Archive for the 'Talent' Category

Right Brain people will be a-head in the future

Ted.com is one of the best internet resources I’ve ever come across for short, powerful and interesting inputs on a broad cross-section of topics that loosely fall into the categories of Technology, Environment and Design (TED). Most inputs have a future focus, and one of the themes I’ve often picked up on has to do with what we’ll need, as human beings, to compete in the future. Interestingly it’s not going to be only each other we have to compete against, it’s also going to be technology.

This is not unprecedented either. Over the last 200 years or so, many countries around the world have seen their workforce move from Industrial type activity to Service orientated activity. One statistic I’ve seen has the US population moving from a 98% industrial type workforce (1820) to just 2.5% (2000). There’s no doubt that technology’s new focus is in the service industry, as computers and machines take over roles people have filled. Call centers, processing departments, flying planes, medicine, education, tourism (think GPS and augmented reality), etc, etc.

So how do we compete? What will we do when technology replaces us once again? The response of many is that it will never happen, but it has before, and there’s no reason to think it wont again.

Dan Pink is a contributor at TED.com. If you’ve seen him on TED then you’ll know his talk on re-thinking rewards and motivation. I was recently alerted to another short input of his on YouTube, via a friend on Twitter (@MJH1004)

In this input, ‘Education and the Changing World of Work, Pink suggests that left brain activity has dominated the way in which we’ve worked up until now. Of course, those of us with dominant left brain abilities have succeeded in this particular paradigm. Technology, however, is stepping into left brain spaces, leaving a massive need for right brain abilities (it will be all that’s left for us to do). It’s our right brain that is creative, sees opportunities where our left brain doesn’t. People with dominant right brains are the most valuable in this new world of work, suggests Pink.

Dan Pink isn’t the only one suggesting this. Another great TED input (my favourite) is by Sir Ken Robinson (recently released his book, The Element) talking about whether Schools Kill Creativity. He makes similar points.

Of course all the right brained people smile a little at this thought. They’re the ones who struggled at school and university. They’re the one’s who’ve battled to get ahead in traditional business models. They’ve been on the fringe for a long time. Labeled as outsiders, the weirdoes, the dreamers, the impractical, the nice-to-haves when you’re smoking a doobee, but the not-so-nice-to-haves when you’re trying to run the world. The idea of an about turn on who’s valuable into the future is an attractive fantasy for right brain dominated people. Let’s hope they dream less about that day, and instead work out how they’re going to capitalise on it : )

Here’s Dan Pink on Education and the Future World of Work.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on May 17th, 2010 .
Filed under: Research, Talent | No Comments »

The challenge of multiple communication channels

One of the challenges the internet has created is an unthinkable number of channels through which to broadcast. Of course none of us make use of every channel, but there is always someone using a channel we’re not. And so if you want to communicate to them the days of taking the attitude of ‘you just come to us’ is over. Chances are, because they’re not engaging with your channel is that they don’t even know about you. And so if you want to find them, you’ve got to insert yourself into their space. It doesn’t end there, because each channel requires a different format for your content. You don’t just write an article or record a podcast and hope it translates easily into each space. No! You’ve got to take whatever you start with and continually adjust it to whatever context you’re going to post it to.

And if you’re like me, then you’ve got a headache just thinking about the ‘how’ of taking your message to as many platforms as possible. What I have learned is that the ability to do this is getting easier and easier (in terms of tools available), and the more I learn about new channels the more competent I feel and become in my distribution efforts.

With that as a pre-amble, let me tell you about my latest adventure….

I took the e-zine article (Five Practical Steps to Retain Talent) that I produce for TomorrowToday each month (it gets sent to around 11 000 people via e-mail), posted it onto our blog, built a short presentation and built a video PodCast. The video file was then uploaded to iTunes and YouTube.

I don’t know if this sounds like a lot to you? It exhausted me. Took me 1.5 days to work it all out, learn new skills and get it all to a place I was reasonably happy with. Of course next time around it’ll take far less time and in my experience always better quality.

Here’s the video below from YouTube.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on April 16th, 2010 .
Filed under: Generations, Research, Stuff, Talent, Video, Work | No Comments »

So I made the Nerdie Finals – now what?

Where are my high school teachers now? My Grade 11 report card spelled EGG using the first three symbols (English, Afrikaans and Maths). My teachers continued to remind me what a hopeless case I was, and how difficult it would be for them to imagine me becoming much! Take that.

And now today, I hear I’ve made the Nerdie Finals. I’m almost gauranteed not to win this, but any of my former teachers following me, I did amount to something, I made the Top 10 2010 Nerdie Finals. Yeah!!

To be honest I still don’t know exactly what it is, it looks like a little bit of fun to be had, but I’m feeling a little insecure around the exact details. Maybe that makes the geek others saw in me, to nominate me in he first place.

Come bid to your hearts content, on anything really.  There are loads of geeks out there – get creative people.  I don’t care what you bid on, as long as the aim is to raise money for Wet Nose Foundation, this years Nerdies Charity.

To give you an idea of how it worked last year, in a nutshell: it’s whatever you make it out to be.  Last year we bet on Mike Stopforth’s fuzz [he was supposed to shave his head].  We bid on ByronRodes psychodelic pants.  We bid on Snowgoose’s Twitter panties.  We got some people to do some crazy stuff and take photos as proof.  We had people challenging each other for donations to the charity.  We promised to do weird & wonderful things all in the name of donations.

I did get told by a former Top Ten-er from last year, that boasting about being in a Geek competition is a little like being proud of syphilis. He should know, rumor has it, that he’s done both : )

So it’s down to a vote. A Geek to Geek friends showdown. I’m currently 8th. About 80 votes behind the leader. I have 4 votes as I write this. However, if you’d like to see me keep this 8th place (8th is a great place to finish – people always remember the winner and the loser), then a vote here and there couldn’t hurt much. So click right over……… HERE and keep me floating above 10 : )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on February 8th, 2010 .
Filed under: Fun, Talent | No Comments »

Being an expert – what does it take?

My coleague Graeme Codrington sent me a mail link via Twitter today that discusses the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. It’s a nice punchy overview of the 5-steps towards being an expert (starting as a novice) Well worth the read.

By looking at the five levels from a higher altitude, we can distill some common themes that emerge as one progresses from novice to expert:

  • Moving away from relying on rules and explicit knowledge to intuition and pattern matching.
  • Better filtering, where problems are no longer a big collection of data but a complete and unique whole where some bits are much more relevant than others.
  • Moving from being a detached observer of the problem to an involved part of the system itself, accepting responsibility for results, not just for carrying out tasks.

As I read it, it reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, where one of his chapters is dedicated to the concept of putting in 10 000 hours in order to be a world expert at something. It’s not 10 000 hours doing the same thing. I imagine that simply makes you an expert at monotony. It’s 10 000 hours of growth, development, stretch, etc, etc. 10 000 hours roughly translates to 4 hours every day, 5 days per week for 10 years. When you think, expecially, of sports champions, it does give some insight and perspective to the sort of investment they’re put in to get them where they are today.

I managed to get the PodCast of Gladwell being interviewed on 702. Follow this link to listen to the 10 000 hours exert.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on December 16th, 2009 .
Filed under: Books, Research, Stuff, Talent | 1 Comment »

iPhone Art

Jordi downloaded an app for my iPhone the other day called DoodleBuddy. If you have 2 iPhones with bluetooth activated you can both draw and play with the same pic at the same time.

Needless to say they’ve had a lot of fun with this app, and when Leish and I can’t find our phone’s it’s because there’s art going on.

Click here to see the entire gallery. Thank to Martinus, Tracy, Pete and Lynne for donating their faces to be over-haulled. Or pimp-my-face had it been an MTV show : )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on September 21st, 2009 .
Filed under: Family, Friends, Fun, Talent | No Comments »

Central Gauteng Gymnastics Squad

Last weekend Jordi competed in the Central Gauteng under 9 Gymnastics trials (mouthful right).

It was a Saturday morning, and the entire family was there to support.

How’d she do? Amazing. Wow! Out of around 70 girls in her age group and level she ended up joint 5th overall. Meaning she’s made the squad to represent Central Gauteng.

Of course the timing of this was decided on by officials who clearly don’t make use of long weekends, and so it’s smack in the middle on the June 16 long weekend where we’re due to attend a wedding in the Eastern Cape. So we’re changing flights and Carli and I will probably go down early and pick Leish and Jordi up later. But it’s not clever planning by my book.

Enough ranting. This is about Jordi. First year of gym, second competition and she’s shining. What a girl. What a human. She’s amazing. She lives in our house. Boy are we lucky!

Go here for more pics

Posted by Barrie Bramley on June 1st, 2009 .
Filed under: Family, Friends, Fun, Gymnastics, Talent, Weekend | No Comments »

Go Arsehole

This is a story that should be a live recording, but you know, you never have a device to record in the moment. So writing it is going to have to do.

As you know Carli has taken up football (soccer for the North Americans who read this). For our sins, our ancestry comes from Nottingham Forest. So to stay true to family tradition, that’s also our team. Not great if you live in 2009. Great in history, in fact one of the best. But today, it’s a little embarrassing. I think the only place you can buy a Notts Forest shirt, is off of their website or in their store. In London, some of the salespeople didn’t even know who I was talking about : (

The alternate team for Forrest supporters is Arsenal. So with Carli picking up footie as an interest I’m working hard to expose her to these two teams. Arsenal is a far easier sell than Forest (at the moment)

Keith Coats, my colleague and good friend is a rabid Liverpool supporter (who are they I hear you asking). He’s sworn to convert her, and it started tonight.

I phoned him by accident and in the process he asked to speak to Carli. To begin his brain-washing. But before he got her, I told her to shout into the phone, “Go Arsenal!”

You guessed it. All I heard was, “Go Arsehole!”

Don’t know where she learned that, but I almost fell onto the floor laughing. It was innocent, beautiful, and very appropriate for a Liverpool Supporter. She’s a far faster learner than I ever imagined : )

Go Arsehole ineed.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on May 29th, 2009 .
Filed under: Family, Friends, Fun, Talent | No Comments »

Lucy Kellaway

If you’ve picked up a Financial Times, from time to time, you may have been introduced to Lucy Kellaway. I discovered her while wondering around iTunes looking for interesting PodCasts. And interesting is just one tiny word to describe my journey with Lucy Kellaway.

I know I’m opening myself to plenty by suggesting that she’s my modern equivalent to business that Luther was to the Catholic Church. She’s been a wonderful breath of fresh air, forcing me to be honest about business today. Forcing me to be honest as a consultant working with people who are ‘in there’ each and every day trying their best to make it all work.

Apart from finding the courage to find a way to invite her to South Africa, I’ve also spent a fair amount of energy and headspace wondering plenty about her philosophies around how business works?

My colleague in the UK, Julie, sent me a link to Lucy Kellaway’s book (didn’t know she had one) and somewhere down the page was her stab at how she sees business things.

What exactly are my ‘basic ideas’ on management?

After a bit of thought I have come up with the following observations and generalities. They are, of course, glaringly obvious. But then management ideas are obvious. Any that aren’t obvious tend to be wrong.

Rule 1 Management is one of the most difficult jobs going, and is harder now than ever because the challenges are greater.

Rule 2 Most people are bad at managing, some are very bad. Hardly anyone can do it well.

Rule 3 Good managers need to be both hard and soft, decent and ruthless, good at the big picture and at the small detail.

Rule 4 In view of the above, the market for management consultants, trainers, gurus, business schools and business books is expanding, apparently without limit.

Rule 5 While most of the management help industry is of dubious value, managers do need the experience and advice of wise outsiders. But to follow that advice blindly – as many companies do – is, of course, idiotic.

Rule 6 Any new management technique that comes with a catchphrase is suspect. It almost certainly will not suit the company in question, and even if it does, the management will probably fail to apply it properly.

Rule 7 It is hard to teach a middle-aged dog new tricks. People who are rotten communicators do not become better by virtue of having been on a course, or read a book. Improving and changing is a long, painful slog.

Rule 8 People like security. They like to be told what to do. Empowerment and flat structures are over-rated.

Rule 9 All work is tedious for much of the time. If everyone accepts this, then so much the better.

That is the short answer. The long answer is this book, which is based on five years of writing a management column for the Financial Times.

So question 2 has been answered. Now to solve getting her to SA : )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on October 10th, 2008 .
Filed under: Books, Talent, Work | No Comments »

A worthy read

God bless Ben Kelly (whoever he is when he’s not writing blog entries)

A well written piece (A Slap in the Facebook) on how his company shut down FaceBook access.

In order to make life a little easier for those tech savvy managers that clearly don’t understand that banning access to one of the most popular web services is not going to make them popular with their serfs, I will suggest a system that will give the employees what they want and possibly even increase productivity.

That should give you enough to want to read the article. Worth a read : )

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Posted by Barrie Bramley on October 5th, 2007 .
Filed under: Talent | No Comments »

What’s an Xer to do

I spent the day with a group of Xers on Tuesday. And a smart bunch at that. Toward the end of the session there was some free-wheeling that happened and some good conversation started up. I was contacted by one of the group who re-raised some of the issues. I said I’d post her thoughts (below in my own words) to see if there was any response or thoughts from anyone else.

  • The discussion centred around gen x’s general lack of hanging around. So where boomers have created forums and searched for solutions as a group, xers look for solutions as individuals and if nothing is found they move on. In a business context it means that less is being done in groups to search for solutions and a lot more movement is taking place. The implications for business is fairly obvious. Should xers be concerned with this behaviour?
  • And her other question was (in her words)

what I can do about my need for my change “fix”?

If I’ve got it wrong then I’m sure I’ll be corrected in one of the comments.

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Posted by Barrie Bramley on June 1st, 2006 .
Filed under: Generations, Talent | No Comments »

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