[Air-L] query: topics that don't get talked about (enough) in academia?

Thomas Jones thomasallenjones at gmail.com
Wed Nov 10 17:28:58 PST 2010

If I may contribute some offerings to this discussion:

* Computer mediated communications - knowing how to say what through which
medium for maximum impact.

* Civil Discourse - In other words, disagreement does not equate to
disrespect. The ability to accept constructive (or not) feedback -
tolerance. The ability to exercise influence, persuasion. The book
"Difficult Conversations" is a gold mine as it dives in to accepting
personal accountability and avoidance of "the blame game".

* Social Constructs - Diversity in Religions and Politics, Gender vs
Sexuality, Ethical and Moral diversions, etc.

But when I back up and look at this outside the box there seems to be a few
common denominators. Most of the aforementioned are learned through well
rounded management classes and/or a holistic and diverse college experience,
the other learned simply through life experience. The former is teachable,
the latter not so much.

So that leaves me with things more personally relevant, and perhaps relevant
to this discussion:

* Understanding relationships - the ability to read people and their

Sounds simple right? Its how I learn information - I relate new material to
what I already know and build the bridge or "link" through the difference or

This construct can be applied to people and the quantifiable observations we
make today through social networking research. I can sit down at an
executive meeting (even ones that require caffeine and my iPhone) and know
by body language, tone, engagement, approach, content - the general
"linguistics" and human interaction, what the socio-environmental
relationship is between everyone at the meeting allowing me to navigate the
politics (or discussion) accordingly.

* Knowing vs Understanding (the "knowing-doing gap") - tightening this
relationship. Being able to acknowledge when someone knows an answer or
content, but doesn't truly understand it. And when someone might need
further assistance or mentorship because of said gap. True
academics/professors possess this keen ability.

* Understanding Collaboration - the wisdom of the crowd, etc. How the
community matters, and how it contributes to
success/progress/achievement/etc. This encompasses corporate policy
structure, sociology, psychology, cultural behaviors, etc. Malcom Gladwell
addresses this in "Outliers".

* Translating the kinetic affects of non-kinetic assets - how technology
impacts business/worker productivity or return on investment, substantiates
its value. Taking something technical and explaining it sociologically. I
hope this makes sense... I don't know if I can articulate this effectively
enough to communicate the point.


Thomas Jones

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