Learning Culture

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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.

With mobile technology on the rise, more and more people listen to audio summaries on the go. Whether you are commuting to work by train, car or any other mode of transportation, getAbstract’s mobile solution empowers you to make your commute a meaningful enjoyable experience.

Audio Summary Suggestions: Listen on the Go!

Getabstract has an app for all popular devices including:

BlackBerry iPhone
iPad Android
Amazon Kindle Sony Reader
Nook Windows Phone

If you have not experienced our audio summaries yet, here are a few simple steps that will allow you to browse and stream our audio summaries:

  • Download the getAbstract app.
  • Sign in using your account credentials.
  • Go to settings and select the Audio Only option.
  • Start browsing.
  • Select a title.
  • Click on the audio icon to start streaming.

We have three recommendations that are guaranteed to make your next commute a lot more entertaining:

1. “Überpreneurs” by Peter Andrews and Fiona Wood

Überpreneurs are heroes who work to solve the world’s greatest problems and improve the lives of millions. Among those thought leaders are Mo Ibrahim, Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon, Bill Gates – from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, James Oliver (“The Naked Chef”), and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus.

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Thin-Slicing: The Evolution of E-Learning Tools

E-learning tools, which took off in the 90s—to the extent that companies collectively spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the software in 1999—are in need of revamping. Companies that use these tools realized—and are continuing to realize—that, despite the amount of money they spend on the software, intended to help their employees grow by taking advantage of these self-paced tools, only 25 percent even log into the services. Not only that, they only do so on an average of 1.6 times every year.

The reason the original e-learning tools are ineffective is simple: our brains are quickly being modified due to our everyday use of the Internet. The older tools typically had modules that took, on average, 60–90 minutes to complete. Plus, they delivered linear, logical and completely self-directed content. But our brains are wired to absorb information as though it is given to use in a similar fashion to a Google search. We want information condensed and to the point. And we don’t want any extra; tell us what we’re asking for, and please don’t stray off topic.

This type of thinking, coined “thin-sliced learning” by Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, public speaker and author, is the method that needs to be applied to successful e-learning platforms. When learning is incomplete, there is room left for coaching and collaboration. By 2020, 50 percent of all workforce will be Millennials so the importance of adapting to accommodate our evolving brains is essential for the success of any business.

It can be all too easy for leaders to settle into familiar patterns and habits over the years. But if you haven’t looked up from your hectic schedule and evaluated areas where you could stand to improve, you might be stuck in a leadership rut. So even if you’re wary of personal New Year’s resolutions, consider entering 2014 with a focus on leadership resolutions that can strengthen your entire organization.

Refine Your Leadership Focus in 2014

Forbes shares four common pain points that leaders often struggle with: becoming more thoughtful, focusing on employee benefits, transforming talent recruitment and investing in continuing education. These measures not only address frequently overlooked areas, but they directly drive improvements in employee satisfaction and retention rates, which can, in turn, fuel organizational stability and long-term success. To learn more about these four leadership resolutions, read the full article here

“If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them” (Forbes.com)

Why do corporations invest in Leadership Development Programs?

Organizations implement leadership programs to expand their employees’ competencies, skills and abilities to execute current and future business objectives. A development program should teach leaders to drive performance effectively and to help their teams excel.


Five Levels of Measurement for Evaluating a Leadership Development Program

Your corporate goal is to build a pool of talented people who can lead your workforce and who can generate business improvement, innovation and profits.

Great leaders gain a lot of their knowledge by accumulating years of experience, but good organizations accelerate their leaders’ professional growth by investing in programs that develop their skills. Of course, human resource senior managers need to know how to plan their companies’ leadership development efforts and how to measure, track and evaluate how well each programming investment meets its goals.

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Twitter can be a valuable tool for gathering up-to-the-minute collective intelligence and ideas from experts, leaders and conceptualizers. Indeed, the social media platform has changed enormously how we collect and collate information by directly connecting us to the innovators and industry leaders of our day. Our personal commentary on news, insights and trends is thereby not only reliable but immediate and efficient, too. Indeed, one of Twitter’s leading benefits—over any other social media platform currently available to us—is that it enables us, both as business people and individuals, to network with—and learn from—others.

The Top 10 Businesss Leaders to Follow on Twitter

Indeed “business leaders who truly embrace the concept of sharing and helping are worth following,” says Peter Shankman, who is globally recognized for his alternative thinking regarding marketing and social media, and features on our list of top 10 business leaders to follow on Twitter. “They’re few and far between,” he continues, “but the ones who understand that there’s tremendous benefit in sharing their knowledge, not only for the good of all mankind, but financially and revenue-wise as well, they’re the smart ones, they’re the ones worth following and retweeting.”

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A corporate environment gives life to the words ‘daily grind.’ Weekly schedules and looming deadlines can begin to take their toll on the productivity and sanity of the team, and a company meeting that drags on in endless disinterest and boredom can ruin any chances for creativity that may have previously been brewing. One-sided conversations will lead to doodling and general sleepiness, and the meeting will conclude without moving any issue forward or allowing new innovations to be voiced.

15 Creative Ideas for More Productive Meetings

However, a meeting is a real chance for the team to collaborate and create new strategies and goals, so a meeting lacking in creativity is nothing but a missed opportunity for a business.

Employees zone out during meetings for a variety of reasons, the primary reasons including:

  • “This meeting doesn’t really apply to me.”
  • “I’m not prepared, so I’ll just listen.”
  • “What is the point of this meeting?”
  • “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be getting from this.”
  • “This is wasting my time. Nothing is being decided.”
  • “Wasn’t this called a brainstorming meeting? No one is talking but our boss.”
  • “This meeting seems to be nothing but complaining.”

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