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Archive for September, 2012

Broncos Fever with the Bush Family!

My family and I went to the Broncos-49ers game last month. What a great start to the game from both our offensive and defensive teams! It was interesting to watch the game progress after Peyton Manning left the field and the 2nd and 3rd stringers got their time to shine (or not). I was thinking to myself—”what would happen if the Starters got injured or sick? What would happen to the Broncos’ ability to win and support each other for the remainder of the game and perhaps even the season if there were major injuries to the Starting Team?”

One answer to this potentially disturbing query is that a deep bench is needed. We can’t and shouldn’t depend solely on the Mannings, Deckers, McGahees, Baileys and Praters of this world. The Broncos, as well as your company and my CMIT Denver business, must have a solid team that can support each other whenever needed. For our business, we facilitate the handing off of the ball by having solid documentation on our clients’ networks and the client as a whole. Then, if one of the primary engineers on the account were sick or on vacation, another team member can easily step up and take over without a hiccup.

Another preventative strategy is to have colleagues/team players be aware of the plays. This can be likened to an understudy in the theater world. That person knows their role or character and is an understudy for the first string or lead performer and knows all of their lines.  This is not to say that there won’t be any difficulties in carrying out the “play” (we are back to football terminology); however, the team will be ready to block and tackle to achieve the ultimate goal—taking care of each other where you will succeed and win with integrity.

 The Broncos made several cuts in downsizing their roster where they went from 90 to 75 to 53 players. What kind of performances must be executed on game day, daily training practices and in the locker room to win at the end of the day? What is the culture of the organization that inspires individuals to succeed and for their team to succeed? This is just a “little” something to ponder. Who will stay and who will leave?

Are you and your colleagues at your business, volunteer organization or even your family  truly Ready For Some Football? Do you have a playbook for how you want to run your business or home? Let’s bring back a message from last month’s newsletter about being Intentional and Purposeful. Are you running your business, volunteer group or home with an overarching strategy that is furthered by having smart tactics?

My new friend, Mike, from my industry owns a top notch IT company. From what I have seen and heard from him in two months time, he has a winning team which means the outcomes for his company and ultimately for his clients are fantastic. He is using some of the same guidelines and principles that any size company or team can use. Like most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, he borrows concepts and ideas (e.g. plays) from others. Mike sent me a copy of Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and it reminds me that I need to embrace the Rock Habits teachings and execute like Mike does. [OK, I am also a bit biased towards Mike because he is a fellow Rotarian]. I heard Verne Harnish share how he has even tweaked his One Page Strategy plan and reduced the number of goals from 3 to 1 and the results have been phenomenal.

After watching the great home opener game the other night between our Broncos and the Steelers, it’s all about having the strategy, executing, being positive about what you do and having a little faith! I think that Verne Harnish would’ve enjoyed watching the huddle and no-huddle strategies of Peyton Manning.

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Let’s face it; no one likes to think about bad things happening to them, much less planning for them. But since September is National Disaster Preparedness month, we wanted to give you a quick “brush up” on some simple things you can (and should!) be doing to protect your business.

1. Review Your Business Insurance Carefully. Most businesses carry some type of general liability insurance that would pay them if their building and the things in it were damaged. However, many businesses do not have enough coverage to replace all the computer equipment and devices, desks, art, supplies and other things they’ve accumulated over the years that are housed in their office. Make sure you review your policy every year and keep in mind new additions and assets you’ve accumulated during that year.

2. Consider Cloud Computing. One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that your data and assets are stored off-site in a highly secure, high-availability data center, with failover and redundancy built in. That means that if your building were destroyed and you had to evacuate or if your server melted down due to an unexpected hardware failure, everything you’ve worked so hard to create over the years is safe and not a sitting duck in your unsecured closet or server room. 

3. Secure Your Data. Making sure that your data is protected from theft is a never-ending battle you don’t want to lose. Companies that get hacked and expose sensitive client and employee data can face severe penalties, lawsuits and massive loss of credibility in the marketplace. Make sure you never have to send an e-mail to your customers explaining the bad news that a hacker accessed their info through you. Further, if you keep any sensitive information (even passwords to portals containing sensitive information) on portable laptops, phones and other devices, make sure you have a way of controlling and safeguarding that information.

4. Write A Simple Disaster Recovery Plan. The key word here is “simple.” If your plan gets too complicated or difficult, you won’t do it. But, at a minimum, think of the disaster that is most likely to happen and that would have a severe and negative impact on your company’s survival. 

5. Review Your Employee’s Internet Policy. With so many people “addicted” to Facebook and Twitter, it’s important that your employees know where the line is in what they can and can’t post online. We also recommend content filtering software to block content and web sites you don’t want employees visiting during work hours.

And remember, we can help you with all of the above items; just send us an email and the consultation is FREE!

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A couple weeks ago my CMIT colleague from Stamford (CT), Linda, demonstrated an electronic mind mapping tool to several of us on a webinar-conference call. I have been familiar with the idea of mind mapping for more than two decades spanning from the paper-based mind mapping form to the now popular electronic one. The tool that Linda shared with me is called SimpleMind and it is available for the major OS devices – Mac, Windows and Android.

 Most people are aware that there are 3 ways to learn: auditory, kinesthetic and visual. When I watched Linda present the mind map on the shared desktop, it helped me to process and better understand how she thought in assembling the mind map. For some, a bulleted outline might be sufficient for comprehension. However, for me and many I know, the visual aspect coupled with the verbal explanation brought it to life. The palette of colors available didn’t hurt either.

So, if you are looking for a simple tool to help you plot out your thoughts using visual representation, check out this digital mind mapping solution. There are trial downloads available (I did that for my Windows desktop) and an app for my iPad ($6.99). With all the different tasks I need to perform for work and Rotary and maybe try out with kids at home, this kind of simplistic yet effective tool will be quite helpful and fun too.

 

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My readers are aware that I send out my e-newsletter on a monthly basis. For a few years now, I have used a proven and popular solution for this – Constant Contact. This company has been partnered with CMIT Solutions for several years and I started taking advantage of this tool almost four (4) years ago. My monthly e-newsletters used to be straight HTML (website) code which worked OK. But when I moved the e-newsletter over to Constant Contact, it made life so much easier for me.

Now, I use Constant Contact on a regular basis for e-blasts and surveys. For each e-blast and survey that I produce, I receive status reports on Opens, Click Throughs, Undeliverable Emails and more. I haven’t played with the Social Campaign tool within Constant Contact since I have things set up for me. However, for a firm that wants to centralize so much of its electronic and online marketing, this could be a time saver.

Another wonderful thing about Constant Contact is that non-profits may qualify for the non-profit reduced monthly fee. Rates for any business, profit or non-profit, vary depending on the number of email addresses that would live in the Constant Contact database. The frequency of customized emails could be daily or monthly – it doesn’t matter; only the number of emails in the database drives the monthly fee.

So, check out Constant Contact by participating in a free trial and let me know what you think by sending me an email with your thoughts.

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