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
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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!
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email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

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! 😎

Charles McCrumb, Small Business IT Project Manager, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  | Human Behaviors
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Communication: Part 3


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

Sun Tzu, in The Art of War writes: “If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.”

Are your subordinates or peers guessing at what you are saying or writing? Is most of the dialogue in your head and you only let people in on the last sentence or paragraph? It’s CRITICAL that your communication be COMPLETELY clear from the top–>down, bottom–>up, and side–>side.

Lost information not only leads to FRUSTRATION, it can lead to major issues in production, service provision, and hard feelings all around!

Over the years, I’ve adopted several technologies for communication (email, instant messaging, text, phone), but for REALLY transparent communication, face to face is always, Always, ALWAYS superior. We are programmed from birth to recognize faces (a big reason that we see faces on Mars, burnt into our toast, in sprinkler patterns on the side of buildings, etcetera).

Facial expressions, (unless the person is severely autistic) mean the world to us, and can communicate volumes beyond what can be gleaned from a text or email, or even a phone call where you can hear the inflections in a person’s voice. When communicating, ALWAYS put it in this order: In-Person (so you can see-hear, it also shows that you REALLY CARE about the person [enough to travel a reasonable distance to see him/her personally], honestly it’s REALLY APPRECIATED!), Phone (so that the person can at least hear your voice, and you can hear what they say as well). Instant Messaging / Text (somehow because it’s instantaneous, it’s more personal). E-Mail (it’s the lowest modern form of communication, yet in the marketing sense, you get the most hits from it. Possibly because everyone makes time for it [usually the wrong amount of time, that’s another post], Go figure).

If you really must send an actual hand-written letter, (on some level, it’s really an honor. I still have several hand-written notes from my grandmother {wonderful stuff!}). On another level there’s no help for you. If you have 500 – 1000 people you need to stay in touch with (and YOU NEED TO!), then that’s roughly between 8 and 14 people that you need to write (at least a short note to) EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! 8 x 7 days / week x 52 = 5500 – 11,000 individual contacts each year. Your hands are going to HURT!

SPEAK UP and SPEAK CLEARLY!
I cannot emphasize this enough. If you cannot be understood, you will make ZERO impact, even though you may have thought and said the most brilliant thing in history.

Years ago, I worked with a fellow in the finance department that would come into the server room (these days a no-no, but then not-so-much), and immediately start mumbling. I would (upon hearing the mumble), state: “Hey! Mumbles Magoo! You’re going to have to raise the volume, it’s NOISY in here!”

It was! The air conditioning (on high!), network switches, router, SonicWALL, Dell servers, IBM iSeries 520 server, 3 workstations, etc., 10+ fans just a’ blowin’ and machine / factory sounds!
NOISE CITY!!!

My big point in this post is: You must communicate often (to your contacts, at the very least, quarterly, to your subordinates and peers at work, you must be the king/queen of frequent communication), and you must be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR in your communication (with EVERY SINGLE MESSAGE)!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
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How Many of Your Ideas Are Good?


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

Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret gave us the “Writing Every Day (or whatever it is that you do) “, “Don’t Break the Chain” discipline.

I think he’s a brilliant comic, but how much of his writing does HE think is great or even good? By Jerry’s own admission, only about 10% of what he writes, does he start working with for his stand-up act.

That is 90% FAILURE folks!

That is an ASTOUNDING number of bad, weak, and not-quite-right ideas. I think this is a valuable lesson for ANYONE (and by that I mean, EVERYONE)!

It CLEARLY shows that you can have out-sized returns on that (good) 10%!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
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Your Job, The Future of Work, and The Cult of Youth


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

Hello Friends!

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, is a list of (semi-disjointed) items that I think will be important as we work our way(s) through this model.


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 résumé 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!
2014-04-07 11.28.07
YOU (and/or I) 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 frustrating: 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 agree with your terms.


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 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).


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 (à 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 business I am helping’s clients 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?

On to the next item.


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.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb, Office Automation Expert
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
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Shared Personal Development


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 All!
Today, I’m sharing my “Personal Development” folder from Evernote. In it, I save clipped articles from LinkedIN, Business Insider and other places.

https://www.evernote.com/pub/camccrumb/personaldevelopment

Enjoy, and more importantly: I hope you can do something with it!

Cheers!

Charles McCrumb, Office Automation Expert
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
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email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

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