Workforce Development

Joseph F. Bastian
President, The Human Performance Network

Workforce Development Workforce Development offers a variety of solutions for unemployed workers while highlighting professional opportunities for expanding skill sets.


The Growing Visualization of Our Culture


It’s a stark reality that, as a culture, we are becoming less literate. But book lovers and avid readers should not be disheartened. As the National Education Association has pointed out, “Western civilization has become more dependent than ever on visual culture, visual artifacts, and visual communication as a mode of discourse and a means of developing a social and cultural identity.”

This is a compelling statement, adding to the evidence that suggests that people not only communicate visually more than ever, they also communicate better when they communicate visually. There is hard scientific data that shows a direct correlation between seeing and remembering.

...

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The Growing Visualization of Our Culture


It’s a stark reality that as a culture, we are becoming less literate. But book lovers and avid readers should not be disheartened. As the National Education Association has pointed out, “Western civilization has become more dependent than ever on visual culture, visual artifacts, and visual communication as a mode of discourse and a means of developing a social and cultural identity.”

This is a compelling statement, adding to the evidence that suggests that people not only communicate visually more than ever, they also communicate better when they communicate visually. There is hard scientific data that shows a direct correlation between seeing and remembering.

In a Hewlett-Packard research document, ...

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A New Cultural Movement Rises From Detroit


Like the ancient legend of the phoenix who is consumed by fire and rises again from its own ashes, Detroit is poised for a new cultural revolution. In fact, it’s already here and happening.

Typically, after a region is decimated by war, conflict, or economic turmoil, it looks to its past for the legends and legacies that will serve as a solid platform for rebirth and renewal. In Detroit, we can see signs of this resurrection in our changing landscape, and in our art, literature, and the dialogue being shared around the region and with the rest of the world.

The talk about Detroit has changed. The Cryptofolk Movement has begun.

The term “Cryptofolk” is ...

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Assembling Your Dream Team – What to Look For


It’s almost the end of the year. You’ve just been assigned a major project that will have global impact and visibility in 2014. You’re in charge and everyone is counting on you. The first thing you’ll have to do is assemble a Dream Team that can knock this project out of the park.

So, where do you start?

Don Fornes of Softwareadvice.com came up with four distinct psychological profiles for assembling the best and brightest. These are the types of personalities you should be looking for to make your project a success:
• Giver
• Champ (with a Chip)
• Matrix Thinker
• Savant

Here are the positive traits of your new team, as ...

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Who Do You Think You Are?


Whether we are in the beginning of our professional careers or have been at it for many years, we are all in a constant state of building our professional reputations. Savvy, career-minded people are vigilant about how they portray themselves in the business world. This is often called building your own personal brand.

Adii Pienaar is the author of Branding, a Practical Guide to Content Strategy and Branding for Business. In his book, he talks about simple ways in which you can take a process-driven approach toward building up your professional identity. One of the quotes from the book that stuck in my head was, “Anything you do is everything you do.” This means that in business, all of your activities impact ...

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Miami Dolphins: Propagating Evil in the Workplace?


The Miami Dolphins organization has been all over the news lately. We see headlines that raise questions about bullying, hazing, harassment, workplace safety, poor leadership, and even extortion.

Everyone is asking how a 300 pound NFL offensive lineman could be bullied and harassed into leaving the team with emotional issues? Some reports confirm that he was targeted as a player who needed to be “toughened up” by the Dolphins players and staff.

All of this discussion and rhetoric speaks directly to work culture and an organization that’s lost its way. When a Stanford-educated, strong, young professional athlete feels threatened by his own teammates and coaching staff, there is something evil ...

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Lessons from a TedX Speaker


It’s been just over a week since I spoke at the TedX Conference at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. Today, my knees are still a little wobbly but I’m still standing.

For those of you that have spoken or attended a Ted Talk, you know that there is high energy and high expectations from both the audience and the fellow speakers. I have never before — nor may ever again — felt such pressure to perform. Everyone was always encouraging, but the unspoken mantra was “Be Great or Go Home.” I’m still not quite sure how I fared, maybe somewhere between “Crash-and-Burn” and Simon Cowell putting me through to the next round.

I have to admit, I had little idea of what ...

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A Story Well Told


As I prepare to give a Ted X presentation on the Power of Storytelling, I’m amazed at how much we use stories in our lives. Whether we are talking among friends or giving a formal business presentation, stories provide us with a vehicle for communicating complex thoughts and ideas.

What’s more is that through stories, we are able to connect with people in ways that are beyond our imagination. There is something that we all share in common — we are all human. As human beings we share common feelings, emotions, actions, and reactions. A good story taps into these things that make us uniquely human, creating empathy and understanding beyond just words, plots, and storylines.

I remember seeing an interview with Peter Bogdonavich, ...

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Diversifying Your Network Not Easy, But Important


I was at a book signing this week for a good friend who’d written a book for young professionals just entering the business world.

What struck me was his ability to make his literary work less about himself and more about the people that were a part of his professional career. During his presentation, he called up myriad people from all walks of life that had supported him throughout his career.

It made me think about how important it is to consciously develop a diverse network of people as you build your career. It’s human nature to flock toward the people with which we have common interests. It’s much harder to extend ourselves far beyond our inner circle to connect with people who don’t seem ...

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From Vision to Reality: Big Ideas Require Collaboration


It takes only one visionary to come up with a great idea, but it takes many talented people to bring that idea into reality. It sounds almost counter-intuitive but it’s true. Historically, most inventors never make money on their inventions. Thomas Edison was one of the few and that was because he was not only a visionary, but a savvy businessman as well. He knew how to build a team and collaborate.
Dan Sanker author of the book, Collaborate: The Art of We, points out that for a collaboration to be successful, there are 11 elements that must come together. They are:

Ongoing Communication: People need to be able to talk to one another freely and regularly. Groups that do not have this kind of interaction are nothing ...

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The Good and the Bad of Flocking Together


There is an old idiom that says “birds of a feather flock together.” This statement is based upon the belief that people with similar interests and goals usually gravitate toward one another. There is probably a lot of truth to this statement, but I wonder what the effects are when like minds gather together.

Some other people have been wondering about this as well. In 2011, Josh Lerner, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Ulrike M. Malmendier from UC Berkeley published With a Little Help from My (Random) Friends: Success and Failure in Post-Business School Entrepreneurship.

The study focuses key factors that make or break entrepreneurs in business. It took advantage of the fact that the Harvard Business School is ...

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The Conversation Prism and Social Media Madness


I’m sure this will make me sound like a dinosaur, but I can remember when the way we communicated came from only four sources — word-of-mouth, radio, television, and print. Those days are long gone.

I recently came across the Conversation Prism, created by Brian Solis and JESS3. The Conversation Prism is a compelling graphic that gives you a whole view of the communication universe, categorized and also organized by how people use each network.

The creators update the prism often, deleting the “dead planets and stars” from the universe and adding new ones as they are created.

It’s very intimidating just to look at the Conversation Prism — see for yourself (Read more | Comments comments



The Process is Sound but Nobody’s Listening


It happens all of the time. What looks so strategic, so innovative and logical on paper falls flat on its face in implementation. Despite the best-laid plans, people have a way of screwing things up.

If you’re a project planner, these are the emotions that you’re confronted with way too often. The main reason for many project flops comes from the omission of a single, key component — the Human Factor.

In technical terms, human factors (or ergonomics) is a discipline of study that deals with human-machine interface. Human factors deals with the psychological, social, physical, biological and safety characteristics of a user and the system the user is in. It may be shocking to learn that less than 20 percent of global businesses ...

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Finding Balance in What We 'Have' to Do and What We 'Want' to Do


In the early 1900s in New York City, an artist community began growing in Greenwich Village. As more and more immigrants flooded into the city, so did a large group of artists, writers, and innovators.

These creative people were more than willing to practice their craft in this land of opportunity, however, what they soon discovered was that most people didn’t need a painting or sculpture or sonnet written for them. So, these creatives took on jobs as magazine writers, advertising illustrators, and construction workers. When they were among their other artist friends, they spoke of their work as either “commercial” or “personal.” These terms were related to either billable projects that earned the artists money or creative ...

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Finding Balance in What We 'Have' to Do and What We 'Want' to Do


In the early 1900s in New York City, an artist community began growing in Greenwich Village. As more and more immigrants flooded into the city, so did a large group of artists, writers and innovators.

These creative people were more than willing to practice their craft in this land of opportunity, however, what they soon discovered was that most people didn’t need a painting or sculpture or sonnet written for them. So, these creatives took on jobs as magazine writers, advertising illustrators, and construction workers. When they were among their other artist friends, they spoke of their work as either “commercial” or “personal.” These terms were related to either billable projects that earned the ...

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Personalized Learning Without People?


One of the greatest ironies of useful technology is that the more we interact with it, the less we seem to interact with each other. One of the latest trends in education is adaptive learning. This concept is based upon emerging technologies that allow learning content to adapt, based upon the response of the student or participant. This technology also tracks learning performance over time, creating a dynamic profile of learner trends and progress.

In Time magazine (June 17) , one of its articles entitled, “‘A’ is for Adaptive, " highlights how rapidly adaptive learning tools are being developed to transform education around the world. The article says:

“It's impossible to provide one-to-one teaching on a ...

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Curators: Information Management in the Digital Age


We’ve long since passed the point where any single person can manage all of the information that comes at them in a single day. There’s also a great fear that technology is taking over and pushing out the human element in education and workforce development.

I remember when I was working with Ford Motor Co. and implementing web-based learning. Many of the technical instructors expressed fear (and anger) that they were being replaced with faceless online courses. What was being lost was the personal expertise and resident knowledge that each instructor possessed.

Now, if we fast forward to the present day, we see that things are coming full circle.Technology is catching up with the amount of information that’s currently available ...

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The Unaware Mentor


Some of the people that have had the greatest impact on my career may not even know it. I’m sure that at some time in your life, you’ve been provided with quiet guidance by someone who you respected, looked up to and felt comfortable sharing your personal challenges. Though you both may not have been thinking about it at the time, you were entering into a mentoring period of your lives.

Some mentoring is part of a formal organizational program, where the roles responsibilities of the mentor and mentee are clearly defined. There are specific goals and objectives that are set within a specified period of time. Outside of formal mentoring programs, we often seek out others that take on a mentoring role to guide us through problems and issues we may ...

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A Mixed Bag: Detroit’s Small Business Market


For the past few years, Detroit has been touting its friendliness toward entrepreneurs and small businesses. But recent data shows that the city could be doing a better job at attracting new industries into the region.

Thumbtack.com partnered with the Kauffman Foundation and just released their annual study on small business friendliness. The rankings are based on a survey of more than 7,700 small business owners nationwide, like photographers, plumbers, and graphic designers.

Here is how Detroit and Michigan fared:
 

It’s Lonely (and Scary) at the Top


Being a leader has always been a difficult role. The very nature of leadership demands that you guide others along a path that is often uncharted, risky, and rife with unseen pitfalls. In today’s business climate, leaders are faced with even more uncertainty and change.

Stacy Philpot, a senior partner at Pivot, a leadership consultancy, noted that:

“Most companies now struggle to deal with technological innovations that are putting the foundation of their industries at risk. Technology, media, and retail are only the beginning. The reality is that the shelf life of any business model is shorter than ever before… Disruption, change, and uncertainty demand strong emotional connections between leaders and followers. Yet today ...

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