[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 5 – Marcus Mohalland

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[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 5 – Marcus Mohalland, Co-Author, Silly Nomads

The nature of literacy in a digital world has changed.

Here’s a story:

I went to the New York Library last year and looked at a Gutenberg Bible. The Bible was clearly a book. You could tell just by looking at it.

The fact that I could tell it was a book is the beginning of understanding the nature and depth of literacy. The fact is, the Internet is changing the nature of literacy and my guest today, Marcus Mohalland has some things to say about that.

He’s using children’s books, connections to the education system, and his unique life story to impact how children get literate and remain so, in a world of screens, and options for distraction.

The nature of books we understand. When I went and looked at the Bible, I understood exactly how to read it, comprehend it, and how to disseminate information contained in it to others.

But we are at the beginning of the digital revolution right now.

What will we be saying in 700 years while standing at a virtual display in a virtual New York City Library, while staring at a mobile phone with Internet access from 2017?

Marcus and his co-author Jan are looking to maintain and grow the fundamentals of understanding that literacy is based on, through re-establishing the fundamentals of reading and comprehension with a generation whose attention spans might be waning.

Check out Silly Nomads for your children (or the children of people you know) and connect with Jan and Marcus in all the ways that you can below:

Silly Nomads Twitter: https://twitter.com/NomadsSilly

Marcus Mohalland on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcus.mohalland

Marcus Mohalland LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcusmohalland/

Silly Nomads Book Website: http://mohallandlewisllc.com/home

Silly Nomads Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillynomads

Random Acts of Criticism

By | Blog, Culture, Education, Media, New Posts, Persuasion, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Truth, Virtue

The fact of the matter is, there is more content to read and interpret now than ever before in the course of human history.

Due to the ubiquity and persistence of Google in particular, and the internet in general, more people have more to read that ever before.

The problem is not that audiences have suddenly become alliterate, illiterate, or even semi-literate. The problem is not that there is an abundance of writing: good, bad, ugly and indifferent. The problems isn’t even in the declining power of the critic to influence and push a set of ideas.

The problem is that the act of criticism has always inherently been based upon an assumption of scarcity: both in content and in opinion.

Gatekeepers of all kinds exist to inform audiences about that which is “good” and about that which is “bad.”

But in a world where everyone can ignore the critic (or choose to revoke the critic’s power through denying them permission to influence a choice), the act of criticism has to shift from one of determining and enforcing a regime of quality to the act of educating, advocating and taking a position.

And defending it.

Of course, the critic should read, watch, listen or otherwise take in the content that they are seeking to critique. But if they don’t, then the audience owes them little in the way of attention and credibility.

Otherwise, the critic is no different than a member of the audience—albeit one with more reach, but not more impact.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 4 – Nasha Taylor

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[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 4 – Nasha Taylor, Community Connector, Networker, Cultural Strategist, Media Savvy Engager, and Entrepreneur

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #4 - Nasha Taylor

Connection is currency.

Connection is the currency that matters in the 21st century.

There is a network leap from Google to the “real” world is the only type of value that will matter for the 21st century.

Welcome to the show! This is Earbud_U Season Five, Episode #4!

Our guest today, Nasha Taylor, has a brain that works, as she says, “like a Wi-Fi router.”

She is a teacher, a role model, a connector, and is “work” to providing service to all in all the ways that matter.

Talking about circuitous journeys can help us discover how to connect with others in the ways that matter, help us ask and answer the right questions, and gain the courage to seek and implement the right solutions to our most pressing problems.

Helping people feel safe through change is the point of all of this, and Nasha is going to talk about all of this today on the show!

Connect with Nasha in all the ways that you can below:

Nasha’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/NashaTaylor

Nasha’s FB: https://www.facebook.com/nasha.taylor

Nasha’s LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nashataylor/

Nasha’s Coffe Business: http://nashataylor.myorganogold.com

Collecting Data Points

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Persuasion, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, The Future & The Singularity

Caring enough to notice the presence of patterns, trendlines, and data points is hard.

Knowing what patterns, trendlines, and data points to pay attention to, what patterns, trendlines, and data points to prioritize, and what patterns, trendlines, and data points to ignore until later, is hard.

Collecting patterns, trendlines, and data points, is hard—and sometimes boring.

Telling other people about patterns, trendlines, and data points, and convincing them that these areas have importance in their lives, their futures, and their children’s lives is hard—and sometimes disheartening.

There’s a lot of talk about patterns, trendlines, and data points, big—and otherwise.

But much of this talk is meaningless without the courage to follow-through on implementing responses—rather than reactions in the moment—to the information that you are confronted with.

Such confrontations don’t have to lead to conflicts.

They often do.

But not because of the presence of the data points, the patterns, and the trendlines, but because of the feeling that something integral was missed by somebody, who should have known better, and should have told everyone involved.

It’s hard to be the change that you want to see in the world.

I’d recommend starting that process by caring enough to notice, then to persuade others, then having the courage to act.

What Are You Paid To Do?

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Strategies, Workplace, Workplace Development

What are you paid to do?

What do you believe you are paid to do?

What does your employer tell you that you are paid to do?

What does your spouse believe that you are paid to do?

What does your family believe that you are paid to do?

What does your supervisor believe you are paid to do?

The systems at work, in the community, and even in the home are structured around the unstated, often unvocalized, answers to these critical questions.

It used to be that larger institutions defined these answers with clarity and provided a sense of reassurance about the answers.

It used to be that people either appealed to the authority of these institutions when their fellow travelers weren’t answering them in pre-approved ways, or when the answers seemed to be getting cloudy for everyone on the team.

It used to be that social norming and group think really kicked in on the answers to these questions, making the answer seem “obvious” and “normal.” So much so, that to even ask the questions out loud would have seemed foolish and blind.

Maybe even rebellious.

But now, with the erosions of power, with authority getting its bluff called everywhere, and with conflict and incivility on the rise because of increased role confusion, asking the questions above—and getting coherent answers to them—for yourself, is the beginning of attaining true wisdom.

Not wisdom based in learning what other people have experienced and then dealing with it, but wisdom based on knowing yourself thoroughly, first.

Not wisdom based in reassurance—because there will never be enough of that—but wisdom based in courage, candor, and clarity.

And then having the courage to ask—and to guide—others through answering the tough questions.

HIT Piece 3.14.2017

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, HIT Pieces, New Posts, The Future & The Singularity, Truth

I’m typing this and you’re probably reading it on a mobile device.

One of the things rarely commented on is how reading comprehension—that is understanding and integrating a concept that you have read about into your overall life experience—has changed since the rise of the Internet as well as the rise of mobile phone use.

We often comment on the nature of reading and the nature of where content gets consumed and why, but the comprehension issue is so often assumed in readers that it’s rarely ever brought up.

Outside of teaching circles (and the circles of parents lamenting) the loss of cursive writing—or handwriting—as a practice taught in schools almost never gets the media ink (or digital bytes) that it seems to warrant.

But, I see this in my students that I teach: Increasingly, there is a lack of patience for the skill of writing by hand, carefully making letters that are intelligible to other readers. Usually, when an assignment must be handwritten, I get back sheepish looks with apologies attached about “chicken scratch” and “carpal tunnel.” I also get the same feedback from training groups featuring older adults who push back because I don’t put bullet points on my PowerPoint slides and I leave plenty of room in their training manuals that I design for them to take notes by hand.

Reading and understanding and hand writing are intricately linked in the human mind to learning, retention, memorization, and comprehension.

They are also intimately linked to patience, critical awareness, and deep thought.

We lose a lot by losing the ability or interest in writing by hand because the other option seem faster and “easier.” When we begin to value speed and volume over comprehension and patience we run the risk of valuing end results in spite of the process to get there, and we open the door to more conflicts flaring more brightly and for longer.

Categorization of Work in Your Head

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Entrepreneurship, New Posts, Organizational Development, Storytelling, The Future & The Singularity, Workplace, Workplace Development

Categorization is the way that we make sense as human beings of a chaotic world of choices and options.

Case in point:

Whenever we walk into a grocery store, the peas and the peanut butter aren’t on the same aisle. Peas are considered a vegetable (or a legume) and peanuts (despite their whipped nature) are a nut.

Sometimes they’re also an oil or a spread.

Just like the ordering in a grocery store, we order the experiences to understand the opportunities that are available to us (or not), the dangers, and the neutral spots.

When we think of our adult careers, we still think of the order the progression of time to the end of adulthood through the attaining of jobs.

Jobs are those permanent states of being where we advance, struggle, and succeed with other human beings in the pursuit of common goals, not individually chosen.

Despite what you have read, the attitude and characterization of work that needs to be done into “jobs” and then “everything that’s not” is not going away anytime soon in many people’s heads.

Instead what is on the rise is the categorization of work in terms of projects: Short bursts of work with a team that we did select (or who selected us) who are doing highly impactful work, at a smaller scale, that seems rare. This definition of projects is not to be confused with the project work we that exists inside of organizational structures that is highly controlled, highly experimental, and often not politically supported.

The other form of categorization of work that is on the rise are partnerships. These are states of pairing with someone else (usually another professional) to do short bursts of meaningful work and then to separate, sometimes permanently. Partnerships and their state of impermanence seem so rare that we often don’t categorize them in the space of work. Most often they are framed as rare, specialized opportunities that are available to others, but not to us.

Why does categorization of work experiences, career opportunities, and job prospects matter?

Because in the career and social chaos that is abounding at the end of the Industrial Revolution, the skills that we need to prioritize are not skills based in more credentialing, more training, or even more education.

Although that would be nice.

The skills that we need to prioritize are those focused around knowing your own capacity for risk and courage (self-awareness), developing persuasion and influence with others (storytelling) and being able to manage other people and crises when they occur (conflict management) as they will in a world of people working with people.

The skills that matter, that will take us to jobs, projects and partnerships that will fulfill us and get us paid, will focus increasingly around skills that once seemed “easy,” “soft,” or “not really valuable to the bottom line.” Moving learning and exercising these skills out of the category of “innately acquired” in your head to the category of “valuable to my career” is the first step toward growing and developing the kind of work world you want to advance in.

And the kind of workplaces that you want your children to advance in.

Culture of Immediacy

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Media, Networking, New Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Virtue

The culture of immediacy that we have created with our digital social communication tools, has convinced our brains that problems of all kinds should be solvable immediately, to our specifications, and with little effort (or friction) on our part.

Here are a few examples. Your mileage (and examples) may vary:

Climate change could be solved tomorrow…if only the “right” people oversaw the solutions. Like the people who populate my Facebook feed…

Elections could turn out with the “right” outcome with results that I could see immediately…just like a Twitter poll does…

People could treat each other with fairness, justice, and equality in a pretty cool and hip way…if only it were the “right” people doling out the fairness, justice and equality…and all others who don’t agree (or aren’t hip or cool enough) could be blocked or never seen anyway….just like in my SnapChat feed…

Rights, responsibility, accountability, and freedom. These are human conditions that took centuries to adjudicate, argue over, and have conflict about, to come to the space of where we are now as a global culture.

They will not fall to the growing culture of immediacy anytime soon.

Netflix, podcasts, YouTube videos, search results. These are tools of communication that operate on the principles of speed to market (your eyes) and entertainment (your brain).

The slow, plodding things that need to change (i.e. systems) are hard to shift, require emotional energy in the face of human intransigence and institutional friction, and need conflict to change. It used to be that we recognized and passed on to the next generation, the idea that incremental change was enough and that lifetime change (on the scale of anywhere from 35.5 to 78.8 years) was enough to get a society and culture to where it could reasonably be expected to be.

But this idea of plodding, incremental change is slowly eroding in the face of collective minds, attitudes, and behaviors being transformed by the culture of immediacy that our digital social communication tools provide.

Combine this fact with the reality that the inner workings (both the how and the why) of our digital social communication have become incomprehensible for the average person and that we have elevated this incomprehensibility from a minor annoyance (think about how you could repair a car in your garage only 50 years ago) to a belief in the magical genius of self-interested companies (think Google and how the algorithm of search works), and we have a giant problem on our global cultural hands.

Relationships with people are boring, mundane, exciting, and thrilling.

Solutions to people problems cannot be solved through the clever application of another frictionless algorithm.

People cannot be inspired through speed, or motivated through impatience to change.

The hard work, the meaningful work, the work of people conflicting against other people, is the last thing that will survive the cult of immediacy we have built.

If we let it.

And the changes that can come about from that survival is worth leveraging all the immediacy-based, incomprehensible tools for good, that you can.

HIT Piece 3.7.2017

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Organizational Development, Truth, Workplace, Workplace Development

Here’s the thing:

The only person at work who can change the culture of where you work, is you.

The only person who can manage adults as if they are adults, are other adults acting like adults.

The only person who can ensure that products, ideas, and innovations ship on time, is you.

Here’s the other thing:

If you believe that your boss has more responsibility, power, and accountability than you do (or if you believe that you should get more credit, and not take any blame if things go wrong) then you will doggedly pursue advancing in a toxic work environment.

If you believe that managing adults as if they are adults (instead of tolerating, condoning or ignoring childish behavior) is the purview of someone in human resources, and not you, then you will be constantly frustrated by conflicts in the workplace.

If you believe that your responsibility is not to “ship” but instead is to show up and turn a widget in a machine that you don’t really want to contribute to understanding, then you are preparing yourself inevitably for much larger problems in the future.

Here’s the conclusion:

The only person who can prepare for a future they can’t see, and prepare to do work that matters, and engage with hard, taxing emotional labor that pays off many tomorrows from now, but not today, is you.

It’s always been you.

This should be a thought that frees you, but for so many, the thought imprisons them further.

What’s that thought doing to you?

The Privacy of Memory

By | Active Listening, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Networking, Neuroscience, New Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Relationships, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Virtue

We lose a little of ourselves when we outsource our memory to Google.

But not in the obvious way that we think of.

What we lose in the privacy (some would say inaccuracy) of memory is the ability to forget.

And to be forgotten.

The privacy of memory and the palaces that we build in our minds of truths, facts, lies and stories is more valuable than we know to preserving the best parts of our fragile humanity.

In the rush to electronically preserve the truth in non-debatable, and factual ways, we are losing the pleasure (and the privilege) of the privacy of choosing what we want to remember—and what we have the grace, forgiveness and ability to forget.

When we can call out each other using facts we like that work for us (and avoid or dismiss the facts that don’t), our social media communications and interactions become about expressing the rawest of emotions with immediacy, in the face of overwhelming facts that are preserved as eminent, and indisputable truth.

Google can’t help us here. Neither can artificial intelligence. Neither can another social communication platform.

Only human beings can preserve the privacy of memory in relationship with other human beings.