How We Teach – How You Learn

How We Teach – How You Learn

Our founder, Ron Slee, is back this week with a blog post that goes straight to the heart of our mission here at Learning Without Scars: How We Teach – How You Learn.

I have taught for many decades. During that time, I was primarily in classrooms, although sometimes it was in swimming pools, or tennis courts or golf courses. Not only did the venue change but also the age group of students changed. From infants who were taught to be able to swim and survive when on the water from the age of six months old to senior citizens who were afraid to swim. However, primarily I was in classrooms or lecture halls or auditoriums. A typical class size ranged from twenty-four students at round tables to several hundred. 

I started teaching in the 1960’s so a lot of time has been involved in teaching and trying different methods to get students to “get it.”

I have always been interested in learning and understanding and not memorizing. I still want to be able to reconstruct my learning years and years later. If I don’t understand something, will I be able to remember it?

Which brings me to the specific subject of this blog. I want you to learn – to understand. So, I will never tell you the answer. I will ask questions of you. I will coax you into working it out on your own. I found out years later that this was called the “Socratic” way of teaching.

The Socratic method is a dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions. This method, attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, aims to probe, and examine beliefs, leading participants toward a deeper understanding of truth and coherence.

Here’s how it works – the following comes from a google search.

Questioning Common Beliefs. 

The Socratic method begins with commonly held beliefs. Socrates engages in dialogue with others, questioning these beliefs to uncover inconsistencies and contradictions.

Internal Consistency and Coherence. 

Through a series of questions, Socrates scrutinizes beliefs for internal consistency (whether they hold up logically) and their coherence with other beliefs. The goal is to bring everyone closer to the truth.

Midwifery of Understanding.

 Socrates likens his method to midwifery, helping interlocutors develop their understanding in a way analogous to a child developing in the womb.

Pedagogical Contexts.

  1.  Modified forms of the Socratic method are employed today in various educational contexts.

In summary, the Socratic method is a powerful tool for critical thinking, encouraging self-examination and intellectual growth. 

As Socrates famously said, “I know that I know nothing,” emphasizing the importance of questioning and seeking behavior. 

I am sure I drove my students crazy. I used textbooks but never followed the sequence of the textbook. The students, conscientiously, would ask at the end of a lecture what the section or pages were going to be that I would cover in the next class. They wanted to be prepared. I never told them. In fact, I used to jump around in the book deliberately so that they could not prepare. I wanted them to listen to the lesson. I wanted them to have to think.

That caused me problems as a student. I didn’t want to memorize, and it cost me. In High School I took Latin and Geometry. There are certain things you do have to memorize. Like Theorems in Geometry. Like words in a new language. I got 38% in the first semester in both. The family wasn’t happy. So, I lost some privileges. Like weekends at the lake. 

I spent the next three months with my grandmother. She worked my proverbial off. I completed the year with a 76% average. So, I learned a valuable lesson. One size doesn’t fit all.

Anyone who has been in a classroom with me knows how I work. I wander through the room. Watching everyone. I can see when people get it and when they are lost. I keep talking until I see the lights go on in everyone’s eyes. That really turns my crank. I still teach. Not every month like I used to but enough to know that things in the learning world are still the same. Once you get someone into a learning environment, they are subject to their teachers. They care about learning only if the teacher cares about teaching. 

All our subject specific classes cover five plus hours. They have around twenty segments. Class segments and Support Material Segments. Each segment has a quiz at the end. The student must achieve a 60% score on the quiz to proceed to the next segment. We start every class with a pretest to determine the knowledge and skill level of each student before they start. We end every class with a final assessment. The students must achieve an 80% score to earn a certificate. 

We are in the lifelong learning business. Learning is hard. It requires desire and discipline. If every person were to strive to be the best that they could be they would be learning every day.

The Time is Now.

Audio Tracks





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Learning Without Scars’ founder, Ron Slee, is back today with a blog post on Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian Principle of 100% Responsibility.

Seneca, one of the most important Roman Stoic philosophers, said “Luck is what happens when preparation comes across opportunity. Thomas Edison said his work was 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. Louis Pasteur among many others felt the same way.

In every case I suggest it is much more important to be ready when opportunity comes to you more than anything else. That leads me to thinking about our lives and our work. How much of our lives is under our control? As someone who is known to be a control freak this is a nasty question. 

In Hawaii we are a society that is further away from any other on the planet. It is 2500 miles to the nearest population center of any kind. Our culture has a lot of different influences. From Asia, the Americas, Oceania obviously. But there are others that cause us to wonder. It seems that using language as our tool on determining origins the Hawaiian people originally came from the middle east. That too follows ancient historical thinking.

But let us go back to Ho’opononpono and one of its foundations which is the principle of 100% responsibility. The kahunas, the priests of our culture, state that each human being is 100% responsible for their own reality. That it is useless to blame other people. We are not victims unless we choose to be victims.

Ho’opononpono says that if you don’t like your reality then you must change it. Desmond Tutu, the archbishop for South Africa had a saying that I go back to often. “If it is to be it is up to me.” In other words, we control our own destiny.

That brings me to Learning Without Scars and our purpose for being. We are here to help people identify their individual potential both personally and professionally. We are here to open your Ho’oponopono and let you take control of your destiny, of your future. 

There is a problem with this line of thinking though, isn’t there?

This is a challenging work. Learning and developing and growing as a person are demanding work. For most of us it is too much work.

Let me digress for a moment. Dr Gail Matthews, of the Dominican University of California conducted a major study of “The Impact of Commitment, Accountability and Written Goals on Goal Achievement.” She found that writing down our goals increases the percentage of achieving those goals in a major way. It seems that psychologically when we write down our goals it is as though we are signing a contract with ourselves. So, let’s provide you with a simple little exercise now. Choose an area of your life in which you would like to correct something. Select from this list: 

  1. Love and Relations
  2. Money and Finance
  3. Goals and Work
  4. Health
  5. Learning and Personal Growth.

Now write down several phrases with the first thing that comes to your mind about one of the above list. 

I would like you to select Learning and Personal Growth.

Don’t worry about the order. Next look at what you have written and create at most three specific goals or actions. They must be positive. Put that piece of paper on your refrigerator. 

The Ho’oponopono means to correct an error. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Given that we are 100% responsible for our life if there is something we are unhappy with we must correct the mistake that got us to where we are now. However, that means that we must accept the reality that WE are 100% responsible for it.

This is one of the most critical elements of this process. Until you accept, you’re responsible, it will be difficult for you to change. Deep down everything depends on us and we must stop making excuses or blaming circumstances and get to change our lives. Here comes something that I understand and believe in. From this point on it has nothing to do with being lucky. It becomes a personal choice.

One other observation please. 

The easiest person in the world to lie to is your reflection in the mirror – AND – that is the last person in the world you should ever lie to.

We are never victims unless we allow ourselves to be victims. When I say this, I am speaking of our choices – not situations involving crime. Whatever your job is, your career, you can control your outcome. You can be open to learning. You can go back to school. You can ask for help. You can go to counselling. You have many opportunities. It is a matter of making a choice.

You can apply this principle of one hundred percent responsibility to all aspects of your life. Start with the premise that everything is created in your mind before it becomes reality. SO. Change the way you think and act. It will change your reality.

In Hawaii this is called “cleaning.” We will continue to repeat the same painful episodes and circumstances because they are all coming from our subconscious.

To overcome the subconscious, Hawaiian’s, use a string of four expressions: Forgive me, I’m sorry, I love you, Thank you. You must accept it is your responsibility and when you do you have to forgive yourself deep in your subconscious for the choices you have made that got you to where you are today.

Try it. You will be surprised. It works.

The Time is Now. 

This blog was provoked by a book with the title “Maneki Neko” by Nobuo Suzuki. For me it is a follow up to the book Ikigai. This book covers the Japanese Secret of Good Luck and Happiness, it is a terrific read.

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He Who Stops to Ponder…

He Who Stops to Ponder…

In this week’s bonus blog, a friend of Ron’s in Hawaii sent him the text below. Please read on for “He Who Stops to Ponder…”

He who stops to ponder and think will generally come out ahead.

When Gandhi was studying law at University College, London, a Caucasian professor, whose last name was Peters, disliked him intensely and always displayed prejudice and animosity towards him. Also, because Gandhi never lowered his head when addressing him, as he expected, there were always arguments and confrontations.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor said, “Mr. Gandhi, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat.”  Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, “You do not worry professor. I will fly away,” and he went and sat at another table. 

Mr. Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge on the next test paper, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all questions. 

Mr. Peters, unhappy and frustrated, asked him the following question. “Mr. Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?”  Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “The one with the money, of course.”  Mr. Peters, smiling sarcastically, said, “I, in your place, would have taken wisdom, don’t you think? Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded, “Each one takes what he doesn’t have.”

Mr. Peters, by this time was beside himself and so great was his anger that he wrote on Gandhi’s exam sheet the word “idiot” and gave it to Gandhi. Gandhi took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.  A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor, and said to him in a dignified but sarcastically polite tone, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

Wit always wins over anger.

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Changes in Learning

Changes in Learning

Today, our Founder Ron Slee writes a blog post on the many changes in learning. He also makes a few grumbles about how his family gives him a hard time!

It has been some time since I wrote a blog on employee development. It is unusual for me not to be sharing my thinking with someone, in some cases anyone. I have been confronted on two fronts recently: My daughter Caroline who is a teacher in the desert in Southern California and my granddaughter who is pursuing her master’s degree in Hawaii.

Both love to provoke me. I can’t imagine why. 

My granddaughter was excited to share a book they are using in one of her classes this semester – “The Narrative Gym.” It is about Communications. It is an amazing read and a more amazing subject to be teaching students in a master’s program. Of course, communication is one of the keys to life. We are social animals after all. COVID set us back somewhat in the communications area. Working from home is another example of how we reacted, or perhaps responding is a better way of saying it. Many businesses found that they could redesign their work. I know many people started to redesign their lives. 

My daughter recently suggested another book – “Ruthless Equity: Disrupt the Status Quo and Ensure Learning for ALL students.” Talk about a powerful book. Many of us have become tired of the status quo when either protecting it or attacking it seems to be tearing apart everything that we have believed to be true. This book restores my soul. “All men are created equal” but then everything we do stresses the inequalities.

At Learning Without Scars we are aiming to help everyone identify their individual potential. That is an extremely difficult thing to do. People’s eyes glaze over when I talk about it. What I am trying to do though is provoke people to think. To think about everything and anything that they do. You know how envious I am of the Japanese societal approach to Kaizen. Make everything you do better every day. This is a view of work that in my mind allows people to become more engaged as people in what they do. They can CHOOSE how to do their job. They can CHOOSE to make their lives better by how they do their job. In the world that I grew up in, that was not the primary goal. Let me show you how this is done. Let me tell you what I just showed you. Then let me tell you again what I showed you. Now you try. I will be here to help so don’t worry. But just do it. Do it my way. Then practice it and get better at it. Make fewer mistakes and do it faster. Now you are doing the job. Just keep on doing it.

That is what I rejected in my early thirties when I started in the consulting world. I knew there were better ways to do things. 1980 when I opened R.J. Slee & Associates in Edmonton, Alberta was also when America was invaded by the Continuous Improvement Revolution. Total Quality Management arrived. Edward Deming and Joseph Duran brought their thinking back to America from Japan where they had been implementing it.

For a long time, I have used a tool I developed called “Five Things” that is aimed directly at the Continuous Improvement objectives. I ask people to list five things that they would like to change about their job that would make things easier for them personally. Then five things that they do that are a real pain to do. Finally, five things that they would like to change in their work to make things better for the company. Normally I do this in a group setting. We then take the individual items and put them on a flip chart, a blackboard or a screen so everyone can see them. You can imagine their surprise when many had the same thoughts. Not just that but their true shock at how many were on all three lists. So, something that would make their lives at work better, eliminate something that is a pain for them to do and at the same time is beneficial for the company. Of course, my questions are always the same. If that is true, then why haven’t we already addressed it?

I have a request please. Go get either of these books. Better still get both. Read them and think about the concepts and positions taken. Then send me an email with your thoughts. Let’s have a mini book club in the ether. Online.

In the meantime, for those of you who haven’t subscribed to our quarterly newsletter there is still time. The last one was published October 1st. You can subscribe at

At Learning Without Scars we offer one hundred and thirty-eight Workforce Development classes. That is six hundred and eighty hours of learning. It provides sixty-nine academic credits.

At Learning Without Scars we offer twenty-eight Technical Schools classes. That is five hundred and sixty hours of learning. It provides fourteen academic credits.

At Learning Without Scars we offer two lecture series covering twenty hours of lectures which produces two academic credits.

That is one hundred and sixty-eight classes, which is one thousand two hundred and sixty hours of learning.

To say we have been busy with product development is a serious understatement. Not only are we interested in helping you identify your potential, but we also provide you with learning tools to help you achieve it. All the best in your pursuits.

The time is now. 

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Friday Filosophy v.03.10.2023

Friday Filosophy v.03.10.2023

Ron Slee shares quotes and thoughts from comedian Steve Wright in Friday Filosophy v.03.10.2023.

Steven Alexander Wright (born December 6, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and film producer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironicphilosophical and sometimes nonsensical jokesparaprosdokiansnon sequitursanti-humor, and one-liners with contrived situations. 

Wright was ranked as the 15th Greatest Comedian by Rolling Stone in its 2017 list of the 50 Greatest Stand-up Comics. His accolades include the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for starring in, writing, and producing the short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (1988) and two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations as a producer of Louie (2010–15). He is known for his supporting role as Leon in the Peabody Award–winning tragicomedy web series Horace and Pete.

 He graduated from Emerson in 1978 and began performing stand-up comedy the following year at the Comedy Connection in Boston. Wright cites comic George Carlin and director and former standup comic Woody Allen as comedic influences. 

In 1982 executive producer of The Tonight Show Peter Lassally saw Wright performing on a bill with other local comics at the Ding Ho comedy club in Cambridge, a venue Wright described as “half Chinese restaurant and half comedy club. It was a pretty weird place.” Lassally booked Wright on NBC‘s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where the comic so impressed host Johnny Carson and the studio audience that less than a week later Wright was invited to appear on the show again. 

By then Wright had firmly developed a new brand of obscure, laid-back performing and was rapidly building a cultlike following and an onstage persona characterized by an aura of obscurity, with his penchant for non sequiturs and impassive, slow delivery adding to his mystique. The performance became one of HBO’s longest-running and most requested comedy specials and propelled him to great success on the college-arena concert circuit. 

Numerous lists of jokes attributed to Wright circulate on the Internet, sometimes of dubious origin. Wright has said, “Someone showed me a site, and half of it that said I wrote it, I didn’t write. Recently, I saw one, and I didn’t write any of it. What’s disturbing is that with a few of these jokes, I wish I had thought of them. A giant amount of them, I’m embarrassed that people think I thought of them because some are really bad.”[

After his 1990 comedy special Wicker Chairs and Gravity, Wright continued to do stand-up performances, but was absent from television, doing only occasional guest spots on late-night talk shows. In 1999 he wrote and directed the 30-minute short One Soldier, saying it’s “about a soldier who was in the Civil War, right after the war, with all these existentialist thoughts and wondering if there is a God and all that stuff.” 

  • Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.
  • I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So, I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
  • Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  • A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I’m afraid of widths.
  • When I die, I’m leaving my body to science fiction.
  • Be nice to your children. After all, they are going to choose your nursing home.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  • I installed a skylight in my apartment… the people who live above me are furious!
  • I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out.
  • It doesn’t matter what temperature the room is, it’s always room temperature.
  • For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier… I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.
  • I live on a one-way street that’s also a dead end. I’m not sure how I got there.
  • On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  • If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
  • I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.
  • I look like a casual, laid-back guy, but it’s like a circus in my head.
  • Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?
  • Babies don’t need a vacation, but I still see them at the beach… it ticks me off! I’ll go over to a little baby and say ‘What are you doing here? You haven’t worked a day in your life!’
  • Is it weird in here, or is it just me?
  • I went to a general store, but they wouldn’t let me buy anything specific.
  • I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.
  • I have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world… perhaps you’ve seen it.
  • I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place.
  • I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side.
  • I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

The Time is Now.

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Friday Filosophy v.02.17.2023

Friday Filosophy v.02.17.2023

Friday Filosophy v.02.17.2023 offers quotes and words of wisdom from the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth.

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798). Wordsworth’s magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published by his wife in the year of his death, before which it was known as “the poem to Coleridge”. Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850.

Wordsworth was taught to read by his mother and attended, first, a tiny school of low quality in Cockermouth, then a school in Penrith for the children of upper-class families, where he was taught by Ann Birkett, who insisted on instilling in her students traditions that included pursuing both scholarly and local activities, especially the festivals around Easter, May Day and Shrove Tuesday. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school in Penrith that he met the Hutchinson’s, including Mary, who later became his wife. 

After the death of Wordsworth’s mother, in 1778, his father sent him to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire (now in Cumbria) and sent Dorothy to live with relatives in Yorkshire. She and William did not meet again for nine years.

Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John’s College, Cambridge. He received his BA degree in 1791. He returned to Hawkshead for the first two summers of his time at Cambridge, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790 he went on a walking tour of Europe, during which he toured the Alps extensively, and visited nearby areas of France, Switzerland, and Italy. Some modern critics suggest that there was a decline in his work beginning around the mid-1810s, perhaps because most of the concerns that characterized his early poems (loss, death, endurance, separation, and abandonment) had been resolved in his writings and his life. By 1820, he was enjoying considerable success accompanying a reversal in the contemporary critical opinion of his earlier works.

 Wordsworth’s youthful political radicalism, unlike Coleridge’s, never led him to rebel against his religious upbringing. He remarked in 1812 that he was willing to shed his blood for the established Church of England, reflected in his Ecclesiastical Sketches of 1822. This religious conservatism also colors The Excursion (1814), a long poem that became extremely popular during the nineteenth century. It features three central characters: the Wanderer; the Solitary, who has experienced the hopes and miseries of the French Revolution; and the Pastor, who dominates the last third of the poem. 

Such kind of conversational tone persists all through the poetic journey of the poet, that positions him as a man in the society who speaks to the purpose of communion with the very common mass of the society. Again; “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”  is the evidence where the poet expresses why he is writing and what he is writing and what purpose it will serve to humanity.

Wordsworth remained a formidable presence in his later years. In 1837, the Scottish poet and playwright Joanna Baillie reflected on her long acquaintance with Wordsworth. “He looks like a man that one must not speak to unless one has some sensible thing to say. However, he does occasionally converse cheerfully & well; and when one knows how benevolent & excellent he is, it disposes one to be very pleased with him.” William Wordsworth died at home at Rydal Mount from an aggravated case of pleurisy on 23 April 1850, and was buried at St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere. His widow, Mary, published his lengthy autobiographical “Poem to Coleridge” as The Prelude several months after his death. Though it failed to interest people at the time, it has since come to be widely recognized as his masterpiece.

  • Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.
  • Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.
  • To begin, begin.
  • Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.
  • Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.
  • To me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
  • Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.
  • Faith is a passionate intuition.
  • For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.
  • When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying world, and droop. Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign is solitude.
  • How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.
  • Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark, And shares the nature of infinity.
  • Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting. Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come.
  • I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more
  • The mind that is wise mourns less for what age takes away; than what it leaves behind.


The Time is Now

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How Has the Internet Changed the Role of Education?

How Has the Internet Changed the Role of Education?

In this week’s post on Lifelong Learning, our Founder, Ron Slee, takes a deep dive into the worldwide web with, “How Has the Internet Changed the Role of Education?”

The Internet is transforming education by changing the way students learn and the way teachers teach. This is true in both public and private education. 

  1. Online learning: The Internet has made online learning accessible to everyone. Students can now attend classes and complete assignments from anywhere, anytime.
  2. Personalized learning: With the Internet students have access to a wide range of resources that allow personalized learning experiences.
  3. Collaboration: The Internet enables students and teachers to collaborate in real time from different locations, making it easier for students to work together on projects and assignments.
  4. Access to information: The Internet provides students with instant access to a vast amount of information, making it easier for them to research and learn about various topics.
  5. Improved communication: The Internet has made communication between teachers and students as well as between schools much easier and more efficient.

Overall, the Internet has greatly improved the education experience for students and teachers alike providing them with new tools and resources to enhance their learning and teaching experiences.

Learning Without Scars is a company that aims to improve the education system, by making learning a positive and enjoyable experience for students at schools or in the workforce. The company uses a variety of methods to achieve this goal. Reading material with audio tracks and quizzes; a series of segmented video classes using power point slides with text and audio tracks and strategically inserted film clips that are closed captioned.

Today there are a variety of companies providing Internet based learning. Kahn Academy for students from Preschool through High School through to EdX and Coursera for business applications. There is a lot available out there.

Our goal is to provide employees and students access to tools that can measure their skills and knowledge: the Job Function Skills Assessments. With these Comprehensive Assessments the individual has an opportunity to objectively measure their skills and knowledge and how it applies to their jobs. This is the first such assessment in our industry. This is viewed by the Workforce Development side to Technical and Vocational Schools to evaluate the needs of the employees working at businesses in their area that also are a potential employer for the students of the school.

We are experiencing difficulties, particularly with the group of technicians in dealers. Turnover rates are extremely high. A recent article in the New York Times by Christina Caron poses the question, “When is it time to quit your job?” The author covers the usual issues such as burnout. Burnout, according to Dennis Stolle, the senior director of applied psychology at the American Psychological Association is three symptoms; emotional exhaustion, negativity, and the feeling that no matter how hard you try you cannot be effective at your job.

There is another area of interest. Technicians have seen an amazing amount of change in the equipment that they perform repairs and maintenance. The job has become a serious challenge for advances in computers and telematics, allowing us to track the condition of equipment when it is working in the field using sensors everywhere. Many of the older technicians are struggling to keep up with these changes. In many cases a technician’s job defined who they were as people.

On the other hand, younger technicians, say under thirty-five years of age, are looking for different things in the workplace than the older generations. Laura Putnam, author of the book “Workplace Wellness That Works” addresses how the workplace functions. The younger workers want to have more control over how they work. They resist the old command and control style of leadership common in previous times. The employees are looking to organizations that support various aspects of wellness including physical, emotional, social as well as financial.

These younger technicians are leaving their jobs within six months at alarming rates. This is when the market is struggling to find qualified technicians to hire. Imagine spending all that time and money hiring someone and they choose to leave before they have been with you for six months. Billy Greenlee, Service Operations Manager/Rental Manager commented “I think retaining them becomes the next huge hurdle if you can get technicians on a good path. I’ve watched for years as my entry level techs start to mature it is all but impossible as a manager to bring their wages up, once they cross that threshold of being a “good” technician. It’s hard for a service manager to increase their salary to keep up with their market value when you start entry level techs at those lower hourly rates. I’ve been fortunate in my current position to not get pushback when I’ve gone to our ownership and request a 15-20% pay increase to bring my team up to their true market value as a technician. It’s paid dividends as most of my techs are at, or we’re just at, that transition point of being entry level to a seasoned tech. My other tool was moving to a rotating 4-10 schedule. But between those two things I have been able to keep my shop stable the last few years and get that return on investment on all of that education and training expense.”

Isaac Rollor recently posted a blog talking about technicians. He started as follows “Recently out of curiosity I used and searched “Heavy Equipment Mechanic.” For location I specified “USA.” Immediately there were 30,000 opportunities that populated my screen. Pretty amazing. Many of these job postings were urgently hiring. I saw many job openings for technicians at heavy equipment dealers. Isn’t it amazing that the focus of education for the past forty years has been on getting a University Degree? You will earn more money over your lifetime if you have a degree. Of course, they were making reference to high school graduation as the comparison. NOT technicians.

Bill Pyles took it further when we addressed the “On-Boarding” of new technicians. 

I feel it’s important to note that entry-level tech does not mean you’ve hired a technician to whom you can pay minimum wage for the next few years. The first two items a dealer needs are a developmental pay plan (earn while you learn) and a career-building training plan, from entry-level to Top Gun. Be sure part of the hiring process is a copy of your training and wage scale. Spend quality time with the new tech in explaining the “earn while you learn” approach. Remember, training never ends. 

Similarly, it helps to assign a “mentor” to these new employees. This is true whether you are hiring straight from a vocational or technical school or hiring a working technician. A mentor can be a great help in ensuring the new employees feel part of a team. An important member of the team.

I thought it would be worthwhile in Lifelong Learning to point out that it is not solely the responsibility of the employee to improve themselves through learning programs, but also how the business accepts new employees and how they are treated. One thing is certain: Technician turnover rates today are unacceptable. It is in every company’s best interest to address this issue soon.

The time is now.

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Driving Change and Transformation in 2023

Driving Change and Transformation in 2023

For our Coaches’ Corner, Ron Slee returns to his favorite role – Coach – with “Driving Change and Transformation in 2023.”

We have seen a lot of change over the past thirty-six months. From January 2020 as the starting point the world has seen remarkable, generational, challenges. The Pandemic. Virtual Learning. Supply Change Disruptions. Wars. And much more. It really does cause a serious reflection and review of everything that we had become accustomed to in our lives.

It is really hard to put in into any kind of perspective. What is the comparison point? And now we are in another period of uncertainty. Recession or not? The consensus is predicting a recession in 2023. How do you plan for that? In the past we have become turtles We pull our head into the shell and hope everything is ok when we reappear. I don’t think that, by itself, it is a very good strategy at all. 

In the midst of this we are all going through the usual planning for the coming year. Imagine that? With all this uncertainty we are making plans. It reminds me of an old expression “Life is what happens when you are planning other things.”  I think that is even more pertinent now.

I was reading a study put out by a very large consulting company recently. They were addressing professional service leaders and what they were looking at in 2023 and beyond. This is the consulting worldview. They were pointing at a series of things.

  • Setting Sights on Growth
  • Taking on Efficiency Drivers
  • Viewing Risk in a New Light
  • Fueling Digital Transformation Progress

Setting Sights on Growth.

This is an interesting area to consider at this point in time. GDP growth is under serious challenge in the developed world. The US, Canada and Mexico are dependent, to a very large degree, on consumer spending. The recent numbers show that consumer spending, excepting the upper 5% demographic, will be constrained. European growth with the challenges of fuel as a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict and dependence on Russian fossil fuels will be seriously impacted. What the professional service companies are focused on is rather interesting

  • Increasing Sustainability in products and services
  • Improving brand recognition and reputation
  • Increasing sales to existing customers
  • Introducing new products or services
  • Expanding to new market segments

With the spending forecasts so gloomy I suppose we have to find work somehow. Right?

Taking On Efficiency Drivers

From my perspective this is something that should be a constant. But it isn’t. We were so caught up in our sales growth and profit growth that we just sat on our hands. Total Quality Management from the Deming days is not a generational activity. It should be constant. We lost sight of the fact that Kaizen means daily improvements. Not occasional. When it suits us.

  • What are your top priorities for improving efficiency?
  • Which operational process are sustainable
  • Allow employees to choose their preferred work environment
  • Increase automation in processes
  • Increase emphasis on supplier and partner networks

Is there anything that you see on that list that should not be a part of each years’ activities?

Viewing Risk Differently

This is a different time. This is not the risk of a new competitor or a new product. No, it is much more serious than that. Isn’t it? Cybersecurity. Data security in the cloud. Payment processes being hacked. There are a lot of risks out there now that didn’t exist ten years ago.

What are your top three priorities to reduce risk?

  • Protect against cybersecurity
  • Avoid damages to your brand reputation
  • Prevent internal talent shortages
  • Strengthen supply chain reliability
  • Reduce reliance on scarce resources

Further as very high-level items

  • Watch economic stagnation
  • Employment and Livelihood crises
  • Climate Change
  • Natural Resource Shortages

Sounding more like consultants here, aren’t they?

Digital Transformation

Finally, we get to digital transformation. The real elephant in the room. The world of today and tomorrow is driven by data analytics. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Cloud Computing are going to change everything that we currently think we know. Facts will drive us into the future with powerful computing leading the way. We have to make some serious determinations to go into this world without too much danger and damage. Market Coverage. Predictive Analytics based on purchasing patterns. We need to be alert more than ever before. 

  • Which technologies are critical for improvement
  • Which processes need the mot upgrading
  • How do we ensure employee collaborating
  • How important is cloud computing to us
  • Can we automate business intelligence dashboards
  • Improve business process intelligence
  • What new applications are necessary

The key takeaway from surveys of mid-sized and large businesses is that innovation will be the most critical item for them.

I would submit to you that this list is one that we could use every year. We have relaxed too much in the past forty years. We have been sitting in a rocking chair enjoying our successes. Not everyone has realized that that chapter is over. Those predictable patterns are now dead and being replaced as we speak. The businesses that can adapt to this NEXT reality will be the only ones left standing this time around. Will you be one of them?

The Time is Now.

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Friday Filosophy v.12.16.2022

Friday Filosophy v.12.16.2022

Friday Filosophy v.12.16.2022 offers quotes and words of wisdom from Bill Gates.

William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is a co-founder of Microsoft, along with his late childhood friend Paul Allen. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairmanchief executive officer (CEO), president and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He was a major entrepreneur of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

Gates was born and raised in Seattle. In 1975, he and Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It became the world’s largest personal computer software company. Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000, succeeded by Steve Ballmer, but he remained chairman of the board of directors and became chief software architect. During the late 1990s, he was criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive. This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings. In June 2008, Gates transitioned to a part-time role at Microsoft and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the private charitable foundation he and his then-wife Melinda established in 2000. He stepped down as chairman of the board of Microsoft in February 2014 and assumed a new post as technology adviser to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella. In March 2020, Gates left his board positions at Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway to focus on his philanthropic efforts on climate changeglobal health and development, and education. 

Since 1987, Gates has been included in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people. From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world every year except from 2010 to 2013. In October 2017, he was surpassed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion compared to Gates’s net worth of US$89.9 billion at the time. As of November 2022, Gates had an estimated net worth of US$107 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world. 

Later in his career and since leaving day-to-day operations at Microsoft in 2008, Gates has pursued many business and philanthropic endeavors. He is the founder and chairman of several companies, including BENCascade InvestmentbgC3, and TerraPower. He has given sizable amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reported to be the world’s largest private charity. Through the foundation, he led an early 21st century vaccination campaign that significantly contributed to the eradication of the wild poliovirus in Africa. In 2010, Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy. 

  • Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
  • It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
  • Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
  • The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
  • Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.
  • I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.
  • I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.
  • Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.
  • People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines… There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicon masters.
  • In the long run, your human capital is your main base of competition. Your leading indicator of where you’re going to be 20 years from now is how well you’re doing in your education system.
  • I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.
  • The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.
  • We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.
  • The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.
  • We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist on their suffering.
  • Capitalism has worked very well. Anyone who wants to move to North Korea is welcome.

The Time is Now

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Friday Filosophy v.12.09.2022

Friday Filosophy v.12.09.2022

Henry Ford was an American industrialistbusiness magnate, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production. By creating the first automobile that middle-class Americans could afford, he converted the automobile from an expensive luxury into an accessible conveyance that profoundly impacted the landscape of the 20th century.

His introduction of the Ford Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. As the Ford Motor Company owner, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with “Fordism“, the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout North America and major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to permanently control it.

Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on a farm in Springwells Township, Michigan. His father, William Ford (1826–1905), was born in County Cork, Ireland, to a family that had emigrated from Somerset, England in the 16th century. His mother, Mary Ford (née Litogot; 1839–1876), was born in Michigan as the youngest child of Belgian immigrants; her parents died when she was a child and she was adopted by neighbors, the O’Herns. Henry Ford’s siblings were Margaret Ford (1867–1938); Jane Ford (c. 1868–1945); William Ford (1871–1917) and Robert Ford (1873–1934). Ford finished eighth grade at a one room school, Springwells Middle School. He never attended high school; he later took a bookkeeping course at a commercial school.[6]

His father gave him a pocket watch when he was 12. At 15, Ford dismantled and reassembled the timepieces of friends and neighbors dozens of times, gaining the reputation of a watch repairman. At twenty, Ford walked four miles to their Episcopal church every Sunday. 

Ford was devastated when his mother died in 1876. His father expected him to take over the family farm eventually, but he despised farm work. He later wrote, “I never had any particular love for the farm—it was the mother on the farm I loved.” 

In 1879, Ford left home to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit, first with James F. Flower & Bros., and later with the Detroit Dry Dock Co. In 1882, he returned to Dearborn to work on the family farm, where he became adept at operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine. He was later hired by Westinghouse to service their steam engines. 

Ford stated two significant events occurred in 1875 when he was 12. He received the watch, and he witnessed the operation of a Nichols and Shepard road engine, “…the first vehicle other than horse-drawn that I had ever seen”. In his farm workshop, Ford built a “steam wagon or tractor” and a steam car, but thought “steam was not suitable for light vehicles,” as “the boiler was dangerous.” Ford also said that he “did not see the use of experimenting with electricity, due to the expense of trolley wires, and “no storage battery was in sight of a weight that was practical.” In 1885, Ford repaired an Otto engine, and in 1887 he built a four-cycle model with a one-inch bore and a three-inch stroke. In 1890, Ford started work on a two-cylinder engine.

Ford stated, “In 1892, I completed my first motor car, powered by a two-cylinder four horsepower motor, with a two-and-half-inch bore and a six-inch stroke, which was connected to a countershaft by a belt and then to the rear wheel by a chain. The belt was shifted by a clutch lever to control speeds at 10 or 20 miles per hour, augmented by a throttle. Other features included 28-inch wire bicycle wheels with rubber tires, a foot brake, a 3-gallon gasoline tank, and later, a water jacket around the cylinders for cooling. Ford added that “in the spring of 1893 the machine was running to my partial satisfaction and giving an opportunity further to test out the design and material on the road.” Between 1895 and 1896, Ford drove that machine about 1000 miles. He then started a second car in 1896, eventually building three of them in his home workshop.[11]

Ford married Clara Jane Bryant (1866–1950) on April 11, 1888, and supported himself by farming and running a sawmill. They had one child, Edsel Ford (1893–1943). 

  • When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
  • If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
  • Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
  • If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
  • Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.
  • You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.
  • Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
  • I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about.
  • Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.
  • It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.
  • Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.


The Time is Now

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