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! ūüėé

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
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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! ūüėé

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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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! ūüėé

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!
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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! ūüėé

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!
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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! ūüėé

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

Communication Part 4: Why is it so HARD to stay in communication?


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

My blog post of course, with my pithy / brilliant remarks in RED.

Dunbar’s Number suggests that we can only keep between¬†150 and 200 social relationships, maximum.

Now we all know (and supposedly care about) FAR MORE people than that. Here’s where Dunbar’s Number¬†and¬†the problem of communication come together:
How do you stay in touch with 500 people, let alone 1000, 1500, or 2000?
Let that sink in…

If you rely on your memory, your communications will be sporadic at best, and likely they will be quite shallow and superficial. Where’s the love? Will they think you really care about them at all? Unlikely.

YOU NEED A GOOD SYSTEM TO REMIND YOU!!!
I say “good” system, because it doesn’t need¬†to be perfect. All you need to be is better than everyone else, and almost EVERYONE is really terrible at it. Sorry folks, even you sales types are really, REALLY bad at it too!

It’s time for the math again (I apologize, but it illustrates the problem and solution properly).

If you have let’s say 500 to keep the numbers manageable, (they get crazy if we go bigger, and¬†WE¬†ALL¬†NEED TO GO BIGGER!)¬†school chums, work associates from over the years, family members, extended-family members, neighbors, and close¬†friends that you’ve made from any of these sources, and of course your mate.

How frequently will you communicate?

  • School Friends – Quarterly (12 Weeks)
  • Extended Family (cousins, aunt / uncle, grandparents) –¬†Quarterly (12 Weeks)
  • Work Associates –¬†Quarterly (12 Weeks)
  • Close friends –¬†Monthly (4¬†Weeks)
  • Neighbors – Monthly (4 Weeks)
  • Family – Parents, Siblings – (4 Weeks minimum)
  • Infrequent Business Partners – (4 Weeks)
  • Daily communication to¬†your mate. Try to say something nice to her / him everyday.

OH!
I need to emphasize¬†this: Make¬†your communications (other than to your mate) during the WORK WEEK! If you communicate all 7 days, your family will feel ignored, and won’t feel the love from you. At all costs, keep your communications for the work week! Try to save your marriage, and your relationships with your kids.

Okay, that said, back to my normally scheduled post…

Say you’ve got 40 people from the above list that you need to communicate with monthly. (500 – 40 = 460)

Your mate, daily. 460 – 1 = 459
And the rest, (459) Quarterly 459 / 12 weeks = 38.25 communications per week

Now, let’s add back in the rest: daily communication with your mate: 7
Family, close friends and neighbors 40 / mo / 4 = 10 / week

That’s 38.25¬†communications per week for School chums, extended family, and work associates. 7 per week for your mate, and neighbors, family and close friends 10.

That’s 56 per week (11+ per DAY) !!!

That’s a LOT of communication.
It works out to 2,920 INDIVIDUAL communications per year!

Quite literally, ALMOST NOBODY is doing this!

How long, (without a system in place to remind you) before people start to fall between the cracks?

How can you help anyone if they forget you are there? Remember, I’ve already stated the [completely true!] premise that almost everyone is¬†REALLY BAD at communicating. How can you remind them that you are available to help them, if you are forgetting that THEY exist? Unless you are communicating regularly with those folk, what kind of relationship do you have with them. “I know them, or used to. They know me, or used to.”

That’s NOTHING, and worse than useless: It sets up the premise in your mind that “My network of friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintances is valuable to me”. It’s nothing of the sort. Unless you communicate regularly, they (because of Dunbar’s Number)¬†aren’t even going to think of you, and you won’t think of them until you get into trouble!

I have one friend from Junior High School (called Middle School in a lot of places), that has 1441 friends on Facebook and undoubtedly many more from other places. It’s a collection, worth absolutely nothing, because he will [Facebook] friend a person, and never speak/message/type any personal (“Remember when…?”) communication with them.

I have another friend in the film industry (filmmaker, actor, director, special effects, etc.) that has 1,200 contacts (not a collection, but VALUABLE to him in that he communicates with them REGULARLY. He has a system that reminds him at least quarterly, if not every six-weeks.

Dunbar’s Number¬†is a REAL PROBLEM that the great majority of people¬†struggle with, without even knowing it. The guys at¬†Manager-Tools¬†have a podcast about Building and Maintaining Your Network. Give it a listen, and build a system that works for you. They say that you can use Outlook, and I agree: You CAN use Outlook.

I CHOOSE¬†NOT TO, because I don’t like the interruption in my daily / weekly workflow that Outlook enforces. I may be working on a project or several projects that I can’t take my attention off of during a¬†particular workday or days. I usually have time later in the same week to crank out those correspondences. I much prefer using an Excel spreadsheet (with conditional formatting) to help me keep on track.

Send me your email address and I’ll freely send that spreadsheet (without my contacts, sorry)¬†to you for your use.

Tip of the Day: Extra Clothing


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

Here’s a situation that happened to a friend of mine recently. Let’s call her Jain¬†(spelled like PAIN for the anguish, if not burns suffered). She goes to Starbucks for a coffee. Drinks some on the way to work, then upon arriving at work, decides to warm it up in the “OMG! That’s WAY too powerful!” microwave. She then proceeds to accidentally spill hot coffee all over her clothes (thankfully, she wasn’t hurt). All this happens fifteen minutes before a meeting that SHE MUST ATTEND!

Of course, Jain has to quickly go home and change, and race back to work, risking life and limb (and not to mention an expen$ive speeding ticket)! to get to the meeting.

I propose a backup plan:

Keep an extra set of clothes (yes, underwear too) locked safely in your bottom drawer at work. If you don’t like that, a gym / garment bag in your car will work nicely too (unless it gets TOO hot), if so, bring it in and stow it under your desk. You never know WHAT kind of accident can happen, and it will save face for you to be prepared. If your boss sees this kind of an effort, she may be impressed at your foresight, and allow¬†better opportunities to come your way.

Cheers! ūüėé

Charles McCrumb, Small Business IT Project Manager, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
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!
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email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

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