Friday, April 30, 2010

Learning Comes from All Perspectives

I just spent most of the week working in Washington DC at a Performance Improvement Retreat..a government experience: turning to a new playbook. What a concept being able to toss the old aside and create radical positive change, especially in a bureaucratic environment. Did I achieve my goal in helping them see through new eyes? I believe I did.

One of the participants came to me at the end of the 2 days and asked me what I had learned. That's not a question I'm generally asked. It was a great question and I think I shared an unexpected answer, both for the asker and for me.

It's amazing where learning happens. I learned what the participants were living in their environments from many departments and agencies, federal and state, high intensity positions and more low key ones. I learned about the assumptions they were operating from... and what it looked like to them when I helped them see beyond the assumptions and over the roadblocks that seemed insurmountable. I learned that no matter how de-energized some of these participants might have been, they were willing to dive in and co-create something powerful with people they had just met for the first time so they could bring back learning and a new play book to their respective worlds.

I learned that situations are similar on both sides of the border and how powerful a coaching model can be in these types of situations. And I learned how trusting a group can be when you show them you're really interested and are there to speak with them not at them.

I learned a lot and will bring that learning to everything I do from now on with clients, colleagues and students slike. Most of all I was reminded at how learning continues well beyond retreats and ocnversations if we keep our eyes open to it and learn to find what we don't know way more fascinating than what we do know.

Donna Karlin

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tech Toys

OK, I admit it...I love technology. It brings the world closer, makes it easier for me to be able to read in the in-between times, has lightened my briefcase considerably when I travel and allows me to connect with, talk with and stay in touch with those who are important to me. 

I'm constantly asked about the technology I use, how it benefits me and what I recommend.

And before you ask the question "Are you addicted?"  I do know where the off switch is on my Blackberry and use it.  I don't talk on the Berry when in restaurants as I want to be 'present' to whoever I'm with, don't glance at it in concerts or theatres and don't wake up in the middle of the night and sneak a peak at my email.

I do, however keep in touch with family, friends and past clients on Facebook,  many of whom I wouldn't have stayed in contact with any other way.  I use LinkedIn to connect with potential collaborators and clients, let my professional world know what I'm up to and cross post, so what I write here will automatically be tweeted, sent to my LinkedIn and Facebook professional page, different networks, one post.  I don't Tweet everything I do at every moment of the day nor do I follow the world as if I spend any time on Twitter it will be to read something valuable to me.

I discovered which makes scheduling for personal and professional life a breeze (not to mention choosing a restaurant, menu choice or colour), for my online scheduler, can't imagine my world without iTunes and my Kindle world so I have music and books with me wherever I go and my trusty little netbook which tucks into my purse and brings a myriad of eBooks, documents and graphics with me as I run to clients, in and out of airports and hotels on my travels and keeps me connected via Skype so I can call home, work, friends all for a song.

And watch out 'cause as an avid writer and one who loves to play with logos, I cannot WAIT for this!  Courier journal

In my opinion there is nothing like face to face connection but when it isn't possible, I know I can bring a piece of the world with me, one tech toy at a time.

Now off to download a couple of books to read on the go.  Any suggestions?

Donna Karlin

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Powerful or just busy?

You can…

  • Wade through emails and be thrilled when the number in your inbox is diminishing
  • Answer the phone every time it rings, just because it rings
  • Cross off the L O N G to do list which was generated for whatever reason, without considering whether everything on there is important or not
  • Fulfill an obligation even though neither of you might benefitting from it
  • Try to anticipate roadblocks and build in safe guards "just in case", often creating them in the process
  • Aim for "good enought to pass"
Or, you can...
  • Create a team or community of practice / interest where you can collectively bring your best to the table to pack a punch
  • Instead of wading through a to-do list, ask yourself "What do I absolutely have to do?" and "What do I absolutely have to NOT do?"
  • Give value just because (in other words, for no specific reason at all)
  • Open yours (and other's) minds to possibility rather than worrying about potential pitfalls and problems
  • Define excellence rather than a passing grade or mediocrity
  • Give up worry and replace it with focus and action
Your choice....or not