Social Learning

How Do You Test Competence?

The biggest challenge facing the UK economy is 'Skills Competence' and not 'Skills Shortage'. Everyone always looks at the glass as being half empty instead of half full. So focussing on 'Skills Competence' is better than focussing on 'Skills Shortage', don't you think? Competence is the holy grail, because assessing someone’s competence allows you to directly know whether they are equipped to do the job or not. We have a competence issue in organisations not a skills issue.

Competence: the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Appraisals, Annual reviews, Objective setting, 360 degree reviews or whatever your name is for reviewing someone’s performance doesn't assess competence. You can only test competence by asking the employee directly if they know the answer to a very specific set of questions that relate to ’what’ they need to know as an absolute minimum to do the job competently.

In every organisation things change. New products or services, new managers, changing procedures and processes, re-organisation which causes job changes, new sales and customer service processes, etc.

Job competency is always under pressure when change happens in an organisation and that's all the time.

To truly understand your employees’ competence you need to test them, regularly. Once you know their competence levels, you can do something about it.

Deploying learning materials in large silos (Learning Management Systems) or any other method of e-learning will allow you to teach skills but not competence. When you teach just skills, you have no idea if the learner has remembered the new skill and whether they've actually become competent in that skill. Indeed it takes time to become competent in any skill and usually it takes repetition of carrying out that skill before you become competent.

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We all know the following 4 phases of learning something new, like learning to drive a car:

1. Unconscious incompetence 2. Conscious incompetence 3. Conscious competence 4. Unconscious competence

The 4th phase is where we want our employees to get to as soon as possible, whether it's with Onboarding (Induction) or learning new skills/knowledge.

Every minute, hour, day, week or month that we take to get them as competent as possible, means the organisation is potentially losing money or not growing as fast.

The Psychology of Study goes as far back as 1932, when Mace wrote his book 'Psychology of Study' and the idea of ’spaced repetition’ was first muted. Earlier still we had Ebbinghaus who told us about the forgetting curve. It tells us that for centuries we've been debating how we can get humans to remember more than how to walk.

Let's take learning languages. If you've ever tried to learn a new language, then you'll know that only by repetition will you become competent in that language. Using flash cards are an even better way of learning to remember a new language. Put the English on one side and the translation on the other. Start with 50 cards on day one and when you know you have mastered a few, take those out of the pack and repeat the others. Keep going until you've mastered them all. It's fairly basic but it works.

It's the only way to become competent in that language. Of course you may decide to repeat it in 3 weeks, because unless you are using these sentences regularly, the chances are that you will forget them.

Take this concept into any skill in any organisation where you require it to become a competence in the person who is performing it and you will rapidly and successfully increase competence throughout the organisation.

Deploying this method is now easier then ever, allowing employees to become more competent through the power of mobile. Not only can you test competence and teach new skills, you can report on the overall competence of a group, a department, a division or the overall organisation. It allows you to succession plan, recruit for competence gaps, evaluate competence levels for new projects. It even tests the individuals who took the course, at the point when they are deemed to be ready to be tested over the phone by a real person. A great motivator for the learner to get up to speed and learn properly.

What if such a tool was available today? What a difference it would make to UK "Skills Competence', to the UK economy, to UK competitiveness, to the Economy of Organisations and especially to the people that work in them.

If any of the concepts above touched a nerve with you and you can see an application inside your organisation, please get in touch with me in the first instance. We’ll get a proof of concept rolling out for you within hours and start your organisation’s journey towards 'Skills Competence' quickly.

Wishing you massive success always.

uk.linkedin.com/in/stayingaliveuk/

@stayingaliveuk

 

Do you Appreciate Diversity in Social Media?

I engage with dozens of individuals each and every week and discuss the merits or otherwise of Social Media. Nowadays the workplace consists of different generations all trying to work together to fulfill a company’s mission.

The trouble is most of us don't have a clue how we can ensure that all the different generations get on together, let alone catering for them in the social media stakes.

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Let me share what I mean in a bit more detail.

Born between 1925-1945, you're a traditionalist, 1946-1964 and you are the famous baby boomer, the largest population group on earth. Gen X 1965-1979, Gen Y 1980-2000 and Gen Z 2001-now.

If you're a traditionalist you may already be retired or you will be in a mentoring and/or chairing capacity or very likely to be working in the 3rd sector.

As a traditionalist you value respect above all else. So being mentioned in a tweet incorrectly, accused of some wrong doing, you’ll be on the phone to your lawyer promptly. Not being shown respect is a major issue for you.

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Baby boomers really value relationships. That's probably why this group is one of the largest on Facebook, which in essence is a massive relationship community.

Believe it or not Gen X value life/work balance and these will be CEO’s who tell their teams to leave on time and spend more time with their families, making them more productive at work and satisfied with life. Social Media more than likely is a way to relax for them. Something traditionalists and boomers would never even consider as relaxing!

Gen Y, want to be heard, they are likely to be the most prolific on twitter, making their opinions known to the world and feel happiest when they receive likes or retweets. It means someone’s listening to them.

Gen Z, are too young I know, but watch out, they will be there soon and despite age restrictions on social networks, they've already been active for a couple of years and by the time they get to work, they will have been active for 7 years or so.

Most of us have only been active for a few years!

With all of these different generations working side by side, you can learn a huge amount about them from just watching their social network activity or maybe even the lack thereof.

It allows you some insight into how they relate to the other generations too.

Would you put a Boomer alongside a Gen X and get them to learn from each other or do you let all the Gen X and Y’s sit together in a pool and feed of each other?

Respecting diversity is important in communities, appreciating how they behave on social media, with some of THE largest communities on the globe, is becoming even more important.

Wishing you massive success always.

Michael

http://www.linkedin.com/in/stayingaliveuk

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Is your Social Media Policy liked?

I read with interest a recent newsletter with guidelines and policy on electronic communication and social media. Electronic communication has been around for a while and whilst it’s good to be reminded about what should and shouldn't be done, especially for new starters and young workers who may not be so used to email, in general it’s well established and most people know what is and isn't allowed. Social Media though is a different matter all together. The first question we have to ask ourselves is ’Why is Social Media so popular?’ Well because it releases dopamine in the brain, inside our pleasure/reward centre and that in turn makes it addictive. I wrote a paper on this last year, ’Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’.

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As it’s addictive, it means for many it's almost impossible to leave it alone. Think about it, whenever someone, likes, shares, retweets, follows, invites, accepts, pokes or any other social network activity that has become part of daily behaviour, we feel good about ourselves. We feel like someone approves of us, in a world where mostly we receive criticism, it means we feel like we are getting praise. And of course that feels good and if it feels good, it becomes addictive. Especially young people, who get criticised by parents and teachers alike day in day out. Therefore when they are on social media they (mostly) will get positive messages. I know it has its down side too.

So now we need to think this through, because if it’s addictive and people can't leave it alone, will we still be as harsh on them when we catch them accessing their personal social media networks, whilst at work? Or do we accept, actually this is part of the modern world now and very little we can do to fight it.

Research from 2012 suggests that smart phone owners check their devices 150 times per day, about once every 6 minutes. But we're now in 2014, so we can safely assume it has gone up significantly? Americans aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to research conducted in November 2012 by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX). (http://styin.me/1b1O73t). I'm sure the UK is not far behind them and that figure will have gone up too.

flickr | rockerictic

One way to allow your employees to engage in social media activities is to supply them with an internal social media platform, which connects everyone inside the business, across geographical boundaries, allowing everyone to learn from each other and to collaborate on projects. Also allowing colleagues to like and comment on posts. This way you are distracting them from their personal networks, by allowing them to still engage in similar activities and satisfy their addiction. Actually personal Social Media, is allowing millions of workers to train themselves in order to assist their learning inside the workplace. Think about it, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have provided free online training. Make sense?

Of course there have to be some rules, but we have to recognise that there is a bigger picture and we need to be conscious of that too.

Wishing you success always.

Do You Have Suicidal Thoughts?

Most of you who are reading this are no longer teenagers. But do you remember having suicidal thoughts when you were? It’s being reported regularly that teenagers these days are very prone to having suicidal thoughts and there may be no logical explanation for it. However it appears to be contagious.

Research showed that 32 per cent of young Britons have had suicidal thoughts, while a similar proportion (29 per cent) of young adults deliberately harmed themselves as teenagers. And more than one in 10 (12 per cent) felt a failure almost every day when they were under 16. http://styin.me/1ewlGuB

- flickr | Ktoine

I read some teenagers twitter feeds (no I wasn't stalking) I was intrigued and yes I was spying on my stepson’s feed because he was saying stupid things and he thought it was private!

But one feed lead to another and I could see a pattern of comments for example; ’I wish I was dead’ and ’I'm so close to taking as much pills as I can right now’ and ’Guys, don't any of you ever kill yourselves. If you are ever feeling suicidal just dm me, you can trust me, and I will try to help you <3 xx’.

At home we even had to call the police, because someone said on twitter that they had actually swallowed a load of tablets. When we also reported this to the head teacher at the school of this youngster, she confirmed that the instances of these are on the rise.

So why are youngsters having these thoughts and why are they sharing these openly with not just their followers, but if they realised, with the whole world!

Is it just attention seeking or is something fundamentally wrong with society, education, parents, nutrition (sugar overdose), lack of exercise, social media, television, gaming, greed, government or something else?

I know teenage years are about self-expression and finding your place in the world around you and yet for some reason they appear to be obsessed with wanting to end it all?

How do parents and teachers deal with this heightened threat of suicidal thinking in kids? Surely this must be playing out in their minds all the time and putting them in a place of fear themselves?

Do teenagers even realise what they are doing with this behaviour? Do they realise this behaviour increases further stress on their parents, who are already under pressure having to deal with a world of expectation, financial worries and keeping their kids happy.

Does one tell them to stop behaving so stupidly or do we take them to counselling? Is it just a phase of hormone development or are there serious underlying issues?

I can't help thinking that when they finally want to find a job their social feeds will be explored by employers (it's not illegal yet), who will find all sorts of silly communication on there and thereby making up their mind about whether to give them that job or not. And unfortunately teenagers don't see that as a potential threat at all!

- flickr | ohmann alianne

If we want our kids to be successful no matter what their background, then we seriously need to tackle this epidemic of suicidal thoughts in young people.

Should this become part of the curriculum at schools, should teachers openly discuss this with students and get them to open up and discuss these feelings in group sessions? Should we encourage their friends to speak up about those that are openly declaring these thoughts?

I haven't got the answers but one thing’s for sure something needs to be done.

What are your thoughts? And if you have youngsters go and talk to them and find out what's going on in their heads, that is if they'll tell you!

Success

Just 3 Apps for busy Executives?

Just 3 apps for busy executives...really? If you are a baby boomer or even if you're not and you're not sure which apps to download on your shiny new Apple iPhone 5S or iPad Air.

How about just having 3 in addition to all the ones you get free from Apple of course.

The idea is for you to achieve a super fast review of what's going on what is being said about your company, so you can scan it (read), write it or find it.

Number 1 is Flipboard

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Flipboard is still for me THE best social integration magazine app around. There are others but as Flipboard was first and they made the biggest impression, for me they have stayed ahead of the crowd.

What do you need to do?

  • You need your company social feeds as priority 1. This means you can view and keep up to date with what your marketing teams are sending out.
  • You need your own social feeds if you have time to be engaged with them. You can have feeds from all the major ones, plus you can post and engage from within Flipboard too, so there's no need to download the individual apps. Its basically your single dashboard for everything.

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Second is LinkedIn

If you're no making use of LinkedIn, then you are missing out on some key intel. LinkedIn is now THE biggest and MOST important professional database in the world.

Fortune 500 employees are there for sure and most Executives have a profile, even if some of them are hiding them.

Time to get out of the shadows and be seen!

The LinkedIn iPad app has received a major overall and now its fast and accurate. You have to meet someone, call them or even research them. Using LinkedIn is the best tool for doing that.

Your company profile should be there too. With all the detail of your latest marketing posts.

Remember of course you can pull a lot of the feeds into your Flipboard too! Primarily though this iPad app is for research and engagement.

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Third is iA Writer

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Not much to be said, its a simple writing app, no distractions, no formatting, no fluff, just think and write. A draft email, a report, meeting notes, just anything that needs recording simply easily and safely. Done!

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Go and get those and STOP playing games, use your mobile devices to do some business and stay focussed!

Success!

 

 

What can The Workplace learn from Social Media?

culture map flickr - dgray_xplane For decades organisations across the globe, are searching for the holy grail, ’Employee Engagement’.

Engagement levels are on the rise globally but shifting across regions. Although the economic impact of the recession continues to rebound in some areas and recess further in others, engagement levels rose slightly to 60% in 2012, up 2 percentage points from 58% in 2011. We see the largest engagement increase in Europe (improving 5 percentage points) and Latin America (improving 3 percentage points). North America’s engagement decreased slightly by 1 percentage point—particularly in the U.S., where engagement dropped 3 percentage points—and Asia Pacific remained the same. [Source: AonHewitt: http://www.aon.com/attachments/human-capital-consulting/2013_Trends_in_Global_Employee_Engagement_Highlights.pdf]

So globally we've pretty much stayed about the same, which means 40% of employees are NOT engaged. But what does engagement actually mean?

Does it mean they show up but nobody is at work? They do the basics but nothing extra? They prefer not to get involved in those famous ’let’s be a team’ activities?

Or...people are busy with life, work is just a part of it and they carry their worries with them wherever they go including into the workplace? After all we have just one brain and leaving your troubles at home, just doesn't work, because our brain goes with us wherever we go.

But Social Networks have exploded and people are very engaged there! So what happened there?

I've been fascinated by Social Networks for the past 5 years, not only have I actively engaged with them, I've wanted to understand why everyone loves them so much.

That's when I decided to write ’Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

So here's the bombshell, we are not loving our workforce enough it’s as simple as that. Many years ago I was involved in the Health and Wellness industry and tried to alert organisations of the need to improve their wellness efforts at work. One of the ways that I suggested they did this was through an online survey called the ’Wellness Inventory’.

I remember presenting this to a major building society in the UK to the HR Director. One of the items on the ’Wellness Inventory’ that people had to answer questions for was an item called ’Love’. He saw this and immediately said; ’actually we don't think that is appropriate here’.

I realised in that instant that I was pushing water uphill with this inventory and getting organisations to adopt it and sure enough I had to change direction after a few months of getting nowhere.

I hear stories every day now from employees who work for small, medium and large organisations. Those stories confirm to me that people at work are not loved enough.

It's time to examine the success of Social Networks and take on board the tactics that these Social Network giants adopt to gain more members, more engagement and share the love.

It's not a bad 4 letter word, you must just try it!

Have you understood the new LinkedIn updates?

LinkedIn have been busy. Their have been 6 significant updates in the past few months and I'm sure there will be more on their way. I have created this one page MindMap to help you view what the different updates mean.

You can download the PDF by clicking on the link below or just click on the image below to view it online.

In summary the new features are:

  1. New all encompassing search bar
  2. Rich media updates on your home page or company page, upload files or images
  3. Mentions, you can now mention anyone or a company when you post an update
  4. Contacts, completely revamped and improved
  5. 'You recently visited' graphic to interrogate and review what you've been up to
  6. 'Whose viewed your updates', a great measurement tool to see what posts are receiving engagement

Success!

New LinkedIn Features

New LinkedIn Features

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE4gRccorCk

 

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Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?

As published in The Non-Significant Journal of Business & Consumer Psychology Issue 2.1 - Spring 2013

Background

In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have sought to study and measure the impact of social networks (social media).

Social media network connection concept
Social media network connection concept
  • A 2010 study by the University of Maryland suggested that social networks may be addictive, and that using social networks may lead to a "fear of missing out", also known by the acronym "FOMO" by many students.
  • It has been observed that Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students in the U.S.
  • According to Nielsen, global consumers spend more than six hours on social networking sites.
  • Consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20% of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30% of total time online via mobile.
  • Tim Berners-Lee contends that the danger of social networking sites is that most are silos and do not allow users to port data from one site to another. He also cautions against social networks that grow too big and become a monopoly as this tends to limit innovation.
  • According to several clinics in the UK, social media addiction is a certifiable medical condition. One psychiatric consultant claims he treats as many as one hundred cases a year.

Introduction

Networks are not new; they have existed since the very first existence of cells on planet earth. It's quite amazing to know that our cells work together in networks to achieve tasks together. One such example is wound healing. For wound healing to occur, white blood cells and cells that ingest bacteria move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection. At the same time fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) move there to remodel damaged structures. This is a wonderful example of how cells behave together in networks.

Even our brain neurons wire together in associative networks to create our memories and skills. Cell division even mirrors the way that networks grow.

We humans are no exception in nature. We exist and flourish as part of networks. We seem to have some inborn instinct to behave in this way, actively involving ourselves in many different systems of connections.

Thumbs up like button on white background.
Thumbs up like button on white background.

The first network we experience in our lives is the immediate family, where we learn how to be social by watching our parents and siblings. Beyond that, we soon learn how to ‘network’ with other groups of adults and children. We then start our social journey by joining many different networks, the nursery, primary and secondary school, the college and university and then our work and leisure networks.

The size, membership and complexity of these networks may grow or contract during our lifetime, but they always remain an important part of our experience. There are several theories put forward to explain this networking phenomenon, from Social Comparison Theory,Role Theory,Homogeneous Theory and the Social Identity approach. The evidence seems to point to the conclusion that networking is in part driven by our genetic make-up.

Tribes

These networks have a major impact on our lives. They determine how we see the world and how we see ourselves; we constantly monitor how we are accepted in our various networks.

Perhaps another word for these networks could be 'tribes'.

Belonging to a 'tribe', gives us the feeling that we are part of ‘something bigger’ then we are. It helps to give our lives more meaning and significance. The belief that you belong to a ’tribe’ is reinforcing, as it encourages you to relate more strongly with the other individuals in that ’tribe’. It helps with the identity that you have given yourself as you became an adult.

When your ’tribe’ behaves in the same way that you do, you will consider them the same as ’you’ and somehow feel a connection. It triggers an automatic approval, telling yourself that they are OK as they behave in a similar way to you.

The way that this translates in social networks is that individuals will follow people on twitter, send each other friends’ requests on Facebook or ask to be connected inside professional networks, like LinkedIn. We may have never met the person but for some reason we want to share intimate details of our lives with them.

Facebook
Facebook

Never in the world have we seen this kind of behaviour before. It did not exist before social networks appeared on the worldwide web. You could not have imagined walking up to strangers, people you have never met and suddenly start sharing your personal life with them. It just didn’t happen. We as humans need to trust someone first before we will share personal details. In social networks personal details are being shared all the time without any apparent shyness or reservation.

And the only reason this happens is because we have connected at some level with this stranger in a social network where their behaviour mirrors our own. In social networks we behave for around 80% of the time exactly the same way as everybody else. Just the act of being in a social network together, posting updates, sharing content means you are doing the same as everyone else and that makes you part of that tribe.

Significance

Social networks give us a platform for significance. According to Anthony Robbins, significance is one of the 6 human needs as per his Human Needs Psychology model.  We all have a need to be significant in our lives and when family and friends, like, comment or respond to our activity inside social networks, we feel good, we feel loved, we feel significant.

Dopamine is closely associated with reward-seeking behaviours, such as approach, consumption, and addiction. Recent research suggests that the firing of dopaminergic neurons is motivational as a consequence of reward-anticipation. This hypothesis is based on the evidence that, when a reward is greater than expected, the firing of certain dopaminergic neurons increases, which consequently increases desire or motivation towards the reward. This is why social networks are so addictive and why games inside social networks (e.g. Farmville) are so popular. Equally though, aggression is also evident in social networks and recent studies indicate that aggression may also stimulate the release of dopamine.

Why do humans enjoy social networks?

Humans are social beings, they thrive around other humans and other humans make them thrive. Without human interaction we have no reason to exist. Compassion and love is a ready built-in operating system, which we are born with. Without the love we experience on the day of our birth we would probably die. Throughout our lives we crave that love and connection with other humans. Especially as those humans are the same as us or expressed in another way, exist in the same tribe as us.

Anthony Robbins’ Human Need Psychology says that one of our 6 human needs is love and connection15 .

Physical social networks, whether it’s the family unit, our workplace unit or other tribal social networks, which we belong to for our sport, hobbies and political activities, all exist because there is some love and connection that takes place.

Virtual social networks via the web also exist for the same reason. The creators of these networks have been able to create certain activities to allow us to feel love and connection with a connection or a tribe that exists inside these networks. Whether it is ’liking’, ’commenting’, ’sharing’, ’re-tweeting’, ’favouriting’, ’re-posting’, the user feels good when this takes place or in other words they do feel loved. This is very addictive and when dopamine is released in the brain, we want to experience more of this feeling16 .

As human beings we also want to give out love and this is another one of the human needs and is called ’contribution’. And therefore in social networks we also like to contribute to our fellow human beings.

The way that this translates inside of virtual social networks is no different. For example by actively ’liking’, ’sharing’, ’commenting’, it makes us feel good and drives us to do more of it, whenever the recipient rewards us in some way for taking this selfless action. And guess what happens more dopamine is released and the more addictive it becomes.

Put on top of that Ivan Pavlov’s dog experiment

and ’ding, ding, woof, woof’, every time our mobile device makes that familiar notification noise, we know that this could mean more dopamine and more love, so we’ll react instantly to the need of that possibility.

How social learning grows networks

In 1961 Albert Bandura conducted a controversial experiment known as the ‘Bobo-Doll ‘experiment, to study patterns of behaviour associated with aggression. Bandura hoped that the experiment would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory, and that similar behaviours were learned by individuals modelling their own behaviour after the actions of others. The experiment was criticised by some on ethical grounds, for training children towards aggression.

Bandura’s results from the Bobo Doll Experiment changed the course of modern psychology, and were widely credited for helping shift the focus in academic psychology from pure behaviourism to cognitive psychology. The experiment is among the most lauded and celebrated of psychological experiments.

Penguin points
Penguin points

This study can be viewed as quite significant and why social networks grow so fast. When we see the activities of others in social networks, we start to wonder if we're missing out on something and whether we need to start involving ourselves. When we then discover that our tribe, (whether family, work, hobby or other tribe), is doing the same, we will stay and investigate it further. And that is when we start enjoying shots of dopamine in our brain and when the addiction of this social network interaction starts working.

CAUTION: NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS

Conclusion

Social networks are here to stay, they've always existed and whether they are physical or virtual they are an important piece of our human make-up. My personal view too is that back in the times when humans went through war and terror they would draw closer to each other and grow closer socially. For example, during World War II, it was easier to connect with our fellow humans as we were all going through the same terror and strife. We would look out for one and other and support each other.

Basically we were giving each other a lot of love.

Bird Doodles
Bird Doodles

As the human population has grown and spread across the globe, some of the physical connections may have been lost. Virtual social networks have allowed us to make that re-connection with each other and in fact get in touch with people who we may not have seen for many years.

Of course this makes us feel loved and appreciated too.

And now, because these virtual networks show us how many fans, followers, and friends we have, this is proof to the world and ourselves how popular we are.  We take this metric as an important measure of how many people approve of us or rather love us, a kind of ‘love-o-meter’!

...or in Bryan Ferry’s - Roxy Music words...”Love is the drug I’m thinking of...”

 

Have You Got The Skills?

Ever since I left college, I've been working on my own skills. Strange isn't it, that once you leave school, college or university you actually start to think about what you will be doing and what skills you need to do that job you want or need. I taught myself computer skills, never ever went on a course to learn how to switch on a computer or operate Microsoft office or even switch to Apple in 2010 (other software suppliers/manufacturers are available). 20130426-221659.jpg

I am proud to say that I did it all myself. Training in the organisations I worked in, was very slim and most of the time non-existent. And this was because I worked in manufacturing where there just wasn't the funds for expensive training and yet I managed to work myself up to become a board director in a number of these organisations.

So when I attended a conference in Birmingham on skills for the next generation, I was astounded to hear about all the efforts that are being put in place for young learners to get them digitally trained.

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There are now thousands of courses available on line for millions of people if they have the hunger to learn.

They are called MOOCS, massive open online courses, which are exploding with great online courses and most of these are FREE.

Coursera is such a site and this is what they say on their website.

Choose from 300+ courses in over 20 categories created by 62 Universities from 16 countries.

Udemy is another one and this is what they say;

Expert instructors have taught over 500,000 students on Udemy, helping them learn everything from programming to photography to design to yoga and more.

flickr | ben110 teacher

Udacity say this, by making high-quality classes affordable and accessible for students across the globe: Udacity is democratizing education.

And then there is Khan Academy and this is what they say;

With a library of over 4,000 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice, we're on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.

There's TED Education, YouTube Education and I'm sure there are many more that exist and will exist in the future.

There has never ever, never ever, never EVER, EVER, EVER been a better time to learn skills!!

There should be no excuse for learners, teachers, business, and employers everywhere to skill up and get ready for work or develop whilst in work or whilst working on your own.

In the past 3 years, I've not paid for any course, have had to reinvent my business skills and I've done it all online.

Come on everyone get skilled up, you are responsible for your own education, don't expect others to do it for you, you have to create your own luck, but you'll have a better chance of creating it whilst learning new skills and taking responsibility for your own learning.

Wishing you success with your own learning!

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Are You Collaborating yet?

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Tech companies are investing heavily in ’Social’. You have to ask yourself one major question; Why?

You like most of us are already wired into ’Social’. And Tech companies know that the next big thing for corporates is ’Social Collaboration’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_collaboration

After TQM, Six Sigma, Lean and many other management process improvement practices, they have all tried to achieve one thing; ’Social Collaboration’ and never really succeeded, because they created too many meetings and actually reduced productivity, the very opposite of why these practices were actually invented.

Now that you and I are wired into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more social networks, corporates are delighted that those networks have managed to train you and me in the art of being virtually social. You and I have become comfortable in using these networks, happy to share personal and professional information publicly, plus sharing what we learn in our day to day lives, including recommendations for goods and services.

So now that we have been trained to do this, the natural extension of this is to bring ’Social’ into the organisation. Some have already started with patchy success, but the smarter executives realise that in order to capture the knowledge contained in employees heads and get true collaboration started, they will have to, without fail, invest in a corporate social network. By the way women understand this instinctively and men have to work at it much harder.

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A Corporate Social Network, doesn't only connect employees with each other across departments, countries and continents, it will save them billions in travel costs, training programs and on-boarding (induction).

Corporates are a bit slow in the execution of this, because all they have been focussed on was things like, ’if we open Facebook and Twitter to employees, then no work will get done’, instead of saying how can we get those type of networks replicated inside of our business?

So major global tech companies, like Microsoft, IBM, Google etc., have all invested in social network start-ups to add to their portfolio of products allowing corporates to implement these networks seamlessly with existing software.

You might be a small business reading this and thinking, that's great for larger corporates, but what about me as a start-up, a home office or a group of entrepreneurs, how do we do this?

Well the time has come for small business to collaborate with others. In order to compete with the larger corporates it's absolutely essential that we embrace ’social’ as well.

You are already ’wired-in’ to LinkedIn, so now it's time for you to maximise your activity there and start collaborating in order to grow your business footprint.

Ask me how and I will be delighted to collaborate on something with you.

Success!

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What is stopping YOU?

I probably speak to people daily about the power of video and how this is such an important area for businesses to invest in. In fact I have been on about this since 2004, even before the birth and rise of YouTube and yes I was way ahead of my time, even if I say that myself. How right I was, if only I had invested more time and effort, I could have been an Internet billionaire by now. Oh well there's still time! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRC16SEJMmc

And whenever I mention it, they agree, they wax lyrical about YouTube and how they have found stuff on there, which was really useful and how they learned so much from it. Or how they saw this really funny video about a cat and a dog!!

So why is it then that YOU aren't doing it yourself?? I even remember (ok so I am getting on a bit) when websites first started emerging, those horrible American sites with the textured backgrounds, companies were saying that it wouldn't take off and that people wanted to be able to feel something tangible, a brochure or a leaflet, is what they needed. The same people who said that email would never take off, because people wanted a physical letter, and I bet they also said that photography was wrong online and that there was nothing better than having a printed photo, to put into a physical album. You have heard it all before I know you have...

Could these dinosaurs also be the ones who said that social media was for kids and for sharing what you had for breakfast and how they didn't get it? Actually a lot of them are still saying that even now. Yep they certainly are! Ah I nearly forgot of course they also said that music could only be listened to via a physical product like a record or CD, yes even a CD was hard to swallow but they had to give in on that one, because the quality was better.

Back to Video then, let me share an infographic with you. Whether you believe it or not there are a few things I am sure you will accept.

Watching video is fast, you probably watch an average of 5 hours each day, whether through the TV, DVD's and online.

You get what's said in a video very fast, much faster then via the written word.

Most of your senses are engaged with Video, eyes, ears, feeling or VAK as the experts call it Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Yes indeed these senses make you remember so much more from watching video. That's why 'the movies' are still so successful because they know how to get you to get a full sensory experience, which makes you want to come back for more and no I am not talking about the popcorn and coke!

Broadband speeds are getting faster and the roll out of fibre across the UK means soon everyone will enjoy over 30mb download speeds and even more over the next few years.

This means the likes of Netflix, Apple, Amazon and many more will see their video download services explode, in the same way music downloads did. And yes there will be the dinosaurs that say that copyright, piracy will be an issue and since when has that stopped anyone?

My appeal to you then is to get engaged with video, whether it's to promote your business, educate your colleagues or communicate to your staff.

JUST DO IT!!

Have you Embraced 'Social Learning'?

The term 'Social Learning' in current days, doesn't mean the same as it did when Bandura did his experiments in the 60's. It encompasses a theory that individuals enjoy learning in a social context, when our learning is discussed and debated.

After all 'everyone has an opinion', and this means that we actually learn more about a topic, news story, event, training intervention, when we can reflect on it and interact with it.

Learning & Development (or training) at school and at work has and will continue to be the holy grail for all education professionals. We're always looking for better ways to engage students and drive a change in human behaviour.

Trouble is millions of $'s & £'s are spent every year to achieve these objectives. And it's so painful to see when the results don't match the spend.

Think about it. The world is at War somewhere in the world and always has been. Consider the economic conditions in most countries currently. If education, training and development works, we would not be in this state of flux. But really think about it. We as humans haven't evolved as much as we like to think. Our nature is closer to animal instinct then we give ourselves credit for.

If we are truly sophisticated and used more of our frontal lobe, which is the part that separates us from animals, then surely we wouldn't be carrying out wars, we wouldn't have an issue with CO2 emissions and global warming, the economies would be running smoothly.

Surely it would? Am I mad? I don't think so, I believe I am quite a rational kind of person, who can usually see both sides of the argument and yes I do see the best in most humans, because after all they should be educated, rational, intelligent and loving beings. And you also know that this isn't always true, but we have to start somewhere and I start with everyone's good until proven otherwise.

Anyway where is this leading us towards?

Oh yes, 'Social Learning'.

Consider the success of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and the latest kid on the block Pinterest.

What do they all have in common? Any idea?

Humans connecting with humans, that's the common thread through all of it. So why is this so important at this time in the world? It has allowed millions of us to have a voice, to discuss, comment and debate on news stories on major world events and on individual stories and their life events.

My theory and its only my theory and it makes perfect sense to me is as follows.

Remember the war? Which one you will say, because there have been so many.

Well let's just talk about World War II.

The War brought people closer, they looked out for each other and they knew more about each other's lives compared to any time in history. Well it's nearly 70 years since the ending of that major war and ever since then we as humans have drifted apart and have become more unconnected.

Social Networking is not an accident or a happy coincidence, it isn't either the creation of a Harvard University graduate or silicon valley's entrepreneurs. Their invention would never have worked if there wasn't the appetite for it.

The old saying ’people buy people first’ applies in social networks too, not just in business. We like to connect to like minded individuals or people that interest us and maybe we can learn something from them!

And yes we do like to learn, we are always learning, the brain collects millions of impressions every day, without us even realising it. If we don't learn we will die. As humans we have an inherent need to grow. But when we think about learning we think about, classrooms, teachers, exams, pressure, stress and recall many unpleasant memories.

We don't perceive consciously that reading tweets, Facebook posts, articles, blogs, watching YouTube videos as learning and of course it is, you are learning all the time.

The learning methodology of 70-20-10, is showing us that actually we learn 70% on the job or in our daily lives, 20% from our colleagues or family members or friends and 10% formally, so that's when we sit in a classroom, either at school or in the workplace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtdHZQ2VXhE

The development of social networks, will and is changing the world of learning forever. Millions of teachers and trainers are having to adopt these new technologies as part of their delivery methods.

This requires the teacher / trainer to become proficient in these new tools and get their own knowledge of these networks up to scratch. After all their students are using these to learn, so now we better embrace these too and make use of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H4RkudFzlc#!

Those that do, will succeed in helping to change the landscape of learning for themselves and students alike. A more engaged student will mean a more connected world and a more connected world will mean a world with more compassion and understanding for our fellow human.

Success!

 

Do you really make assumptions all the time?

I read a fascinating article in Wired magazine by Jonathan Lehrer, where he discusses the phenomena of our brains making assumptions on how things work, based on a set of data that we have collected.  In fact we collect data in our brains all the time.  And when we analyse data we start making all sorts of assumptions and conclusions based on that data.

And of course we can never have enough data to make our decisions on and at some stage we have to decide that we have enough of it to base our decisions on.

And this happens all the time in the most dangerous industry in the world, pharmaceuticals.  This article highlights some lessons for us all on how we make assumptions all the time in our private, business and social lives.

I have extracted what I believe to be the important constituents from his article:

On November 30, 2006 executives at Pfizer - the largest pharmaceutical company in the world held a meeting with investors at the firm's research centre in Groton, Connecticut.  Jeff Kindler, the then CEO began the presentation with an upbeat assessment of the company's efforts to bring new drugs to market.   He cited "exciting approaches" to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, fibromyalgia and arthritis.  But Kindler was most excited about a new drug called torcetrapib, which had recently entered Phase III clinical trials, the last step before filing for approval.  He confidently declared that it would be "one of the most important compounds of our generation".  Kindler told investors that, by the second half of 2008, Pfizer would begin applying for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The success of the drug seemed a sure thing.  And then, just two days later, on December 2, 2006, Pfizer issued a stunning announcement: the torcetrapib Phase III clinical trial was being terminated.  Although the compound was supposed to prevent heart disease, it was actually triggering higher rates of chest pain and heart failure and a 60% increase in overall mortality.  The drug appeared to be killing people.  That week, Pfizer's value plummeted by $21 billion (£14 billion).

The story of torcetrapib is one of mistaken causation.  Pfizer was operating on the assumption that raising levels of HDL cholesterol and lowering LDL would lead to predictable outcome: improved cardiovascular health.  Less arterial plaque.  Cleaner pipes.  But that didn't happen. (According to a recent analysis, more that 40% of drugs fail Phase III clinical trials).

The problem was, it's this assumption that causes a strange kind of knowledge.  This was first pointed out by David Hume, a Scottish 18th-century philosopher.  

He realised that, although people talk about causes as if they are real facts - tangible things that can be discovered - they're actually not at all factual.  Instead, Hume said, every cause is just a slippery story, a catchy conjecture, a "lively conception produced by habit".  When an apple falls from a tree, the cause is obvious: gravity.  Hume's sceptical insight was that we don't see gravity - we see only an object tugged towards earth.  We look at X and then at Y, and invent a story about what happened in between.  We can measure facts, but a cause is not a fact - it's fiction that helps us make sense of facts.

The truth is, our stories about causation are shadowed by all sorts of mental short cuts.  Most of the time, these work well enough.  They allow us to discover the law of gravity, and design wondrous technologies.  However when it comes to reasoning about highly complex systems - say the human body - these short cuts go from being slickly efficient to outright misleading.

Consider a set of classic experiments designed by Belgian psychologist Albert Michotte, first conducted in the 40's.

His research featured a series of short films about a blue ball and a red ball.  In the first  film, the red ball races across the screen, touches the blue ball and then stops.  The blue ball, meanwhile, begins moving in the shame basic direction as the red ball.  When Michotte asked people to describe the film, they automatically lapsed in the language of causation.  The red ball hit the blue ball, which caused it to move.  This is known as the launching effect, and it's a universal property of visual perception.  Although there was nothing in the two-second film - it was just a montage of animated images - people couldn't help but tell a story about what had happened.  They had translated their perceptions into causal beliefs.  Michotte would go on to conduct more than 100 of these studies manipulating the films.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_jKNlC2YKo

There are two lessons learned from these experiments.  The first is that our theories about a particular cause and effect are inherently perceptual, infected by all the sensory cheats of vision.  Hume was right that causes are never seen, only inferred, but the truth is we can't tell the difference.  And so we look at moving balls and see causes, melodrama of taps and collisions, chasing and fleeing.  The second lesson is that causal explanations are oversimplifications.  This is what makes them useful - they help us grasp the world at a glance.  

The article is far too long for me to include everything in it and I have not been able to find it online either.  However I think I have got the main message from it.

And the question I pose to you, is:  What assumptions are you making today, that are based on incorrect date or not enough data or just that you have perceived the information  in a certain way?  Is the red ball chasing the blue ball instead of them just moving independently of each other?

And then there is the other old saying: "Perception is Reality"

Success!

Ready for an ethical planet?

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You may have noticed recently that autocratic and dishonest behaviour is being rewarded by resentment and demands for justice. And everyone on the planet is involved. The human drama continues to unfold in front of our eyes on a daily basis. And what has grabbed the news headlines for over 12 months are the battles, whether physical in terms of fighting or verbal against the regimes, journalists, police, banks, senior individuals in charge and many more institutions and individuals that have been allowed to get away with thinking of just themselves and their own personal interest.

Actually we are selfish race, we don't really like other fellow human beings unless they are our own off-spring and then even we struggle to get on with them.

We are all aware of the family feuds that happen between siblings and not to speak of the arguments during family gatherings.

So why can't we be more unselfish and decide to support others? Why can't we put the importance of our own happiness and satisfaction on hold for a bit and instead think of others?

'But we do!' I hear you say, we support charities, we give money to them every time there is an appeal and true the UK are one of the most charitable nations in the world. But we do this out of guilt, because we feel we may not have done enough during the past 12 months, so giving some money to 'children in need' or comic relief' or one of the other 'telethons' makes us feel better, like we have given something and that means we have done our 'bit'.

Genuinely do you feel better or does your conscious actually know that you only did something because you have a condition, which I like to call 'spontaneous guilt'?

So how do we change our behaviour to become more ethical, more community focussed, more charitable, display more integrity, be less greedy, supporting of our fellow human beings, inspired to volunteer?

I don't intend to answer this question for you, it's for you to answer this for yourself.

I challenge you to look into your soul and decide whether you are doing enough for your fellow human.

Oh and I nearly forgot happy Valentine's day!

Success!

Are you making enough use of Video?

With the majestic rise of YouTube, there really is no excuse for any of us not to be making more use of video in our communications with clients, training of our employees and using it to get our marketing message out.

The images are from an infographic commissioned with research data from the following 3 companies; smallbiztrends.com | getresponse.com | emailmarketingreports.com and gives us an idea about how important video is in email marketing.

It reports that around 80% of small businesses see videos as a vital medium through which to communicate to their audience.  With around 88% of companies considering video most effective in training courses (29%), product demos (22%), product promotions (19%) and customer testimonials (18%).

I have certainly started focussing more on video, whether it is to explain a concept in social media or assist people in getting their marketing message out to prospects.

I have also learned from Fusion Universal, that presentations never need to be dull any longer. Instead of the usual death by PowerPoint it's more effective to create a 2-3 minute video, which you play at the presentation, and gives the client the essence of your proposal.  Then you can spend most of the meeting discussing it, rather then taking up most of the meeting discussing your presentation or demo.

You can literally see the delight on people's faces, when they have just watch a short video and "get it". It solves a massive problem and that is "attention-span". Most of us struggle to concentrate for more than 5 minutes sitting through a presentation.  Our mind is always thinking and even when someone is talking to you, you are thinking.  Even when you are reading this you are thinking and our thinking wanders from thinking about the subject being discussed or presented to our personal thoughts, back and forth.

What we do a lot is deciding whether we agree with something or not and we get ready with our critical questions and objections in the first place.  This I believe comes from our primeval survival response to believing that this may be threatening to us in some way. Therefore I have to ask some challenging questions, to make sure that I will be safe.  Does that make sense?

Anyway enough of the "Philosophy".

My recommendation to you is to investigate the use of video more in your endeavours on the web and with your marketing activities.  It will continue to grow and it's time to become more active with it.

Success!

Facebook, Death and Timeline

Facebook is amazing and with an end of year (2012) forecast of 1 billion people who have a profile on Facebook, it's a brave person who says that they have reached their peak. Even those people who criticise Facebook are eventually convinced by their family members to get a profile and connect with them there.

But one thing that I believe they will be remembered for most is the ability for anyone who upgrades to "Timeline" to have their life history in activities, photos, videos and events for family members and friends, young and old to view.

I have always been fascinated by my own parents' history and indeed my family history. It's even more interesting that my Dad was Dutch and my mother was Anglo-Indian. Can you just imagine what their timeline would look like if I had their full history from their birth until death for me to review on Facebook?

And my family is not special in fact everyone's family is special to them and just think how grateful your children and grand children will be if you were to complete your full life history inside Facebook's "Timeline".

This became even more evident when my father-in-law passed away on the 10th January 2012.  I only knew him a few years, but even in this short time I learned that this man had a very interesting history.  He was a criminal lawyer, a glass expert and an enthusiastic letter writer to national and local newspapers.  He even managed to get on BBC Midlands Today in the past 2 years.  It would have been really interesting to review his full life history.

So the best thing my wife Clair could do, thanks to Facebook, was to set up a Facebook page to allow people to post photos and messages about him. The local press in his hometown, Stourbridge, also included the page URL in their online and off line news reports about him.  I did not have this opportunity when my parents passed away and now anyone can create a Facebook page in the memory of a loved one.

Thanks to Facebook, all of us have a fantastic opportunity to create our own life story there and when we do eventually cross over to the "other" side, there will be a history for our loved ones who remain on earth to look at and remember us by.

So my message to all of you is convert to "Timeline" and start populating each of your years since birth with your key events, photos and activities.  Not only is it a great way for you to review your own life and remember everything you have done, it will also provide a rich picture for your family and friends and understand your history right now whilst you are still on planet earth.

Success!

This article is dedicate to John V. Sanders who passed away peacefully on the 10th January 2012.

 

Steve Dineen | 'The Future is Social' | 11.11.11

Steve Dineen, Executive Chairman of Fusion Universal, talks at the 'The Future is Social" event at Mahiki London on 11.11.11. Explains why workplace learning has to adopt a new way of learning and demonstrates how 'Fuse' has been developed to facilitate this.  It's 25 minutes long, but well worth listening to.  Steve has an amazing vision.  He talks about and introduces some videos, and as it is just an audio recording, they have obviously been left out.  Enjoy!

Steve Dineen | 'The Future is Social' | 11.11.11 by Stayingaliveuk on Mixcloud

Do you believe in Luck?

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I like Derren Brown, he has a great way of getting you to believe something, without you having a clue how you started believing it.

He has a new series on Channel 4 currently, called experiments and every episode has been quite incredible, but the one last week on Luck in a British town Todmorden, was really fascinating.

A whole town started to believe that a dog statue in the park was lucky, and that by touching it's head you would be lucky. It started by getting a reporter to go around town asking people what they knew about this lucky dog. This continued in selecting a few of the inhabitants to take part and follow them around their every day lives, plus setting up a few pre-prepared lucky events, to help people believe even further in the concept of luck.

The amazing thing was that more and more people started to believe that they were lucky and started attracting luck in their lives for real, so much so that even Derren Brown had not expected this outcome.

They even started believing that the lucky dog phenomena had been going on for years, whereas the experiment had only been going on for a few months.

More and more people reported on the luck they had received after touching the statue. But there was one guy, the local butcher, who just would not see the opportunities that were presented to him. It had a magical ending, but to find that out you will need to see the episode, hurry its still available on 4OD.

Here are a few questions for you.

How many opportunities have you ignored or not noticed that could have resulted in you being lucky in life?

Do you have a 'belief' that things will go wrong for you or do you believe that things will go right?

Do you need a physical thing that you can touch to help you believe that you're lucky?

We have nominated our wooden pig (see below) in the house that has become our 'Lucky Pig'. We will keep you posted and let you know how our luck is changing!

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Scott Watson on Female Unemployment

Shock statistics have painted a grim picture of retail unemployment particularly among female workers.  A recent study undertaken by analysts Ssentif has shown that unemployment among female retail workers has risen by an astonishing 27% in the last 12 months.

With high street retail giants such as Habitat and Jane Norman entering into administration, 126,000 former retail workers are now claiming job seekers allowance up from 94,000 one year ago.

Human Resources expert Scott Watson says that companies should be legally obliged have a duty to their redundant staff to up skill their job hunting skills in a proactive effort to help them exit unemployment more quickly.

'Of course companies needing to make job cuts or entering administration need to rein in costs.  This does though need to be balanced with corporate social responsibility for those staff who are affected.  He continues, 'This will not only help the economy to regenerate but also help skills transference in to other more buoyant sectors'.

'During the 1980's the mass closure of coal mines throughout the North resulted in the emergence of new service centre economies such as the call centre industry. Even with the current economic climate, this skills transference can be replicated in today's challenging job's market, ' Watson added.

Scott and his team have started a ground breaking online service for job hunters, called MyOnlineJobCoach, which provides expert advice on how to prepare and secure your next career move.  Fascinating concept and at a fraction of the cost (Normally £87 but via here Just £47 for 12 months) of what outplacement companies charge you for that advice.

A must for corporates who are making redundancies or putting people in the "at risk" category.

Although corporates may not be able to do anything about the economic issues, they could provide their redundant employees with a 'feel-good factor', by providing access to a site where they have over 40 videos with practical and sound advice.

Scott Watson is an international human resources expert who advises organisations including DHL, GE, AXA amongst many others.  He is author of the book 'Win Every Time - Essential Lessons For Existing and Emerging Leaders'.  Scott has personally trained over 10,000 individuals across the globe to enhance their effectiveness.

UK Unemployed?

It could be the worst crisis the world has ever seen.  Millions of unemployed people in the Western World.  It's all being blamed on the bankers and their greed, but actually were they merely responding to our demands?  Our demand to have more and maybe even feeding our empty feelings and our need to satisfy our competitive nature. So why is it that the Western World is still attempting to get back to business as usual. Do we not realise that business will never get back to where it use to be?  Big business, governments and us need to look at living a different life, doing more with less and looking at giving more rather then taking more.

As I started writing this blog post I heard news reports of threatened strikes all over the UK and suggestions that it will be the worst since 1929?  (The Great Depression in the United Kingdom, also known as the Great Slump, was a period of national economic downturn in the 1930s, which had its origins in the global Great Depression. It was the largest and most profound economic depression of the 20th century for the United Kingdom).  You may be fooled for believing that it's over pension reforms, but underneath it all it's because people are dissatisfied, in fear and just generally annoyed with the speed of the suggested cuts across the UK, the depth of which we have probably never seen in our lifetimes.

To fully understand why this has happened, you have to look closer to home.  You have to take a serious look at your own spending habits.  By the way I am not blaming you, I am blaming companies who have brainwashed us for years through advertising and the media in believing that we need things, that actually we can do without.

As early as 1896, experimental psychologists began studying the mental processes involved in advertising.  The first psychological theory of advertising maintained, in effect, that the consumer was a non-rational, suggestible creature under the hypnotic influence of the advertising copywriter.  Walter Dill Scott was the major proponent of this theory, and it was largely through his writings that advertising men learned about the psychology of suggestion.  Scott's theory was consistent with a growing trend in the advertising profession toward viewing consumer behaviour as irrational.

So what will happen to all of these unemployed people, how will they survive and will they ever get another job?

These are all worrying questions for anyone who finds themselves without a job from one day to the next.  How is it possible that we can survive with less people in employment, when those people at one time were needed?  Anyone who has ever been made redundant, will feel demotivated, a failure and will find it hard to get going again.

Most of us need some way to get motivated again and get some support.  Visiting the job centre won't do that for anyone, that will just get you more demotivated.

Companies won't always support your exit from the company, only those with deep pockets.  But after all they have to pay redundancy costs and usually there won't be much left after that.  So you are on your own, you need to do it yourself, so how do you get started?

There are a few recruitment organisation out there, who promise a tailored service from end to end, getting you to part with huge amounts of money, with a promise to help you to re-draft your CV, practice interviews with you and find you some jobs to go for.  There is no guarantee, there never is and with most job vacancies heavily oversubscribed, your chances are slim.

What you do need is to stand out from the crowd, some way of being noticed, becoming excellent at presenting yourself and knowing that you only have one chance to get it right.

Step in MyJobCoachOnline, probably the first of it's kind in the UK.  At last someone has had the insight to provide something very affordable and still get all the great tips and techniques that is needed to land the dream job.  A training company based in Yorkshire that I have used and highly recommend, has developed a very comprehensive online learning portal, where job seekers can develop themselves and learn about the do's and don'ts in getting themselves ready and applying for jobs.

It's even more impressive that this is done through the medium of video and therefore easy for everyone to get to grips with.  It also means you can play it over and over again.

I wish I had thought of it, but more importantly they have provided a great public service to people worried about how to prepare for getting the next job.

And because its so affordable (11 pence per day), it also means that organisations can provide this service to their leavers, by way of a thank you and goodbye.  A gift for them to allow them to feel appreciated even when they are leaving the organisation.  A great idea!

I can wax lyrical and talk about all the benefits etc., but if you want to learn more and find out how you can get hold of this, just go and visit www.MyOnlineJobCoach/stayingaliveuk

I had a chat with Scott and Dirk and they very kindly gave me a preferred offer (46% discount) for my friends, business contacts and in fact my entire social network, including anyone that subscribes to my blog.

I applaud Scott and Dirk for what they have created and can see how this will grow over the next few years to being a very successful project.

Wishing you success with your job search and do let me know what you think of it.