Jay Cross helps people work and live smarter. Jay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I begin my day by rewriting my job description. That usually includes…
If you want to break free of conventional thinking, come join me at the Internet Time Studio in Berkeley, California.
Get out of the office. Spend a day with me at Internet Time Studio. Walk away with fresh insights, inspiration, and a plan for the future.
Every now and then, you need break with routine and work with an astute outsider. Executives from HR, operations, and training have visited the Internet Time Studio to plan organizational changes, marketing campaigns, new product rollouts, design processes, social & informal learning interventions, and more.
When you spend a Day with Jay at the Studio, we’ll brainstorm, draw, design, video, bring others in remotely, converse, and explore. You’ll leave with fresh thoughts, a plan of action, better odds of success, and a full belly. (Berkeley is a temple of California cuisine.)
Fees begin at $3,000/day. This covers includes a full day of working together, free books, mid-morning walk in the Berkeley Hills, lunch at Chez Panisse or O Chame, dinner at Katmandu.
Can’t justify flying to Berkeley? I do this virtually (except for the eating and walking part). I work with teams as well as individuals.
Call or email me to discuss what you’re after.
Jay Cross is a champion of informal learning, web 2.0, and systems thinking. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.
Jay’s new un-book Working Smarter (available in on-demand paperback or PDF download) examines how to boost an organization’s collective brainpower. You’ll find an excerpt of his book below that might strike a chord with you in the ongoing conversation that we’re having here at HRExaminer.com on the effective and perceived value of HR.
Cross mashes up his considerable experience in training, business consulting and web 2.0 thinking to put forth a straight forward book designed for managers who want a natural way to improve performance – without the typical management consulting crapola. When Cross does delve into charts, models and mind maps you can rest assured he does so with an aim to clarify, not to earn his business book writing chops. While I’m not done with the book yet I will say what stands out to me so far; Cross does a nice job of balancing the theoretical with the practical – and that’s really useful to us as people who want fresh ideas we can use to improve our team’s results.
I hope you try the book – I’m finding it a worthwhile investment of time. Don’t forget that you can buy the online copy, save some money, kill one less tree and convert the PDF into an online book reader for your iPhone, Android phone and many others.
- Julian Seery Gude, HRExaminer Collaborator and Editorial Advisory Board Member.
Article continues here.
I think of un-books as more of a subscription that a purchase. A major update is in the works. More than half will be new material. It’s a collaborative effort. Publication is a month or more in the future. The price has not been set as yet. I suggest you buy both, but if you’re only buying one, I suggest you wait a while.
Today CLO magazine’s Deanne Hartley interviewed me for an upcoming story about micro-learning. Is it a fad? No. Is it new? No. People naturally learn in small chunks. The only thing new is the label.
On the way home from the Swiss eLearning Conference, my mind was racing after three days of talking with interesting people and spreading the informal learning gospel. I jotted down ideas until my battery ran out. Now I have a 14-page paper. I plan to post it in short installments. Not quite micro-learning, but a step in that direction. Maybe then you’ll read some of it. In time, the words will migrate into the Working Smarter unbook.
Working smarter is the key to sustainability and perpetual improvement. Knowledge work and learning to work smarter are becoming indistinguishable. The accelerating rate of change in business forces everyone in every organization to make a choice: learn while you work or become obsolete.
The infrastructure for working smarter is called a workscape. Itʼs not a separate function so much as another way of looking at how we organize work. Workscaping helps people grow so that their organizations may prosper. Workscapes are pervasive. They are certainly not lodged in a training department. In fact, they make the training department obsolete.
Organizations must stop thinking of learning as something separate from work. The further we get into the Knowledge Age, the greater the convergence of working and learning. In many cases, they are already one and the same. Both must keep workers abreast of an onslaught of change and mountains of information.
Workers in a workscape learn by solving problems, coming up with fresh thinking, and collaborating with colleagues. They donʼt learn about these things; they learn by doing them. Deep learning is experiential.
The workscape is the part of an organization where learning and development becomes never-ending processes rather than one-time events. A workscape is a learning ecology. The workscaping viewpoint helps knowledge workers become more effective professionally and fulfilled personally. A sound workscape environment empowers workers to be all that they can be.
Workscapes match flows of know-how with workers solving problems and getting things done. They are the aspect of workplace infrastructure that provide multiple means of solving problems, tapping collective wisdom, and collaborating with others
Workscapes are not a new structure but rather a holistic way of looking at and reformulating existing business infrastructure. They use the same networks and social media as the business itself.
Technology is never the most important part of this. Foremost are people, their motivations, emotions, attitudes, roles, their enthusiasm or lack thereof, and their innate desire to excel. Technology, be it web 2.0 or instructional design, social psychology, marketing, or intelligent systems, only supports what weʼre helping people to accomplish.
Got the idea? Okay, Iʼm going to stop putting workscape in italics. Think of it as an inevitable part of the evolution of every organization.
Making progress requires know-how and the motivation.. We’ll take up motivation in the next installment.
Jay Cross explains why it is vital for learning and Development to speak so that others in the business particularly executives – will understand.
When you plan to pitch a learning and development investment or decision to someone with the power to sign checks, you may be unsure what to say. If so, ask yourself one question; it will help you find the right approach.
That question is this: what would Andrew do?
Andrew Carnegie was born in 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. The industrial revolution put his father, a weaver, out of work and drove his family into poverty.
Andrew immigrated to America as a teenager and joined the Pennsylvania Railroad at 18. He took out a bank loan and invested in sleeping cars. Six years later, he was named superintendent of railroad’s western division. Two years after that, he invested his sleeping car profits in an oil company. At age thirty, he founded a company to build bridges of iron instead of wood.
In 1875, Carnegie opened his first steel plant. Fourteen years later, he was earning $25 million a year from steel. In 1901, Carnegie sold his empire to J.P. Morgan for $480 million, becoming the richest man in the world, He spent the rest of his days a philanthropist.
Andrew Carnegie is the quintessential hardnosed businessman. Your objective will often be to do convince Andrew what you say/do is worthy of investment. When in doubt about ROI, just ask yourself “What would Andrew Carnegie do?”
Metrics are measurements that matter. The internal customer for metrics is your sponsor, Your sponsor is the person who pays the bills. I assume your sponsor is a businessperson. It might be a committee of business people. When you talk with a businessperson, you must talk like they do. Executives only care about training as it relates to execution. Their interest is in moving the corporation forward. You should share that interest. That is why they pay you.
Sponsors are responsible for championing the case for change (I.e., the vision), visibly representing the change (i.e., walk-the-talk), and providing reassurance and confidence (I.e., the implementation plan).
A couple of years ago, I was leading a webinar for representatives of several dozen training departments at a Fortune 50 high-tech company. Someone interrupted with a question when I was saying that trainers need to be aware of corporate objectives and rate their contributions by their impact on the business. “Wouldn’t that require us to understand how the business worked?” he asked. Yes, of course. How could you do your job right without knowing where the corporation was headed? Several others jumped in, saying essentially that organizational success and helping meet strategic objectives was “not my job.”
The days when corporations were larded up with layer upon layer of management whose job was to translate strategic imperatives from above into job descriptions and projects down below are long gone. Now all of us are supposed to sing from the same hymnal without the intermediaries.
If you work for a public company, define your job in terms of the issues described in your firm’s annual report. Getting ahead in business requires forming solid working relationships with your sponsor and the other stakeholders it is your duty to support.
So before you go any further, ask yourself these questions. First, who is your sponsor? And second, who are your important stakeholders? Once you know the answers to these questions, you are ready to proceed. Without them, you cannot progress.
Measure results throughout your program, not just before and after.
Keep your sponsor informed. Ask people where they bank, and they’ll tell you where they keep their current account. This holds true even if their relationship with their mortgage banker is fifty times larger. Frequency is sometimes more important than content.
Monitoring things early on may enable you to make mid-course corrections.
We’ll get businesslike right away. Peter Drucker is hailed as the father of management. He is a business guru’s guru. Drucker singled out eight characteristics of effective executives.
There’s no cookie-cutter formula for applying metrics, but there is an underlying process.
Generally, you’ll follow these five steps to identify, agree upon, assess, and use metrics. This is not rocket science. It’s the same process you already use to accomplish a lot of things in life. Let’s briefly consider each step.
1. State Desired Outcome. Results do not exist inside the training department. In fact, results do not exist within the business. Results corne from outside the business. Imagine a no-nonsense businessperson, say, GE’s former boss, Jack Welch. If you can explain yourself to Jack, you’ve mastered this step.
2. Agree How To Measure. The only valid metrics for corporate learning are business metrics. Examples are increased sales, shorter time to market, fewer rejects, and lower costs. How do you decide what measures to apply? You don’t: that’s the responsibility of your business sponsor, the person who signs the checks. Together you agree on what’s to be done and how you’ll measure success or failure. Once you’ve settled on the project and its metrics, get it in writing.
3. Execute Project(s). The projects could be training and/or an incentive bonus plan and/or more advertising. Training programs are often part of a larger scheme, and it’s fruitless to try to isolate them. In fact, savvy training directors look for major corporate initiatives they can hitch a ride on.
4. Assess Results. You must evaluate the impact of your efforts with the measures you set up back in step 2. In other words, you are not allowed to mimic Charlie Brown, who would shoot an arrow and then paint the target around it. Why stick with the measures you came up with before? Because that’s how to maintain credibility with your sponsor. You can bring up unforeseen outcomes or anecdotal evidence, so long as you follow up on those original methods first.
5. Begin anew. The only thing worse than learning from experience is not learning from experience. Your post-mortem on the completed project should include a section titled “What to do better next time.” This is where you start the cycle anew.
In an article in T +D Magazine titled ‘A Seat at the Table’, Kevin Oakes, then president of SumTotal Systems, masterfully described how speaking the language of business is one of the biggest skill gaps in the learning profession. Kevin quotes two respected industry figures, John Cone, the former CLO of Dell Computers, and Pat Crull, CLO of ToysRUs, that hammer home the point. Here are their original words.
“Learning professionals who have the ear of senior management come to the table to talk about business results, not learning pedagogy. They understand the drivers of the business, how the executives think, and the metrics that mean the most to them.
They talk about business outcomes, not learning enablers. And they talk about their business using real business language and real data. They talk about revenue, expense, productivity, customer satisfaction, and other quantifiable stuff that business people care about. They’ve learned that every conversation had better include information about money or time saved, revenue or new business generated, or customer problems solved.” John Cone
“During my presentation (at an industry conference), I stated that as a CLO, I see myself as an officer of the corporation. I worry about improving shareowner value. If it doesn’t make a difference to the bottom line, then my work has little of no value. At that point. a woman in the audience got up from her seat and left the room.”
“Later, during the Q&A section of our presentation, someone who was sitting next to the woman who had left, stood up and said, “Do you know what she said right before she exited? That she didn’t get into the training and development field to worry about the bottom line.” I was stunned. To me, that summed up the biggest problem in our profession today.” Pat Crull
In summary, to ‘earn a seat at the table’ where the business managers sit, you must:
Excerpted from What Would Andrew Do?, $17.47
Dan Pink‘s Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, provides convincing arguments in favor of intrinsic motivation. We have had too limited a view of what drives performance and we need a whole new operating system for some of the places where science says one thing and business does another. The patches are just barely holding the old beliefs in place.
The book’s website puts it this way:
Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges.
Most if-then incentive systems do more damage than good. Give somebody a contingent reward and they lose interest after a short while. That which had once been fun is transmuted into work. Pink gives one example after another of paying a contingent bonus and seeing performance decline.
Setting goals can backfire, too. People who put the goals first often cut corners to accomplish them. Also, goals fight against self-determination.
The new values displace the shareholder value maximization mandate, making its workers/partners part of the larger whole. HBS MBAs are signing a pledge to be principled and weigh the balance of profit and what feels right.
Students today do things just for the hell of it. Money is not as big a motivator as doing the right thing. They live and breathe networks. They aren’t about to stay still because they know how to leverage the powerful of information and timing.
Dan Pink, photo by Jay
Dan has a following; I expect he’ll raise enough of a ruckus that execs will take action. Higher salary and smaller bonus. Or bonus pays your contributions to charity and churches.
People need free reign in making their work what they want to do; that’s what works with intrinsicly motivated workers. The big payoff arrives when companies are doing the sort of greater good that makes a team proud.
George Siemens began the day by challenging us to see the world as a set of trade-offs. What’s the optimal balance point?
Asking people to jot ideas on the white board, the line that divides presenter from audience began to blur. We’re all audience; we all presenters; it shifts back and forth. Few things are black or white; most are shades of gray. As George said, it’s nutty for only one person to do the talking among a group of 125 people. Group scribbling on the white board proved a catalyst to discussion. I think it’s like taking notes: you don’t have to re-read the notes to end up with stronger memories.
Internet Time Alliance took the stage to reflect on the overall event and to field questions. We had a rollicking good time — and I think the audience was with us.
The six of us began by recounting why we came together to form Internet Time Alliance. I preach collaboration — but found myself working in isolation. I was already turning to others for help: Jane Hart for social learning and tools, Jon Husband for KM and competencies, Harold Jarche for open source and design, Charles Jennings for the major CLO’s view, and Clark Quinn for learning theory, m-learning, and serious games. We started Internet Time Alliance in order to learn from one another.
Audience questions guided what we talked about today. We had the requisite PowerPoints at the ready but we ended up showing them in random order as questions arose.
Next we brought our customers into the loop. Six heads are better than one; seven or eight are better than that. Our engagements often begin with an organization presenting a question. Could we point out pitfalls in a new plan? Which supplier would we trust? How would we roll out knowledge in their organization? We help refine the question and then hash out solutions and observations as a group. We come back with recommendations and models. This is our loss-leader proposition. For as little as $1000, we return with consensus advice from six of the leading thinkers in organizational learning. Here’s what we’ve been pondering lately.
My conclusion from this event is that not only is learning the work, it’s also the most important work.
Chris also cautioned us against going off half-cocked:
You can learn more about the DAU story from Leading a Learning Revolution, a book by Chris and DAU Chief Executive Frank Anderson.
At one point, Chris showed a slide saying 20% of learning is formal; 80% is informal. He said he’d found no proof, only one person citing another. During his talk, I pulled together this page on the source of the 80 and the 20.
ADDIE, 22, 23, 102, 106
Allen Interactions, 106
Andrew McAfee, 121
ASTD, 56, 66, 120, 183
B.F. Skinner, 66
balcony, 73, 106, 107
Baruch Lev, 81
Berkeley, 187, 192
beta, 5, 19, 68, 112, 115, 116, 117, 134, 167
Beyond Bullet Points, 154, 155
Brandon Hall, 191
CapGemini, 84, 85
cards, 70, 148, 163, 164, 165
CGI Systems, 27
Charles Jennings, 55, 186
Chief Learning Officer, 71, 78, 107, 192
Chief Learning Officer magazine, 192
Christopher Alexander, 26
Cisco, 77, 79, 86, 129, 151, 152, 153, 187
Clark Quinn, 71, 186
Clay Shirky, 14, 185
Cliff Atkinson, 154
Close the Training Department, 76
Cluetrain Manifesto, 69, 141, 184
collaboration, 3, 4, 10, 15, 24, 29, 46, 50, 52, 54, 74, 76, 82, 83, 87, 88, 89, 90, 93, 94, 101, 103, 121, 122, 124, 137, 138, 139, 140, 161, 163, 172, 188
Complexity, 19, 67, 77, 176
convergence, 4, 114
Conversation, 130, 143
Corporate culture, 76
Courses, 168, 169, 191
Cozumel, 187, 191
Cynefin, 67, 146
Dan Pink, 76, 185
Dave Snowden, 67, 146
David Frenkel, 63
dog food, 105
e-learning, 93, 147, 170, 171, 172
eLearning, 28, 55, 58, 97, 105, 106, 107, 124, 168, 170, 172, 177, 187, 191
Elliott Masie, 139
Emergent Learning, 170
ePSS, 63, 64
era of networks, 13, 72
F.W. Taylor, 82
Ford Motor Co., 85
formal learning, 27, 33, 41, 100, 104, 105, 127
Frederick Taylor, 66
Gloria Gery, 148, 184
Golden Age of Training, 66, 72
Google, 20, 68, 79, 81, 89, 91, 92, 93, 97, 98, 113, 115, 116, 120, 124, 130, 131, 142, 152
Hans Monderman, 108
Harold Jarche, 65, 180, 186
Harold Stolovitch & Erica Keeps, 61
Hermann Ebbinghaus, 59
IBM, 24, 119, 120, 187, 188
Implementing eLearning, 183, 187
industrial age, 10, 13, 66, 72, 79, 82, 122, 125
Informal Learning, 2, 6, 33, 41, 97, 98, 103, 104, 126, 127, 129, 179, 183, 187
innovation, 3, 17, 22, 26, 33, 67, 70, 72, 75, 76, 87, 122, 126, 130, 158, 159, 161, 172, 175, 178, 190
intangible, 17, 79, 123, 125, 131
intangibles, 18, 79, 81, 83, 87, 124, 125, 131, 132
Intel, 27, 119, 166
Internet Inside, 155, 157
Internet Time Alliance, 4, 6, 54, 55, 65, 71, 78, 79, 87, 95, 98, 186
Internet Time Group, 99, 179, 185, 187, 191, 192
James Macanufo, 33
Jane Hart, 87, 99, 186
Jay Cross, 65, 71, 78, 98, 187, 192
John Chambers, 86, 151
Jon Husband, 69, 78, 79, 186
Karl von Clausewisz, 29
knowledge acquisition, 61
Learning Light, 192
learning mixer, 104, 105
learning to learn, 106, 135
learnscapes, 24, 25, 26, 99
Malcolm Gladwell, 145, 185
Marshall McLuhan, 68
Meta-learning, 106, 126
Microsoft, 24, 90, 93, 115, 119, 151, 154, 155
Networks, 15, 82, 83, 114, 124, 135, 167, 170, 175, 178, 183, 190, 192
patterns, 26, 27, 60, 68, 70, 72, 125, 174, 182
Peter Drucker, 16, 30, 116
Peter Henschell, 126
Princeton, 187, 188
Process Improvement, 78
responsibility, 29, 71, 108, 109, 110, 124, 134
Rob Cross, 144
ROI, 29, 31, 78, 79, 80, 81, 83, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132
ROII, 79, 83, 84, 85, 86
Sales, 49, 129, 164
SAP, 27, 119
social software, 120, 121, 122
Steve Denning, 153
Stuart Henshall, 83
Sun Microsystems, 28
sustainability, 72, 75
T. Rowe Price, 27
the Well, 189, 190
Thomas Stewart, 81
Top performers, 101
U.S. Army, 28
unbook, 5, 99
Unconferences, 159, 160, 161
University of Phoenix, 181, 187, 189
Valdis Krebs, 84
Web 2.0, 30, 74, 105, 116, 120, 121, 156, 159, 169, 172, 173, 179
wiki, 11, 27, 89, 90, 93, 96, 139, 160, 161, 162, 163, 170, 179
Wikipedia, 89, 120, 159, 162
William Shakespeare, 147
Wirearchy, 69, 79
XPLANE | The visual thinking company, 33
The October edition of Work Smarter just came out. It includes portions of the Informal Learning Poster. Here’s a overview of the content:
The awards will recognize products, projects, and companies that represent significant innovation in Corporate/Workplace Learning and Performance.
Winners will be announced and will be asked to do short presentations during LearnTrends 2009.
To apply for an award, complete the Submission Form.
There is no entry fee. (And no fancy plaque either.) We very much want to get nominations from all corners. (Innovation occurs at all levels.)
We will appreciate any help you can give us to spread the word about these awards. Pass the word. Tweet about it. Tell your network. Help us attract some ingenious projects.
Here are some graphics for your use:
November 17-19, 2009 | Online | Free
George Siemens, Tony Karrer, and Jay Cross today announced that the third annual conference on Corporate Learning Trends & Innovation will take place online November 17, 18, and 19, 2009. This year’s topic is Convergence in Corporate Learning. Mark your calendar to participate and to network with fellow corporate learning professionals.
LearnTrends tackles topics you won’t find at the conferences you have to travel to. The event is free. Events are live & online and will be recorded.
We are open to your suggestions: email us or leave a comment at LearnTrends.com.