Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sure Frogs in a CAN!

Frogs in a Coffee can was an analogy I used today during our peer group discussion. Stuart Crawford (Owner IT Matters in Calgary Canada) and Brad Schow (Compudyne Duluth MN) have now ask me to explain this. Clearly I have located my experiences in KS.

When I was much younger, and now my son, we would catch frogs or toads. We would keep them as pets, bait or just to collect them. So what you do is get an old Folgers can (getting harder to find), the kind with a plastic lid. Then poke holes in the lid for air. And of course put some grass in the can (Make the toad feel at home!) Once you put the toad in the can with the lid on it, they will jump up and keep hitting their head. After a while, the toad will stop trying to jump out. You can even go further and remove the lid for a while and they will not try and jump out!

What does this have to do with business? Well it applies to people’s behavior. You have to give limits (A hard ceiling). People will continue to try the boundaries. After a while behavior will be modified. However, if you do not enforce this ceiling, then the behavior will not change. (IE the toads will escape!)

OK not the most eloquent description ever. Kathy Durfee had a much better description of behavior. Maybe she will post it for us?

Has Email lost its effectiveness?

Yesterday I did not check my email till the evening. 220 emails. That excludes the advertising! I am C, CC and BCC like crazy on emails. Many of these have titles like FYI and keeping you updated. Many times, the person sending me the email answers their own question. So I started to think, what should emails have in them?

1. If you need an answer, let people know what kind of response is requested and a time frame.
2. Don't BCC all the time! The person cannot address the parties involved unless those parties know you were part of the email.
3. Read emails before you send them. Make sure it says what you want. Words are not missing and it is complete sentences.
4. If it is a heated email. Write the email then sit on it for at least ten minutes before you send it. It may not be as bad as you initially think.
5. Check your facts. Make sure that the people said or did what someone told you. Verify statistics.
6. Remember that emails can be forwarded to anyone. Your emails may end up places where you do not want them.
7. Would the email be better communicated by a phone call or in person? Do it that way!
8. Remember that email has no emotion. Jokes can be taken wrong, if not written correctly lots of things can be interpreted the wrong way!

Clearly I have violated most if not all of these. Takes some time, save some one's in box and email wisely!

A bit of rambling!

Spent today in Buffalo NY. I have been to NY City several years ago and don't really want to ever go back. I am pleasantly surprised with Buffalo. It is spread out, lots of trees and easy to get around.

I did get a chance to go to Niagra Falls. It was impressive! It is definitely one of those things to check off on the list of things to see. I did have a chance to go over to Canada and play a round of golf. It was a nice course. I spent lots of time in the sand.

During all of this I did get to spend a lot of time with Brad Schow from Compudyne in Duluth MN. It is nice to know that we all have some of the similar insecurities. Are your respected by your peers? Are you making the right decisions in the business? Discipline the kids? all of these things and more. Then bouncing from one side to the other on issues on your mind. Thanks Brad for the assurance that this is normal. I look forward to the next couple of day with my Peer Group and I am sure I will learn lots of new concepts and ideas.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Messed it up big, Vista?

Talk about not paying attention to your own advice. Yesterday a rep came to me showing me a big win. I said great job, then went on to add we need more. What a way to unmotivate a person. Today, I will try and undo the damage. Probably too little too late. I am not sure what I was thinking about?

Vista has been out well over a year now. There sure is a lot of customer apprehension out there. I don't remember this when we went from 2000 to XP. But to be honest, it has been over 5 years ago. My own family has created a story for Vista. First, we have a computer in our house that is running Vista. My wife made the change from XP to Vista and never really knew it. Then my parents bought a laptop a couple of weeks ago. My dad was using it for a week and we were talking, he didn't realize it was running Vista. So for everyone that thinks it is such a big change, it is, but not from a user standpoint.

Like technology in general, change will happen, it is what keeps us in business.