Category Archives: Change

Doing It Again and Again …

Experience is terrific.  It allows us to make our mistakes with far more finesse the next time around.”

Anonymous, who is one smart cookie


You know the other saying about mistakes, right?   “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”

There is something in all this about making mistakes. 

Not WHY we make them, but HOW we make them.

When we make a mistake, we should learn from that mistake and do better next time.   No real surprise there … solid learning theory.

I think Anonymous is onto something with this idea about finesse.   We tend to approach our “learning experiences”, as I like to call my mistakes, with the idea that we will never be that dumb again.  We set our bar rather high.  We think we need to do things perfectly, once we have done them imperfectly.

However, real learning does not work like that. 

Learning tends to come in increments, with often small changes in our behavior as we slowly adjust to more effective ways of doing things, rather than the “Bad to Good” easy one-step change we envision.

This often works better in the long run, because you are doing two things:

1)  Avoiding that crash when your one-step total change doesn’t work out.

2)  Building a solid base for continual change and improvement.

Now, apply this to how you help those for whom you are responsible change.  Small, steady steps forward and upward, until they have learned and embraced the habit of continual small improvements.   You have then created a learning machine and a valuable employee.

Once you accept the idea that change is incremental, you have freed yourself to take small steps to change.  This takes some pressure off … you can do a little change every day easier than one big change.

After all, we do not try to reach the top of the stairs in one step, do we?

Thinking about teeny-weeny improvements in my own backyard in the Heartland ….



Image:  Milad Mosapoor

One Little Acorn …

Acorn Eating SquirrelThe creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

… of course, you still have to plant and nurture that acorn for quite a while.

What acorns are you holding right now?

What might they grow into being?

What do you need to do to make this happen?

Reviewing my small collection of nuts and dreams, and planning hard in the Heartland ….


Listening Intently, But For What Purpose? …

Listening“A man who listens because he has nothing to say can hardly be a source of inspiration.  The only listening that counts is that of the talker who alternately absorbs and expresses himself.”

Agnes Repplier

Sometimes in class, I step out of myself and observe the scene …

There I am, trying real hard to ask open-ended and thought-provoking questions, while I throw a well-constructed visual image up on the screen, and relate the discussion to both the background materials they should have read before class and the real world application of all that theory.   It exhausts me to construct just the right combination of words and pictures in the right order with the right nuances  …

Then I observe the students, who appear to be hard at work, often copying the content of the slide or staring at the handout from the course text, intently poring over the words like they have never read those ideas, concepts, and terms before.  They are very busy listening.

The number of times I get a thoughtful response or question is disappointingly small …

Why do we listen, if not to question?

    Listen to hear what is said …

    Hear to reflect on what  it means…

    Reflect to understand and to question (Yes, you can do both at the same time) …

    Ask the question to learn more and deeper …

    Listen to hear the response   … and repeat

Waiting for the completion of the circle in the Heartland ….