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

Four Questions About Learning …

image“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”

George Santayana


No argument here … I find that every day brings new learning.  Given the pace of change we currently enjoy, that’s little surprise.

It approaches trivial to repeat the much –stated idea that the more we know, the more we know we do not know.  I know for sure that I know much less of the world than I thought I did a few years ago.  Curse you, Google searchSmile.


The questions to ponder with regard to continual learn is this:

How are you identifying what you need to learn?

How are you planning to learn?

What resources will you use to learn?

How will you know when you have learned it?

If your answer to any of the above is “I dunno”, then you have some work to do.

Getting busy on my own personal learning plans in the Heartland …



REWIND: I Pledge Allegiance To Uplifting…


NOTE:  originally posted on March 10, 2014, but still just as pertinent now.

Want to be known as a leader who is …



All about service?

All about significance?

You are a current or future leader who want to be of service to others through your leadership, and whose leadership makes a positive difference.  You want your efforts to uplift others.

You are not alone … Continue reading

I Am Confident That I Don’t Know …

Question Figure Red“Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers:  It comes from being open to all the questions.”

Variously attributed to Earl Gray Stevens and Marianne Williamson (you figure it out and let me know)

Questions are much on my mind this week, so pithy quotes about questions catch my attention.    Not the most lofty thought, but this does get at a common problem.

We are often so busy rushing to find the answer to the question that we miss some things.  We focus on the outcome and not the process.

Sometimes the focus on getting the job done is critical and primary … sometimes it means we miss out on other things.

Some specific reasons why focusing on outcomes at the expense of process is always good:

... We miss the energy of being in that space between not knowing and knowing.

Energy exists whatever we do and wherever we point our minds and our bodies.  The question really is whether we get the full measure of value from all the energy or whether we restrict ourselves to a narrower stream.

Energy exists when we have left the safe and known as we move toward a new and unknown place.  If we spent most of our effort to reach that future unknown state, so we can make it known, we tend to not notice the actual journey as much.

… We do not ask other questions which change what we focus on.

Some of us are comfortable ranging far from the focus, but others feel an obligation to stay tightly aligned with what they believe is the goal.

When we focus only on where we are going, we may not want to stop and explore the alleys, the lanes, and the paths along the way.  Too bad … sometimes the willingness to explore and range off the tight focus creates new experiences and provides information which affects our future decisions.  Sometimes we even change directions …

… We measure what we focus on, so the outcome becomes the primary measure.

Those who value the measurement and evaluation of things will like this one.

Simply put, what we measure is what we pay attention to … and the reverse is just as true.  If we only measure outcomes, as summative evaluations often do, we are missing the possible learning which comes from looking more closely at our processes as we move to those conclusions.  The assessment folks call it formative assessment, when we measure during the process.   I am specifically not just talking about measuring progress toward the goal, but also measuring how we are as we go down the road.

What are YOUR thoughts about measuring the middle?

Wondering about not just where we are going, but how we are doing on the journey in the Heartland ….