Friday, February 26, 2016

What I have learned in the UK (General things they do better!)

I have started to see some things that the UK does better than the US! I wasn't expecting to see so many things. So here is my list;
1. Master power switch in motel room. You hit one switch and all things in the room go off (Lights and outlets)
2. Elevators (Lifts) 0 is always ground floor. -1 is below that and so on. Versus in the US we have lobby, conference levels and such. The UK version is so much more consistent.
3. Meals are much more healthy and smaller portions. So much less fried food and sugary drinks.
4. Taxi's have a certification program.
5. Apprentice program - great idea
6. Government recognizes certain titles as authorized where as in the US we make up titles and you never know!
7. Public transportation is really good.
8. Chip and Pin. Their credit cards have an embedded chip and you have a pin that you have to enter to allow charges which significantly reduces fraud. Why do we not have this? (I am tired of telling people I have no pin)
9. Tipping is significantly less and they pay wait staff fair wage.
10. When you are done eating you have to request a bill. (It is considered rude to bring before the ask) then they bring a wireless device to the table and process in front of you.
11. Environmental impact. Everything it seems is built around efficiency. We definitely could do better.
12. Everyone has been very polite. No maybe due to my accent it is obvious I am not from here, however I believe that being more polite is built into the language.
13. Every space is fully utilized. Shops and such are great at maximizing space (Probably due to the cost of that space)

Just a short list. I have had an outstanding time in the UK and learned so much both in culture and in business.

Don’t talk about your pants!

Oh the lessons I have learned this week in language differences. I learned during my presentation yesterday that “Pants” in the UK are what I would refer to underwear. So if you say “I had a stain on my pants” it means something a bit difference. What is the correct language? I had a stain on my trousers. Well that entertained the entire crowd.

As for the presentation it went very well. While educating on Sales and Marketing I managed to share some of the differences from Kansas to the UK. They were definitely interested in Kansas weather. From snow to heat and especially tornado’s.

Doing a whole day of content was a new thing for me. Sure I have managed to work events that provided content all day however I was not responsible for the content all day. Here is what I learned that went well;
• Having 10 different PPT that were topic oriented with an intro deck that set the agenda and value.
• Humor was well received
• The room was very conducive for interaction back and forth.
• Content was solid.

And then the things that I would have done different;
• Too much content. Should have slowed down and cut the last two sections.
• More interaction and posing questions to the crowd.
• Better ending where you end with a bang.

Over all I believe lots of value was delivered, we all had fun and the event was successful!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Business in the UK Versus Business in US

Good news is that business is very similar in both area's. It amazes me how everyone struggles with the same things. When it comes to HTG the ability for Executives to present their QBR (Quarterly Business Review) in a concise manor and on time can be a struggle. To me this is a very important skill. If you cannot concisely communicate about your business to other executives that are in the same business line then how can you communicate to your team on vision and direction?

I have been here long enough that I don't really notice the accent any longer. In fact for whatever reason I had a dream last night that a guy with an Irish accent would not let me golf on the course? No clue on that one. I can now identify location in the UK by accent! Think about the US and the difference between someone in the South versus North and so on. The interesting thing is the fact that in the US there is thousands of miles between these accents. In the UK everything is a bit closer.

The issues that are consistent in the IT business (And probably most businesses)

1. People (Finding, training and holding accountable)
2. Process. (Keeping, updating and using)
3. Communication (Vision and direction)
4. Sales and Marketing (Which goes directly to process)

I am sure that there are so many more. This is just what came to the top this week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Books you must read!

See HERE for a great list of respected industry experts (yea, it is a bit of self promotion because I am on the list)

Day 2 in the UK!

So I definitely slept well Saturday night and forced myself to get up at 7 a.m. Had a bit of breakfast and went back to the room to do my ironing for the week, catch some TV and get ready for the week. Around 10 a.m. I was definitely a bit tired and too a quick nap.
Met up with Hardin for Lunch at a local place that was great. This is where I learned that bacon is a bit different here. I would refer to it as Canadian Bacon. However it was a good lunch and great conversation. Hardin and I have done some work together in the South before and I really respect him and gain so much wisdom.

Back to the facility where I finished up my presentations for the week (Yea I know finally) and out to dinner with a couple others at what I would call an American bistro. Good food and more great conversation.
Things I have learned so far?
Que = getting in line (I have been informed that I Que to far back (Personal space is different here)
Lift = Elevator

Sir Name = Last Name
Pub = Short for Public
Elevators have a 13th floor

Crossing the street is a challenge. I never know what direction to look!
Tea is preferred to Coffee which isn’t a huge surprise.
Euro is roughly the same value as the dollar
I now understand the difference between the North and South UK and even more clarity around the far north. And taking that a bit further I am understanding the different accent differences.
You have to ask for the check at the dinner table (It is considered rude to just bring the check) Then a machine is brought to the table to run the bill. Tipping is significantly less.
In the UK they are far ahead of the US when it comes to Credit Cards. They have the chip and a pin. I only have one card with a chip and they keep asking me for the pin. When I say I don’t have one they take that as extremely strange.
Pound is to Dollar. Quid is to Buck.
Everything is expensive but not drastically so (Definitely more in London than Manchester)
Learning things every day (Even every hour) and have decided that Cricket is my new sport to watch (Now that I understand the rules and such)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Planes, Trains and Taxi's?

February in Kansas can be a real gamble when it comes to weather. So Thursday records were broken all over the state with Hays leading with a high of 91 degrees. Pretty strange when three weeks prior we had significant snow. One thing from Kansas you just get used to change. Change is where my trip starts. On my way to Wichita KS I received the first of many text messages from the airlines. This text notified me that my flight was cancelled and rebooked to later. This would mean that I would miss my meeting in London with Hardin who would help me get from Heathrow airport to Manchester UK (About 160 miles away and more about that later!)
Working with Peggy from HTG (Which she is awesome) I changed flights to Manhattan Kansas so to hopefully keep my meeting point with Hardin. Boarded the American flight and waited. So after a bit the pilot came over and said that Chicago was shut down for the next 1 ½ hours and off the plane we go. Meanwhile it is no longer possible for me to catch the 6 o’clock flight and with this I would be on my own navigating London. (Fun!)

I sat in the Manhattan airport not hearing anything. All of a sudden we had a quick drill of loading the plane and getting in the air. By this time many of the passengers have decided to not fly this day so it was a quiet and open flight. Because of the changes in flights I had to go pick up my luggage and then recheck for the international flight. I had concerns on how long this might take (I had hours to make the flight to London) However it was quick and painless and had 40 minutes to grab some food and get prepared for the next 8 hour flight (Not my definition of fun)

Off to London I go on the largest airplane I have ever been on. It was completely full. Working to grab some sleep during this flight was a struggle. I took off from Chicago at 9 pm and would land in London at 11 AM. (There is a 6 hour time difference from CST to GMT) The flight was uneventful. For 8 hours it was pretty quick? I managed to watch one movie, listen to some music while nodding in and out of sleeping. Not sure how much sleep I really got. Getting dinner on the plane was a first for me (And probably the last, yuck) I did manage to get up a couple of times to stretch my legs. Being short is a benefit to these flights!
So off I go in London to figure out how to get to Manchester. I had to go through immigration which took an hour, then grab my luggage and find the Heathrow Express (Not the Heathrow Connect) which takes me to downtown London where I get to a Taxi. That Taxi takes me to the Euston Train station which is MASSIVE!

Here I learn a lot of lessons (I will provide all of these lessons later) I finally get some Pounds so I can pay for things! Then I get a train ticket to Manchester (80 Pounds) and they do not have a gate. So you watch the big screen and when it shows the gate all of a sudden there is a massive move towards the gate. So here I go on my second train ride of the day. This ride is much more interesting. I get to see the country side. Everything is green, lots of sheep and horses. Interesting note, very few barns and all the horses have coats (Made out of material). This is where it becomes obvious that I am not in Kansas anymore.
Last stop is Manchester train station where I find my taxi and to the motel. The motel I believe is the tallest building in town. My Taxi driver informed me that all the footballers stay at this place? He gave me the names which mean nothing to me.

So by this time it is 4 in the afternoon. I connect with Hardin via text and we are going to meet at 6 for dinner. After getting in my room a shower felt great. With all the new stuff I wasn’t tired (Yet). Went to a traditional British Pub for a beer, then on to another for Fish & Chips. Had a chance to call home and hear that Carsen had a great basketball game and was going to his second game of the day. Off to bed at 9:30 (Which is 3:30 in the afternoon at home) and slept so well! I am forcing myself to get up at 7 in the morning.