Asininity, Stupidity, and Ridiculousness – Hell from Human Resources

As a human resources professional, I know the ineptitude and despicableness from both sides of the HR desk.  It is time to think, way outside the box, and all I ask is for your consideration of the proposed idea.  I know I am not alone in desiring a better path forward; here is a suggestion.

For my entire career, military and civilian, I have stood for what is right, fair, and equitable.  I hate bullies and detest bureaucrats creating problems to protect their power and ego, especially at the expense of others.  Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, gets my blood boiling faster than to experience “This is the way we do things here” thinking!  Today, I will expose some worms to sunshine and see if we might fry them from the soils of productivity and free the captives.

Two weeks ago, I applied for an internal job posting advertised since April 2020.  Not only am I highly skilled, well qualified, and possess the academic and experiential knowledge for the role, I also have performed this role multiple times.  My supervisor’s boss told me, “Nothing stops you from applying.”  This is the subtle way of saying that you will not be considered for this role because you were hired at a lower pay grade; you are not “humbled enough.”  Today, I was told more information, “You have to pay your dues at this company before we consider you promotable.”

What does “promotable” mean; it is the personal opinion of my supervisor and his boss who have to give their blessing on my knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Essentially I need a gold star in my copybook before they will look favorably upon my promotion.  Please note, I am not trying to weasel a different position; simply be considered honestly for a position I can compete with anyone for and compete well.  Want a kicker?  There are two ways to be considered for promotion:  1. Leave the company and “boomerang” back.  2.  Win approval from your leaders for that gold star and blessing, then compete against external and internal candidates for the position.

Consider this for a moment; enough people have felt punished by HR, their bosses, and the intransigent stupidity in the promotion process and stuck in their roles that they have intentionally left the company, then applied for the job they are qualified for, and won that position.  The company calls these people “boomerangs.”  They treat them as second-class citizens, and promotions are even more challenging for a “boomerang” than they originally left.

Upon higher into my current role, I was told several stories of people who did incredible tasks for the company and were refused promotions they deserved because the leaders never set up a promotion path with HR.  Why did these leaders refuse to set up a promotion growth path; because my department was being right-sized for a technological solution until it was discovered that technology could not replace the people.  Now, everyone is stuck; they cannot promote or afford to quit and return, and the political situation is unbearably ridiculous!

When I write about leadership failures, I write from deep experience in fighting stupidity, asininity, and ridiculousness in human resources.  There is no excuse for a leader to pacify down and plead up to look better for the next promotion.  Yet, today I was told, “you have to pay your dues; working here is ‘humbling.’”  So is joining the military and having Congress halt all promotions in your field because they feel it is a “good path for the military.”  It was stupid then, and it is still stupid now!

Hell from human resources includes some new verbiage gaining traction from the politicians, and frankly, this is a conversation begging to be had.  What are the employees in your organization, valuable, worthwhile, lazy, useless, human infrastructure, or individuals?  Choose your adjective, and I can tell you what type of leader you are.  Worse, I can forecast just how bad your business will treat everyone and how fast your company will die horribly!

A customer of mine told me I was crazy and full of “baked beans.”  They are bankrupt now, their employees all left with a horrible taste in their mouth for authoritarianism, tyranny, and oppression in their employer.  The red tape bureaucracy in human resources was such that to “avoid risk” in human resources (HR), the lawyers convinced the owners to design HR in such a way as to micro-manage to the Nth degree.  Too many HR departments are making the most egregious mistake in treating independent thinking adults like pre-schoolers in pre-K classes.

Unfortunately, the IRS supports the HR departments acting in this manner, and Congress continues to fund and increase the budget of the IRS to exasperate this situation further.  The powers of the IRS have been a recurring topic, and additional insight from those articles can be found in the links provided.

Would you like a solution to the fifth ring of Dante HR insanity?  FIRE Human Resource professionals.  HR is comparable to the man who discovers solutions to problems he creates after demanding everyone adopt the solution.  The fundamental treatise upon which HR justifies their existence is flawed and presume that humans need controlled.  However, if the IRS got out of dictating how to treat employees in the employer/employee relationship, HR would not be required!

Consider the veracity of returning HR to Dante’s fifth ring; every business already possesses human capital, structural capital, and relationship capital as part of its intellectual capital.  Intellectual capital makes your business different from your competition and is central to the knowledge management process.  Please note, HR did not build this for your company; like the government, HR has never been more than a “necessary evil” at best.  Creating processes and procedures that protect officiousness while punishing productivity and talented people.

How much does an open position cost an organization?  The honest and straightforward answer, nobody can quantify this number due to a mixture of variables.  The closest one can get to an estimate is between 3 times and 15 times the annual salary of the open position.  Why is this so difficult to quantify; here are some of the variables in the equation.  Please note that the human potential element, or the individual’s talents occupying the position, can never be quantified.

        • Annual Salary
        • Training
        • Salaries for those doing the job while the position is open
        • Loss of production from the position available and those covering the open role responsibilities
        • Organizational memory loss from the person leaving
        • Onboarding costs (advertising, interviewing, hiring)

Imperative to removing the minions from Dante’s Fifth Ring (HR), the organizational dimension’s seven S’s must be understood.  Leaders must constantly balance strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, style, and superordinate goals.  When HR is involved, balancing staff, skills, and style is crushed under the bureaucracy and inefficient thinking of bureaucrats who must have a process for everything.  Thus forming the disconnect between humans endeavoring towards an organizational goal (business) and achieving success.

Case in point, let us return to the open positions, the job market where millions of available jobs are stagnating, and people are not going back to work.  The model has failed, and the culprits are HR and the coequally corrupt government institutions on the local, county, state, and federal levels.  Thus, anyone with eyes can see that strategy, structure, and systems have been intentionally destroyed in businesses large and small by those charged with helping understand and support staff, skills, and styles while working to achieve superordinate goals.

Businesses are out of balance; the government built that!  Human resources helped.  America needs to reverse course, and it begins with freeing the employee from the employer/employee relationship.  While some will claim this answer is too simple, how many honestly remember what America was like before the Federal Government mandated how employers could compete for talent?  It is time to discover how small a government can shrink, and while shrinking, take HR with them!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting Change vs. Knowledge

ToolsRecently, I wrote about Change vs. Knowledge, and I have received some push-back on this topic and wanted to explain and expound a little to assure and address some concerns.  The basic premise remains, in Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

In basing the premise on this quote, I am not excluding anything in the learning process.  Education does come in many forms, including academic, informal, experience, and even through epiphanies where knowledge comes from sources greater than those we can understand with our limited senses and understanding.  I fully accept that the great warrior Joan of Arc received heavenly manifestations and was guided in her battles by these manifestations.  Hence, I acknowledge that people continue to be influenced in like manner and accept this as a form of education.

Detective 4Along the same vein, desire remains crucial to seeking knowledge and acquiring knowledge through the long struggle as a motivating force.  Thus, desire remains a tool of motivation in empowering change.  Provided the desire is not abused into appetite suppression, which leads to excess, abuse, and chaos.  For example, during the initial phases of the Spanish Inquisition, the desire was the unification of the population.  The Spanish Inquisition soon turned ugly and began persecuting Jews because the people leading the inquisition desired the Jews to either convert or leave Spain.  Thus, the conclusion that desire can quickly turn into appetite suppression can cause chaos, destruction, and severe abuses.

Let us be perfectly clear; education remains a vital proponent in boosting change in a population.  Teach a population to read, write, and perform mathematics, and you will significantly change a population within a generation.  Consider the post-Civil War era in America; the children of slaves went to school, learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then began to spread out as influential people.  The same occurred with the American Indian tribes, and this pattern repeats throughout all of history and never wavers.  Thus, we can safely conclude that formal education boosts changes in society, cultures, and people who then create change in their environments and communities.Grit - Defined

What is wisdom?

Wisdom is another term that everyone knows but has various components that aid in fully detailing the term.  Wisdom captures the quality of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, and couple’s good judgment, or the ability to make logical and sound decisions.  Wisdom also encapsulates the appropriateness of actions and decisions where experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, are applied to a situation.  Wisdom is also the body of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge in society.  Unfortunately, wisdom has been plasticized, and emotions and emotionally powered logic have been installed as erroneous variables creating confusion and aiding in language’s tyranny to exert undue pressure on people.  When Speaker Pelosi (D) can be called wise, the tyranny of plastic words becomes evident!

Choice vs. Perception

Remember, the premise “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  We choose whether we will allow change to be good or bad; we decide whether or not knowledge will be helpful or not.  The choice is based upon how we choose to perceive the world around us.  For example, I grew up in a house where smoking was considered tough, manly, and cool.  I smoked in high school but quit in the US Army during Basic Training; let me tell you, that’s tough!  But the perception of smoking, even with all the knowledge of the harm smoking can do, I still have to fight my perception of smoking’s image as I continue to be a quitter.

LookIs the relationship clear; as a kid, the perception was powerful that smoking is a good thing; as an adult, I must fight that perception because I choose not to be a smoker.  Even though for 10-years after quitting, I could walk through second-hand smoke, and my pulse would race, my brain would demand a cigarette, and I would have to choose to remember why I quit smoking consciously.  While the choice has become easier to keep in the now 20+ years after quitting, the power of the perception that smoking is cool remains as bright as ever.

The choice and perception variable remain a potent force in everything we, as humans, choose to do, see, become, and what we teach to others.  Worse, the choice and perception variable is evident in behaviors, cultures, social groups, and political choices.  Consider how many times Senator McCain (R), Senator Obama (D), Senator Robert Byrd (D), Speakers Schumer (D) and McConnell (R), etc., backpedaled, back dealt, changed positions, and still was able to convince citizens to vote for them.  Speakers Paul Ryan (R) and Nancy Pelosi (D) have had the exact same problem their entire time in the US House of Representatives.  Look at any politician who has been around for longer than three terms, and you will see choice and perception as significant variables in why they continue to win elections.

Never Give Up!Hence, when we take this article’s premise, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful,” we must factor in the choices and perceptions of those around us as a collective society.  When we understand choice and perception, we more thoroughly understand behaviors, trends in actions, and we grasp at the power and danger of the premise that “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

What we choose is not simply contingent upon what we know but also our perception and our valuation of past decisions on this topic.  Consider the quandary Robert Solomon has experienced by persisting that emotions are a choice, a judgment, and a socially influenced action consciously made.  The entire psychological world threw back their heads and howled, fighting, screaming, and becoming illogical, and yet emotions are as much a conscious choice as the clothes we wear each day, our hairstyle, and the foods we choose to eat.

LinkedIn ImageAs we choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture,” we must understand the why, the perception choice variables, and embrace the premise that, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Doing so will require we first look at our world views, knowledge, perceptions, choices and decide if these are bringing us closer, or taking us further away from, a society where the US Constitution lives as the paramount “Rule of Law.”  Are we actively choosing to draw ourselves closer to freedom through our Republic, or are we part of the problem?  Individual choice will drive change, provided we are conscious of our choices, educating ourselves, and actively working towards improving society.  As the fundamental building block of the American Republic, the society that matters most is inside our own homes; build that society!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Change vs. Knowledge

Guns and Liberals - A Pipe DreamWhile reading Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Long have I maintained a similar approach to change and the desire for knowledge.  What I find most interesting is how often truths become clear when I am not particularly looking for them but remain open to new thinking on old topics.

What is Knowledge?Detective 2

Knowledge is a formula:

Knowledge = Education (Formal +Informal)*Experience*Time

During the knowledge process, change happens.  Even when the decision is to reject knowledge, refute change, or deny change is occurring, the process of knowledge continues.  The problem, knowledge is gained and lost, proportional to our desire to obtain new knowledge.  I love the show “Married with Children.”  In one show, the daughter Kelly learns something new and forgets something old, in a constant cycle.  The same philosophy is found in the movie “Glory Road,” the coach says, “You know what, Shed? You’re like a duck. You wake up in a new world every day.”

What is change?

Non Sequitur - ClassicChange is modification, alterations, replacing, becoming.  There is nothing to fear in change.  Yet, how often has someone made money selling books about helping people change, driving business change, improving people during change, and adapting and adjusting to change.  During my undergraduate degree program, I had an epiphany, “Do you know that every time a business obtains a new customer, they experience change?”  Research supports this epiphany, and I was shocked silly to come to this realization.  I shared my thoughts in the classroom, and I thought the instructor, and most of the class, would have a heart attack and die on the spot.

That week’s topics were all about change in the workplace, and I do not hold that change is an event horizon but a steady strain on a person to move them from where they are to who they might become.  Another shocking idea that scared the class and caused a riot.  Yet, change is nothing more or less than a journey of knowledge, where we choose to embrace learning in the hopes of changing and gaining knowledge.

Why is this important?Leap Day

To answer this question, I ask another, “What is it you want most?”  For that which you desire, you will change to acquire.  Using Shed’s character as an example, after being handed his bus ticket, Shed realizes that he cannot go home in shame, “I’ll never be able to look my daddy in the eye.”  His character does some soul searching, and he returns to fight for a position on the basketball team.  Shed learned that which he desired he had to become willing to acquire, then had to fight to acquire, and only through total commitment did he eventually acquire his desire.

A friend of mine related his experience with a husband and wife.  They were considering divorcing, had concluded they had done all they could, and were visiting my friend to discuss the problem.  This couple had forgotten what they desired and had stopped fighting to acquire what they desired.  My friend helped this couple remember why they originally married in the first place.  Over time, the couple stopped growing apart and began again to desire and acquired what they desired most, companionship with their partner.

Detective 4That which we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  As a kid, I wanted a book.  Not any book; I wanted a particular book worth $75.00.  I shoveled a lot of snow, raked a ton of leaves, mowed lawns, split wood, stacked wood, cut down trees, and did many other odd jobs to acquire the money for this specific book, eventually earning almost three times the money needed for this book.  Then, I gave the money earned to my parents to buy the book for my birthday.  I did not get my book; the money was spent on “other things,” and I was told to be grateful to have those “other things.”  Interestingly, as an adult, when I finally acquired this desired book, a change had come over me where this book was concerned, shifting technology changed the original reason to own the book, and the book now sits less used on my shelf.

Yet, the principle remains a valuable lesson; what we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  We will sacrifice much to acquire a desire.  Consider our fraudulent president; what has he, and his wife, sacrificed to acquire the presidency?  What has Speaker Pelosi (D) invested and sacrificed to acquire?  What has America suffered so the Clinton’s could acquire their desires?

Do we understand the caution in Change and Knowledge?

Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Therein lay the caution.  Change is blamed when the consequences of desire are not as valued upon possession as they were before acquisition.  But, if we choose to allow it, the knowledge of that experience is always helpful as we plot future decision-making.  During my time in the US Navy, I learned the definition of a mistake, “A mistake occurs when everything learned, experienced, and achieved if given a chance to repeat, you would not repeat.”  Meaning that the knowledge acquired, the experience obtained, any achievement awards all lay as dross when compared with the original decision.

Never Give Up!Some journeys we travel are not enjoyable, but the knowledge is valuable.  Some journeys we undertake require too much, and we stop long before the lesson is learned, and in stopping, we lose what we thought we had gained.  Some journeys require a period of recovery before the lessons learned become apparent, and then we can choose to allow that knowledge to be useful.  Yet, change remains neither good nor bad; the consequences of our decisions are neither good nor bad; the knowledge is only useful when we choose to allow it to be useful.  You choose; choose wisely!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: The Captivity of our Fathers: A Paradigm for Freedom!

Note: Today, I am revisiting a previous topic in an effort to improve base knowledge on key principles to freedom.

RememberTo remember is to do something necessary or advisable, which brings honor to the past and freedom to the present.  Remembering is the power to become aware that you are more than the singular person and many others have held a hand in making you, your personality, strengths, and weaknesses.  A greeting card reads, “I am a strong person because a strong person raised me.”  Remembering is also the power that propels the person from their starting point into a glorious future.  Ralph Marston has the last word on remembering, “Remember why you started, remember where you are headed, think how great it will be to get there, and keep going.”

The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, revers as scripture “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” in which the reader is encouraged to “Remember the captivity of your fathers” (Mosiah: 27:16; Alma: 5: 6; Alma 29:11-12; 36:2, 29).  The captivity originally spoken of was physical captivity. Where a group of people had been militarily taken over by their enemies and were in physical bondage, slaves pressed into cruel service.  But, as this theme evolves, the reader is encouraged to remember other types of captivity their fathers have been subjected to, as a means of more fully enjoying the freedoms and opportunities they possess, because of their father’s captivity and their father’s release from captivity through action.

To the person escaping Cuba as Castro came to power, the captivity of communism and the celebration of freedom in America is a tangible memory and powers many a child of Cuban heritage to act and appreciate their freedoms dearly-won through their father’s actions.  The release from concentration camp captivity powered and motivates even to this day the children and communities where freedom now rings.  The captivity of those in the USSR powers the minds and freedoms of those living in Russia.  Problems still exist in all these communities, but the release from captivity is worth remembering.  By remembering, honor is paid to those who suffered that captivity, by the growth and development of those present and into the future by actions made today.

CaptivityCaptivity comes in many shapes, by many names, and is visible only through the suffering of those held captive.  Some captivity comes from external forces, including military conquest, law, religious beliefs, and more.  Some captivity arrives through individual choices as consequences, including sex, food, drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, TV, Social Media, or any excessive habit-forming action.  Consider the captivity caused through debt.  For example, our children’s children’s children’s children have not been formed yet, but they are already in captivity to the National and State Debt burdens carried right now!  Is this fair to them?  We get benefits, and they get captivity, all through government refusal to act responsibly; how are those retirement benefits?

During a conversation with several older adults, I asked a question about illiteracy’s captivity.  I asked how many generations back in their families does it take to find an illiterate family member.  One fortunate person claimed it was more than 8 generations, and another said three, a couple said four, but a very elderly person in the back said 1, his parents never learned to read or write in their own native language or English.  This man is a Native American from a tribe in Northern Arizona; when I met him, he was in his late 80’s.

LiberationAs a child of 8, he was separated from his tribe, family, and the reservation he knew, loaded onto a bus, and sent to Oklahoma for a “White Man’s” education.  He spent 10-months of every year for the next 10-years going to school in Oklahoma.  During that time, he never received a single letter from his parents.  He was not allowed to speak his native language, and all native culture was forbidden.  He credits this traumatic period of his life as the crucible for all the good that has come to him through education.  His children and grandchildren all completed college, becoming engineers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and more.  He had two great-grandchildren just entering college, and his first great-great-grandchild was soon to be delivered.  He told stories of his parents’ captivity to his children and grandchildren, and they are better people for remembering the captivity of their fathers.

On the topic of remembering his fathers’ captivity, specifically illiteracy, he remembers every day in gratitude, even though his parents’ thirst for learning meant he endured such harrowing experiences to go to school.  His fathers’ captivity drove and motivated him to ensure his progeny would not suffer the same captivity.  Who taught you to read?  Who taught them?  How has being taught to read released you from captivity of the mind, fear of the unknown, or superstition?

Tank Man - Tiananmen SquareAnother example is a similar question about our fathers’ captivity; how many generations back before your fathers never left a small land plot?  Whose only views of the world were restricted to that single plot of land due to law, debt, religion, melatonin, or some other chain.  One answered, his family had hated his grandfather for leaving a place of comfort in Scotland, for a rough life in America’s western states.  Many of his family only ever saw the titles, the land, the benefits and wanted those things.  The family desiring these things never saw the captivity, and the family remains broken and separate to this day.  Captivity of appetite is still captivity.

What was the captivity the grandfather escaped from if he had land, titles, money, servants, etc.; freedom to grow, change, and become.  As long as his family stuck to his fathers’ same life and ways, they would have a comfortable physical life.  Herein lay the captivity, and this gentleman tells his story as a caution about researching family history.  I have always held this story, not as a caution but as a parable regarding individual choices.  Born into freedom and plenty, but requiring ceaseless toil, members of this gentleman’s family preferred captivity and luxury to hard work and accomplishment.  Meaning that by weaponizing history, choices are made, and captivity can be lusted for, and the consequence is a lost family.

Government Largess 2I see the welfare state in America that strips pride and accomplishment and replaces it with appetite suppression, and I see millions in captivity to the government dole.  Captivity that breeds wasted and blasted lives, people who have potential are dying under government handouts, forever stuck in subsistence living and not knowing how to escape their choices’ captivity.  Where but for the work requirement for welfare assistance, that same person would know and understand different lessons and potentially choose a different path; thus, discovering that captivity is broken through work.

I see the captivity of thought, children raised in homes as rigidly controlled as Nazi Propaganda mills, controlled by the captivity of their parents’ hate and choices, and becoming leeches and vermin to America’s health.  Consider upon the state of these children and weep for their lost innocence and America’s future.  These are the children in the streets since May 2020 throwing bricks, lighting fires, attacking helpless victims, and causing such tremendous violence upon the American Soul.  Look upon these children in mental captivity and remember, “But for the grace of God go I” (John Bradford).

Other types of captivity our fathers suffered and our children are suffering include mental/physical/sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol, criminal activity, gangs, single-parenthood, the loss of the nuclear family, technology, and so much more.  Why should a person remember the captivity of their fathers?  Because by remembering, we recommit to not passing along that captivity to our children or communities.

Detective 4Recently, I was part of a discussion on technology; I mentioned captivity and technology and was mercilessly attacked for suggesting that technology is a form of captivity.  Thus, I put it to you, dear reader, is technology a form of captivity or not?  Are video games addicting and represent a form of captivity or not?  Are the needs for technology a type of captivity leading to large debts, broken families, and changes in how people think and act?

The Old Testament carries a similar theme to remembering our fathers’ captivity when Israel’s children were commanded to remember the Passover.  Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is another holiday set apart for remembering the captivity of our fathers and recommitting to freedom from oppression.  Buddhism has Bodhi Day, upon which the full day is set apart for remembrance and meditation.  Catholics have All Souls’ Day as a day for remembering the past, honoring the lives of loved ones lost, and recommitting to a brighter future.

These holidays are mentioned, and more exist, to help the reader understand the importance of remembering our fathers’ captivity.  America’s fathers have fought much and bled much, suffering incredible injuries, all to make the future better.  Can we, the recipients of these sacrifices to shed captivity, do less and lose this great Republic, without suffering our fathers’ indignation in the future?

Washington at Valley ForgeConsider the frozen feet and fingers of Valley Forge; what was a little frostbite when compared with the glorious vision of freedom to the soldiers on duty there?  Consider the bloody battles of the Civil War, the fear, the anger, the soul-shattering pounding of the guns.  Both sides considered themselves correct, both sides wanted a vision of freedom, but only one side could win, and in winning bring complete freedom to all the people of America.  Consider the soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines in Afghanistan, South Korea, Africa, and every other place America sends her military might, can we sit at home comfortably and not feel gratitude for their sacrifices, the heat, and cold they suffer, the wounds, the physical and mental strain?

LinkedIn ImageRemembering is an action, a thought process with the impetus power to drive an individual’s commitment and effort.  Let us not forget our fathers’ captivity and by remembering act in a method that will secure liberty, justice, and freedom for our children’s children.  America is in danger of being lost; this great Republic, blessed with a Constitutional form of government, is in danger.  I, for one, refuse to sit idly by and lose this precious country.  I implore you to remember the captivity of your fathers and join me in voting intelligently, join me in throwing off the shackles which threaten to bind us down in captivity to communist and socialist styles of governance.  Join me in taking back America!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Experience + Education + Time + Reflection = Knowledge: The Knowledge Transfer Process

The Rule of 7-P’s can be expressed two different ways, that then communicate two significantly different outcomes; yet, both expressions are intertwined and cannot be separately employed.

Proper Prior Planning Produces Potentially Positive Performance

or

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Purely Poor Performance

When discussing the Rule of 7-P’s and knowledge transfer, both methods of communicating the rule remains continuously applicable. For example, a toddler takes a table knife and starts to insert the table knife into an electric outlet. The adults, knowing that a discussion about electricity, the potential electricity has for causing burns, shocks, and fires will be lost on the toddler; thus the adult simply takes the knife, shouts NO!, and maybe smacks the child. What knowledge was transferred; the lack of a plan in this knowledge transfer opportunity has resulted in poor performance. However, the argument remains, what will a toddler learn without experiential knowledge? For a potentially positive knowledge transfer process, why not create a plan and turn a negative into a positive?

Providing the next variable in knowledge transfer, KISS, or “Keeping (IT) Supremely Simple.” The “IT” here can be the plan needing to be simple, the words employed, the method of knowledge transfer, etc.; all of these are variables in the knowledge transfer process. The principle is the requirement to transfer knowledge simply. Whether the audience is a toddler, a teenager, or an adult, the principle remains, keep (IT) supremely simple. Now, I have been reprimanded for insisting that adults need simple knowledge transfer; I continue to disagree. How many adults enter a training opportunity with nothing else on their minds than the coming learning? How many adults have shut down their lives for the training to enable full concentration for knowledge transfer success? Hence the need to communicate simply even for adults.

Agency; in all the world, there is no variable more powerful. Agency, as defined by Aristotle, is an agent in action. The agent is a body with the power to choose, the action is choosing, and natural consequences follow. Agency is a binary solution, act or do not act. Both choices possess consequences that will be valued by the individual through choice, who will then follow the logic of past choices and valuations into a determined destiny.

Communication, or knowledge transfer, provides a sender and a receiver in interaction the opportunity to act and will share both individual and combined natural consequences. Consider the toddler and the adult; the adult wants to keep the toddler safe. The toddler wants to discover. Connected the toddler and the adult share an experience (table knife and an electric outlet) with consequences, and individually, they will enjoy or suffer consequences as well as collectively they will have consequences. A consequence is neutral, the value of the consequence e.g., good or bad, positive or negative, relies upon the individual to choose, or exercise agency as an empowered agent. Every agent possessing the power to choose will exercise that power, and cannot escape the consequence.

Self-determination is often confused with agency, even sometimes used synonymously for agency, but self-determination is not agency. Keeping these two items, separate and distinct, remains imperative. Self-determination is defined as “the process by which a person controls their own life.” Thus, agency is a binary solution and not a process. Self-determination is a process, or a logical movement from one instance of an agent acting to another in a continuous chain of events, or cycles, of perception, choosing, evaluating, consequence, leading back to a new choice opportunity. Knowledge transfer relies upon self-determination as the sender cannot dictate how the knowledge sent will be employed. Only the receiver can determine the usefulness, the value, and the application. To blame the sender for knowledge transfer failing is mentally disingenuous at best, since the sender and the receiver share conjoined responsibility for the knowledge transfer process, the consequences of agentic action, and individual effects that are stemming from the knowledge transfer interaction.

Sine Qua Non a Latin phrase meaning “an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient.” Trust is the Sine Qua Non in knowledge transfer opportunities. Trust is always playing a role, but the sender will generally not know if they are a trusted source. Trust remains an essential ingredient in all knowledge transfer opportunities. With trust between agents, knowledge transfer occurs almost effortlessly. Without trust between agents, knowledge is always doubted, efforts to transfer knowledge are more difficult, and the consequences of the lack of trust might not be realized immediately. Trust is based upon experience, time, and contains many different degrees, or shades. For example, the toddler might not convey they trust the adult, but the toddler will remember their interactions with the adult, and these remembered interactions build over time and experiences. One day that toddler will be able to vocalize trust, and the adult in that situation will then be faced with knowledge for good or ill.

Realtors have a saying, a rule, an aphorism, “Location, Location, Location.” Knowledge transfer is also contingent upon location, many times, this variable is conveyed as the environment. Regardless, where knowledge is transferred remains an aspect of prior planning that determines positive or poor performance. Just as realtors often overlook location, the knowledge transfer process, without a plan, will stumble over the location. Consider the following, while serving in the US Navy, an officer was observed attempting to transfer knowledge while a sailor used a pneumatic needle gun to chip paint. Chipping paint on steel requires ear protection, many times there is a desire for dual-ear protection, earplugs, and a set of over the ear, foam insulated, muffs. The officer was then observed holding the sailor accountable for the knowledge transferred, to the sailor’s detriment. Other times this same officer was observed transferring knowledge in engine spaces, with running machinery in the background; with the same result, the sailor was held accountable for not receiving the knowledge the officer was sending. Time after time, the same lesson is available, proper prior planning produces potentially positive performance, provided the plan understands location, location, location.

Knowledge transfer relies upon A Priori and A Posteriori knowledge to understand and onboard what is being provided. Humans are creatures that build, and experience builds knowledge, and education combined with experience, builds knowledge. The valuation of developed knowledge is personally known and evaluated continuously then compared with present situations and available experiential knowledge. The human brain will always be trying and testing A Posteriori knowledge, A Priori knowledge, against explicit, tacit, procedural, descriptive/declarative knowledge bases to build new knowledge from current experience. With this retesting will come the natural consequence of new valuations, where something highly valued suddenly becomes less valued or even rejected outright. Thus, the oft-repeated need for proper prior planning in transferring knowledge; without a plan, or with a poor plan, potentially positive performance is not obtainable.

Murphy’s Law states, “No plan survives first contact intact.” Some people take this law and then refuse to plan. Other people take this law and plan redundancies Ad Infinitum, but never carry out a single plan. The most effective people take this law, realize the potential, and will create plans flexible enough to accommodate reality, while confidently moving forward with the plan to achieve the desired end goal. An agent in action will choose who they are where planning is concerned, and the resulting consequences thus create societies, learners, communities, and other collections of empowered agents that are drawn to those with similar choice and valuation cycles — providing the variable in knowledge transfer second to agency, peers.

A peer group, as mentioned, forms around a group of agents that follow similar thought patterns and valuation cycles. For example, smokers know the dangers of smoking, but continue to smoke, and quitting requires choosing a different peer group before the smoker can quit. While other smokers surround the smoker, quitting is either a “pie crust promise, easily made and easily broken,” or an unfulfilled wish, due to the peers chosen with which to associate. The choice and perceived valuation cycle prevent peer reevaluation; thus, the smoker will continue to smoke. Knowledge transfer is dependent upon peer influence. Consider, if the sender is not trusted by one member of the peer group, the entire peer group will be influenced, and knowledge transfer will suffer accordingly. Even if the individual has a different evaluation of the sender through experience.

Consider the following example, while serving in the US Navy, an officer was charged to teach a class on handgun safety. The officer began the class by pointing a handgun at the audience. The officer was trying to teach a basic rule of handgun safety: “if you do not personally know a handgun is loaded, all handguns are presumed loaded.” However, this lesson failed horribly! Everyone in the class had a different perception of the lesson and related their experience to their peers. Thus, trust for this officer plummeted and interfered with every lesson this officer taught throughout his career. The officer was a subject matter expert, had tremendous insight, and could impact people for good. This single incident followed him from ship-to-ship, and doubt in their capability to teach was sown, all through peer-to-peer communication, and the influence of peer groups.

The importance of understanding the Rule of 7-P’s, KISS, agency, trust, location/environment, Murphy’s Laws, peer groups, and self-determination, forms foundational knowledge needed to build a training program, improve teaching and training, and enhance the process of knowledge transfer. Thus, it behooves all agents to have this information to enhance learning and improve teaching performance. The cycle is clear, “we teach that we may learn more perfectly, so we may teach more correctly, and then learn more perfectly.”

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

The images used herein were obtained in the public domain, this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Experience + Education + Time + Reflection = Knowledge: Understanding the Formula for Knowledge

The newest baby in the physical begins life with urges, desires, but must learn everything, and along the way discovers a fact as incontrovertible as the rising sun, knowledge requires effort.  From the desire to be dry instead of wet, the baby cries.  From a desire for food, the baby cries.  Thus, physical life begins.  Muir (1930) makes clear that “Thought is matter; thought rules the world.  Thinking is intelligence (knowledge) at work.”  Please keep in mind, this topic continues to be fiercely debated and time does not allow a full exploration of each nuance; however, from seminal thinkers the following attempts to simplify the debate and showcases why the formula for building knowledge is the way portrayed:

Experience + Education + Time + Reflection = Knowledge

Returning to the baby analogy, the baby experiences light, but cannot describe why their eyes hurt from the light.  Thus, the first step in learning is an experience.  Through experience, choices are made, but the lack of understanding of consequences and communicating leads the baby to cry in frustration.  Thus, we can conclude that the first step in knowledge creation is experimenting and the resulting experience teaches preferences (Muir, 1930).  The movie “Teacher’s Pet” provides a quote solidifying the role of experience “… knowledge is the horse experience rides” (Perlberg, Seaton & Seaton, 1958).

Partanen, Kujala, Naatanen, Liitola, Sambeth, and Huotilainen (2013) conducted research on babies in the womb and stated that it is logical that the baby in the womb is learning a language.  Thus, providing the conclusion that the first education lessons are taught and experienced in the womb.  Upon birth, everything is being taught, smiling, laughing, crying, etc. are all lessons to be experienced with educational lessons.  For example, a baby responds to parental cues, smiling when they smile, laughing to make them laugh, crying when the parents are upset or angry.  All learned responses ever before a formal classroom.

Education and experience provide the first step in knowledge, often referred to as A Priori or knowledge gleaned from the world.  For example, the preference to have a dry diaper over a wet diaper.  No one has to explain to the baby that being wet is uncomfortable, creates pain, and is not desirable.  Epistemologists continue to debate whether education and experience are both involved in A Priori knowledge, but common sense tells the student that knowledge that we cannot describe where we learned it, is A Priori knowledge (Moser, 1987; Williamson, 2013).

The next type of knowledge is referred to as A Posteriori or knowledge that comes after a lesson (Moser, 1987; Williamson, 2013).  Consider the difference between hot and cold; how many babies touch something hot, get burned, have pain, and then learn the difference between hot and cold?  A Posteriori knowledge requires the next element in the formula for the full lesson to be taught, reflection.  A Posteriori knowledge requires time to reflect, and time and reflection bring more nuances of the hot/cold lesson to the enquiring mind.  For example, burns have blisters, scabs, pain, and so much more is experienced through the senses.  The smell of burning flesh stinks.  The redness, when touched brings back pain.  If the burn is severe enough, there are hospitals, nurses, doctors, and so much more added to the lesson regarding the difference between hot and cold.

The remaining types of knowledge are as follows, with a brief description:

  • Explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. A Priori and A Posteriori are opposite ways to learn, so too are explicit and tacit knowledge opposites.  Explicit knowledge is recorded data that can be accessed through books, videos, recordings, and is generally found in formal classrooms and upon the Internet (Collins, 2010; Smith, 2001).
  • Tacit knowledge is the knowledge that is both difficult to translate into words and difficult to separate from emotions. For example, music performed by a young performer may be technically correct, but the emotions are stripped from the performance.  A master musician, in concert, translates the emotions effortlessly, while remaining technically accurate, and is astute to the audience during the performance.  If a junior musician asks a master how to translate emotions, the master musician will find it very difficult to explain how but will encourage the junior to explore their own emotions and continue practicing (Collins, 2010; Reber, 1989; Smith, 2001).
  • The next two opposing classes of knowledge are propositional and non-propositional. These classes of knowledge are also referred to as descriptive or declarative knowledge (propositional) and procedural (non-propositional).  Propositional knowledge is the knowledge that is passed through declarative or descriptive statements, where the teacher knows something is true, but cannot adequately detail how they know it is true.  Propositional knowledge is generally found in closely held beliefs, religions, opinions, and is the embodiment of experiential knowledge.  Propositional knowledge is embodied in formal education (Klien, 1971).
  • Procedural knowledge is usable knowledge. For example, technical manuals are full of procedural knowledge or step-by-step instructions to complete a task.  Procedural knowledge is the only knowledge that can be cited in a court of law and is the fundamental description behind intellectual property.  Procedural knowledge can be bought, sold, traded, protected, the rights to procedural knowledge can be leased, all because of the usefulness of procedural knowledge.  Procedural knowledge is all about gaining experience (Corbett & Anderson, 1994; Willingham, Nissen, & Bullemer, 1989).

To gain knowledge in any of the classes identified, we have shown that experience and education need time and reflection to empower the knowledge gained into usefulness.  Each of the classes of knowledge has learning theories to aid the student to explore that class of knowledge and more fully draw out lessons for future use.  For example, procedural knowledge could be learned through cognitive learning theories (Atherton, 2009; 2010), through Pavlov’s classical learning theories (Clark, 2004; Bitterman, 2006), and many more theories.  There is no explicit right or wrong in knowledge attainment, the formula provided simply reflects the steps to creating knowledge, and each individual will reorder these ingredients based upon needs, desires, and personal application.  A master artist in sculpture might have a different order for their knowledge attainment than a master painter or musician; however, all the masters will be able to communicate due to their mastery, not the order they place the ingredients in knowledge attainment.  Key to the knowledge attainment formula provided is that learning never ceases.  Each experience provides new lessons that will require time and reflection to completely master, or attain.  Hence the need to know how knowledge is created and the importance of the formula for future experiences, formal and informal educational opportunities, and desires for new knowledge.

A final aspect of knowledge is that knowledge can be gained and lost (Howells, 1996).  A lack of choosing to learn or experience robs time and costs knowledge.  For example, the ability to read can be taught, but when not practiced, it becomes harder and harder until the ability to read is lost.  Understanding what is read, can be taught, but the harder reading becomes, the less the words are understood until all understanding in the written words has been lost.  Due to the nature of gains and losses in knowledge creation and retention, it behooves the individual to choose to be continually learning, experiencing and employing time and reflection to capture the available knowledge (Teece, 2000; Tough, 1979).

References

Atherton J. S. (2009) Learning and Teaching; Cognitive theories of learning [On-line] UK: Retrieved from: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/cognitive.html

Atherton, J. S. (2010, February 10). So what is Learning? Retrieved from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/whatlearn.html

Bitterman, M. E. (2006). Classical conditioning since Pavlov. Review of General Psychology, 10(4), 365-376. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.10.4.365

Clark, R. E. (2004). The Classical Origins of Pavlov’s Conditioning. Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science, 39(4), 279-294.

Collins, H. (2010). Tacit and explicit knowledge. University of Chicago Press.

Corbett, A. T., & Anderson, J. R. (1994). Knowledge tracing: Modeling the acquisition of procedural knowledge. User modeling and user-adapted interaction, 4(4), 253-278.

Howells, J. (1996). Tacit knowledge. Technology analysis & strategic management, 8(2), 91-106.

Klein, P. D. (1971). A proposed definition of propositional knowledge. The Journal of Philosophy, 68(16), 471-482.

Moser, P. K. (Ed.). (1987). A priori knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Muir, L. J. (1930). The upward reach. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Press.

Partanen, E., Kujala, T., Naatanen, R., Liitola, A., Sambeth, A., & Huotilainen, M. (2013). Learning-induced neural plasticity of speech processing before birth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(37), 15145-15150. doi:10.1073/pnas.1302159110

Perlberg, W., & Seaton, G. (Producers), & Seaton, G. (Director). (1958). Teacher’s pet [Motion picture]. USA: Paramount Pictures.

Reber, A. S. (1989). Implicit learning and tacit knowledge. Journal of experimental psychology: General, 118(3), 219.

Smith, E. A. (2001). The role of tacit and explicit knowledge in the workplace. Journal of Knowledge Management, 5(4), 311-321.

Teece, D. J. (2000). Strategies for managing knowledge assets: the role of firm structure and industrial context. Long range planning, 33(1), 35-54.

Tough, A. (1979). Choosing to Learn.

Williamson, T. (2013). How deep is the distinction between A Priori and A Posteriori knowledge? The a priori in philosophy, 291.

Willingham, D. B., Nissen, M. J., & Bullemer, P. (1989). On the development of procedural knowledge. Journal of experimental psychology: learning, memory, and cognition, 15(6), 1047.

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

The images used herein were obtained in the public domain, this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.