Musical Chairs

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Musical Chairs

Often businesses are motivated to move to a new location or move employees within the same building to make sure the right people are in the most effective spot. This process can be unnerving, frustrating, and

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When Mistakes Go Viral

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When Mistakes Go Viral

All of us are prone to mistakes, they happen both in our personal lives and business. While making mistakes can be inevitable, how we handle them doesn't have to be. Here are some things to keep in mind when they occur: 

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Don't Drive or Email Angry

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Don't Drive or Email Angry

Over 10 years ago I experienced first hand the dangers of using email as a communication tool for managing people. I was confronting someone, let's call him Later Nater, who had promised a deliverable and all I had received was the deafening sound of crickets. This wasn't the first time that Later Nater was late and I had to pick up the slack. So in my frustration I sent a pointed email explaining my frustration at his lack of resolve and dedication to the project. After sending the email, not only did I not feel better, but regretted the way I handled the situation. Afterwards, I met with Nater and he explained how his heart really wasn't in the project and wanted out. Had we sat down early on, we could have resolved the situation before it escalated. As it was, we both left the situation frustrated. 

From that point forward I resolved to do my best to not use email as a means of conveying my frustration or disappointment. In my opinion, when we email angry, I find it very similar to road rage. We are detached from the other driver and so we feel right in our actions to cut someone off, honk, or act inappropriately. However, find those same people bump into each other on the street, more often than not they say excuse me and go on their merry way. 

When you're feeling your blood start to boil, get out of your chair or pick up the phone. If you must write the email, save it in your drafts and send it the next morning when the dust has settled.

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New Year's Resolution

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New Year's Resolution

With the new year upon us, it's normal to begin dreaming of warmer days and sandy beaches. This of course leads us back to the gym to gain back some resemblance of a beach body or at least the hopes of fitting back into our swimsuit. While these images may be extreme, they do show people's commitment to fitness.

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Your commitment to your computer and network is equally important. Remember to keep it clean of viruses, spyware and even unnecessary programs that you no longer use. With the new year and a new budget, consider upgrades like more memory or solid state hard drives if you're not ready to replace your computer. That way the improved performance of your computer will match your new six minute mile pace. One can dream, right?

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My Math Teacher Was Right

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My Math Teacher Was Right

In high school I had a bad habit of not writing out all the steps in a math problem when coming to a final solution. Often, I’d skip the simple steps as it felt redundant to document an obvious solution. My teacher, Mr Veeroni, would always give me a hard time about it, even if I provided the correct solution to the problem. At the time I didn’t understand the importance.

Fast forward to college, when I began taking programming classes, commenting our code was a requirement. If we did not comment we were deducted points from the assignment. Similar to my math classes, I was reluctant to change, but upon reviewing 100’s of lines of code I actually found it useful when trying to remember why I coded something in a particular way.

When I started working for different businesses, as either an employee or a contractor I found it necessary, beneficial and actually enjoyable to document procedures, processes or code. Here are 3 reasons that I think everyone in business should make documenting a priority:

  1. It allows us to free up more mental space to master more areas in a shorter period of time.
  2. You can hand off code or a process to someone else and minimize the training required for another team member if properly documented.
  3. It allows us to reuse puzzle pieces in business and not have to re-invent the wheel when approaching a similar problem, but in a different area.

 

 

 

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Is Windows 10 a virus?

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Is Windows 10 a virus?

A virus is a malicious program that installs on a user's computer with the intent of spreading, stealing or simply causing havoc in the environment it resides. While it may be a stretch to call Windows 10 a virus, it isn't the longest journey I've taken.

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Home... An Ongoing Mess

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Home... An Ongoing Mess

Many businesses assume that a users home drive is a necessity and gets added to their server like mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. And like mashed potatoes, we just can't help ourselves, so employees begin adding a majority of their files to their H: or U: drive. So what happens? The employee leaves and it gets passed to the next person to sort or is archived elsewhere and the biohazard mess continues to flow until someone is ready to clean it up.

So what's the better option. Create a folder structure that everyone can use, but is locked down appropriately so that only the users that need access can view or edit as required.

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Business or Pleasure?

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Business or Pleasure?

This may be a good question to ask ourselves as we walk into our place of work each day. Having seen and assisted many employees leave a company, voluntary or not, I know first hand what makes the process more difficult than it needs to be. 

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Vacation or Vexation?

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Vacation or Vexation?

Have you ever been on vacation when you get the dreaded call from work? Depending on your role and severity of the situation it can feel like you’re swagger wagon is flying through mid air with everything falling apart as you gently obliterate your vehicle into the ground similar to National Lampoon's Vacation. And finding your anger rise to that of Chevy’s mood swing won’t bring any relief or remedy. Additionally, the caller is equally stressed by the situation and their lack of control to resolve the issue at hand.

So… what’s the answer: 

Consider cross training your job responsibilities to one or more co-workers/contractors. Now more than likely this can’t and shouldn’t be done a few days before your vacation. When answering a question or training other co-workers you may have the opportunity to give a simple answer or the full picture. I know, you have 20 things to do, but the more you press into teaching opportunities, in the long run you’ll have more time to take day to day issues off your plate. Who knows, maybe eventually you’ll be 20 tasks ahead instead of behind.


If you had to call or be called recently for a technology related issue, reach out to me for reliable IT support. I’ll make sure your next trip to Wally World is on time and uninterrupted.

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What's your Downtime?

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What's your Downtime?

When it comes to downtime I'm not talking about your upcoming beach trip to Playa Del Carmen. Instead, I'm referring to what length of time is acceptable for a system in your organization to be down.  It could be anything from an enterprise application to data stored on your server to your vacuum. I personally have a high level of downtime tolerance for my vacuum, but it keeps on tick’n :)

Here are some areas to consider when deciding on a duplication/backup/recovery plan:

  1. Loss of Revenue - If you run a coffee house and 90% of your transactions are credit card, then you may want to make sure you have a reliable and/or backup internet. Maybe you run a manufacturing warehouse that heavily relies on its ERP system to fulfill orders. In this case, you might want to virtualize your server environment and have spare server(s) for load balancing.  Which applications or services must remain or have minimal down time?

  2. Alternatives during Blackout- The next item to consider is what alternative process will allow your business to continue operating during downtime. In our previous example with the coffee house, while the transaction rate for credit cards might be the dominant source, many of your customers may have cash. In the manufacturing environment it’s still very common to pass hard copies of the order, and you may be able to work off those until the system is online. Or maybe there are other areas of business that have been neglected and could be improved while your system is down. What alternatives can you use to remain productive or stay efficient in other areas?

  3. Cost to Replicate/Backup - Lastly, what will it cost to build out your environment for minimal downtime? If most of your services are cloud based then your cost could be minimal in comparison to your sales. If you generate $5,000/day, and it’s going to cost $5,000 to develop a virtualized environment to ensure uptime it’s probably worth the investment. Of those essential systems that are revenue generators, what is the cost to increase uptime?

Hope this helps you in your decision making process. Remember, in the event of a system disaster, take a deep breath and continue to move forward. Learn from your mistakes and plan better next time. If you need help thinking through this process, don't hesitate, contact me today!

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Technology vs Management in the Workplace

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Technology vs Management in the Workplace

Technology and management are used individually or together in the business environment to accomplish objectives. When engaging in this collaborative process, you must be intentional about how and when they are used. Often in my past I've seen technology used as a simple fix to solve a problem caused by employees, customer, or vendors... for example:

 
 

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, can allow employees to pass a few minutes or hours at work checking the latest happenings. Social media is the ultimate killer of all work efficiency; at the very least, it sometimes results in impolitely ignoring the person in front of you.  While blocking these sites in your organization may be a good thing for repeat offenders, I think we are missing a couple important points.

  1. The why
  2. The consequence

Without these we are merely creating a challenging game for the employee to find a way to get access to what they want through a phone, proxy, or hot spot.  If we don't take the time to explain the reasoning behind our actions and their importance, then we can leave people feeling like they are against the company instead of part of the team.   Lastly, if there aren't consequences to breaking rules then the employees will put their foot over the line as far as you will allow. 

Technology can be a great tool, but don't use it as a crutch to get away from being relational and managing properly. Also, if you're talking to someone, put your phone back in your pocket and talk to them!

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