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A Twitter Experiment June 21, 2009

Posted by cjescribano in change management, experiments, Learning, Twitter, Uncategorized.

I have recently started using Twitter as a way of staying on track with my goals.

I’ve never been very disciplined with goals. This blog is the perfect example. You can see when my enthusiasm spikes and I write some posts. And then when my enthusiasm wanes, there are long gaps. I have the best of intentions, but mostly those intentions are overcome by events. Too much going on, so I say, “I’ll write that post tomorrow.” And tomorrow turns into the next day and the next, then the next week and the next. Then the next month. And all those good intentions evaporate into nothingness.

Lately, I’ve come to believe that the way to make a change, to learn something new and make it part of your life is to commit to it daily, to do something toward that goal everyday.

I suppose I could do that here, but Twitter seemed a better approach, more suited to the small steps forward that I think will help me achieve my goals.

So, a week ago, I started off, and for my first goal, I chose communicating more effectively. I am fortunate to work with many effective communicators. And I watch as the people in a meeting hang on every word they say, but turn deaf ears to what I say—even when we’re basically saying the same thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pitched an idea in a meeting that met with lukewarm reception, and then someone else pitched the same idea a half hour later that was received enthusiastically. So, I decided to focus on this skill of effective communication for a while and see where it takes me.

As guides, I have two books: 1) The Power to Connect by Teresa and Chuck Easler and Words that Change Minds by Shelle Rose Charvet.

Each day, I read from these books and make my notes in Twitter: LLLearningLab. Follow along with me as I work day-by-day to become a better communicator.


Keeping Up January 18, 2008

Posted by cjescribano in change management, information management.
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How Do We Keep Up?
Today in a meeting, we were talking about all the new technologies and all the great possibilities. We were talking about how different training is now from how it was 10 years ago, and how different it will be in another 5 years. One colleague lamented, “How do we keep up with it all?” And he pointed out that for some things, like texting, he doesn’t see the value for learning.

Tools for Keeping Up
About a year ago, when I first started this blog, I was trying to figure out how to handle all the information that came pouring into my world everyday–through the computer, the phone, the front door, the mailbox. And what I identified then as possible tools were wikis, blogs, and an application called stikkit.

Strategies for Keeping Up
A year later, here’s what I’ve found that works:

  • Identifying a handful of good blogs to check regularly. They keep the most current thinking in the forefront of my mind.
  • Capturing useful information in wikis.
  • Or using a program like PersonalBrain that makes it easy to collect bits of information and map them to each other.
  • Starting a blog to force myself to try to make sense of it all.
  • Finally, jumping in and using it–doing experiments that force me out of my comfort zone.

You can’t understand the game if you’re just watching from the sidelines. Like my colleague, I used to think texting was dumb. But once I tried it, I loved it.  In the past month, my lady’s running group has pretty much given up e-mail for a wiki and texting.

And Even Further Into the Future
Another colleague told me that people are already walking around with communication chips embedded in their skin. I don’t even know how to begin to design for that kind of technology.

An Experimental State of Mind January 6, 2008

Posted by cjescribano in change management, experiments.
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What would happen if…
Someone once told me, “If you start making your bed everyday, it will change your life.” An interesting claim. I decided to test it out.

…you made your bed everyday
For years, I viewed making my bed as a waste of precious time. I told my mom, “Why should I make it? I’m just going to mess it back up tonight.” My husband felt the same way, so for years, we never made our bed. Until I started my experiment.

It could change your life
After several years of making the bed religiously, I’d have to say that that someone was right. Nothing earth-shattering. Not a new life, just some improvement. For one thing, I can no longer stand an unmade bed. I HAVE to make my bed now, even if I don’t get to it til 5 minutes before bed-time. And that tiny step toward organization and discipline affected other areas as well. I started looking for ways to make my home a cleaner, more organized, more comfortable place to live. I still have a long way to go, but had I not tried my experiment, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have.

An experiment is more fun than a resolution
I find the experimental state of mind a useful one. If I frame something as an experiment, it sounds a bit more exciting to me–a voyage of discovery. My curiosity gets engaged, so there’s a better chance I’ll actually stick with it. Instead of saying to myself, “That’s it. Tomorrow, I’m going on a diet. No more sweets for me,” I tell myself, “I’m going to do an experiment to see how I feel if I just eat fruits and vegetables for a month.” Since it’s an experiment, it doesn’t feel so permanent. And it doesn’t seem so punitive or harsh. It makes me feel in control. I’m doing this to find something out. What I’ll probably find out is that if I cut out the sweets, I actually feel better (I know this from other experiments I’ve done in the past). So, in the end, I will probably stick with this diet forever. But it becomes more a part of me, something I want to do, instead of a life sentence punishment for indulgence.

What if companies tried “experiments” instead of “change management”?
I wonder if companies could use experiments to help with change management. Instead of issuing a decree from on high saying, “From now on, everyone will close out their projects by filing all materials in the library and submitting a project summary,” they could say, “For the next 3 months, we are conducting an experiment. We want you to close out all your projects by filing all materials in the library and submitting a project summary. Then we’ll reconvene and discuss how that worked for everyone.” My hypothesis is that people will be more willing to try the experiment. Then on their own, they’ll see the benefits of the change they’re being asked to make. So, no one will have to “sell” them on it. And they’ll come up with some interesting results to pass back to leadership to make the change more effective, which will make them feel more a part of the change. It’s something they’re doing; it’s not being done to them.

I’m going to look for a chance to test out this experiment. Look for the results here. And let me know if you’ve done any life-changing experiments recently.