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In April 2001, the precursor to Business Intelegant, RouseArts, started. Its keywords then were new thinking about work and global English and leadership training with cross-cultural meaning. The original white paper is on the resources page of this site. It was a fun time, and what started with one serious client, grew.

When RouseArts became Business Intelegant in 2002 it became a going and growing concern and for the next six years its keywords were still new thinking about work, leadership and language training as one tool, and organizational development and coaching, all for international organisations. Chairing the 27th Organization Development World Congress was good affirmation. It also  led to speaking as a full-time job. Especially, thanks initially to the Connées and Procivitas, in some of the best schools across Europe. Having spoken to some 4,500 teenagers now years about life skills, the discovery that teaching was an attractive challenge was a meaningful one.

In Sweden, teacher training four long years. Sometimes intensive, sometimes not. However, what is certain is that it is not to be entered into lightly, ever, but especially when older. And on top of that, try to avoid doing so if you are older with three daughters. I always remember the head of Deloitte on hearing we were having twins succinctly sum it up: “That’ll be challenging…”

Well, yes. But being a qualified teacher provides another dimension.

Business Intelegant continues  evolving. Most of all it has people at its center, not just ideas. What was learnt from others along the way is used every day, even those who are no longer with us who were very dear colleagues, and so Business Intelegant continues. And continues to thrive.

The keywords for 2014 and hopefully the keyword is still new thinking about work, and with that, education, new technologies, and also just fresh thinking on diferent subjects in all its forms. To mark this third stage Business Intelegant will become simply Intelegant during 2014. Intelegant is a learning foundation. Here’s looking forward to the next dozen years!


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Matthew Horst at CostCo

This letter of thanks was written to the CEO and board of CostCo. Reading it one reflects on two things, firstly, there is no way WalMart is ever getting a letter like this with their slave, command &  control atmosphere, that is, frankly, inhibiting work developments in the US, and secondly, Talent is not a good degree, and good clothes: it’s effort, application and desire. Well done CostCo!

 

Dear Mr. Sinegal and Mr. Jelinek,

Throughout the 90s, my older brother Matthew worked part-time at a grocery store. He was punctual, cared for his customers and he completed his work (clearing grocery carts from the parking lot) with excellence. But, the part-time minimum-wage salary, lack of benefits and toxic work environment prevented this job from becoming a career.

 

When a Costco opened up in our neighborhood (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) in the late 90s; its reputation for treating its employees with dignity preceded it. Matthew applied immediately in hopes of joining the Costco team. A few short months later, Costco took a chance on him. Today, 11 years later, after several promotions, consistent pay increases and with a supportive team around him, Matthew has found his career. The very generous salary and benefits package allow him to enjoy life in a debt-free home in a great neighborhood, within walking distance of Costco.

 

For his entire life, Matthew has been classified and known by his “special needs”. Since the day he began at Costco, however, his coworkers and customers have valued him because of his unique strengths. There are many companies which “succeed” at the expense of their workers. I am a firsthand witness to a counter-intuitive company: Costco succeeds through the flourishing of its employees.

 

Matthew worked for years in the Costco parking lot (bearing the wind, rain, cold and snow), taking pride when it was free of carts. And, true to the rumors (that Costco promotes from within), he eventually was given the opportunity to work in the warehouse as a cashier’s assistant, supporting customers as they check-out. He absolutely loves his job…and his customers absolutely love him.

 

Matthew raves about his friends at the eyeglass center, bakery, pharmacy, food court and customer service desk. He always talks about the tire crew members who allow him to park his bike under their watch–and make sure it is tuned and safe to ride. He pays tribute to his many supervisors, each of whom has taken special care to help him succeed. Matthew enthusiastically participates in Costco’s Children’s Miracle Network partnership month, the annual Christmas party, and he recently won an employee Biggest Loser competition (losing over 65 pounds).

 

Costco has become much, much more than an employer to Matthew. Thank you for giving him a chance. I have always deeply believed that Matthew does not need any handouts — he just needs opportunities to apply his incredibly unique gifts and abilities. The purpose and care with which you approach business has literally changed the course of my brother’s life and has been an unspeakable blessing to him and to our family.

 

My warmest thanks,

Chris Horst


This piece by Herb Greenberg of TheStreet takes a wry look at career hopping – anyone under 40 will recognise the symptoms…

I get exhausted when I look at my LinkedIn resume: Way too many jobs to keep up with, including the latest new gig at TheStreet, which is really little more than a return to the second-longest stop along the way.

But still, with eight full-time jobs in 40 years, plus two from very early in my career that for some reason are not even showing up on on LinkedIn — not to mention a bunch of side gigs — mine appears (optically, at least) to be the resume of an obsessive job-hopper.

My longest job ever, at the San Francisco Chronicle, lasted for 10 years. My shortest, at a Wall Street risk arbitrage firm, had me headed back to the newspaper biz after a little more than a year. The 1987 stock market crash didn’t help, but I was ready to leap — and the real-world experience of that job has helped me in every job since.

From that point on, starting with my job as a daily columnist in San Francisco, I changed how I viewed working. Building and running the column was like starting a business. It launched my brand and firmly established who I am professionally. Since then, I’ve always approachedall my jobs as businesses. Salaries equal income. My name is Herb and I’m an Intrapreneur.

And I have this rule — and I tell this to my kids and anybody else who asks: A job, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is not a prison. If you’re bored, feeling underpaid, underappreciated, want to live in another part of the country or world (my reason for this move: to get back to San Diego) or you’re just too ambitious for your own good it’s okay to change jobs*. (*Just make sure you have the new one before you leave the old one! And never, ever burn bridges.)

I also advise: If you’re going to make a change, put yourself out of your comfort zone. Doing so forces you to challenge yourself. It doesn’t always work, but even my stumbles have been stepping stones to something better. Several times I even veered away from journalism — once to the arbitrage job; I was woefully out my league. But I always refer to as my sabbatical. Another time I joined a friend to start an investment research firm. It lasted two years. It was successful. It was also, at times, extraordinarily stressful —in a way only partnerships can be. (We parted and have remained good friends.) And I value the experience.

Don’t get me wrong, job-hopping has its downsides, especially if you have a family. Starting over is never easy. Leaving friends is harder. And the older you get, the more a move to a new region makes you feel like you’re crashing a party.

Then there’s the issue of loyalty, or lack thereof. Many employers simply don’t like or trust job hoppers. It has never been my intention to leave a job. I always start as if it will be long-term, which is why we have always bought a house, rather than rent, when we change cities for a job. But you also have to look out for yourself, especially in an era when companies across-the-board (notably in my industry) have shown an increased lack of loyalty to employees.

As one friend reminded me the other day, “Change is good; it reminds you you’re alive.”

No atrophy here.

P.S.: We’re on our fifth and last cross-country move back to the city we call home. Truth be told: Moving gets old, very old. (Watch for a future piece from me here on the logistics of long-distance moving; we’ve become pros at it.)


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This piece from Jeff Haden (who can count me among the 100,000 readers he has on LInkedIn) reflects new developments in motivational psychology: we now talk about identity (and marketers live for that, right?), rather than personality.

Here it is…

We all have huge personal goal we want to accomplish: A big, challenging, amazing goal. We think about it, dream about it, obsess about it… but we never accomplish it.

That could be because we also talked about it, because according to some studies, people who talk about their intentions are less likely to follow through on those intentions.

Say you want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, a grueling five- to seven-month trek from Georgia to Maine. (Having completed about 2% of it, I’m not so well on my section-hiking way, much less thru-hiking.)

You’re having dinner with friends and you tell them all about it. “Oh, wow!” one exclaims. “That sounds amazing. But won’t it be super hard?”

“Indeed it will,” you say, puffing out your chest, and you share what you know about tent sites, shelters, infrequent showers, and the cool trail name you’ll get.

It’s fun. It feels awesome to bask in the glow of people who admire you for wanting to take on such a huge challenge.

It feels… it feels like you’re already on the Trail.

It also means you’re less likely to someday be on the Trail, because according to this study, “When other people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity.”

In short, you already got a huge kick out of people thinking of you as a Trail hiker… so now you’re less motivated to actually be a Trail hiker.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? Aren’t we supposed to share our intentions so other people can support and motivate us?

According to NYU psychologist Peter Gollwitzer, one of the authors of the study, that’s not always the case. Gollwitzer thinks the issue lies in our sense of identity. Each of us wants tobe certain things, so we naturally declare those intentions even if we have not yet becomethose things.

Describing how I plan to run a marathon, how I bought running shoes and joined a gym and created a training plan, certainly makes me feel good… but it also makes me feel like I’m already part of the way to being a marathoner even though I haven’t trained at all.

Sometimes declaring what we want to be and how we will get there causes us to feel we are farther along the path of becoming who we want to be, and therefore makes us less motivated — even though we’ve actually done nothing but talk.

So try it. Pick a goal. Create a plan to achieve it. Get help, get guidance, get input from other people who have accomplished that goal… but otherwise keep your goal and your plan to yourself. Don’t talk about it: Focus solely on doing the work required to achieve your goal.

Then, when you do achieve your goal, hey, feel free talk all you want. If nothing else you’ll enjoy how surprised your friends are when they realize you’ve accomplished something awesome, something they didn’t even know you were attempting.

But my guess is you won’t talk about it, since the personal satisfaction of achievement is infinitely sweeter than public acclaim.

 


John Hardy is not a professional educator. He was a good jeweller living in Bali. What he has built is extraordinary and deeply inspiring.

 


 

As we move into 2012 we are now a century on from Ford and Taylorism.

But don’t we still treat work as a time and production issue rather than a creativity and results issue?

Regrettably, the century old idea that being seen in the office is the same as hard work is hard to break. More and more studies show that, as Parkinson’s Law stated, work fills the time available. Interestingly several large companies have been extending the idea of hot-desking to one of time: you come in, you work hard for two to three hours, give it your all, and amazingly production increases, motivation increases, sales improve and retention improves.

Do we only give lip service to the ideas of new work, creativity, cognitive process and cognitive progress, but when push comes to shove, do we still want our pound of flesh for the dollar invested? We cannot hope to break the 9-5 cycle until we see that effort is the marker not simply the minutes logged – and honestly, let’s face it, in a hundred year’s time, do we still want work to look like it does today for our children’s children or do we want to get the job done, be thinking while sailing, playing golf, or, exotically, sitting in the thought space in our flying cars; whatever the future may look like, one things for sure, we don’t want to be filling up all our lives with wasted hours.

The intelegant solution is to reward effort and results, not longevity.


As we approach the heart of the holiday period, I was asked in a seminar in Gothenburg, Sweden, for a little thinking about what makes success and happiness at work? Well, that’s putting you on the spot! Luckily, I have been thinking about this quite a lot during 2011 and so may I humbly suggested that a simple mix of 1) good decisions, 2) a solid work ethic, and 3) being well motivated, might get us some of the way there.

Looking forward to 2012 I hope that these qualities will be keep us all going strong.


As the recession seems to go deeper and deeper talent programs are suffering – not the new talent, though they may be LIFO, but those who expected to be promoted are, according to several sources, finding themselves in several major corporations struggling to achieve their own goals.

This causes two issues: one: the employer has a disgruntled employee, who may not want to leave, but feels like they are stuck, and secondly, there are dangers of bottle-necking in the organisational structures.

Any cures? The best is make the work challenging – rather than the position. There is a lot of evidence that those who feel they are still valued and challenged by their roles in the organisation are better performers. Challenging work does not mean more, it means identifying the key indicators and working on those.

These are tough times and good clear objectives helps.


The time we take for ourselves is never wasted. We live in a world where we were promised that computers would make life easier, give us more free time, and take the burden of work from us, freeing us to follow our pursuits. I can hear your cruel laughter.

In an increasingly “fast” world, where the ability to react and implement change quickly has become an essential part of the pyschology of success knowing how to genuinely switch off and relax is not just a great idea; it may add some years to our lives.

There is increasingly evidence from the field of allostasis, or human overload, that constant overload is as in any biomechanical entity not only unhealthy in the short-term but may eventually shorten lifespan.

Summer should be a time to go sailing, play golf, swim with the kids (All things I like to do anyway) – to do the stuff that you work all year to get a chance to do – when did the work-life balance become such that work became more important than the lives around us.

Can I wish you a fun, exciting, relaxing summer, and I hope you too will get time to simply do nothing as well as pursue your interests and come back refreshed and revitalised after the break?


This comes from slingingthehbull.com and author Doug Eikerman and is worth reposting: here is a list of sixteen traits that excellent teachers have in common:

1. Knowledge of the subject matter

You can’t teach what you don’t know. All teachers need not be experts in their fields, but possessing knowledge is important. Teachers must continue building their understandings of their subjects throughout their careers.

2. Patience

No teacher should be expected to have much patience with individuals whose lack of discipline, immaturity, or indolence interrupts the work of other students. Patience with students who are trying to learn, however, is part and parcel of the teaching profession. Impatience with sincere students is an indication of the teacher’s own shortcomings.

3. Intellectual curiosity

All good teachers are intellectually curious and naturally driven by their interests in keeping abreast of changes in their fields.

4. Confidence

Good teachers are confident in their abilities to sense where students are in the learning process and in their students’ abilities to learn material that is presented in a logical and graduated fashion.

5. Compassion

Talented teachers are able to work with students with varying levels of maturity and knowledge. A college professor I know once made the following statement about his experience as a teacher: “Each year teaching is more challenging for me, because I grow a year older and the students stay the same age. The widening age gap forces me to stretch in order to reach them.”

6. Achievement

Experienced teachers have clear thoughts on what their students should know at the end of the term, and they understand what they must do along the way in order to reach those goals.

7. Planning

Teachers must have plans and stick to them. This goes deeper than rigidly following a course syllabus. Effective teachers sense when students need more time to absorb the material and, within limitations, are willing to give it to them.

8. Awareness

Teachers in elementary and secondary schools must have eyes in the backs of their heads. They need to be aware of everything that happens in their classrooms and in adjacent hallways. Teachers who are awake are able to stop nonsense before it starts and keep students on track.

9. Mentorship

Teachers often serve as mentors to their students. The desire to influence students positively is a core motivation of many teachers when they enter the teaching profession.

10. Maturity

In no profession is maturity more important than in teaching. Students experience emotional ups and downs, and insightful teachers are able to sense the changes and respond to them appropriately. Teachers must be pillars, consistently encouraging students to grow as human beings and to develop academically.

11. Community involvement

Maintaining good community relations is part of being a teacher, and teachers’ contact with parents, administrators, and community leaders enhances their effectiveness in the classroom.

12. Organization

One-on-one tutoring is easy compared to leading a classroom of students in a single direction. Teachers must be able to manage students’ multiple personalities and organize their subject matters so that a maximum number of students benefits from their presentations.

13. Vision

Teaching encompasses far more than passing information from teachers to students. Teachers should be illuminators who provide their students not only with interesting and useful material, but also with visions of where they might end up if they learn well.

14. Context

Every subject has a context, and teachers are responsible for providing it to their students. Since no one learns in a vacuum, teachers must show their students how the information they are learning might be used or might lead to the development of some other useful skill.

15. Mission

Perhaps the most important thing teachers communicate to students and to the community is a sense of satisfaction with their choice of teaching as their life mission. Teaching at its highest level is a calling, and good teachers feel it to their cores.

16. Enthusiasm

Excellent teachers never lose enthusiasm for their profession. They might become temporarily burdened by administrative hassles or isolated problems, but their underlying engagement with their work is unwavering. Students feel this energy, and teachers who project it are much more successful than those who do not.


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