Teacher Thoughts on Dan Pink: To Sell Is Human Part 6

I thought I had all my notes wrapped up and then I saw a piece of paper with notes scribbled on them and realized that these are perhaps the most important. Maybe not, but they are worth sharing if I took time to handwrite the notes as opposed to marking the page corners in the book.

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When I was writing up ideas earlier I glossed over the page I had marked. I could not remember why I marked the page, but reading my note I instantly thought, “How could I forget?”

Dan Pink talks about Sam Sommers and the idea of a “jolt” to mix things up and see things differently. They talk about different jolts from simple things like sitting somewhere else in your regular routine to major things like traveling to another country. 

The jolt I thought of when reading goes to education. As teachers, why don’t we go out and visit local businesses? Why don’t we connect more with the community? We are always asking students to do this, but we need to as well. This could help us see what our students really need for skills and talents in the real world. We can talk to the owners and leaders and find out what they want from their employees. We need to stay in contact with the real world as “jolt” to our classrooms. We need to be reminded that the world is changing and simply reading about it is not always enough. We need to see it, feel it, hear it, touch it, etc. We sometimes need a “jolt” of reality to make our classrooms more real world.

Another one I overlooked is the Right Question Institute. Perhaps we as teachers need to enhance our skills with questioning a bit – Right Question Institute – http://rightquestion.org/

Just like the “jolt” concept posted above if we educators learn how to question better, then we can expect the same in our classrooms and teach students how to do this(much like learning how to listen in post #5). Just think where our classrooms could go if we could get students to listen and to question better. Holy cow! It would be amazing!!!

Reading this passage about 1% is another reminder for me to gain some clarity in my own life. I often times have so many things I am juggling around that if I were to focus on the 1% of the ideas in my brain I would have great focus in my life.

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Last idea is the idea presented by Salit. He says to replace “Yes, but….” with “Yes, and….”. This subtle change completely transforms the energy of the conversation and the possibilities in which a group can progress.
This is a small and powerful shift that can result in great things. And with that I end with my notes. I hope you have enjoyed.


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Teacher Thoughts on Dan Pink: To Sell Is Human Part 5

Think on this one: The clarity on how to think without clarity on how to move can leave people unmoved.

I need to read Pantalon’s book Instant Influence. I love this two question technique proposed and will use this with students when meeting with them about their work, progress, and when we meet for our classroom conferences.

1. On a scale of 1 – 10 , with 1 meaning “not the least bit ready” and 10 meaning “totally ready” how ready are you?

2. Why didn’t you pick a lower number?

I will actually use this technique next week as my students prepare for a global debate. I will report the results. I like this technique because you can obviously change the question to your desired need. This really forces the person to think about their answer in a new way. Love it!

Read the book Mindless Eating by Wansink

The Twitter Pitch

I love this!!!!!! As we are working on an application system for our ELP services I think this is a great piece to include in the process. This forces the student to really focus on the specific of who they are and what they bring to the table. They will have to describe themselves or summarize who they are in 140 characters. There is great freedom in this if they can think correctly. 140 characters could be just the start of something much bigger if they utilize those characters right. Right? 

My last thought from the book is on listening. It is estimated that 1/4 of our waking time is dedicated to listening and it is mind boggling how much we neglect this skill and don’t work on it. It is an assumed skill that we think everyone has acquired. We need to teach listening in schools. How to focus, how to engage, and how to really listen and not just hear. Listen without listening for anything. Don’t worry about what you are going to say next. Just listen. We need to add this skill to our curriculum. Perhaps we need to be taught before we teach it. 

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Teacher Thoughts on Dan Pink: To Sell Is Human Part 4

I am reading Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human. As I read I have marked down some passages that I think are worth discussing. I am trying to read this book from the mindset of an educator and coach. As I read I am trying to figure out ways in which his ideas can be applied to teaching and coaching. I will do my best to explain my thoughts, questions, insights, etc. the best I can in hopes that it creates some dialogue to pursue further.

I will admit that at first I was not really digging the book. I have read his other books and loved them! This one did not quite grab me at first. However, when I started to look at the stories, examples, and ideas through the lens of education it really changed things and I really found the book to be powerful.

As I continue to type up my notes and ideas from the book I come to the next place that I marked to discuss.

One little story that really spoke to me was the story of Jay Goldberg and his perception of dealing with negativity. Jay had wrote letters to every single MLB team for an internship. Twenty five wrote rejection letters with Yankees never responding. He kept them all and used it as motivation to not quit. He says, “The letters gave me a little smile every time I look at them.” Dan Pink says it best, “how you see rejection often depends on how you frame it.”

I think this speaks volumes. Not everything can be perfect. There are times when it is hard to sustain a vision or passion when your idea or passion continues to get torn apart. You have to use it as fuel. Often times the biggest and best ideas are the ones most denied because they are different from the norm. They stand out as crazy and not a good idea. However, once given the freedom it is amazing where it can go. This is a great reminder to myself to keep pushing myself to be the best I can be in the classroom and to not give up on my passions and goals in life. Reading this passage again with the events currently unfolding around me could not have been any more perfect.

I like the idea of writing yourself a rejection letter and to check out the Rejection Generator Project http://ow.ly/cQ5rl

This idea really stand out to me: Finding the Right Problem to Solve. I often wonder if we are identifying the right problem in the first place? I need to rethink my current ideals and issues that I have and really ask if I am identifying the right problem.  Am I trying to solve the problem or find a problem? Is one better than the other? Dan Pink thinks so…..

Businesses are changing the way the hire and who they hire. They want people who can see a situation and brainstorm new opportunities. They want people with insight. Anyone can access any information they want. The key is to find the right problem to solve. We are shifting from problem solving to problem finding.

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Teacher Thoughts: Daniel Pink – To Sell Is Human Part 3

I am reading Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human. As I read I have marked down some passages that I think are worth discussing. I am trying to read this book from the mindset of an educator and coach. As I read I am trying to figure out ways in which his ideas can be applied to teaching and coaching. I will do my best to explain my thoughts, questions, insights, etc. the best I can in hopes that it creates some dialogue to pursue further.

I will admit that at first I was not really digging the book. I have read his other books and loved them! This one did not quite grab me at first. However, when I started to look at the stories, examples, and ideas through the lens of education it really changed things and I really found the book to be powerful.

As I continue to type up my notes and ideas from the book I come to the next place that I marked to discuss.

Discussion Map

On page 92-93 he discusses doing a Discussion Map where you chart all the interactions of a meeting. I think that at my next team meeting or in service meeting I am going to chart the interactions. I would like to do this time and time again without getting caught(that would be the challenge) to see the ebb and flow of our staff and team meetings. I think this will provide some insight and answers to the dynamics of each session. I really think that whoever does the talking has a great impact on the mood, tone, and energy of meetings. You feel this with certain people. Some enter a meeting and the mood is relaxed and people open up. Other times a person can kill everything with a negative tone or fear of sharing because that person might attack the speaker. Teaching now for almost 10 years you can see how the dynamics of meetings based on the people take on whole new life or loss of life. This might be a professional development plan idea for next year! I need to remember this.

Self Talk

I talk to myself all the time. I have the most amazing conversations in my head and then wonder why I cannot fall asleep at night. I am not going to go into all the facts and research on self talk and how it can impact us for performance(one of my many preachings as a basketball coach), but I want to focus on a part of the book that discusses the framework of our self talk. Talking to oneself with an ASKING approach vs. a TELLING approach. What is striking or cool about this is when we ask or question our self talk we accomplish more because that framework expects an answer. By asking yourself a question it will cause you to dig deep. This is so true. Before my first ever presentation I asked myself if I was ready? I talked to myself out loud in my hotel about all the reasons why I was ready. During this I reaffirmed my belief in myself while calming down and going through all my facts one more time. It worked! 

Next there is the idea that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than the extrinsic pressure. This is a no brainer especially if you have read his previous work and we should all know this from life experience. Common sense, but often overlooked as we try to motivate ourselves and others and fail with extrinsic rewards.

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Teacher Thoughts on Dan Pink: To Sell Is Human Part 2

I am reading Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human. As I read I have marked down some passages that I think are worth discussing. I am trying to read this book from the mindset of an educator and coach. As I read I am trying to figure out ways in which his ideas can be applied to teaching and coaching. I will do my best to explain my thoughts, questions, insights, etc. the best I can in hopes that it creates some dialogue to pursue further.

I will admit that at first I was not really digging the book. I have read his other books and loved them! This one did not quite grab me at first. However, when I started to look at the stories, examples, and ideas through the lens of education it really changed things and I really found the book to be powerful.

As I continue to type up my notes and ideas from the book I come to the next place that I marked to discuss.

This next segment comes from after a week of reading so I have had time to process some of my thoughts.

This is so weird that Daniel Pink is discussing”Ambivert” while I just started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Here he discusses people who are a bit of both. As I read Quiet I keep going back to something in this book by Pink, “The notion that extraverts are the finest salespeople is so obvious that we’ve overlooked one teensy flaw. There’s almost no evidence that it’s actually true.”

Ambiverts are those that sit roughly in the middle between introverts and extraverts. Ambiverts are able to find that happy medium of listening and also taking action as needed. The good news is that most of are ambiverts. I don’t know where I fall. I would like to assume that I am more closely aligned with this notion of ambiverts since I have been working on my introvert skills over the years and feel like I have moved more towards the middle. I don’t know how to best gauge this, but this is my gut feeling. Or perhaps I have always been in the middle and as I age and become wiser(this is debatable) perhaps I am more comfortable in my skin.

I love the notion of the best conversation starter is, “Where are you from?” I actually used this tactic while flying out to LA this past weekend. It works so well as people just open up and start talking. It is comfortable and allows the responder to answer at a level of comfort as they so desire.

I don’t want to go into all the details of this concept, but I am very intrigued by this whole notion of mimicry and to mimic the actions of others while communicating. The reading on this concept is very interesting to me. I need to follow up with some more research as well as test things on my own. 

The last thing that I want to discuss/share is the Jeff Bezos(Amazon.com) and his wonderful meeting idea. When he has meeting he leaves one chair empty to remind the people of the meeting that the most important person of the meeting is the customer. I think this would be a good strategy to use as teachers. We have meetings that sometimes lose focus and become more a complain fest. However, if we had this subtle reminder that this could be a student in the meeting I wonder if things would change? I know that if a real student was sitting in on the meeting we would stay the course for sure! With any meeting how do we stay on track? It can so easy to lose focus. We have all been in meetings that you left and felt like you just spun your wheels. This can wear people out especially in this day and age when businesses and schools meet all the time. It goes back to the ideas of Quiet, are we better off just working solo or online? Would that make things better so that when we did meet in person(perhaps less often) would more get done? I don’t know the answer, but it is one worth exploring.

This is enough to chew on for now. I will post my next installment tomorrow.

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Teacher Thoughts on Dan Pink: To Sell Is Human Part 1

I am reading Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human. As I read I have marked down some passages that I think are worth discussing. I am trying to read this book from the mindset of an educator and coach. As I read I am trying to figure out ways in which his ideas can be applied to teaching and coaching. I will do my best to explain my thoughts, questions, insights, etc. the best I can in hopes that it creates some dialogue to pursue further.

I will admit that at first I was not really digging the book. I have read his other books and loved them! This one did not quite grab me at first. However, when I started to look at the stories, examples, and ideas through the lens of education it really changed things and I really found the book to be powerful.

For example, there is a passage about the shifting of knowledge. He uses the examples of car salesman and how times have changed. The buyer now has the information up front and online and can come to the dealership with more information than the salesman.  Dan Pink states that today the salesman is no longer the source of information, but they have become “curators and clarifiers of it.” They go on to add that today they need to have empathy and make the customer feel like you care.

Think about that in education……..

As teachers we are no longer needed to be the know it all source of information. This is not a new idea. The teacher no longer needs be the master of the domain. Rather, it is our job to help curate the information, help students process and understand all the facts and data that are now currently available to students, and figure out what to do with it all. I like to envision us as puzzle masters. We see the big picture as teachers. The students see all the pieces scattered. It is our job to help guide, teach, mentor the students to figure out how to place all the pieces so that they can see the big picture as well.

And how do we do that? Empathy

We have to care. We have to have a passion for teaching. Not just a passion for our subject area, but a passion for helping kids see what we see. Not every student wants this. I hate to admit it, but some just flat out will never care. That does not mean that we don’t care as professionals. Rather, we have to understand that we cannot reach every students. That is why students to travel to 8-10 teachers a day and see new teachers each year. All it takes is for one person to get through. It may not be me. It may not be you, but unless we all try who knows what doors can be unlocked.

My favorite line from this particular chapter and passage comes from one of the salespeople used to tell a story. She says, “You can’t train someone to care.” Either you care or you don’t. It is that simple. I see this every single day as a teacher. I see it every basketball season as a coach. No matter what you say or do, some people will never care. We as teachers have to care. If we don’t care and don’t have empathy, then someone needs to remove us from this field of work. This job requires a passion and burning desire to challenge ourselves so that we can challenge our students.

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