Postovi za oznaku: Education

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The sharing of knowledge: the lessons I’ve learned as a lecturer

This blog helped me launch myself on both a personal and professional level. After writing a few blog posts, I was invited to numerous conferences in the country, the region… and beyond. According to my records, I have held a total of 275 in-house, conference and other types of open type lectures. Since 2008 and up until today, the average is 55 per year. In one way or another, I’ve been perfect public performance since the age of 6. I would therefore like to write a few about this…

Lecturers…

The market currently offers much more lecturers in comparison to the number of prominent events. In case you do get the honor to lecture at a conference, please think about the following things.

First of all, make sure you take a careful look at your schedule! Giving your word not only binding for you, but for the organizers as well, having in mind that they too are responsible for organizing he program and other promotional activities based on your decision -> in the past 5 years, I canceled a lecture only twice. The first time this happened due to a 39 degree fever (this was an internal training for Limundo) and the other time was in May this year when I had to cancel going to the Proactive conference which I love dearly, and where I’ve become a regular over the years.

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Are you a good boss?

As much as we’re good at things individually, we can be even better working as a team! I read somewhere that teamwork is good because there are always those that like to do something you don’t, but don’t like to do what YOU are good at. That’s synergy.

A good team is created gradually, it develops and grows with time. Even though that every member is an important link – the team leader (The Boss) is still the one with the most responsibilities. So what makes a good boss?

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The secret of success?!

A long time ago, Miloš told me: “You have potential! But you know what kiddo, out of the 100% of people with potential, 80% do absolutely nothing with it!

This sentence was engraved in my memory.

When you’re good – built of good material, and you get a chance but don’t use it – then that’s bad. It’s so bad it doesn’t get any worse, even compared to those who have potential but never got a chance to show it!

So what’s the catch?

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Do you know how to be a PR?

Carl Gustav Jung, a psychiatrist and the founder of the methodology of analytical psychology (among other things), stated that in order to understand psychology you had to possess knowledge in the following fields: philology, history, archeology, mythology, folklore studies, ethnology, philosophy, theology, children psychology and biology!

Which knowledges do we have to possess in order to understand communicology and our (humble) PR? An which skills…

Talking to my fellow colleagues, we realized that not many PRs have good knowledge in, let’s say, general culture, linguistics, economy, management, politics, psychology, art, history (of business, communications and society as a whole).

Wide education – better focus in doing business!- (DDj, sometime, somewhere)

When it comes to skills necessary to make a good PR manager out of you, I would emphasize the development and perfection of learning abilities, listening, reading, problem solving and creative thinking, group productivity, negotiation, organizational and leadership skills in general.

With this base, our profession is just like the media and the public present it: we are mere operators of promotional activities aiming at the additional product or (in best case) brand promotion.

With the knowledges and abilities of that kind – it is no wonder that we are seen as chatters in stead of the wise, direct communicators to all target publics and the most wide community.

Pay no attention to me, I’m just thinking out loud…

Your DDj

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How to think smarter?

In the last week of September, I was one of the few guests of Zavarovalnica Maribor, and having dinner with Edward de Bono. De Bono coined the term of lateral thinking and created the concept of ‘six thinking hats’ – a well-known model for creative solving of problems.

I have to say, a Grand man of the present and a warm speaker.

There is no person in the world who doesn’t want to be creative. Everybody has to want to be creative. Life can be more interesting, fun and advanced if followed by creativity.– Edward de Bono

I’ll try to sum up the main elements of De Bono’s scientific work.

We’ll start with a few lines on the theory of thinking…

From the aspect of cognitive contents, thinking can be:

  • Convergent– starts from the assumption that there is only one solution and all activities and efforts are directed towards the finding of that one ‘right’ solution
  • Divergent – the thoughts are not directed towards one, but more different solutions.

In psychology, there is a division into:

  • Vertical – thinking that is being developed ‘step by step’, and thoughts are aimed at one goal. This is a slow a and tiring process, freed of enthusiasm and freshness, but very often successful; and
  • Lateral – thinking as De Bono defined it and it basically means that thoughts choose a ‘curvy’ road; with many associations and sparkles which enrich the main stream of thinking.

Lateral thinking results in creative ideas whose implementation creates innovations. – De Bono

Creativity & innovation…

It is crucial to understand that creativity is an ability of making new ideas. Even more, however, you have to understand innovation as the implementation of those creative ideas. It is only logical to conclude that mankind, as we know it, is filled with amazing visual, cultural and technological treasures-> all the results of creativity!

In history, creativity was assigned to the Muses, the God’s intervention, the cognitive process, social surrounding, and finally, during the XX century, creativity was understood as a possibility, that is, potential, of each individual.

Thinking today…

De Bono reminds us that our innate way of thinking is based on analyses and making conclusions. A situation is being analyzed in order to identify any standard element for it to be used in a standard reply. This, according to him, is an exquisite thing, but not even close enough to makeing something new and fresh. De Bono sees the dominance of vertical thinking mainly in the bases of our culture and a specific way of thinking making us believe that we always have to push forward on a predetermined direction.

If an idea is not absurd in its beginning, nothing will come out of it!- A. Einstein

Thinking & business…

De Bono sees the pulsating economical and overall social movements, fast pace and permanent pressure the companies are disposed to as great markets and playgrounds for the implementation of the lateral-> out of the ordinary, fresh and dynamic way of thinking.

Do not presuppose, in any way, that creative ideas are always high-risk businesses.- De Bono

De Bono points out that companies often claim that they have all the new ideas they need. Creativity is in most cases an unknown quantity and big corporations do not like to put themselves into mercy or unmercy of something so insecure. Likewise, there are companies which believe in the osmosis; they let others try out the new ideas and if they are successful, take all the credit for themselves. The new ideas are being absorbed through the process of ‘osmosis’, even unconsciously. To make it short and simple, corporations do not want new ideas; they want ‘successful new ideas’

The bigger the productivity in a company, the bigger the need is for creativity. Productivity will elicit the max provided by a new idea. If a company is unproductive, it will have less new ideas. Productivity and creativity are complementary to one another, not the other way around.- Edward de Bono

In order to graphically show where the thoughts are going to, and where they could must go to, he created a model of ‘six hats’. In this way, De Bono suggested that the problem or challenge should be put into pieces, taking into account, when giving solutions, the six elements of the stream of thought (ratio, information, sensation, but also optimism…). Only when each angle of perspective is touched by our cognitive activities do we find an adequate solution and make the process which helped us come to that solution worthy of creative potential of each person.

How to be (even) better…

Although we are not all born to be artists, chefs or sportsmen, there are numerous techniques which can help us perfect our abilities. It’s the same with knowledges. It’s the same with thinking, in that aspect. De Bono believes that with the use of new methods of thinking, together with permanent training and curiosity, our cognitive and creative possibilities are also becoming bigger.

Hm, we could give it a shot, but I am not convinced that every stone is a precious one, i.e. that it can become precious. In that spirit, pay attention to the basic features of the persons with high potential for creativity -> innovation- perhaps with it we can more easily comprehend which of our own features we can work on in order to increase our fresh intellectual capacity:

HIGH POTENTIAL FOR CREATIVITY LOW POTENTIAL FOR CREATIVITY
  1. 1. You have a polyvalent talent
1. You are highly specialized
  1. 2. You are familiar with diverse cultural values
2. You reject everything out of the ordinary
  1. 3. You are independent in thinking
3. You expect quick & superficial results
  1. 4. You communicate your thoughts & feelings well
4. You reject everything that doesn’t give instant results
  1. 5. You possess active intellectual curiosity
5. You are afraid of an embarrassing truth
  1. 6. You like to play & compete
6. You are not motivated to work
  1. 7. You think highly of yourself
7. You reject personal responsibility
  1. 8. You find pleasure in working
8. You are not comfortable with collective work
  1. 9. You are original & funny
9. You pay too much attention to your superiors
10. You are ambitious & confident 10. You criticize everything modern and new
11. You do not have affinity towards authorities 11. You are afraid of failure & ‘play the safe card’
12. You are persistent & committed to work 12. You are a pessimist, discourage your surrounding, constantly criticizing
13. You are a bit egoistic and narcissistic 13. You lack self-confidence

New times demand new ideas!

What can we offer to the world?

Your DDj

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The world in the next decade?

At the end of August, the city of Bled was a host to a chosen circle of political and business representatives of Europe.

In addition to the numerous guests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia- the host of the Strategic Conference 2010, in those days Bled was visited by the Prime Minister of Belgium, Secretary General of the United Arab Emirates, Minister of Foreign Affairs of India, assistant to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and many others.

DDj was very honored to be a part of this, thanks to the friends from the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia and the invitation from the Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Samuel Žgobar.

After the excuisite experiences I had after the lectures and conversations with professor Wilcox, Michael Porter, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton, in Bled I was also attending the lecture of the key note speaker, general Colin Powell.

General Colin Powell is the former Secretary General of the United States of America (2001- 2005), as well as the former Secretary for Security of the USA (1987- 1989).

The topic of the lecture was the future of the European Union in the next decade and the role of small countries in the process of general stabilization. A topic wide enough to see just how precise the speaker is.

At the beginning, Powell pointed out that after his military career of almost four decades, it was hard not to notice things from a perspective of a soldier and that the road we were heading to should have been seen from a perspective of the past.

Foreseeing the future through the past perspective is the key.- C. Powell

On China…

He is fascinated with the country which owes its global growth primarily to the middle classes. Further progressive growth of the Republic of China is more than evident, as is its potential for domination in the global economy on all levels. As opposed to the strong development, Powell showed his personal discontent with the system which doesn’t allow its citizens to use that potential. The external expansion is in opposition to the internal control in the aspect of rights, possibilities and citizens’ freedoms, and according to Powell, this causes a serious threat to the stability within the country’s borders.

On terrorism…

Powell was the Secretary General in the USA in the year September 11th happened, so he was very subjective on this topic, even in this public performance. ‘Nobody is immune to terrorism’, he pointed out, ‘and terrorists do not tear down buildings and kill people for the sake of tearing down buildings and killing people – they do it to terrorize us– make us scared and insecure.’. In the end of this personal interpretation of terrorism he emphasized: ‘However, they, be them 10, 100, 1000… cannot make us different than we are- devoted to freedom and democracy. We can only do that to ourselves.’

Look where you were before- look where you are now- in order to know where to go!- C. Powell

On tomorrow…

In the next decade, Powell sees the world finally moving on the bases that are not connected to war, but to healthy creativity and innovations. Stable economy in the first place, then (with the rules of cause and effect) stable politics will be the distinctive elements which will tell apart successful from the unsuccessful ones.

Give people jobs. This is the only way they can bring dignity to their homes once they come back from work. – C. Powell

On ecological sustainability and climatic changes…

A topic you cannot omit… Powell made a very rational point that ‘ it is not important whether the scientists or Al Gore were right. It’s simply not good to send this amount of poison into the atmosphere.’

On the Internet…

A 73-year-old soldier was very passionate when he said: ‘In the next ten years, we will all be talking about the Internet!

The Internet is fascinating! Everything is there! And everyone is there. I can no longer communicate with my grandchildren unless I’m on Twitter or Facebook. No, you cannot ignore this phenomenon. You have to comprehend the strength and the opportunities the Internet Era carries with itself.’ – C. Powell

In the end, did I learn about something completely new or unfamiliar? I wouldn’t comment on that. But, to hear very personal observations on highly global topics by someone such as Collin Powell was more than a memorable experience. Given that there were no reporters on the event, we are sharing this, nonetheless, on blog- in the spirit of general Powell’s understanding of the Internet.

Above all, in the spirit of an era of civil reporting which we are lucky to be a part of.

Your DDj ;)

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Community management from the first hand

Do you remember the post The Wor(l)d is not for sale? Well, there was a sequel. These posts were written with the goal to enlighten active online users that managed to build significant social media capital and explain what it means to be working for an agency or a brand as a community manager, as well as what expectations both side have to fulfill and assess whether every chance is indeed a good chance.

Hana [Cyber Bosanka] bravely shared her experience in a recent post. She was commissioned online by Jasno & Glasno to manage a FB page of a certain brand. Due to her trust in Borja and his personal social media capital/legitimacy she was less careful. In addition, this was surely due to the lack of experience. The terms weren’t precisely defined, same as payment deadlines, and I’m not quite sure how it was in relation to the expectations and measurability of her work.

Either way, I don’t doubt Borja’s good intentions either, I know him and I consider him a great guy. The same applies to Hana, where with her post she only wanted to help others, the agency that hired her, and ultimately – herself. I’m writing this because I think it’s important to stress how much we can LEARN from such a public case study!

If we’re the employer, we have to focus on themes such as overall management, people and time management, analytics, negotiating skills, leadership abilities in general.

Suggested literature: Managing virtual teams -> Leading Virtual Teams, Harvard Business Press + How to lead or manage virtual teams + Fostering Creativity, Harvard Business Press

There are (at least) two main preconditions:

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