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Fred: The Key Indicator of “Gone-to-Muchness”

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Fred: The key indicator of “Gone-to-Muchness”

I think Fred is trying to tell me something!

Granted, Fred usually gets pretty upset when I get the suitcase out and start packing.  But, this was the first time he actually sat in it!  Animals have great instincts, and he is sharing an important message with me.

It has been a busy couple of months and it is now time to do some “Spring Cleaning” of life, which includes my home, office and vehicle!  I need to clean out the old so I make room to invite in the new.  An all around freshening up of my Inner Leader is in order!

How do you go about “Spring Cleaning” your life and work?  How do you Spring Clean your Inner Leader to make room for innovation in family, work, business and life?

Go Wild with Spring Cleaning Life!

-Dr. Connie

 

Future-Focused Leadership: Cooperation, Creativity and Purpose

Interestingly enough, the hottest jobs at Facebook require a “human touch.”  Why?  They are looking for people who can close sales because their revenue relies heavily on ads (Anders, 2014).  Perhaps the most future-focused distance learning administrators should consider blending “high-human touch” with “high-tech” in new and interesting ways that holistically add value to the lives of learners.

Future-focused leaders in distance learning are using technology to change the game of education and life. One person cannot do it alone in a world that continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace; rather, distance administrators should innovate in teams with a spirit of cooperation and creativity.   Together, with a common purpose, distance leaders can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, develop content, streamline design and monitor analytics while creating meaningful educational experiences and innovating the world of distance education in ways not yet imagined.

Thanks for following and celebrating this blog series focused on the future-focused leadership in distance learning.  Keep those ideas and trends coming!

Go Wild with the Future of Learning!

-Dr. Connie

The manuscript, Future-Focused Leadership:  Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning (including references used in this blog series), can be downloaded online by visiting the Kimmel Education and Research Center’s Digital Commons site:  http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/kimmelfacpub/24

Mom's Birthday Cake
Thanks for following and celebrating the AskDrConnie.com blog series on future-focused leadership in distance learning! And, a Very Happy Birthday to a Special Someone in my family!! 🙂

Megatrend 3: Decentralized Global Marketplace

Distance learning is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer-Learner” who has a buffet of educational choices.   The empowered consumer-learner decides what educational experiences and knowledge they need, when they need it and how they want to experience it.  The wide-array of non-credit and for credit choices makes for a very competitive marketplace but also a field of new opportunities.

Venture capitalists continue to invest in distance education because of the return on investment potential.  Big Data is being used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns.  It is also being used to examine various areas of teaching and learning.  Data can help create bite-sized, customized courses and programs that are both personalized and interactive (Koller, 2012). Technology enables the delivery of information and education anytime, anywhere and from anyone in a way that makes sense to the learner while adding value to their lives.

It’s no longer necessary for people to enroll in college, formal classes or workshops to learn.  They are learning what they want to know from their networks and resources they find on the Web, through Apps or in iTunes.  People will increasingly be able to create and print their ideas from wherever they choose with 3D printing.  Technology, combined with the continued growth of self-expression and meaning, will continue to change education at a rapid pace.

Value is becoming less about college credit and more about meaningful outcomes and self-expression through enhanced skills and evolving abilities.  The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything, including educational experiences.  Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed.  Many of these same individuals are transforming distance learning in new and innovative ways.  Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.

People are choosing how to meet virtually, when, where and whether-or-not to meet face-to-face and connecting over common causes.  Education, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized.  Savvy consumers seek and create the value they crave to transform their lives.   They are choosing whether or not they want a badge, certificate, credit hour or degree, and their demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends.  The Empowered Consumer-Learner wants a unique experience that adds value to their life.  Future-focused leaders who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.

Innovation Retreat: New Ideas and New Dollars on April 29!
As educators, what is the value we can add to a lifetime?

Megatrend 2: Living with Purpose and Meaning

Our society is quickly evolving into an era characterized by shared purpose and meaning.  Leaders must be willing to create an atmosphere of sustainable innovation designed to continuously move organizations forward while connecting employees and clientele to meaningful experiences and their definitions of personal fulfillment.

How many distance-learning leaders are adding value to the lives of learners, faculty and staff from a holistic perspective? 

Personal fulfillment is a growing trend and may be a growing trend in distance education as well.  Research on the “entrepreneurial learner” in the distance learning environment demonstrated an increase in credit hour completion as learner motivation associated with personal fulfillment strengthened (Reimers-Hild & King, 2006).  People are looking to decrease their levels of stress and strengthen their healthy habits while finding greater fulfillment.  Minimalism is one of the trends shaping the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend because people are seeking less stuff and more life.  At first glance this may seem like an odd topic for administrators in the distance learning arena to consider; however, minimalism is gaining popularity in trend-setting places like Silicon Valley and is influencing everything from living spaces, to workplaces and web design.  The Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend will continue to grow as the global population increases and places more demands on the planet’s limited natural resources.  How can future-focused distance leaders create a better experience for learners and employees alike?  Leaders can connect with individuals’ beliefs while helping them find purpose and meaning in their educational endeavors and careers while living fuller lives with less clutter and greater health and well-being.

Technology may help distance learning administrators holistically add more purpose and meaning to the lives of both learners and employees.  For example, a forecast by Carbone and Nauth (2012) describes the evolution of the “cloud.”  They discuss the cloud evolving from a place to store data to an intelligent resource that will actively help people improve their lives:

Virtual agents will migrate from being an automated form of phone-based customer service to a personalized form of support and assistance that provides information and—more importantly—performs useful tasks. For example, such agents might design a weekly menu based on a family’s health profile, fitness goals, and eating preferences, and automatically order ingredients.

This forecast provides an example of how distance leaders can use technology to help their organizations innovate with a focus on the future.  A transition from cloud-based computing to cloud-based living and learning might be help institutions focus on both learners and employees in a more holistic manner.

Two trends supporting the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend include: 1) life increasingly flowing together instead of being compartmentalized into work, family, recreation, etc., and 2) the quest for greater well-being, health and vitality.  People are increasingly learning and living on the go in both the virtual and physical senses, which blurs the lines between family, self-care, work and play.

How do these trends influence distance learning?  As more people want to connect with their purpose, find meaning in their lives, and increase their vitality, educational institutions should take a more people-centered approach focused on meaning, well-being and the mind-body connection supported by the right social networks, experiences and technologies.  A few ideas might include:

  • Integrating holistic, healthy living and self-care principles into distance learning programs in an effort to create better learner experiences and to create more value in courses, programs and the lives of learners (including the lives of their families).
  • Providing coaching for learners and employees to help them uncover their purpose and create strategies and structures to support meaningful actions designed to improve their educational endeavors and lives.
  • Adding physical activity and fun to courses or programs in an effort to stimulate creativity, decrease stress, build camaraderie and strengthen overall wellness (perhaps an App or the intelligent cloud can help).

It’s time to move beyond the traditional grading scales, discussion boards and homework assignments and focus on the whole person and what life means to them.  Helping people find their fulfillment, purpose and definition of success may provide distance-learning administrators with tools to innovate their institutions.  Competition for learners, along with their precious time and dollars, will continue to increase.  Distance-learning institutions will have to find new ways to add increased value to the lives of learners, employees and their families.  Not only can people choose to learn anytime from anyplace, people can choose what they want to learn and from whom they want to learn it.  Institutions that add the most value will have the competitive advantage.

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Megatrend 1: The Rise of the #GigEconomy

The rise of the entrepreneurial individual, and what is currently referred to as the Gig Economy, will create new challenges and opportunities for distance learning administrators.  How can institutions of education help learners create value for traditional employers and for their individual brands?   If not as many people are investing in education to land a full-time job, what does this mean for higher education?

An emerging trend, the rise of global joblessness (International Labour Office, 2014), is supporting the growth of the Gig Economy while creating a need for the marketing of talents and skills in new and meaningful ways.   The number of large employers is predicted to shrink in the future causing people to find new and inventive ways to make a living.  The ability to sell, purchase and promote goods and services as well as individual brands on the Web has created a need for education to add value to the lives of learners in innovative ways.  People are increasingly defining success for themselves, which does not always include a college degree and a 9-5 job.  In many ways, it is now much cooler to be a successful start-up entrepreneur, famous blogger or YouTube sensation than a person working in a full-time job.

One common denominator will remain the same:  People need to be found on the already crowded World Wide Web.  They have to build their brands and levels of influence to strengthen both credibility and success.  Educational institutions should keep a close eye on the rise of businesses like Fiverr.com and the use of Twesumes (Twitter + Resume = Twesume = a resume in 140 characters or less) to land jobs or gigs (thus, the #GigEconomy).

Leaders should also consider building their brands, as well as those of students, faculty and alumni.  The rise of social networks and technology has enabled people to both learn and teach at anytime from any place.  These same tools have helped people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, which supports the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend.  Life purpose is shaping everything from healthcare to education.

Future-Focused Leadership: Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning

My most recent paper, Future-Focused Leadership:  Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning, will be published in the conference proceedings of the 2014 Distance Learning Administration Conference (Woo Hoo!). I am also preparing a keynote for the North Central Leadership Conference (to be held in Omaha, NE next month).

Both the paper and the keynote will focus on the future, so I am going to publish a series of blog posts on a few mega trends shaping distance learning.  Examining diverse insights is one of the best ways to study trends. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts, ideas and future thinking!  I would love to hear from you!

Go Wild with the Future!

-Dr. Connie

Now (drum roll please), for the first entry on Future-Focused Leadership:  Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning

While many continue to question the skyrocketing costs and value of a college education, future-focused leaders are recreating learning experiences by blending technology with the human experience.  What does the future of distance learning look like, taste like and feel like? It can be difficult to predict the future of education as the world continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace; however, distance learning administrators can use a future-focused leadership approach, which includes examining megatrends, to plan for the future.  Megatrends are global shifts that influence society, the economy and the environment. This series of blog posts will touch on three megatrends shaping the future of distance learning: 1) The Rise of the #GigEconomy, 2) Living with Purpose and Meaning and 3) The Decentralized Marketplace.

Jag eye spy
Leaders (at every age) should keep an eye on the future!

9 Easy Headline Formulas from the Famous Ali Brown!

If you have been following my blog, you know I am enrolled in Ali Brown’s online Elevate Your Business program.  The following article by Ali is really helpful to anyone looking to make a great first impression on their target audience.  Best of all, she suggests having fun while generating great headlines!  More evidence that fun and business do go together!

Go Wild, Get Creative and Have Fun Making Amazing Headlines!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Click here to learn more about the Elevate!

In the world of marketing, your first impression – your headline – can lead to either sales success…or failure. It’s important to realize that headlines work best when they appeal to your reader’s interests (not yours).

Not only can headlines grab attention, they can also make your message easy to read, convey your main selling points, and lead your customer to a sale. Remember, you want to go for a bold statement that the reader can’t pass up!

Here are 9 easy headline formulas I use all the time:

1. The Question:
“Are You Worried About Your Financial Future?”

A question automatically gets your readers involved in your message, because they answer it in their minds. Many people will read further just to find out what answer or solution you provide. Again, make sure the question focuses on the reader’s interest, not yours. A bad example would be: “Do You Know What New Product We’ve Created This Year?” (No one cares but you!)

2. The How-To:
“How to Get Thinner Thighs in 30 Days”

How-to headlines work very well, because people love information that shows them how to do something. (Thousands of book titles begin with “How to….”)  Think of the results your product/service offers and then try creating some “how to” headlines.

3. The Testimonial:
“Jane Smith’s Consulting Is Pure Magic – Our Sales Have Increased by 30%!”

Why not let your clients do the selling for you? Their commendations can go a long way in convincing others to use your services. Tip: To appear credible, always include your clients’ information (as much as they are comfortable with) such as name, city, state, business name, etc.

4. The Command:
“Boost Your Business Today!”

Turn your most important benefit into a commanding headline. A few examples are: “Make More Time for Your Family,” “Look Younger Instantly!” and “Get New Clients This Month.”

5. The News:
“Introducing Our New ‘Rest-Assured’ Tax Service!”

Caution: This only works if you truly have something big to announce that is of interest to the reader. (Something that will make their life or business better.)  Don’t try to make news out of something that’s not.

6. The Promise:
“Give Me 3 Days, and I’ll Show You and Your Partner How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams”

I first used this formula years ago with my Online Success Blueprint Workshop sales page, and then I suddenly started seeing it everywhere, especially for other live events. It’s a good one!

7. The Secret:
“REVEALED: How Any Solopreneur Can Use Email to Leverage Their Business and Make an Extra $5,000+ a Month… Easily and Consistently”

Everybody loves being let in on a little secret. I’ve used variations of this headline through the years, and it’s always been very effective. It says it all…who it’s for, what they’ll learn, and what type of results they can get if they use my methods.

8. The Number:
“7 Secrets of the Super-Wealthy That You Can Start Using today to Build Your Own Portfolio of Riches”

People love numbers. That’s why you see so many magazine covers promoting articles like “The 3 things your husband’s not telling you” and “101 great fashion finds for spring”. Numbers tell us exactly what we’re going to get, making the statement more digestible and believable. (And some studies show people prefer odd numbers to even ones.)

9. The Who-Else:
“Who Else Wants to Work at Home in Their Pajamas and Make a Million?”

This encourages the reader to jump on the bandwagon. If everyone else is doing it, don’t you want to also?

Take Your Time With Headlines. They’re Not Always Easy

Headlines are often the most difficult part of any sales letter or marketing piece. In fact, I typically spend a good 15 minutes brainstorming before I arrive at a single headline. Set a timer and have fun doing it with these formulas. Do not censor yourself, just be outrageous and then when the timer goes off go back and see which ones are usable. If you’re stuck, another trick is to write the rest of your piece first. Then scan what you have written—your headline may be hiding within!

Question: What great headline are you using for your business right now? I’d love to see it below. ~Ali

“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Success Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com

Starting the New Year with True Intentions!

 

It’s the perfect day for writing.  The snow is falling and the new year is full of positive energy and gratitude!

If you are contemplating your resolutions or goals for 2014, my updated SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals Coaching Guide may be of use.  It is designed to help get you started or to help you refine what you may have already established.

Intentions influence our actions and behaviors.  If intentions are established with awareness, truth, and meaning, they help us experience a life filled with passion and personal fulfillment. Lack of understanding around our true intentions often causes frustration and confusion, which is one reason people oftentimes do not achieve their goals.  Many goals are written; however, they are not established with honest intent.  It’s time to get brutally honest about your true intentions so you can achieve authentic goals.

Intentions have the power to strengthen your Inner Leader and help you move forward in a meaningful way as long as they represent what you truly want to accomplish and experience.  Honest intentions, based on personal fulfillment and purpose, can also keep you motivated and focused while measuring progress and celebrating success.

What we truly intend will happen, so I use this coaching guide to encourage my clients to create SMARTER Intention Statements that support their personal vision.  So, what exactly are SMARTER Intentions?  They are statements designed to help you achieve your vision while holding your accountable and having some fun along the way because they are Super Cool, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound, Evolved, and Rewarded.

The SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals coaching guide can easily be downloaded via the web by going to the University of Nebraska Extension Kimmel Education and Research Center Digital Commons site.  Simply click on: SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals.

Go Wild with your SMARTER Intentions and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Dr. Connie

 Happy New Year

Shop Small this Cyber Monday

One way to shop small this Cyber Monday is to support authors and artists.  Online sales are incredibly important to this group of individuals.  I know because I am one of them.   We are entrepreneurs and small business owners working to support ourselves and our families by adding value to the lives of others.

Purchase Go Wild with Confidence! (available in both paperback and Kindle) via Amazon today (for yourself or as a gift) by clicking on:  http://amzn.com/1467949329

Make sure to search Amazon for other favorite artists and authors as well.  Or, simply go to their web sites and buy directly from these talented individuals!

Give the Gift of Going Wild this Christmas!

-Dr. Connie

Strengthen your Inner Leader and live your best life with purpose, passion, and fun!
Strengthen your Inner Leader and live your best life with purpose, passion, and fun!

E2, Pam Grout and 9 New Energy Experiments

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am going through a transition.  I am doing this personally, professionally and in my business.  Thanks to Ali Brown’s Elevate program, I am transforming my work at the University and in my coaching firm, Wild Innovation.  Now, thanks to Pam Grout, I am experimenting with my mind!

It’s time for a change, so I am experimenting a bit.  I found Pam Grout’s new book, Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, and have decided to put it to the test.

Join me as I take on all nine of Pam’s experiments as one tool to create my new reality!

“When we are born, every possibility exists.”

-Pam Grout, Page 9 of “Nine-Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality”

Pam’s book is available on Amazon:

E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality
by Pam Grout
Link: http://amzn.com/1401938906

Raquel in her shades!
My kids show me new possibilities every single day!

Going Wild!

-Dr. Connie