Posts Tagged ‘ iPhone ’

What are Your Secrets to Being a Revolutionary Leader?

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How quickly things change in 10 years

Think about this: the first iPhone came out in 2007.

Technology changes so rapidly that it is incredibly difficult to keep up with the rate of change. But looking at leadership, have there been as many revolutionary changes in the last seven years as there have been in technology?

Mobile World Congress was this week in Barcelona. For those who don’t know, it’s a huge annual conference where some of the top smartphone manufacturers introduce their latest products. Though Apple was absent, Samsung announced their latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5. Some advances from the previous version include improved battery life, updated camera, faster processor, a heart-rate monitor, and a new fingerprint scanner (a la iPhone 5s), but despite all of these, its reception has been generally lukewarm because the changes weren’t quite revolutionary.

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The response to the S5

Consumers of technology these days demand constant innovation from products. Why shouldn’t your direct reports, the consumers of your leadership, demand the same? Would you be able to keep up?

Let’s get the ball rolling on change. Are you currently doing something differently from other leaders to improve your leadership skills and/or meet the needs of your direct reports? Perhaps that thing you do is actually the game-changer that will revolutionize leadership as we know it. Share it in the comments.

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Lead Your Team To Effectively Use Technology To Learn

Ensuring employees have ample opportunity to learn and develop is crucial to organizational success. Yet, leaders can be bombarded with messages to increase the use of technology if they want the most effective means for their teams to learn.

As a leader, how do you judge which learning modality will lead to the most effective, quality learning experience? How do you appeal to learners on your teams at differing levels of technological savviness without discouraging their development? Or, worse, avoid humiliating anyone who is not as technologically savvy while simultaneously avoid disengaging your digital learners? Preventing yet more training materials being set up on a shelf never to be used again is key!

GEIKuMAosmicN5EZXkEBKDl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBXEejxNn4ZJNZ2ss5Ku7CxtSteps you can take to lead your team to effectively use technology to learn include:

1. Understanding how your team learns – Become intimately familiar with how your team learns. Do you offer a learning product on a flash drive only to find you run out before you can order more or are you scheduling face-to-face classes on their behalf with little resistance? Are your most productive employees viewing recording links from live stream workshops because they want to learn in their own time in the comfort of their office? How your employees learn will help you intuit in what form content should be delivered to increase learning. Don’t discount your own observations regarding what your employees seem to gravitate toward.

2. Determine their favored modalities – Fit how the content is offered to the learner by offering it in various forms such as audio, video, face-to-face, and asynchronous. Have a workshop that you know learners on your team will love but know it’s in a format they won’t be interested in learning from? Encourage your employees to determine if they would be interested in learning the same content in a different modality. If the content is off the shelf, inquire as to whether it is offered as mp3, asynchronous, and face-to-face format. Purchase and offer multiple forms and see which format your team seems to prefer. Learn from your purchases and take note of what your employees want more of and most often request.

3. Then…limit options – mp3 audio books, asynchronous learning groups, virtual book clubs , CDs, DVDs, hard-copy libraries, face-to-face workshops…the list goes on as to how employees learn and you could potentially intimidate and confuse learners by creating modality overload. Most important after determining how your team learns is to introduce new technology and options slowly by choosing their favored modality. Then, let them get comfortable with change by limiting the options offered to those two or three favorite modalities the team gravitates toward. Don’t get caught up with the new, shinny technology if you know your employees will most likely not be interested in learning in that particular format. Perhaps you have determined your team enjoys reading hard-copy books, listening to CDs, and asynchronous learning. Invest in these three modalities by allowing your employees to show you this is how they most feel comfortable learning. If the content is then offered as a webinar with live chat, don’t spring it on the team. Wait to allow them to lead you in their own learning.

Understanding how your employees learn will help increase the benefits derived from learning in modalities that best fit the learner and resultantly most benefit the organization.

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Cheryl DePonte is a Human Resources Learning and Performance Specialist at The Ken Blanchard Companies and has over 15 years experience in the fields of organizational effectiveness and human resources development.

App Yourself—Welcome to The Age of AppLightenment

“Now!”, thus spoke a good App to me,
“Click on my icon and you shall see,
treasures of knowlendge and wisdom so fine,
to help you make the most of the daily grind,
Excellence, you may claim, if but you will,
open me up and take your fill!”

App Yourself, by J. Diamond Arnold (A Paradoy of A Book, by Edgar Guest)

I am haunted by memories of long nights at the kitchen table, hot tears streaming down my face, trying to learn the rules of operations and relations within mathematical philosophies—frustrated at my inability to easily embrace the new concepts, but even more frustrated in trying to comprehend how I would ever apply those concepts to my life.

Math on the Mind

Maddness of Math

After all, that is the purpose of our education—our learning experiences—applying those learnings to our lives. Isn’t it?

To this day, those tears still burn at the thought of nights past, bleeding into present, evoked at the site of my own teenage daughter, sitting at the same table, laboring through the same equations and wrestling with the same questions about the purpose of learning Algebra, wondering if she will ever actually use this skill in her lifetime.

What is the Meaning

Those memories did not fade, but have been rekindled through similar angst during my days in the halls of academia, on the campus of the university, and recently in the corporate classrooms of my professional career. The thirst for learning and knowledge has often been but a mirage in deserts of secrets, seminars, and semesters—promising a path to enlightenment and understanding—only to leave me mysteriously cold and hungry, crawling on my hands and knees in search of a means to turn my potential knowledge into kinetic understanding and action.

The art of applying our learning to our daily tasks, projects, quests, and routines has always been a Valley of the Shadow between knowing and doing, excellence and mediocrity, success and status quo. The challenge has been, and will always be judged by our ability to use those learnings in our daily lives on a consistent and effective basis, not to shelve them on the dusty mantles of our lives, virtually untouched and largely unexplored.

The good news is that our generation now has the key to continual and effective learning—literally, right at our fingertips. Welcome to The Revolution of Digital Apps! Welcome to the Age of AppLightenment!

Mobile Applications

Mobile ApplicationsWhile Merriam-Webster Dictionary does not yet have an official entry on the word, “App,” their little brother (or Big Brother depending on how you want to put it into context), Wikipedia, defines it as a, “common reference to Application Software, made for computers and mobile devices such as Smart Phones and Digital Tablets.”

What is relevant to understanding the power that Apps have on the learning process is the Merriam-Webster’s (App version, of course) is the definition of the traditional word, Application—an act of putting to use .

Off course Apps are not new, they have been on your personal computer, running word processing and database software, or digital communication tools, for many years as Applications. What is new, is the explosion of practical and creative Apps designed to make your life more effective, more fun, more engaging, and yes, many will make you even more enlightened.

It’s estimated that one in three adults in the U.S. alone, own a smart phone that makes use of Apps. This past December, Apple announced that there are now more than half a million Applications available in the mobile applications-specific App Store, and that more than 100 million Apps have been downloaded from the desktop software marketplace Mac App Store within a year of its debut. Apple says that customers are ‘continuing’ to download more than 1 billion Apps per month.

Mac App Store

Mac App Store

Regardless of whether you are downloading your Apps from Apple, Google, Amazon, or other App Stores, Apps are becoming a way of life. From banking, to budgeting, to hitting a baseball, making dinner, enhancing your workouts, your business, or your personal relationships, Apps are intuitively driving us to transfer our knowing into doing—helping us effectively engage and complete our daily professional and personal tasks.

The reality is we are in the midst of The Age of AppLightenment—A Digital Enlightenment era sparked by philosophical entrepreneurs named Jobs and Gates, and Zuckerberg and Wales—inciting a cultural movement toward digital mobilized learning and learning applications. Not since the mid-1400s, around the time the printing press was invented, has the world experienced such rapid and mass access to information— information that now can be rapidly processed into knowledge, and knowledge into doing, through the use of Apps.

This is our moment in world history to embrace, taking knowledge and taking action through simple and effective application to our lives. It’s time get up from the table and wipe away the tears. It’s time to App Yourself!

Jason Diamond Arnold
Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action

Think Different—An Ode to Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is the Thomas Edison of our era!

There, I said it. Now all of you Apple haters can stop reading the rest of this post and go back to texting or your version of surfing the Web in bitter disgust. Regardless, Steve Jobs is one of the most prolific visionaries of our era. His influence is cross-generational and has transcended time and space as the leader of one of the most innovative companies in American history, Apple, Inc.

Think Different, Steve Jobs

When Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of the world’s largest tech company late Wednesday, I felt compelled to offer an ode to his career—a salute to the inspiration he has been to many people over the years. But rather than make this article a cheap commercial for Apple products, we should focus on the genius behind the products—not the actual iconic imagery we think of when we think of an Apple product.

One of the most impactful quotes on my career was found within a February, 1996 Wired magazine interview with Steve Jobs. I still have the magazine in my office to this day and remember it well because I was a young dreamer living in the Silicon Valley, just starting my career during the height of the Internet revolution, when I came across this article—and the essence of what he said within that article still drives me at work to this day.

“Design is a funny word,” Jobs said. “Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” Apple’s attention to the design of its products has been as revolutionary at the turn of the 21st century as Edison’s communications advancements were at the turn of the 20th century. Nothing short of epic!

Apple’s uncompromising pursuit of simple and effective designs of communication devices, under the visionary leadership of Steve Jobs, has transformed the computer, Internet, film, and music industries. The sleek and savvy look and feel of their products are only surpassed in their ease of use and practical application to professional and personal life. While the MacBooks, iPods, iPhones, and iPads are sexy in their look and feel, what has truly made them so successful is how they work on the inside. Simplicity, without being overly simple.

When it comes to designing ideas, stories, products, or projects you need to think different! You need to think from the inside out. You need to start with the essence of what you are trying to achieve for greater good and then add the look and feel later. If the inside of your project doesn’t work, than it won’t matter what you make it look like on the outside. Whether you’re designing a Website, creating a video, writing a book, or developing a product, how it works will ultimately determine how effective it will be.

Thank you Steve Jobs for your inspiration and unshakable will to think different. I wish you the best and lasting health in your new role as Chairman of the Board of Apple, Inc. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Jason Diamond Arnold
Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action

What Has Become a Blur…

What Has Become a Blur to You Since Last We Status Updated?

Ralph Waldo Emerson was noted for greeting friends with the question, ‘What has become clear to you since we last met?’ His intent was a challenge to his friends to assess the progress of their thinking and their lives.

How do we answer Emerson’s question today? By what means do we stop to think about what we have learned since the last we met with a dear friend?

In the 21st Century digital age of virtual social networks, where a person can have a thousand plus friends, who update them by the moment, on car issues, virtual farming concerns, their toddlers latest bowel movements (complete with instant pictures), or the latest conversation they just overheard at the local coffee shop, I fear that we may not be able to as readily and significantly answer Emerson’s question in our own lives—simply because we have lost the ancient exercise of reflecting, pondering, and considering the more meaningful things in life.

We are addicted to instant updates! And it has become a little distracting. So, I pause to reflect, “What has become clear to me since last we status updated?”

In the course of writing this article, my iPhone buzzed with half a dozen different text messages, and my computer popped up six different InBox alerts regarding comments friends made on my Facebook page. With every ding, I was tempted to stop my current thought process regarding Emerson’s question and go read the latest comment on my wall, or eagerly open up my text message. Which is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, however, it has distracted me from really meditating on what I’m learning about life and work at this particular moment in time.

It’s not that these forms of communication are evil, or meaningless, however, they have not only significantly created an anxiety over keeping up with all of the information that daily flows into our stream of conscious, but it has more importantly blurred the clarity that comes from pausing during our day to know what is really becoming clear to us. In many ways social networks have brought us back in touch with old and new friends, which can be a good thing—just don’t allow it to get us out of touch with who we are today!

J. Diamond Arnold
Consulting Associate with The Ken Blanchard Companies
Co-author of Situational Self Leadership in Action

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