Method to Teach Professional Acumen

“The willful sharing of useful insights for working with complex relationships, builds a robust infrastructure not easily corrupted by unanticipated events.”

The following is literally a brain building exercise.  For an adult, the tools may be familiar and not especially challenging.  However, for the young and those never exposed to this environment, it can be mentally exhausting for the first few sessions.  Make this fun before trying to solve calculus or world problems.

Mentored Development
The primary purpose of higher education is to build brains to Efficiently Teach themselves, to become experts in anything Passionately pursued; practiced experience in expressing Professional Acumen.

Professional Acumen is NOT the sense common to everyone;

Professional Acumen IS the sense needed that is commonly shared in a group to be able to earn Respect.

Definitions related to Professional Acumen  – Click Here

Process:

A primary goal is proposed, and the group/class as a whole is to find the best path, in detail, of how to achieve the goal, AND to orchestrate sustainable support for that goal.

The goal can be a math problem, a story, buying a house, science project, business plan, safety exercise, process improvement, home improvement, medical procedure, medical diagnosis…

Choose a problem initially that does not have a large diversity of outcomes necessary to sustain a desired set of outcomes.  Basic math problems, and algorithms for getting to class/work on time, are types of problems that won’t have too many “gaps” and constraints needing to be discovered and incorporated.

The class/team is put into groups of three.

Each of the three members of each group have critical mental roles, and are assigned positions of Mentor, Scribe, and Referee.

The Mentor details the plan of action from start to finish; slowly, so the Scribe has time to record the plan of action in detail, and the Mentor restates themselves when the Referee points out reasoning issues.  For instance: just because part of Colorado is in Denver, does not mean all of Colorado is in Denver; therefore saying Colorado is in Denver is deceptive.

The Scribe writes down the sequence as the Mentor describes a supportable goal and related insights; “clearly” printed or typed.  Printing is preferred because there is neural memory that occurs when printing, it requires no technology, and it builds a skill in taking notes that business and industry demands.

This helps build many communications skills that industry has cited as being weak among their employees, and are essential for business development.

The Scribe can only ask “I did not understand, can you say that differently?” or “Can you say the same things with as much detail, but with fewer words?” or “That seems vague, can you clarify?” while writing down the Mentor plan of action.  The Scribe is busy with capturing useful details, and will likely not have the time to analyze in detail what is being said by the Mentor.

When “vague” comments are made, that is usually an indication of a “gap” in knowledge, that needs to be explored later in more detail to develop “useful” knowledge, i.e. actionable knowledge.  Being vague usually means a person suspects a set of relationships, but does not currently know the details.  Capturing these gaps is very important; critical to expressing Professional Acumen.

The Referee can only make comments about illogical expressions, gaps in consequences, and using words and phrases improperly out of context.  The Referee is the most likely person to recognize the Mentor using vague terminology, perspectives, and associations.

Neither the Scribe nor the Referee are allowed to contribute to the solution.  They document the process and relationships, and identify areas to make the Mentor’s solution robust, actionable, and sustainable.

After the Mentor no longer can add useful relationships to consider, the roles for everyone in the group rotates. The Scribe becomes the Mentor, the Referee becomes the Scribe, and the Mentor becomes the Referee. The process repeats. The new Mentor can use part, all, or none of what the previous Mentor expressed.  Often thinking about a problem in detail, supports Moments of Inspiration .  “Thinking Outside the Box” often results in a more elegant solution; less costly, less risks, easier to sustain outcomes.  All participants experience every role; with practice they all become more proficient in every role.

The previous Scribe’s work is set aside with the notes taken and stapled together (a version) and only used as a reference by the new Mentor; the same person that wrote it.  The new Mentor building upon the group’s works.

Each person should have a notepad to capture individual concerns/questions, in addition to moments of inspiration (sometimes, moments of genius).  Each item noted should be preceded by a sequential number so Scribes can make notations where in the Mentor’s process and relationships, the Mentor and Referee’s notes occurred; i.e. “Referee note 3” notated as R3, “Scribe note 8” notated as S8.  “Mentor note 4” notates as M4.  Each person simply says out loud the note number, and the Scribe adds the number in the notes margin.

The new Scribe starts from blank paper, unless the group agrees upon starting from a version of the development and wants to explore details with greater resolution, or exploring a gap.  Documenting “gap” details results in needed followup research: online literature and forums, professional expertise…

Prevent participants from interacting outside of their present designated role, this helps prevent them from falling back on their strengths, and helps develop strength in their weaknesses.  Critical Reasoning, Emotional Intelligence, and Social Acumen are all areas participants can investigate on their own, and put into practice during development sessions.

During the transitioning of roles for each person, the new Mentor is developing a plan of action using the previous script and notes.

The new Referee is writing down notes of what was logically flawed in the previous plan of action version.

If “developing” instead of “brainstorming”, copies of the version might be distributed to each participant for study before the next development session.

The Scribe may not recognize potentially useful insights, relationships, and/or perspectives because of limited experience. Also, Scribes are frequently pushed too fast to keep up with the Mentor’s flow of thoughts.  This is because the Mentor is not writing down their Moments of Inspiration as they occur.

A Mentor emotionally charged from knowing there are insights not being captured and their contribution being ignored (not getting credit for their effort), may voice or show their Disdain. Watch for it, listen, and give them their due when practical.  Remind them to write down their Moments of Inspiration when they occur, and that the Scribe while slow, allows the Mentor time to think about the related diverse relationships involved, and make quick drafts of their own inspirations.

As a pressure relief, ask the participants to quietly raise their hand if they feel they are not having their insights captured, not being credited for their contributions, or being pushed out of group development.  The intent is that everyone learn to express themselves, and recognize in others, their logical, social, and emotional acumen.

After the present Mentor finishes, talk with the person with the raised hand to hear their perspective and maintain a sharing of information; and show trust when something is shared that is useful.

Being able to recognize that something personally contributed, was not useful, was vague, confusing, has gaps, or that needs further research, and letting others know so as not to corrupt what is gained, is very important for building self-respect.  Knowing you are not deceiving others, builds self-worth.  Self-Respect cannot be built, when corrupted by Self-Deceit.

Options for Hosting Sessions

Choose whether the session is for brainstorming or development.  Brainstorming captures broad relationships, to evaluate feasibility.  Development explores details of every development relationship to make an action based plan.

A Mentor talking stick can be useful.

Each Mentor might be given 5 minutes (more or less time to make it interesting from one session to the next) to express themselves and may forfeit their extra time.  If a Mentor needs more time, they can request more time from the group members.  Care should be taken to prevent one person, or a coalition of two, from dominating the group as Mentor.

Recognizing the source of information is polite and contributes to shared respect. A simple casting of a glance toward the contributor is usually sufficient recognition.  Body language and empathy are how people usually communicate respect and confidence, and disdain and arrogance.

Immediately after a person’s second rotation as Mentor, the Referee then rotates to another group to be the Referee in the new group. If these are timed using a central clock, then it is a natural movement from one group to the next in all groups.

A stick with a blue end, and the other end red, can be held by each person to keep track of first or second rotation as Mentor. To keep things interesting, any object of two or more states could be used, like a triangle or square with colored sides.

The same or different common goal might be used in each group, depending upon the instructor/host.

Each group could be working on one part of a more complex problem.  The person who just came into a group becomes the Referee of the new group. This gives the new person in a group the opportunity to hear the present line of reasoning twice before becoming Mentor themselves.  They can then incorporate what they learned in other groups, to better identify gaps in all parts of a complex problem.  A Development Master can be tasked with capturing development versions and notes, and assigning a new group problem to help fill in identified gaps.

Rotation of Mentors between groups allows everyone to be exposed to new people as much as practical. This builds bonding between everyone as member skills build from one session to the next.  Diversity valued instead of avoided.

After every team finishes writing their best captured solution. These transcriptions are emailed to all the participants and every person critiques the logical reasoning, the gaps, and cited sustainable support. All of the comments are listed, and everyone rates each comment for perceived value, and why. Anyone who does not contribute significantly to critique obtains remediation for lack of effort, so that they learn to contribute consistently.

Initials are used in association with every comment. This both gives credit to, and provides reason for participation. No comment is ever given anonymously to encourage the building of self-esteem within the group.

The Referee verbally guides the expressions of the Mentor to cite three categories of weakness:
• logical,
• path of consequences,
• sustainable results.

Additionally, the Referee verbally guides the expressions of the Mentor to cite three categories of strength:
• emotional connection,
• social connection, and
• clarity of processes.

A list of characterized points given or taken is provided to each participant before the session starts so that they understand and clearly have the point’s relationships in their minds.
Types of issues in each category might include:
• logical inconsistencies,
• holes in considerations,
• vagueness
• …

and points are charged (contributing to or taken from) to the participant. Care should be taken to ensure the subjects of development and critique are NOT chosen to bolster the position of one or more persons in support of “Empire Building” (i.e. a type of corruption).

The act of stepping into an unknown group trains shyness out of interacting in a group setting. Practiced Experience is necessary so that the group contributes to each person’s self-esteem (the trust the group will support the individual), and related confidence (the trust one has in themselves to contribute useful relationships and perspectives).

Within 40 minutes of useful time in a class (business or school), the employees/students EACH have about 12 to 15 minutes of direct interpersonal contact time. Versus about 5 minute of personal contact time with a few employees/students and only occasional contact time measured in days or weeks with others in a traditional classroom/meeting. In a college/work environment, unless the instructor/supervisor forces the contact, a student/employee may not usefully talk to the instructor/supervisor the entire semester/quarter; this is a method of changing that relationship.

Mentored Development can also be restructured into a Debate Team. Corporations and school systems can create corporate competitions or after-school competitions related to coding, business, math, physics, construction skills, customer generation, Green Energy, Political Science, and any number of other academic achievement clubs. The local business community can become part of these competitions to both fund, and participate in community developments; to include an Interns In Industry local program.

Even in sports, the act of refereed development reinforces the reasoning underlying coached plays and training. The attempt to reason broadly for a better solution builds a broad foundation of interrelated understanding.

The outcome:

A society of communities that actively participate in the teaching and learning of Professional Acumen.

1. “Interns In Industry” refers to a model where local businesses support the needs of local schools (all grade levels, college, trade …), local Representatives lead related committees, and in turn schools provide support for related employee education for adults and their children. http://guidepost.us/interns-in-industry-iii/

Implementing Professional Acumen

Developing anything requires some skill in Project Management. Implementing project management depends upon Efficient Learning Skills; that are assisted by Research Tips & Tricks. To be a valuable part of a group to usefully choose information and skills to learn and share with the group requires Professional Acumen. To prevent others who want to abuse group resources for their own agendas, skills related to Recognizing Corruption are required; and subsequently what to do to prevent Sustained Corruption.

Growth of group power and influence requires developing a powerful mutually sustaining group.  Where member weaknesses are recognized without condescension (Arrogance) nor self-deceit (lack of Self-Respect) and the group together prevents significant harm to the group; all members have weaknesses.  Together the group determines a reasonable set of goals, and each member teaches themselves additional skills to support achieving those goals. Demonstrated success creates a reputation of perceived trust in the group and its members.  A bad reputation of an individual affects the reputation of the group.  So perceived value of the group depends upon training the individual members.

Other persons or groups with control over under-utilized resources, tend to offer access to those resources where there is trust additional under-utilized resources can be developed more than they currently control.  The group must be able to show evidence of being a low-risk significant resource for development.

During development, others outside the group who appear to be worthy of Access to Opportunities to earn respect, are provided an opportunity to teach themselves related to a low-risk low-value project benefiting the group.

Failure does not significantly harm the group; depending on many factors the person may be trained or excluded from the group. Success means providing the person a higher risk but more significant opportunity to develop. The person learns to mitigate higher risks, by sharing risks with others in the group (mentoring). As a result, a long string of successes benefits both the group and each individual.
A person without Professional Acumen, cannot usefully participate in development, so they are either used a placeholders to implement some form of control, or they are taught to “consistently” express Professional Acumen so they can learn to become a useful part of developments.

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