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Friday, June 29, 2012

Google's New Technology – More Power and Simplicity

Google took the internet by storm years ago with a super-fast search scheme and has continued to be a leader in creating innovative tools allowing non-programmers to create sophisticated solutions to get results.

Dick and I have been attending the DC simulcast of Google's I/O three-day event underway in San Francisco – and they are unveiling some truly advanced Android devices and applications.

Here's some highlights of new software, applications, and hardware:

Google Plus Hangouts (video conferencing of up to 10 people), has been enhanced with a business meeting app – Symphonicaland two social apps Event – to schedule meetings and social events complete with invitations - and Party Mode – which permits sharing of pictures/video before, after and real-time during the event by any of the attendees. Video easily accessed is a powerful tool for business – for meetings, for demos or other show & tell sessions, and to 'live stream' events to a public audience.

The next generation of the Android operating system – Android v4.1, nicknamed Jellybean, and a new Android phone – the Galaxy Nexus – combine for a new level of productivity and simplicity. In Google Search learns from your keyboard strokes and accessibility for users is upgraded. Voice Search is included in the function and will return result in audio as well as screen text and video. The phone has a simple new gesture – the flick – just like you'd flick a bug off your shirt, you can use this to delete what's on the screen.

You can also use Voice to dictate text, chat, and emails when in that function. Keeping track of appointments and other interests is done automatically through Google Alerts , by popping up note cards with all the relevant details – it can be an appointment, airline flights, or current score for your team.

The Nexus 7 Tablet using the new Android 4.1 OS (built by ASUS with delivery expected in mid-July) was introduced with a 7-inch HD screen, 9-hour battery life, and a $199 price tag – what a treat! The Nexus 7 has a fast 3-core processor and 13 other background processors – for a total of 16 CPUs speeding through the material for quick display and smooth transition.

For entertainment, you can read ebooks and documents; read magazines – uniquely formatted to have the look and feel of the paper publication, with thumbnails of articles for the reader to 'leaf through' to find articles of interest; view pictures and albums; and videos, movies, TV shows, and YouTube; listen to music from personal collections and internet sources. For business and other tasks, you can read and write email, browse the web, read your blogs, access your Google Plus and hangouts (forward facing camera for the video), do detailed search by text and voice, and get pop-up notification cards automatically for upcoming appointments and other items of interest.

Carrying forward the social aspects of the phone and tablet, Google has developed the Nexus Q which is an in-home collaborative media streamer device connected to your speakers and large-screes TV. You can pull pictures, videos, music, art, and other entertainment items from anywhere in your extended network – by just swiping your Android phone or other NFC-function device across the Nexus Q. In addition guests can share their entertainment libraries with a simple swipe across the Q.

The Chrome browser now can sync the browser settings, bookmarks, and recent search results across multiple platforms – computer, tablet, phone – and automatically optimize the format for the device. So, you can access a search result done on your home computer from your Android phone while you are mobile instead of making a paper copy of the screen as you go out.

A key to all these advances is direct access to the Google Cloud – material is stored or held in the cloud for access by any of the Google-based devices. This aids to flexibility of access to your content and documents, as well as facilitating collaboration among team members or others by giving focused access to specific files.

A preview of what's in the works shown at the conference is Google Glass – wearable computers. This is a device, which looks like a pair of eyeglasses that has a camera, audio receiver, and heads up display, so you can access the internet, a hangout, or snap pictures or videos of what you are seeing. To introduce this prototype device, Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) staged a parachute jump to the roof of the convention center with an elaborate 'pony express' style delivery to the stage for a pair of these glasses. All the while, the screens showed live video of what the participants were actually seeing (using Hangout technology). Quite exciting staged event.

There were three quotes that nicely summed up the philosophy of these developments in computer tools:

Larry Page (co-founder of Google): “Have a healthy disrespect for the impossible.”

Vic Guntodtra (Google SR VP Engineering): “The best thing is for the computer to have your back – then you don't have to worry about it!”

Clay Bauer (Google Director Chrome Development): “What we want is that it works without even noticing.”
As these advances roll out, we will find business applications for them – to get better results, or to do something that was not practical (or possible) before.

Guy Kawasaki's recommendation for getting visibility on the internet certainly sums up the development that Google has highlighted at this conference: “Write Good Stuff!

What do you find most relevant for your operations from the new features offered by Google?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Customer Orbits

A previous post, Target Markets, finished, Mastery is having your finite resources satisfy the entire market...

Let’s define that market.

Seth Godin has already debunked the myth of prospects. Nobody wants to be a prospect. It’s a code between the salesperson and the sales mangler to identify who they intend to commit sales upon. Seth thinks a better term is “citizens.”

We have a good model for how sales professionals spend their time to maximize sales taking advantage of social media advantages.

Today we’ll define not from what our citizens think, but what sellers can observe. Otherwise it’s fiction and suspection.

Think of electrons orbiting around the nucleus of an atom. There are many orbits, extending outward, and the electrons don’t spiral toward the center, they jump to a different orbit in reaction to stimuli.

That’s a good model for observing people in a buying process.

The farthest orbit would be Awareness, when they notice you.

Next in would be Potential, when they are aware that you might provide something they need.

Then Benefit, when they harness how you might help them.

After that, Observation, because seeing is believing.

Inside that would be Acquisition, the area where old time salesmen spend all their time.

Getting closer is Installation, where they get access to use it.

A further step is Adaptation, where they change their work processes to gain advantages from it.

Then comes Belief, based on internal stories of value.

With luck we get Expansion, where your offering spreads to more of the customer organization.

Then the fantasy, where your customer begins to Refer new citizens, who want to repeat your customer’s experience.

Finally there are the Zealots, who decide they would rather work with your product than theirs, and come over to you.

I think we’ve all seen isolated instances of each to these orbits. Applying the opening definition - Mastery is having your finite resources satisfy the entire market... how would you change your focus to accomplish this?

My experience is as you broaden your focus to strengthen the before the transaction, and apply resources after the “love ’em and leave ’em stage, total cost of sales is greatly reduced, on the order of 50% or more. The pitfall is maintaining your expanded process over time and new managers who see the value of the check writing part of the relationship.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Don't File It – Use That Data

Big Data is a means to extract useful information from great volumes of data collected from various inputs. If the data is available and accurate, the distilled information can be useful if the project is well conceived.

Last week we attended a Big Data session put on by NCA-GTUG to highlight some successful in-use projects with Splunk boiling down huge quantities of continuous real-time data into useful information about monitored activities – almost real-time. Fascinating.

Next day I participated in a GovLoop Webinar on Optimizing Service With Big Data, which outlined the expanding use of the Big Data approach in the Government sector – and an example of effective use of police data to reduce crime.

The city of Santa Cruz applied Big Data tools to 10 years of collected police crime data. They cut the data by type of crime; they sliced it by location; they diced it by time, day of week, day of month, and month of year, to get a detailed picture of the characteristics of crime occurring in Santa Cruz.

Then the process was reversed to create when, where, and what predictors of crime probabilities as a data based tool to apprehend or prevent area crime.

By manipulation of large volumes of existing data, the police department created a knowledgebase analogous to the instincts of long-service patrolmen with a 'feeling' about crime activity and targets. This predictive tool is intended to help the SCPD be more effective in the reduction of crime. Of course, personal experience is what sets the Doers apart from others – this data approach is a supplement, not a replacement for experience.

The results bear out this supposition: property-based crime is down by 12% and burglaries down by 25% since implementing the project. Good results, which supplement the other tools available to the police in doing their jobs – like when the two-way radios replaced the call boxes on the street.

This example demonstrates a valuable subsequent use of gathered data to glean information about patterns, trends, or other relationships among the measured items. Two important element to a successful project with massive volume of data is the relevancy of the project to get usable information and the completeness and accuracy of the input to get sound information.

What are some Big Data applications that could create valuable information for your operations or future planning?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Target Markets

My favorite user group has announced a change of direction. A user group is usually independent of a specific software, made up of enthusiasts, rather than company representatives. They provide a friendly forum for the company representatives.

The company feels they can get greater traction in the market appealing to wizzerd programmers instead of buyers. I’ve seen that a couple of times from inside a company. Usually it means a new market manager has a bigger quota.

Ten years ago I learned that when the new executive director wanted to change the name of a successful organization, she didn’t understand the mission, leading to rounds of rightsizing.

Yesterday, I was driving up US 95 through Virginia next to a truck I recognized. Fifteen years ago, one of my government customers had the third largest transaction website in the world...written entirely in COBOL. They published a monster catalog, like the old Sears big book...entirely in COBOL. These guys could do anything with my product.

Then some marketers in my organization figured out that what they had bought was worth more than they paid, so they instituted retroactive “value pricing.” Took my customer six months to rebuild their web empire in Microsoft. I lost the world’s greatest reference account.

Last month Ardell Fleeson gave a powerful talk at the Virginia Leadership Breakfast. What stuck with me was her observation that we divide our focus into two groups, “target markets” and “all others.” Did you ever look at how much business comes from “all others?”

The lesson I’m getting is to respect and aid everyone who has an interest. Mastery is having your finite resources satisfy the entire market, both who you think is your buyer and those who just buy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Changing Education

Video is a powerful educational tool. With internet distribution and storage, a world class video can easily be shared globally. Salman Khan of the Khan Academy has been making short videos that teach specific technical skills to students from elementary school to graduate level. These are available for free on the web.

One of the challenges of internet based video education is that students aren’t really learning, they just feel like they are learning, let’s call that couch potato syndrome. That’s a small, easily addressed problem. The larger problem is presenters faxing in their performance while standing at the front of a classroom.

Sebastian Thrun, who knows something about education, puts it this way, “You don’t lose weight by watching someone else exercise,” he says. “You don’t learn by watching someone else solve problems. It became clear to me that the only way to do online learning effectively is to have students solve problems.”

So lesson one is Go Make Something. Come to think of it, that’s what work is these days.

A major change in learning is information is available anywhere. In the old days, students went to University to learn the Canon of Western Civilization, all three books, because there was a good chance that when they went back home, they weren’t going to see another book again. Scholars were walking search engines. They weren’t expected to work, they were expected to provide answers and educate the baron’s whelps in their downtime.

There are still people who think their job is to have an opinion and opine. Nice work if you can get it.

For most of us, job one is to turn that knowledge into something valuable, on demand.

The purpose of video education is to provide the knowledge. Education comes from using it to make something useful.

Another value of video education is modeling behavior. Kipling provided Victorian behavior modeling through his writing, and The Man Who Would Be King shows heroic behavior, like High Noon, and even Leroy Jethro Gibbs or Frank Reagan.

Let’s take the best parts of video and work it like a rented mule in the interests of better education.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hull Speed – Limits of Change

Over the last 25+ years in all sectors of the economy, we've been changing management/leadership structures, the tools and technologies to do the work, and the headcount of workers at all levels.

Initially the changes had impact very quickly – on production or operations and on the bottom line or budget.

As we continued to make incremental changes, the effect was progressively less. In many cases we are at the point (or rapidly approaching it) where the next change will have no positive effect. Let me say it again: change now has little to no desired effect.


Picture a boat – when under way it creates a bow wave as the hull displaces the water and a stern wave (wake) following the boat as the water fills in where the hull was.

Each hull has a maximum speed that it can travel through the water – and no amount of additional power or sail can make that boat move faster. There is a physics formula to calculate the maximum hull speed, but simply put, when the bow wave and stern wake meet the boat has reached top speed.

A similar effect has been happening as we make continuous incremental changes. The initial modifications and work-arounds eliminate inefficiencies and create productive gains. With successive changes we run out of modifications and work-arounds and are limited to swapping one task for another (analogous to the bow and stern waves converging). The current change is possible ONLY at the cost of forgoing an existing task or process.

Just like modifying the design of the hull can change its maximum speed, making dramatic changes to the organization can have a major and lasting effect. Possibilities include:
  • engaging the Doers in the process of change – tell them the goal and get their help to reach it
  • Apply the principles of disruptive innovation (remove features, sell cheap, exponentially increase market reach) to reinvent the organization
  • shift from a service-based entity to a platform-based entity – make heavy use of technology and automation to provide information, routine answers, intake and output of documents, filings, and reports, and use staff to address the small percent of complex situations which arise.

Do you see situations where hull speed, disruptive innovation of government as a platform would make a positive impact?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Google Plus Is Quietly Making Gains

When I was talking Jack into blogging, I said, “I touch 200,000 people twice a week.”

He said, “How do you know?”

I said, “I counted.”

A month later, he told me a post had gone to a quarter of a million people. I said, “That’s nice.” I wasn’t going to take the bait. He was planning to tell me that he had counted.

My metrics are making a count when something major changes. Not weekly, not monthly, and often not annually.

Last week I saw one of my posts was retweeted, and following the link I got to see the Sales Lab Posts mobile display for the first time.

I thanked the tweeter who replied, would I retweet their stuff?

Nothing wrong with that. What’s the metric? Before I jump in, I want to know how much is enough.

Response? “World domination”

Say what? Well, that’s not coming from my twitter following!

Then I checked and saw I had close to ten times the following on Google Plus. Honest Officer, I have no idea how that happened.

I also prefer monitoring the incoming stream in Google Plus because I can see more of the posts without clicking on them. Twitter has an art form of attention grabbing headlines that are more interesting than the underlying posts.

I know my Plus followers. They have built some space with what they know, what interests them. My Twitter followers are often incomprehensible, although I suspect more than a few are followers of Charles Ponzi.

I have a sense of pressure that I’m wasting time when I read on the Internet. Turns out I am covering much more ground per minute, and having the search box right on the browser means I don’t have any research tasks waiting when I am done.

I can read a newspaper in 15 minutes. I cover much more ground reading the Plus stream or Reader.

We’ve noticed that there is a definite crewe saying, “I never see Google Plus. They’re not doing so well.” We’ve also noticed there is a 100% correlation with them not having a plus page.

The most common response from Plus users is that they had no great expectations of Google Plus, but it was easy to set up and they use stream, hangout, photos or whatever feature more than they had expected they would.

Google Plus is quietly making gains. How are you moving up? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Open Source – It's Not Just Software, Baby!

Initially, open source was an approach to developing software among coders, which was like Spanky, Darla, and the Our Gang kids “puttin' on a show.” Everyone contributed what they had (sharing resources) and did what they knew (collaborate) – and the show was always a success.

The open source approach is a philosophy, a culture, a means of tapping the doer's knowledge and experience without the complication of burdensome overhead.

It can be as simple as taking the path of helping a chronically tardy employee discover the effect of his lateness on coworkers, then giving him an alarm clock to acknowledge the commitment of being there on time.

In this environment, an audiophile can develop a hobby of finding old high-end equipment into a viable business by working with a warehouser and an eBay seller – a 3-person collaboration which is a poster child for the Makers Economy.

As agencies move further into government as a platform (GAAP) with information and answers easily available on-line, and reliable channels for filing required documents, the experienced 'live person' is available to work with the smaller percentage of unusual cases instead of reading to the general caller from the regs and procedures.

Open source leadership is recognizing the value of the knowledge and experience which resides throughout the organization and finding ways of applying it to get results.

The New Normal is the resulting change from traditional methods to address issues brought about by open source thinking. It's like having the doers and managers smiling at a problem and saying in unison “We've got an app for that!”

Business as usual is unusual – are you evolving or just waiting for it to return to normal?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Second Wave Innovation

Patterson made a lot more money from moveable type than Gutenberg.

Alfred P. Sloan had a bigger General Motors than Billy Durant.

Startups are for young guys. Finishups are for rich guys.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Innovation – Big and Small

When in 6th grade, on the walk home with friends, we would stop at a local store and buy a soda (for 5¢) - I'd often think how nice it would be to have an ice cold bottle of water instead of the sweet soda.

With the popularity of bottled water today, was mine an innovative idea? No – it was just a thought, because there was no action to bring it to reality.

When Alexander Bell (and others) perfected the telephone – that was innovative because the idea was developed and something new was introduced. When the rotary dial gave way to push buttons it was a feature change – just a now 'tool' to do the same job of dialing the phone – but when the wireless phone was developed, it dramatically changed how (and where) we used the telephone.

Likewise, making a mobile phone smaller or introducing the flip phone were simply changes in features, but the smartphone was a creative development that added something new – pocket-size access to email, text messages, and internet. - Innovative.

Sticky notes, non-stick frying pans, digital recordings and personal players, and Google search are all innovative. Each was a creative idea that was developed, introduced as something new, and permitted us to do something differently. Innovation 2.0 (further updates and changes) is often just adding features, not renewing or altering the original.

The formula for innovation is: Idea + Development + Introduction = Something New and Useful. Although successful market penetration is not specifically part of the formula (e.g., the Ford Edsel was quite innovative but was a dud in the market); innovation does offer the possibility for rewards ($$) to the innovator.

Today there is an additional – radical – kind of innovation which also has three elements:
  • Take something now existing and eliminate all but the core functionality
  • Chop the price dramatically
  • Expand the market reach by 100X, or 1000X or more.

Currently, we see this happening in cellular communications – new entrants into the crowded market are offering unlimited calls, text messaging, and data/internet, you buy your own phone, and no contract for $20-$30 per month. These carriers are selling via the internet, at Wal-Mart and similar places – not at free standing storefronts in malls and urban centers. The trade-off for giving up some 'cool' features and putting up with some limitation of coverage areas is deemed worth the user saving up to $1,000 per year in mobile phone bills.

Disruptive innovation has the potential to completely alter established markets and create new leaders at high volumes, lower prices, and profitable margins. The former leaders are forced to 'change or perish' – once begun, disruptive innovation eliminates “business as usual”. Later, as innovation 2.0 feature creep sets in for the new leaders, another opportunity may develop to do it all over again by another disruptive innovator.

Although I have used product illustrations, the concept applies whether product-based or service-based, for profit, non-profit, or government entities that can remove features to get to important core elements, reduce cost/barriers to access, and expand the user base.

As we are struggling with flagging sales, disappearing budgets, pressure from customers, users, and the public, and lack of desired results with past tactical changes, perhaps a disruptive innovation approach is a valid path to take. Get less frills, pay less for the result, and more will benefit through increased access.

Welcome to the New Normal!

What innovative approach could offer a solution for that vexing problem?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Moving Parts

I was having lunch with a friend who is the Assistant Deputy Director to the Deputy Assistant Director, after she came back from vacation.

In a week off, she realized that many of the offices around hers are vacant, and that while once safely in the midst of the horde, she had been exposed by years of attrition. Last woman standing.

She is paid well for skills that are somewhere in the middle of the business development process, probably earning more than 90% of the people in her vacation state. However the results that are now required go far beyond the capabilities of any skills either of us know.

You know why you didn’t win that re-compete? It wasn’t because your team wouldn’t cooperate with you. It’s because the customer didn’t want you back.

If business gets any worse, they may let her go, too. What, you thought you were family?

So we started discussing Plan B. She has spent 30 years honing big company skills. Needs a cast of thousands.

I’m concerned that by concentrating on getting results, I haven’t developed any management skills.” Don’t worry, management skills are over-rated.

I started naming the three key factors of disruptive innovation – lower price, fewer features, larger audience, and she got excited.

That’s my college roommate! She has her own business, works with two other one-person businesses in Chicago and Atlanta, no one else like her, and she makes over a million dollars a year!” Now my Assistant Deputy Director has a believable model. Doesn’t know what hers will be, but knows it can be done.

If you’re going to strip out the moving parts, it’s good to think about the three requirements for work to have value, get it right the first time, customer has to care, and the thing must change physically. Then think about what’s the minimum process and organization that will provide what someone wants.

June 12 is the next Capital Technology Management Hub featuring Sales Lab'sRainmaker 14 – The Myth of Full Capacity - 300 seconds of pure profit. The featured speaker will be Cory Lebson of Lebsontech LLC, presenting User Experience: What it Means & Why a Technology Manager Should Care!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Customer Service For All

Organizations get feedback from a number of sources – email, social media, word of mouth, even from other employees.

There is a strong tendency to jump into action when a complaint is registered – all in the name of customer service.

The urgency and energy spent to respond is almost obsessive in many of us – we gotta fix it; we must change it; we have to overcome it.

It is not a bad thing to pay attention to negative feedback and work to satisfy the disappointed customer or patron.

In the frenzy of the moment, does the remedy become so large it over shadows all the satisfied and loyal customers and patrons. This raises the question – are you serving your strongest supporters? The satisfied customer.

Top notch customer service addresses problems promptly, but also conveys appreciation to the happy users as well.

To illustrate the point – I was in line at a fast food restaurant behind a couple suffering (loudly) an error in their order. The manager rushed out to sooth the situation, offered some free stuff, and ushered the two to a table. Meanwhile I was waiting to order – which went smoothly. Unfortunately, neither the server or the manager offered a comment about the delay or thanks for patience while they addressed a problem with the prior order.

This is a minor event, of course, but it often occurs on a grander scale with similar results – a little oil on the squeaky wheel and ignoring the downstream effect on others.

Customer service is serving the customer and it's a 360 degree activity.

How would you create exemplary care for the customer or patron? 

Join us:

June 12 is the next Capital Technology Management Hub featuring Sales Lab'sRainmaker 14 – The Myth of Full Capacity - 300 seconds of pure profit. The featured speaker will be Cory Lebson of Lebsontech LLC, presenting User Experience: What it Means & Why a Technology Manager Should Care!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stages of Innovation

Innovation is not “out there,” it’s a process. Looking at it historically, technologically, geographically, and developmentally can make innovation familiar and straightforward.

Innovation in the United States in the 1700’s, was often British mechanics emigrating to make their fortune, building other people’s inventions they had learned in Britain. The work was often pirated tools for production, built by immigrant craftsmen.

Recent waves of innovation include agricultural innovation, mechanical innovation, electric innovation, distribution innovation, retail innovation, electronic innovation, software innovation, and digital innovation.

Clayton Christensen has defined disruptive innovation, where fewer features and lower price create a much larger user base. Disruptive innovation is currently seen in enough industries to be observable, measurable, and predictable. As a disruptive innovation matures, it adds features and costs, becoming vulnerable to subsequent disruptive innovators.

Fred Wilson wrote Darwinian Evolution of Startup Hubs charting innovation cycles through time and space to predict when and where innovation will show up.

Jay Deragon shows unsuspected entry points and several unique strategies for innovation with New Business Models In The Middle.

Cory Doctorow demonstrates organizational models for current innovation in Makers.

Wondering where to start your innovation? Some observations:
  • My innovations are the result of focusing on something I know. Innovation is making.
  • Innovation is starting up where the last person stopped, and
  • James Patterson made more money from moveable type than Gutenberg did. (Innovation is not just about new technology. Historically, greater gains come from better application of an existing technology.)
Looking at it that way, there is an unlimited amount of meaningful innovation just waiting to be hacked.

What’s next for you? 

June 12 is the next Capital Technology Management Hub featuring Sales Lab'sRainmaker 14 – The Myth of Full Capacity - 300 seconds of pure profit. The featured speaker will be Cory Lebson of Lebsontech LLC, presenting User Experience: What it Means & Why a Technology Manager Should Care!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So What – It Doesn't Really Matter, Does It?

When I was head of HR at a large hospital in Baltimore, supervisors and managers would come to me when routine discipline did not correct a situation with their direct reports.

I recall one situation with a rather autocratic supervisor of the supply department. Their responsibilities included unloading several trailer trucks of supplies first thing each morning, securing the supplies, and delivering the non-pharmaceutical supplies to the clinical areas and then the rest of the hospital.

One of the crew was eternally late – every morning he'd show up about 30-45 minutes after the shift started and the supervisor would write him up, applying progressive discipline, including suspension.

The supervisor had asked for a per-termination review with me in preparation for firing this employee. I ask the supervisor to send him to talk to me before his shift was over that day; I was curious why he wouldn't come to work on time.

When we met, I asked him what the problem was with being on the loading dock ready to work by 6:00AM, like all his teammates? Here's how he saw it:

  • I get there when I can, but if I'm late, I always make up the time at the end of the shift – my supervisor get's his 8-hours every day
  • When I get to work I jump right in and don't waste a minute unloading the trucks and moving the supplies to the floors and departments
  • I'm a hard worker – reliable except for coming in late
  • I do not think I should be fired for being late – it's no big deal, I do the work.

I asked him to review his typical day with me and list each person he came into contact with in the course of his duties. He told me that it took about an hour to unload all the early trucks when everyone was there, longer if someone was missing.

He listed his teammates, then the clinical staff, then the department staff, and a few others – 75 in all. He volunteered that virtually all of the 75 relied on him for their supplies and would page him for emergency requests, instead of calling general supply.

I asked him about how 'I do the work' applies when he's late to the loading dock to unload the trucks? As he was telling me that he'd jump right in, he realized that not being there shortchanged his teammates, since they had to do his share until he showed up.
He told me there was over an hour delay getting to clinical area delivery when he caused the unloading to drag longer. Asking him to describe what happened when he arrived on the floor, he said the staff would jump him and get the supplies they really needed and rush off to the patient's room. They seemed stressed.

Anything different with the other departments? Often they were anxious to receive the supplies so they could complete or deliver their work.

My last question was how much work was there at the end of the day, when he was making up time? 'Usually not too much – I just chill until I can punch out with 8-hours'.

I summarized what he had told me:

  • The other 5 guys on the loading dock relay on him to do his share and have to work harder to cover when he's not there
  • The other 70 people he sees each day rely on him to bring them supplies as early as possible so they can properly care for the patients or complete their work
  • These same people rely on him for emergency supplies and special service
  • He is letting down most of this entire group when he does not come to work on time -
  • The other guys have to work harder
  • The clinical area is more stressed when they do not have the proper supplies at hand
  • The work of the staff in other departments is delayed when he is late on the delivery rounds
  • His 'make-up' time doesn't make up for the problems he causes when he's late.
It is a big deal after all and what he does makes a difference to 75 other people in the hospital. He said he had never seen it from that view and agreed that he affected a lot of people by coming in late.

He made me a promise that he would be in and ready to go by 6:00AM from tomorrow on! I gave him an alarm clock to help him keep that promise. And he did for the remainder of time he was in that position, before he was promoted to a more responsible one elsewhere in the hospital.

We get so focused on our tasks, that we can lose track of how our work affects others. If it really does not matter, look out – job elimination may be just around the corner.

How would you impress the value of an employee's contributions on others within and outside the organization or department?

Join us:
June 12 is the next Capital Technology Management Hub featuring Sales Lab'sRainmaker 14 – The Myth of Full Capacity - 300 seconds of pure profit. The featured speaker will be Cory Lebson of Lebsontech LLC, presenting User Experience: What it Means & Why a Technology Manager Should Care!