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Month: July 2008

Join the tribe

Join the tribe

Seth Godin is working to promote his new book called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us which is bound to be just as insightful as his previous books. Today I spotted a post on his blog where he’s inviting people who preorder the book to join an exclusive group to share ideas and thoughts and get to know each other. You got it: a tribe!

That’s a pretty great way to drum up interest in your new book, and at the same time demonstrate the principle that I’m pretty sure the book will go into. He goes into this in a bit more detail in his invitation post where he stresses that one of the attributes of tribes are the fact that they are NOT open communities that anyone can join. This exclusivity is what gives the tribe value and what entices other people to join.

Well, I’ve been meaning to buy one of Seth’s books for some time now but held off because I needed to study for my MBA. But now that’s over, so I’ll be going ahead with this one. Really looking forward to it!

Missing Expectations

Missing Expectations

What do you think is a best way to disappoint a customer? I’m sure you can come up with a big list, but right there at the top is promising something and not delivering. I arrived at the airport this morning nice and early because I knew they had free Wifi here, fired up my laptop … and no Wifi. It wasn’t all bad though, because when I tried 30 mins later the network was there, so it could well have been undergoing maintenance, but it did set me thinking all about promises and expectations. In the meantime, FlyBe announced that the earlier Gatwick flight had been delayed because of “technical issues” and that the flight to Birmingham and the flight I was on were delayed because of an “aircraft change”. Now don’t get me wrong, I do expect operational problems to creep in from time to time, but delaying three flights (out of the three on the board with that airline) is shocking!

Anyway, way to my Wifi incident. The reason I was upset was because something was promised to me (by way of a hanging advert and prior experience) and was not delivered. If there had been no prior expectation, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. It’s like like Wifi is so ubiquitous that you expect to find it everywhere (yet); so spending an hour waiting in a location without Wifi wouldn’t have been a problem for me. However, the expectation that something was supposed to be there and wasn’t was a totally different ball game.

I expect some industries are also harder to deal with than others. Airlines and trains in particular have a reputation for missing their schedules, but you can imagine that with all those moving parts, problem are bound to happen. I don’t envy companies who provide satellite internet services for example, as there are physical factors that can prevent proper delivery of their services. Wifi is another matter. Everyone with a wireless router at home will know that once it’s set up and running, it can run for months without needing any attention. That’s one reason why this morning was so “interesting”.

What IT departments need to do

What IT departments need to do

“Enterprises must learn how to be less dependent on the shrinking number of folks who are well versed in the applications running the business like COBOL, PowerBuilder, and Oracle Forms,” … “Most CIOs won’t admit it, but not only do many of them not know how these applications work, they don’t know if these applications work. All they know is they’ve got 30 million lines of COBOL code and no COBOL programmers, institutional knowledge, or documentation. They need to go in and liberate their intellectual property from the bowels of legacy systems.”

Does that strike a chord? It’s a quite taken from a post on InfoWorld entitled 7 things IT should be doing which talks about a number of problems organisations face today and gives some advice as to how companies should be dealing with them. Here are the main points:

  1. Follow your users: Find out what your users really do in their day job. Share their pain and let them help you tailor what you’re offering them.
  2. Embrace Web 2.0: Your users have high standards as to what applications are supposed to do nowadays. Letting them down will alienate them.
  3. Tame the data monster: Bad data means that people can’t do their job effectively. Make data cleansing one of your top priorities.
  4. Flirt with disaster: Disaster planning is only the first step of making sure you can cope with foreseeable problems. Make sure they’re tested and up to date.
  5. Capture old knowledge: Use toolkits like ITIL to capture and store old knowledge. ITIL Mangement will be a key differentiator for you in the future.
  6. Plug data leaks: If you don’t have a data security policy and don’t police it, your data could end up in the wrong hands. Make sure you know what needs to be protected and what doesn’t.
  7. Follow the money: Senior management in the IT department need to have more than a basic grasp of the business drivers of the company. This will help the whole department function effectively.

There’s some great stuff in there, ranging from technical issues to business issues, read the complete article here

Embracing Change

Embracing Change

Great post on Ted Murphy‘s blog about Change. Here’s a snippet:

I think there are 4 phases of change.
1. Recognizing that a change needs to be made.
2. Deciding what the change should be.
3. Making the change.
4. Embracing the new direction.

In my opinion phases 2-3 are by far the hardest, but where many people actually fail is phase 4 because of “what if”. What if I made the wrong change? What if I waited longer? What if it doesn’t work out? These are all natural questions, but you can’t let them get the best of you. They can be paralyzing and force you to always be looking back on your change instead of pushing forward.

Once a change has been made you need to commit. There will be many changes in the future, there is no need to fixate on the past.

Read it all here

Working in a different environment?

Working in a different environment?

It’s quite interesting having a Maltese background and working here in the UK. Not that things are so different here, but my experiences are different from the people around me. That gives me a double benefit. On one side, I’ve seen ideas and executions that are different to what the people around me have experiences. This helps me inject new ideas into what’s going on around me. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity for me to learn from initiatives that have happened when I wasn’t around, thus enriching my own thinking. I’ve read that the UK is making changes around letting Highly Skilled Migrant Workers into the country, hopefully this will have the effect of increasing diversity around us, rather than closing off this avenue.

Participating in online conversations

Participating in online conversations

I came across an interesting post on Allan Paterson’s blog (he’s the head honcho at the client I’m working for). It’s a government-related post with guidelines about how civil servants should approach social networking. Here are the points:

  1. Be credible
  2. Be consistent
  3. Be responsive
  4. Be integrated
  5. Be a civil servant

What struck me about them was how easily they can be applied to any sector trying to educate it’s members on social networking (okay, the last one would need to be reworded). At the end of the day, it’s all about credibility and transparency, if you lose those, then social networking will only cause you more pain.