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Following is an outline of the 21st Century Theme Skills. Each BLUE highlighted paragraph summarizes a 30 to 45 minute
PERCEPTIONOLOGY lecture that helps drive home the subject matter.
........Core Subjects and 21st Century Theme Skills Outline
...... .Life and Career Skills
A) Flexibility and Adaptability
....... Be Flexible
......1 Incorporate feedback effectively.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change.” - Charles
Don’t take everything personally. Truly listen to what someone is trying to tell you. This is how you are being perceived. Thinking
you’re friendly and being perceived as such are two totally different things. Remember what you are hearing is their opinion and
they are entitled to it. Understand feedback is valuable information that you must filter. Don’t be afraid to change direction. Do think
outside the box. Be open to constructive criticism.
...... 2 Dealing positively with praise, setbacks and criticism.
When praise comes your way deflect it onto others more deserving of it. Remember it is not about you. No one achieves anything
on their own. Give credit to others who have helped you succeed and they will respond by helping you reach even loftier heights.
Don’t be discouraged by setbacks but rather embrace them. Everyone has setbacks and the best thing about setbacks is that it
thins the crowd. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, just accept that fact. There is a reason we want you to be able to work with
others because they may see the problem with your logic and vise-versa together we all can achieve more.
When someone criticizes us we have a natural tendency to shut down and disregard what has been said to us. We immediately go
into a defensive mode. That is why I say, “Don’t criticize,” because the person you criticize will shut down on you. Practice people
skills that will encourage them not demean them.
On the other hand we need to accept criticism. We need to learn to slow down and accept what is being said no matter how badly
we just don’t want to hear it. In order to truly grow we need embrace pruning. This is one of the most difficult things to implement;
however, it is when your coach stops yelling at you that you need to worry.
B) Initiative and Self-Direction
Be Self-directed Learner
1 Go beyond basic mastery of skills and / or curriculum and expand one’s own learning and opportunities to
Two types of people will not succeed those that don’t do what is required of them and those who only do what is required of them.
In order to truly succeed you need to do more than is required of you. You are constantly going through life experiences, learn from
them and become the best person you can be. Never stop growing or learning it will make you more valuable. Become well
rounded with experiences in a multitude of fields. When you do get a job learn it inside and out. Then ask your supervisor, “What
else can I learn?” Think that will separate you from the crowd? There was a statistic out that said High School Graduates will have
twenty different jobs before they turn forty. Imagine how terrific it would to truly learn something from each one.
2 Demonstrate commitment to learning as a lifelong process.
“All of life is learning; therefore education can never end.” - Eduard Lindemann
Many adults come up to tell me that they wished they had this information back when they were in school. Many of them are
coming to my sessions now to learn these important soft skill lessons. Never be the smartest person in a room because you will
walk away learning nothing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions for they show that you are truly interested in what they are trying to
say. Questions also allow you to steer the conversation to the areas that you are most interested in. You hear people say, “The best
teacher is experience,” and they say it for a reason, it is true. What was the last thing you learned?
C) Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
Interact Effectively with Others
1 Know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak.
Good listening skills will play a powerful role in your success. Remember, just because someone has stopped talking doesn’t
mean they are done talking. You will separate yourself from the crowd by remaining silent, engaged and listening Trust me the
person will begin talking again but this time it will be at a much deeper level. .
People are used to people not listening to them and simply waiting for an opportunity to talk themselves. Aren’t you? Have you
ever in your life time been told “shut up?” I’ll bet you have. Have you ever in your lifetime been told “Stop listening to me?” and I
doubt you ever will. The fact is, the nicest thing anyone can do for someone is to listen to them. Listening in and of itself is an act of
LOVE. Two ears and one mouth scenario. An important concept to realize is that the listener controls the conversation. Without a
listener the speaker has to shut up.
2 Conducting oneself in a professional manner.
HOW YOU ARE PERCEIVED IS YOUR REALITY™ If you are not perceived as friendly, energetic, confident and professional you’re
not, period. You don’t get to say you are any of those things that is for others to decide. You need to hear honest feedback as to
how you are being perceived. The way we walk, talk and present ourselves is screaming to everyone around us who we are.
People form opinions of us long before we ever talk to them. Understand the importance of making a great first impression.
Wisdom is knowing the right path to take… Integrity is taking it.
The Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics concepts. Talk about Presentation skills.
Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
3 Respect cultural differences and work effectively with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds.
“Not only respect but appreciate other people’s opinions for they are what make conversation not only necessary but enjoyable.” ~
Donald Wayne McLeod
Example of an Orchestra with many different instruments combining to make a joyous sound. Leaves in the fall all different colors
together painting a breath taking landscape. Be truly interested and ask questions about other cultures. This ties in directly with
lifelong learning. Every one of us is an interesting movie if you take the time to listen to the story.
Respond open-mindedly to different ideas and values.
“Ignorant people are sure of the causes of everything.” - James Thorpe
If you think you are the smartest person in the room you walk away learning nothing. Seldom does one person see the complete
picture. It will do you no good to prove someone else wrong. You might win the battle but you will lose the war. No one will want to
deal with you if you make them look bad. Don’t let your prejudice get in the way of your growth. Not everyone will believe in your
ideals nor will you believe in everyone else’s but appreciate the fact you have something to talk about.
D) Productivity and Accountability
1 Present oneself professionally and with proper etiquette
Understand presentation skills. Bring energy it is not only perceivable it is marketable. What you say says a great deal about… you.
Don’t interrupt; listen more than speak. Speak from your heart not your head. Don’t use filler language such as, you know, Ummm,
you know what I mean or like. Use Business Protocol. Stand when introducing yourself, use a firm handshake that equals the
pressure applied to yours. Use plenty of eye contact and remember your body language is speaking louder than your words. Get,
remember and use names. Call people by the name they want to be called by not what you want to call them. Bring the Orchestra.
Attitude isn’t everything, but it is pretty darn close.
3 Respect and appreciate team diversity.
“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.” - Anais Nin
How boring it would be if we were all the same? Respect others opinions as you would want them to respect yours. See the value
in others. ($20.00 bill story.) If someone is speaking broken English that means they know at least two languages, do you? If you
put yourself in another’s shoes how would you see you?
E) Leadership and Responsibility
Guide and Lead Others
1 Use interpersonal and problem-solving skills to influence and guide others toward a goal.
Listen to others so as to be able to determine your common ground. Use your power of influence in a positive manner. True
leaders don’t tell you how to act they lead by example. If you want to be seen as a leader, lead. Be willing to be the first to break
down barriers. Remember you are constantly being perceived. (Dave Story) Get, remember and use names. Be truly interested in
others and their wellbeing. Build others up don’t tear them down, a lot easier said than done.
2 Inspire others to reach their very best via example and selflessness.
“Go to the people, Live among the people, Learn from them. Start with what they know, Build on what they have. But of the best
leaders, when the task is accomplished, their work is done; the people will say…”We have done it ourselves.” - 2000-year-old
Give and you will receive. In the movie, Hunger Games, the main character, Katniss Everdeen, had a hard time realizing the
importance of people liking her. When you encourage others and you watch them become encouraged it will encourage you to
encourage others. In order to accomplish anything in this life we need to inspire others to help us. Discuss how we can inspire
others to help us. Encourage others to achieve their potential. Being truly interested in others will benefit you personally,
professionally and financially.
Learning and Innovation Skills
A) Creativity and Innovation
Work Creatively with Others
1 Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively.
“How well you communicate is determined not by how well you say things but by how well you are understood.” Andrew S. Grove
Understand your audience. Simple diagram exercise proves we really do not understand each other. Encourage others to ask
questions along the way to make sure they are on the same page. People make a lot of assumptions without even realizing it.
Everyone evaluates ideas through their own field of experience. KISS - Keep it simple stupid. Since we all learn differently, use
multiple forms of communication.
2 View failure as an opportunity to learn; understanding that creativity and innovation as a long-term, cyclical process
of small successes and frequent mistakes.
“One must learn by doing the thing. For though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. - Sophocles (BC 495-406)
Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Admit when you are wrong. Admitting you are wrong shows character - influence others to do the
same. Edison tried 2000 times before finally succeeding to make the light bulb. Edison stated, “I never failed even once, it just
happened to be a 2000 step process.” We often learn more from our failures than our successes. Discuss the idea of inspiration
and perspiration along with passion. The only person who can prevent you from success is you.
B) Communication and Collaboration
1 Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms
Stop referring to yourself in written correspondence. Learn to write the YOU letter so as to engage your reader. Use body language
to help tell your story. Practice by playing charades. Deaf people don’t look at the hands that are signing they look at the face
which is adding the emotion to the conversation while people who can hear tell a story using just their voice with a blank look on
their face. Every time you open your mouth you are giving a speech… act like it. Learn to read body language. Practice public
speaking then hear honest feedback. Work on your vocabulary. Body language speaks louder than words. Learn proper phone
2 Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions.
Stop listening in Black and White and start filling in the color. Ask questions to show you are truly interested in what someone is
telling you. Listening is a skill practice, practice, practice. You cannot think of two things at once. Are you listening or waiting to
talk? Great listening skills will set you apart from the crowd.
3 Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade.)
“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”- Anon
The time will come when you will want to express your thoughts, concepts and ideas. I want you to be able to express yourself so
you will be heard and taken seriously. I want those thoughts and ideas to land on listening ears. I want you to be understood as
clearly as possible. But first, I need you to understand that to accomplish the aforementioned you must not only learn people skills
you must employ them. If you want to be heard you need to first listen. If you want to be loved you must first love. It’s not rocket
science here, just simple techniques that will enable you to live a happier life to its fullest potential. By giving you receive and being
truly interested in others benefits… you.
Collaborate with Others
1 Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams.
Acknowledge others. Which part of the castle are you and why? Many say they are the tower or the draw bridge, the moat or the
flag. I want you to be the mortar that holds it all together. It is in contact with every part of the castle. Be the person who holds
everyone else together.Build unique relationships with each and every person. Know all their names and use them often. You
cannot Demand Respect but you can Command respect. (Bobby V Story) Example of an Orchestra with many different i
instruments combining to make a joyous sound. Leaves in the fall all different colors together painting a breath taking landscape.
2 Assume shared responsibilities for collaborative work and value the individual contributions made by each team
Be the person who might not do the work but knows the best person for the job. Build sincere relationships with others to build
trust. Bring a spirit of achievement and enthusiasm that will build camaraderie and allow business decisions to flow smoothly. Give
Kudos. Acknowledge and use your ability to encourage others, it will benefit you. A simple pat on the back can go a long way.
There are people in our lives we not only could be thanking we should be thanking so - thank them. Be the mortar by keeping
everyone together. Realize all those that have, are and will continue to help you. Do people see you or do they feel you? Make
positive comments daily.
“Knowledge is like money: To be of value it must circulate and in circulating it can increase in quantity and hopefully in value.” -
“People do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” - James Allen
“If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions.”
- Buddhist Saying
“Of all the decisions an executive makes, none is as important as the decisions about people because they determine the
performance capacity of the organization.” - Peter F. Drucker
“Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Contact Donald Wayne McLeod at DonaldWayne@PERCEPTIONOLOGY.com or visit www.PERCEPTIONOLOGY.com
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