Sunday, February 12, 2017

student class #1 - motivation

The assignment from the students was:

We would like all of you to take this online quiz that we found, and write down what number you get as a result. There are also some main points that accompany the article that will relate to the topic of our class. We would also like for everyone to come to class with a list of the top five things that motivate them, as well as the top five things that distract them. Be prepared to share in class!! If any one is interested, we also found an additional short article further explaining motivation.
link to the quiz: article:

Here's my quiz results:

I scored top tier of the three tiers of the quiz, with the following general result:
Wonderful! You get things done, and you don't let anything stand in your way. You make a conscious effort to stay self-motivated, and you spend significant time and effort on setting goals and acting to achieve those goals. You attract and inspire others with your success. Treasure this – and be aware that not everyone is as self-motivated as you are! 
I'll post the extended results at the bottom of this post.

Interpretation: I think that is fairly accurate. I do get discouraged, like anyone, from time to time, but I've always been a pretty driven individual. Sometimes that drive is not hitched to a clear direction and I find myself spinning in circles. I spin, not because I give up, but because I develop other interests. For example, when I was a junior in college (as my students are), I knew I was going to be a high school English teacher and a write in my free time. On a positive side, I decided in 1999 that I wanted to get a PhD and teach in the Army-Baylor program. Eleven years later, I taught my first class in the Army-Baylor program (Sara and Erin, Regan's and Erin's mentors respectively, were two of my first students ever). It was a long, hard road to get there, and I had to make a lot of sacrifices, and I almost didn't make it a few times, but I stuck with it and eventually did make it. Another example is I made the decision I was going to do 20 years in the Army in 1997, after five years of active duty. I retired in 2015 after 23 years of active duty (almost 26 if you count my reserve time).

Some of the difficulties I've experienced since retirement have to do with a somewhat vague idea of what the future holds. I am a person who really needs a vision. After having lived with those long term goals, to just be out of the military with few, clear, hard long term goals has been difficult for me. In a sense, civilian life offers too many choices, and it kind of stresses me out.

Five things that motivate me:

1) Making stuff. I love making stuff. I don't really like engaging in activities that don't have some end product. When I go for a walk, I bring my camera. Because if I don't take a picture on my walk, what was the point?

2) Blending streams. I love multidisciplinary approaches to things. I think finding ways to blend old things together to make something new is really exciting.

3) Sharing. I really like to share things with other people - particularly when those things are ideas. But I also really like to share meals, conversations, etc. I'm an EF on the MBTI. I like people and I have a pretty strong need to share.

4) Elegance. I'm motivated by elegance. Not perfection, but something that is both simple and unexpectedly clever. The iPod was an elegant solution to MP3 players. It was simple and highly functional.

5) Improvisation. I really like making things up on the fly. I much prefer spontaneity to a plan. I'd prefer to plan to allow for maximum unplannedness to occur. Something spontaneous and unexpected makes me happier than something planned. So I get really excited to participate in things that are likely to have an unexpected (but elegant) result. Especially if it involves making something from old things and I can share it.

Five things that distract me:

1) Social media. See #3 above. That's the dark side of the EF personality type.

2) Too many interests. This is sort of the dark side of #2. I'm pretty unfocused at the macro level. I've been called a flake in the past, and it's probably not completely inaccurate. But I have had always held in my head the Renaissance Man ideal - a person who knows something about everything - art, science, politics, the martial arts, etc. This causes me to be too diffuse at times. I can focus on very specific things - and even be a little OCD over a project - but at the macro level, I tend to move from one thing to another quickly, sometimes to my own detriment.

3) Routine. I don't do routine well. For some people that seems to help them get things done. For me, it can be distracting. I tend to tune out and forget things.

4) Colleagues. Combine 2, 3, and 5. They are a mixed blessing. As an extrovert, I need to talk things out, so good colleagues help me with that. But everything has to be in moderation, and I'm not good at moderation. I know I can be a distraction for other people as well, but I'm a good listener and a good sounding board, and 1,2, and 5 can be helpful to people who are stuck. So I can be a mixed blessing as well.

5) Ghosts. At my age, you accumulate some ghosts. In my work, you spend a lot of time alone, in your head. That's where the ghosts hang out. I've been working on meditation and breathing to control them. They provide drive, but also distract. (I'm not a voice hearer - I use this term metaphorically to talk about memories that keep surfacing.)

These are the specific results from the quiz mentioned above.

1. Self-Confidence and Self-Efficacy

(Questions 1, 2, 6, 8)

Your score is 15 out of 20    
Part of being self-motivated is having good levels of self-assurance, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. More on these below!

Being highly self-assured means you will set challenging goals for yourself, and it's also a resiliency factor for when you encounter setbacks. If you don't believe in yourself you'll be much more likely to think, "I knew I couldn't do this" instead of, "This one failure isn't going to stop me!"

Albert Bandura, a psychologist from Stanford University, defined self-efficacy as a belief in our own ability to succeed, and our ability to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. This belief has a huge impact on your approach to goal setting and your behavioral choices as you work toward those goals.

According to Bandura's research, high self-efficacy results in an ability to view difficult goals as a challenge, whereas people with low self-efficacy would likely view the same goals as being beyond their abilities, and might not even attempt to achieve them.

It also contributes to how much effort a person puts into a goal in the first place, and how much he or she perseveres despite setbacks.

By developing a general level of self-confidence in yourself, you will not only believe you can succeed, but you'll also recognize and enjoy the successes you've already had. That, in turn, will inspire you to build on those successes. The momentum created by self-confidence is hard to beat.

Take these steps:

Think about the achievements in your life.
Examine your strengths Add to My Personal Learning Plan to understand what you can build on.
Determine what other people see as your strengths and key capabilities.
Set achievable goals for yourself, work to achieve them, and enjoy that achievement.
Seek out mentors and other people who model the competencies, skills, and attributes you desire.
As you begin to recognize how much you've already achieved – and understand how much potential you have – you will have the confidence to set goals and achieve the things you desire. The more you look for reasons to believe in yourself, the easier it will be to find ways to motivate yourself.

Our article on Building Self-Confidence Add to My Personal Learning Plan teaches you how to develop this self-confidence, and gives you steps you can use to start feeling great about yourself. It will also put you firmly on the path to self-assurance and self-efficacy.
2. Positive Thinking, and Positive Thinking About the Future

(Questions 4, 9, 11, 12)

Your score is 17 out of 20    
Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.
– Author Unknown
Positive thinking is closely related to self-confidence as a factor in self-motivation. It's important to look at things positively, especially when things aren't going as planned and you're ready to give up.

If you think that things are going to go wrong or that you won't succeed, this may influence things in such a way that your predictions will come true. This is particularly the case if you need to work hard to achieve success, or if you need to persuade others to support you in order to succeed. Your thoughts can have a major influence on whether you succeed or fail, so make sure those thoughts are "on your side."

Positive thinking also helps you think about an attractive future that you want to realize. When you expect positive results, your choices will be more positive, and you'll be less likely to leave outcomes to fate or chance. Having a vivid picture of success, combined with positive thinking, helps you bridge the gap between wanting something and going out to get it.

To apply "the power of positive thinking", do the following:

Become aware of your thoughts. Write down these down throughout the day.
Challenge your negative thoughts, and replace them with positive ones.
Create a strong and vivid picture of what it will be like to achieve your goals.
Develop affirmations or statements that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. These statements should remind you of what you want to achieve, and why you will achieve it.
Practice positive thinking until you automatically think about yourself and the world in a positive way, every day.
For even more tips, see our article on Rational Positive Thinking Add to My Personal Learning Plan. You can also take our short quiz, Are You a Positive or Negative Thinker? Add to My Personal Learning Plan.
3. Focus and Strong Goals

(Questions 3, 7)

Your score is 7 out of 10    
As we've said above, a key part of building self-motivation is to start setting strong goals. These give you focus, a clear sense of direction, and the self-confidence that comes from recognizing your own achievement.

First, determine your direction through effective goal setting.

When you set a goal, you make a promise to yourself. Part of the strength of this is that it gives you a clear direction. Part is that you've made this promise to yourself, and you'll want to keep this promise. And part is that it's a challenge, and it's fun to try to meet that challenge!

But don't set just any goal. According to Locke's goal-setting theory Add to My Personal Learning Plan, your goal should have the following characteristics:

Clarity – Effective goals are clear, measurable, specific, and based on behavior, not outcomes.
Challenge – Goals should be difficult enough to be interesting, but not so difficult that you can't reach them.
Commitment – Goals should be attainable, and should be relevant – that is, they should contribute in a significant way to the major objectives you're trying to achieve.
Regularity of Feedback – Monitor your progress towards your goals regularly to maintain your sense of momentum and enthusiasm, and enjoy your progress towards those goals.
Sufficient Respect For Complexity – If the goal involves complex work, make sure that you don't over-commit yourself. Complex work can take an unpredictably long time to complete (particularly if you have to learn how to do the task "on the job").
When you have a variety of goals, be sure to schedule your time and resources effectively. You can achieve the "focus" part of self-motivation by prioritizing and establishing a schedule that will help you succeed. It doesn't make sense to work until you're exhausted or give up one goal to achieve another.

Using tools like Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle Add to My Personal Learning Plan and the Action Priority Matrix Add to My Personal Learning Plan, you can quickly and easily see how each goal activity fits into the bigger picture of your overall objectives. If you fully understand your priorities, you probably won't feel as pressured to do everything at once. This can reduce stress and help you to concentrate on the most important strategies.

See our article on Prioritization Add to My Personal Learning Plan for a summary, and for links to our top time management and prioritization tools.

4. Motivating Environment

(Questions 5, 10)

Your score is 6 out of 10    
The final thing to focus on is surrounding yourself with people and resources that will remind you of your goals, and help you with your internal motivation. These are external factors – they'll help you get motivated from the outside, which is different from the internal motivation we've discussed so far. However, the more factors you have working for you, the better.

You can't just rely on these "environmental" or outside elements alone to motivate you, but you can use them for extra support. Try the following:

Look for team work opportunities. Working in a team makes you accountable to others.
Ask your boss for specific targets and objectives to help you measure your success.
Ask for interesting assignments. See our article on Maximizing Job Satisfaction Add to My Personal Learning Plan for tips on getting the most from your job.
Set up some goals that you can easily achieve. Quick wins are great for getting you motivated.
Buddy up with people who you trust to be supportive, and ask them to help keep you accountable.
Try not to work by yourself too much. Balance the amount of time you work from home with time spent working with others.
When you start your self- motivation program, you may tend to rely heavily on these external factors. As you get more comfortable and confident with your self-motivation, you'll probably use them only as needed, and for a little extra help.

RWL Newsletter #31

open ed - week 2

So far, so good!

We have completed week 2 of the course. The class had determined they needed last week to process their plans for the rest of the semester and figure out what they were going to work on in particular for this first section. We now have a sketch of a schedule, and pending the blizzard coming today, we expect to have the first student-led class tomorrow.

We’ve wrestled with incentives and discussed expectations – all important organizational behavior issues. They are learning about those topics in the context of building real requirements - for themselves.

Most of them have also had an initial conversation with their volunteer mentor, and from what I have heard, most of those conversations have gone well.

This first section is supposed to be dedicated to the individual in the workplace. I’ve suggested issues like personality, identity, and motivation as primary themes. All of those could fill whole courses, so I look forward to seeing what they think is important. 

Several of the students have taken on leadership roles – one has been working as the schedule czar, one has agreed to be the attendance czar, another has agreed to be the editor for the primer. Others are taking on leadership roles in development of the material and concepts. This is an excellent opportunity to practice team leadership and influence. The peer evals will reflect who has come forward to carry the burden, so I look forward to seeing those results in a few weeks.

The first, fully student led class is now going to be Wednesday - it was supposed to be tomorrow, but we are in the middle of a blizzard, and the university has already cancelled classes for tomorrow (Monday).

Part two, “Two”, will begin at the end of the month. This section will focus on the one-on-one, interpersonal. What I’d like you to share with your mentee for that next part is your experiences with counseling employees, mentorship, performance evaluation, stretch goals, individual performance improvement plans, etc. What are the challenges you have faced dealing with individual employees? What are the rewarding interactions as well? When and how have you been mentored? What made that effective?

I'm excited about this concept. My main concern is that they are getting enough material. I may need to push that issue a bit. Maybe help them figure out what "enough" is. This is the coaching part.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

theories of multiple intelligences

One pair of students in my OB course is going to talk about emotional intelligence. Here's a link to Caroline's introductory post:

I haven't done that much reading on the topic, so I'll be interested to see what they come up with for resources. I concur with the essential concept - the best leaders I know are smart, but aren't necessarily the highest IQ people I know. And a lot of high IQ people I know are not great leaders. 

Thinking about IQ and EQ reminded me of some other research on intelligence that I have read about, so I grabbed this link on 7 intelligences by Howard Gardner:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Essayons! Org Behavior taught with Open Education Philosophy

This semester I have decided to adopt an open education philosophy toward my org behavior course. The course syllabus is here:

In a nutshell, the course will operate like this: I have explained to the students that within a broad framework, they will run the class. The will organize the lecture periods, and they will collectively decide on what is covered in class.

The ultimate goal of the class, and the final, group deliverable, is to produce a primer (text book) on organizational behavior and leadership aimed at early careerist healthcare leaders - i.e., people like them.

They are also required to document their journey by creating an individual portfolio. Most of them have chosen to create a blog as the backbone of the portfolio (my suggestion). I am hoping they branch out into multi-media as well, but we'll see.

I have not left them hanging, though. I have recruited a cadre of volunteer mentors from students I taught in MHA and MBA programs before I arrived at UNH. All of these mentors are now healthcare executives with advanced degrees in management, and in some cases, advanced degrees in other subjects as well. Each student has selected a mentor and is required to have three synchronous conferences with their assigned mentor over the course of the semester, one at each turning point in the course. The course is organized into three parts based on general subject theme - the individual, the interpersonal, and the organizational. They have been instructed to consult with their mentor on what the mentor would recommend they study for each part to be successful as a healthcare executive.

Of course, I am available to the students throughout, and more than happy to give them ideas and resources. But what they do is going to be up to them.

As of Wednesday, our third class meeting, the students have begun to take charge. I am extremely pleased with the progress they made in that class. They re-wrote the schedule, and divided it up.

They have all begun blogging. You can see their blogs here:

They are in the process of having their first meetings with their mentors, and next week they will finalize topics for the first round of classes.

I have the College of Health and Human Services librarian coming next week to give a brief overview of how to access the databases in the library so that they have her as a mentor as well.

In a world where they have more information in their pocket (in the form of a smartphone) than any other human beings who walked the earth since the beginning of time, what's the point of me lecturing them? The most important thing to learn from an OB class is how to work with and lead others. You can read about that, but if you don't do it, you aren't really going to learn it.

I gave them the French word, Essayons! as a theme for this course. It is the motto of the Army Corps of Engineers, and it means, Let us Try! 

A student asks, what the hell is going on?

One of my students honestly poses the question of what the hell is going on in this class? He doesn't say "hell" - he's too polite - what he actually says is:
This class is very different than any other class I have ever taken in my academic career. The class is structured in a way that allows the students to determine and teach the content of the course, rather than having the Professor lead the class. Not gonna lie I am still hesitant about the class, however I know that it is going to be a unique experience and believe that it will help me develop into a future professional of the healthcare industry.
 rest here:

So my comment back:

Interesting question, what does it mean to "lead"? Have I abdicated my responsibility?

In a world where you have, in the form of a smart phone in your pocket, access to more information instantly than any other human being who lived before 2008, or if you want to date it back to commercial access to the internet in 1995 or so, what does it mean to teach?

I did my dissertation on the thinking of Adam Smith, the founder of modern economic thought. One of the books I had access to was a compilation of student notes from his classes on moral philosophy. Smith would literally come to class and read to the students from his notes, and they would copy them down. That was teaching in 1750. He was very popular as a teacher. Does that even make sense in today's era of smartphones?

How much sense does it make to assign a text book today when the information is out there, and one of the key managerial skills of today (not the future) is to pull information together and create a coherent vision of the environment and the opportunities in it?

That's where I'm coming from. You guys may not cover as much material as you could have if I was the one telling you what to read, but even if we did that format, there would be limits of how much we could cover. When I was doing my MBA in org behavior, I took a whole class on "self leadership". I took another whole semester course on theories of leadership. What I'm saying is, even if I dictated to you what to read, we would only be scratching the surface of a huge field. So if you get to a little less material than you would have, I'm not sure the loss is that great. The question is, at the margin, will you gain more knowledge about leadership and organizational behavior by trying to collectively run an organization than you would have if I had pushed more material at you to read? If the former is more beneficial, at the margin, then the course will have been a success.

I'm glad you're willing to try, though!