Saturday, December 22, 2018

Time Lapse of Pools Plus Kansas building my pool

I have learned a lot about pools and installation! It has been installed since fall 2017, so open one full season. Some of the details are;
18X32 foot inground liner pool
Stamped concrete all around
Salt water (This has been fantastic, I shock at least every two weeks and it has been no trouble)
Sand filter - all Pentair equipment
LED light
A bathing step
I have automated it with Smart Things outlets on pump, light, landscape lights and added a temperature sensor
I do use a solar cover to keep it warm. We like the pool 88 degrees which was consistent from mid may to October (Kansas)

I will do another post on what I would do different (But not much)

Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 Year in Review and what I learned. The big 8 things.

Time continues to accelerate. I was recently speaking with some High School students about careers and what I have learned over the years. We were relating to the years on some of my first jobs where you stared at the clock. You felt like two hours went by and 15 minutes was the real time that went by. Today I refer to my office as a time machine. I go in and 8 to 10 hours go by and it feels like 15 minutes. Now more than ever I must plan my day and stick to managing my time.

Today is my last day in the office for the year. By far one of the fastest years ever. Watching my boys get older is an amazing way of seeing time fly. Caden is now driving and Carsen has really become his own person. So proud of both of them and how they don't let others influence them into making bad decisions. Reason I am writing is to recap what I learned this year at work. This year I have been from Phoenix to Scotland and including Florida twice, Indianapolis, Texas, Denver, Branson and so many more places. Way too much travel in the summer and am going to limit that in 2019 for sure. So here is my list of what I learned.

1. As we continue to go down the building processes direction I have discovered there can be some real loops you can get stuck in. For sure building the processes is very important and documenting is key. However one thing I have found is for some teams and people there will never be enough process. You detail what you think is a very fine line of detail and some want more. So where is the line of doing it the same every time versus wanting to take any decision making out. The customer experience is key and unfortunately things will always challenge the processes you built. Key is defining the 80% then focusing on the 20% and educating the teams on what good decisions look like. Then you cannot wield the sword of accountability when it is really people trying to understand they why or just clarifying things.

2. Culture is never done. You must continuously communicate in many different ways and never stop. Right when you think you have it right you find out you have people worried. Safety in jobs builds the right culture. That doesn't mean no accountability it means communicating failure then building trust through candor.

3. Only the best leaders build future leaders. If you have not been part of building a future leader then are you really a leader? Possibly, however there is a time where you must have done this to really be successful in your leadership path. That doesn't mean you had to be their boss to help build them, you just had to be part of another's leadership journey.

4. It amazes me how few people really care for others. I don't mean that they don't empathize, I mean at their core would do anything for people they respect. Having a few that you just say "I will do anything for them period". That list grew significantly this year for me and should have a bigger list for sure.

5. Support and love the people and the rest will follow. Heard it, seen it hundreds of times. Sometimes faith is key to making this happen.

6. Self awareness is not a given. Only the best leaders have this skill and as people get bigger titles there are fewer people to give feedback (That is authentic) Looking into the mirror is a must however don't look too close because you will become paralyzed.

7. Learning is never done. I continue to learn more every year. I just get better at picking who/where I learn from.

8. Personal relationships will get you a long ways. It helps bridge the gaps where people don't get along.

I look forward to next year and can't wait to see what it teaches me. Hopefully it won't slap me!

Monday, October 15, 2018

I don't know what I don't know (And it really feels like I don't know)

Not sure if it is the time of the year (Because it gets dark early and I have lots of reading time) or if it is the fact that I am getting to mid life but recently I have had my world rocked with new information. It started a couple weeks ago when I was at a conference and heard some new content around Sales And Marketing (Where I have focused my learning for the last 20 years) and this content was great and something completely new to my experiences.

Next I have been working with some of the team where they have attended other conferences and shared content which has sent me down a learning trail of IoT.

Guess it all comes down to the fact that life is constant learning and it is always changing. I am sure glad I am in a industry of constant change and growing is a must.

Some things I recently heard that have been impactful. Not sure who stated this but it was in an article from INK magazine stating something like "If you wouldn't change places with the person giving the advice then don't take that advice" This has given me a good filter to look at advice differently. Now I started running through the people I work with, consultants and others and really the number of people I would change places with is extremely few. Not sure if it is because I really love my life or I need to challenge my contact list more heavily.

Next was KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) I have been blessed with that skill. Maybe because I am not smart enough to make it complicated or maybe because I see through all the BS. Who knows but it is definitely a filter I use constantly.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Are You Purposeful About Your Customer Experience?

Recently it feels like I am always thinking about my customer experience. Let’s face it, it is not because I am having a good customer experience. When I look at some of the companies that are growing exponentially, they almost always have an amazing customer experience-for example, Zappos. Super fast shipping, free returns and an amazing corporate culture that can be felt through any interaction. Others might include;
Uber (They come to you, no cash requirement and an easy app)
Apple (Easy interface, it just works and their products excel at working with each other)
KTAG (No more stopping, just auto billing)
Google Maps (It still amazes me how many people do not use them!) Just put in where you are going, and it not only gives you some alternative routes, it also shows traffic.
You are probably thinking you can come up with a lot more examples, and trust me, so could I. The issue now is that, through technology, many companies have made the user experience so amazing that I identify an “OK” process as poor. An example I have is with a subscription radio service. Starting the service is easy and available online. When it's time to unsubscribe a radio (I have multiple), it gets quite a bit more difficult. You are required to make a phone call--no exceptions. You then wait on hold, endure multiple sales pitches and finally get them convinced to do what you could have done yourself online in seconds. It has caused me to no longer subscribe any additional radios.
While the radio example is obvious, what I believe is not so obvious is setting the customer’s expectations on interactions your company has. Since you are in the business of delivering your service, the knowledge you take for granted could be unfamiliar to your customers. Recently, I needed some new tires and went to a local, trusted shop and they did a fantastic job. They made recommendations based on my needs, such as where I drive (on road or off road), to warranty options, and they even covered possible road hazards. So I decided on the particular tire I wanted and asked when they could do it. Their response was, "right now!" I thought, “Great let’s do it.”
My expectation was that I would have tires within an hour. However, to be honest, I didn’t ask. I sat down and started to do some work with my mobile device and an hour went by quickly. I looked up and my car hadn’t moved, so I went up to the desk and asked how much longer it would be. They said, “Well, we had to have someone bring the tires from an hour and a half away.” I objected: “You said you could do it right now.” I was shocked by their response. "And we can, but we don’t have the tires.”
Look, I don’t really care about your logistics, processes and problems. What I cared about was when I would have tires on my car and I could drive away. I called for a ride at 10 am. At 4:45 I called the shop to ask if my car was ready and they told me they would get to it tomorrow. I had some choice words.
This all could have been a much better customer experience if expectations would have been set up front. Did I come to the store expecting to have new tires on the same day? No. In fact, I expected them to either call me later when they were ready, or tell me to bring the car in on a specific date. Instead, the “right now” set expectations of RIGHT NOW! So the customer experience was really a failure of being clear.
Setting expectations is the first step in having a good customer experience. I will be providing the next steps in future articles. Meanwhile I will be driving on vacation this year, on my new tires, despite my disappointing experience.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A conference Pet Peave?

Recently I feel like I have been to a lot of conferences, industry events or other events that have sessions or keynotes then breaks. At the last three of these events the sessions didn’t start on time! No they didn’t start 30 minutes late it was five to 10 minutes late. One break out I attended the little paper tents that advertised the session had one starting time then the agenda in the event packet had a different time. They started somewhere in the middle. This is frustrating because you are most likely to miss the next session because this one started late.

I wont harp on the fact that you must end on time. Everyone know that but it just feels like every presenter just has “one more thing before I let you go!” Look, I will show up on time you end on time. That is the contract we (Ok not really) agreed on.

My last area that is on the venue is the fact that you have just set through the keynote, breakout, whatever and of course finished off that large glass of tea during that presentation and nature calls (Strongly). What do you find? The bathroom is being cleaned! Either figure out how to get in sync with the agenda or find men to clean the men’s room and women to clean the women's room. Feels like a simple answer!

I don’t want to be a complainer but these are simple things that can make a big difference in running a successful event.