Getting Personal #MondayBlogs

My daughter wrote on her Friday Philosophy recently about “Outliers” and framed it in a manner that my granddaughter did regarding athletes. It is interesting, as many of us will relate to Malcolm Gladwell’s book entitled “Outliers.” That gave us the famous 10,000 hours as the floor for being an “expert.”


So why I am interested in this concept is that I believe in “Options.” Well this is where I come from on many things in life. I believe in the almost unlimited capacity of mankind. As people we have done and do today and will do in all of our tomorrows incredible things. I am certain that I am just like everyone else – an incredibly talented person in some form or fashion, I just haven’t found what it is yet. So that brings me back to “Options.”


George Bernard Shaw said “Youth is wasted on the young.” I think he was jealous. My granddaughter and grandson are experiencing lots of options in their lives. They have a loving home, terrific schooling, access to music and athletics and the comfort and security to pursue whatever they want within the boundaries established by their mother. What a gift.


So they have “Options” and thus they can find out in what manner they can be “Outliers.” 


So I continue to tilt at Windmills.


I continue to believe that each of us can learn more, and do more and become more. We are our own limit. To that end I enjoy teaching or training people.


I was very blessed myself in the mentors that I have had in my life. My grandmother who received her Master’s Degree from the University of Manitoba in the 1914. Imagine that? To my mother and father and my sister for the opportunity that I had to grow up with schooling and music and athletics. To my complete working life starting at The Lac Marois Country Club where I learned a whole bunch of stuff and learned to teach and lead. To the nondenominational Church which introduced me to Priests, and ministers and Baptists and Rabbis and all manner of differing philosophical belief systems. To the bar where I played piano (I would not get arrested if there was a raid as I was underage) but as an employee I was safe. To the various part time jobs including selling encyclopedias. Then to the teaching work at McGill University establishing programs on instruction for outliers – early infant swimming and older fearful swimming, and then teaching people how to teach and coach in water sports. To the Boy’s Farm and Training School which had my great grandfather as one of the founders. This was initially a “Home for Wayward Youth” which morphed into a cog in the prison system in Quebec where I was taught to do personality profiling, amongst other things. (I nearly had a breakdown with that one, as part of my job was to reside on site and act as a warden.) To finally arriving at Hewitt Equipment, the Caterpillar dealer in the Province of Quebec in 1969. This was a strange happening as my mother got a call from the parent of one of my students at McGill who asked “Didn’t he take Mathematics and Physics at University? Which led to him asking her to have me give him a call. (He was the VP Finance at Hewitt, his name was John Swift.) This led to my being engaged on a “one-year contract” to find and fix a problem with the computer system that was driving parts inventory control. Then the real mentoring opportunities came into being.


There was the Senior partner from Urwick Currie, Mr. Steele, in Ottawa who had sold the system to Hewitt who spent one day a week with me for months helping me learn the system and general business application software. (I had a minor in computer science which in those days was programming and the like.) There was Larry Noe, at Caterpillar Tractor who was one of the early employees in Dealer Data Processing (DDPD), which was the batch system offering from CAT to their dealers in the late sixties and early seventies. There was Bob Kirk who smoked his pipe while regaling you with stories about parts inventory management. Then Ian Sharp of I P Sharp Associates who introduced me to the programming language APL and the Internet in the early 1970’s. The list goes on and on. I was very fortunate to have so many people take an interest in my career. All of this prepared me for my consulting career and allowed me to develop a training business and financial modelling business. From 1969 until now, I have been working in this Industry now for forty-seven years. As another of my mentors, Burton Grenrock, said “Whodathought.”        


So now it is my turn to transfer some of my experiences and knowledge to the people that are following me in this Industry.


We started Quest, Learning Centers in 1994 and closed it in 2014. We opened Learning, Without Scars, in 2015 and it continues to go forward. It will become a Hawaii Corporation in 2017 when we move from California to Hawaii.


And this is where it gets interesting. For me that is, if for no one else.


With the driving force of my daughter, Caroline, we have created quite the learning platform for adults in the capital goods industries. Learning Without Scars is supposed to indicate that the “students, the learners” do not need to experience the scars that I have received over my career. They can learn from me and avoid those scars. I have many clients who disagree most vigorously on this Company Name. They tell me there is no such thing as learning with me Without Scars – rather they say there are lots of SCARS. But that is an opinion, right? And everyone has opinions.


Learning Without Scars has created products to fit into the learning environment of the 21st Century.


  • We offer Learning On Demand (LOD) products. This replaces “webinars.” Each program represents two hours of subject specific learning. We offer sixty such LOD programs.
  • We offer Planned Learning Programs (PLP) products. These product offerings allow management and supervision to be exposed to all aspects of their departmental business. We have programs for Parts Businesses and Service Businesses. Each program spans three years and provides sixty hours of learning.
  • We offer Planned Special Programs (PSP) products. These product offerings are for specific job functions in the Parts Businesses and Service Businesses. The will cover such job functions and telephone and counter sales, or warranty administrators, etc.


As I said it is exciting for me to be involved in these leading edge learning programs.  


Now let me introduce you to Socrates. Our logo is the symbol of “wise” with a mortar board of accomplishment. And the Socratic method of teaching is still alive and well even today. This logo is the product of my Daughter in Law, Joanna who is an extremely creative woman.

This is Socrates:     


So I started from Caroline’s Friday Philosophy of “Outliers,” which to me are those special people who have made the tough choices in their lives to strive to reach their potential. Which leads me to the various “Options” that have been available to you over your life and career.


And that takes me to the end of this rather long Blog entry. Which will be the switch point for me from the career of “Doing” through Consulting Work and “Teaching” through the Classroom work to the career of developing Learning Products for the Internet Age. Please wish me well if you would.

 It wasn’t very long ago that Caroline dragged me, under protest, onto Twitter and social media.  Now, the modern technology is opening still more options.  It’s an exciting time.

The time is now.