The Future of Education? Algorithms and Behavioral Analytics

9 Jul

Algorithmic_CEO_FINALThere is a lot of talk going around about the digital take over–the rise of the algorithms, and the impact they are having on the world of work. While that is a real consideration, the core of this conversation, for some, is education—and the massive need for an educational overhaul that provides utility to human capital in this human vs machine workforce debate.

These days, there is a demand for a different type of education than in years gone by. We’re moving into an era of computer science and engineering, but educational institutions are scrambling. There isn’t enough Faculty to teach the thousands of students beating down university doors. and other MOOCs are rising to the occasion, offering educational resources to students willing to put in the time for a certification outside of the standard brick and mortal collegiate forum.

There is value here. But there are also challenges. In a classroom setting an educator can (attempt to) keep tabs on the student population, noting who is connecting with the material, who is engaged, who is struggling but trying. In the world of MOOCs where 43,000 students are signed up for a single course, there is no realistic way an educator can provide personalized attention to each student. With abysmal completion rates—6.5%–educators and researchers are scrambling to find ways to engage this new population of learners.

MIT and Harvard, among others are working to enrich the scope of learning for the online student population. Why are students failing to complete an online educational course—even if it’s offered for free from a top University?  Could it be that, debatably, some of the best educators in the world are simply inefficient in an online forum?  Studies are quick to point out the flaws of the student population. They study less frequently than students in a classroom setting. But Why? And how to we improve it?

I’ve been thinking about educators as account managers.  Each student is a portfolio with unlimited potential in the marketplace.  So could we focus on making the right connections between account manager educators and the students they are managing?  Companies like Mattersight provide revolutionary behavioral analytics insights that can match customers to the best representative for their communication style and need. RedOwl provides information on changes in behavior patterns, proactively notifying an organization of internal risks. Imagine the implications of these software platforms aligned for educational development.

Sites like Zaption are moving MOOCs into more interactive platforms, quizzing as it goes along. Imagine if in addition to an interactive platform we were able to capture behavior patterns indicating learning, or confusion, what if we were able to match the student with the best educator or advisor for their learning style?

Think about it.

A student is no longer just watching a video alone, half grasping the concept and moving on. The system catches on that something hasn’t entirely clicked and provides supplemental training, in a different way–slowed down, back to basics, whatever it takes. It goes over a topic until the light bulb moment is captured.

What would that do for student engagement? What would that do to completion rates? What would that do to our future when all of these bright minds are grasping and building on ideas that could move our world of work into the next generation?

These are the things that keep me up at night.


Leadership, Recognition, Chaos & Love

9 Jul

Hip Decision | a blog by Chris Reed

suit and tie

When I stepped up to the microphone at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, I felt something new.

People recognized me as a leader.

The journey to that feeling had been a road trip filled with my own demons, others’ misconceptions (somewhat justifiable, admittedly), and unhealthy doses of fear and loathing.

Maybe these are things we all face as we navigate our workplaces and personal lives, and maybe they aren’t. Maybe we’re all predisposed to becoming who we are. Maybe we can be shaped by the right person in the right place at the right time. Maybe it’s all in the stars and a broken fortune cookie.

That’s a debate for another time.

What I can tell you is this: Being recognized as a leader feels really fucking good. It’s like waking up to discover your crush finally sees you the way you see them. And the best…

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Breaking the Dog; Thoughts on Process and Preparation

10 Jun

When you train an animal to be invariably obedient, you should to put your furry friend through as many trying scenarios as possible to stress her level of focus and dedication. Break the dog early and often, on your own time. In the breaking you discover a new weakness and can thus prepare your beastie for success in the future, when it really matters. It’s a new idea for me, and one I’m quite fond of.

Dog-Training-1Making the jump from beast to process is pretty easy. If you’re developing a process, what might cause it to fail? If you’re banking on a plan, what might cause it to fail? If it’s going to fail, know early so you aren’t caught unaware holding an empty leash.

We try to make plans for the future.  We plan and anticipate success. Sometimes we anticipate failure and have a backup plan. There isn’t  a definite way to obfuscate all life’s failure attempts, but we can attempt to break the dog in our minds–  frequently and uniquely, so at the least, our emotions (those hairy things) don’t get the better of us, when we aren’t prepared.

That’s all.

It’s the Journey, not the Destination

1 Apr

It’s the journey, not the destination.

iPhone 5 Wallpaper Quotes

And that has been on my mind this morning.

When you’re developing your personal brand, it helps to remember that you aren’t going to get there overnight. It takes time, reflection, and a true grasp of who you are, what you stand for, and what keeps you going that finally evolves into the final image other people “buy.” Simon Sinek says it best: “It’s not what you do; it’s why you do it.” (If you haven’t seen Mr. Sinek’s Ted Talk sessions yet, please do yourself a favor– grab some coffee and settle in to watch a few.)

It’s understandable that getting to the why takes time, which leads us to the journey.

Leader to Leader Journal puts it this way, “People want to know your values and beliefs, what you really care about, and what keeps you awake at night. They want to know who most influenced you, the events that shaped your attitudes, and the experiences that prepare you for the job. They want to know what drives you, what makes you happy, and what ticks you off. They want to know what you’re like as a person…”

Even if you aren’t leading a team and you’re just out there solo trying to shape yourself for personal growth, please be aware of your journey and remember why it matters.

That’s it. Just a personal note from the mental archives.



A Smarter Way to Lunch: Networking for the Rest of Us

30 Mar

Networking. I know, right.


There was another HR blog post about “How to Get a Great Job in 2015” waiting in my inbox the other day.  It boiled down to the old adage about getting out to get the job. You’ll find your next role over lunch, via phone, or  somehow otherwise directly engaging with a human-being, who is not behind the glossy computer screen in your kitchen.

This sentiment has been well documented, and I do think there is absolutely merit to the statement.  What strikes me as noteworthy about this though, is that in this new age of social presence and online connection often times lunch breaks are spent engaging in twitter chats from the comforts of home, with hundreds of strangers we’ve never actually met.  There are even schedules of upcoming chats, so you can always plan for a weekly lunch date .

I think these chats are just as valuable as an initial meeting for coffee or a luncheon request. We’re developing new relationships while exchanging ideas and building our social presence over our predetermined lunch topic. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chats feel a lot less anxiety producing  for those of us who curate our thoughts a little more thoughtfully than others.

Personally, I’m not always the loudest, or most extroverted person in the room; sometimes I sit back and watch what’s happening before diving in and making my own opinions known. These lunchtime chats give us the opportunity to read through the responses, develop our ideas and share when we’re ready.

I call it a smarter way to lunch.

Navigating these social media conversations is a lot like navigating a networking luncheon, and the keys to success are still the same: engage, offer something of value, stay thankful, stay humble. All from the comfort of your kitchen table.

If you’re patient and consistent, these online relationships may develop into phone calls, and phone calls may lead to interviews, and offers.

Or at the very least a shiny new LinkedIn connection, and I still call that a win.

The Time is Now! Use your Data & Improve your Recruiting Process

24 Mar


In years gone by, content producers across the digital divide didn’t always know who they’d influenced. But that’s changed. Companies like Buffer, Hootsuite, make it as easy as pie. You can schedule your messages, and follow the potential and actual impact your information is having in real time.  These things are typically measured via clicks, views & re-shares, as compared to the number of followers and tags referenced.

I’m curious to see how HR pros are tapping into these tools to curate their messages for passive and active job seekers in social space.

  •  Are they tracking the number of  job ad views in their social presence?
  • Are they following the digital bread crumbs from the first twitter link to the website, to Glassdoor?
  • Are they capturing the information that leads a candidate to close out of their website or job application?

This is the quantitative information that should be easy to gather on the back-end.  But why aren’t more employers doing it?

HR Bloggers have discussed the suckiness of the job application process many, many times in the past. In this day of HR software it’s mind-blowing that companies still make candidates fill out page after page of repetitive, clunky text boxes, just to send information into a void of silence.

We know the application process can be simple. So why this reluctance for everyone to get on-board?

The prevalence of new HR tech means big changes for stuffy HR offices.  The companies who start the conversation the quickest, and offer an engaging, humanizing experience are winning this race.

I really think there should be more employers in the winners circle these days.  You have the technology to help your recruiting brand not suck. What are the stragglers waiting for?

Radical Transparency: Another Win for Social Business Tech

23 Mar


I read an article this morning about the future of global leadership. It highlighted a group of 30 somethings who were redefining the way we do business, and the way leaders interact and guide their business growth.

The article described “radical transparency” as the factor making this possible. In the future there will be  nowhere for bad apples or bad behavior to hide. This is awesome for people and awesome for business. It’s just another plug for the benefits of global technology.

42% of the global population will have some type of smart device by the end of this year.

That’s a lot of people with a lot of things to say.

If you’re lucky, they’re promoting your brand.


If you haven’t been on your best behavior, that’s going to get out, and I promise, there will be changes.

Is radical transparency a part of your employee brand?

How do you promote it in your office?

Should You Reschedule an Interview for Illness?

27 Feb

Yesterday, while attempting to avoid squishing my smallest dog, the couch jumped up and tackled my toe.

It was a massacre.

One that ice cream and ice packs helped to remedy, but it got me thinking. What would I have done had I broken my foot prior to an interview? What is the proper procedure for an unexpected, unplanned (embarrassingly clumsy) assault on your physical self when you’ve got the interview of a lifetime lined up for bright an early the next morning? What steps do candidates take when they come down with the flu prior to an interview for that matter?

I took to the interwebs to research the topic, and the consensus according to our friendly staffing cohorts is unanimous:

Unless you’re maimed beyond recognition, in a coma, or just really don’t want the position, never reschedule an interview for the sniffles or banged up appendage. 

Here are a few friendly tips to get through an interview when you’re not feeling like a Rockstar:

1. Medicate! Motrin, Advil Sinus, Imodium, whatever. Take something to alleviate the symptoms and move on; Also, do something to pep yourself up (caffeinate!),when you’re feeling worn down. 

2. Dress for Success. Look as presentable as possible despite the illness or injury. Dress to Kill and you’ll feel a lot better.  

3. Showing up is half the battle. Show up as scheduled. Mention the situation in passing to the manager you meet with, but don’t play for sympathy points. Stoicism wins this round and indicates how badly you want the gig.

4. Never Procrastinate. If you’ve been preparing for this interview before hand (as you should!) then a last minute illness won’t knock you off your A Game. 

As always, thoughts, comments, differing opinions welcome! What do you think? is there ever a time you should cancel an interview last minute?


Tackling the Salary Expectations Question in an Interview

4 Feb

This is especially vital for women to remember, as we tend to accept what is offered. Don’t be afraid of asking for what you’re worth. Do your research!

Something Different HR

1. This is a misuse of the word travail, but it delighted me to use it here.I’m writing this one because during my daily travails 1 across the internet in search of new information about HR, I have comeacrossmanyarticles on salary negotiation. Some of the advice I agree with, some of it I don’t… and most all of it will work in one situation or another.

…So of course I also want to share my 2 cents.

As a former comp guy that has interviewed hundreds of people for positions spanning a fairly wide range of job functions, complexity, and scope – and that has asked nearly just as many their salary expectations at some point during the interview process – I can say two things with a fairly high degree of certainty:

1. When asked for their salary expectations, currently employed people are more likely…

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25 Ways to Spot Leaders You Can Trust

27 Jan

Leadership Freak


Before everything else, determine if people are trustworthy.

But, what if time is short and schedules full? How can you quickly spot someone you can trust?

Leaders you can trust:

  1. Acknowledge they don’t know.
  2. Treat waiters and waitresses with kindness and respect. How do they treat rental cars and hotel rooms?
  3. Take clear positions on tough issues – after exploration and consideration. Fence straddlers serve themselves. When push comes to shove, they’ll throw you under the bus. Don’t rely on someone who tests the wind before making decisions. When the wind changes, so will they.
  4. Move toward relationship not isolation.
  5. Honor others.
  6. Say thank you.
  7. Exhibit tender  hearts and tenacious wills.
  8. Make life better for others.
  9. Listen eagerly, actively, and openly.
    ***What are they reading?
    ***What have they recently learned?
    ***How has their thinking changed?
    ***What is their ratio of speaking to listening?
    ***How often…

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