Post Office Idol — Voting For The Stars!

Click to see video

Fox Television has just announced a new reality show called “Post Office Idol” where customers at every post office in America will be given the opportunity to vote for their favorite employee each week.  For a low fee of $5 per call, fox_realitythey can choose which employee was the most helpful, gave the best service, or got the line moving the fastest.  Multiple votes are allowed by the same customer, as long as each vote is accompanied by the $5 payment.

At the end of each week, the employee with the highest score gets 50% of the total cash take, with the balance going to Federal Defecit.  The employee with the lowest score is immediately terminated, and the first job applicant in line is hired to take their place.  The game begins again on Monday morning.

Other shows already in the planning stages are “DMV Hero”, “Funeral Home Hero”, and “That Place You Have To Go To Get Your Insurance Physical Hero”.  Advertising is selling at well over $1 million dollars per minute.


OK — I’m fibbing, just a little.  Fox doesn’t have this show on the fall schedule, yet.  And I’m not really recommending that we terminate employees of the Post Office just because they have a bad day — except for the one that was waiting on me today.

But I’m wondering what your learning and training products might look like if the consumers of your service actually had to call in and vote in front of God and everybody on what they thought.  If three celebrity judges listened to you talk about your content on stage in front of millions, live — and then made jokes about what they saw.  Would you make the grade?  I know that I’d have damp armpits.

But hopefully, some of us would make customers look like this:

Click to see video

Click to see video

I’m Busy Failing — Don’t Bother Me!


I’ve written previously in this space about my belief that as educators (or teachers, or trainers, or facilitators) we often treat “failure” in exactly the wrong way with learners.  Through the K-12 experience, we pretty much dwell on what you did wrong and punish you for it — with bad grades, remedial classes, dunce caps and other types of pain.

After that, in the real world (I observe that place, but refuse to live there) we also punish you if you fail.  Trying something new means the risk of making a fool of yourself, being told that you should have known better, that you wasted resources or time.

Gen-next learners spend a lot of time on video games.  Failure there is the standard mode of learning.  Your car crashes, your airplane gets shot down, or your soldier gets blasted by the bad guys.  That’s just an expected part of the learning process. So you push the “reset” button and try again, having learned something.

I ran across this great video from Honda called “Failure:  The Secret To Success” talking about how they built their incredibly successful team by failing, again and again.

“Honda is now the sole supplier of engines for the Indy Racing League.  We’d really prefer to have some competition in the series, but perhaps the Honda success drove some of them out.  Maybe they’ll come back.”  Tom Elliott, American Honda

What would your classroom or e-learning site look like if you encouraged and demanded that your participants fail over and over as they participated?  If it was an accepted and expected part of the experience, rather than an “exception” that you immediately tried to locate and stamp out?

Pretty much exactly the same experience as when you learned to ride your first bike.


Amusing Myself During Conference Calls


I spend a lot of time on conference calls — living, as I do, in the middle of a small southern state — and am often pretty bored with not much to do. Typing on the keyboard makes noise, and if I hit the “mute” button I often forget to turn the mic back on when I want to talk.

But I have found that fooling around with Photoshop is nearly soundless, and sometimes quite amusing. I now have a lovely new avatar for Twitter.


So — be honest. Should this be the image that goes up at the top of the blog?