The Order of Communications: Part 2 – The Phone Call


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

THE PHONE CALL
In the Order of Communications, the next best human communication (after face-to-face contact of course) is a phone call. It’s still considered full duplex: I can hear you, you can hear me; We can talk over each other, and still understand each other.

You can still hear the intonation and inflection in each other’s voices. If you’re spending lots of (recommended) face-to-face time with the person, you can even tell over the phone if she’s rolling her eyes, or wearing her sarcastic face, by the way she says the words. A phone call is still a context rich communication, and worthy of our attention.

Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 3 – Voice Mail

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects | Office Automation
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
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

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The Order of Communications: Part 1 – Face to Face


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

PREFACE
Many of the problems we face in modern business are directly related to poor communications. These communications can be improved by some simple tweaks, that will have you spending more time working on what’s really important, and having more time to actually think!

WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH EMAIL?
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen 20 (or more) instances of the SAMEemail message being shuffled around from user to user, with no resolution. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of that too. The idea that “It’s not my problem now, it’s in someone else’s inbox.” runs rampant. We all do way too much email, especially internally (within the same company).

Recently, I’ve also read some advice stating not to put anything into an email that could be considered “volatile”. Anything (and by inference, everything) has the possibility to go volatile!  It’s always better to have context in allcircumstances.

The Order of Communications is an effective method of building trust and eliminating too much email (especially internally, within the same company, building, or floor). Some of the push-back I routinely field is that “Email is our number one form of communication here.1 and “It’s our paper trail.2 These concerns will be addressed in this post!

I also get push-back about efficiency vs. effectiveness. If it was all about efficiency, then we’d be talking as fast as humanly possible. Efficiency is for machines. There is some crossover between efficiency and effectiveness, but once your computer processes are figured out, then we can deal with helping people to be more effective, freeing up time to THINK. A great side benefit of generating less email, is much less email being received from people replying.

Make less email, get less email. Get back to work on what you are being paid to do.

There are certainly tricks and systems for processing lots of email, but lets start with
The Order of Communications, to get the total count down.

FACE-TO-FACE
1The number one, best (most effective) human communication is face-to-face. Trust is built one person at a time, face-to-face. This is not to say that trust cannot be built one person to many; It CAN, but it’s much harder to speak to a group about personal things, beyond the “How are you doing?” and “Nice to see you.”.

In general, we feel better about ourselves and others when we visit face-to-face.
Face-to-face conversations release oxytocin (a feel good hormone) that promotes trust. By building trust, we start to develop the thing that we never bring to business with us: Empathy.

Empathy allows us to put ourselves in the other person shoes, and realize that: No, Fred likely didn’t do that on purpose. It was probably an accident.

Face-to-face communication is context rich.  It’s full-duplex (Meaning that I can talk over you, you can talk over me; we can both hear each other, and we can both understand each other), and even if one person whispers and the other can’t hear all the words, they can still read the other persons lips. Face-to-face communication is full of nonverbal data; I can see you roll your eyes, I can see you put a sarcastic look on your face. All emotions and body language are included.

Instead of sending an email (which because it’s only words, with no context) and if you’re in the same building, or on the same floor as the person, get up, go get a cup of coffee, and walk over to the other person’s office or desk or cubicle (you’re not getting enough exercise anyway) and go talk to the person for three minutes instead of sending that email.

2If you must have an email “paper trail”, then after you’ve had your talk,  send a VERY brief “meeting minutes” to the person, CC’d to His boss, your boss and anybody else involved in whatever you were discussing. One piece of email versus 20. That email is now a paper trail, that is mostly trail, and no paper.

  • Skype / Webex / Facetime / Cisco UMI or some other video communications (if there is plenty of bandwidth), can still be considered a full duplex, and context rich face to face communication. All human emotions and visual metadata (facial expressions) are available. If you don’t have the bandwidth however, there will be plenty of buffering, latency and packet loss and a general feeling of discomfort and annoyance.

Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 2 – The Phone Call

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
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
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

The Cult of Youth (and My Advise) | The Future of Work: Part 4


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

 

THE CULT OF YOUTH

Craig Ferguson (his writers) figured it out:
We Deify Youth

After watching and listening to this monologue, I’ve realized that Craig, (et al), is absolutely right. Beyond that, there is the implication that, living long enough to be old isn’t a reward anymore. It used to be much, MUCH harder to get over the age of 50!

Honestly, white hair and beards are still revered in older cultures, but that’s changing too with globalization.

Living to be older is actually the natural goal, but we’ve corrupted it. Now, even if you do everything “right” and manage to reach old age (an objective opinion as to what is old, let’s say 70), you can still be “Behind the 8 ball” (screwed!).

Aren’t we all trying to get OLDER?


MY ADVISE

  • If employed (or even unemployed), start your side-business NOW!
    Start saving money on your taxes on things you are already using (Internet, cell phone service, software, etcetera). Then if, and/or when you have no W2 employment, either from being fired or downsized (or the new and clever marketing phrase “workforce reduction”), you’ll have something to grow!
    If you have enough clients that you can voluntarily leave, even better!
  • If you are in school, don’t spend too much money on it (you’ll put yourself in debt for half a million dollars! Really, do the math
). Get enough education that you feel confident enough to start a business, only acquiring enough information and confidence in your abilities. If you can get these things and experiences elsewhere, that’s fine!
    This has NOTHING to do with being degreed (which is a different game)!
  • Find something you like and/or are competent to do, and become the “expert” in that field. That way, you become the “go to” person for that specialty, and can command a lot of money for your products and/or services. You may need to do this several times, for many projects. Eventually, something will stick, and you’ll be the person everyone wants to talk to and hear from.
  • I can’t emphasize this enough: STAY IN CLOSE COMMUNICATION with friends, colleagues and vendors from school, past jobs, projects and contracts. When one of your friends or colleagues makes it big, they will remember that you were on their side before they went large. If and when YOU make it big, you’ll need people that you know and trust.
    Be friends, and stay in touch with people that are experts in what THEY do! It is easier than ever these days, using LinkedIN, Facebook, texting, email, etcetera. Later, I may post on how to do this from Evernote and other mobile applications.
  • Work your “career” as a series of projects. Successful or not, you will learn from each experience, making you worth more in terms of getting it right. I wish I had worked my early career this way. Alas, it’s not too late to get it right!

That’s all I have for now. If I think of anything else, I’ll post “Part 2”. Please post back (the contact form at the bottom) for any omissions or deletions that I may have missed.

Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 1 – Face to Face

 

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
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
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

There Will Be Jobs, Projects and Contracts That You Will Hate | The Future of Work: Part 3


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

THERE WILL BE JOBS, PROJECTS AND CONTRACTS THAT YOU WILL HATE

I am recently working on a long-term contract that, quite frankly, doesn’t make me feel good. Not about my self-worth, not about my business, not about their business (that I am trying to make better), not about the people there. Not about the drive. None of it. Do I feel right about taking their money?

Absolutely.

I am certainly EARNING it, but not in a way that makes me feel any kind of good. There are certainly lots of loud arguments going on.

People in the area of psychology have learned that it takes at least 5 good interactions (i.e. joking around, “Good job”, “Good morning, nice to see you”, etc.) to erase a single bad interaction (yelling about screw-ups in production, hollering at vendors, etc.). It doesn’t even matter if YOU ARE NOT THE FOCUS of the problem, if you hear it, YOU FEEL IT!

There seems to be some debate on the exact ratio (100:1 vs 5:1)

When Angry Disengage
The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations

Still: even a 5 to 1 ratio is a terrible ROI (Return On Investment, for those that don’t know).
Mindful kindness matters.

This client’s culture, has raised voices EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is not good. It is not good for any business. If there’s a problem, and yelling is always the way it is dealt with, people will naturally hide problems until they reach critical mass, leading to (you guessed it) more yelling.

That’s not effective management, and it’s certainly burning bridges with the goodwill of people that you will likely need again at some point in the future (Ă  la Seth Godin’s recent post: Weight thrown and the slippery slope).

Are the business’ customers hearing any of that yelling?
The employees certainly are, which brings up the next point.

There is a recent experiment that shows that stress is contagious!

Because of this, it is almost certain that the clients (of the business I am helping) can FEEL what is going on. They may not know what is actually happening, but just walking in, they will FEEL that something is not right.

You want your business to feel GOOD to your clients. You want them to feel safe, and to know that you can handle their needs. THAT is going to be the only thing that differentiates many commodity and finished goods businesses from each other.

If you can deliver the exact same product as another company, that’s possibly closer, why would a purchasing manager ever choose YOUR company?

Next week: The Cult of Youth (and My Advise) – The Future of Work: Part 4

 

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
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
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Get Used to Driving Farther Than You Ever Thought You Would | The Future of Work: Part 2


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

GET USED TO DRIVING FARTHER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD

If you’re over 40, you will likely drive A LOT farther, for less money. There can be a slight benefit to this if you are doing 1099 work (Contracting/Freelancing), as you are able to write-off from your taxes this mileage as “expenses incurred while trying to make some money”. If it is W2 work, you’re kind of screwed for that, but hopefully the benefits (and pay) will make it worth the ride.

Either way, your backside is going to feel the effects. Your temperament will be tested too. Look at it as an exercise in Zazen (seated meditation).

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

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
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
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Get Used to Lower Pay | The Future of Work: Part 1


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Hi Friends!
I’ve finally gotten around to splitting up a VERY long post from 2 years ago.
Your Job, The Future of Work, and the Cult of Youth


I recently had the thought: “How safe is your job? How safe is anybody’s job?”

Then of course, our mentor Seth Godin recently posted: Thirty Years of Projects.

He makes the point that he has always thought of his career as a series of projects.
I have been thinking about this idea for the past year, and should have published earlier (that way, I could have stolen HIS thunder!)

Live and learn.

I believe that project work is a big part of the employment model for the present and future.

I think the model is: Projects (Consulting), Contracts, W2 (Full-Time), and Part-Time work.
Following (over the next few weeks) is a list of ideas that I think will be important as we work our way(s) through this model.


I believe that project work is a big part of the employment model for the present and future.

I think the model is: Projects (Consulting), Contracts, W2 (Full-Time), and Part-Time work.


GET USED TO LOWER PAY

If you are over 40, you will start seeing W2 employment disappearing, either among your friends and acquaintances or personally. The grand experiment in W2 employment is over. Many companies (all sizes: large, medium-sized, and small) don’t want to pay big salaries and big benefits to employees.

When a rĂ©sumé show 20 years or more experience in “X”, the employer (or recruiter) DOES NOT THINK:
Wow! That is just what I need!“.
INSTEAD, HE OR SHE THINKS:
Old person. Wants a lot of money.
They are RIGHT!
YOU (and/or I) ARE / AM AN OLD PERSON, AND DO WANT A LOT OF MONEY!
We are all in this together.
If you are not old now, God willing, YOU WILL BE!

That doesn’t make it right or fair, it is just TRUE!

None of this is consistent either, which makes it even more frustrting: You never know where age-discrimination will rear it’s ugly head.

You’ll eventually (or sooner) be made an offer that will insult you. It will be W2 work that is beneath you, and for far less money than you were getting previously.

I cannot tell you what to do here. Before acting on it, give it a day to sink in. What will be the opportunity costs (a better offer coming in, your side-business picking up, etcetera) vs. Just getting some income?

In general, all jobs are being commoditized.
Old and young… THAT’S GOING TO AFFECT ALL OF US!!!

When every job is a commodity, like coal, grain, pork bellies, etc., the lowest bidder wins.

Until there’s an emergency!

Then, no price is too high to fix the problem. I am reminded of the phrase:
“You think a professional is expensive? Wait ’til you hire an amateur!”
THIS REASON is why you need to specialize, so you can get out of the W2 model!

Now, you may only be working on “Emergencies“, and your expertise may repeatedly be called into question, and your fee may be disputed, but take heart. Deliver a quote, then if the client balks in any way, politely leave (“I’m only delivering a quote today, I need to check on another client, blah-blah”).

If you are in fact the “go to” person, you will get a call back, when the “Emergency” becomes intolerable, whether it’s within a day, a week, or a month later, and they’ll (grudgingly) agree with your terms.

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

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
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
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Software is Irrelevant


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

Well, not completely irrelevant, but in a major way at least, systems are broken.

In my experience, here’s why.

When I first became involved with Information Systems (1994), there were businesses that had computers and those that did not. Those businesses with computer systems had a clear advantage over their paper process competition.

These days, everyone has access to computers and software (even free, or nearly free software with Gmail, Google Docs, Dropbox, etcetera).

How are you going to leverage your business against your competition (or your own career) now?

You’ve got to change the behavior of the people (or yourself)!!!

We don’t work for the machines yet, so there’s still time to leverage our humanity.
More on that later.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, 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!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700