Learning Culture

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170529_Blog_Change

Except for “firing” and “layoff,” no six-letter word generates quite as much anxiety around the old water cooler as “change.”

We thrive on routine, whether it’s stopping at the same coffee shop every morning or following a specific protocol for filing reports at work. The mere mention of “change” typically invokes feelings of vulnerability, insecurity and anxiousness. Though we understand on a rational level that change is constant and unavoidable, fear of the unknown can be upsetting. How to implement change while minimizing turmoil has long been a major challenge for executives and managers.

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170508_Blog_5elements

Depending upon your research and whom you believe is credible, you’ll find a variety of reasons and theories why small businesses startups succeed or fail. Reliable statistics indicate that roughly 80% of new ventures survive the first year and around 50% are still in business after five years. The issue is how to increase your odds considering there are no guarantees in business – regardless of how well you’ve planned. Read the rest of this entry »

Crisis Control

2017/4/14

CrisisControl_blog

A mishandled crisis can ring the death knell for a brand or individual in today’s hyperconnected world. Scandal has become the fuel that helps feed the information bonfire. United Airlines learned this tough lesson the hard way. On April 9, passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago, Illinois, to Louisville, Kentucky, filmed an altercation whereby security staff forcibly removed a United passenger from the aircraft. The footage went viral within hours. Although it doesn’t capture the passenger’s reaction to the initial request or the sequence of events leading up to the forced evacuation, the clip depicts the inhumane treatment of a paid-up customer with a valid ticket – an act that ignited widespread public outrage on social media. Read the rest of this entry »

TechDream_blog

Silicon Valley is a model of economic prosperity and a beacon of technological progress. But has the once-idealistic tech industry lost its way?

Critic Douglas Rushkoff thinks so. He remembers fondly when the Internet was shaping up as a tool to promote economic opportunity, free expression and equitably distributed wealth. Alas, he argues in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, the utopian dream has given way to a dystopian nightmare. Read the rest of this entry »

2017MillennialSurvey-Blog

How do millennials feel about the future? The answer depends on where they live.

Millennials often are portrayed by their elders as an undifferentiated mass of smartphone-addicted, work-shirking, trophy-collecting whippersnappers.

On closer inspection, though, young adults born after 1982 aren’t a monolithic generation. They come with the usual variety of fears and dreams, according to a survey by consulting firm Deloitte – and in that way, they’re not so different than every age cohort that came before them.

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Top5-ElonMusk+BillGates-Blog

getAbstract operates on the notion that knowledge is power and that avid reading stimulates the brain, and we’re heartened to know that two titans of the tech industry agree.

Tesla head Elon Musk recently served up a list of books that he says helped him succeed, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates writes a blog that keeps track of his reading list.

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EUs60th-ENG-Blog

After nearly a decade of debt crises and a high-profile leave vote, the European Union has fallen on hard times financially and politically. Even so, the European Commission is soldiering on.

March 25, 2017, marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, and EC officials paint the union’s recent woes as mere blips when compared to seven decades of peace and the creation of a trading bloc of 500 million consumers.

“Sixty years ago, Europe’s founding fathers chose to unite the continent with the force of the law rather than with armed forces,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement marking the anniversary. “We can be proud of what we have achieved since then. Our darkest day in 2017 will still be far brighter than any spent by our forefathers on the battlefield.” Read the rest of this entry »

170320_Top5Happiness copy

Happiness is not an emotion; it’s a state of being. Much has been said about it and there’s much left to be said. But one thing is clear: The pursuit of authentic and lasting happiness is universal. Wherever you are in your path toward happiness, these five books will help you understand what happiness really means, how to achieve it and most importantly, how to maintain it.
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Space invaders

2017/3/17

AndyYen-EmailPrivacy-Blog

If your home or automobile has ever been burglarized, you not only lose property but also your sense of security. You suddenly feel vulnerable; the safety you always took for granted is compromised. Having an e-mail or credit card account hacked may not be as traumatic, but it is still scary and upsetting – and often costly.

While many of us believe that passwords adequately protect our online privacy, experts insist that additional safeguards – encryption specifically – are required. In fact, millions of people don’t even take the business of passwords seriously. Keeper, a cyber security company, recently reported that “123456” was the most popular password in 2016, used by a remarkable 17% of Internet users. In second place was “123456789.” Oldies but goodies such as “qwerty” (No. 3) and “password” (No. 8) also appeared in the top 10.

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Top5-OnlinePrivacy+Security-Blog

Is one of your passwords “password” or “123456789”? Hey, don’t laugh, it still happens. And it’s not surprising: First, most of us don’t think we’re ever going to be hacked, and second, most digital natives don’t have as many privacy concerns as earlier generations.

But whether you’re a tech wiz or a newbie, online privacy is an issue worth thinking about. Remember the Yahoo hacking scandal? It took them three years to notice they were hacked! If you’re a Yahoo user, you might have even gotten an email from them advising you to change your password. If you did, hopefully you changed it to something stronger than “iloveyou” and you started using two-step verification for extra security. Read the rest of this entry »

#WeAreBoldForChange-2-Blog

At a moment when the world stage is dominated by tough-talking, hypermasculine leaders, the organizers of International Women’s Day  want attention for a different style of leadership.

The event, scheduled for March 8, calls itself “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” Indeed, men could learn a lot by emulating women, according to authors who have examined gender distinctions in working, communicating and managing.

In The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future , authors John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio make a case for a distinctly feminine style of leadership, one that emphasizes empathy, collaboration and listening over ego, competition and greed.

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TowardsMaturity-Blog

When it comes to learning and development within your organisation, there’s two words you never want to hear: status quo. And whether your L&D specialists believe in their methodology or can support its effectiveness is immaterial. Status quo implies you are satisfied with the ways things are and have no immediate plans to implement change.

In business, unless you are moving forward, you are moving backward. It’s easy to fall into a routine, particularly if your company is financially successful and your employees appear to be growing professionally. But if you don’t have standards to measure yourself against, how can you possibly know if you’re maximising your L&D initiatives?

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The-One-World-School-House-Blog

In honor of a new school year, let’s take a quick tour of the Museum of the Obsolete. Just look at all the prehistoric remnants – typewriters, floppy discs, slide rules, three-ring binders and Palm Pilots. Oh, and here is a colorful assortment of ballpoint pens high school and college students actually used to take notes before smartphones and laptops became so popular.

Talk about profound changes. Not only are the physical tools different in the field of education, but also traditional practices and theories are being challenged and transformed. For decades, students sat in neat rows, obediently scribbling notes as teachers lectured from the front of a classroom. Passive learning – most educational professionals now agree – is the least effective way of disseminating information, particularly as attention spans grow shorter and shorter. Memorization still has its place, but the general consensus is that young people must develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

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In today’s world, convenience, in any form, is paramount. That is especially true when it comes to reading. Nothing is more convenient than purchasing and reading a book, whether paper or on a screen. Currently, half of the US is in possession of a handheld device capable of being used as an e-reader (iPad, Kindle, Nook, even apps via phones, etc.). Electronic reading continues to grow in popularity because readers enjoy the simplicity of purchasing books, lighted reading at nighttime, and the ease of traveling with a large number of digital books, without the muscle strain. As the technology improves, expect to see more and more readers turn to the world of electronic reading.

Learn more about the rise of e-readers with our infograph…

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shutterstock_152288732

Doug McMillon, the newly appointed chief executive of global megastore Wal-Mart, recently met with the company’s top execs, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. We’re not sure exactly what the meeting entailed, but we do know that it ended with a surprising assignment from McMillon: they were all told to read The Everything Store, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s book that depicts the rise of the company’s early days where it was run out of a garage, to its current standing as a leading global retailer.

It might seem strange, but in The Everything Store, Bezos reveals that the Wal-Mart business model was something he frequently referred to when developing a plan of attack for growing his online retailor. So McMillon’s thoughts? For a company that has seen five consecutive negative quarters of sales in the U.S., the executive team had to come up with a different strategy; why not learn from someone that successfully learned from their own company so many years ago?

In a manner of speaking, they had to look back to Amazon’s earlier days and, instead of thinking for the next (literally) big thing—i.e. expanding the company’s megastore presence—the real solution may actually be to think on a smaller scale…dial it back, so to speak. They need to look into developing convenience stores, modest-sized grocery stores and even freestanding liquor stores.

The company also readjusted its pricing schematics for its online sales. Whereas in the past, it maintained its low prices guarantee, it was decided to keep that limited to the brick and mortar stores, while the website would take on the Amazon model, with prices that fluctuate based on the market competition.

It’s a smart move on Wal-Mart’s part to make it a priority to study its competitors in the wake of slowing sales and the need to come up with a solution, and a practice we feel all business professionals should be on top of. If you want to check out The Everything Store and see why it is such a compelling read, you can find a summary of the book here.