Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

HappyNewYear

I wish you all a safe and enjoyable new year year celebration.  May this new year be the best you’ve had, achieving all of your goals and reaching new personal heights of achievement and satisfaction in your personal and professional life.

 

Photo Credit: Frapestaartje

How I Almost Dumped the CLIQ: Review – Part 3

Technology Review

Talk about trials and tribulations! I’ve now used the CLIQ for three weeks.  Each week brings new surprises and interesting twists.  This last week I almost got rid of the device.  Read on, you may find a surprise.

Last weekend, the keyboard lights went out.  The only way they would work was when I pressed the ALT key.  The ALT works the same way as the ALT key on your computer keyboard. It makes the alternate numbers and characters on the keyboard available.

As you can imagine, I couldn’t use the keyboard at night.  I was a bit frustrated.  Add to that the other issues with Bluetooth, how heavy it is, the system’s full crash forcing my to do a full reset, and I was ready to trade in or just go back to my Blackberry.  I’d heard about the new Nexus One (Android phone that Google will sell directly starting on January 5) .  So, I thought in the worst case I’d wait for the gPhone. 

In any case, I researched the issue online and found that some of the new CLIQs had defective keyboards.  Either they didn’t make good contact, preventing the users from typing anything, or the lights went out.  So, I decided to exchange the phone.  To T-Mobile’s credit, I took the phone back and they changed it on the spot at the store.  It helps that California insures we have 30 days to return or exchange a newly purchased phone.

In any case, I exchanged my phone. I’m glad to report, the Bluetooth, keyboard lights, nor full system crash issues have haunted me since.  It may very well be that I had a lemon.  Time will tell. 

Stay tuned!

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your thoughts below on this or other Smartphone devices.

Related Posts

Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 1
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 2
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 4
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 5

Photo Credit: All images are the property of Motorola.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Heroes that Matter

Inspirational

A number of months back I wrote about my father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the post How Can I Forget.  At the time of that writing I’d decided to catalog all of his memories the first chance I had.

Today marks the day I begin this project.  I’m confident I’ll be able to capture most of his memories.  I have set a side a spot in the house with the proper lighting, background images, and seating where I’ll film the retelling of his picturesque life. 

In all honesty, I’m a bit nervous.  When I told him about my project last week, he said he’d recently tried writing an autobiography, but he had trouble with one particular period in his life: his childhood.  This was the toughest time for him, growing up poor and being forced to work in a slaughterhouse at an age when most kids play with their peers and have no worries in life.  How old was he? Five! 

His brothers weren’t always kind to him either.  Suffice it to say, corporal punishment by his siblings was the rule, not the exception.  with what he’s told me about those years, I understand his trepidation to retell them.

How will I react to what he’ll reveal?  What truths and stories will I hear that he’s kept hidden and away from us for so long?  Only time will tell, though I’m prepared.  I know I’ll be surprised, pleasantly or otherwise.

NahidWhat’s important is that we’ll capture his life story with all his sorrows, fears, joys and triumphs.  Aside from having a video archive, I’m starting down a path I’ve never taken: writing the biography of one of my lifetime heroes. 

Make no mistake.  I don’t think my father’s without faults.  He has plenty.  I saw the cracks many years ago in what I thought was a perfect facade.  Interestingly, as I learned more about life through experience and stories told, I realized how much more important it was that he was human; that he has faults, makes errors, has moles, warts, the whole package.  It not only makes him more approachable, but his lessons more palatable.

The hero lives in that skin, roams in that head and heart, as a whole.  He’s a hero to me not despite his faults, but because those faults make him who he is, the man who raised 32three sons, loved his wife, sacrificed his traditions and beliefs to insure his family’s future, lived through the death of a son he loved, was an entrepreneur, took business risks that didn’t pay off, took familial risks that cost him many intimate years, and still loved and cared for us.

My flexibility in  thoughts, business acumen, motivational theories, family loyalty, and spiritual nature I owe to his teachings.  Surely, many love their parents and view them as heroes in the same light I do.  So, the ideas I write about here may not be new, but the story is unique to him.  And I hope that by sharing his story, I can give voice to all of us who hold such views about our mothers and fathers.

Soon after I begin writing the book, I’ll publish excerpts in a new blog.  So, stay tuned for that announcement…and for the retelling of the journey that is his life.

What Do You Think?

Feel free to comment below.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Yell Out Your Goals

Business Strategies

GoalsOnAWall We’re reaching the end of the year.  An obligatory end-of-year-goal-review is in season.

I wonder why we do this.  Why do we wait until the end of the year to set goals?  Do we think the start of the new year means a new start for us?  May be.  Why not?

Certainly you could set goals throughout the year, but saying the end of the year is not a good time defeats the whole purpose of encouraging change. So, go ahead and set your goals whenever you like. 

What’s most important about goals is  setting them.  Second to that is announcing them.  This is one method to insure you’ve made yourself accountable for your goals.  I’ve tried this again and again with much success in both my personal and professional life.  I also wrote about it in an earlier post this year, Do You Have a BHAG?

So, write your goals, come up with a timeline and make plans to achieve each one.  Then announce them to the world. Ask friends and family to check up on your progress.  This’ll help you execute on your plans, knowing full well you’ll want to save face and keep your word to everyone about how you were going to achieve your goals. 

What Do You Think?

How do you plan your year?

 

Photo Credit: ululemon athletica

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

The Optimist’s Perspective

My optimist’s perspective for today is simply that it’s another beautiful Christmas day, not because of some weather condition, economic news, new contracts, or a winning lottery ticket, but since we’re spending it with our families.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Motorola CLIQ Review - Part 2

Technology Review

Week two on the Motorola CLIQ has brought a lot of insight about the device.  Some of the newness polish has worn off.  I’ve seen application Force Close (application crashes) a number of times and have had to hard reset, deleting all data and installed applications, twice now.  Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to love about the application.

What I Don’t Like, Even Hate
I’ve noticed some very distinct quirks about the device.  To start off, I noticed the bluetooth connection is quirky.  Specifically, when I use the car bluetooth to dial a number, meaning, I tell the car navigation system to dial a stored number or spell-out the number, the phone resets. It just shuts itself off and restarts.  This doesn’t happen every time, but almost.  It’s quite annoying.  I’ve had to resort to dialing on the phone, disconnecting and then using the car navigation system to redial.  This takes away from the whole idea of hands-free safe phone dialing.

Next, the applications from the Android Market are not certified in any way, nor do they have any quality standards.  They’re also not tested on any particular Android OS version.  What this means is that some of the applications Force Close (the equivalent of an application crash) and restart…sometimes.  Mind you, most of this may seem as mere annoying.  However, one or more of the applications I downloaded Force Closed one too many times…or I think.  It lead to continuous crash of MotoBlur, which made the device unusable.  I had to Hard Reset the application to get it running again. 

The problem with a Hard Reset is that it wipes not only all of your data, but also all applications that weren’t installed at factory.  One saving grace for MotoBlur is that once you’ve setup an account and you Hard Reset the device, all you need to do is login to your existing account: all application settings and shortcuts are restored within half hour to an hour.  As I mentioned earlier though, you don’t get your applications back.  You still have to hunt for and download them again.

The sad part of this is that I had to Hard Reset the device the first time the day I purchased it since I had misspelled my name in my MotoBlur registration.  Apparently MotoBlur doesn’t allow you to change your name or any personal information either on the device or on their website.  How absurd is that?  It was inconvenient at the time, but I thought very little of it.  It just told me the application and it’s supporting solutions were in their infancy.  The whole device reminds me a bit of the Windows 3’s debut.

I’d gotten used to carrying my previous phone in my pocket.  I still owned a holster, but used it only if I was wearing slacks and needed a more formal look for a professional meeting.  Naturally, I initially carried the CLIQ in my pocket.  The problem is that the phone is very heavy.  As a result, it swims around in my pocket.  Regrettably, I’ve had to order a holster to make carrying the device easier.

The next point has nothing to do with the device, but with the face shield I bought for it. I don’t have the original packaging.  So, I’m not sure of the brand.  What I can tell you is that it’s a clear plastic sheet placed on the screen to prevent it from scratching.  The problem is that the touch-screen doesn’t respond as well with the shield placed on it.  I believe this is a result of an added insulation created by the sheet, preventing the screen from properly detecting my fingers.  I took it off tonight and rediscovered the delight of having a responsive screen.

What I Like So Far
With that said, there’s still a lot I like about the device.  I love the fact that I have a full browser.  Typing addresses is easy with both the on-screen and the slide-out keyboard.  I love the zoom as well as full-page view capabilities too. 

As much as I find issues with the applications, I love the Android Market.  People see the phone, start asking me about it, then ask if a particular applications is available on it.  I immediately search the Market and almost inevitably find the application. 

Among the applications, I enjoy having a Google Search app that I can both type into and use a voice command with.  The Google Map rocks too.  Not only does it show my location and give me directions to a destination, I also get traffic update along with the ability to use voice command to search for a local business, like the nearest pizza joint.  There are other applications that do this with an attractive interface, like Sherpa.  There are too many cool applications to mention.

I love that I have multiple “desktops” on which I can place application shortcuts.  Think of Windows desktop and imagine having five of them, but miniaturized.  I can group shortcuts and place games on one, navigation and product search tools on another, multimedia apps and pictures on the third, calendar, news and Office viewing tools on a fourth, with the home screen filled with social media and messaging tools by default.

There’s also a slide-out application tray that contains an alphabetized list of all of the installed apps.  Think of the Programs folder in a Windows OS with no subfolders, containing all of your applications.  This can get messy, but it still works.  I wish I had a way of creating folders or categories and a filtering mechanism to reduce the number of applications shown.

I also love the ability to navigate from application to application, desktop to desktop, using the sliding motion on the touchscreen.  There’s a coolness factor in that which brings out the kid in me.  I catch myself giggling with joy using it.

If you want more, hang in there.  I’ll keep posting in the weeks ahead.

What Do You Think?

Feel free to comment below.

Related Posts

Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 1
How I almost Dumped the CLIQ: Review – Part 3
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 4
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 5

Photo Credit: All photos are Motorola’s and RIM’s.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Too Will Like Summation

Blogging

I recently started reading the Summation blog by Auren Hoffman.  He’s an entrepreneur who’s not shy about his opinion.  There are a couple of his posts that got me interested in his posts:

Happy Reading.

What Do You Think?

Once you’ve read some of Auren’s posts, feel free to let me know what you think.  I always appreciate being turned on to new bloggers / authors as well.  If you know of any you like, don’t be shy, share them below.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Forget the Masses. Enjoy Your Obsesses!

Motivational

I had the pleasure of seeing my dad yesterday.  Aside from the sentimental value of seeing one’s parents, there was special meaning in my meeting him yesterday.  If you’ve read an earlier post titled How Can I Forget , you’ll remember how I want to capture and record his life story.  This is of special importance to me given he’s a 75 year old recently diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s disease. 

Yesterday I remembered again how much inspiration I draw from him.  Just talking to him about my personal and professional life made me realize the power we each have within us to choose our direction in life.  We spoke about his businesses, my aunt (his sister) and her sons (they live close and see each other weekly),  and his deteriorating health among other things. 

What I found amazing was how he still had a singular focus in life: he wants to provide for and enjoy time with his family.  When I talked to him about the grim nature of his condition and some of the stats about it, he looked on as though I was reciting a shopping list.  He didn’t much care for what odds were against him.  He was still making his 10- to 20-year plans. 

He’s not naive though.  He knows he needs help and wanted my mom to leave her work here to help him.  As much as I may agree or disagree with him on some points and decisions, I admire his tenacity and ability to ignore the masses and their opinions.

His attitude reminded me how pursuing what we really want, what we’re passionate about, is more important than what anyone else tells us is the right thing to do.  The power of success comes not from listening to the masses, but forgetting them.  The majority are often wrong about their views of reality what’s the best path to follow.  The masses were wrong when they thought putting a man on the moon would be impossible, that PC’s would be used just by the selected few, that we’d never carry a device in our pockets and hips with the ability to communicate with anyone in the world at an instant, or that separate meant equal.

The masses are wrong again now when they tell us helping large companies will help the economy, that big business will create new jobs, that this is the worst time to start a new project or company, that all business decisions are “just business, not personal.” 

ProtestWe should be ruled not by the masses, but by what we feel and thing is right.  How do you know what that is?  It’s the one thing you wake up every morning and fantasize about.  It’s that thing that you think will never make you any money, or the thing that if you were to pursue would turn the whole family against you.  Mind you, I’m not talking about doing something illegal or unethical, just something that makes the majority uncomfortable with your decision to do it. 

Let me give an example to clarify.  I’ve always loved reading and writing.  It’s the result of my childhood and probably a part of my nature.  So, in my free time I gravitate toward cerebral activities that involve reading and writing.  If I’m taking a vacation, I may spend three or four straight days reading 10 to 12 hours a day and feel completely refreshed, ready for more. 

I write these blogs mostly at night while my family, including the pets, have fallen sleep on the couch.  While they’re resting their eyes and minds, I’m relaxing by expounding on my thoughts and ideas.  I enjoy this medium and I don’t find it tiring.  It’s happened more than once that I’ve fallen sleep with my notebook on my lap, while writing an article, then woken up refreshed and with new insight to complete the post in the morning.  I think throughout the day about what I’d like to read and write about.  It’s an obsession, but one I enjoy feeding.

It’s also something that many believe is a complete waste of time.  Though there have been those who’ve written journals over the decades and centuries, and many who author a journal’s electronic equivalent, a blog, it’s still not a common practice, nor an activity people think of doing in their spare time.

Is there much wealth to me made from my efforts?  May be.  Am I making it now? Not yet…give me time.

Guitars As another example, I had the pleasure of speaking with a former colleague last week about his obsessions.  He and I worked at a small consulting firm a number of years back.  I remembered his obsession with music and the arts. He had a collection of guitars, tens of thousands of music CDs, as well as minutiae knowledge about artists and music.  I found it refreshing that he’d not quite any of it.  He had changed careers twice, only to return to his professional artistic love: graphic design.  I was inspired to hear he’d returned and was vigorously pursing work in the filed. 

What about you?  How are you denying the masses?  What obsessions keep you entranced every day?

What Do You Think?

Please feel free to share your thoughts and reactions below.

 

Photo Credits: Waka Jawaka and Osvaldo_Zoom

Monday, December 21, 2009

Business Strategies Week Off

Business Strategies

I have no post for this week’s Business Strategies section.  Please visit again next week.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Rose Colored Glasses, PLEASE!

The Optimist’s Perspective

I’d promised to post the results of the 2009 Chapman Economic Forecast here.  However, I realize there are many news sources that have now covered it, including the Orange County Business Journal and the Orange County Register.  I also posted Tweets about it on the day of the event.  You can find the Tweets here.

RoseGlasses Instead, this week I’d like to address a misconception about optimism that I hear about often.  There are those who believe that to be an optimist is to be blind to the facts; that somehow being an optimist means you see the world through rose colored lenses. This view is oft raised by realists and pessimists.

I believe an optimist doesn’t ignore the facts.  In fact, an optimist requires facts in order to reach a conclusion.  An optimist is not blind to circumstances, but chooses to interpret them differently from the realists or the pessimists. 

Reduction in a country’s GDP two or more quarters in a row or an abundance of homes in the market leading to a reduction of home prices and equity are facts that can’t be ignored.  However, an optimist views these as events that can be interpreted to suit a particular need.  In other words, he sees opportunities.  The optimist realizes that long recessions mean that people will change their spending behaviors and look for higher-value, lower-cost goods, even if only for short-term. 

This change in spending means the market is now more open to existing or new products and services that deliver on the higher-value, lower-cost demand.  The optimist may then decide to devise a new product that can meet that need, or change an existing product for the same purpose.  In other words, the optimist takes advantage of the given facts to develop something new in a down economy.  It’s the optimists among us who start new businesses, products, services in such and environment and who are lauded as visionaries five to ten years after their otherwise perceived dismal starts.  It is as a direct result of their efforts that new jobs and markets are created, economies are rejuvenated and people’s lives are mended.

So, no…the optimists don’t ignore reality by wearing rosy colored glasses.  They perceive facts for what they are, but choose to create new opportunities and realities that don’t abide by the rules of the masses, that ignore the pundits and pessimists among us.

What Do You Think?

Please feel free to comment below, no matter what’s your persuasion.

 

Photo Credit: Monica's Dad

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Motorola CLIQ Review - Part 1

Technology Review

Last week I bought the Motorola CLIQ.  Admittedly, I’ve not spent enough time with the device to give it a meaningful review.  So, instead I’ll chronicle my use of the device as the weeks and months pass.

My point of reference is the Blackberry Pearl Flip, model 8220.  Previous to that I owned the Blackberry Pearl 8100, and before that the Blackberry 7100t.  These were all multi-touch devices.  I enjoyed having a full QWERTY keyboard without all of the keys, in such compact form factor.  I was quite unhappy with the Pearl Flip, enough so that I wrote a post about it here.

This was the start of my search for a new Smartphone.  I’d been unimpressed with Blackberry’s showings.  The devices were most certainly reliable, but they’ve become uninteresting, as uninteresting as the big businesses they support.

I was in search of something exciting and interesting. I wanted an innovative device.  Something that was nascent and  on the cutting edge.  I wasn’t as concerned about whether the device worked without issues.  The Pearl Flip certainly had its fair share of issues, and this was supposedly a mature product! 

I thought that if I had to live with a device that had issues, I might as well have something that I could have fun with. That meant it had to replace my notebook computer on many fronts, such as provide an alternate path to social networking, email, note-taking,  Google Apps, music, video, and some tangentially interesting games. 

Given that I didn’t want to incur the expense of switching providers, I decided to stay with T-Mobile.  You may be wondering what expenses.  Well, I’d have to pay a cancellation fee on my contract and higher fees for similar services elsewhere.  I have an unlimited family plan with T-Mobile at reduced fees due to my five-year loyalty to them that none of the other providers were willing to match.  If you’re listening AT&T and Verizon, you may want to take note that you lost my business.

So, I read up on other Smartphones available through T-Mobile.  I considered the Android and Windows Mobile device platforms. Everything I read about Windows Mobile told me I should stay away from them.  They are so far behind on the technology that likely they’ll be out of the game in very short order.  That left Android devices.  Between those offered at T-Mobile, the Samsung Behold 2 certainly seemed to have a wonderful display, both in clarity and size.  However, neither the HTC myTouch nor the Samsung Behold 2 have a keyboard. A keyboard is a necessity for me, especially given that I have big thumbs and I like the tactile feel of keys.

That left the HTC G1 or the Motorola CLIQ.  As I played with both devices in the store, I realized how much easier it was to use the keyboard on the Motorola.  What’s more, the screen on the Motorola was substantially easier to read.  The CLIQ, though using the same Android OS as the G1, seemed a more mature product overall. 

This left no question in my mind that I wanted to get the CLIQ.  Keep in mind, the whole process took me about a week, with three visits to the T-Mobile store and a couple of calls to T-Mobile customer service to decide on a new plan.

I’ve taken you through my process of selection at a very high level.  Next week, I’ll begin my review of the various features, feel, and experience of the CLIQ.  Stay tuned.

What Do You Think?

If you’ve used the CLIQ or any similar device, feel free to comment below.

Related Posts

Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 2
How I almost Dumped the CLIQ: Review – Part 3
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 4 
Motorola CLIQ Review – Part 5

 

Photo Credit: All photos are Motorola’s and RIM’s.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stand Together or Die

Free Forum

My father-in-law told me a very good story this past weekend that I’d like to share with you.  It’s about a king and his five sons.

You see, the king’s sons were very competitive.  So much so that as they grew older and began to command armies, they began to boast about how each one was more powerful than the other.  The constant rivalry could only mean the eventual unraveling of the country as it would fall into a civil war aimed to determine who would be the next king.

So, their father decided to talk them through what strength they had, in the hopes of keeping the country from complete chaos.  He called them all to visit him. 

When they arrived, the brothers noticed the multitude of arrows sitting at the king’s side.  They were curious, and somewhat disconcerted at what was coming next. After all, their father was known for his bravery on the field . 

As his sons came close, the king greeted them and spoke about how he wished his sons would put away their rivalry to realize their true power.  He took out an arrow and explained how a single arrow, a deadly weapon in the right hands, could easily be broken. He bent the arrow in half, and its shattered shards scattered before the brothers.

The king went on and picked another arrow sturdier than the previous, with a shaft and tip that would render any enemy dead once it had pierced through skin and bones.  This too he bent, though with some might, and broke in half. 

He then picked five ordinary arrows, none more sturdy than the other and certainly less sturdy than the last he’d shattered.  He held their shafts together, took two leather thongs and wrapped them each around opposing ends of the shafts to make a single element with multiple tips and flys. He tried to bend these in half to break them with no luck.

He asked each of his sons to try to break the bound arrows.  None could do it.

That was the lesson: each arrow by itself could be broken with the right amount of brute force, but five arrows bound together, acting as one unit, were immediately unbreakable.  As the bound arrows could the brothers become.  Each on his own may have some strength, but alone they could each be broken.  Together, they were impervious to any brute force attack.

Not a bad story, eh?

What Do You Think

This is a conversation, not a lecture.  Feel free to comment below. I promise to respond to you in a very short time, usually within a day.

 

Photo Credit: Mauricio Pellegrinetti

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Enjoy the Little Things

Motivational

HappyBrick Ever wonder why the big things in life are so tough to get right?  Do you find you sometimes practice the art of “good stance” when banging your head against the wall?

Relax and take note of the little things in life.

I was reminded of this on multiple occasions this past weekend and yesterday. 

Over the weekend, I spent quite a lot of time with family celebrating a family member’s birthday over the span of three nights.  I lost myself in the conversations we had about the time we’ve spent with each other, what plans we had and the company we kept.  The simple act of breaking bread with a friend or family is relaxing in and of itself, knowing full well that life is happening right before your eyes. 

Among us, we had two business owners, both affected by the economic downturn, but refusing to give in;  two pharmacists and a pharmacy technician, talking about their years working together and sharing those moments of abandon laughter at work or home.  These conversations were the rewards for my work over the week.

At the start of the week, yesterday, I was asked to take on a VP of Education role with my local Toastmasters club.  I voluntarily work in a few leadership roles at various organizations in Orange County.  So, I hesitated.  I didn’t want to promise something I couldn’t deliver.  But I had to smile and take pause.  I believe in the mission of Toastmasters and have seen and experienced quite a lot of benefits to its members.  Why did I pause? Because I want to be an active agent that carries on that same mission to help myself and others grow.

All in all, I realized today that it’s the little rewards of friendship, camaraderie, and business benevolence that I enjoy on a day to day basis.  It’s these same daily rewards and memories that made my transition from employee to business owner this past summer such a pleasant and easy one.  And it is my family and friends’ hard work in their full support of what I do and who I am that has made me successful.

I suggest that we each cherish the moments we have with those that support and love us, whether they’re family members or coworkers.  These shared moments are the backbone of life that help each of us become stronger, around which we build our personal and professional relationships that last a lifetime.

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

Photo Credit: srboisvert

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Attrition is Yesterday’s Worries

GeorgeMechanic Business Strategies

In the last few Business Strategies posts, I’ve shared with you my thoughts about how the use of positive reinforcement increases morale and your employees’ perspective of management.

For this week’s post, I’d promised to discuss how the positive reinforcement in your office will affect your organization’s reputation.  You may be asking how your actions in your organization can affect your image outside. 

As your organization grows, you’ll likely search for new talent.  Your employees and coworkers are often your first source for this.  Who better to ask for a reference than your trusted coworkers? 

Likely, your treatment of your employees is something they’ve mentioned to their families and friends.  As a result, you have created a demand for potential future employees who are eager to have the same positive experience that’s so rare in the business world.  In fact, experience shows that managers in such firms seldom need to search for new talent, since many prospective employees seek out positions in the firm as a result of the buzz the managers have created through their actions.

What’s more, the use of positive reinforcement leads to higher employee satisfaction and lower attrition rate.  I’ve seen this in practice where within a three-year period, we had a 35% increase in number of employees, and an 8% attrition rate.  The attrition included employees who were dismissed or left of their own volition, that is, everyone who ever left the company.  That’s a number many managers wish they could tout.

What’s the lesson? You can’t loose by practicing positive reinforcement at your work.

What Do You Think?

Feel free to comment below.

 

Photo Credit: The Library of Congress

Friday, December 11, 2009

Optimist’s Perspective Delayed

I’ve been unable to post this week’s Optimists Perspective.  Please be patient as I put together this post about the Optimist’s Perspective on the 2009 Chapman Economic Forecast. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Motorola Droid and CLIQ

Technology Review

motorola_cliq_3 I’m in the midst of changing my phone.  I currently use the Blackberry Pearl Flip and I’m very dissatisfied with it.  I recently wrote a post about it, Blackberry Pearl Flip Makes me Flip.

I was considering one of the Android phones and the Motorola CLIQ has stood out given the tight integration with Google Apps and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  I’d love to write a review about it, but I’ve not yet purchased it. 

However, a good friend, Scot Shier recently purchased the CLIQ’s AT&T brethren, the Motorola Droid.  Below is his review.

motorola-droid-site3FINALLY!!  I've waited YEARS for Verizon to get a decent Smart Phone.  I did
not want to sacrifice call quality by switching to AT&T for their iPhone
(though I was tempted).  And I did not want to pay $30/month for internet
access unless it REALLY worked great/fast.  My waiting is OVER!  DROID is
HERE!

I am still giggly with excitement over how great this phone is!  I no longer
have iPhone envy.  Let me walk you through a quick comparison (with links at
the end for further reviews).

motorola_droid_1NOTE: I have not yet exported my contact data from ACT to Outlook (to enable
syncing with my DROID).  I did that several years ago with a PDA/GPS unit,
and it became a mess (so I'm moving slowly).  I also have not set up any of
my 8 email accounts on the DROID (again, I am moving slowly).

Here are the key points of comparison

1.      BASIC PHONE: Sound quality and connections (rarely a dropped call)
are better on the Verizon network (than iPhone on AT&T)

2.      NAVIGATION: DROID's Android 2.0 OS designed by GOOGLE is awesome! After using the DROID, I just returned my two Garmin Nuvi GPS units.  With Droid, I simply click "Navigation" and TELL my DROID what to look up.  The Voice Recognition software is better than anything I have experienced.  It performs a "Google Search" on whatever I say (ex: "Costco in Laguna Hills"). The displayed webpage highlights the phone and address info, making them hyperlinks to the phone dialer and navigation program.  I touch the "address" to launch Google Maps.  It brings up a Satellite-Photo Image of the location.  I then touch "Navigate" to produce written and VERBAL instructions, which take me to my destination.

     a.      Unlike a GPS database (which is never complete and requires
expensive annual updates), the internet is always up to date and lists
everyone!

3.      KEYBOARD: I always wanted a physical keyboard.  DROID has it.  The
keys are flat and take getting used to.  But I like it a lot better than
losing all my display to a virtual keyboard (which you still have on DROID,
if you want it).

4.      DISPLAY: 4.7" tall (vs iPhone 4.5").  3.7" diagonal (vs. 3.5").
Cristal clear (854 x 480 pixels vs iPhone 480 x 320).  So it is bigger and
sharper.

5.      BATTERY: A full charge will barely last through a day of heavy use
(same as on an iPhone).  But you can pack an extra batter if needed (vs.
iPhone has non-replaceable internal battery).  That could be handy if you
take a lot of long plane flights)

6.      MEMORY: Comes with a removable 16 GB micro SD card.  You can install a 32 GB micro SD card, if you need it.  With the iPhone, the memory is built in (you must pick either 16GB or 32GB).

7.      CAMERA: 5-megapixel (vs. iPhone's 3.5-megapixel) sensor.  However,
reviews say the iPhone's software is better (provides a clearer picture and
more "fun" features).  I wish the video mode would allow me to zoom in.

8.      APPS: Over 10,000 available for DROID (vs. 100,000+ for iPhone).
Personally, 10,000 apps is overwhelming (so what's the benefit of 10X
overwhelming?).  Also, most DROID apps are FREE! (Most iPhone apps charge $1~$5).  Software for DROID is growing rapidly, because they use an open architecture (anyone can write an app)).  iPhone apps must be
reviewed/approved by Apple (and typically charge more), but their user
interface is more consistent between all their different apps.

     a.      Many of the popular apps on iPhone are being written for the DROID. My iPhone friends says they have apps for all the Google/GPS features on the DROID.  But with the DROID, they are built into the unit.  Your Google Search Button is on the Case (it is ALWAYS available).  And you don't have to type: the Microphone is ALWAYS available when doing a search (you speak, it types).  To do the same thing on the iPhone would require many key strokes and launching programs.

     b.      MULTI-TASKING: DROID can run several programs at once.  I am told this is a great thing.  iPhone must close one program to open another
(except for iTunes, which can keep playing music).

motorola-droid-vs-iphone-3gs-2Overall, I think the DROID is a better machine for the businessmen.  The
iPhone will probably command greater "Cool Factor" for the teen audience,
especially with its iTunes and crazier applications.  But for me, the DROID
gets me to where I need to go and surfs the Web faster than my Cox Cable.  I
feel like Capt Kirk, whipping out my Communicator:  "Scotty, Beam me UP!"

PS:  I searched the web looking for the best reviews on the DROID vs iPhone.
Here are four good ones:

What Do You Think?

Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Chapman Economic Forecast

chapmanMainLogo Yesterday I attended the 2009 Chapman Economic Forecast.  This is the annual event, with a mid-year recap, that predicted the current recession two years before it happened. 

I posted a number of tweets about this year’s results and I’ll post a blog about it on this week’s Optimist’s Perspective column.  In the mean time, if you’re interested in reading the highlights of their forecasts follow this link to my tweets.

Disclaimer: I’m a 2007 graduate of Chapman University and currently serve as a Chapman Alumni Board member.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fail Early and Often

Motivational

Failure is, by far, one of my favorite subjects to talk about.  It’s often misunderstood and masked as something negative by those who hate to fail. 

FailMerriam-Webster defines failure in this way:

1 a : omission of occurrence or performance; specifically : a failing to perform a duty or expected action <failure to pay the rent on time> b (1) : a state of inability to perform a normal function <kidney failure> — compare heart failure (2) : an abrupt cessation of normal functioning <a power failure> c : a fracturing or giving way under stress <structural failure>
2 a : lack of success b : a failing in business : bankruptcy
3 a : a falling short : deficiency <a crop failure> b : deterioration, decay
4 : one that has failed

When we hear the word “failure” we associate it with any one or all of the above.  In turn, we conjure up the image of a defeated person whose goals or dreams are shattered.  This must be part of the conditioning we go through as children, seeing adults give up after a few attempts at something new.

Yet, stories of success are riddled with failed attempts.  Every overnight success, from Thomas Edison to Bill Gates, has a long list of failures that resulted from attempts at trying something new.  In other words, failure is the necessary professional and personal “sweat mortar” we all have to mix and use to pave the road to success. 

So, if failure is a necessity, why not embrace it.  Mind you, I never promote going out with the intent to fail.  Your intent will always be to succeed. 

However, I am promoting that every time you start something new and feel the fear of failure, realize that you’re starting an age old tradition that will lead to your success if only you persevere and learn from each failed attempt.  Failure is simply the reduction of paths to your success.  Nothing more. 

Your new motto should be to embrace it…learn from it…and pave the road of success with it.

What Do You Think?

How do you embrace failure?

 

Photo Credit: Ethan Hein

Monday, December 7, 2009

Manager as the Savior!

AngelInDarkTimes Business Strategies

If you’ve been following the Business Strategies topic, two weeks ago you read that research has shown that positive reinforcement raises morale at work (What My Dog Taught me About Team Motivation), and in last week’s post I wrote about how there are inherent negative consequences to this approach that also helps motivate employees to do the right thing  (The Stick Inherent in the Carrot).

Last week’s post ended with the affirmation that this approach has positive consequences for your whole organization.  This post focuses on these consequences for your managers.

As your organization fully adopts the positive reinforcement mindset by practicing daily rewards for desired behavior through incentives and public recognition, you’ll begin to notice a change in the company undertone or, as some call it, the company culture. 

This change presents itself in the employees’ behavioral changes toward your managers. For example, employees who realize their managers don’t respond to poor behavior, in fact, don’t reward it, will begin to believe in the system and your managers’ ability to implement it.  In other words, your employees will begin to feel confident that their manager is looking out to reward EVERYONE who can produce great results, not just a selected few that may or not be deserving of it.  So, immediately the concept of favoritism disappears and is replaced with a meritocracy.

In practice, I’ve seen employees feel and behave as though their manager is their professional savior: someone who’s devoted to insuring their success, rather than criticize their shortcomings; someone who’ll make every effort to help them grow, rather than prevent them from reaching their title or pay level and beyond.  Often times, the employees feel they can confide in their managers about the issues at work, or even at home.  They feel they can trust this person not to take advantage of what’s said, but provide a guiding path to the safe place of “work-place peace.”  You may be laughing at this statement, but people want to feel protected by those whose jobs it is to do just that: protect them and promote their growth.

Now, who doesn’t want to be considered someone’s savior? 

I’d mentioned there are many beneficial consequences to this approach of positive reinforcement.  In next week’s post we’ll review the consequences for your organization’s reputation both in and out of the public eye. 

What Do You think?

As always, feel free to comment below with your take on these ideas.

 

Photo Credit: AdamSelwood

Friday, December 4, 2009

Half Full vs. Half Empty

The Optimist’s Perspective

CriticalLook I recently met with my financial planner about personal and professional tax and investment planning.  These types of meetings can be depressing, especially if questions begin to reveal discrepancies in thought process or planning.

In fact, in this case we received a compliment on how well in tune we were with our common goals and plans.  However, I also heard how our business plan was incomplete and needed further revisions.  In addition, our financial projections didn’t account certain expenses. Nevertheless, I left the meeting energized and with a can-do attitude. 

Why?

Because had we not taken the first steps of creating our initial plan and presenting it, we wouldn’t have had the constructive critique that we did.  In other words, we realized that though we had discrepancies in our plan, we were farther ahead than just a few short months ago. 

WaterPouringOften, in our personal and professional lives, we hear criticism and focus only on the negative aspects of it.  What we fail to see is how criticism, whether delivered eloquently or not, is one of the most positive activities we can engage in.  After all, getting to a point where you receive criticism often means you’ve moved farther ahead toward your goal by the sheer exercise of getting all of your plans, thoughts and ideas together, whether written or not.

In short, the glass is never half-empty or full, but always has whatever amount of water you put in it.  No matter what that amount is, it’s more than what was in it before you started, and it’s more than would’ve been there if you hadn’t decided to add water.

So, grab your glass and start filling.

What Do You Think?

Please feel free to comment below.

 

Photo Credits: CarbonNYC and jenny downing

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blackberry Pearl Flip Makes Me Flip

Technology Review

PearlFlip I’m not sure I can call this a technology review, so much as a technology re-review.  The Blackberry Pearl Flip (model 8220) was first released in Fall of 2008.  I didn’t purchase it until Sprint of 2009.  In fact, I’ve been using it for just about eight months now, but I now have a better perspective about the pros and cons of the phone that excludes the initial new-ness impressions.

What I Don’t Like
I believe the phone was designed with the light non-business user in mind.  When I look back at how I selected this phone, I remember some telltale signs that I’d have trouble with it.  Aside from the initial online reviews which were mostly positive, I also decided to try the phone in store.  It worked great there.  The only thing I noticed was some lag when typing an email.  I assumed this was because the phone was using predictive text technology.  I kick myself for discounting this lag.

You see, I use my phone heavily for email.  I also have many contacts and calendar items.  In fact, I have about 2000 people, businesses, and online services contact entries in my Outlook that I synch with the phone.  So, browsing through that list typing one character at a time is not that pleasant.  There’s a big lag between what I type and what shows up on the screen. 

What’s worse is that as the keyboard is getting more use, it’s not as sensitive.  So, I have to very distinctly press each character.  The character display lag doesn’t help much in assuring me that I, in fact, have pressed a button.  This means sometimes I have to erase everything I just typed in order to enter a particular character.  That’s annoying and a big productivity drain.

Given that I receive anywhere from 50 to 200 emails a day, I see an enormous lag switching in and out of the email application on the device as well.  The typing lag I mentioned appears here also, though I’m not sure why. 

I also keep a detailed calendar with anywhere from 1500 to 2000 events scheduled.  I see the same lag switching in and out of the Calendaring application as I do for emails.

Then there’s the synchronization between Outlook and the phone.  I can tell you that I’ve spent more than a few hours on the phone with T-Mobile and RIM trying to figure out why the synch fails sometimes.  The answer in almost every instance is that I have to flush my profile (delete it) and create a whole new one.  I now do this about twice a month.  That is twice too many times. 

Keep in mind, I’m technically inclined and I’ve worked with PDAs ever since the Palm III.  So, I know there can be synch issues and profiles may need to be flushed from time to time, but twice a month? Come on now!

What I Like
With that out of the way, I can tell you there are some things I really like about this phone.  I like the fact that the phone is a flip.  I don’t have to worry about accidentally dialing 911 (which happened about once every other month when I had the original Pearl and dropped it in my pocket – AFTER locking the keypad). 

I also like the larger keys compared to the Blackberry Pearl.  I have bigger than usual thumbs and need a little more room to type. 

I like that there are various applications available for the phone, like Google Maps, Facebook, and the video camera app that comes standard with it.  I admit, I don’t use the video or the picture camera for much, except that the video camera feature allows me to use the built-in flash as a light.  This light has been immensely helpful at night when I’m out in the yard or searching for the occasional pen or paper I drop under the car in a parking lot.

I love that you can set multiple alarms on the phone, and that the phone wakes when the alarm goes off.  So, there’s no need to keep the phone on at night and hear the multitude of emails coming in. As a result of this, I no longer use a bedside alarm.  This is especially handy on trips.

The clock and email indicators on the back of the flip are very helpful too.  Given that I don’t wear a watch on the weekends, I can check the clock without having to flip open the phone. The same is true for seeing how many emails, Facebook and text messages I’ve received.  I can even view various reminders that have popped up on the phone.

Summary
I’ll sum up my view of the phone in this way: I despise this phone. After all, many of the positive points about the phone aren’t distinct to it.  So, I’m afraid I’m moving on and away from Blackberry after using their various models for close to five years.  It’s a pity since I’ve relied for so long on a Blackberry to get my emails on the go.

I’m extremely thankful that I share my plan with my wife. I added her phone to the plan six months after mine.  So, her phone is coming up for an upgrade.  This way I can get an upgrade and give my flip to her.  She hardly has any contacts (24) , doesn’t use the tasks list nor the Calendar, and only wants the added feature of seeing emails.  What’s more, she loves flip phones. This phone is perfect for her.

So, I’m looking into alternatives that T-Mobile offers.  I’m considering one of the Android phones like the T-Mobile myTouch, Motorola CLIQ or the Samsung Behold II.  Has anyone had any good experience with any of these?

What Do You Think?

Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

Photo Credit: cnet

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Work With a Friend

Trust Agents

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and talked about how he started his business over a year ago as well as how we can work together in the future.  I then met with a new contact who had started his career in financial sales and was looking to transition into software sales. He was looking for insight on how to make that change.  Toward the end of the day, I spoke with one of my lifetime friends about how his position at work may be in jeopardy.  He sounded disheartened, and all I could think about was how can I help him land a new job if he’s laid off.

Handshake Every one of those encounters reminded me of one ideal I now live by: I only work with friends.

Some may cringe at the thought.  I certainly did the first time someone told me this.  My father had taught me never to enter any business transaction with friends at the fear of ruining friendships.  Many of my mentors have told me I should treat people at work as just that: people at work and at an arm’s length.  After all, they’re acquaintances, not friends. 

I don’t buy into any of these and I don’t think you should either. I love working with friends.  There are many advantages to it.  Here are but a few:

  1. Loyalty: Friends are loyal to one another.  As a result, if temptation arises to abandon a friend in the middle of a deal, they’ll think twice about it.
  2. Reliability: Because friends value their friendships and wish to keep it they’ll also do their best for one another.  That means they’ll show up when they say they will, deliver what they promise, and be there when you need their help the most.
  3. Security: Friends you can trust with your personal secrets, you feel you can also trust with your business secrets.  Though everyone will still sign their non-disclosure agreements, keeping company trade secrets is what they’ll inherently give each other.

Any argument for drawbacks of working with a friend state the opposite of the advantages.  They often revolve around why you wouldn’t want to ruin a relationship by putting a friend on the spot for not delivering or for poor performance.  My response is that you likely don’t trust that person as a friend to begin with. So, you’re right! You shouldn’t do business with him.

Friends2 Keep in mind, I don’t use the word “friend” loosely.  I’m talking about people you feel you can confide in and rely on before you ever do any kind of business with.  I’m not talking about the guy or gal that you meet and have a one-time cup of coffee with.  Friendship takes many months and years to build. It requires all the little tests we have for defining who’s a true friend and who isn’t.

So, go ahead and determine who are your true friends…and don’t be shy to work with them either!

What Do You Think?

Feel free to comment below about the people you work with.

 

Photo Credits: freakapotimus and StuSeeger

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Addicted


Addicted, the word has such negative overtones to it. Used mostly to describe people who have a problem with controlling themselves with external substances, I find the word quite appealing. In my opinion, being addicted to an emotion or feeling that has no negative impact to others can really benefit a leader in business.

Let me explain, in the economy that we are living in today there is so much negativity being splashed all over the news, internet, and closer to home - the workplace. I find that being addicted to a positive feeling like a successfully executed project, learning something new, or fielding a new sales opportunity can really separate the “believers” from the “nay-sayers”. It is my belief that being addicted to success, no matter how big, provides focus and motivation for a leader that is fostered from within. The wonderful part of being addicted is that there really is not a size limitation. You can manage a 100 million dollar project with over 80% profit margin, you can successfully implement a new recycling policy, or just talk to the new guy, your success and satisfaction is within your grasp. Set your goals, be successful and satiate your craving.

The best part of being addicted is that you will always be interested in learning. Would not want to relapse and have a failure more than once, we need to satisfy our hunger. As challenges arise, break it down and get the bits of success morsels by chunking down the project and issue. I find that after satisfying my thirst for success, it is always important to spend some time on reflection. Where did your victories occur, how can I repeat? Can I do it faster or better next time? Where were the failures, no matter how small what could I have done better??

I find that my addiction to success is well within my management. This vice has no control over me, I can handle it…

Success is Earned

Motivational

I read The Science of Success (Amazon link) by Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries.  There were a lot of good lessons I learned and some that were reiterated.

One stood out that I truly enjoyed. The idea that in order to succeed in an experimental endeavor you will need to accept there will be initial failures.  This is where the lessons are learned and how you insure your future success. 

TriumphStaircaseIn other words, behind every major success story, you’ll find failed attempts.  Thomas Edison’s discovery of the right filament for a light bulb is an over-used, yet applicable example here. 

This is true of many technology successes of our times as well.  Up until recently, Microsoft was the butt of every joke about security as it was the target of every hacker attempt.  A large company with such a pervasive software had failed to properly plan for a stable and secure system in one operating system after another.  Yet, the security concerns have lessened with the addition of monthly patches (continuous security improvement), introduction of a pre-installed firewall and anti-virus.  Now Adobe bears the focus of the hacker community as they exploit any of Adobe products’ security holes.

Koch made another very interesting connection in his book: entrepreneurship is, by its nature, an experimentation.  The entrepreneur sees an opportunity he wishes to exploit.  This is likely an opportunity that others haven’t noticed or haven’t addressed in the same way.  In other words, the entrepreneur's approach is something new that hasn’t been tried before.  It’s an experiment.  Failure will be part of the success story there too.

Failure is key especially in the early stages of the operation just like it is for a scientist.  In fact, when setting out to try something new, your success depends on your attempts at a new path and realizing it’s not the right one.  In his words, “Given a market economy is an experimental discovery process, business failures are inevitable and any attempt to eliminate them only ensures overall failure.”  This is exemplified in his early days at the company when his attempts to rein in the European arm of their firm met with multiple failures.  Each of those failures paved his way to build the largest private global petro-chemical company with an estimated 80,000 employees and $100 billion revenue!

What am I trying to tell you?  No matter what challenges you face, how high you feel you have to climb before you’re successful, and how many times you’ve tried without success, realize that your every attempt is getting you closer to your goals.  Every failed attempt helps you focus and come closer to achieving your dream.

The trials and tribulations are, indeed, how success is earned!

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your stories on the the subject of failures leading to success below in the Comments section.

 

Photo Credit: maria flying

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Stick Inherent in the Carrot

Business Strategies

StickInTheEye In the previous Business Strategies post, What My Dog Taught me About Team Motivation, I explained that positive reinforcement works very well in motivating teams to achieve company and project goals.  In fact, it may be the only way to achieve continuous positive results even when other firms experience morale issues.

The question remained what do you do with free-riders, those who take advantage of the situation, assuming there are no negative consequences to their poor performance or behavior.  This is the subject of the post today.

A common misconception about use of positive reinforcement is that there are no negative consequences.  There are, in fact, two inherent negative consequences.  Lack of positive reinforcement is the first.  It’s surprising to see how professionals quickly learn that failing to achieve their goals equates to no bonuses, promotions, words of praise, or extra time off. This feels especially damning when they see their colleagues receiving all these rewards for their top performance. 

The other inherent negative consequence for poor performance can be understood by realizing there are standards defined in this system that are used to measure performance.  When determining what actions or results to reinforce, goals and limits are defined.  These limits include the minimum acceptable performance requirements.  You can quite easily mold your human resource requirements for performance reviews to fit in this definition.  By having such definitions, you’ve essentially established a negative consequence for poor performance. When coworkers aren’t able to reach the minimum levels, and after a limited number of allowances for repeated poor performance, you can help the individual find alternatives outside of your organization. 

Another question at this stage is how many repeats of poor performance should your organization tolerate. This depends on how quickly you and your managers can determine the root cause of poor performance and how it can be rectified.   My recommendation is often to set a three-strike policy.  This means that when employees reach a third performance miss, your organization takes a drastic step.  In the meantime, your managers do everything possible to help each poor-performing individual determine and address the root cause.  In fact, all employees will have two opportunities to understand what they missed and how they can address it before a third failure could occur and provide grounds for drastic actions.

This may sound like a lot of effort, but it has substantial benefits for your managers, employees and organization as a whole. I’ll explain these in the next Business Strategies post. 

What Do You Think?

Feel free to comment below about how effective these inherent “sticks” are in the positive reinforcement method of motivation.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkins I wish you all a belated Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you were able to enjoy your time with the family.

In case you’re interested, here’s a new perspective on Thanksgiving blog post by Dustin Wax on his LifeHack site: Bringing in the Harvest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Business and Beautiful Music

Guest

Below’s a guest posting by a Mendel Yano.  This will be part of ongoing posts by guests on TheMarq.  They can be accessed directly under the Guest Topic category. 

Some say that beautiful music can enrich the soul. I believe that business can actually have the same profound effect on a leader as long as it is beautiful as well. I can understand where some may think I have absolutely lost my mind in labeling something like business with a term like beautiful, but let me explain. I believe that when you describe music you listen to the harmony, the tempo, possibly words that have meaning and the overall character of the song or piece. I see beautiful business as being well orchestrated and when done well, is a symphony of different players all working together to execute a final vision.

As an Operations business leader for over 10 years I have had much experience in a diverse amount of challenges and issues. I realized very early in my career that it is vital to always have a vision. Some end result that may be completely unrealistic for the time being but never the less, a fantasy of better things. As the imaginary section lead of an orchestra it is my role to organize all of my players to be in line with the overall business strategy of the firm (conductor). To do so, I believe that several points are vital:

1) We must pick our battles and prioritize the most important challenges. Keep the “I” terms to the side, the focus is on the firm’s objectives. To be a successful leader you need to communicate your goals and align with the firm. What is important to you may not be with the overall strategy.
2) Take a step back, configure your vision and make sure that there are no negative side affects to the other parts of the team. A successfully executed project may just detriment the group. Playing louder or rearranging your section may create an off-balance or other issue to the orchestra.
3) Be overly critical of your plans. Be the devil’s advocate and envision what the absolutely worst thing that could happen to avoid your team’s success. What can be done to avoid catastrophe and possibly let the business down. Do this on your own, a great leader can spot their own weaknesses and compensate without any of the team knowing your concern. The boy scouts mantra is, “Always be prepared.” I will always believe in this.
4) Don’t be afraid to take risks or to think differently from others. I believe that I have so much to learn about business and don’t nearly have all the answers. I would think that others can be this way as well. Just remember to be humble when presenting your ideas, there could be a myriad of things that you did not think of in the formulation. Be open to learn and to teach, you’re a lead for a reason but be cautious of the political toe-stepping.

Hopefully in the end the orchestra will play with great success. As is life there are always going to be challenges but it is how you handle them that makes you the leader you are.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Golf and Give Thanks

Relaxation

On my week off from blogging on TheMarq, I spent part of the day playing golf for the first time with a friend of mine.  Read my post about the experience on his blog, TheGolfStudent

This is also where I post every couple of weeks or so about my experience learning golf.  So, continue reading if you’re interested.

Feel free to post any comments directly on his site.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gone Fishing on Thanksgiving

GoneFishing I’ll be taking the week of Thanksgiving off from work and blogging.  I’ll return the first week of December.

Until then, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving week and holiday.

In the meantime, Feel free to browse previous posts on the site via the Topics list to the left.

Unemployed Blues? Forget the News

Perplexed The Optimist’s Perspective

We’re continuously bombarded with sensationalized news.  These days it’s mostly about the economy.  When the latest unemployment numbers come out, the majority of media focus on how it’s increased.  Economists of the past saw patterns of strong recovery after a deep recession, but the Wall Street Journal claims otherwise in an article titled, “Why No One Expects a Strong Recovery.”

Does all of this get you down and perplexed? 

It shouldn’t, because you have the Optimist’s Perspective.

In this debut post on the Optimist’s Perspective, I’d like you to put to practice an idea that’ll help clear your head of all the negative news: turn off your radio and, especially, your local TV news.  Read what you want on your Twitter stream or off of sites like Wall Street Journal or, better yet, Alltop. And after you’re done reading, put it all aside and realize that nobody in any of those articles is writing your future but you.  Make your own news.

I’m not suggesting you ignore the news.  By all means, listen to it, then glean from it the good news that’s almost never said.  For example, unemployment rate may have increased, but it’s increased at a substantially decreased RATE than in the months past.  In other words, there are fewer people that are losing their jobs each month.  That’s good news, right? Why isn’t that talked about?  Why doesn’t anyone write about the consequences of a decreased acceleration of the unemployment rate?

Also, notice that the majority of the media is saying the same thing, except each has its own analysis why their version of the negative story is more accurate or true than another’s . Telling these types of negative stories is a way to generate traffic.  It’s what’s popular. 

Your response to that should be the same as Oscar Wilde’s, “Everything popular is wrong.” Always remember that you’re in complete control of how you perceive the news you consume. 

I had lunch with a couple of colleagues yesterday and heard a very encouraging bit of news.  Keep in mind, all three of us work in the very competitive software development services industry.  If you believe the news, we were hit with job losses in the latter parts of the recession and we’re paying the price now. Keep that thought in the background and read this: One of my lunch colleagues told me he’s had his best year to date since he started his business two years ago!  His revenue has, in fact, doubled to $800k over the past year.

How is that possible?

I’ll tell you.  He has decided to CREATE HIS OWN OPPORTUNITIES.  He told me he makes 30 calls a day.  That’s right! 30 calls! He then compared his effort now to when he was really “working hard,” making 100 calls a day.  That’s how he made his own good news.  He sees the unemployment numbers and he realizes companies now need to outsource more than ever.  So, why not provide them with that service. What’s more, he can help the unemployed by finding them contract work.

People like my lunch colleague have the optimist’s perspective.  They hear the news and see opportunities that benefit their company, as well as their employees,  not to mention fulfill the needs of their clients by understanding their pain points and how to address them.

So, the next time you hear or read some news.  Ask yourself, are you that optimist who thinks outside of what the population does?

What Do You Think?

As always, I’d love to hear form you.  Let me know what you think of this new topic.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Topic Changes for TheMarq

SoloSax Site Policy

I mentioned in a post last week that I was reconsidering the topics and format of information covered on this site. 

I’ve now come up with a new set of topics.  Some of them are the same as before but covered on a different day, while others have been dropped or changed slightly. 

Also, note that you can now view articles by topic from your left navigation.

Here are the new topics: 

  • Mondays: Business Strategies
    This is one of my favorite subjects.  I’ll continue to cover service and product delivery, team building, productivity and general business problem solving strategies under this topic.
  • Tuesdays: Inspirational Thought / Motivational
    These are thoughts that help me stay motivated at work. I hope they have the same effect on you.  They may range from thoughts on famous quotes to ideas on how to change your perspective for the better.
  • Wednesdays: Free Forum / Guest Author

    Wednesdays will be open for any topic outside of the other pre-selected items.  This gives me the flexibility to choose whatever piques my interest, as well as provide me with an avenue to deliver to you a different perspective from other bloggers.  For example, I may repost someone’s blog entry that I found interesting or ask a guest writer to blog on the site. 

    NOTE: In case you’re interested in becoming a guest writer, feel free to email me.  My full contact information is under the profile section of the site navigation to the left.

  • Thursdays: Technology Review
    I’ll continue to learn of new tools, develop new processes, and discover others online and write about them. 

  • Fridays: The Optimist’s Perspective
    I figured Fridays is a good day to post an optimist’s perspective on life and business so that you leave for the weekend with some positive thoughts to recharge and come back to work ready to start the week.  And what better way to start the week than to read the Monday Business Strategies blog entries!  ;-)

What Do You Think?

Feel free to weigh in on the topics I wish to cover by commenting below.