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.
Join me for an hour on the last day of April to explore how to make learning stick. Register. I’ve unearthed some exciting material about how people convert learning to action in the workplace — how to make it stick.
You folks know so much about how to increase the productivity of learning. Something old, something new, something small, something larger… for the most part, you (more…)
Our 29-year old son Austin emailed my wife Uta last week from vacation in Hong Kong and Seoul. He couldn’t get any reception on his Android phone.
He wanted to be able to read messages and make emergency phone calls. Wednesday morning Uta went online to look at AT&T international calling plans. The three phones on our plan had worked in the UK, Switzerland, and Italy last year. AT&T’s services had changed since our trips abroad.
Uta called AT&T for further information. An AT&T rep in International Calling told her Austin would not be able to make calls on his phone. “But he has the latest Galaxy,” she explained. Again and again, the rep said international service was not available on that line. My wife said she did not understand. The rep repeatedly said my son would not be able to make international calls from his phone. “I don’t understand. What are you saying?” she asked repeatedly. Finally, when the International Calling representative could not explain further, she hung up and went to the local AT&T store.
A representative at the store looked up our accounts and mentioned international calling plans. Uta said she didn’t want a new plan. austin’s problem is that he was not even receiving calls on his phone. He wanted reception and a way to make pay-per-use calls.
All Austin needed was reception and an option of making pay-per-call calls. Besides, he was on a short trip and that was half over.
The rep advised that Austin remove the battery and put it back in to reboot the phone. Go to settings, check for local providers. Uta emailed Austin, who had already rebooted the phone. Settings showed eight providers. Nonetheless, he was getting no reception.
Thursday morning Uta called the rep at the store. She admitted that this sounded like an AT&T issue, not something wrong with the hardware. She checked with her manager and called back to say Austin’s phone needed expanded international roaming allowance.
All Uta needed to do was call Customer Care and request this free option.
An hour later, Uta received an automated email asking her to call an 800 number. The number was an automated voice telling her how to activate her Go-Phone, requesting her confirmation, and requesting she replace her SIM card. She called the store to ask what was going on. The rep confirmed this was an authentic AT&T mail but had no idea why we’d received it. (Go Phones do not require outside activation.) The rep could not identify who sent the superfluous email.
Uta called Customer Care about the mysterious email. They couldn’t explain it either, but as long as we’re talking could Customer Care help us expand Austin’s international roaming alliance?
Certainly, she was told three times, Customer Care could sell us an international calling plan. No, that’s not what we’re after. By this time, Uta could recite the international calling plan specs better than the AT&T reps. They could not even say whether international calling applied to Hong Kong and Seoul. Some said yes; others said maybe. Customer Care only offered the option of for-fee international calling plans.
Friday, the next day, Uta called Customer Care again. She reached a helpful fellow named Evan. As with every new contact at AT&T, she had to recount the entire story from scratch. AT&T apparently does not document customer calls.
Evan said he would call International Calling and request the “expanded international roaming allowance.” the right person to deal with this while Uta was on the line. Evan turned us over to Kershe Rumph in International Calling. Kershe understood what we were asking for: Expanded international roaming, free, not a new plan. He added the feature to Austin’s line. He said Austin would only need to recycle his phone.
Uta asked if Kershe could switch her line to international roaming, too. Kershe said he would do that and confirm by email. His email the next day mentioned only Austin’s line.
During the call with Kershe Rumph, Uta pointed out that we’d gotten reception overseas last fall. Why did we no longer have international roaming? “Because it has to be added,” she was told. Uta pointed out that we had international service last year. Kershe told her that they only add the service during sweeps of many accounts.
Why did Jay’s iPhone have international roaming but the others not? Uta was told my phone had been automatically updated in a sweep in November 2012.
This is balderdash. In November, I had purchased a new iPhone from Apple. Were our other lines deactivated for international calling at this time? Was neutering our phone retaliation for buying from Apple instead of AT&T? I’ll probably never know.
On Friday afternoon, Austin emailed Uta that his phone was working.
Uta had invested three days learning AT&T’s confusing terminology and retelling the same story over and over.
How does she feel about the experience?
She became very angry when the International Calling guy told her over and over that Austin’s line could not work internationally. What? Why? How is this possible? Again and again, the rep could provide no information.
Here’s a formula for stress: Feeling helpless when encountering stories that are at odds with one another. The feature might cost something or then again it might not. International might include Korea and Hong Kong or then again it might not. Receiving a spurious email without a way to contact the sender and with clearly inappropriate content. Frustration with dealing with an illogical, dysfunctional system.
I did my best to provide an explanation for what might be going on. Half of America’s workforce is disengaged. They don’t care whether they serve the customer or not. Judging from their service level, I suspect AT&T hires more than its share of the disengaged workforce. Also, AT&T either lacks or doesn’t use any form of Customer Relationship Management system.
AT&T people don’t know their products. Their knee-jerk response to service outages is to try to sell another product. How many people do they dupe into buying international calling plans by cutting off the free international call-per-call option and offering a recurring “plan” instead? I will forward a copy of this paper to the FCC to make sure they’re aware of the practice.
Clearly something is off when only one AT&T rep out of half a dozen can fulfill a simple request. This is a failure of leadership. By chance, I happen to have met the head of leadership training for AT&T; we spoke on a panel together. I’ll forward this to him, too. Perhaps leadership training could use this as a case study. AT&T has my permission to use this for those purposes.
My mantra for management is “Delight the customer.” This is not how.
The last three minutes of this RSA Animate on using your whole brain rather than favoring one hemisphere is sheer poetry. One inspiration after another, staccato, overloaded by circuits. My mental movie was nodding in agreement. Yes, yes, yes, right, right on, of course, yes, yes, right, yes.
Start here and then go back to the beginning.
I’d been trying to reconcile Dan Pink’s bi-cameralism and other’s put-downs. The Divided Mind clarifies it.
Steve Hargadon interviewed me about informal learning yesterday. Steve does his homework and asks great questions.
If you listen to podcasts while exercising, perhaps you’ll enjoy the Audio of Steve letting me amble on for an hour.
A one-hour audio goes against my religion of brevity & less-is-more. However, if you want a painless way to peak into my thinking while hiking or peddling, this may be up your alley.
Prototype for happiness/well-being card deck.
What do you think?
My calling is to help a millon people lead happier and more satisfying lives. Mainly business people caught up in the rat race. There’s great hope and cause for celebration. Moore’s Law favors us all. Help me reach a million by the end of the year. Pass the word.
Let’s go viral now
Everybody’s learning how
Come on and safari with me
(come on and safari with…) lyric
CLO December 28, 2012
How far does a CLO’s responsibility extend in an enlightened, twenty-first century company?
Assume your silo walls are coming down. Pockets of your organization are beginning to resemble W.L. Gore or Google or the agile companies you read about in Fast Company. Self-organizing teams are popping up. R&D is increasingly crowd-sourced. For the first time in memory, lots of workers are singing from the same hymnal (it’s accessible on the corporate social network.) You are becoming a Cohesive Organization.
You’re the CLO. The New York Times tips you off to something that could improve your company’s performance while lowering your workers’ risk of heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. The intervention is somewhat controversial but the medical community agrees that it works. The cost is minimal. No manager in the company is clearly accountable for this area.
The issue is sitting down, namely the new finding that too much time spent sitting down is bad for your health. Office chairs kill.
Let’s use the Sitting issue as a case example. Read the facts and then decide whether you’d speak up and push for change or just let this one pass. Ask your peers what they think.
“What does a man do on two legs, a dog do on three legs, and a woman do sitting down? The answer of course is shake hands.” (That’s your ice-breaker for introducing the topic of standing while working to your colleagues).
Author note: What you’re reading is what I submitted. The CLO site has the version they printed. I didn’t expect to get away with the joke.
Mayo Clinic’s Dr. James Levine says “Sitting is the new smoking. It’s literally bad for you.” Levine points out that “People who sit more are more prone to cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon, I mean, multiple cancers. In addition, sitters are more prone to depression, to feeling blue. Even people who have mental illness, their illness is actually worse.”
Sitting more than three hours a day reduces your life expectancy by two years. Watching more than two hours of TV per day takes another year off your life. The more you sit, the greater your risk of having a heart attack or coming down with diabetes. Regular exercise does not counterbalance the bad effects of sitting.
Sitting makes you fat. Obese people sit an average of two and a half hours a day more than thinner people.
A few companies are consciously trying to promote standing up:
Let’s acknowledge that adopting less sedentary work practices will be difficult. People like to change but they don’t like to be changed. If you make standing while working compulsory, many employees will engage in a (forgive me for this) sit-down strike.
Difficult does not mean impossible. Remember when smoking was banned in offices? In restaurants? In bars? Many of us didn’t expect that to work any better than Prohibition, yet today it’s the law of the land.
Unlike smoking, where worries about second-hand smoke endangering non-smokers’ health led to regulation, people who sit excessively only hurt themselves (and perhaps increase their employers’ health insurance premiums).
Unlike smoking, standing can be implemented piecemeal. It can be voluntary. People can stand wherever they work; they don’t have to huddle outside of the building in the elements.
Standing all day isn’t particularly good for you either. Too much standing wears out ankles and knees and can contribute to bad posture. Standing for 50 minutes and sitting for 10 may be optimal.
That’s the case study. On the plus side, standing while working increases longevity and the likelihood of dodging diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and other maladies. On the negative side are the one-time cost of acquiring new furniture and the rebellion of workers who resist change. Net-net, it makes business sense to encourage workers to stand and to make it easy for them to do so.
What are you going to do as CLO? Are you obligated to share this knowledge? Will you advocate standing up for something that makes people healthier at little cost? If not you, who? If not now, when?
Is making the company a better place to work a CLO’s responsibility? Or is that someone else’s job? Yeah, I’d really like an answer to that one.
Higher education in the United States is broken. Costs are ouf of control. Students are dissatisfied. Graduates can’t get jobs. Says MIT’s Andy McAfee, “What’s going on is halfway between a bubble and a scandal.”
I propose we put higher ed back on track by founding Corporate Colleges.
Corporate colleges break higher ed into its constitutent parts and reassemble (more…)
Tripping through Texas
Closed on Sunday
because God’s service
is better than ours.
Cattle, oil, mesquite, prickly pear,
Cowboy boots, Stetsons, buzzards,
Roadkill, skunk smell, Hummers.
Bar-BQ, chichen fried steak,
Dairy Queen, Applebee’s, Sonic,
Enchiladas, chicken fried chicken.
Sheep and prickly pear and jack rabbits, but not to eat.
Ranches, hosses, antiques and tarnished (more…)
Free-form responses. n=20, Business+MOOCS Survey 2/25-26/2103
What is positive about MOOCs?
Remote access to material/course heretofore unavailable
2/26/2013 3:48 PMView Responses
I had access to professionally presented information that I otherwise would not.
2/26/2013 3:16 PMView Responses
Available anytime and free. Ability to move at own pace.
2/26/2013 7:36 AM
Access to content, arranged (more…)