Learning environments can make a great deal of difference in the quantity and quality of things a student learns. A student’s comfort level in that environment makes a great deal of difference as well. Many successful traditional school students mastered their classroom environment early on. They almost subconsciously found the keys to be successful students and then simply continued to expand on those skills. They listened attentively, took good notes, memorized information, asked the teacher questions, and worked hard to complete the assignments that would earn them good grades.Not everyone finds success in a traditional classroom. Many students never learn the skills necessary to be successful and often fall through the cracks. Many simply fade away, some drop out, and some limp along as best they can. Many families make the choice to avoid traditional classrooms altogether and opt to homeschool their child. Homeschooling affords families the ability to create the learning environment they feel is best for their child.Homeschool learning environments can be tailored to the individual learning style of each student. In general, homeschool learning environments are dynamic and active. Many homeschoolers thrive in a hands-on environment with much tactile and kinesthetic learning taking place. A close relationship develops between the student and the parent/teacher in such a setting, due to the intimate nature of the classroom. Students are able to discuss issues and questions much more closely in a homeschool learning environment. This often leads to greater understanding of material. In a homeschool environment, students are not left behind if they don’t get something the first time. They have the ability to stick with an issue until it’s mastered. That ability to master a topic or a concept and then move on helps to foster a greater sense of confidence in a homeschool student, therefore creating a stronger student in general.Homeschool learning environments have the ability to create genuine learning situations that often just aren’t available in a traditional classroom. Often in a homeschool setting, learning one concept can lead to a natural question about another concept or a related idea. That idea can be explored thoroughly in a dynamic homeschool environment, where in a traditional classroom it might need to be pushed aside in order to meet the next learning objective on time.Homeschool learning environments can be enhanced in many ways, through collaborative efforts of homeschool groups. Often students will join groups and form small classes in order to gain the benefits of collaboration and to capitalize on the knowledge of an expert. This learning environment can be further embellished by the addition of a distance learning environment. Distance learning environments can open up new worlds to the homeschool student, where he can find challenging and dynamic learning opportunities that suit his learning style and capitalize on the expertise of teachers everywhere.The learning environment for the homeschool student is now nearly unlimited. With homeschool collaboration groups and distance learning schools added to enhance the learning experience, the homeschool learning environment is undeniably rich.
What is the difference between living healthy and not living healthy? More importantly, in business, what is the difference between a healthy, productive company and an unhealthy, unproductive company? There actually isn’t a very drastic difference in action. There IS a very drastic difference in results. The difference is goals. Small steps in action make a big difference in results.We’ve discussed setting goals in the past, but let’s go deeper with it to see how small changes lead to big results. It starts with the difference between goals that are supported and goals that are not. As you may be able to tell (by logic or personal experience) goals that are supported are much more likely to be reached.As I begin work with each of my clients, I see a clear issue that needs to be addressed before anything else. The issue is the environment. I’m not saying that everywhere I go has an unhealthy environment. I just need to ask the question, how healthy is the environment? Often, when we start the conversation it goes something like this:Client Company: “I want to save money, so how can you help me get my people healthier?”
Me: “First, let’s look at what is causing the current health situation.” “What are you doing now to support the health goals of your employees?”The business owner may or may not already be doing some things. Regardless, the point is to ask the question to get the environment at the top of the priorities list. If we know what the issues are and what employees’ goals are, now we can start to change the environment that they work in. As we alter the environment, people are able to make changes within it.It only makes sense to make sure that goals are supported by the environment. No one woke up this morning wanting to be unhealthy and not feel good. We all want to feel good, so if the environment can support this, we all will.One way to illustrate this is by looking at goals strictly from a business viewpoint. If I ask the question: “What are you doing to support the performance goals of your employees?” it is much clearer for most employers.The following scenario will illustrate this, but also show how to use what is common practice in business to create new possibilities.Sales Goals- your company requires each sales rep to close 20 clients per month. You don’t care how they do it, between calls, in person meetings, networking, or otherwise, but their goal is twenty clients by month end. If this is to be realistic, you have to look at the time they will be spending and how they will be spending it. If they have 30 hours of internal meetings, it will be difficult for them to devote much time to external communications that will lead to sales. Therefore, this would not be an environment that supported 20 clients for the sales rep. As an owner/manager, you would not set this up because the conflict would be clear.Health goals are not quite as clear to see in business. That is where I come in! It is easy to say: “Get healthy.” It is more challenging to set up an environment that will create and support health. Challenging, yes, but impossible? No. It starts with that simple question:What can I do to support the health of my employees?This may lead to more questions, but the answers reveal themselves quickly and clearly. You know your business needs and what each employee needs to do in order to keep things going. The health of your employees is no different. They each have goals and a certain amount of time and energy to devote to them. By creating a realistic sales goal, your sales team is able to work toward it, accomplish it and your company sees the benefit. In order to do this, you need an environment that can support these goals. If your environment doesn’t support the goals, your company and everyone in it will suffer.By creating realistic health goals and an environment that supports them, your employees will be able to work toward these goals and of course, your company sees the benefit. Best of all, your sales goals will improve as well. (See my article: Health Strategy, Appearance and Performance)How does this happen? Goal setting is a habit. Success is a habit. Anyone that can be successful in one area can also be successful in another. By creating the environment that supports success, your employees and of course, your company will achieve more success. A healthy environment helps you create a healthy business and clearly a healthy business is a successful business.
The 2010 IBM Chief Executive Officer Study is generating a lot of chatter in social media channels (hundreds of blog mentions). The comprehensive study covering 33 industries and 60 countries asked CEOs how they are capitalizing on complexity in a more uncertain business climate.Setting strategic direction in a changing external business environmentThe high interest in the study is evidence that leaders are looking harder for strategic solutions for managing in a more volatile business world. Business leaders are more concerned than ever about the external business environment, yet they feel less confident about how to navigate through it. Rigorous external business environment scanning is key to increased competence, and confidence, in finding robust strategic solutions. A typical PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological) analysis, however, seems inadequate in increasingly volatile environments.We used to scan our environment by asking questions based on informed shifts in market dynamics and changes in PEST factors. Today, we have to consider that the goal post may be moved to another field. Realistically, few CEOS are presuming to have as much understanding and control over the external environment as they had before the 2007 market downturn.Bolder questions for a more complex external environmentThe good news is that analytical tools are evolving to put leaders back in control of their strategic approach to the external business environment. Traditional approaches are likely to come up short. In light of the dramatic restructuring of industries and economies, new questions need to be asked when analyzing the external environment from a short- and longer-term horizon. In the former business climate, a firm’s core competence was expected to endure for a lifetime like a destiny assigned by the mythological Fate Lachesis. Today, the ‘what if’ scenarios must be bolder.
· Will my core competence be commoditized? How soon?
· What’s my next core competence?
· What regions will dominate in my core competence?
· What companies/regions will erode my competitive advantages?
· Will this become an outsourced industry? And by whom?
· What will be the most innovative product/company tomorrow?
· What technologies, not yet conceived of, will out innovate me?
· What is the worst-case scenario in terms of capital market receptivity to my industry? What will be my alternatives?New business scanning modelsIn responding to the needs of leaders, it is important to distinguish whether their main concern is the ability to understand the rapidly changing business environment, or the capacity to undertake the appropriate actions to respond to it. Most leaders will argue the former. The evidence shows that leaders are confident that they have the skills and resources to respond to drastic change (this introduces another challenge: over-optimism – watch for an upcoming article on this) and what they really require is a more robustway of scanning their business environment, and keeping up with the changes.The usefulness of external business environment scanning in strategic planning should not be discounted as outdated. It is likely only your model that is outdated. Studies continue to show that a good external business environment scan has significant positive effect on the strategic course of a firm, and ultimately performance; environment scanning models today must include plausible varying scenarios to be adequate for the current complexity.
One of the fastest ways to reach your dreams is to change your environment. What are environments? There are many different kind of environments. Physical environment would constitute clearing your physical space. Cluttered space creates clutter thinking.Spiritual Environment are the envioronments you create to connect with your spiritual side. Some people do it in nature, surrounding themselves with beauty and others do it through meditation and slowing down to listen to the whisper of their souls.Environments are also the people we spend time with. We look at what we are working on in our lives and then surround ourselves with others who are creating the environments to reach similar goals and intentions. We then have them support us and we support them in order to create harmony and success for both involved.A couple of examples … If better health is one of your goals, it would make sense to surround yourself with people who value health. Or, if growth and prosperity in your business is your focus, it would be smart to surround yourself with winners—people who are moving forward, inspiring each other and making a difference.But before you make a decision to change your environment, you need to take certain steps to attract that new environment.The first step is internal research. Ask yourself, What do I need? What kinds of changes do I need to make in my life?Let’s assume again that one of your goals is to make more money in your business while at the same time making a difference. In that case, look for an environment that can support you in achieving that dream.The second step is to develop those qualities in yourself that will attract, effortlessly, the environment you are looking for.For example, to create an environment where you can ask for support, you must be willing to be vulnerable so that others can support you.Ask yourself, If I put myself in that environment, am I ready to receive support? So many times I have noticed a pattern in women who come to my coaching practice and experience being vulnerable in a safe environment. They are able to take that energy and acceptance and begin creating those same authentic and honest relationships in their other world.The third step, once you have created the inner qualities that allow you to attract and be in that environment, is to be willing to take a risk.Yes, making new decisions, meeting new people, stepping up big in your life, are risky! They all require stepping out of your comfort zone. But if your desire is strong enough, you will do what it takes to leap forward toward your big life. When the pain of remaining small becomes too much, you will have no choice. The leap you take doesn’t have to be big and scary. It can be small, such as investing in a mastermind group or entering into a relationship with a coach who can support you in creating environments for success. And you don’t have to do any of it alone. With a support system in place, you can create new environments easily.Keep this in mind: you are the average of five people you hang out with. Look at those people. Are they in the place you want to be? Or should you be looking for a new environment outside your current circle?Copyright (c) 2011 Zahra Efan
Is there such a thing as a positive work environment? I have served in companies where there is a positive environment. I have also worked in offices where there is negative environment, and I have worked in companies where the positive work environment becomes a negative work environment due to the fact that bosses bring in staff that did not fit into the culture.The answer maybe somewhere in between – there can be a positive working environment but may be fragile. Mainly because companies are made up of people and people interact differently in different contexts which sometimes lead to tension and misunderstanding.So how can you create a positive and motivating work environment? Here are some aspects that has worked.1. Cleanse Its Toxicity
Are toxic behavior tolerated in your work place? Are people who are rude, condescending, demanding and arrogant getting an informal endorsement from your actions? These are things to eliminate in the quest to build a positive work environment. Do you or your boss understand the implication of this tolerance of toxicity? What does it to the morale of the company, staff retention and productivity?2. Appreciate The Daily Smoothness
There is no need to wait for a crisis to happen and someone to overcome a challenge before there can be a show of appreciation. Daily good functioning of the company sometimes needs to be complimented too. In a world of fast paced work, work is demanding and ensuring the smoothness of work is an achievement in itself. Give compliments because things are smooth flowing to create a good and motivating work environment.3. Embrace Differences
There is no way to avoid differences in the workplace. But if we are respectful of the differences and know it is for the betterment of the company, it can be used to create a positive work environment. Embrace it because it is part of the natural function of the company. With proper understanding and skill such differences can be harnessed for better work environment. To deny it can be worse.4. Sharing And Giving
This technique of creating a positive work environment is both formal and informal. By formal, it can be knowledge management systems where work done are shared in a central system. This can also be monthly meetings where people share what worked and what can be better.Then there is the informal sharing where people buy food to share. In our culture, I am not sure if it works elsewhere, we share a lot of food. So, whenever someone returns from a meeting they usually bring food especially around tea time. The informal getting around the food creates a camaraderie that money can’t buy.5. Freely Give And Freely Receive
Create another sharing system where people learn to give advice to others by way of learning from previous experience. For example, start a file system where common errors and mistakes at work happen. This is especially beneficial for freshies as they read up the file and bear in mind common mistakes. It also sends a signal to them that people here have the freedom to fail and the freedom from fear. It makes them share freely at the risk of making themselves look bad but for the greater good of the company.6. Park Your Ego At The Door
To create a positive work environment, learn to recruit only like-minded people. Create one where people will park their ego at the door. Recruit people who do not need to be right all the time. Tell employees upfront and put in an informal system where egotistical people are kept in checked.7. Company Pride – Build Name For The Company
One way to build a positive work environment is to create a rallying point for the staff. The company vision or mission can be a good rallying point. Put in pride into the company name so people are proud to be associated with the company. Even small companies can do certain things extremely well. What are these things?Make people proud to work for the company and it immediately translates into positivism in the work place.
The issue of hunting’s effects on the environment can be divided into three categories. First of all, does hunting serve as a viable and legitimate method of managing animal populations? Second, do the alliances formed between hunting, conservation, and environmental groups serve the betterment of the environment? Third, does the activity of hunting promote a closer connection between the hunter and the environment, causing him or her to be an advocate for protection of the environment? We will explore each of these three areas.Hunting as a Population Control MechanismAccording to the American Forestry Association, “under proper regulations, hunting should be considered a tool of management by owners of forest and range holders…” The Wilderness Society, “recognizes hunting as a legitimate use in wilderness areas…subject to appropriate regulation for species protection.” The National Audobon Society, “…has never been opposed to the hunting of game species if that hunting is done ethically and in accordance with laws and regulations designed to prevent depletion of the wildlife resource…we will advocate restrictions on hunting, including the complete closure of a hunting season, whenever we are convinced that the welfare of the species involved requires it…” These are quotes from some of America’s largest conservation and environmental groups. While they give little credence to the notion that hunting benefits the environment, they do serve as evidence that hunting is probably not a liability to the environment.The famed conservationist, A.S. Leopold wrote in his well respected article “Wildlife Management in the National Parks” (April 1962), “Many herds are migratory and can be controlled by public hunting outside the park boundaries….This is by far the best and most widely applied method of controlling park populations of ungulates.” Here, Leopold is talking primarily about controlling populations of elk, but also of other hoofed animals in recognition that the biome in which they exist will not naturally maintain a healthy and sustainable population. In recent years, predatory animals like wolves, bears, and mountain lions have increased in numbers in some parks, but still are in most cases unable to do the job of maintaining a sustainable and healthy population of deer, elk, and other animals.In conclusion, it appears that hunting can indeed serve as one of the tools to help maintain animal populations at a level where they can remain healthy and viable.Combined Efforts of Hunting, Environmental, and Conservation OrganizationsEnvironmentalists, conservationists and hunters have shared purposes. While to some degree there may be some divergent motivations for these parties, there are also some common goals. The environmental concerns that drive folks from an organization like the Sierra Club are in many ways identical to those of members of hunting organizations. In some cases these organizations have formed alliances such as Sierra Sportsmen. According to their website, they represent a “countrywide, thousands-strong group of conservation-minded anglers and hunters. Since the Sierra Club was founded in 1892, hunters and anglers have played a leadership role in our work to preserve the wild places and wildlife all Americans enjoy. We have built this community website for angler and hunters like you, a place to share your passion for the outdoors!” These coalitions are able to forge alliances that cannot help but promote a better environment for all.Hunting as a Means to Draw a More Urbanized Population Closer to the EnvironmentEthical hunting is an endeavor that requires a participant to become attuned to their natural surroundings. For example, a deer hunter would have a knowledge of the foods deer eat, their natural movement patterns, the types of habitat where they will be found, and even their interdependence on other wildlife. This kind of knowledge is a basic premise for any ethical hunter of any game species. It is a basic understanding of every ethical hunter that in order to have healthy and sustained game populations, there must be open habitat for the wildlife to thrive. This requires a healthy environment. This kind of hunter understands that clean water and air are a part of the biological realm that must be in place for continued hunting success. Whether they care about the environment for the sake of the environment is sometimes a debatable matter. The net effect however, is that their efforts do promote a healthier environment.For these reasons, it can be argued that hunting has a net positive affect on the environment. For those pre-disposed to have a negative view of hunters and hunting, they will have no trouble finding examples of hunters who are not ethical. These hunters should be condemned by those hunters who wish to be viewed as a part of an effort to create a better environment. Together, hunters, environmentalists, and conservationists can work together to create a better environment that will benefit all.