Your ETR (Estimated Time to Read): 5 minutes
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June 2008

In this Issue:

Say It Quick
a thoughtful message in exactly 99 words

bits of serendipity to inspire and motivate
fuel for your own continuous learning
tips and tricks you can try today
Potential The Adventures of Johnny Bunko Are You Grading Us? Tonight's Dinner Menu


Say It Quick
Here, in exactly 99 words, is a true story that dovetails nicely with The Adventures of Johnny Bunko in our Discoveries column. Which of Bunko's career success lessons do you think my friend Bob learned through his experience?


Bob was a writer who wanted to quit journalism. He applied to many organizations as a grant writer. Though he had several interviews, an offer never materialized. One day, a would-be employer called, not with a job but with a suggestion: "You've got too much talent to be a grant writer," she said. "You're executive director material."

Since then, Bob has successfully led several organizations because a stranger's comment changed his self concept.

The key to unlock our greatness is held by people who take the trouble to share their insights about us. What possibilities have you unleashed?



The Adventures of Johnny Bunko:
The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need

by Daniel Pink,
art by Rob Ten Pas,
Penguin Books, 2008


I wasn't looking for a career guide and I didn't expect to buy a manga-style comic book about business but, since The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is by Daniel Pink, I grabbed it right away. Pink is the author of A Whole New Mind which highlights the ever-increasing importance of right-brain thinking for the success of today's workers. In Johnny Bunko, Pink uses right-brain elements like design, story, emotion, and metaphor to talk about six lessons for career success. After a lucky "break," office worker Johnny Bunko combines the teachings of a flighty guru with his own experiences to learn the six lessons:

What's appealing about these lessons, besides their simplicity, is their applicability to more than just our career aspirations. Personal relationships, family life, and community participation can all benefit from focusing on people's strengths or a desire to leave a positive imprint, for example.

And the book is appealing too. The manga illustrations evoke both mood and motion - qualities absent from the business publishing world. The book becomes accessible to everyone and invites a quick reread whenever there is a spare moment. Not a bad quality considering it could take a whole career to master these six lessons! For that reason alone, it's this year's graduation present for everyone on my list.

For more information:


"Are You Grading Us?"

That was a question from one participant in a recent workshop that I was leading. This was a surprise. What would a "grade" mean in the workplace? I assured all the participants that the only "bad grade" would be if they never improved at their job. However, if they could think about what went well and what could go better, then make a plan to do things differently next time, their work would certainly improve.

This is the essence of continuous learning: reflecting upon experience and trying out a plan to do something differently. It becomes a cycle of action and reflection that leads in an unlimited series of small steps closer and closer to a better way of doing things.

Sometimes, learning is equated with knowing facts and being able to recall information. Sadly, facts and figures by themselves are not always useful out in the field. No one could memorize all the possible responses to every customer service complaint. Facts alone won't enable someone to invent a new use for an old product. And try diagnosing a squeaky engine or a patient with pain without active investigation and experimentation. Many times, a person must learn about the situation while in the middle of the situation. And since every situation changes moment by moment, learning must be flexible, evolving, continuous.

I like to think that if I've really learned something, I will view the world differently and my behavior will change. When that happens, I give myself a grade of "AI" which stands for "Always Improving!"


Tonight's Dinner Menu

Want to try out your continuous learning skills and focus on your career Johnny Bunko-style? Here's your assignment:

Ask this question of each person at tonight's dinner table: "What is something you learned today and how will it change what you do tomorrow?"

We aren't looking for Nobel Prize-winning learning here, just something that will make your work or life a little better. And don't let yourself off the hook if you dine alone! Call up a friend or talk to the waiter!

And what if you've got nothing to say? Great, you just learned something! Now act on it. Ask yourself, "What can I do tomorrow to make sure I learn something new?"

Did it work? We'd love to hear what happened when you tried this experiment. Send us a !


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