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News and Views
Macintosh-style menu- and command-based interaction design has reached its limits,
says Jakob Nielsen, well-known expert in Web usability. A new paradigm, called results-oriented UI, is on the horizon.
The new paradigm departs from WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get) in favor of What You Get Is What You See, or
WYGIWYS. The next version of Microsoft Office ("Office 12") will be based on this paradigm. Users will now select
a design result-for example, an organizational chart, or an annual report-from a formatting gallery.
MBAs no longer rule. In fact, creative thinkers are in demand for their flexibility.
Here, Fast Company presents five leaders who have parlayed their "useless" academic degrees into business success.
Have management myths kept you from having a good laugh at the office?
It's time to debunk the myths, because research shows that a fun-filled workplace builds enthusiasm. And enthusiasm leads to
increased productivity, better customer service, a positive attitude about the company, and higher odds that talent will stay.
Six myths, busted
And to add to that fun quotient, here's Business 2.0's list of the 101 dumbest moments in business
-and, at the end of the article, a list of the smartest moves, too.
Trying to land an interview? Use a two-column cover letter.
Label the left column, "Your Requirements," and list the company's specifications. Label the right column,
"My Qualifications," and list how you meet each requirement. "It's the most effective way I've seen to get in
the door," says human resources expert Sharon Armstrong. Want more info?
Contact Sharon at Human Resources 9-1-1.
NEW: WaterCooler Professional—The Miniseries
In 2005, "Making It Work for You" evolves to "WC
Professional," a miniseries of action steps to being your
own mentor. Follow this 12-month plan and by
January of 2006, you'll have taken a big step towards
being your own best advocate in the workplace.
November: Become a Lifelong Learner
Lifelong learning is a must in today's workplace, because it's an
insurance policy against obsolescence. Half of an employee's skills become
obsolete within three to five years. If you refuse to upgrade your skills, you rob
yourself of potential opportunities.
What skills would allow you to do your current job better and make
you more valuable to your employer? Answering this question gives you a sense of your
"ideal self"-and identifies any gaps that exist between your real and ideal selves.
It's the first step to becoming a lifelong learner-regularly
comparing the real to the ideal, and then setting your learning agenda.
Setting a learning agenda (rather than a performance agenda)
is critical, says Richard Boyatzis, Daniel Goleman's coauthor on the book
Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Whereas
a performance agenda focuses on something you must prove, a learning agenda helps
you focus on who or what you want to become rather than someone's idea of what
you should be.
Taking an active role in your own professional development by
regularly taking stock of yourself and setting a learning agenda creates an
unexpected bonus: you begin to hone your own leadership abilities-and you get
concrete experience making decisions not just about tasks but about the larger
strategic issues around your own career development.
WaterCooler (WC) Personal: Creating a Learning Agenda That Works for You
Your learning agenda can be as flexible and
experiential as you want to make it. It can include learning
resources like self-assessment activities, readings from newspapers
and trade journals, study groups with colleagues, formal training,
assignments to special projects, or even a formal mentoring relationship.
Here's how to align your real and the ideal selves
so that you can use the information you find out to create a personal
learning plan that makes sense for you.
1. Define the kind of employee (or leader) you want to be.
2. Identify and accept the "real self."
3. Start identifying learning resources that resonate with your
dreams and bring you closer to the kind of employee you want to be.
4. Learn, experiment with, and practice the new behaviors.
5. Rely on trusted confidantes to provide feedback about your performance.
Below are some examples of how people like you set their own learning agendas and reaped
Karen, an association professional, created a learning plan to
keep herself "current" in her career. She eventually transitioned to senior management.
Claire acquired "beyond the job" training in budgeting, managing a program,
and leading program committees from her supervisor. This training enabled her to move from a support
to a management position.
Rich made "stealth learning"-learning under the radar-his stock
in trade. He now heads an international health care association.
Linda enrolled in a training certification program and expanded
her technical training business.
Kitty created a formal mentoring relationship outside her
immediate "chain of command," which led to a promotion and then an excellent job in a different
office within her agency.
Read more stories of people like you
who changed their lives and careers by mentoring themselves in Mentor Me.
Get your copy today.