Too Big of a Byte


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Sorry for the pun, but it should read “Bite”.

I heard a hero of mine’s: (Tim Ferriss) podcast recently with our mentor, Seth Godin.

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/02/10/seth-godin/

Seth writes a blog post EVERY DAY, and actually writes 4 or 5 each day, and selects what goes into the queue for publishing.

It occurs to me, that when I get a grand idea, I’ve been expecting myself to think up LOTS of material to flesh it out completely. While a long blog post has value, and sometimes Seth posts some very long ones, a short note can also keep the flow going.

From now on, I’ll try to emulate Seth and keep them to a much smaller bite.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Workflow Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
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email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Why You Should Leave Detailed Messages


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Hi Folks!

It’s time for my long-promised follow-up to “Why You Should Return Calls”.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Too many times in a business environment, and in personal life as well, someone will leave the emptiest message: “Give me a call when you have time” or “call me back”. This type of message puts the burden of THEIR communication on YOU! They OBVIOUSLY have something on their mind, but feel that YOU need to fish for it, and dig it out of them.

This is closely related to a previous post “OMG! I Just Can’t Believe It!”.

You calling someone back to find out what they want is an INSANE waste of your time, and theirs. They’re going to tell you what’s going on anyway, why not in the message that they leave? They are forcing the conversation to be Full-Duplex vs. Half-Duplex, with the added bonus of wasting your time and theirs, with the first empty message. Now, I get it if the communication is confidential, I’ll make THAT exception, however… Most communications are NOT confidential.

FORCING FULL-DUPLEX COMMUNICATION VS. HALF-DUPLEX MESSAGES
Unless it’s CRITICAL, Full-Duplex communication about work items can be a real time waster. I’m not talking about your daily morning meeting with your boss to discuss the items that are your bread and butter, or even social bonding with coworkers.

LEAVING A DETAILED MESSAGE
Detailed messages give the opportunity (time) to work on problems and do homework on the particular issue and the things that are important to your business! I suspect that this may also be why text messages and emails can be effective in certain ways. NO ONE EVER sent a text or email with the body of the message saying “Write me back so I can tell you what I want to say”. Wouldn’t that be ridiculous?

DELUSIONAL
As I’ve stated before, unless the caller is delusional, no one expects you to always be sitting at your desk, or walking around with your cellphone in your hand, waiting for their call. So when it’s your turn to leave a message, make it count. Many people have claimed that they don’t like talking to a machine, (my mother for one). I can understand this, but not leaving a message beyond “call me back” is wholly ineffective.

SOMEONE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU, BUT WON’T SAY WHY.
The only message that is received from an empty message is that someone only wants to talk to a human being. If it’s your boss, you’ll be sitting on pins and needles trying to think of “What’s wrong?”, or “Did I screw something up?”.

THIS SPACE IS BLANK
There’s no opportunity to work on anything important with empty messages. I suppose the particular function of an empty message is the same as the “Your message here!” that’s sometimes seen on the sides of public transit buses and billboards. I always ignore empty messages, and you should too. If your boss leaves one and the issue is really important, he or she will either leave a better message, or request your physical presence. In general terms, 99.9% of the time (or more), what he or she wanted is trivial, or at least way less important than most of what you’re already doing. If it’s a REALLY critical issue, (Administrative, Technical or HR related), then the message should be “Please call me back, it’s CRITICAL!”

YOUR OUTGOING VOICE-MAIL MESSAGE
On you’re outgoing voice-mail message, state clearly that the caller should leave a detailed message. When calling someone else’s phone, and getting his or her voice-mail, you leave a detailed message (whether the outgoing message said to or not). This is being proactive, professional, and leveraging the technology available to your (and the company’s) benefit.

If you have any commentary, please leave it and we’ll discuss!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Human Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Why You Should Return Calls


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Hi folks, here’s another post, with my snark in red of course.

There are several great reasons to return calls, versus always answering the phone:

  • Unless your specific job is to answer the phone, you’ve got other things to do.
  • Returning calls allows you to formulate an opinion about what the person left a message about (Next post, why you should leave detailed messages).
  • Returning calls allows you to do homework on the issue the person left a message about.
  • Answering the phone, and having to tell the person a lie or exaggeration to get them off your back until you have a real answer is grossly inefficient, not helpful, and doesn’t inspire trust.
  • Unless the caller is delusional, no one expects you to always be sitting at your desk, or walking around with your cellphone in your hand, waiting for their call. If you are doing phone support however, you will be calling that person back with an appropriate answer fairly quickly.
  • Most calls are not THAT important.

You should return calls in batches. Leverage your time effectively!

For example, If you start work at 7:30 AM, you should have a short meeting with your boss fairly soon in the morning (7:40 AM) to discuss objectives (hopefully it’s a short meeting, you have things to do). After that meeting, check phone messages, do homework and return calls. Next process email (no more than 30 minutes). (I KNOW you have lots, Mark S., Ken H., and Bob B.! Get better at deciphering what’s important, what’s less important, and what’s absolute B.S.).

Your phone will ring. Do you answer it? Do you ignore it? Can you turn the ringer down?

Read this next part twice and show it to your boss, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT:

Every interruption from your definite purpose puts you a little more behind. Many things that are “urgent” are only important to another person or department from THEIR bad planning. They almost always have NOTHING to do with what YOU need to be doing. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, DO WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING!

If you have an on-site boss, you may be redirected to the unimportant-to-your-established-goals-items, but let HIM or HER direct that bad planning. Eventually, he or she may deliver some push-back to the (bad-planning) department and get you some relief. Or he or she may be FIRED for their complicity in bad-planning (hope springs eternal…).

Okay, back to the scheduled example:

7:50 AM Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
10 AM Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
1 PM, Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
4 PM, Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.

In general, it’s much more effective to do tasks in batches, whether they be returning calls, making calls, processing email, or whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. If you are doing sales, you’ll need to return calls maybe twice as frequently, and not answering all the time.

That’s enough for now.

Think about it, pass it around and comment if you like.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Human Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Oh No! People Are Falling Out Of My Network! (Communication: Part 5)


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

They guys at Manager-Tools.com and Career-Tools.com, in their podcast “Building a Network”, state that people will fall out of your network and that’s okay. I suggest that it’s somewhat stronger than that:

It’s REALLY IMPORTANT that people fall out of your network, and here’s why: Those that are falling out will NEVER call you for help, you can’t count on them to help you, and they can’t be relied on for anything other than a brief comment on their social media feed (again I mention an acquaintance with 2,485 “friends” on Facebook, I say “acquaintance” because it’s only a collection, and I’m only a tiny part of that collection, and not someone that he [the empirical “he”, could just as easily be “she”] wants to stay in touch with).

For example: Say for instance you have 1,000 people in your network (just to keep the math easy). If by chance you lose your job, how many can be RELIED UPON to help you? You have NO WAY OF KNOWING if the unreliable ones haven’t been filtered out over the past 2 years. There may only be 600 that are partial toward you and willing to help you, and the other 400 may only be tepid at best. If you need to hire some people, who are you going to call? The folks you know and trust always get the call before an agency.

The people in your network that YOU can help will tend to ENGAGE YOU in conversation, or at least acknowledge that you have attempted communication with them or reply to you. If after 2 years of you offering help quarterly, a person falls out of your network, manager-tools, & career-tools argue that they never WERE in your network of people that YOU can help. I agree.

I wish there was a faster way to find this out, but as my dad says “Them’s the breaks!”. Those people may attempt to contact you sometime later, but you certainly don’t OWE them anything. You may decide to put them back into regular communication, but it’s certainly up to you (and I would). If then, they stay in touch, keep them in your system and communicate, offering to help them. But if then, he or she resumes his or her bad habit of ill communication, and after 2 years falls out again. Oh well.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

What is Your Presence?


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

What presence are you giving to your clients, co-workers, superiors or subordinates?

Webinar vs. Seminar
Videoconference/Teleconference vs. Conference
Phone Call vs. Personal Visit

If you are delivering or receiving general advise, or directives, then webinar, video/tele-conferencing, and phone calls are fine. You are not attempting to communicate anything that needs explicit trust.

Now, if you are trying to build trust, launch a new product or product line, get certifications from a client (that you can exclusively, or semi-exclusively) build their product(s) or develop and leverage personal relationships for mutual benefit, then NOTHING is as good as a personal presence.

The personal presence gives lots of metadata that you cannot apply in any other method of communication. If you are giving a webinar for example, do you see or hear anyone? People will see and hear you. If a person has a question, he or she will have to type it in, or speak into a microphone, and deal with technically related delays. In a video or teleconference, same thing, delays. Phone calls are slightly better in that you can hear the intonation of a person’s voice (glee, annoyance, sadness, anger, sarcasm, etc.), but even though that communication is in real time, there’s no chance to see their body language.

In-person communications are always best. In a seminar, conference, and the on-site visit. The advantages are:

  • You can have physical contact – Human beings like physical contact! If you know them well, pat them on the back! Shake some hands! Of course, practice safe behaviors, (more on that later).
  • They can see your face. Faces are EXTREMELY important in human relations.
  • You can look them in the eye!
  • You can feel what’s going on and they can feel what’s going on.
  • You can build trust one person at a time, and leverage each other’s relationships: I trust him, so I’ll recommend him to this other person that I trust and trusts me.

That’s enough of this subject for now. Think about it, and reply if you like!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Weekly-Biweekly Workflow


Charles McCrumb Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

In a recent post, Seth Godin wrote “Double and half (freelancer math)” essentially what freelancers need to be doing with half of their time is getting better at what they do.

If half your time is spent getting better at what you do (and I believe you should spend it that way), that other half of your time needs to be spent actually working on projects, and introducing yourself to people. I think you should instead of daily working on ALL of these things (and making yourself crazy in the process), you should do these things weekly in order to develop a weekly-biweekly workflow. Here’s what I mean:

[Sample weekly-biweekly schedule]
Spend Monday introducing yourself to prospective clients, when you get home or back to your office, send a thank you email to the people that you made connections with and communicate with your network. Tuesday, develop some systems. FOCUS EXCLUSIVELY on systems or homework. Wednesday meet more people, and thank them, communicate. Thursday develop systems. Friday meet more people, and thank them, communicate.

Weekends, spend time with your family!

The next week, reverse the schedule:
Monday develop systems; Tuesday meet people, communicate; Wednesday develop systems, Thursday meet people, communicate; Friday develop systems.

That’s a nice weekly-biweekly flow where you won’t feel too rushed, but will get some things accomplished. Over 2 weeks, you spent 5 days developing systems, and 5 days meeting people and communicating. Of course, a project or projects will mess with this schedule a bit.

If you are working for someone else, (not freelancing, or consulting) ask your boss if you can try something similar, by grouping some of your tasks into day-long efforts. Show her this post if you like. There really is no such thing as multitasking. It’s fractional-tasking at best, and the more you do it, the more scatterbrained and worse you get at it. Working all day at a work function (or similar work functions) can REALLY break loose a clogged workflow!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects | Office Automation | Human Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Do I Have to Invent Something Cool?


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Upon publishing this post, everyone [okay, the media at large] is waiting to see what new thing Elon Musk invents [or more interestingly supports].

My question to the general public, and tech fans at large: Is it necessary for you to invent something that has never BEEN before to be successful?

My bet and best guess is NO!

You only need to be smart enough to either USE / integrate what’s been before, and / or what’s going on now, INVEST in what’s going on now (the safest thing to do, with a stop-loss or at least an alarm in place), or to HIRE someone that’s using what’s been before and / or what’s going on now!

You really don’t need to be a genius!

You really only need to be paying attention and somewhat aware of what’s going on, and then make the appropriate adjustment to your own psyche [which is hard enough, more of that later].

Cheers!