What I.T. Support Should Be

April 12, 2015

 

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I’m working with a client and occasionally need I.T. support.

The I.T. person who supports me and the entire division is a model for who an I.T. support person should be:

  • He’s very responsive–usually within minutes
  • He responds to requests for assistance from anyone including me
  • There are no hoops to jump through to get his help
  • He gets whatever needs to be done completed quickly and professionally
  • He does everything with a smile

Duane is a standout. I look forward to working with him on any issue that might arise.

It doesn’t matter if someone is supporting internal or external customers–great customer service is something to rejoice about.

Photo Credit: CWCS Managed Hosting, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“People wish because they are afraid to take action.”  Alan Weiss, Thrive–Stop Wishing Your Life Away
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Improvement Via Industry Best Practices

April 6, 2015

 

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Insular companies and cultures miss opportunities to improve and evolve. It’s possible to learn from others within your industry or even outside your industry.

The vast majority of airlines outside the U.S. did not adopt the U.S. standard of never leaving a pilot or co-pilot alone in the cockpit. This procedure was adopted after the U.S. 9/11 terror incident.

After the recent Germanwings plane crash, airlines outside the U.S. have begun adopting the U.S. procedure. Why did it take 150 deaths to make this standard adoptable outside the U.S.?

Lufthansa’s CEO believed that his company had effective processes for hiring and continuously evaluating pilots that would have mitigated any possible risk–an assertion proven invalid.

What ideas and best practices has your company failed to adopt that could be a source of competitive advantage, safety, comfort, growth, etc? Isolating yourself from the business world around you only serves to exacerbate your challenges.

Photo Credit: Steve Hardy on Flickr

 

Thought for the week:

“Ideas must work through the brains and arms of men, or they are no better than dreams.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Gender Discrimination Verdict Predictable

March 30, 2015

 

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When a plaintiff is unable to connect with a jury, the outcome is not surprising.

Ellen Pao lost her gender discrimination case against one of the most verable venture capital firms in Silicon Valley: Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers.

Juries are not comprised of multi-millionaires. Consequently, juries have little sympathy for a plaintiffs seeking millions of dollars in damages particularly when the plaintiff seems to be doing well professionally. The violation(s) must be so egregious that there is little doubt that there was a violation of the law.

Was there legal merit to Ellen’s case? Yes. Yet, she and her team were unable to sway the jury that the law was violated and she was due just compensation and damages..

Many believe that Ellen Pao’s case will make companies–many based in Silicon Valley–think more closely about gender discrimination. I hope they are right. Gender discrimination continues to be a real issue.

Photo Credit: David Yu on Flickr.com

 

Thought for the week:

I’m proud of Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, and the City of San Francisco for being amongst the first to take Indiana to task for their anti-LBGT law. Many others are following suit. Arkansas will apparently follow Indiana’s lead. May Arkansas, too, feel economic loss for what will ultimately be held to be an unconstitutional law just as Indiana’s law is unconstitutional. Why?The equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will be the basis for striking down these laws. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction ‘the equal protection of the laws.’”
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


How The Customer Experience Is Improved

March 16, 2015

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When I think about “making the complex simple,” I’m driven to help my clients improve the customer experience.

Companies invest large sums in process improvement initiatives (most of which have a significant information technology component) that have little bearing on customers. There needs to be a favorable return on investment for these initiatives. But, just as importantly, how many improve the customer experience?.

  • Via these initiatives, are you making the complex simple?
  • Are the people who interact with customers delivering the kind of experience that excites and delights the customer?
  • Are systems and processes enabling a better customer experience?
  • Is your company and its customer-facing processes a standout in your industry or mediocre at best?
  • Are your employees empowered to help customers on the spot or are customers who experience problems subjected to a hellish gantlet to resolve a problem that should have been very easy and quick to resolve?
  • Are you treating customers like you would like to be treated?
  • Are service levels improved to the extent a customer would even notice?

Systems and processes alone are insufficient to provide a great customer experience.

The human component is one of the highest return investments yet it is usually the most neglected area. Companies need to set high standards and insist that employees rise to meet those standards. Employees who can’t deliver a wonderful customer experience need to go.

Photo courtesy of Wonderlane on Flickr

Thought for the week:

“The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


How Configurable Products/Services Become Profitable

March 9, 2015

 

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Companies with configurable products or services often live with the severe operational pain and gridlock. Many see the pain and low margins as a cost of doing business. Here are some questions to ponder:

    • Which of the great companies of the world want to offer more personalized solutions but can’t because the technology doesn’t yet exist within their firewall to efficiently support personalized solutions? Is your company one of them?
    • How many companies are stuck in the mass production paradigm as technology doesn’t exist to support a mass customization business paradigm? Is your company one of them?
    • Which of the great companies of the world won’t embark upon an effort to better support customized products due to perceived business and technical risks? Is your company one of them?
    • How many CIOs would step up to lead the development of a holistic, end-to-end solution? I don’t know of any. Is your company one of them?

What if a company offered a plug and play solution that, with minimal customization, would take the pain and complexity out of offering configurable products from quote to cash collection? How valuable would that be?

This is my Dawn Wall Project I wrote about a few weeks ago. It’s about making the complex simple.

Is your company in need of this solution? Call me.

Thought for the week:

“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.” -Sir Richard Branson
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Careers At A Crossroads

March 2, 2015

 

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Yogi Berra has an expression, “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.”

The passing of one of the all-time great jazz trumpet and flugelhorn players, Clark Terry, has me thinking this week of what might have been had I stayed in the music business.

When I finished my undergraduate degree, I immediately pursued earning an MBA. That decision meant I’d have to give up playing trumpet professionally. I knew I could always return to music if and when it made sense.

I was concerned that if I did not stay in school, I’d get distracted and end up paying a huge price later. Working full-time in high-tech and the evening MBA program left me no room for playing my horn.

Clark Terry had a gift for inspiring others to attempt the jazz life. “The technical demands of this art form are so high, and the financial rewards often so slight, that only the most gifted and intrepid souls need try” writes Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune this past week. Musicians know this all too well.

Clark offered me inspiration to “attempt the jazz life” as Reich offered. Yet, I resisted, believing that the financial rewards might be lacking and intermittent and, recognizing that, while I was talented, there were other trumpet players both known and unknown to me who could replace me.

Being a professional musician is a very competitive and, often, a cut-throat business. I encourage you to see the movie Whiplash which offers some perspective. Towards the end of the movie, we hear (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you do really well tonight, it can launch your career and if you don’t, you’ll be looking for a new line of work.”

Did I make the right choice? Yes. No question.

I knew what happened to musicians who lived on the road and, frankly, it wasn’t pretty. I knew what the musicians playing in the studios lived like and their lives were very stressful. I didn’t want to do something I loved so much for a living. And, I didn’t want to always be looking over my shoulder wondering if the trumpet player across the room would be replacing me on the next gig.

How does playing trumpet impact my consulting today?

  • I still have to play to the crowd–my clients
  • I have to lead with a strong, clear intention if I am to succeed and my clients are to succeed
  • Improvisation teaches that there’s more than one way to get to an end result while still achieving the objectives within a framework
  • I can’t rush or drag in terms of tempo–each client is different in terms of the tempo at which they can absorb change
  • I have to have fun along the way

Photo Credit: www.christinegeorge.com of Dave Gardner playing Taps for a Wounded Warrior event on September, 11, 2011

Thought for the week:

“If a user is having a problem, it’s our problem.” – Steve Jobs
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Clark Terry Jazz Musician Extraordinaire

February 23, 2015

Clark Terry, jazz musician extraordinare, passed at the age of 94 in recent days.  He was an inspiration to me and millions of jazz musicians throughout the world.

Like Clark, I played trumpet and flugelhorn in bands ranging fom jazz quartets to big band jazz groups. My jazz mentors included people who had played professionally with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Maynard Furgeson and other big bands.

Clark and I shook hands in an elevator at a hotel I stayed at during a Northridge jazz festival in Southern California back in the 1970’s. Clark had heard me play that day and congratulated me for my solo with a big band jazz group. I was stunned beyond belief to see him and to hear his kind words. Yet, that’s who Clark was: a kind, generous and enormously talented man.

We’ve lost some great musicians in my lifetime. The loss of Clark Terry is huge. What a great life he lived.

Here’s a video of him doing a couple of solos with the Tonight Show band. Enjoy!

 


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