Archive for the ‘4000_Leadership Development’ Category

What Corporate Learning & Development can learn from Education Hackers and Employees?

October 6, 2015

My interview with the CEO Nicole Le Maire of NewtoHR on education hacking versus corporate learning?

If you would have asked me about Education Hacking a year ago, I would have probably called your HR Manager and informed the internal security department to have your user account locked. By that time I had seen headlines like: “Teen Used Smartphone, Hacked Department of Education And School To Change Grades” or “Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy”.

My perspective totally changed when I attended the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Learning How to Learn” The course leader Dr. Barbara Oakley from the University of California introduced two so-called education hackers.

The first, Scott H. Young, was able to complete a 4 years degree program in Computer Sciences at MIT in just 12 months. Scott used the open education resources (OER) from MIT to achieve this amazing result while spending only 2000 USD overall.

The other, Benny Lewis, learned with the help of the internet to become fluent in a new language in just 3 months and was able to do this at a much lower  cost compared to the traditional language acquisition programs.

In this context the term Education Hacking stands for the self-directed search for a smarter and faster way to education, for personal but also for professional skills.

I was intrigued by these astonishing results and set out to use these freely available resources and tools myself. To my surprise after only 2 months and less than 32 hours of net learning time I was able to read my first book in Chinese. After 7 months I knew more than 2000 Chinese characters and was reading my first newspaper article in Chinese.

When I talked with colleagues and employees about my amazing findings I was quite surprised to hear that most of them were already using all these freely available high quality education resources for their own professional development.

As a large number of academic institutions around the globe, as well as large corporations and startups provide more and more of such educational resources the number of employees who turn into independent learners continuously increases.

What does this new trend in employee education mean for the corporate learning & development organization and for professionals working in this area?

Before I go deeper into this topic let`s start by looking at how it all began.

(Title Picture: Creative Commons License Mozilla in Europe Hack-a-Thon

1.    Open Education Resources (OER) – a global movement

One of the main initiators of this OER movement and also one of the forerunners in the academic area was the MIT in Boston with its OpenCourseware project started in 2002. Even though it got a lot of media attention and by 2006 more than 61% of non-US users were accessing it, there was no noticeable attraction for employees. Two things happening from 2004 onwards gave this whole movement a new push.

The first was Salman Khan who published short lessons on K12 mathematic topics on YouTube for his nephews to use in 2005. These short videos attracted more and more viewers over time because parents and children were looking for easy to understand learning resources. Soon the number of viewers surpassed the 100 Million mark. Khan then decided to establish the Khan Academy in 2012.

Khan also influenced Sebastian Thrun at Stanford University to open up the class on Artificial Intelligence to everyone with access to the web. In 2012 Thrun used a similar technology and offered the same instruction online as to his class students. Thrun was surprised and overwhelmed by an online audience of more than 160 000 students worldwide who had signed up. The new term MOOC* for Massive Open Online Course was coined.

This overwhelming success took all the leading universities by surprise and let to a change in mindset. They now fully embraced the idea of open free education resources and started to offer more and more MOOCs. By 2015 there were over 4000 courses available. Additionally this movement was supported by venture capital financing Udacity led by Sebastian Thrun, Coursera and others. These startups provide services for creating MOOCs to universities. In addition aggregators are now providing platforms for an efficient search and easy access to these OER.

Besides MOOCs a lot of investments were made in the area of foreign language acquisition in the recent years. There are several language exchange platforms for people free to use. All they need is internet access and Skype. Online spaced repetition tools help to memorize vocabularies more effectively. And other platforms allow people to correct each other’s written sentences in a foreign language. Last but not least there are now a number of mobile apps available. Almost all of these tools are free and support a specific area of language acquisition, either in the domain of speaking, listening, writing, reading or understanding. What makes them now so attractive to users is the application of the latest research in gamification, social learning and neurosciences.

Clearly this movement has staying power and it will rather increase than decrease over the next years to come.

* Additional Remark: Depending on the view the first MOOCs were actually created and offered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens in 2008 or by Alison in 2007.  

1.1.                   The Impact on Learners

The biggest impact on learners is the democratization of education and the free access to high quality resources. A large part of the offers in the beginning was oriented on personal skills, school topics or academic fields. But the variety of topics in the curricula of MOOC providers is growing. Innovative new content is available faster and large MOOC platforms and OER aggregators make the search and access quite easy. Further new courses target now education of people working in jobs. To give you an example the aggregator class central lists at least 6 MOOCs in the top 10 most popular MOOCs in 2014 that are also relevant for professional development:

1.2.                   The Impact on Corporate Learning & Development

After having a sound education base like a degree or a vocational training certificate employees turn to these new education resources for closing skill gaps or acquiring more knowledge and skills. Often they do it without consulting with their supervisors or HR departments. This can have many reasons. Maybe the internet use policy of the firm allows the use of the internet also for private matters, or because it is generally free and no approval is required or the employees just think that their supervisor or HR departments lack the understanding.

Will thus corporate learning & development departments have to face competition from the internet now?

The answer is yes, but it depends on the view of the corporate learning & development department. Do they see OER as another opportunity to embrace or do they see it as a threat in becoming less important to the development of their workforce?

Let’s look at the benefits first.


One clear benefit that I see is the effectiveness of these tools. People can learn faster and at a much lower cost. They have access to topics that corporate learning & development could not provide on demand and in such a variety. The topics range from soft skills to business acumen to language acquisition. Here lies an opportunity even during periods of economic downturn to engage the workforce by allowing them the freedom to use free available resources on the internet for their development.

Coursera and Udacity are targeting now continuous education for people already at work. They offer so-called Nanodegrees. While attending their online courses is still free, people have to pay for the degree. This is their business model. Facebook and Google honor these nanodegrees. You can say their corporate learning & development organizations have truly embraced this new opportunity.

As it is still early days there are issues to face. For some of them there is a resolution already emerging.


A basic issue is the required internet access. There is a substantial number of companies where users have no or very limited internet access at the workplace.

The misuse of working time for private development with no direct benefit to the company can also become a challenge.

Another key problem of OER is the assurance of their suitability and quality.

Here a resolution is emerging. Renowned providers, quality labels and acknowledged certificates that can be earned are providing a first rating. In addition the social component like openly available user feedbacks and ratings can help.

The recognition of the competencies acquired by people using OER is also something to resolve. Tracking and documentation of OER is not as easy as progress and completions are only tracked within a provider’s platform and no official standard for documentation exists. Public cross-provider LRS (Learning Record Stores) are an answer for this – the first solutions are emerging in the US and more will follow in the near future, also in Europe.

And last but not least the sustainability and ongoing availability of an OER can be a risk. A substantial number of OER come from academic or non-profit organization where funding is not always assured and is a critical topic.


As OER are often focusing on more generic topics in employee development the need to offer these topics by corporate learning & development will surely decrease in the near future. This is an opportunity for corporate training departments to increasingly focus their efforts on strategic, regulatory and other corporate specific topics.

If education becomes more self-driven the people working in corporate learning & development currently handling more generic topics can be freed up in the near future. I will see a shift in responsibilities of the corporate learning function. Their role will include aspects like coaching employees to find the right learning strategy for their employees and evaluating or curating content with users to identify and get access to suitable OER for their development.

Additionally people still need guidance on how to effectively learn and how to best use the internet for learning. Here the corporate learning & development department could offer guidance and workshops for their employees.

Further they could organize an online community on continuous learning on their intranets or if available in their internal social networking platforms for their employees.

Last but not least they should revisit their learning & development policies. What is the acceptable use for the company of these OER resources? Do people need approval from their line manager or their team? What is the freedom of choice? What will they officially support, which degrees will they honor and from whom they expect to use this new type of learning?

Some companies might go as far as giving employee’s unlimited time at work to learn under the condition that they still deliver on their tasks. This is similar to what some silicon companies like Netflix or Virgin offer their employees in the area of time off. They give unlimited paid vacation time to their employees under the condition that they still deliver on their tasks and have an agreement with their team members and supervisor for cover.

To enable the use of OER in the organization the corporate learning & development departments will of course have to familiarize themselves with the specifics of OER and their application. You will find a list of links at the bottom of this post. A good start e.g. is the MOOC on Learning How To Learn.

2.    Conclusion

There is a huge shift from in-house training to the internet and from guided learning to more self-directed learning by our employees. Something that will not go unnoticed by the corporate learning & development departments even though it is early days and even though there are still a number of issues to be tackled.

Education Hackers have shown to an highly interested mass audience that you can accelerate your learning and professional development with the help of OERs. More and more employees are turning to these resources in order to take the initiative of their own development in their own hands.

If people in corporate learning & development see OER as a threat and deny employees the use of these resources for their development, they will in the near future lose the trust of line management and employees.

At least it is now the time for people in corporate learning to familiarize themselves with these new available opportunities.

Have you recently used a YouTube video to learn a specific technique?

Have you searched for MOCCs or other open educational resources lately?

Have you enrolled in a MOOC with a topic relevant to your personal skills in the last weeks?

If you answer one or two of these questions with yes you are on the way to become an education hacker yourself and a trusted source for your employees.

2.1.                   Steps forward

For those not yet familiar with OER and / or MOOCs the best way forward is to try it yourself. There are OER on a variety of topics related to the jobs of learning professionals and HR or training departments.

Corporate Learning 2.0:

Flipped Classroom: :

Dynamic Educators:

Learning How to Learn:

If you are interested in gaining more insight or already convinced that OER is something you want to use please look at the following offers:

Whitepaper on Use of OER

A whitepaper with tips and tricks of the different resources and tools and how to use them within your company will be available shortly. Please connect with me on LinkedIn: or on Xing: or leave your email in this Google form:

“Education Hacking” Workshop

Additionally a two days pilot workshop on Education Hacking is planned. It will address how to be a more effective learner and how to best use OER and other tools in a corporate environment. With this knowledge you will be able to coach your employees or provide a similar workshop in-house or online to your employees. If you want to get more information or participate in it please click here

The final step could be to search for OER to recommend to learners in your organization or even to integrate in your internal offers. Please find some selected links below.

At this point I’d like to thank Leopold Kause from DidacDesign for his expertise provided on OER, his other valuable contributions and the review of the article.

About me: My vision is to build a truly integrated HR in the cloud and leverage the cloud for learning.

I will give a keynote  speech at on 17.09.2015 at the HR exhibition Zukunft Personal in Cologne on Education Hacking vs. Corporate Learning.

3.    Links and Resources

Generic links:


Beispiele (in Deutsch):

Non-profit examples:

Non-Profit Beispiele (in Deutsch):

Aggregator examples:

Aggregator-Beispiele (in Deutsch):

MOOCs über MOOCs oder OER (in Deutsch):

OER-Award in Deutsch:

All links have been accessed and verified on September 2, 2015.


Is Overcoming Change Resistance Really the Key in Change Management?

August 22, 2013

Lately I was even more involved in Change Management than usual. But the more I am involved in it the more I doubt the current focus.

Over the last 20 years the main item “we” talked about was how to overcome the change inertia, the resistance, how to create a burning platform, how to communicate to resistant people in the organization and how to get them to embrace the change ?

But just take an example from private life.
How many people with a burning platform about their current weight fail in dieting ?
According to statistics up to 90% of the personal weight change management initiatives eventually fail.

 Recently I came about a 3 years study on Change which sheds a new light on change management:

The Research Study
On the Outs: Learning Styles, Resistance to Change, and Teacher Retention (2009)

This study included 237 elementary and middle school teachers and the change was about implementing an intensive school wide technology and media integration model in schools  .

MBTI (Myers Brigg Type Indicator) was used to identify the Learning Style of the teacher and Oreg’s RTC (Resistance to Change) Scale was used to measure the Change Resistance of the individual before the start of the change initiative.

Impact on Retention: It was not the resistance to change that was key in teachers attrition but instead their Learning Style was the key indicator. Teachers with the ST (Sensing-Thinking) learning style were three times more likely to leave their schools compared to teacher with other learning styles.

How to address the challenge of Sensing Thinking (ST) Individuals in Change see the full research paper (second link below).

Please find more detail on the research here:

The full research paper is here:

Would love to hear your thoughts.

List of Free Online Education

January 9, 2012

Update No. 9: 12. January.2015

An excellent overview of more than 800 MOOC from various providers can be found at

Stanford:  (Certificate of attendance from professors but not Stanford). Additional certification with credits at German university ( Prof. Wolfram Burgard at the University of Freiburg! many international Universities accept such a certificate)
Other free classes at Stanford Engineering.
This course is now offered via udacity:

Free Courses from worldclass universities by Coursera –

Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT: (Certificate of attendance not from MIT) EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

FutureLearn: 23 British Universities will offer free online MOOCs

Academic Earth:

Khan Academy: (K12 Education)

Salman Khan actually inspired the Udacity founders to offer a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in 2010.


The Open University Learning space (600 free courses also with credits): See Credit Accumulation and Transfer  scheme (CATS): (Remark: Can be transfered into ECTS)

Udemy: (free courses available not all) – I have started a free course myself:

Skillshare is a similar to Udemy. Most courses charge enrollment fees:

Lore is another type of plattform to create free online courses. The focus of this plattform is on the community and the social networking between students.

Coursites by Blackboard is another free web-based course platform to attend courses or setup your own.

YouTube Edu:
Video Lectures online from reknown universities and other sources such as BBC.

Ted- Ideas Worth Spreading:
The latest in key research projects, findings and insights in less than 20 Minutes introduced in a compelling speech supported by presentations and media. Great resource to learn new things in any academic field.

Free online learning resources:

Open Learning Initiative:

Learning English Video Lectures:

Online College Classes:

Alison (Over 300 Free Online classes at Certificate or Diploma Level:

Any other university, organisation, instititution offering free education ?

A very well structured and very extinsive list at – Hacking your Education by Dale J. Stephens:

Recommended Further Reading:
How Free Online Courses Are Changing the Tradional Liberal Arts Education

Learning should be your top 2013 new years resolution

Related Link:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

In search of the best run companies, but once that you find them are they the next dinosaurs ?

December 1, 2011

Picture: Courtesy to Creative Comens.

The dinosaur as probably every kid by now knows were once the most mighty animals on the planet. Clearly when the conditions were right, they had the right strength. Once the conditions changed drastically they were not able to adapt.

In the 1980s, Tom Peters and Robert Watermann identified best performing companies but a decade later after the book was published 50% of these companies struggled which was way above the average rates of companies with performance problems.  (Reference: Edward Lawler, Christopher Worley: Built to Change, Page Preface XIV)

In the 1990s James Collins and Jerry Porras came up with a list of best performing companies in their book “Built to last”. Well guess what, a decade later 50% of those companies were struggling. Again way above market average. (Reference: Edward Lawler, Christopher Worley: Built to Change, Page Preface XIV)

You do not have to be a clairvoyant to predict what happened to the list of outperforming companies in the book “Good to Great” authored by Jim Collins and published at the beginning of 2001. Here as well over 50% of those companies struggled a decade later while market average was 30% of companies underperforming.

So what is the list for 2011  ?

Conclusion: If you take the three lists and look which companies are left and additionally list all the performance attributes that were revealed in these books you will have the list of dinosauric behaviour, the list of unsustainable performance.

It almost seems a rule of thumb. Each time the new role models of best run business emerge

Chinese Western Management Concept – how to bring two concepts together 中国的西方管理理念 – 如何将两个概念放在一起

October 18, 2011

This post is for all those who intensively now work with China or will do so in the future. At first it seems that the western and Chinese concepts do not match and thus it appears that one will never understand the thinking of their counterparts in China. With this post I will try to help build a bridge between the western and chinese thinking in the hope that this will allow you the reader to translate your concepts or strategies into the chinese thinking.

The first concept one will encounter is usally the Ying and Yang principal forces. These forces will bring forth the five Elements. These two concepts are the foundation of all ancient Chinese science. It will be mainly known to the western world in the form of the traditional Chineses Medicine or Feng Shui.
A very good introduction to the Chinese science concepts can be found in Joseph Needham:  Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 7, The Social Background; Part 1, Language and Logic in Traditional China or by Chao-Chuan Chen: Leadership and Management in China: Philosophies, Theories, and Practices

Image: Yin and Yang and the Five Elements

In the five elements system there are two key relations between the elements. Mainly a nurturing relation which is the dominant relation. In this system there is water nurturing wood, wood to nurture the fire, fire to nurture the earth element and so on. Additionally there is a control relation. Metall is controlling the wood, the wood is controlling the earth, the earth the water, etc.

The best suitable western concept in Management for helping to bridge the gap between western and chinese thinking is based on the Malik Management System. Fredmund Malik developed this system over many years. It is based on the St. Galler Systems Management modell by Alois Gälweiler, Hans Ulrich und Walter Krieg, the works on  management cybernetics of Stafford Beer and on the world leading research into Management by Peter Drucker. For a deeper understanding I would recommend Fredmund Malik:
Management: The Essence of the Craft (Management: Mastering Complexity)

For this Management System Fredmund Malik uses the systemic relations between Corporate Policy and Governance, Strategy, Structure, Culture and Executives.

Based on his works it is possible to bring the Chinese Concept of the Five Elements together with the Fredmund Malik’s systemic relations of his Management System.

Image: Systemic Relations in the Malik Management System aligned to the Five Elements concept

Now what is so intriguing about it is that the business tools that are used in a modern western coorperation can now be translated over the holistic system approach developed by Fredmund Malik into the Chinese thinking. And maybe it will lead to even to more new discoveries in this area.

Let me give you an example on how to merge the two systems:
Usually when a Chinese would use the five elements to diagnose a system he would look at the imbalances of Yin and Yang within the Five Elements. A diagnosis as an example would sound like: “There is excess heat in the wood element and a coldness in the metal element”. To translate this back with the help of the Malik Management Systems it would show that there is an uncontrolled situation in the strategy area and a weakness in the Corporate Policies and Governance space.

How would one now remedy this situation and use the language of both concepts ?
A Chinese System expert would look not only at the elements out of control but also see what interelations in the system are causing the imbalance in these two elements. He might not only address the excess heat in the wood element but also check if the metall element should be strengthened to increase the control of the wood element.
He would actually look at the two fundamental forces Yin and Yang within each of these elements to see the best intervention points to stablize and rebalance the system.
A very good insight in how this system is applied is in the works of Manfred Porkert : Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine: Systems of Correspondence (Asian Science Series: No. 3)

To translate this back into a western concept it would require to go one level deeper in the management system of Fredmund Malik and add the related yin and the yang components. The system would look like this (The Yin comp0nent on the left in each element and the yang component on the right. Example the Element Structure now contains the Yin Component structure and the yang component process).

Image:  The Malik Management System translated by the author into the Five Elements and the Yin and Yang concept. Please be aware that Fredmund Malik did not structure his system in such a way, but based on his works the author deducted this graphical representation.

Depending on the findings, the interdependencies that led to the imbalance in the first place there are several ways to stabilize the system. One example of such solution could be to strengthen the managment (Yang) component in the Executives element by upskilling the executives in strategic thinking and execution and thus getting a control over the excess in the strategy element. It does not stop to additionally have an intervention in the strategy element by organizing a vision workshop, etc.

This is a likely bridge to bring the western and chinese concepts togehter. As seen in the examples above a system needs to be carefully analysed on the sublevels before translating this into a common concept.

One more concept that often is used in China is the qi concept. It is the result of how yin and yang forces are balanced among the five elements and how well the energy is flowing between the elements. Heike Bruch at the HSG St.  Gallen has done research on organisational energy and how it is influenced. A good read is Heike Bruch: Fully Charged: How Great Leaders Boost Their Organization’s Energy and Ignite High Performance
Now with these combined chinese western management system of Malik one has a great tool to analyse and direct the organisational energy.

Always happy to discuss further. This was just a high level introduction.

Further Readings:
What to look for in Chinese Management Studies

Related Posts:
Chinese Economic System (Modell) vs. the Laissez-Faire Anglo-Saxon Economic Modell

Top quotes from the visionary leader Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011

The role model for New Business Development is without doubt Steve Jobs and his biogrphy is now avialable Steve Jobs
. Here are some of his top inspirational quotes and they might help to guide you in your visionary journey:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life”. (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: CNBC

“Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarassement or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: CNBC

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: CNBC

“You’ve got to find what you love”. (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out.”  (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. ” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”  (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.  (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

” Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“”If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”  (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” (Steve Jobs, Standford commmencement ceremony 2005). Reference: Stanford University

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Reference: BrainyQuote

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Reference: Brainy Quote

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” Reference: Brainy Quote

“To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, it requires a lot of disciplines.”  Reference: Brainy Quote

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” Reference: Wikiquote 

Related Posts:
Accelerating New Business Development through Talent Management
Examples of Failed Talent Management
Talent Management of High Potentials – Role Model Example

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language


Engagement and Nonfinancial Variables – what is the link ?

August 16, 2011

For the first time in history is a so called “knowledge worker” company (Apple) the most valued company in the world.

This intrigued me to a very, very brief pulse check (5 questions) on engagement and key nonfinancial variables as these two areas have a much higher impact on the value as well as business of such knowledge worker corporations.

So far the survey responses indicate already some very intersting relations between key nonfinancial variables and engagement.

Once you filled in the survey anonymously you will be able to see the results of the other responses and you can do your own analysis to which extend nonfinancial variables and engagement scores might relate to each other.

Link to survey:

Overview on Research on Potential Assessment and Leadership Transition

September 1, 2010

“After decades of research on managerial derailment, researchers have concluded that managers who derail often share similar charecteristics:
They tend to have limited self-awareness.
In particular, they are less likely than successful managers to be aware of
– their styles,
– their strength,
– their weaknesses.
Equally important, they tend to be unaware of how they are perceived by others.
Furthermore, managers who derail often overestimated their abilities and overrely on strengths that served them well in the past. Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 4

Sydney Finklestein, professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and author of the book Why Smart Executives Fail, explains that the highly successful executives he studied eventually failed “not because they couldn’t learn, but because they had learned one lesson too well.” By relying too much on a narrow skill set, they limited their ability to adapt when the environment changed and missed opportunities to learn different skills.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 4

Successful managers tend to have a more accurate understanding of their abilities (or may slightly underestimate their abiliteis), seek more feedback on their performance, invest more in continuous learning and self-improvement, and thus have a broader skill set that serves them well in a variety of situations.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 4

“In his book The New Rules: How to Succeed in Today’s Corporate World, Harvard Professor John Kotter descirbed his 20-year study of 115 members of  the Harvard Business School’s Class of 1974. He found “no possible correlation between their GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score and how they’re doing on the job in terms of income and responsibility.” “Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 4

Study of MBA graduates by Standford professor Charles O’Reilly and Jennifer Chatman. Conclusion: high GMAT Scores that are designed to measure people’s analytic cognitive abilities are an insufficient predictor of success. People who a personality characteristic called “conscientiousness” – a combination of how ambitious, efficient, hard-working, and dependable one is – in addition to high GMAT scores tend to be more likely than other MBA graduates to achieve higher salaries and promotions early in their careers.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 4

Robert Sternberg, IBM professor of psychology and education at Yale University reviewed decades of research desgined to understand how well performance on cognitive intelligence tests, such as IQ tests, predicts success on the job. He concluded, that performance on cognitive intelligence tests predicts only between 4 and 25 percent of the variation among people in their job performance.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 4 f.

“Yet the kind of intelligence that predicts how well you handle your job and your life in gerneral is based, in large part, on characteristics that are not assessed on standardized intelligence tests. After all, real-live problems are ambiguous, have mulitple solutions (each with assets and liabilities), and must be solved and implemented in large part through talents most commonly known as “street smarts” or what Sternberg calls “tacit knowledge”. These talents include the flexibility to deal with ambiguity, the ability to think creatively, the willingness to take calculated risks, the desire to learn and adapt, the ability to build mutually supportive relationships, and the resilience to persist and bounce back from failure when situations don’t go as planned.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 5

Researcher Carolyn Dweck and her colleagues found that people who believe that intelligence is fluid are more likely to be successful than people who believe intelligence is fixed. Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 5

“People who believe that intelligence is fixed tend to tie their self-worth (and possibly the worth of others) too closely to what they perceive to be their innate intelligence”. This leads to becoming overly concerned about looking smart. “They are less likely to take risks,…,less likely to engage in new skills and more likely to underestimate the power of learning, effort, and persistence.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 5

People who believe intelligence is fluid are “more likely to believe that learning new skills and putting in more effort will pay off, are more willing to aks seemingly “dumb” questions, are more likely to seek out feedback, are more likely to take risks, are more likely to cope well with failure, and are more likely to stay motivated and persist in the face of obstacles.”Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 5

If you would like to test your fluid intelligence here is a link to a free test:

What predicts success ?

“Conscientiousness and a belief that intelligence is fluid rather than fixed. People who are conscientious set high goals, are achievement oriented, focus on the task, work hard, and are dependable. People who believe that learning is fluid rather than fixed are more likely to take risks, learn new skills, persist when they face hurdles, and believe that effort will pay off. Other characteristics that predict success include proactivity, learning goal orientation, creative intelligence, pratical intelligence, emotional intelligence, and positive emotions. Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 9 f.

Researcher Lillian Eby and colleagues found that “people who are highly proactive are more likely than others to actively manage their careers, show political savvy, and take actions to influence their environment.”  Proactiveness “predicts professional success in areas such as salary, promotions, job performance, career satisfaction, and community involvement.” “They manage their careers by joining professional organizations, subscribing to industry trade journals to stay on top of trends and engaging in both self and environmental exploration on a continual basis, taking advantage of learning opportunities and stretch assignments within one’s organization, attending seminars and training, or going back to school to diversify one’s portfolio of skills” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 10

“Researchers [Schibert, Scott; Maria Kraimer; Michael Crank] have found that people who complain about the way things are without offering solutions and taking actions to remedy situations tend to receive fewer promotions and lower salaries.” Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 11

Research by Judge Timothy, Joyce Bono, Remus LLies, Megan Gerhardt 2002: “People high in conscientiousness are achievement-oriented, organized, disciplined, dependable, committed persistent, hard-working, and focused on getting the job done well…. it is most powerful when combined with a characteristic called agreeableness, also known als likability. Agreeableness is particulary important in jobs that require cooperation with others. People who are high agreeableness are viewed by their colleagures as helpful, cooperative, tolerant, flexible, generous, courteous, and socially competent. … people who are high on conscientiousness yet low on agreeableness tend to receive lower performance ratings by their supervisors.”Reference: Caproni Paula J.: Management Skills for Everyday Life, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, Page 10

Critical Developmental Experiences to become a Senior Executive

“A survey conducted as part of McKinsey’s “War for Talent” study asked a sample of 200 senior executives to identify their five most important developmental experiences. The top overall responses all involved significant transitions into new roles:
– New position with large scope
– Turning around a business
– Starting a new business
– Large, high-profile special project
– Working outside home country”
Reference: Watkins, Michael: The first 90 Days – Critical Success Strategies For New Leaders at All Levels, Harvard Business School Press, 2003, Page 5f.

More research to follow ….

If you have any other intersting research on these topics to share, you are welcome to add in the comment section below. Thank you in advance.

My Learning Journey as manager of the Linked:HR EMEA group on Linkedin

July 6, 2010

These are my first few days as Group Manager of the Linked:HR EMEA group the largest HR group in this region on Linkedin. Linked:HR EMEA is the subgroup of the word largest Linkedin Group Linked:HR.

For quite some time I have to admit I was actually a non believer in social media. It took me some time to understand that this is a game changer in the way we work together in the future. My personal eye opener was in fact the book Wikinomics.

Learning from books and listening to others is not the best way I learn. I come from the school of action learning. Only by doing, trying and failing true learning happens. So what better opportunity could arise when I was asked by Lucy Cripps to take over the manager role in the Linked:HR EMEA group.

I have experimented a bit now with social learning. My best experience so far was with Toastmasters. This has changed my view on learning & development. Learning is social and happens best in a social setting.

While it is a hot humit summer evening I am sitting here and asking myself: What should I start doing, continue doing and stop doing as the new manager of this linkedin group. What would members expect from me, how could I best contribute to their learning and growth ? What is driving new members to join and participate, what will keep members engaged and what will turn them off ?

I am exited to be on this wonderful learning journey and I will be sharing my experience as I go along being the manager of a large international HR Linkedin Group.

What would you do if you were in my shoes ?

Key Learning from Toastmasters History

September 1, 2009

firstofficialtoastmastersclubThe Best way to share with you my key learning as Toastmasters is by looking at the history of Toastmasters

And I hope the history of Toastmasters will enlighten you to follow your vision – it all started small.

How did all start?

It began with one man who initiated Toastmasters and a few members and now Toastmasters has more than 500 000 members worldwide.

This is Dr. Ralph Smedley who had the idea of Toastmasters. Dr. Smedley was born in 1878 and graduated from Illionois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in 1903.

He became the Educational Director of the YMCA in Bloomington and realized soon that his young men had a need for speech training. And he also learned that with a speaking class, literary or debating society he would not attract them.

He settled on the idea of a social club meeting weekly devoted to practice in short speeches, debates and some work in chairmanship.

The first meeting was held on March, 24 1905. It started of with the dinner which was prepared by the participants and followed by speeches limited to 5 to 6 minutes. The subject was chosen by the speaker. Criticism was given by the older men and a critical discussion among the members, who also expressed their opinion. A rotation of duties for each meeting was established for members taking turns at presiding and speaking.

Very shortly the members noticed a prompt improvement in the speech and as well as in the leadership skills which spelled over into the other clubs at the YMCA

Key Learning’s:
1) Effective Learning is learning by doing and improving through continuous practice and evaluation in a social fun environment.

Why is the official birth date of Toastmasters is October 22, 1924 at the Santa Ana YMCA in California ?


Between Santa Ana and Bloomington Ralph Smedley moved several times to take on duties at other YMCAs. Each time he started a similar club, but as soon as he left, the club died down.

In Santa Ana he was approached by outside people who wanted to start a similar club. This led Ralph Smedley to write a manual on how to organize these kind of social learning events.

Toastmasters started to grow quickly as it was a simple idea put to work in a simple manner.

Key Learning’s:
2.) Easy to use (first principle) – a simple idea, put to work in a simple manner but if you want something to sustain you need to document it for others. Ralph Smedley also realized this when looking back in his biography.















Dr. Ralph in the 1920s

How did the Toastmasters System evolve?

It was only with the Toastmasters club number 15 in Santa Ana that a new feature the so called Table Topics which are impromptu speeches by members were introduced.

A few years later the first competent communicator curriculumn than called speechcraft was introduced.

Key Learning’s:
3.) Once the fundamental principles are there every else will follow. An idea never starts perfect !!!

The future of Toastmasters ?










This is the world headquarters of Toastmasters connecting now over 500 000 members world wide and growing.

When Dr. Smedley was asked why he never turned his idea into a profitable business, he replied: “I would rather be rich in friendship than in money”.

On June 11 we Toastmasters in DOW joined together in a virtual meeting. Most of Toastmasters in DOW realized that we are spending more and more of our time in virtual teams and meetings and therefore see the need to practice virtual communication and leadership and we can all do this by applying the principles laid by the founder of Toastmaster Dr. Ralph Smedly.

The Final Key Learning’s:
4.) Network your way to your dreams and visions and never stop learning and adapting to the changing environment.

Learning is effective when it is learning by doing and improving through continuous practice and evaluation in a social fun environment even if it virtual.

Furhter Reading:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

%d bloggers like this: