Five Reasons Your Marketing Should Educate

A wise man once said “Marketing = Education”. What he meant by that is that you need to use you marketing to educate your prospects. But what do you need to educate your prospects on? You need to educate your prospects on the solution your services provide, your expertise and the value of your services.

Although you can educate your audience through teleseminars, article marketing or your blog, my personal favorite is workshops and seminars. You can invite your prospects to an inexpensive 1 hour or ½ day workshop and teach them about your area of expertise. This does several things:

  • It establishes your credibility, because when you are in front of the room, you are instantly perceived to be the undisputed expert. Whether you think you are or not, you are the expert in the eyes of your audience.
  • It educates your audience on the solution that your product or services provide. Remember, you never sell just a service, you sell a solution to the problem your audience has. Focus on the problem and educate your audience on how your services provide the solution.
  • Clients buy from people they know, like and trust. When you are up on stage, your audience obviously knows you. When you tell your story and share some vulnerability, people will like you. Since you demonstrate your expertise by teaching your audience, you are getting your audience to trust you. So having a workshop is the ideal vehicle to get people to buy from you.
  • If people have objections to buying from you, that generally means that they do not have all the information yet. Your workshop should be able to give them all the information they need to make a decision one way or another. Not everyone is a good fit for you, but they will know after your workshop.
  • Your workshop establishes the value of your services. Through your success stories and your content, you can show the value of what you do. You can demonstrate through examples the money clients made or saved my using your services. That is a powerful tool and cannot be underestimated.

So take the plunge and start teaching. You will not only educate your audience, you will also market yourself and your services. You will be surprised at the new clients you will attract and better yet, the increase in your bottom line.

By the way, if you are wondering who the wise man is who said that “Marketing = Education”? It is none other than Adam Urbanski, the Millionaire Marketing Mentor.

Critical Thinkers and Creative Leaders in The Professional Military Education System

Introduction

The U.S military is led by several of the most educated professionals in the world. It is also not uncommon for a retiring commissioned officer to have spent lots of time in a classroom learning. Every commissioned officer and a number of career noncommissioned officers have a college degree, and add an advanced civilian degree. This is boosted by what is known as the “professional military educational system,” of which is comprised of specialized schools operated by the military services. The most significant are staff colleges, whose students have 12-14 service years, and war colleges, of which often come between the 18th to 22nd years of the career of an officer.

Today’s military leaders are constantly compelled to act as “out of the box” thinkers. Such statements give the impression that the only comprehensive solutions are those that have never been conceived. However, what the professional military education system (PMES) as well as the military really endeavor to produce are leaders that have strong critical as well as creative thinking skills. Both indirectly avoid the idea that a box even exists.

Importance of critical thinkers and creative leaders in PME

Today’s organizations function in what the U.S War College describes as a VUCA setting. Volatility, complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity are continuous realities within the 21st century. The military tries to prepare for challenges it could probably face by creating realistic training scenarios as well as routinely adding such activities into its ongoing operations. The objective is not to teach them what to think, but to develop their ability to think creatively and critically about the number of contingencies posed by a dynamic environment-in essence to teach them how to think and not what to think.

The expression “professional military education”(PME) shows the duality of the system. It is intended to both increase the military’s professionalism as well as educate it. These are related as well as overlapping goals, but they are not similar. Professionalism means that the military leaders share both an amount of knowledge directly associated with their mission and ethics. While education implies a widening beyond the limitations of knowledge directly associated with the mission and the advancement of critical and creative thinking.

Good decision making is one of the traits together with good leadership that is significant when it comes to command. Critical and creative thinking also has significant consequences for group dynamic skills as well as quality control. Critical and creative thinking skills are needed in order to produce constant honest quality improvements. However, while several military processes depend on good critical and creative thinking, evidence shows that behaviors as well as skills may be lacking. A constant changing environment also requires a constant change in the approach to education.

Critical and creative thinking for military leaders to succeed

The increasing complication and changing landscape of the human environment necessitates critical and creative thinking skills. These thinking skills have not been taught as part of the traditional education nor are they emphasized within the military. Critical and creative thinking is vital to professional military education in that it provides a strong tool to function within a complex, and changing world.

One of the most significant facts about PME’s is training, and the most significant points concerning training is the importance within the training environment as well as the focus on creative solution. In addition, it is totally critical to focus on the advancement of personal leading and thinking skills. Gaining technical skills, collective training, and knowledge are significant but secondary educational requirements are needed. A military leader is the focal point of failure in military undertakings. Skills, collective training, and Knowledge mean little unless exceptionally trained as well as competent leaders engage units and soldiers correctly and effectively. Furthermore, military leaders make two vital contributions to military success: one, effective decision-making and two, capitalizing on the abilities as well as potential of subordinates. One of the best methods for military leaders to become successful is by using simulation and technology in order to train critical and creative thinking as well as decision-making. However, the technology is there to support the thinking process, but the military generally has not made the necessary steps in using the technology to train individual critical and creative thinking as well as decision making skills.

Every action and every undertaking by humanity was first a thought, every decision, problem, solution, and new invention or creation was initiated by some particular form of thought process. The capability for a purposeful thought is what lifts military leaders, yet sometimes, their strongest attribute is their obvious weakness. Instead of formulating rational solutions based on realities of the environmental, military leaders seem to be essentially prone to reshaping environmental reality to fit pre-predestined answers. The military leadership thinking process is normally anything but rational, and worse yet, they are totally blind-sided concerning mental failings. Faulty actions is driven by faulty thinking. History has proven this. For example, Japans defeat during the Second World War was due to its leadership’s incapability to critically and creatively position herself as the war turned against them. Another example of a poor decision-making process was the Vietnam War whereby highly intelligent people were perpetuated by collective stupidity. Therefore, no amount of good leadership can improve a decision that is faulty from the beginning. Good leaders have to first make good decisions, and yet good decisions require critical and creative thinking and leaders have to understand the limitations and capabilities of their own thought processes.

In industry, 90% of the time is spent on executing business actions, and less than 10% is apportioned to increasing organizational as well as individual abilities through training. On the other hand, the military spends a lot of time training and executing-even in the middle of high risk operations. For example, a unit in Iraq or Afghanistan will not put aside its experiential training program while engaged in combat operations, because its capability to clearly and creatively address future challenges is improved by a persistent commitment to improving soldier’s adaptability and competence through experiential exercises, and actual experiences. However, the real lesson for military leaders is not merely that training is paramount. The real issue is the value of how the military structures its training opportunities.

The Army describes leadership as both completing the mission as well as improving the organization. Permanently improving the organization necessitates the development of human capital. The military believes that people are substantively improved by improving their capability to skillfully address challenges within their environments. Therefore, the military does not find ways to limit thinking by limiting available solutions, unless the suggested action infringes any of the criteria of which are morality, safety, ethnicity or illegal.

So as to have people tussle with what it takes to have action plans where the above-mentioned criteria establish their only limitations, the military structures its experiential training undertakings with broad parameters. Events are made to mirror uncertainty within operating environments (while targeting specific needs of the organization). Military leaders are responsible for setting the conditions in all training activities and resourcing them correctly, as well as reminding participants all through the exercises that there are many potential solutions to each unclear challenge.

There are two significant things to take away from military practice of which engage in routine experimental training. One, crucial feedback. The military practice of having intermediate as well as final after-action reviews (AARs), whereby all participants test the preparation, execution, planning, and follow-up of any vital organizational initiative which promotes a learning culture. Two, coaching is needed so that feedback is translated into behavioral changes. Studies have shown that feedback without coaching hardly results in changes in behavior. Therefore, all military leaders must develop their ability to coach others. Dialog and reflection lie at the center of development. Experiential training creates the drive for both to happen.

Conclusion

In summary, the quest of better thinking skills and a military more inclined towards critical and creative thought is an arrogant but important educational objective. Critical and creative thinking is paramount to the professional military education because it provides a strong tool to function in a complicated, changing world and because it has practical military applicability. Military leaders cannot wait for the right time to train for it rarely happens. However, the current opportunity is preparation for tomorrow’s unforeseen challenge, regardless of what is going on.

The Education Solution

So as education stands right now it’s not working. Everyone is pointing fingers as the rules and demands grow. As the demands grow the results don’t seem to improve. Then we add more rules and requirements to the previous ones. It is a cycle that makes us feel better because we are trying to fix the problem but were really not fixing anything. In fact we are making it worse. Teachers get bogged down with not enough time in the day to get done what is expected and in return feel overwhelmed. Here is an alternative.

But first I have to point out some facts about how our education system is run.

The First problem that faces the education system is funding in public schools. We can’t pay a teacher for the hard work they are doing. The only reason most teachers stick around is that despite all the problems in education they know that they have one of the most meaningful jobs in the world. The problem is that with all the requirements teachers aren’t staying for even that anymore. Teachers are leaving almost as fast as they are coming.

The second problem is charter schools. The idea of charter schools is grand but the result is not so grand. At charter schools class sizes are capped, difficult students are expelled, and poor teachers are let go. This seems great on the surface but when you look at the toll it takes on public schools who get all the gunk that rolls downhill it isn’t as positive as some may think. Charter schools take funding from public schools to run, and they are not doing any better than public schools as we once hoped.

Public schools have no choice but to deal with the students expelled from the charter school and the teachers have no choice but to work with them. Because of this a teacher with 32 students hired to teach 5th grade will teach a classroom of the same aged students with several students at a kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grade level. If they are lucky they will have a large portion of 5th grade level students and several higher students but even this requires more work on their part. The teacher has to come up with lessons for all the students at all different levels all throughout the day. This is an impossible task but it is their legal responsibility. I didn’t even mention the even larger task which is controlling all the behaviors of these multi-level students. I guarantee this is not for the light of heart.

The last issue is, private schools. I have no beef with private schools. People pay good money for their students to go there and get very good education in small classes with teachers that get paid well. Everything about it is wonderful except the majority can’t afford it.

Now, The Solution to Education

Switch all these around. Make public education the new private school. Let it be available to everyone for free but set strict behavioral rules and academic standards. Only now if a standards and behavioral expectations are not met students will be asked to leave with the only last available option being homeschooled or for the parents to pay for a private school.

In these settings students can work hard to get caught up or improve social skills with parents or specialist teachers. If they can show that they are capable they may return to the public school where they can enjoy their free education.

Why would this work?

It’s simple, studies have shown that the number one reason for students success in education is a parents involvement. Think of all the lackadaisical parents that don’t care about how their students behavior or lack of motivation is affecting a large classroom full of eager students. Now picture that parent given the option to get involved or pay for your child to go to private school or stay at home and take on the task themselves so the high quality public classroom can function at high-capacity learning.

The result, with parent involvement students would flourish. With the ability to control the classroom environment, it would cut down on the teachers responsibility to create multiple lessons and deal with so many behavioral issues and focus on meaningful lessons. This would lighten the teachers load. This would speed up interventions. Students that are not performing academically will get specialized help and parent involvement with a motivation to work hard to get them back into the new public schools.

In other words, involved parent, happy teacher, learning student.

Is this realistic?

Sure, it’s realistic but the likelihood of it ever happening are unlikely. For starters there is too much invested in what we are already doing and second the transition would scare to many people. The idea of making a big changes seems extremely important because the direction we are headed isn’t working. Education used to be achieved through imagination, desire, and big dreams but it is being replaced with common, one size fits all standards for a more diverse world than has ever lived. In a way its like buying the same size t-shirts for every player on a football team! Those line backers sure would look funny but our education system is nothing to laugh at.