Excellence University Blog

Archive for September, 2006

September 8th, 2006

What Everyone — Yes, Everyone — Wants

by Dr. Brian Higley | 6 comments

I love to ask the big questions in life. And the biggest question that I’ve ever asked myself is this: “What does everybody (individuals and/or groups of people) want?”  That is the question I asked myself in the late 1990′s as I was founding my company, The Building Blocks to Excllence, and being trained as a Ph.D. level behavioral scientist at the University of Florida. Since I was surrounded by so many brilliant business leaders and psychological minds at the time, I decided to start asking that question to these accomplished people to see if they could shed any light on the answer to my question.

The response I received from almost every one of them was that there is no single answer. “Everybody wants something different, Brian; there is no one answer to your question,” was their almost unanimous reply.  However, I’m a stubborn person when it comes to answering big questions, so even though all of these incredibly bright people told me that my pursuit would be fruitless, I still felt like the answer may be out there.  So I continued my quest of finding the answer to this enormous question.

I began the pursuit of this answer via a combination of powerful resources, beginning with my own personal experience, interviews with other knowledgeable people, and so called “common sense.”  It soon became apparent that these resources would get me only so far, since as I’m sure you know, everybody has a different opinion regarding what everyone wants/needs more of — and many of these opinions can contrast with each other (e.g., “quitters never win” vs. “quit while you are ahead”, “birds of a feather flock together” vs. “opposites attract”).  Thus, it became apparent that I had to go looking for my single answer somewhere else; I then decided to delve deep into the research literature to find the answer to my question.

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September 5th, 2006

Mentoring Means Modeling

by Dr. Brian J. Mistler | 1 comment

I’m occasionally asked by leaders, teachers, and students about the essential qualities of mentoring — and for me it’s modeling. I suggest that, “mentoring means modeling”. And, the lack of this critical modeling component in the educational system may explain why so many people are unprepared for success in the work-force. If you’re a young person just entering the business world, or a seasoned leader interested in the value of hiring people with internship experience, read on.

I’m a strong believer, like Aristotle, William James and some others before me, that there are at least three kinds of knowledge a teacher passes on to his/her student; training in facts (declarative), training in skills (procedural) which includes reasoning, and training in being. My personal experience has been a focus through most of my education on declarative, starting shortly after I learned to tie my shoes and write the letter Z, and continuing disappointingly even into most of my Graduate experiences.

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