Be a NOOB and like it.

Definition   Noob definition, a newbie, especially a person who is new to an online community and whose online participation and interactions display a lack of skill or knowledge: Some games and gaming forums are crawling with annoying noobs.

So, what does Bill, want?  Michelangelo, on his deathbed, is reported saying, ‘I am still learning.’  I hope to be one of those people.  I want the people around me to be like that.  I want students, who I work with, be it as a principal, substitute teacher, or consultant to want that too.

I remember vividly, while being in a workshop in the 80s with Judy Arin-Krupp, “I want to die young at the oldest possible age.”  Unfortunately, an accident took her life way too early.  How do we KEEP LEARNING ALIVE.  Those who quit learning are slowly dying as the world changes. I think it was Suzuki who said something like, ‘I want to remain a white belt.’

White Belts, beginners, remain open to possibilities. Suzuki-Roshi said, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”  In my coaching, I sort for one thing early.  If the person knows everything and is unwilling to have some humility, there is no amount of coaching that will help.  A closed mind makes it hard to learn.

What I constantly look for, including in myself, is a willingness to admit I don’t know something OR I am not a good as I want to be.  Acceptance of this fact is a gateway to learning.  As I have posted before, repertoire is very important to my own learning and helping others learn.  When I show up with only one solution, I may not be very valuable.  (OK guns, knives, drugs, emotional and physical abuse, etc. are one solution – DON”T)

The quote by James Muir seems appropriate, “Prescription without Diagnosis is Malpractice.”  See my  previous book summary by Karen Phalen, Sorry, I Broke Your Company.

Palen, as a consultant working for a company, arrives with her company’s solutions to help fix the organization’s problems. What she now says, find out what is going on, then use your repertoire to assist the group to find solutions.  See Edgar Schein’s work for an additional resources.  Find his book summaries at ‘what we are reading’ at

If you have strong values and repertoire, “put yourself in the place of most potential” as DeWitt Jones says in his video, Everyday Creativity. This is not an easy decision to be vulnerable.  It is always easier to ‘go along’ in order to ‘get along.’  Changing results takes leadership.  Yes, leaders AND leadership.  Developing leadership includes those with positional authority AND staff who work with our students AND our students who will lead in the future.

I am going to suggest we add to the concept of NOOB by thinking about BOON.  What are the Benefits of preparing for a future with uncertainty.  Yes, we need Options (repertoire) and the agility to use that repertoire.  Openness to new or novel ideas, considering our own beliefs and how they are preparing ourselves and others for an unknown future.  And, finally, how do we Nurture our people in our organizations to create the best thinking and collaboration creating solutions for complex problems.

Let’s accept NOOBs as a good thing.  NOOBs can our best motivators because they ask questions and challenge beliefs and procedures that may not be working as well as they once did.  I used to state arrogantly, “what were these people thinking when they came up with this solution?”  I was wrong.  People are doing the best to solve issues in the present with what they know.  So, as I reflect, ‘Bill, get over it.  What do we do now based on the current reality. Quit blaming the past.’

As my mentor Angeles Arrien, who has since passed, said, “If you job is waking up the dead, GET UP, TODAY IS A WORKDAY.  I’m in. Who will join me. I found the statement below in the book Chop Wood Carry Water.

“Children can be conceptualized as mirrors.

If love is given to them, they return it.

If none is given, they have none to return.

Unconditional love is reflected unconditionally, and

conditional love is returned conditionally.”                                       Ross Campbell, M.D.


Kids are watching. What are they seeing?  The French have a proverb:  Children Need Models More Than Critics. Let’s model what we want rather than blaming, shaming, and defaming.


Fields, Rick. (1984). Chop Wood Carry Water.  New York: Jeremy Tarcher.

Phelan, Karen (2013), I’m Sorry I Broke Your Company. San Francisco:  Berrett-Koehler

Schein, E. (2009). Helping – how to offer, give, and receive help.  San Francisco: Berrett-  Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Schein, Edgar. (2013). Humble Inquiry – the gentle art of asking instead of telling.

San Francisco:  Berrett-Koehler.

Schein, E. (2016). Humble Consulting – How to Provide Real Help Faster.

Oakland, CA:  Berrett-Koehler.


Shift Happens. If you don't adopt New Rules, drop the "f" in Shift!