Not Another Con Call

Given the remarkable changes in technology, why do conference calls still suck?  I was on one yesterday and all the classic issues happened:

  • The leader was late – so the participants were stuck listening to music – The Rolling Stones were singing Time is On My Side.  I was OK with that 🙂 A benefit!
  • It  is very difficult to understand people who are speaking, especially if they have even the slightest accent
  • Background noise is terrible
  • Folks speaking when they are on mute – We cannot hear you 🙂
  • Babies crying and dogs barking in the background – Ah the benefits of working from home!
  • Two people speaking at once, telling the other to go first, and then both speaking at the same time again

This video has been going around but if you have not seen it, take a look.  It is just awesome, accurate and laugh out loud funny!

And now for some Stones.

Someone, please innovate!

Webman

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Comfortably Numb

“Hello, Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home? Come on now, I hear you’re feeling down, I can ease your pain, And get you on your feet again. Relax. I’ll need some information first; Just the basic facts. Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain, you are receding. A distant ship smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves.Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying. When I was a child I had a fever. My hands felt just like two balloons. Now I’ve got that feeling once again. I can’t explain, you would not understand. This is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb.”

Comfortably NumbPink Floyd

One of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

Seems as if many of the people we deal with everyday have gone Comfortably Numb!

Today’s blog is about mediocrity and about how we have now been conditioned to accept it . It is everywhere.  All of the technology in the world cannot rid the rapidly growing wave of excuses for failure, lack of preparedness, reliability, lack of accountability, lack of integrity or just overall ineptitude.

Are we all that busy, that distracted, that stressed, that we just can no longer meet or exceed expectations?  Have we forgotten how to manage time?  Or focus on the things that are important?  Are we too busy playing politics or kissing someones derriere that it affects our ability to add value?

Does it have something to do with raising the last couple of generations where everyone got a trophy when playing sports, the rules were for equal time for all players, regardless of skills, where no one kept score?  I do not know if this is a driver but headline for everyone – life is about competing, winning and overcoming obstacles.  Doing your best everyday.  Waking up and making a difference in your life, your job, with your family and friends.

Webman, what is wrong?  Well, let me tell you.  Everyday we are engaged with people who just cannot do their jobs.  Think about it.  Go to a restaurant and find a waiter/waitress that has a clue about what is on the menu.  Does not happen often. Last week I visited the Black Cow in Hamilton, MA.  Have tried the restaurant many times, hopeful of getting a meal that was edible, but that never happened.  They have recently renovated, upgraded their menu and certainly upgraded their staff.  The waitress was informed, knowledgeable, pleasant, happy and courteous.  What a pleasant surprise! 🙂  Why am I so surprised when someone actually does their job?

Think about where you work.  Who is really great at what they do?  Who are you wowed by?  Who do you look up to and admire?  Who’s behavior are you trying to emulate?  Which of your leaders do you look up to?  Who looks up to you?  Are you setting an example for others?  Are you leading, following or just getting out of the way?

How many times do people walk out of a meeting and say they are going to do something, only to never see it done?  How many of your co-workers make commitments that aren’t kept?  How many times do you have to either stop by someone’s office or send multiple e-mails to get a response?  How many people never respond?  How many times have you heard,  “I did not have time to read your e-mail” or “I am too busy.”  What ever happened to the golden rule?  Treating others the way you would like to be treated.  What has gone so wrong with our society that even basic decency and respect are now just disregarded?  How many times have you attended a meeting where no one was prepared, there was no agenda or you did not know why you were even invited?  What a waste of your time.

whambulance

Time is one of our most precious assets, yet people waste our time every day because they are not prepared.  They do not do the work necessary to have a productive, fact based and thoughtful conversation.  Think about how long it takes to make decisions.  Why, because people are not prepared to make them  Or maybe they are just afraid to make them because then they need to take accountability.  Heaven forbid!  Do they think, “I might be held responsible for that decision, so I think it best not to make one.”  Make a decision today.  It will feel great 🙂

Can you imagine how effective and impactful your work day would be if this situation just improved by 20%? So starting today, be prepared.  Stop worrying about things that are out of your control.  Stop the whining.  Stop blaming others.  Do your best regardless of the hurdles.  In the spirit of being honest and transparent, if people are dragging you down, tell them.  Force change.  Take accountability.  Make a decision.  Learn from your mistakes.  Get better everyday.  Make a difference.  Treat people with dignity and respect.

Do it today and everyday. Wow someone today.  Wow yourself.  Raise the bar. Stretch. Grow.

And of course, say hello 🙂

Webman

Time for You

Moving way to fast for me.  Every week is just flying by.  So much to do and so little time. So much time taken up on things we do not want to spend time on.  Being stuck in traffic, waiting in line at a store, another meeting, another conference call, another powerpoint presentation, getting to the airport one hour early, waiting for you luggage, dealing with yet another incompetent customer service rep, having to do something over because the person you asked to do it did not get it done properly or just doing it yourself instead so that you know it would be done right.  (I think we all do this).  Waiting for that follow-up call from your job interview.  Networking on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Words with Friends, Apps, News, You Tube, Bloomberg, Google, Yahoo, ESPN and more.  There are only 24 hours in the day, do we really have the time to spend on all this stuff that adds no real value to anything or anyone.

Some insight from Pink Floyd to start your morning.  Back to my point shortly.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Time – Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

Time management is really difficult and yet it is so important.  How many times have you thought “what the hell did I get done today?”  If is wasn’t for that stupid meeting I would have executed my plan.  Why did I even attend that meeting?  I just spent 3 hours watching a movie I have seen 4 times.  Should I really be watching the SVU marathon?  How many times have I seen this episode of Chopped or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  (I am getting in a little dig for one of my daughters here 🙂 )

Here is the headline for you.  Take control of your time.  Stop blaming everyone else for your lack of time.  Eliminate the following sentence from your vocabulary “I did not have enough time.” You do have enough time if you plan it properly.  Many years ago I learned a technique called Stop, Start and Continue.  List the things that you spend time on everyday both at work and at home.  That is a long list isn’t it?  Now focus on how much time you are spending on things that you really want to do.  Hmm, not enough of that time is there?  No because most of our time is spent on the wrong stuff.  Put your list into the three buckets of what you should Stop doing,  what you should Start doing and what you should Continue doing.  Now be really hard on yourself, stop a lot of stuff and try to free up just 1 hour per day.  Not easy is it?  May not be easy but find it and start doing something you want to do with that hour.  Awesome isn’t it?  You just took control.  Well done!

Use this technique on a regular basis as new stuff you should not be doing will always creep into your day.  Start with setting aside that one hour per day for you.  Try to make it  1 1/2 hours next week.  Take control of your time and stop making excuses.  You always have enough time if you use it properly.

Start today -Time is on your side, yes it is – Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

Enjoy your time.

Webman

Shop Like Jagger!

As consumers we are constantly bombarded with buy this, but that, huge clearance sale, 70% off, buy in the next 15 minutes and you will receive a second Chia Pet absolutely free, we will double your order if you act now and so on.  We see thousands of advertisements per day.  Think of all of that money being spent trying to get you to buy something you do not want or need.  And then we wonder why the cost of all products has continued to escalate even as the economy has suffered and our paychecks have continued to shrink.  OK, sing along time – words of wisdom from Mick Jagger:

When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can’t get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m watchin’ my TV
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me
I can’t get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say

Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Yesterday we focused on how the touch screen and mobile technologies have changed, providing us with more and more access to information.  This also has provided advertisers with more opportunity to present you with product shopping options.  Some retailers are doing some very cool stuff with changing the retail shopping experience. Here are just a couple of examples:

Home Plus, the Korean branch of Tesco, launched a series of virtual stores on subway platforms, enabling customers to make purchases using their smartphones while they wait for a train.  So how cool is this.  You are waiting for your train and you remember you need a few items at home.  You walk up to this virtual wall of products, use your smartphone and place your order.  The products are then delivered to your home at the scheduled time or maybe even ready for pick-up when you get off the train later that day – Sweet!

MyBestFit is a free service available in a number of US malls. Customers enter a whole-body scanner, before being advised which different brand sizes will fit them best.  Given how every manufacturers sizes seem to be different, this must be a real time saver for the clothes shopper.

A number of retailers are also using automated retail solutions such as Bose and Qantas.  These product dispensing kiosks are developed by Vigix, a venture backed company in Massachusetts.  These kiosks can be used to dispense products, samples, coupons, interactive and 3D media among other very interesting retail applications. (Disclaimer I have a working relationship with Vigix- the opportunities for highly differentiated interactive retailing are awesome)

Just a few of many ways touch screens and technology is and will be changing the way we shop.

Enjoy the weekend.

Webman