I'm the founding director of pearcemayfield, a training and consultancy business. I've helped author best management practice methods such as PRINCE2 (1996) and MSP ('Managing Successful Programmes', 2007).
I'm interested in how adults learn and get better; I'm interested in personal growth and the spirituality that goes with that.
PRINCE ® is a Registered Trade Mark and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce, and is Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
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My colleague and friend Jean Morgan asked me whether I still used a Tablet PC.
I certainly do. I started with the Toshiba M200, which is an excellent machine. However, I broke it. Not that it is fragile; its quite resilient in fact. It’s just that I got impatient one day with the response and just unplugged it to restart. [Note: Never do that to a PC.] When it reloaded, I found I couldn’t load up Office software, which was pretty fundamental in my case.
So I replaced it with an IBM (now Lenovo) ThinkPad X41. I’m also very happy with this.
The main differences for me between the two machines are:
the Tosh has a much higher screen resolution, great for when you are using an external monitor and the multiple screen mode; whereas
the IBM is significantly lighter and smaller.
Because of the portability issues in the way I use my Tablet, even when the Tosh comes back from the Tablet hospital, I think I’ll stick with the ThinkPad.
Finally, my pen use has gravitated to just three applications:
MindManager 6 Pro;
annotating projected PowerPoints on-the-fly when coaching; and
OneNote (which looks superb when I finally am able to migrate to Office 2007).
My recent post declared my love affair with the Moleskine and how I felt that I had to excuse myself to the ‘technoscenti’ out there who read blogs. I suppose one of the reasons why I appreciate the blogging world (the so-called ‘blogosphere’) is the delightful discovery of like minds.
Here’s what I’ve discovered. Like me, there are people:
who love technology and gadgets. From respect, we get a buzz out of living in the 21st century.
who appreciate the creative ‘note-making’ potential of Mind Mapping and give tools like MindManager kudos and use them as prime tools;
who tap into their creativity by the discipline of writing and find the blog a brilliantly liberating vehicle for doing this;
who order their thinking by speaking and find podcasting is beginning to open up radio to self-expression;
who value the pen as an expression tool and have discovered the Tablet PC as a long-awaited freedom;
who appreciate the importance of self-organisation using structures such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD);
who appreciate the importance of team organisation in projects and realise projects are the main means of significant creativity;
who, nevertheless, have a dis-ease in a working solely through computers and rediscover ‘The Sound of Paper’ (to use a phrase from one of Julia Cameron’s books) and try to live in the tension of this with 1 and 3.
It is encouraging to discover like-minded souls this way. It helps me persuade myself that I’m not too eccentric (even for a Brit), or even some kind of geek-y freak.
Yet there is something more to it than that. Coming from the West and having built up a small professional services company from being solo, I have become aware of something of the strength of individualism in my culture and thus in myself. At times this individualism informs my personal, day-to-day choices more than I am ready to admit. At a deep level, though, this is not really satisfying. It is not enough to live as a technical hermit. The human soul has a universal pull towards community, to meet with the like-minded. I’ve come to realise that much of my sense of fulfilment in life comes from relationships that energise me by affirming, accepting, and encouraging me. As trust levels grow there is the added fulfilment is when these people, with whom I feel safe, can challenge and stretch me. I really have learned to value it when a trusted friend corrects me.
In the case of my own organisation, Pearce Mayfield, perhaps the main source of satisfaction for me has been to surround myself with such people; sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. And these colleagues are like-minded, but have quite different strengths, personalities and giftedness. Such are the deeper rewards of community in business.
I’ve been an active participant in the blogosphere now for about a year and a half. During that time it has been good to make and connect with friends who cover one or more of the above bullet list. It’s interesting to reflect that it has defined me somewhat as well as the blog community of which I have come to feel a part.
Eric Mack publishes a very stimulating blog, particularly around his growing attachment to his Tablet PC.
The phrase in circulation about people like me is YABHTU (Yet Another Blissfully Happy Tablet User) and Eric’s odyssey reminds me of a phrase used by CS Lewis when he described his conversion from atheism as ‘That night I was the most reluctant convert in all England.’ Eric quotes me in his post ‘A Step Away from being YABHTU’. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.
Well, I don’t want to spiritualise the Tablet experience, but Eric demonstrates an admirably critical approach to this different way of working. Too many of us emotionally by-pass our critical faculties. Hence the birth of fads. Eric’s cautious adoption of his Tablet convinces me that the Tablet is not a fad, and sales are beginning to reflect this. Robert Scoble reports that they are up 37% per annum.
My chiropracter complained to me (!) the other day that I was spending so much time hunched up over my Toshiba M200; it’s not doing my neck much good at all. So I am about to take Matt Buchanan’s advice and purchase a multi-dock. I’ll let you know how I get on.
It seems that my last post ('The Ultimate Meetings Management Tool?') has created some favourable buzz in the blogosphere. Hobart Swan, has started up a good blog recently on MindManager applications, references this use of MindManager with the Tablet PC as quoted in Marc Orchant and James Kendrick's Tablet PC podcast.
Their references are very warm, especially from Marc in the podcast. But really, I can't believe nobody's thought of this mix of technologies before. This has made me think...
Perhaps it is the mix of technologies and some new application of the mix that creates a performance breakthrough. This is brought out nicely in Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users blog where she posts, "Why I want a TabletPC". She has come (like me) to the mix by first being a convinced Mind Mapper. But when she encountered the mix of a Tablet PC, Mind Mapping and Mind Manager used to capture lecture notes, she had a 'Wow!' moment.
Mind Mapping, thanks to Tony Buzan, has been around for at least four decades. I was coached in the mid-90's by Tony's colleague, Vanda North, and my early responses to computer-based Mind Mapping were fairly equivocal. Even when MindManager X5 was first launched, I felt it lost some visual versatility ... but that was until I mixed pen technology through a Tablet PC. What a mix!
Yesterday I chaired the quarterly meeting of our training consultants in London. I always look forward to these meetingsl each colleague is a star and as a team we sharpen each other up and complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. For the most part, the trainer's lot is a solitary one: weeks on end delivering training in various parts of the world, with very little connection with their peer community. I look forward to these meetings with great anticipation.
In the past I have led them with a MindManager Agenda projected onto a screen. (If you haven't tried this yet I would encourage you to do so.) Each major branch of the Mind Map can represent an Agenda item, which you can 'explode'to capture the detail ofdiscussion, ideas and agreed actions under that item. Since everyone sees the same projectedimage, it helps each participant appreciate the specific context in the meeting, to 'see' where they are in the Agenda; quite important for a day-long meeting such as yesterday's gathering.
Anyway, at yesterday's meeting I added one additional piece of technology - my beloved Tablet PC - and I believe it improved the effectiveness of our day even further. With the Tablet we were able to:
Use blank slides in a hyperlinked PowerPoint presentation as an 'electronic blackboard' (yes, the background was black) using ink annotations;
Track discussion on topic 'sub' Mind Maps using the pen-enabled feature of Mind Manager X5; and
Ink annotate Word and Excel documents that we reviewed as a group. (These were proposed changes to key courseware elements in which we all had a keen interest.)
Plus, I am now able to circulate all this 'on-the-fly' notation to everyone at the meeting by email.
If yesterday's experience is anything to go by, the addition of Tablet PC technology will make a quantum leap in the effectiveness of such meetings.
P.S. We had a flip chart, but we never used it ... If you know anything at all about trainers, that speaks volumes!