100miles for The Mater Foundation

MilesthatMater

I have taken on a fundraising challenge through the month of August 2019 and your help I can exceed the fundraising and distance goals.

I endeavour to match the donations in excess of the €200 goal for 100 miles with pro rata distance. So, €400 sees me covering 200miles by running, biking, hiking or kayaking, €500 = 250miles etc.

You decide on the distance through your generous donations.


I will be tracking all the distances using my GPS watch and Strava as a back up. As they say, “if its not on Strava did it really happen” 😀

I’ll be posting photos and stories on both Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag:

#milesthatMater

so be sure to keep an eye out for some of your favourite spots in Ireland that I may be visiting in the month of August.


Thanks in advance for your support. I’m ready for road!

A, B, C of Project Communications

Communication

The issue with communications is making yourself understood. Even though you may have a common language with the people you are communicating with, being understood is the key purpose of any project communication.

Far too often we run into issues with communications between project team members and stakeholders who don’t quite grasp what each is talking about.

Often times at the ‘coal-face’ you can be unaware of how much or how little information someone overseeing from a removed position can be. Do you need more or less information? Is it too verbose and over explained? Is the technical language putting people in an incorrect frame of mind to understand the message?

These are all potential problems that can infuriate and confuse people.

Project communications need to be specific and clear.

Here’s some simple points to consider if you need help:

A – Audience

To whom are you communicating?

What form of language should you use for this audience? Should you be verbose, concise, technical terms or layman’s?

What form of message suits your audience? Phone call, email, SMS or meetings?

Knowing these answers can help you define what medium to use and the best way to reach your audience (you could have multiple forms of the same message depending on who needs the information).

B – Broadcast

What is the message you are trying to convey?

Don't get lost in translation with project communication. #RunningMatters Click To Tweet

Touching on the form of message mentioned above, depending on the parameters of the project and the project communications plan or requirements, your message can be in a variety of forms to a range of audiences.

Straight forward project updated can be issued in a newsletter format or a blog post so it’s open reading to all stakeholders.

Often times a sensitive query or technical issue should be broadcast to a very tight group. A platform like Slack or a Whatsapp group may be suitable for a “round-table” conversation or brainstorm about a point of detail.

Your project communications plan should breakdown and identify the broadcast groups and type of messages each will require on what format.

C – Check & Confirm

Has your message been understood?

Make sure and follow up to ensure the points you are communicating are actually being understood.

Don’t wait expecting an answer relying on “I asked you for information”.

Emails go to spam, children open WhatsApp, text messages get deleted, phone calls get missed.

Make sure your message is received, follow up an unanswered phone with a text ” Can you call me this afternoon ‘re… please?”

Give emails a day for reply and then pick up phone or measage in follow up. If it’s more time sensitive than that and you are documenting via email, tell them you are going to call.

Communication needs to be clear in order for it to work effectively.

Internalized Stress

“Stress at work is common, but it shouldn’t come from employee relationships”

Dealing with stress arising from the tidal push and pull of working with other people should not be detrimental to the work that you are trying to achieve.

If you are encountering resistance or friction from co-workers; whether they see it a perceived jostle for position or they feel the need to scramble to be seen by the higher management, that insecurity comes from within them – not you and you should rise above it.

Inspiring, no BS, Spartan founder Joe De Sena has a simple 1,2,3 format for dealing with this. His advice – TRANSPARENCY

  1. Talk directly– what are you afraid of? Say what you need to say, right to the point, don’t beat around the bush, address the issue right out.
  2. Don’t talk if they are not there – simple really. Don’t waste time and energy talking about someone unless they are there to hear it. If you can’t say it to their face, don’t say it.
  3. Get shit done! Just get on with it and stop allowing others to tie you up with their negative energy. 
Remember we are all here to work and achieve the mission that the company has challenged us to achieve. Don’t let internal workplace stress take over and deflect you from the goal.

When the bull does it’s own thing..

There’s an arrogance attributed to bulls that is self perpetuating.

Very few people want to go head to head with a bull which results in giving the bull power and a superiority complex.

The bull quickly learns that no matter what it does it won’t be challenged which leads to more bullish behavior and even less likelihood of being challenged or held to account.

What is a ‘bull’?

In the workplace, the bull is not a team player. They are only in it for themselves and are confident in their ability to stare down any challenge when their attitude or behavior is contrary to the team objectives.

  • To the bull their projects are the only important work going on,
  • they demand preference on all the resources,
  • their opinion is the only one,
  • they may pretend to consider others,
  • they don’t respect authority,
  • they require all the information yet share nothing.

When challenged a bull will sidestep a discussion, when being held to account for behavior- quite likely will stomp their feet and charge away, gets extremely defensive in an offensive manner, will be dismissive.

In short, a typical bully.

How do you deal with this?

You have to become something similar to a cross between a mule and a matador.

Knowing a bull will distract and deflect in a behavior challenging discussion you have to be mule like and stick to addressing and dealing with one point at a time in order to get resolution.

At the same time you need to be matador agile to defend against ‘blame’ being scattered like wild flower seeds, “whataboutery” and probably as hominem attacks.

Holding the conversation to one point at a time will infuriate the bull but you can’t allow them have the power in the discussion.

At some point you may have to decide on either “breaking in” the bull ( never trust or turn your back to the bull even if you think they’ve changed) or putting it out to pasture.

Sometimes putting the young bull out to pasture is the safest way to deal with it.

What has been your experience of dealing with a bull in the workplace?

Software as a Service (SaaS) providing Solutions

In case you are unaware, for many of us now, working remotely or ‘offsite’ is made possible by working in the cloud. The tools that enable us to be effective in this work are SaaS or Software as a Solution which is essentially the distribution model of internet hosted applications which are used on a subscription model.

What are the benefits of SaaS?

SaaS offers many potential advantages over the traditional models of business software installation – trialling, buying, installing, licensing and updating.

Some of the advantages are:

  • Lower up-front cost – SaaS is normally subscription-based and has no up-front licence fees resulting in lower initial costs and ease of adoption.
  • Quick set up and deployment – SaaS application is already installed and configured in the cloud.
  • Easy upgrades – The SaaS providers deal with hardware and software updates, deploying upgrades centrally to the hosted applications and removing this workload and responsibility from you.
  • Accessibility – All you need is a browser and an internet connection. This is generally available on a wide range of devices and from anywhere in the world, making SaaS more accessible than the traditional business software installation.
  • Scalability – SaaS providers generally offer many subscription options and flexibility to change subscriptions as and when needed.

Negatives?

There are some disadvantages for sure – no access if network coverage is poor, slower speeds than installed software but the biggest gripe I hear is the lack of ownership and the perceived passing of oftentimes sensitive information to the control of others.

What happens to my data if I end my subscription? Who owns the information? Will my client data be secure?

These are valid questions especially in light of recent data breaches and security issues globally. The reply we give is double edged, lesser of two evils really.

You need this particular software and the options are:

  1. Cloud access – outbound traffic from devices, desktops, mobile etc to a portion of your business information that enables operations
  2. Internal hosting on servers – inbound traffic through a VPN from the same mobile devices but also opening up the risk of accessibility to all other business information hosted on the same servers by hackers.

We always prefer Option 1 and that’s without going into the cost considerations of internal network, bandwidth, IT services etc.

SAAS

The norm in software is becoming SaaS for most operational management, which is why we refer to it as Software as a Solution (SaaSaaS is a bit longwinded).

SaaS offers many potential advantages over the traditional models of business software installation Click To Tweet

Finding the right software to provide you with the solution comes from identifying the requirements and needs of your business first. That is where we come into the picture. We can help you find the right fit, chose your SaaS solution and develop the system to work for you.

Get in touch with us for more information or to set up a meeting.

Make or Break when you make a Mistake

Mistakes happen. It’s life.

Making mistakes in business and learning from the lessons are what make us better people and leaders.

When we make a mistake, how we address it will make or break our relationships with customers and others. Our actions can create and reinforce trust or eliminate trust altogether.

Many of us as children learn, from fear of getting into trouble, the bad habit of trying to deflect blame and cover up when we make mistakes. That doesn’t work as adults, it shows a lack of honesty, integrity and simply that you are incapable of being trusted to do the right thing for your customer.

Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.

Always do the right thing. Own your mistakes. Be genuine in your apology and do the right thing and rectify if possible.

via When Mistakes With a Customer Happen

Business books to feed your brain..

I’m currently slap bang in the middle of “Leaders Eat Last” (paperback version as my Kindle is due a replacement) by Simon Sinek.

It’s got me thinking about other books that should be on my shelf. Apart from the occasional distraction by a Stephen King novel most of what I read is informative – whether business informative or life informative I’m constantly curious and eager to learn.

Here’s a list of other books that are recommended:

www.liquidplanner.com/blog/10-new-books-to-add-to-your-2018-fall-reading-list/

Have any of you read and recommend these or have you your own suggestions for me to add to my list?

Workplace accidents. The biggest cause?

The top 10 causes of workplace accidents and injury have just been released.

In general workplace incidents have been reduced, however the cost to business still remains eye watering at more than $58 BILLION per year!!

As you can see the Nr 1 cause of workplace injury comes from our own actions. Pushing, pulling, lifting , reaching.

Simple mechanical injury that can easily be avoided through staff training and implementation of protocols and procedures for manual handling.

With a coordinated effort we can reduce this number dramatically.

What training or procedures has your workplace set up to address manual handling?