, or Englishmen make love with their socks on, (any PR is better than no PR veracity check statement), 'Advertising' UK Match.com, Guardian Soulmates, Friends Reunited - (don't do it - my next door neighbour got it together with an old flame from uni' (from 20 years ago) moved 200 miles to be with her and now she says she wants her freedom! ouch!)



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26 Reasons Why What You Think is Right is Wrong

Useful things to think about when trying to avoid Gullibility.A cognitive bias is something that our minds commonly do to distort our own view of reality. Here are the 26 most studied and widely accepted cognitive biases. You'll know that they're all completely correct of course!



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Can "neurotheology" bridge the gap between religion and science?

Depending on your predisposition, you can interpret all these experiments in two different ways. The believers take them as scientific evidence for the reality of their visions, while the atheists claim more proof that God is all in your head.



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Admission of Gullibility

After sitting and pondering about what I've seen so far in the blogosphere I'm developing the view that it was pretty gullible of me to think that I had something different and new to share with people about the subjects that interested me. It seems clear to me that there a huge numbers of thoughtful and experienced people who have some really useful stuff to say on the 'human condition'

As I explore more, the less I seem to know and the less certain I feel about what I know.

Now, there are a few things I can fall back on to help me make some sense of these observations...Firstly from 'marketing' the fact that the blogosphere is a relatively new phenomenon means that it is populated by 'innovators' at this time, and so it is probable that they/we are predisposed to self development, and exploration of new ideas. Secondly from 'adult education' there is the recognition that the more you uncover, the more you realise there is more to uncover, Thirdly study of'philosophy of social science' makes you aware that there a relatively few individuals who come up with groundbreaking original thinking.

So where does this leave me? I touched on this issue in post 1, and it concerns who is 'my audience'? Well, if I think of the blogosphere as a world of interconnected 'platforms' upon which people can stand and move to others, Gullibility is simply a 'platform' that is of use to those who need it at that moment,and something they can use to 'reach' other platforms as their interest develops. This means that whilst I might be standing on the ideas of others (sic) I am also original in that I am collecting ideas on a theme, commenting in them and opening doors and showing paths onward for others to take as they wish.

So - Gullible in a misplaced sense of pure originality, innovative in the sense of being a 'platform' architect that whoever would like to can stand on for a while...

Monday, 28 May 2007

Gullibometer May 2007



A couple of months in and there just seems to be more to learn. I've joined in a few sites such as Fuelmyblog and Blogging to Fame, plus MyBlogLog and a few others such as Squidoo

Its amazing the people you meet and I've had some interesting comment exchanges with Moondanzer, Rednose, DavidBB, Thomas Hamburger, McArthurs Rant.

Just introduced my partners father to Blogging - D.I.Y. Supremo so I guess he'll be hitting Amazon Associates hard with tools and materials recommendations lol.

Getting really addicted to Google Analytics and Feedburner - a new flag on feedburner is real event for me!! (don't mention the anorak!) Minor depression when visitor numbers drop tho' :( Still it's all part of the fun.

Had no takers on the question 'what is marketing?' yet - intriguing 'cos of all the SEO's and marketing types out there, however any view from in or outside the 'profession' would be cool. Contributors will be credited , naturally.

Next months goal to increase visits by 100%. How? - no idea! need to be better at time management too as blogging is consuming research and write up time too.

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning? 5

Taking charge of your 'learning' looks a pretty important aspect of avoiding 'gullibility'. This, in turn, means that learning becomes something a bit more different than sitting at a desk and being told what to know. Now this is scary!. An episode of 'gullibility' is a signal that you've encountered something that you have not been taught about. This might be the 'thing' itself, or something more profound about 'you' and the way you make sense of the world. So if you ask a question such as (i)'how do I stop my friends taking advantage of me?' or (ii)'how do I stop my competitors producing better products than me?' then why not stop and think what you are really asking.

If you are in place where you expect to be 'given the answer' then the answer to your question is very different from that expected by a person who is more 'self-directed' in their learning. e.g. q(i) if you are in a 'dualistic state' see Perry et al Then chances are you will be expecting to be 'told' by someone you regard as a higher authority what to do, such as "manage your time better and get better at saying NO", or "stop reacting to the guilt trips of others". If you take a more self directed approach, see the work of Jack Mezirow,B.S.Bloom,R.Gagne then answers to q(i) will be things like 'develop a more critical outlook', 'study the sense-making processes of indiviudals', 'get familiar with the communicative processes of generalization, distortion, and deletion'. No of course path two requires more effort of the individual.

Significantly however its requries us to become more explicitly aware and understanding of previously hidden/partially processes like 'learning' such that we achieve a meta-awareness. Gregory Bateson originally described this as the process of learning how to learn - or deutero learning.

so - how do I stop being gullible?, how does my organization learn? how do I stop my friends taking advantage of me? - a good place to begin is to learn how to learn.

Self Awareness







Surely a developed sense of self-awareness is a necessary pre-cursor to understanding the world views of others and the influences and impacts they can have...

Saturday, 26 May 2007

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning? 4

And so, the point of organizational learning is what then? Well, you could say its about about preventing organizational gullibility. WOW! how to link a specialised organizational management topic to your Blog theme in one easy jump! lol. This could be that state of affairs where organizations invest lots of time and energy in spurious endevours(would it be unfair to point to ISO, Investors in People, Employer Branding, Brand Salience Ratings etc?) or when the organizations fails to notice or take account of events that are significant (the now cliched Dyson / Hoover story being a good e.g. For those of you might not know Hoover told Mr Dyson to go away with his crazy bagless vacuum idea)

Now some of you may already be twitching at the anthromorphic connotations with this whole idea, so lets have a quick chat about them shall we? I know, you've been thinking since the first post on this theme - how can an 'organization' learn? it's a 'thing' not a 'person'! and you're really stretching it by claiming that it reduces organizational 'gullibility', 'ignorance' or any other personal characteristic. Well I think you're onto something there, after all its the 'people' making up the organisation that notice things, make sense of them, devise processes, strategies and actions, and change them if their whizz around Kolb's learning cycle suggests they should.

So this must mean that 'gullibility' is an archetypal form of human behaviour whatever the context, domestic, business, night clubs, picnics, cult gatherings, knitting circles etc etc etc. Wherever people meet. Now there's a thought can you 'gull' yourself??, maybe that's the whole point! Gullibilty is actually a system, check out Systems Thinking for more. This means that it only works if the 'gullee' lets it work, otherwise the 'gullibility system' breaks down. This also means that whoever you are and whatever your concern, personal/ business/ pleasure you should be able to get something out of these posts.

So let's consider this now...The Meta Gull.. or the Gull of Gulls. One criticism of the whole organizational learning thing is its Utopian belief that if every is warm, cuddly, and trusting then we'll all get along fine and no one will get hurt.

But as Mabey Salaman and Storey observe "there is a noticeable and striking pattern apparent in the history of approaches to organisation change and improvement: high enthusiasm, extravagent promises, followed by failure, deep disillusionment and rejection" Now could this be down to the fact we underplay politics and power, something that 'gullees' instictively or deliberately indulge in.

I also notice that the Mabey et al quote could apply to any self help endevour from dieting to smoking to changing your life. Might I suggest that we read/ go on courses to understand content and underlying philosophy before 'believing'

Control of Dihydrogen Monoxide Demanded


A fascinating discussion of the psychology of Gullibility includes the story of how two years ago 14-year-old Nathan Zohner, a student at Eagle Rock Junior High in Idaho Falls demanded strict control of this substance that caused excessive sweating and vomiting, can be lethal if accidentally inhaled, contributes to erosion amongst other effects.This story that has been posted circa 10 times on Digg News.



read more | digg story

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning?3

It seems that as human beings we are designed to move 'away from' the things we don't like and 'towards' the things we do like. So at work something like the sales pipleline being as empty as a platinum blonde's cranium, sorting out that short delivery problem yet again (think Santa and Dwarves), or recruiting a CV instead of a person, are all types of stuff that 'we don't like'. And the first thing we do? We come up with a theory. Yep a theory that says something like 'that's a crock...here's what'll put it right'

Organizational Learning is one of those. We've tried everything else, like strategic marketing, management by objectives, sweating your assets, sweating your ass, psychometeric horoscopes, and the essential white water rafting day. O.L. is the Daddy of them all, the way forward and the explanation for why the other stuff just don't work. The alpha and the omega of management interventions.

Why doesn't the other stuff work?, well according to Peter Senge its partly due to the fact that we are all frogs. Mon Dieu! (p.c.ometer kicks in and prevents parser from mentioning le pays sud de la manche)

People and Organizations are like frogs placed in a pan of water that is slowly heated up. The gradual change in environment is imperceptible. The frog goes to sleep and is boiled alive!. So question 1 are you in a pan of slowly heating water? question 2 how do you know? question 3 how do you know you know? (For you 'I'm only interested in personal gullibility' viewers you will, of course, see the obvious parallels here...slow gradual changes that put you to sleep then WHAM! you husband declares his feelings for the office goldfish)

My final question for this post is...Are you someone decides what the prevailing 'theory for success is?' like hooray lets try Total Quality Management Today, or WOW lets try the Miller Heimann selling process, or lets put flowers on reception. Or do you passively go along with the next gee whizz initiative because you aren't knowledgeable enough to pass a viable critical assessment... I know and your going to say you would BUT... (see Eric Berne for more on the BUT Game)...or your not in a position to change things... or you don't have the power and authority. OK so how come these other folks have got it? From the authority Fairy?

Check out Erich Fromm - 'beware of those who claim to have the answer for everything'...Damn...droves of people suddenly leave this blog..WAIT come back - there's more to come...

Check out the following Resourceful Humans sites for more interesting & useful info

Reflections Coaching

Mcarthurs Rant

Science education requires overcoming childhood understanding

Interesting opinions about how we hang on to beliefs. Two developmental psychologists argue that resistance to science involves the persistence of a childlike view of the natural world into adulthood.



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Saturday, 19 May 2007

Miracle electronic pendant makes you better? B@***!ks it does

The commentater for this whacky article suggests that to avoid Gullibility, the proper way to go about debunking a pendant that protects you from electromagnetic waves and has its circuits powered by micro currents from your heart. Take it to a geek festival and see if they can figure out how the blighter works. When I first read the headline I thought it read Miracle Electronic Pedant, and wondered if was a semantic analyser of some sort!!?? See what Gulliber and Critic Al think on Witty Comics.



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Friday, 18 May 2007

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning? 2

Sounds a bit stodgy doesn't it? Organization and Learning, YAWN zzzzzzzzzzzzzz, yet think about it, many of us spend a significant part of lives and invest signifcant parts of our identity into organizations. Simliarly learning is as natural to us breathing. Because these two things are very close to us we can fall into the habit of 'taking them for granted' by which I mean we don't stop and think about them for too long unless there is a problem. Not thinking about things leaves us prone to gullibility.

So, if sombody bugs us at work, we begin thinking about hierarchies and job priorities, or if sales go down we start thinking about lack of information, ignored memos, or the arrogance of the boss. More abstractly we think about 'learning' (not the stuff in school or college - you know, topics like intergalactic basket weaving, or arc welding for nursing mothers) I mean we think about how people get information about their world, how they make sense of it, what plans they make based on their 'sense-making' and how they act. (You'll find a writer called David A. Kolb has neatly explained this in a thing spookily called - Kolb's Learning Cycle - wouldn't surprise me if you can find out about on wikipeadia too lol)

Are you 'I'm interested in personal gullibility' folks still with me on this?

As they say, s@** happens, or as academics prefer to say 'we exist in high turbulence environments characterised by discontinuities, partial unpredictability, and suprises' Now imagine this, you just discovered that a cowboy builder has ripped you off and you ring him to discuss the 'discontinuity' you experienced between his quote and the standard of the job he did, or you've just found out that your partner is 'playing away from home' so you have a sober discussion about the 'partial unpredicatbility' of their behaviour. 'Partial' because you guessed something was up when they started buying new scent, and coming home late from the office)Aahh so you aren't as gullible as you thought.

The interesting point here though is that if you live alot of the time in fairly stable environments, then you set yourself up to expect things to remain the same in future. Philosphers of Science call this 'inductive naivite'. In gambling its called the Gambler's Fallacy

, and its where people take past experience as evidence of future possibility. You know the sort of thinking..But you've always done that...Its always happened that way before...

Management thinker Igor Ansoff described 5 states of turbulence in the worlds we live (he is not refering to the weather here but our poltical, social, economic, technological, legal, environmental settings) ranging from 'static' - like the coal mining industry (although this is arguable) to 'chaotic' like the computer games industry. People who move from one environemnt state to another take with them the 'management methods' that worked for them in one to another and then come unstuck. Long range planning tools don't work in fast moving environments like the 'blogoshpere', command and control management styles don't either. Conversely free wheeling , lets sit on bean bags and cover our PC's with gonks and photos is interpreted as 'cavalier' frivolous and undisciplined in mass market production environments (or am I wrong?) Well you sure wouldn't see it in the Supreme Court or the Old Bailey - M'lud.

In order to explain how some organizations succeed and others struggle in their environments the 'subject' of organizational learning has evolved to explore what was happening, and behind this lies some metaphors like organizations as Brains, or Organisms. The idea being that information about the world is collected and something is done with it so that the organisim (organization or individual - I haven't forgotten about you folks !) can adapt and change. P.S. Have you seen the CIOD link on the Blogroll?

Interesting writers on this stuff are Peter Senge (also involved in the Integral field), Gareth Morgan,
Chris Argyris,Ed Schein

GM comes up with the fascinating idea of 'Psychic Prisons' which are the world views/ expectations we have that we can be locked into. In order to do things differently we need to be able to 'see' things differently. So my suggestion as a good place to start to avoid being gullible would be to get out of your Psychic Prison.


For a summary of key themes and issues see:

Organizational Learning and Competitive Advantage


Check out the following Resourceful Humans sites for more interesting & useful info

Reflections Coaching

Mcarthurs Rant

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Explore this thought provoking site

I stumbled across Zaadz today, you can access it via the panel on the left or through:

Zaadz.com


You might find what it contains interesting and helpful. It's a really well put together, friendly site, if you do like it perhaps you might consider obtaining your copy of Ken Wilber'sTheory of Everything via this blog :)

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

What's the Buzz about Organizational Learning? 1

So imagine, you're hunkered down in your professional specialism, lawyer, policeman, SEO, marketing strategist, marketing executive, garage owner and any one else from a drop down box on an application form. You've had a bit more experience of co-workers, customers, suppliers, bosses and the like and you start pondering on why people sometimes don't buy your ideas, why the organization doesn't listen, when you tell them 'the baddies are coming' or some dork decides to erect a glass ceiling just above your head.

Guess what's happening... your becoming a social psychologist and a philosopher....aaarggghhh, OK maybe its not quite as bad as that, you're just becoming as Donald Schoncalls it a 'reflective practioner' (This is not some wierdo from a fetish website that wears tin foil btw)

You've started thinking about what makes people and organizations tick and...you've started coming up with some 'theories for success' you know like 'what you should do is', 'the best way to sort that out is' and so on. Now those of you listening in who have concerns about personal gullibility should stay tuned because the ideas and principles of organizational gullibility are pretty much the same.

If you have 'grown up' in a particular work specialism you're often shut away from ideas that could be useful to you, then like me, as someone who worked in sales and marketing, I'd never heard of organizational learning. That was, until I was introduced to it on a post grad business degree (the crowd roars), and now its an intergral (Wilber) aspect of my working life as an organization and management academic (people stand up and start to leave)

No... come back... I don't wear thick corduroy trousers and a tank top.

The plot sort of goes (here's the Hollywood pitch) - Marketing discovers HR and finds she is so nice compared to those sassy 'commercial' types, but after the first romantic meal Marketing finds out that HR has hidden sides to her character, and she's been having HRD treatment, and once had an OD, and then the dark secret - OL - yeah you discover, like her you've been an organizational learner all along (just didn't find the website)....major personal crisis that ends up in personal triumph and owning the world.

And so...we start to begin to think about where success comes from in an organisation. Tools & Techniques? Knowledge Management, Periphery Scanning, Efficient use of resources (including humans!) and the view emerges that is that its 'the people stupid!' and that what is really needed are Resourceful Humans.
Arie de Gues, Jeanne Meister, Pedler Burgoyne and Bodell all concur that people, their ability to learn are the fundamental source of organizational effectiveness.

The GIGO rule rules! Garbage in and Garbage out, and no more so than as one my business lit' heroes Bob Garat says from the top, as he puts it - 'The Fish Rots from the Head'






Organisational Learning Buzz 2
Organisational Learning Buzz 3
Organisational Learning 4

For a neat summary of key themes and issues see:
Organizational Learning and Competitive Advantage

Check out the following Resourceful Humans sites for more interesting & useful info

Reflections Coaching

Mcarthurs Rant

Monday, 14 May 2007

How do you avoid friends taking advantage of your good nature?

I guess many of us have had similar experiences that all amount to being suprised, let down or even totally devastated by the unexpected betrayal of our loyalty by others.

All sorts of questions relate to this particular phenomenon, "how do you avoid people who put you down?" , how do you know if your partner is lying to you?", "how come I was made redundant after 15 years service?" In all forms these questions are manifestations of a social phenomenon that involves a 'guller' - someone who deliberately leads someone on, usually through some form of misdirection, and a 'gullee' the victim or target. We all know this type of inter-relationship in the fun form of stage magic.

For the more serious stage of 'life magic' What I would like to do is suggest an alternative way of seeing the situation, or at least the situations that lead to the crunch point. As we all know, when the crunch/ revelation happens we are usually very confused uttering things such as 'how could they, how dare they, if only I'd known etc etc etc. (See C.Jung, J.Mezirow, Beck and Cowan for ideas on 'crisis points, disorientating dilemmas, gamma phases)

This moment of disorientation is the moment when we realise our expectations have been dashed. Instantly we displace the responsiblity entirely for what has happened onto the 'guller'. Now, and you might not like to hear this at first, ask yourself 'who owns the expectations?' - well of course YOU and I do, and very often expectations are based on assumptions that began as very innocent and simple beliefs and we've simply added to them as time has gone by until we've duped ourselves into believing they hold some real substance.

One way to avoid being taken advantage of is to stop believing your expectations of others. This doesn't mean stop dreaming, and aspiring, it means thinking critically (i.e.testing for evidence)about the expectations you hold. This is not our normal everyday mind-set. Usually we coast along taking things on face value. What thinking critically involves is a bit more personal mental effort. It also means setting and keeping some standards and objectives of your own. Instead of abdicating responsibility for the achievement of your life goals to someone else, set and achieve them on your own. Go on - be brave! (educationalist call this becoming an independent learner, Jung talks about 'individuation')

Now becoming independent might seem strange, if you want to be with someone, or work for a company, however falling unthinkingly for the mantras and PR of others can only lead to tears. You and your aims count, and there's room enough in any balanced relationship for both parties to flourish. Even if one party complains that you should be 'all for them' (witness any biassed contract)this can usually be interpreted as 'all for them' until they decide to make the changes.

So, how do you avoid friends taking advantage of you? Scarcity is a good thing, make sure they ask for your help/advice/ opinion, more than once before you give it. In giving it don't expect anything in return (unless you are consultant in which case you probably know your value) - you have made a conscious decision so live with it. If a pattern emerges - believe the pattern not your expectations and act on it.

How do you stop people taking advantage of you? - simple don't let them.

To learn more about cheaters, con artists, bullies, betrayers, and traitors there are lots more resources to be found here:


How To Stop People Taking Advantage of You

There's no place more suited to friends taking advantage of you than the workplpace. Here's some stuff on Organisational Learning in business. This philosophy lies behind alot of the Human Resource approaches that we see in business. It basically promotes the idea that we should all be repsectful and collaborate in the workplace. In principle its a great idea. In practice it seems rather idealistic and is misused by people to take advantage of the ideas and efforts of others and yet there is pressure on all of us to conform to its ideals.

Th problem with this is that 'friends' at work might not necessarily be 'friends' when push comes to shove. Organisations are places where politics and power are always around. So be wary of the 'lets hold hands and love each other' brigade because they are simply trouble . In this world 'there are those that care' and 'those that don't' for me its that simple, you can only be one or the other - think about it!

Make no mistake, there is a huge gulf between the 'rhetoric' of the friendly workplace and the reality. Check out The Fish Rots From The Head for more about the reality of organisational life and how the people at the top are always the mailed fist in the velvet glove. I would also recommend the following because they are helpful in making sense of how and why people take advantage of others and what you can do about it:

Nasty People: How to Stop Being Hurt by Them without Stooping to Their LevelTo Have or to Be?

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Dawkins: How dare you call me a fundamentalist

Richard Dawkins attracts some fierce criticism after publication The God Delusion. Is it possible for critical thinking to apply to spiritual beliefs, or a spiritual and religious people expressing a form of gullibility?



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Saturday, 12 May 2007

Scientists Draw Link Between Morality And Brain's Wiring

A provocative medical experiment conducted recently by neuroscientists at Harvard, Caltech and the University of Southern California strongly suggests these impulsive convictions come not from conscious principles but from the brain trying to make its emotional judgment felt.



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Friday, 11 May 2007

Gulliber makes debut on Witty Comics

A new cartoon strip featuring Gulliber and Critic Al appears on Witty Comics

Witty Comics

Is Ignorance Bliss? 14 -On Organisational Learning

Destination

The previous posts have been a discussion covering a general tour of the organisational learning landscape, through which its opposite, the notion of ‘organisational ignorance’ has been pointed out. Some personal examples have been provided to show how ignorance and learning can affect an individual’s and an organisation’s performance. It has been suggested that organisational ignorance is closely connected to organisational thwarting behaviour and that both are difficult to detect until a serious individual or organisational failure occurs. These negative characteristics can be temporarily masked and are difficult to pin down unless specifically measured. The desirability of understanding more about the general ‘life’ pre-disposition of individuals is suggested as an indicator of the probability of organisational learning to occur.

It is also interesting to note how we ‘sense’ when this occurring, and often can’t pin it on something tangible. Additionally it reveals our naïve reliance on ‘authority’ symbols, which stand on the expectation that people ‘higher up the ladder’ are more privileged in what they know. (This of course might be very true in many cases) Nevertheless, when things are ‘dissonant’ – i.e. the claims to authority, aren’t backed up with a considerate disposition, or with merited know what and know how, then things begin to tell us the Organizational Ignorance is at work. A crisis of expectations develops until the pressure causes us to ‘go passive’ to cope, or do the more difficult thing and change ourselves and the rules of the game. bringing Organizational Ignorance to our attention and seeing for teh first time an ‘undiscovered’ feature on the landscape might just enable us to do something about it.

Now, if this memetic notion catches on, just watch with interest as it become discussed in learned journals, and watch it appear as a ‘management training intervention’ coming to a town near you soon! You can then smugly respond that you ‘saw it here’ first.

I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

© reasonablerobinson

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Gullibility claimed to be and inside job. The Princple Behind Conspiracy Theories (cartoon strip)

Conspiracy theories represent a known glitch in human reasoning. The theory are of course occasionally true but their truth is completely uncorrelated with the believer's certainty.Simpler explanation inside.



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Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss 12.5 (Gullible or what!)

Returning to the notion of ‘organisation ignorance’ as being analogous to ‘hypertension’ it is perhaps worth paraphrasing Kaplan’s statement ‘what you measure is what you get’ to say ‘how will you know you’ve got it unless you measure for it’!

This suggests the need for a diagnostic instrument that can be applied at the most general level across an organisation, and one that precedes any assessment of the interpersonal behaviours, technical skills, experience, or achievements. Individuals don’t walk around with a badge saying ‘ignorant & proud to be an Organisational Thwarter’ yet the damage and unhappiness they can create is palpable.

How the diagnosis might be conducted needs further thought. Nonetheless there are clues to be found in what is deemed to be important in organisational life for the individual. Furthermore this can be detected in the language and tone they use and the stories they recollect. For example, the tendency to talk of ‘my staff’, frequent talk of ‘one’s job title’ in order to give credence to half baked ideas , talk of ‘I rather than we’, 'my team', 'When I was in the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, etc', and so on.


I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Gullibometer May 2007



So, after a few months blogging a few things start to dawn on me. My Amazon Associates account is zero, no referals for Firefox yet, no Adsense dollars and I'm not very famous lol. Although I now have an Authority rating of 1 on Technorati !

The other thing I've realised is there are millions of really inventive creative people out there who have fascinating things to say. Its also dawning on me that whilst I might have believed I had something 'important' or helpful to say, its not really certain whether it really counts?

Am I having fun - you bet, publishing without a publisher - that's awesome and as my confidence develops my 'style' seems to start peeking through. Time will tell, as you know, dear reader...

So what's interesting for you? if you have a theme/ question / experience relating to organisation and management especially if it relates to 'what is marketing' drop me line.

RSS in plain English - no jargon, no attempts to fool or dupe. Exemplary.

The guys at Commoncraft have done a superb job. They are the antithesis of con, scam, rip off. Visit their site today.A video tutorial explaining the basics of RSS, enjoy the simple and elegant Common Craft's inimitable paper-and-marker technique.



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Hoaxy Potter and the Fraudulent Manuscript

A 250,000 word manuscript posted online has fooled droves of rabid Harry Potter fans searching for the faintest whiff of the forthcoming, and final, book in the JK Rowling series.



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Monday, 7 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss? 12 On Organisational Learning

What might this suggest for practical management?

Organisational learning it seems is dependent upon the collaborative behaviour of individuals. However the philosophy of organisational learning appears to be swimming against a tide of acquisitive cultural messages (especially in western society), reward and punishment structures and examples of individual management behaviours (that seem to lead to personal success) that lead to a predisposition towards immediate self interest rather than long-term organisational welfare.

A real challenge is presented by a prognosis that suggests that no amount of exhortations to behave for the greater good of the organisation will connect with the ‘organisation thwarting’ character and threat ‘remedial’ intervention will simply falter because of the instinctive unwillingness or inability to change fundamental character type.

The ‘organisation thwarting’ character is ‘ignorant’ and where these characters exist in sufficient numbers ‘organisational ignorance’ can be found. Might it be that it is here where the real reasons for an organisation’s success or failure can be found? It’s interesting to think of the following questions from that perspective.

• Why did that marketing strategy hit problems?
• How come that new product development was so successful?
• Why is our customer service good or bad?
• Why is there conflict between manufacturing and production?
• Why do decisions take so long to make?
• Why don’t management listen to what we say?

And so on.

If the prospect of lasting change has something to with the ‘character’ of individuals within the organisation then maybe it raises the possibility that we are looking at something to do with an attitude to ‘organisational lifestyle’ that reflects an individuals long term, holistic and ecologically sound understanding of what is good for the individual and where they work. Which in turn suggest an even greater emphasis on preventative interventions associated with recruitment and selection rather than high expectations of remedial intervention.


I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

Is Ignorance Bliss? 11-On Organisational Learning

Erich Fromm in his books ‘To Have Or To Be’ and ‘The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness’ also points out that individuals fall fundamentally into one of two pre-dispositions, either a ‘having character’ or a ‘being character’ These pre-dispositions are deep rooted, extremely difficult to change and can rarely be concealed over the long run even though specific behaviour might be modified for short periods to mask the underlying character. (a leopard never changes its spots!)

In summary the ‘having’ character seeks to ‘possess’ either directly or through control, all things and people. In more extreme cases this is a manifested in malignant aggression, cruelty and destructiveness not only of other people and things but ironically the very systems within which they exist. The shorthand for which can be stated as ‘life thwarting’ behaviours.

If this idea is applied to the ‘living organisation’ then it seems reasonable to suggest that at a very fundamental level whatever people do at work can be categorised as ‘organisation thwarting’ or ‘organisation enhancing’ and that these behaviours can be identified with a view to some form of management intervention. In the context of organisational learning these character pre-dispositions affect an individual’s orientation towards learning, knowledge and authority, and for me, Fromm makes some particularly interesting observations in that regard which can be summarised as follows:

Learning
Having
• Mere collecting of ideas
• Commitment to memory
• New ideas disturb
• Unchanged by learning

Being
• Raising of new questions
• Respond and interact
• New views created
• Changed by learning

Knowledge
Having
• Have knowledge by 'collecting' information
• Believe the superficial
• Aim to have more knowledge by collecting from others

Being
• Be in a process of ‘knowing’
• Penetrate the surface
• Aim to know more deeply

Authority
Having
• Not competence based
• Applied thru Power
• Exploitative
• Symbols and Titles are mistaken for competence
• Suppression of critical thinking

Being
• Competence based
• Applied through leadership
• Collaborative
• Encourage growth and questions

What might this suggest for practical management?


I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

Is Ignorance Bliss? 10 - On Organisational Learning

What might be going on here?

Argyris points to the tendency of individuals to be motivated by self-interest, ‘loss’ reduction and ‘win’ maximisation, despite any ‘espoused’ justifications for their behaviour. There is often a complete mismatch between what people ‘say’ their motivations and intentions are and what their true motivations are. He gives examples of how supposedly ‘egalitarian’ organisations such as communes eventually become increasingly unilateral and authoritarian due to the propensity to seek power and control.

It seems therefore, that a permanent tension exists in organisations between the ‘advantage seeking’ nature of individuals necessary for them to survive and advance in hierarchies and the ‘co-operative and free-exchange’ nature of relationships necessary for learning.


I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

Sunday, 6 May 2007

How gullible are you?

A test to see exactly how gullible are you, Based 100% on facts, and yes it's true



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Gullible.info

Do you know that 81 percent of people have tasted there own urine? Do you know that more than half of the registered logos in the United States are based on a circle?Here at Gullible.info, many unknown and funny facts are revealed. Site is usually updated everyday.



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101 Ways to Avoid Being Gullible

1. Make regular visits to your mind gym, in the same way that you care for your physical wellbeing, do things to care for and develop your intellectual well being.

2. Put time and energy into continuous learning about the diversity of opinions and findings in the social sciences, especially, social psychology, general philosophy, adult learning, and marketing, because this will help you understand your fellow humans better than the arm – chair, bar stool and daytime TV theorists.

3. Stop taking things at face value . Always try and assess the standpoint, motivation and methods of others, regardless of their personal appeal and the appeal of their ideas.

4. Study the subject known as ‘critical thinking’, you might begin by reading, Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument by Stella Cottrell

5. Learn how to learn. Study adult learning through the ideas of Malcolm Knowles, Kolb, Jack Mezirow, Light and Cox. Information like this will help you make sense of ‘how’ we learn not just ‘what’ we learn.

6. Put time and energy into learning about how the mind works, begin by reading Steven Pinker’s How the Mind Works

7. Read Eric Fromm’s To Have and to Be and learn more about critical theory.

8. Become familiar with the idea of ‘Deutero’ learning, or learning how to learn. You will find the original idea in Steps to and Ecology of Mind written by Gregory Bateson

9. Research the notions of Influence and Persuasion. Robert Cialdini and Kevin Hogan are good reads, because the you will understand how fresh, new and amazing your thinking will become, and that will be to your advantage.

10. Stop believing that you’ve reached a place where you think you know it all. Complacency leaves us vulnerable to lazy generalisations and a sloppy belief that we are beyond being fooled by others.

11. Learn how to explore what people mean through the tools and techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming , understand the role of meta –messages, generalisation, distortion and deletion in communication and opinion forming.

12. You will know, of course, to become conversant with the ideas and principles of non-therapeutic hypnosis and how advertiser, sales and other professionals use it to influence our thinking.

13. Critically read a minimum of 12 so called ‘self-help’ books with your feet firmly on the ground.

14. Visit www.changingminds.org

15. Always ask for a second opinion

16. Always ask for a third opinion

17. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.

18. Trust your ‘inner rudder’ and read Dan Goleman

19. Learn about sales ‘closing techniques’

20. Learn about SPIN selling

21. Learn about Miller Heimanns Strategic selling

22. Identify a good university and study for an MBA that doesn’t teach ‘cookie cutter’ management and develop your self

23. Never make an instant decision (unless its to save your life)

24. Trust no one until they can be trusted

25. Be courteous and respectful whilst trusting no one

26. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to get any contract looked over by a brief

27. If someone declares offence at the time you’re taking to make a decision, be careful.

28. If someone you don’t know very well gives you an unexpected gift, be careful.

29. Always suspect a hidden agenda.

30. Strengthen your general knowledge concerning how people are motivated, think and communicate , don't become a 'techo-twit' with just particular subject of expertise, such as engineering, gardening, learning the guitar etc

31. Lessen your reliance on others for what happens in your life. Never allow your boss to convince you that your, lifestyle, income and future are dependent on him/her.

32. Regularly visit http://gullibility.blogspot.com/ for a general resource on the notion of gullibility and tell your friends too.

33. Research the idea of the JOHARI Window, this will help you map out what you know, and don’t know about yourself and others

34. Learn to recognise other people’s mental models’ or mental maps’ this will reveal to you what they regard as important and how they decide what causes things to happen in the world.

35. Become familiar with the thing with scary name called ‘epistemology’. Usually this lives in the lecture and seminar rooms of universities. For those of you who don’t know, it concerns the subject of how we know what we know.

36. Become familiar with the other scary name ‘ontology’ which is the study of what features we think are important enough to put on our mental maps. This list is an ‘ontology’ of 101 things that I think are important about Gullibility. Your ontology might be different.

37. Continually ponder on the question ‘What is Truth’

38. Find out what a ‘justified belief’ is

39. Research how we use perception, memory, reason and testimony to determine what we know.

40. Think of something you have always believed and challenge it.

41. Ask is ‘buy one get one free’ a good deal. Buy what YOU need not what the retailers need you to buy.

42. If a discount sale ‘has got to end this Saturday’ – let it end and wait for the next ‘never to be had again deal’

43. If a salesperson starts telling you what you need, walk away.

44. Trust me, if someone says ‘trust me’ be very careful.

45. Learn magic tricks, this will teach you people can trade on your assumptions about time series, and reality to fool and surprise you.

46. Read Jeffery Deaver’s The Vanished Man to learn about a magician’s use of ‘misdirection’

47. Read Kevin Hogan’s books and learn about the power of the word ‘because’, because this will show you how people can get their own way.

48. For an interesting account of brain washing read Ed Schein’s work on Korean War POWs.

49. For an interesting account of the perils of un-critically believing in one ‘supreme’ method of analysis, read about Robert S. McNamara’s account of how ‘every quantitative method he had showed he was winning the Vietnam war’

50. Read more than one newspaper.

51. Be mindful of language that is used by others to construct your world for you. Consider euphemisms such as ‘mega-death’, ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’, ‘interdiction’, great value’, ‘team work’, ‘company culture’, for their meaning to you.

52. When given alternatives between either/ or, reconsider how you might achieve both/ and.

53. Consider if a man in a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck is a doctor.

54. Consider if a woman without a white coat and no stethoscope in an A&E cubicle saving someone’s life is a mother

55. Consider, the moon is made of green cheese, Mt Everest is the highest mountain in the world, Napoleon invaded Russia. How do you know ?

56. If someone says ‘trust me I’m a doctor’ what are they? My friend has a Phd in Facilities Management and he is a doctor.

57. Whenever anybody uses jargon, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask them to explain what they mean. If they put you down because you asked, be careful of them.

58. Ask yourself, what is a job title? Notice how it works like a micro brand label that requires us to suspend critical thinking about what the person really does. I can say this with conviction as the Director of Lexiconographic Diversity and Insight in the corporation.

59. Learn the basics of project management. Never allow artisans to work on your home without setting out project purpose, milestones, and how slippage and variance will be managed, before the job starts.

60. If someone offers you shares in private company, remember they are worthless until the company is sold.

61. If your wife/ girlfriend says, “he’s just a friend and he really makes me laugh”, consider getting a new wife/ girlfriend.

62. If your partner changes routine patterns of behaviour, consider the reasons for this change and do not excuse them away as ‘just your imagination’

63. Consider if the Sun is really a hot stone bigger than Peloponnesian Islands or a ball of helium and hydrogen. How do you know this?

64. Did you know the streets of London are paved with gold? Don’t believe me? Ask Dick Whittington.

65. Do you know what ‘force majeure’ is?

66. If you are a supplier to a major retail chain and they ask you what percentage of your revenue they represent and that they would like to become 60% of your revenue. Don’t be flattered and go looking for a new yacht, soon you won’t have enough profit to buy one.

67. People with degrees are clever. Of course this depends on what you mean by clever.

68. Find out what Kuhn meant when he talks of incommensurability of paradigm. In fact find out what he meant by paradigm and shift your paradigm.

69. Read about memetic levels and how different meme states interact / or not with each other in Beck and Cowan’s book Spiral Dynamics.

70. Frederick Reicheld claims that winning customers is more expensive than keeping them. Every CRM marketing executive knows this, but are they right? Checkout Professor Ehrenberg and the Ehrenberg Centre for Research in Marketing for an alternative view.

71. Knowing about the key principles of Transactional Analysis will provide you with insights about how people draw help from others. Study the notion of rescuing here. To stop others benefiting from your efforts don’t be ‘gulled’ into rescuing them.

72. Be critical of HR personality tests. They have their place of course. Become aware of the epistemological commitments they are based upon. i.e. why their advocates believe they are useful. Recognise that they are ‘characterisations’ at a point in time and not the real you.

73. The Blebin tests have been proven to have as much predictable accuracy as a horoscope

74. If you have time read an introduction to Carl Jung.

75. The Myers Briggs typologies are inspired by Jung and knowing how they are constructed will help you counterbalance the ambitions of the personnel police in your organisation.

76. Do you think Malcolm Gladwell created the notion of ‘tipping point’? Why?

77. Did you know that the North Vietnamese declaration of independence for the French after WW2 was based on the American Declaration of Independence?

78. Have you noticed how home sales / real estate companies only sell ‘luxury’ apartments and accommodation?

79. Read about Diogenes – the original cynic. A cool dude! Especially if you like barrels and lupins.

80. “If a person swallows the heart of a mole, fresh from the body and still palpitating, he will receive the gift of divination…and a foreknowledge of future events.” AD 77 PLINY Why not give it a go? OK so you aren’t that gullible then!

81. Are you able to define the difference between, belief, knowledge and dogma? To avoid gullibility you should try to do this.

82. Learn about different ‘thinking’ styles. Systemic Thinking, read Peter Senge, Radiant Thinking read Tony Buzan, Outcome Based Thinking read Bandler and Grinder.

83. Did you know that Marketing is a word that means two things at the same time. It is a business philosophy and a business function. The business philosophy is the most important of the two.

84. Ask for clarity

85. Ask yourself, how do I grow my customer base beyond family and friends if I’m given a ‘network marketing ‘opportunity? If you can’t answer this question, be careful.

86. Study the ‘illusion of control’ by Langar. This will explain ways in which we wrongly believe we can control outcomes of events. This is especially true with gambling.

87. Find out if Sophie is real or fictional in Jostein Gaarders book Sophies World.

88. You are clever, knowledgeable, well liked, good at some things and struggle with others. Sometimes you are misunderstood. You are familiar with the Forer Effect and know that it is sometimes called the Barnum Effect. This is why you are not gullible.

89. The Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri sciureus) is a small primate that lives in central and south America. Studied by Professor D. Ploog, he noticed that the alpha male only responds to threats from the beat male and no other males. Who really listens to what you are saying? Are you reverential to alpha monkeys.

90. Watch the BBC TV documentary on the spaghetti harvest

91. Look at possessions you have. Which of these did you really need to buy? Reflect on the decisions you made. What influenced you to buy? What would you do differently today?

92. Read Donald Schon’s book The Reflective Practioner. This will guide you in your endeavours to reduce your gullibility.

93. Test how instantly you jump to conclusions. Try Sherif’s Social Judgement Theory, to see how willingly you accept or reject ideas and suggestions. For example, do you agree with Shaw and Merrick (2005) that marketing people are false, immoral scoundrels?

94. Don’t be lulled into believing that power and authority can be ignored. People who are privileged in this regard can determine beliefs that we might be compelled to go along with for a time. You might need to keep your job, or something more serious. Contradicting these messages amounts to a heresy and we all know what happens to heretics.

95. Sometimes it pays to play the fool. Witness King Lear, and I Claudius. Appearing gullible is not the same as being gullible.

96. Be a realist. There are people that will have no qualms about taking advantage of your good nature or your weakness. Make every decision a conscious decision.

97. Be aware of your sub-conscious expectations. People let you down only if you allow them to manage your expectations.

98. Always remember that if you are big fish in a small pond, you will be a small fish if you swim somewhere else

99. Be good at Poker

100. Keep believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy for the sake of innocence

101. If you have found the previous 100 suggestions of value, you might wish to try out a short exercise in experiential learning to see how you rate?

Go to your living room, put your pants on your head, do three summersaults and yell at the top of voice 'I Love Sanjaya' for three minutes, this will bring the god of warmth and happiness into your life and 'de-gull' your home forever

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Emotional Intelligence - its not WHAT its HOW stupid

UK considering lessons in "emotional intelligence" - in an attempt to improve classroom behaviour.



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Fake students net loan millions

The BBC reveal a massive scam in British Higher Educational System



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Friday, 4 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss? 9 - On Organisational Learning

Within discussions on organisational learning, reference is often made of the metaphor of the organisation as an organism or brain to convey the concept that it is alive, an open system, adaptive, and capable of learning – and presumably in the same, capable of being ill and dieing.

Taking this metaphor a little further it seems that there is the possibility for threats to the health of the organisation to exist without the organisation necessarily ‘feeling ill’ or exhibiting any obvious outward signs of trouble. In this way an analogy can be made with ‘raised blood pressure’ or hypertension’ which can only be detected by deliberate measuring and which in medical circles is known as the ‘silent killer’ for that very reason. I am suggesting therefore that organisational ignorance is analogous to ‘hypertension’, and whereas ‘unintentional ignorance’ might be more open to ‘treatment’ by organisational learning, ‘deliberate ignorance’ is far more resistant to such treatment.

Experience strongly suggests to me that ‘deliberate ignorance’ by individuals is a very real organisational phenomenon, difficult to confront, hard to pin down, counter-intuitive seemingly irrational, and capable of creating catastrophic consequences for organisations and individuals where it is present.

These ‘feelings’ and ‘experiences’ suggest this is an important (possibly un-discussable) area in which practising managers could increase their sensitivity in order to better understand how individual learning becomes or doesn’t become organisational learning.

Organisational Ignorance – the manifestation of individual character?

Why do we assume that 100% organisational health is everybody’s concern when they go to work? Certainly it is politically expedient and good personal income insurance to say so. Nevertheless I am confident that a ‘straw poll’ of conversations with friends and colleagues will reveal numerous examples where:

Informed advice is ignored
Solutions to problems aren’t sought because dealing with a problem creates ongoing work
Superiors spring un-helpful surprises on sub-ordinates
Self-esteem is undermined
Public humiliation is not uncommon
Credit for work done by others is stolen
There is unnecessary pedantic and irrelevant task setting
Information is withheld
Intentions are veiled

It seems difficult to argue that these behaviours are in any way conducive to organisational learning.

What might be going on here?


I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss 8 - On Organisational Learning

Organisational Learning – improving unintentional ignorance?

Organisational learning and how organisations become learning organisations is a major theme in contemporary management literature (Senge, Argyris, Garrat, Revans et al). Learning organisations are characterised by the way in which they successfully change over the long-term in response to signals for change in the operating environment essentially through having free flowing information processes, good sense making skills, and an ability to learn how to solve problems so that they stay solved. Frequently the disappointing observation is made that there is little evidence to show that learning organisations actually exist despite the arguments that to become one is a ‘good thing’. You may agree that this applies to individuals too.

The prescriptive style of management literature (You must, Good organisations should, 25 ways to…) urge organisations onward with ‘this is how to do it’ schemes in the drive for 100% organisational fitness. Much of the writing and its tone suggests a ‘Utopian’ outlook. Despite the extensive publication of ‘how to do it’ management models, task and intervention lists and explanations of the underlying philosophy, becoming a learning organisation remains elusive and crucially individual learning doesn’t necessarily translate into organisational learning.

I also recommend that you visit Workplace Survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Technorati WTF

You made it! Thanks for dropping by. Remember, don't tell your friends or they'll never learn. Turquoise.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Is Ignorance Bliss? 7 On Organisational Learning

What might this mean for managers in general?

Returning to my comment at the beginning of this paper, we ‘know’ when things go well and not so well at work, and by thinking about what happens, how it happens and by coming by with explanations for why they happen we give ourselves the opportunity to move ‘away’ from the situations we don’t want ‘towards’ the situations that we do want. At first glance this seems eminently sensible, and that it is in the interest of everyone for the organisation to become more successful, and adept at communicating the signals for and the content of change through learning.

Surely nobody deliberately wants the organisation to fail. Improving unintentional ignorance looks like a rational and laudable aim however…

A second glance will reveal the complications that arise concerning who it is that actually decides what the organisation should ‘move away’ from and ‘move towards’, how it should be done, and whose say so actually counts? In this situation we are dealing with the effects of power, authority, the use of deliberate ignorance, and the conflict this creates.


I also recommend that you visit workplace survival for some intersting views and opinions on the themes discussed in Is Ignorance Bliss?

Workplace Survival