There has been a lot of talk about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), STEAM (which adds Art), and a smattering of other such acronyms, as well as some debate.
Especially since GRPMAX is a technology oriented company we understand well the benefits to be gained by individuals and organizations that make sure their STEM/STEAM knowledge is up to the task of dealing with the challenges of today’s rapidly advancing technological challenges and innovations. And that’s why we also understand the wisdom of including additional knowledge and disciplines, such as the “Art” in “STEAM”.
Despite progress, there’s still plenty of room for improvement
But history, as well as a considerable body of credible research, demonstrates that often regardless of how advanced things become the basics can sometimes be lost in the process.
We’ve all no-doubt had the experience of checking out at a store or restaurant where the cashier is unable to correctly calculate simple change or perform other simple operations if for some reason their cash register goes on the blink, glitches, or otherwise doesn’t provide that functionality for them.
But individuals and organizations alike, more often than not, either fail to realize or choose not to accept the degree to which those same factors impact activities and decisions that carry far greater consequences than the wrong change being given at the cash register.
Could better basic math skills have prevented the Great Recession?
The Great Recession that unfolded in the U.S. and spread across the Globe between 2007 and 2008 is just one such example. Its effects were not limited just to individuals or organizations lacking STEM/STEAM knowledge. But many individuals and organizations possessing STEM/STEAM knowledge and even working within STEM/STEAM fields were impacted just as severely.
After the worst of the Great Recession was over a number of the World’s greatest minds posed the simple question: Would more people have been able to avoid financial difficulties during that time period if they had better basic math skills? In light of what happened it’s hardly an academic question. And it’s also not a question without answers, because there is a considerable body of research and data that provides those answers. In short, though, whether due to a lack of knowledge or skills (ability and aptitude), or due to the many forms of cognitive bias that by the very definition of “human nature” we seem so susceptible to (critical-thinking and life skills), the research and data shows that those skills are indeed lacking — across ALL socioeconomic levels.
GRPMAX has decades of experience producing results that exceed, often on an order of magnitude, what could or can otherwise be achieved in any given endeavor. In some cases we’ve enabled improvements in performance, reductions in cost, or increases in revenue close to and even exceeding 100%. And our bar has long been to aim for improvements of at least 25%.
Yet, counter-intuitively, on more than one occasion someone has raised the objection that: “it is not possible to have a percentage that exceeds 100% because 100% is as high as percentages can go…”
And despite the fact that GRPMAX corporate brochures, literature, and website has for decades spelled out that we possess the aforementioned capabilities, and that our bar is to achieve improvements of at least 25%, our research as well as that of others, including 3rd-party research conducted for us, shows that there are a surprising number of individuals who do not understand what that means. Or, due to cognitive or other biases (such as those outlined in the Status Quo illustration) choose not to apply those benefits and advantages to their personal, professional, or organizational lives.
Can a lack of basic skills prevent individuals and organizations from benefiting more?
The word “benefit” is used here quite intentionally. Because in the same way that many individuals and organizations could have avoided being negatively impacted during the Great Recession, the reverse is also true. Not just many but most individuals and organizations stand to benefit and reap positive rewards if only they could come to understand what they are missing, and how to harness opportunities that currently either go unrealized, are being wasted, or in all likelihood they are not even aware of.
How can one benefit from improvements from 25% up to as much as 100% or more, or improvements on an order of magnitude over what one is experiencing currently, if one does not appreciate the meaning of those terms and concepts?
We never outgrow certain essential basics
Over time GRPMAX and its founder have created some of if not the most effective visual aids and practical tools to present critically important information in simplified ways that are clear and approachable — even reaching back to the comfort and familiarity of childhood concepts, objects, and tools with which we are all no-doubt familiar.
Despite the fact that we outgrow many aspects of childhood, few would argue that some age-old advice, rules, and maxims still apply equally as much today. Few people would disagree with the advice to “look both ways before crossing the street,” for example.
But despite even all of the aforementioned visual aids and practical tools, even using simple cartoons, ABC blocks, children’s books, and the simplest of illustrations, the import and magnitude of what is being said here will still be missed by most. Even when the benefits to be gained, or to go unrealized or lost, are critically significant.
Reducing problems to their simplest components
While not every aspect of every situation is able to be further simplified, the fact remains that one of the most effective ways to achieve better understanding and results is by reducing something (a concept, task, or problem, an opportunity, product, or service, etc.) to its simplest components.
And so despite having already developed some of if not the most effective visual aids and practical tools to do just that, ABCs+L takes it even further.
While in an of itself ABCs+L will not be able to solve every problem or achieve every breakthrough. Because it packs so much into such a compact acronym it can serve as a surprisingly effective tool, especially when serving as a starting point for further discussion or exploration. And that’s why GRPMAX will be making frequent use of ABCs+L in almost every scenario imaginable. And why we’re encouraging clients to do so also.
ABCs+L is an excellent starting point, and a grounding basic tool to refer back to
Obviously if meeting someone fleetingly at random, at a restaurant drive-thru for example, such interactions aren’t likely to rise to a level of making the effort worthwhile (or even appropriate). However, interactions with any individual or organization with whom a working relationship is being forged will be introduced to the concept of ABCs+L.
Dating back to at least the 1990s we’ve usually had some form of handout that would go to prospective vendors, Team Members, etc., to better convey our values and basic requirements — both those we bring to the table as well as what we expect of others. It’s changed and evolved over the years. Sometimes being used more in instances deemed more key or crucial, and sometimes less or not at all on lesser or short-term engagements.
And a few other things have changed, significantly and for the better, including that the tools have evolved over time so that they are equally as applicable internally as externally and are no longer application specific. In other words, the same materials can be used across the board for almost every situation. Whether with a client of our own, a prospective vendor, or a prospective Team Member we’re interviewing for hire.
Most of these tools, like ABCs+L, can be used to the betterment of virtually any situation whether it be at the personal, professional, or organization level.
More than meets the eye
As is the case with much of what you’ll find on the grpmax.com website this is just a brief overview and introduction. Because even for a tool as seemingly basic and simple as ABCs+L what you’ve read and seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg.
You might have noticed, for example, the numerous references to basic math literacy even though the ABCs+L acronym doesn’t contain the letter “M” (for Math). Which is because mathematics, as one of the sciences, is automatically encompassed.
Did you know that Ability and Aptitude are not the same thing?
We’ve long stressed the importance of aptitude, which is why it’s one of the core components of one of the tools you’re likely to be introduced to next: Relationship Optimalism Q2i™.
But many people erroneously assume that aptitude and ability are synonymous, when actually they have different (but related) meanings.
“Ability” refers to knowledge and ability that an individual or organization already has currently.
Whereas “Aptitude” is a measure of an individual or organization’s capacity for learning and acquiring new knowledge, skills, and abilities.
The only sure thing in life is change
GRPMAX has long been a believer in the old adage that one of the few sure things in life is change. And with the ever increasing pace of life and technology it’s also no less true that those who are unable to adapt, evolve, and change to keep up with all that is changing around them stand at great risk to almost surely be left behind. Something we’ve both forecasted and documented time and time again.
Eventually the hope is to make more information about this and other tools more readily available to clients and non-clients alike, especially since, at least as of the time this was posted, we are not actively seeking new clients. In the meantime you can stay tuned for updates.