The walls are crumbling. The great bastions of knowledge are being torn down. University is no longer the keeper of information; information that it kept from the vast majority of the population.

Today Google is the keeper of information and it chooses to freely share it. So where does that leave the universities?

“In big trouble” is the short answer.

However one good thing we can benefit from before they die completely is a thing called OpenCourseWare, where you can study thousands of subjects, enhance your skills and do it all online and completely free. And it is provided by the universities; some of the biggest names in the world.

Stanford

MIT

Notre Dame

Check out this list of 100 self education sites and see what you fancy.

 

Personal Development

I am a big fan of personal development. Jung believed that it was a lifetimes work and that we should continue doing it till our last breath.

In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis on skills development. We have tests for this and tests for that. There are people with clipboards and boxes to tick.

I remember way back in 1992 I was working for a large company that was implementing ISO 9001 or BS 5750 as you old timers will remember it. This was a quality control system.

Someone somewhere came up with the idea that all companies needed to prove they were “quality companies” and only companies with this certification would be acceptable to certain buyers, particularly large government bodies and very large public companies.

But as anyone who actually went through the experience will tell you – it was a complete farce  The certificate meant nothing in practice. We never actually did anything in the real world that would have resulted in better products or better value for our customers.

One of the Lloyds inspectors explained to me that ISO 9001 is there to guarantee a better product or service. It merely lets you demonstrate exactly how you arrived at your product or service. If it was bad, then it would be consistently bad – that was what ISO 9001 achieved.

I mention all this because skills development is not necessarily personal development.

There are lots of people adding more skills to their repetoir but they aren’t adding any more value. They aren’t fixing more problems or being any better to work with.

More skills doesn’t mean you are a better employee.

If you really want to get into personal development then you need to start with “self”. Deal with the big stuff such as your soft skills. I don’t really like the term “soft skills” as it somehow makes them appear less significant than “hard skills” but the reality is that it is your soft skills that people experience most.

Your boss experiences your soft skills – good or bad. Your customers experience your soft skills – good or bad.

The real development takes place when you start to discover your “self”. When you start to understand what’s natural to you and what isn’t. Your personal development takes another huge leap when you start to understand others. When you make the effort to understand other people and how you relate to them, then you will see your personal development take hold.

So don’t confuse skills development with your personal development. A pain in the neck is still a pain in the neck even if they have learned how to do something new.