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And How They Both Smell Really Bad After Lunch!
Having flown about 27 Billion miles in my career, I have had the opportunity to meet some really great people while on airplanes around the world. In one such encounter, I was fortunate enough to meet a well know Detroit Businessman. While the flight was brief and uneventful (the best kind), the conversation is one which has remained with me for decades.
The chat is what I call – “Deliver The News”.
As a young CEO, I was anxious to hear the wisdom of my airplane confined traveling acquaintance. Having not met previously, he was well known to me for having built a prolific and successful International business career, all while based out of the Motor City. I of course, was a total unknown to him, yet for a short time that day, his generosity was apparent as he spoke to me with equal stature.
The conversation casually flowed back and forth as we chatted about People, Business and Parenthood. Shortly thereafter, while reaching cruising altitude, the tables were suddenly turned as he emphatically stated, “…Let me tell you one thing I preach daily. Do you know how Bad News & Fish are alike?” With a puzzled look on my face, he must have quickly decided that we may need a much longer flight for me to come up with an answer, so he jumped back in with…”Neither one will smell better after lunch – Deliver the bad news quickly so that we can deal with it.”
Attempting to stammer some level of brilliance that I’m certain began with “But, But, But…,” I quickly executed the smartest and most articulate plan possible…
I Stopped Talking.
One insightful comment, one foundational trait by which to build a successful career on.
Deliver The News Now – It Won’t Smell Better Later!
As it is now decades later, and having what feels like centuries of experience as a manager and leader, those words have never been truer. The ability to deliver the news early and completely is what separates the successful from the befuddled, the efficient from the harried. With time comes choices, options and an ability to act – not simply react.
Soon the flight was nearing its end, so we exchanged pleasantries and well wishes for success. As we each turned to go our separate ways, he stopped me with one last thought and comment.
“The same applies to being a Dad. Teach your son the same lesson, the lesson that no matter what the news, no matter how bad it may be, deliver it early. It will only feel worse, smell worse, get worse the longer you delay and try to hide it.”
So years later, I can still picture myself being “That Guy,” the one with his mouth wide open, stopped right in the middle of the jet way blocking everyone and everything as I thought about what I had just been shocked to learn. Today, I realize truer words have never been spoken.
So no matter any of our positions in life, Leader, Manager, Parent or Individual Contributor… do it, DELIVER THE NEWS.
It Won’t Smell Better Later.
…and clearly it is us! The Tech Market of today is filled with aggressive, nimble providers, all beaming with the “Next Great Thing.” In this Web enabled, Internet charged market of today, ideas quickly come, prototypes are built, solutions then announced, with buzz generated.
All of which is quickly followed by the sounds of crickets chirping…
Task forces, study groups and teams of analysts will all be deployed, in search of the problem that has taken a brilliant business plan, based upon a market of awesome potential, with a perceived abundance of desperate need, and made it something as verbose as a Mime Convention in Church.
Features will be studied, visual appeal reviewed, frantic strategic pivots planned as all try to understand how the linear brilliance of business plan projections are nowhere close to matching reality. Certain the product and strategy are flawless, the inevitable turn is taken to grasp…
“What is our competition doing?”
Web pages will be spied upon, keywords and social chatter analyzed, as all team members search for the competitive edge that somehow remains elusive. But soon, after exhaustive days and sleepless nights, with reams of data driven analysis, the stark truth begins to emerge. The disruptive competitive force to the reality of not meeting projections isn’t another competitor or vendor, it’s not even a global macro economic force being secretively executed by some mysterious diabolical Think Tank.
The truth is, the real competition we face is APATHY…
The fundmanental failure to take action toward our product or service.
So, technology initiatives don’t tend to fail because:
- Global IT Spending is Undergoing Downward Pressure
- Technology Deployments are Delayed due to Competitive Overhang
- GUI Skeuomorphic Interface Design vs Inherited Behavioral Attributes
They fail because we forget to ask the most basic of questions:
“Why is our great product or service better than what the Customer has today?”
Today’s Entrepreneurial Success remains dependent on solving one challenge, and finding the answer to that one foundational customer centric question. Finding the ability to articulate why doing absolutely nothing is not a viable emotional, operational or financial option compared to the company’s new and remarkable solution.
When all is said & done, isn’t it funny that the key to success is often the most basic question of all. Find the answer and watch those business plan projections come to life.
Four Simple words, but ones that change drastically with what comes next:
One viewed as a positive, helpful, even a forward-looking enabler. The other, as ominous as the dreaded walk to the Principal’s office or the implied threat of “Wait till Your Father Gets Home!” Yikes!.…
I’ll take the positive approach, please.
So while proposals for technology have traditionally been built with an ROI that suggests reduction or elimination, they don’t have to be. Rather than view proposals of automation that measure reduction, a positive ROI should be one that ENABLES us to execute with:
- Higher Quality
- Greater Insight
- Increasing Value
Let’s dump the “Debbie Downer” ROI discussion that simply executes force, friend and co-worker.
I once found a prophetic thought that read:
“…You are making $100 per hour. Act like it and stop working on stuff that has value at $10 an hour…”
So again, What Happens If You Can? …What Happens If You Don’t?
Systems and Technology are great things, which have the power to make us healthier, wiser, more aware, and certainly more productive. Use it to advantage. Use technology the way it was intended – to rid People, Projects and Process’ of things that are not value added, those that are boring and mundane, let alone “Beneath Our Pay Grade”.
If considered to the positive, Automation gives us the ability to focus on the true challenges that Make A Difference and truly enables the new, the creative, and the advanced. So, let’s measure ROI that way – in the positive, measuring by what it allows us to focus on and innovate to that which is worthy of our attention. Let’s change the discussion from reduction, elimination and the negative, to the POSITIVE.
Going forward, let’s measure ROI and Investment Worthiness by:
Being Better Than When We Started…Priceless.
Ok, so I’m old enough to remember having one phone in the house, connected to a wall with a wire, that didn’t move from room to room, and had a circular face that gave your finger callous’ from dialing. I’m also old enough to remember that when the phone rang, everyone RAN to answer it by the third ring, which was most likely followed by someone sprinting into the yard yelling…”Mom, Crazy Aunt Marcia is on the phone! Hurry, it’s long distance!”
Yeah. Just like it happens each and every day now – NOT!
From a business perspective, having grown up in the Sales side of the technology business, I’ve always understood that the key to any modicum of success is the ability to communicate. The ability to take thoughts, ideas, dreams, and share them with those around us to gain traction, validation and even reinforcement so that we may then charge forward to make a difference.
Now, we have to do just that, but in fewer than 140 characters.
The Business-to-Business technology market we now live in is one that has seen our ability to act as our Customer’s Advocate and Consultant steadily erode. With the advent of Caller ID, the inability to be able to meet with client and prospect face-to-face in a Post-9/11 world, person-to-person communication is now at an all time low and almost entirely moved to an electronic dissertation, with the hope that someone is listening.
Remember, this is a Business discussion, not trying to resolve the methods of communicating with teenagers!
Think I’m exaggerating? Validated with Industry averages that say call completion rates for customer interaction hover at roughly 2% of all attempts, it’s a wonder why we don’t all suffer from loneliness and depression. We don’t have any one to share with! I fully expect to go home in the not to distant future and have my Golden Retriever send me a text telling me to go walk myself. LOL OMG whatever that means!
So think about your day…
- How many times did your phone ring today?
- Once you saw the number in caller ID, did you answer or ignore?
- BTW, how many of those calls were from people you knew, vs numbers you did not recognize?
- Just as sure as Tax Day is April 15, I bet not one of the unrecognized calls was answered.
Lets stay in touch – just tell me how. Tell me the most efficient way you would like to hear from me, from us, from others. Tell me what media, method, mechanism is most convenient and I will make sure we “Chat You Up” with ONLY the news, facts and information that mean something to you – in the way you want it delivered.
And the next time that the phone is silent and doesn’t ring, just remember…
That’s Me Calling.
Recently I had the honor to be invited back to my Collegiate alma mater to give a talk to the current Business Students. Since this was my first trip back to the Business School in 34 years, I was a bit perplexed as to how I could give a talk and relate to students who faced far different challenges than those I had faced so many years before, remembering that during my tenure as a college student there were:
- No Personal Computers
- No Cell Phones
- No Internet
The on rush of anxiety set in as I thought about what I would discuss while trying not to be the “Old Guy who showed up in class…” With a gracious introduction to the students, I was given the opportunity to talk about any topic I thought relevant.
I chose “In Search of B Players”
As my talk to the students began, I quickly explained that I was not interested in those who were 4.0 GPA students. I was not there to meet, greet, talk with or interview Valedictorians, or by implication, those on the “Dean’s List”. Rather I was there, as an honored guest in search of “B Players.” With the blood quickly draining from the face of the Dean of the Business School to a ghostly shade of white, and horror painted across every Professor’s face, I was quickly convinced I had captured the attention of all.
With the room now silent and surely focused on “Who is the Crazy CEO”, I began to explain a philosophy that would either have me blackballed for another 34 years, or have every student set upon a path of success for the next decade.
I want “B Players.” I want team members, individual contributors and fellow managers who are well rounded, well versed and experienced in life – those that adhere to a basic set of Principles:
- BE Interesting
- BE Memorable
- BE Committed
I want “BE Players.” The world we face today is one that is filled with an electronic tether at all times. Our connection via smart phones, Phablets, Tablets, Laptops, emails, texts and Snap Chats continually fills us with a relentless barrage of digital noise, and one that leaves us numb.
But rarely does it provide us the interpersonal talk that makes us memorable, interesting, even trustworthy based upon an ability to sympathize, empathize, and relate. It too often reduces us to simply another blah blah blah infomercial. We become the human form of Beige.
With the room as silent as my last Sales Forecast meeting, I quickly explained that the pace and success of business today is done by those that are interesting and memorable. The internet NEVER sleeps – it delivers – email, newsletters, infographics as well as a “Limited Time Only Value” every moment of every day. To have success, you must stand out and differentiate from not simply a nearby business, but hundreds and thousands just like it around the world.
So how do you stand out? How do you make a difference from the 719 other emails, texts and tweets that were all delivered in the last 2 hours?
- BE INTERESTING
- BE MEMORABLE
- BE COMMITTED
The talk ended. Students applauded, the Dean once again had blood flow and color, and the Professors were less panicked. While it was not the chat that will solve World Peace, nor allow Dogs & Cats to live on the streets in harmony, it was one thing.
Ok, so it’s St. Patrick’s Day, one of the worst days of the year that you could possibly pick to upgarde, fix, patch, change anything in Oracle EBS. Why, you ask?
Because of our old traditional Irish Friend “Murphy” who shows up at the worst possible moment!
Making changes and updates can often be a tedious task, especially when we think about the dreaded “C” word, Cloning. So how can you possibly eliminate errors, misconfigurations, broken links, even ACL issues on a day that should be celebrated with Rivers of Green and a treasure hunt for the elusive Pot of Gold?
Unitask Verifier provides a fast and safe solution for troubleshooting Oracle EBS implementations equipped with Unitask Software Solutions. Transparent in nature to the Enterprise EBS environment, Unitask Verifier is a lightweight scripted program that provides an immediate capability to verify implementations to ensure the most common faults are easily recognized and remedied BEFORE they impact a roll out.
The test case analysis included in Verifier for use with every version of EBS from 11.5.9 forward includes:
- O/S Profile Checks
- JSP Profile Validation
- Forms Compilation
- ACL’s Review
- VCS Alive Tests
- Discoverer Agent Alive
- Path Verification Tests
- Database Connection Tests
- Instance Naming & Key Compare
With online corresponding solutions, Verifier is an excellent tool to maintain and troubleshoot Oracle EBS systems equipped with Unitask Software solutions for smooth and uninterrupted deployments .
The Verifier feature is available for all Unitask Customers with Current Support Contracts.
Don’t have it yet? Get Verifier or find it in the Customer Support Portal
In Business today, the term “Partnership” may be second only to the word “Free” in its over use and misapplication. A daily scan of headlines screams of companies joining forces, glorious benefits to be created with value and merit to be delivered. Yet in the drive to create buzz, hits, views and impressions, one thing seems to always be missing – results. It’s time to get back to Partnerships that deliver.
part=ner (partner) – noun
A person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits
To work jointly for common and mutual good or reward
To realize results for the mutual good.
So while press releases and “selfies” with blogs are fun, being a partner by definition means executing for value – value for all involved. But how?
Start with the Basics. To have a great partnership, the end results needs to have a positive effect on three core principles:
Are all parties contributing, or is this like the “Hanger-On” from your College Econ 216 group project who just shows up, but doesn’t contribute? To have a successful partnership, each party (and customer) must contribute with effort, intelligence and integrity to ensure an outcome that matters and is measurable for all.
What effect does the partnership have on potential projects? Do new opportunities grow that were not available previously? Are expansion opportunities for even greater value & efficiencies available for projects that are already in process? Does it deliver success with a higher probability of success? Does it expedite the timing of the end result?
Oh yeah, the achievement part. Does the contribution return some level of commensurate performance return for the effort extended? In short, is the ROI there for everyone – or is this a wolf in sheep’s clothing for you to do the work and I profit? If all work and all contribute, did all prosper?
Partnerships can be tricky things. In modern terms, they too often are euphemisms for “Do It For Me”, rather than the Old School Meaning of “Let’s Build Something Great Together”.
Sometimes Old School isn’t so bad. Your thoughts?
While the childhood story of the two brothers Pete and Repeat may have been amusing, the same concept of typing and retyping configuration information in Oracle EBS does not generate the same level of giggles. Couple that with the torture of configuring printers, styles, drivers and queues, pure agony is a better descriptor of administering Oracle EBS.
Unless you can Harvest existing materials and eliminate difficulties in Transitioning and Administering Oracle EBS.
Unitask Harvesting is an administrative software solution that eliminates the mundane retyping of configuration data of administering printers, and styles, while eliminating unique proprietary drivers and print queues. Written as a light weight concurrent request, Unitask Harvest retrieves all known:
- Network Based IP Printers
- Microsoft Based Print Servers
Allowing for reuse and synchronization to new systems of all known associated data and configuration information for reuse and synchronization to new systems such as:
- Pasta Configs
- Driver Attributes
- Orientation Definitions
- Row & Column Values
- Oracle Report Drivers (SDRW)
Harvesting and redeploying eliminates the associated burden of:
- Time – drops system set up and verification by days / weeks
- Errors – due to “fat fingers” on the keyboard
- User Downtime – due to inability to deliver report information to designated devices
- Workload – Drops the configuring of devices from an average of 3 hours to single digit minutes.
Unitask Harvesting uses Standard Oracle approved methodologies and interfaces for easy assimilation, as well as the standard Oracle security model for Username, Password, and Responsibility access controls. Utilizing this automated approach relieves the mundane technical pressure on People and Projects when managing Oracle EBS Output needs.
Available for all supported versions of EBS from 11.5.9 through 12.2.4, Unitask Harvesting is an immediate technical relief for typing and retyping configuration values. Check out Output Director Command Center or call 1-866-UNITASK to find relief today.
© 2014 Unitask Software, Inc.