Lessons from the Business World: An Interview with Jared Block

Lessons from the Business World: An Interview with Jared Block


I couldn’t resist using this one. This is Jared, myself, and our wives at his wedding.

Jared Block is Professional Services Manager for a technology company in St. Louis, Missouri.  Jared’s company has started to shift the focus back on the human element while still providing amazing services to its customers.  Jared and I are good friends and he often shares with me the innovative things his companies do to keep its customers and its employees happy.  I asked Jared to come on the show so we can finally record one of our great conversations.  In the first part of our chat, Jared and I discuss what his company is doing right and the potential implications for the classroom.  In the second part, Jared and I discuss the specific ways his company evaluates its employees and the potential applications to the education world.

Part I – Episode 12

  1. Tell me about your journey. How did you get to where you are today?  1:37
  2. Did your high school education help you become successful in your career? 5:57
  3. Do you think that when teachers allow retakes and redos that they are not preparing students for the business world? 8:23
  4. How is your company different from others in your field? 12:37
  5. What positive results have you seen from your company taking a human-first approach to business? 16:23
  6. Does spending an hour a day learning or improving yourself lead to higher job satisfaction at your company? 24:31
  7. What is fun about your job? 26:30
  8. Does anyone at your company worry about these fun elements at your work being a distraction? 27:58

Part 2 – Episode 13

  1. How does your company evaluate its employees?  2:43
  2. How do you establish meaningful relationships with your employees (so your feedback will be more effective)?  13:51
  3. What role do self evaluation and peer evaluation play in the overall evaluation of employees at your company?  22:07
  4. How does your company deal with the time requirements of giving and receiving feedback from so many people?  26:01
  5. What are the benefits and challenges your company has faced in implementing this evaluation system?  27:57
  6. If you had it your way, how would you school experience have been different?  36:26
  7. Do you think it is possible for educators to include a system of authentic assessment, similar to the one your company uses, in our classrooms?  40:36
  8. What is your number one tip for shawesome educators?  41:41

“Work with your students and encourage them to take a ‘Yes, and’ approach.”  So, when they say no to an idea, try to get them to turn it into a yes, and statement.  There are no bad ideas, and working with new ideas will make each individual on your team stronger and more flexible.

My Top Takeaways

1. Change the Training Program

Our education system as it stands today is like a training program that doesn’t train our employees to be successful at the job for which they were hired.  We as teachers try so hard to get through to our kids and to make sure they know all of our content, but lost in that struggle is the chance to teach them how to thrive in the world today.  Our world needs creative problem solvers that are not afraid to tackle the most challenging problems.  It is time to make our classrooms a training ground for this challenge.  The more experience we can give them in the classroom with problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork, the less time they have to spend getting retrained at their future jobs, and the more time they can spend changing the world.

2. Lay the foundation of a meaningful relationship

The process of giving and receiving feedback is not an easy one, especially when we’re dealing with teenagers.  As Jared said, communication skills are high priorities for companies when they are looking for talented employees.  The fact that the feedback process is difficult is exactly why we should be giving students experience with it now.  To me, it all relates back to growth.  Just like Woody Blevins said all the way back in episode 1, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”  We need to encourage this growth in our students and one of the ways to do that is to make sure they can give and receive feedback effectively.  But this can’t work unless your students know you care.  If they think you don’t care about them, your feedback is worthless, and the same goes for the feedback of peers.  My goal this year is to foster a meaningful relationship with each and every one of my students and to encourage them to make the same connections with each other.  Then, and only then, we can start practicing these vital skills.


Jared’s email: jared.t.block@gmail.com 

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