A Quick Question

Today I have a quick question for you:

When you look to find out something online, how often do you just want one piece of information, and how often do you want to know a little more about the item or subject?

Please think of that and let me know in the comments.  The comments section does not put you on a mailing list, it just allows me to take a quick poll of people.

Tomorrow, we will look at the answers and talk about this idea a little more.

Learning

I find it amazing what people can do when they put their heads together. Singularly we are but one voice in the wilderness. Yet, put us together, and amazing things can happen. I am working in a multinational class learning to run my business better.  I do this so I can better serve my customers (That’s You.)

We are working to make our businesses better, not for greed, or money, or fame. We are working to make our businesses better so we can reach out and do better for those who need to learn and grow. We each have our own idea of how we can help others.  Working to help others helps make the world a better place. We have people from many countries and continents all working together to better learn our craft.

Our goal is to learn how to develop and maintain a workable business which allows us to keep a flow of both good and goods to others who need the items and education.

The people who are teaching us are smart, energetic and willing to give of themselves and their time to help us to learn these wonderful nuggets of knowledge.

They say that as you rise into space and look down on the earth, you do not recognize borders. You recognize land and sea, clouds and ocean, some rivers and of course the great barrier reef and the great wall of china. You know that there are people down there. It seems to me the more we work with people and the less that we let invisible borders impede the flow of education and knowledge, the better we all will be.

What Are You Saying?

I find it interesting that we have so many ways to communicate and sometimes we don’t even think about our best communication methods.

Some people yell and scream, they get irate and stomp their feet trying to get the point across. Sometimes these people are just disruptive. And sometimes they’re mad at themselves because they can’t figure out why they can’t get people to listen to them.

There are better ways of communication. Some people speak so softly that it pulls you towards them just to be able to hear. This method is actually a better method than yelling or screaming.

I remember seeing an interview with Morgan Freeman where he talked about being up for a role as a tough guy. He had to sit in the waiting room and listen to other actors try out for the part. They yelled and screamed their lines and they were irate and over-the-top. Mr. Freeman did not worry about that, he already knew what worked. When it was his turn to the audition, rather than yelling and screaming, he pulled the co-actor close, placed his hands on the face of the co-actor and spoke softly into the co-actors  ear. This was very effective and won him the role.

When I taught live classes for people who were teaching workers on the assembly line, I used to teach body language which is a great communication device for getting the message across. It’s just that the message that gets across may not always be the one you intended to send. It’s easier to talk nice then and is for the body to hide being anxious or being bored or worried or disdainful or caring or happy or sad. Yet body language is very important because people will read the body language before they hear the words.

As we progressed into communicating with email, the ability to read the body language was not there. This made the information sometimes hard to completely understand because we were so used to having body language as a part of our communication. Using a telephone you could at least hear the inflections and the voice and the emotions that it carried. With only words, communication became harder. Emojis were actually invented to try to help with the meaning of the phraseology in emails and to add some emotion to them. Yet, emojis do not always tell the full story.

Today we have video mail, also looked at as face-to-face conversations. There are Face Time, Skype, and Zoom just to mention a few. As we move more into video chat and face-to-face meetings over the computer, once again body language comes to the forefront.

It looks as though we need to be careful about what the body screams while we are talking softly.

 

 

Be The Person You Want Helping You

Lately, I have read a lot from many entrepreneurs about which is more important, to make a lot of money or to help the client who needs that help?

This is a fair dilemma. If you don’t help people and do good for them or their companies you really can’t make very much money because you will not have many customers. If you spend all your time helping people giving away most of what you do and not making a sufficient income, you will not be able to continue due to a lack of funds.

This reminds me of a similar debate in manufacturing. To provide the customer what they are paying for, the winds need to build quality products. To earn sufficient funds to pay for the lines running, asserting quantity must be built and shipped to the customer.

Poor quantity means not enough product to satisfy the customer or keep the line running. On the other hand, poor quality means returns, reworks, and loss of reputation.

Let’s  look at this in action. You have a young line with new builders who have only the most minimum of training. The manufacturing manager steps on the line and tells everyone they will build and package 350 units by the end of the shift, or else she will find new people to build her computers.

The new people, needing the jobs to support their families and themselves are terrified and start doing whatever they can as fast as they can. Quality inspectors, who work for the manufacturing manager (poor choice in organizational structure) are letting all but the most serious of errors through inspection believing if the units are bad they will fail at the testing stations.

Although it’s a squeaker, the 350 units are built and shipped by the end of the shift. Everybody feels elated. Even the manufacturing manager has something on her face, although it’s not sure if what people saw was a smile, or sneer. Alas, this is just the start of the story and not the happy ending. The units shipped have a myriad of flaws, and the customer believes some units have major flaws which require repair before the units can be sold on the open market.

The 350 questionable units are shipped back to the United States from Europe and with 400 units that were built but not shipped underwent re-inspection and repair. When planning the economics of the line, a re-inspection and repair of units at this magnitude were never contemplated. The factory now has to pay for transportation of units, storage of units, a work crew to inspect and repair units, certification of the work by the customer’s inspectors, and re-shipment back to Europe. This is what we call a hidden factory. It’s not something you plan for your factory to do. Not something you’re going to get paid extra for. It is just a drain on the resources of the factory.

Let’s move this back to our question of the day and are we out to help people, or are we after the big bucks.

If you help someone, hopefully, they tell a friend. And if you help their friend, they’ll tell someone else, maybe two. If you build a quality product and put it in a quality program and charge a fair price, you may go far. Doing good things for people grows a following.   

If your product is filled with errors, grammatical problems, ideas that are irrelevant to the reader you may find items being returned and fees requested to be refunded. That is never a good start and is certainly a bad end.

So, what do you do? Do the best that you can make sure your work is relevant to your customer and you go from there.  And…

Be The Person You Want Helping You.

Real Riches Are Never Measured In Money

Have you ever contemplated what work really is? We learned fairly early in life, usually around 11 or 12, that if we go out and do something for somebody, we can get a reward. Five dollars to shovel snow from the walk or to weed a garden. Fifteen to 20 dollars to cut the yard depending on size. And as we grow little, babysitting money.

Even at a young age, these small jobs can be big bucks. Young, smart entrepreneurs can easily maintain a list of five or 6 yards to cut in a weekend earning them $75 to $100.

As we grow older, we can then hire the neighborhood kid or our own children for those jobs we do not wish to do ourselves. And then later on when everyone’s grown, once again we find is ourselves doing those jobs with one small catch. No one is paying us. Wait a minute?

Is what we view as a job promotion for a life we spent becoming something else? I don’t think so. Cutting the grass is cutting the grass. A labor of love?  Again, I don’t think so. I would often be happy just to let it grow. Pay the neighborhood kid to do it? Last time I did that, he demanded the money up front for scout camp and then, he never cut the yard.

Side benefits for cutting the lawn? It keeps my significant other from more complaints. And, a good completion, if lucky, may even result in a kiss. Yet, it’s something that still has to be done. You can’t stop grass and shrubs from growing.

We do a lot of things, for rewards that have nothing to do with money. Raising kids is work, and at the same time, it’s a labor of love. The reward is when the children grow into adulthood and find their positive directions in the world.

Taking care of the house is a job. The better you keep it up, the easier the job becomes. When you keep the house like I do you end up with a true work of art. My house is post-modern clutter.

We all have chores we must complete. Chores that are often considered paid jobs to other people. Any chore or job that is done is a direct reflection on the person doing it. If a chore goes undone, is that not also a reflection upon the person in charge and the person who is supposed to complete the chore? This is something to contemplate.

Almost every action you do is an action someone else gets paid for. Chefs cook dinners.  Barbers shave people. Home health care workers wash people. Critics watch movies and TV shows and talk about them. If you’re doing these different occupations, for yourself, you’re working for yourself. And you are giving to yourself what others would be paid. This may not be in the coin of the realm, however, think of the riches you have and those you gain in doing these chores. After all…

Real Riches Are Never Measured In Money.

Are You an Original?

A simple question.   Are you an original or are you a duplicate?

It’s also a silly question, one asked, not to be insulting or demeaning; rather, one to look at considering. And either answer is all right

I am an adult educator and trainer by profession. I am also a writer and an artist. For some of these roles, I’ve done years of extensive schooling. For others, I have either taken other classes or worked with the help of mentors and informal education.

I keep an eye on what’s being talked about looked and taught online. I do this, first, because I need to learn and continue learning. Knowledge continuously changes and grows. I like to keep up with my contemporaries.  I truly believe that online learning, done right, is the best training you can possibly get.   Online learning can fit both into your time and your economic constraints (of these two items, time is the most valuable.)

I look at many offers for classes online, each selling the idea that they have the secret and that if you follow their way of doing things hundreds of thousands of dollars could easily be yours every year.  I have seen some ads which talk about a quick $5000, and others that suggest up to a seven-figure annual earnings.

The interesting part is as you look at their offerings and go to their webinars they start to merge together. Various deliveries give you the same information and lead you to the same actions and conclusions.

This puzzled me at first, then, as I looked at and contemplated this I began to understand. I came up with a plan which was suggested from one of my mentors.

 It works like this; the happiest, richest, and most content people are often those who pick a road early on and stay on it as they walked through life. This is true in religion, it is true in marriage, and it is very true in education. The reason for this is that the alternative to taking all roads at once turns out to be physically impossible and economically impossible. You just can’t do it, and it’s not very productive. Anyone jumping between roads headed towards their destination will find that the changes and costs will keep pulling them back towards the beginning, away from their goals.

If you have a religion that meets your needs, brings you closer to your God, to your beliefs and makes you a better person, follow it. If you have a marriage and children and it looks like a lot of work, that’s okay. Work it. Although things look better elsewhere, the look is just the wrapping on a package of things you don’t even know about yet. If you commit, stick with it. There are hundreds upon hundreds of educators online willing to show you the path to riches and greatness. If you have three or four that you believe in, follow them and stay with them. Jumping between various mentors and trainers can become costly, confusing, and more than taking your money it can steal your time. You can always get money, yet each of us only has so much time and no matter how we use it when it is used it is gone forever.

Yesterday I talked about outliers and the difference between being an outlier and following the crowd. If you wish to be an outlier, don’t be the crowd and don’t be a duplicate.

Be the Outlier…

                                  …Be Original.

 

 

OUTLIERS

Despite common belief, outliers are not farmers who were out sleeping in their field. If you are a farmer out lying in your field, you are the exception. Outliers are facts, ideas, people, actions, stocks, figures, and data that are outside the norm.

Most everybody likes to be part of the group. They believe there is safety in numbers, that we all hang together or we all hang separately, and that those who do not follow the norms are weird or eccentric or just need to be avoided.

The truth is a little bit different. If you stand with the group, you are not distinguished from everyone else in that group. When massive layoffs come, the company doesn’t need the group. The company needs a core set of people who perform. It’s hard to distinguish that if you’re hiding in the group.

There is much talk today of many job types going to automation.  Everything from journalists to drivers to construction.  If the job you love is in one of these areas, you want to be the outlier that people cannot do without.

Here is what outliers look like on the chart.

Here is a chart of 100 people ranked as to their reputation at work they do.  The mean rating is 55.5.  The average rating is 54.28.  There are actually 22 people from 39 to 45. On the chart between 45 and 54, there are 30 people.  There are 34 people from 55.5 to 63 and 12 people from 64 to 69.

Seeing outliers

 

Then there are 2 outliers.  The lower one has a 3, and the upper one has a 99.  If I read this and can keep only an employee or 2, who do you think I’m going to keep? Hire the worker with the 99 rating.

If I am a new company or company whose hiring someone, you think I would hire rating number 57 who is hiding in the middle of the pack, or rating number 99 who is setting the pace?  Who would work for you?

If you don’t think that this is going on today or that it is just a fad, go online and do some research. Look at the TEDx talks, also look at the videos on how Amazon is running at Seattle warehouse.

Uber is testing its driver-less cars now in Pittsburgh, and driver-less trucks are doing well in the West. The trucks could be the norm in some states by the end of the year.

Are you not affected? The driver-less truck never needs to stop for coffee, and a driver-less taxi rarely pulls through a fast food drive-through to pick up a meal.  Who else gets touched by this?  There are positives and negatives in everything.

I do not tell you these things to worry you. I look at these things because it is important for you to prepare for what comes next. Even if the only thing you know right now is there will be change, and you should be ready for a change.  Change is overall a good thing.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Start

Have you noticed how hard it is sometimes just to get something started?

Sometimes, it seems, we can sit and look at a problem for hours, days or weeks. Sometimes we can’t stand it, and we have to fix it right away.

I used to wait till everyone else went to bed. I used to wait to rearrange the room, paint the walls or clean the kitchen. I could get more done, I felt, by doing it was no one else around. Unfortunately, my body talks to me now an action such as that it no longer tolerates.

I often wonder why it is that it’s so hard to get started, and much easier to keep going when something is started. I look back to the physics of motion. It takes much more energy to start an object into motion than it takes to keep it in motion. You would not think that that would be true of the mind, and yet the mind is connected to a physical body. That connection makes it totally plausible.

This weekend I think I found, if not the answer, at least an answer that works for me. And of course, like Pavlov’s dog, it deals with action and reward. To answer your question no I did not salivate, and my reward was not dog food. Nor did I sit around waiting to hear a bell.

This weekend, I cleaned rooms, did laundry, straighten the place up, and other chores. As a reward, I worked on one of my many paintings that sat for years waiting for attention. The Canvas is an old under-painting of a part of the Grand Canyon with echoing  walls. I had always wanted to work on it and complete it, and time was never there. As a reward, I sat down for an hour and started painting on it. Changing the sky, starting thunderclouds and rain, and even dropping in part of the golden orange background as the sun is sets.

We know that we are social creatures, creatures of desire, and creatures who do like work and rewards. The painting, as a reward, did not cost me anything. I had all the resources. I know that within that hour of work I now have three new mistakes on the canvas I need to fix. And, I also know that I have five dollars in my pocket that say this thing will never hang in the Louvre. Nevertheless, it was the happiest hour I had in some time. Because after a decade, I started painting again.

What are your rewards? They do not have to require expenses, and quite often the simplest things mean more. What did you used to love to do that you don’t anymore? And, what would you do to have that experience again? If you figure that out, you now know your true motivators.

It is the motivators that get things done.

The Vibration of the Atom and the Tick of the Second Hand

Hope everybody’s doing well today.

One thing, we can all agree, is that time is precious. We cannot manufacture more time, and we can’t dispose of time. Time is a constant. Is time relative? Yes, I believe it is.

Time can be measured through the vibration of an atom, the orbits of the solar system and the movement of the stars within our galaxy. What is a lifetime to us, as humans, is an almost insignificant time on a galactic scale. The time it takes us to make a full rotation within the Milky Way is almost unfathomable.  And yet through all this, the vibration of the atom and the tick of the second hand keep a steady beat.

So what do we do with this wonderful thing called time? To devise ways to go forward or backward within time would seem to be a waste. For our time would keep moving steadily forward while we either try to understand the debates about what went on before us, or what will happen to us later.

I think we get the idea of doing this because of our driven desire for voyeurism. Before you get too excited, I challenge you to think. We go to the movies or sit in front of a TV (or laptop,) where we watch wonderful shows: romance, horror, thrillers, science fiction, comedy, or tragedy. When we watch this, we sometimes have a feeling of having accomplished something or done something based on the show we watched

Truth be told, all we have really done is sit in a seat, and maybe eat some candy or popcorn. We were entertained by somebody else pretending to do something. We did not kiss the lady or the man, climbed the Matterhorn, go to the bottom of the sea, or to strange new worlds. The people in the movie did not do that either, they merely pretended to.

Time is precious, and I am not against movies or television or film clips on the computer. I just wonder sometimes if I could not spend my time a little better by doing some of that for myself.

What would it be like for me to ride or drive a race car? What it would be like for me to fly in a fighter jet? Or jump out of a plane? Or even better, interact with others?

What would it be like for me to interact with others and help to make their lives better? Can I do that sitting in my easy chair watching a rectangular screen? I don’t think so.

I live in a house with just two occupants and very few visitors. If I want to interact with others, have fun, or do some things for myself rather than sitting and watching other people pretend to do it, I need to move out of the comfort zone that I have developed and venture into a new realm called, “outside the house.”

My challenge to myself for the next week is to go out for a walk every day. To meet a neighbor, or talk to a pet in the neighborhood (I talk to the dogs next door.) 

The dogs next door were snarly in barking when they first moved in. I did not approach them, I just talked to them across the fence. Within about 2 ½ weeks they went from being the fierce defenders of the home to a pair of pups jumping up with paws on the fence and looking to get a scratch on the head. I recommend starting out by just talking.

I know it seems as though I’m talking about things that are distractions. Things that take away time from other needs or duties. Yet, you may be surprised. That daily walk may give you a new and vigorous strength, make you feel good, help the body out a little bit, and although the clock keeps ticking and the atom keeps vibrating, you may find yourself more productive with the time you do have.

Just one person’s thought.

Hope to be with you again next week.

Pareto Chart

Hi, there this is Mike.

I want to thank everybody who wrote in earlier this week and answered my three questions. The more I know about what you are looking for, the easier it is for me to develop the content you like and can use.

We plan to double down on the things you like while improving some of the ways we deliver the content. Just because I’m not asking every day what you like or don’t like and what you can use or cannot use, does not mean that we’re not interested. As you find entries that are useful, please let us know. If you find things you can do without, that’s even more important for us to know.

I know some people are concerned because they’re afraid if they make a comment, they will end up on my mailing list somewhere.  I’d make everybody this promise, “I will never put anyone on a mailing just because they commented on one of my blogs.”

If you would wish to be on my mailing list, please let me know. Otherwise, reading and commenting on the blog will not put you on a mailing list. This is a promise between friends, me and you.

As promised, today we are looking at a real Pareto chart.  I was going to use a computer build line to show it.  I thought it would be better if I used SAM and his scenario as the backdrop for this.  We all know about SAM’s work.

SAM has been keeping a tick sheet with the number of each type of problem he encountered.  This was before everything got fixed last week.  The tick sheet looked like This:

 

Problem Occurrences Tic marks
Car will not start 6 XXXXXX
Lost car keys 10 XXXXXXXXXX
Saw snakes 2 XX
Had to borrow money 1 X
House over 80° 1 X
Total 20

 

Once SAM collected these numbers, then he could make the Pareto chart. You often hear that the Pareto chart shows where 20% of your problems cause 80% of your work

Rear Real Pareto

The chart shows us what to tackle first to get rid of the biggest hitters. Very small numbers are showing minutia. Minutia is a word for all those little bitty annoyances, they don’t cause the big problems and fixing them won’t fix the big problems. That’s why we use the Pareto chart so we can identify and fix the largest problems first.

Once those problems are fixed, guess what, the smaller problems have moved up to be the largest of the problems. This is presuming another unknown large problem has not shown itself yet. And once the medium and smaller problems are now our top problems, we can turn attention to those and fix those also. We don’t leave problems unfixed, we just fix them in order.

I hope this helps.  Tomorrow I will have a new article, and next week I will start a story that is told in graphics and pictures.

Have a great day.

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