Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It's not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious -- but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.

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Mar 15, 2005

A New Job

AFTER 5 YEARS OR SO of working for myself in one form or another, I've taken a job writing ASP.NET code for a company that provides web solutions for credit unions.

I'm struggling getting used to the organizational culture, both as a large organization and a Microsoft shop.  I'm not quite sure what my conclusions are about it.  When I do, I'll let you know.

Anyways, my posting time is limited but should return after I have settled into the new job.

posted at 01:18 PM by Chris Chew | Comments (0)

Mar 08, 2005

The Structural Unprofessional-ness of Teaching, Part II

THE UNPROFESSIONAL-NESS OF TEACHERS:  Jonathan Kallay at OverEducation has his second installment of "the structural unprofessional-ness of teaching."  Be sure and read Paul's comment (first link in OE's post).

(It's a bit long, I've had a long day, and he has my thoughts a rollin', so expect a response a little later this week.)

posted at 11:40 PM by Chris Chew in Education | Comments (0)

The Structural Unprofessional-ness of Teaching

JONATHAN KALLAY from OverEducation writes in response to my post about a lack of level 5 teachers in our schools:

I’m going to be writing in my blog (http://overeducation.blogspot.com) over the next few days about how all of the problems in education stem from this one fact- which I refer to as the structural unprofessional-ness of teaching- and propose some solutions.

His term "the structural unprofessional-ness of teaching" is a much nicer description of what I judged to be a "muck of honor-less unaccountability" -- that is, the public education system, replete with unions, quotas, state-classifications, tenure, and high-paid administrators.

Jonathan's first post on the subject is a great start.  He describes how progressive charter schools have had little success in disseminating new ideas and better practices back into the traditional public schools.  This breakdown in communication demonstrates the first point of unprofessional-ism:  There is no standard or culture for post-entry training or competition-fueled improvement within the field of school-teaching.

As a programmer, I spend about a quarter of my work-week learning about new technologies and best practices.  I constantly look for small projects which utilize a new technology or technique so that I can improve my skills.  There are even books written to help organize a programmer's time spent improving.  I could not possibly survive in my profession without this effort.

But I hear very little of this type of culture from teachers.  In fact, almost any story that starts with "I just learned about this new approach to teaching..." inevitably ends with "...and now nobody will talk to me in the teacher's break room" or worse, "...and the principal called me into his office then appointed somebody to monitor my class twice a week."

Indeed in order for the profession as a whole to improve, professionals must learn from each other in both a communal and competitive way.  A major goal of the profession must be, simply, to improve -- to write more capable software, save more lives, net more dollars per unit, or earn more of the World's respect.

Thanks Jonathan, I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts about the profession of teaching!

posted at 12:07 AM by Chris Chew in Education | Comments (0)

Mar 07, 2005

The Goon Joins The Gaggle

CONGRATULATIONS to FishbowlDC blogger Garrett M. Graff for winning clearance for the daily press conferences at the White House, somewhat officially known as the daily press "gaggle."  No matter what you think about the current administration, you have to give them credit for acknowledging the importance of our newest information network.

Any jealousy towards Graff is quickly doused when you consider this:  Graff's new position is like Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the pulpit on a Sunday mass when the Pope is visiting from Rome, with Catholic-CNN's top crew filming every second.  After about two mistakes, either the MSM or the blogosphere (or both!) will quickly turn FishbowlDC into 95 feces.

The VodkaPundit has some thoughts and advice for him:

I offer my wholehearted congratulations to Garrett – and a stern warning, too.

...While blogs are often looked down upon for not doing enough original reporting, I think it's important - even vital - for bloggers to remain outside the system.

...In terms of power, influence, and prestige, a mid-level, Washington-based MSM guy probably ranks with a mid-level (or higher) Washington bureaucrat. Your most popular MSM television personalities wield more power than any single politician other than the President.

Is it any wonder the MSM considers itself (if only half in jest) to be a part of the government? Because, really, the line between government and media is getting fuzzier every year.

That's where bloggers come in.

...We're outsiders. We're cranks. We aren't caught up in the system. Those are our strengths. As individuals, they can be weaknesses...We know exactly where Power stops and We begin: Right here, at our keyboards.

...The blogger who gets access, is the blogger on the road to irrelevance if he doesn't watch himself.

Garrett, I wish you luck, Man!


posted at 12:42 AM by Chris Chew in Politics | Comments (0)

Mar 04, 2005

A Man, a Bass, and the Airlines

I'VE SPENT a good bit of today making phone calls trying to figure out how fly with my upright bass to some upcoming gigs in Las Vegas and Green Bay.  I ran across this funny story, I hope it isn't prophetic...

posted at 03:43 PM by Chris Chew in Funny | Comments (0)

The Good Son Part IV

WHO'S WHO IN SYRIA:  You may know that I've been wondering for a while if Bashar Assad may not be as powerful as often assumed.  BBC News introduces us to the cast of governing characters. 

posted at 09:59 AM by Chris Chew in Politics | Comments (0)

Mar 02, 2005

From The Notepad Of Bud, A Level 5 Teacher

I FOUND BUD THE TEACHER at this week's Carnival of Education from EdWonks.  Bud is excited to have discovered blogging, and his excitement is definitely contagious.  His first post, in January of this year, begins with "I am beginning this blog because I am a teacher and I am in need of an education."  Bud seems like the kind of teacher that on any given day expects to learn as much from his students as they learn from him.  I am not surprised that he does not teach in a public school.

Lately, Bud is impressed by how much blogs extend our thinking and learning skills:

So, yes, for me, at least in these beginning stages, the blog will be the content management system, to some degree.  But the end product, I hope, will be the set of thinking and learning skills hiding inside "blogging."  Blogs are management, blogging is content.

I agree wholeheartedly.  I usually do not know for sure what I even think about the topic when I click "Create Post" and start typing.  My first attempt at the post is almost entirely a discovery process, and only after several paragraphs do I stumble upon my real conclusion.

In the meantime, I've asked a million related questions and searched the Internet for supporting references (and I have a browser window open for each inquiry...)  I've also probably used the thesaurus at answers.com several times to help find more precise words.

I practice editing the post several times until it seems like the statements run in a reasonable order.  Then I add links.  And preview it, take a break, preview it, take a break, preview it, and publish it.  Finally I check the links one more time and take a long break.

But once the post is published, not only have I added another entry to my learning portfolio, I have an electronic record of my latest finding that anybody can share, search or reference.

Bud, if you haven't already, be sure and read Hugh Hewitt's book Blog so you can put the power of the "blog portfolio" into a historical context as well as an educational one.

UPDATE 2/3/05:  In a kind email today, Bud writes:

I wanted to thank you for the very kind and very flattering
comments in your blog today...However, I need to let you know that, although I teach at an alternative high school, I am a public school teacher.

I apologize for the mistake.  I had read the website pretty thoroughly yesterday, but for some reason didn't look at the site's address.

posted at 05:10 AM by Chris Chew in Education | Comments (0)

Mar 01, 2005

VodkaPundit: Iraq Compared To Iwo Jima

VODKAPUNDIT writes a very interesting comparison between the returns on investment of the Second Gulf War in Iraq and the taking of Iwo Jima Island in WWII.  Please read it, and then come back to my commentary below...

One big difference that he overlooks is that a good portion of the Iraqi conflict has damaged civilian property and taken civilian lives, while Iwo Jima was a deserted island and consequently suffered no civilian damage.  But the end-games, namely the atom-bomb in Japan versus the election-bomb in Iraq, certainly tip the scale back in favor with VodkaPundit's conclusion that Iraq is looking to be a tremendously less costly first milestone.

Even more so when you also consider the number of Iraqi exiles and political prisoners that have finally returned home to start a new life.

Or the thousands upon thousands of families that can finally lay to rest their uncertainty regarding the fate of missing loved ones who fell victim to Saddam's cruelty.  Plus, they will soon see the perpetrator tried by their very own shiny new, elected government.

Or you can even consider that just slightly more than one life was given for each school that USAID/Bechtel has refurbished and reopened in Iraq since 2003.  Bechtel employed more than 30,000 Iraqi laborers in the efforts of repairing over 1200 schools.  USAID has received only 52 complaints.

I can understand two years ago being skeptical about this whole idea.  But given the excellent news over the last two months -- successful Iraqi elections and self-motivated Democratic demonstrations in Lebanon, Iran and Egypt -- I can't understand why somebody would still refuse to at least give Bush's vision a chance.

And if you still can't believe it, try this one, as written by Mark Steyn for the Daily Telegraph in London:

And, for perhaps the most remarkable development, consider this report from Mohammed Ballas of Associated Press: "Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes."

No disrespect to Associated Press, but I was disinclined to take their word for it. However, Charles Johnson, whose Little Green Footballs website has done an invaluable job these past three years presenting the ugly truth about Palestinian death-cultism, reported that he went hunting around the internet for the usual photographs of deliriously happy Gazans dancing in the street and handing out sweets to celebrate the latest addition to the pile of Jew corpses - and, to his surprise, couldn't find any.

Why is all this happening? Answer: January 30. Don't take my word for it, listen to Walid Jumblatt, big-time Lebanese Druze leader and a man of impeccable anti-American credentials: "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Berlin Wall has fallen."


posted at 04:21 AM by Chris Chew in Politics | Comments (0)