LinkedIn posts (writing)

Particular Arts / literature Writing a writer writes in general: I write to discover what I know. O’Connor | automation: Babel Generator | buy/sell: storiad | collaboration: mixedink, The Writing Squad | content-as-a-service: Structured Information | contests: write a novel in a month |diaries: Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids > Radio | editing: scribendi | freelance: contently | LinkedIn: The Power of LinkedIn Posts sp | query letters | software tools: scrivener | teaching kids to write: boomwriter, 826valencia | whitepapers: template | word/character count: Text Mechanic, Word Count Tools grammar & references: citing sources: endnote, www.noodletools.com/quickcite | Common English Errors: www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/index.html | Guide to Grammar & Writing: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar | Presentation Tips: http://wps.ablongman.com/ab_public_speaking_2 | Press Release Guide: www.press-release-writing.com quotes: The hardest part of writing is the first word. sp |Bartlett's Quotations: www.bartleby.com/100 | Brainy Quote: www.brainyquote.com style guides: Citation Styles: www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/citex.html | Economist Style Guide: www.economist.com/research/StyleGuide | Elements of Style: www.bartleby.com/141/index.html | skills: 15 Online Resources to Upgrade Your Writing Skills Crosby  vocabulary : Can improving your vocabulary improve your life? (a) formulate your ideas better; (b) write better papers, emails and business letters; (c) speak more precisely and persuasively; (d) comprehend more of what you read; (e) read faster because you comprehend better; (f) get better grades in school; (g) score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT; (h) perform better at job interviews and conferences; (i) sell yourself, your services, and your products better; (j) be more effective and successful at your job voice recognition: iPhone: siri | nuance blogs, books, movies, portals: A Moveable Feast Hemingway | On the Boulevard sp | screen writing: Barton Fink Coen | The Elements of Style Strunk | writers: Mr. Gwyn | Writer’s Digest | Writing a Winning Book Proposal

Poor performance at the branch office

by scott pickard

Dear CEO:

I think an improved performance evaluation process will help this situation in general, but that does not happen overnight. It’s an employee cultural thing and takes day-to-day management, leadership, and training to instill.

Human Resources Performance Review Weekly peer-review assessments directly assist in the management of performance on a regular basis. in general: balanced scorecard | branch office: Poor performance at the branch office sp | classifications: job descriptions, salary ranges | compensation: base + variable | Key Performance Indicators KPI | long cycle (annually) | peer review | professional development: educational assistance, training (skills) | self-assessment & reporting | short cycle (weekly): FairSetup > Collaboration | transparency | verification: skills incentives: loyalty: 401(K) matching, stock options, vesting | performance: profit-sharing bonus pool Information Technology objective: Key Performance Indicators (KPI) subjective: sample performance standards  Employees generally detest the annual performance review.

Employees generally detest the annual performance review.

I’ve heard you say before that you’ve never really fired anybody, and that’s another leadership task that must happen from time to time, otherwise employees know there’s no real accountability for whatever they do. This may or may not be one of those moments.

The big issue I see is you just don’t seem to have anybody on site that is your equivalent who has the technical and leadership ability and also is incentivized by base salary, bonus, and possibly equity participation to really put the time and energy into keeping that office running tightly and successfully. Even though I know you work your butt off every day, almost all day, trying to do that yourself remotely and also traveling there quite a bit, it’s not the same as having that leader who shows up first every morning and leaves the office every night last. If I were a potential buyer of your business, this would be one of the most important things I would be looking at. Of course, buyers typically plan to put one of their own people into that slot, or they will conduct a search and hire that person.

Let me know how I can help.

- sp -

Using Prezi for Simple Gantt Charts

by scott pickard

I have been experimenting with using Prezi as a way to create simple Gantt charts. If you’re like me, you’re a big fan of the Gantt chart and how effective it is in communicating the timeline and priorities of a project. But most of our projects are fairly simple and last less than a year, so the software tools that are out there which can help you plan a moonshot are simply overkill for the simple projects; i.e., dependencies, resource leveling, unit costs, etc.  I’ve used spreadsheets, but it takes a lot of manipulation to create the taskbars and update them. I’ve also used Smartsheet, but once again it really gives me more functionality than I need (and want to pay for!).

I’ve had it in the back of my mind for awhile to give Prezi a try because I love inventing ways to use Prezi and I’ve discovered that it is perfect for creating simple Gantt charts and then being able to easily update them without a lot of manual tinkering.  I’ve coined the term “Prezi-Gantt“.

Here’s a link to a public Prezi-Gantt chart you can check out to see what it looks like. I’ll give you a few benefits and tips but if you’re a Prezi user, just jump in and try it on your own and you’ll find out it’s pretty easy to use.

prezi-gantt

Try creating a “Prezi-Gantt” for simple projects.

  • Prezi is FREE!
  • Prezi gives you have an infinite online canvas and depth-of-field to either zoom in or zoom out at will.
  • You can share online your Prezi-Gantt utilizing Prezi’s three-level privacy functionality:
    • Private: Only you can view and edit.
    • Hidden: You can view and edit. Collaborators can view if they have the link.
    • Public: Can be viewed by the world if they have the link.
  • You can put a frame around that part of your Prezi-Gantt that you want people to focus on, and then you can remove the frame and redefine another area of focus.

frame

  • The text box in Prezi turns out to be perfect for creating a taskbar which you can stretch forward or backward with ease.
taskbar

The text box in Prezi makes a perfect taskbar.

  • Within the text box (taskbar) you can either describe the task and task owner within the taskbar, or you can put this information in front and/or behind the taskbar, your choice.
  • I use vertical lines within the taskbar (|||||||||||||||||) to show progress (percent complete).
  • I place a bold vertical red line to show the current date, and then all you have to do is click on the line and then use the arrow key to move the line forward when you need to update the Prezi-Gantt.
  • It’s easy to adjust the horizontal position of your task bars by simply clicking on the taskbar and then using the arrow key to either move it left or move it right.
  • If you want to insert a new task within a group of tasks, you simply create a frame around the block of tasks, then you click on the frame to move the entire block of tasks down and then it gives you room to insert a new taskbar. Then you can click on the frame and move the block of tasks back up using the arrow key.
  • Framing a block of tasks so you can move them up or down, left or right, is the “guru move” for the Prezi-Gantt.  It may sound a little complicated but after you do it a couple of times, you’ll find it’s really easy and powerful.

Please give the Prezi-Gantt a try and let me know how it goes!

- sp -

Post-it Plus app

Post-it® Plus captures your notes, organizes and then shares with everyone.

Innovation Collaboration most (big) achievements are achievements of a team in general: about | academic: academicroom | art+science: Art at the Interface, CERN | cloud: centraldesktop, cx | conference calls: speek | enterprise: huddle sharepoint | live discussions: crowdoptic | online real-time editor: five tools | physicians: sermo | portals: co.create | theicosamagazine | social community: thebackplane | software development: atlassian, github | spaces & places: Grind, think[box] | technical teams: flowdock | translational medicine: Science Translational Medicine | whiteboards: groupboard teams: brainstorming: Post-it Plus > Strategy | communication: slack | retreat for programmers: Hacker School | team building: gone bad NPR | technical teams: flowdock  Post-it® Plus captures your notes, organizes and then shares with everyone. web casting: www.freeconference.com | gotomeeting | join.me | www.netviewer.com | www.webdialogs.com wikis: enterprise: www.socialtext.com, www.twiki.net | Microsoft office: thinkfree | online communities: www.wikia.com | openstreetmap articles: Redistributing Leadership in Online Creative Collaboration Luther Strategy | Modeling | Design

Post-it® Plus captures your notes, organizes and then shares with everyone.

Due Diligence List

Due Diligence List has over 2,000 good due diligence questions organized under fourteen major functional areas of the business.  There is also a sister book, Leaders Ask Good Questions, which has the same questions organized alphabetically.

On hiring a consultant

A client of mine who has built a successful enterprise software systems development firm over the last 15 years, is now wanting to hire a consultant(s) to help him define some strategic objectives going forward.  He finally has the disposable cash to do this kind of thing.  He had me review the consultant’s proposal, and here was my guidance to him:

I think getting a fresh perspective from the “outside” can be a healthy exercise, but there is also some measure of risk that it can lead you astray. So go into it with eyes wide open.

Here are some due diligence questions to ask yourself before proceeding:

  • Do you like these guys? Are you comfortable with them? Do you respect them? What does your gut tell you?
  • Have you asked for three references that you can call? This is VERY IMPORTANT!
  • What do they know about software and your market? Or, if they have no direct experience, do you think their general experience and skills can yield some valuable insights for your unique situation?
  • Last question is, all things considered, for the price they charge, do you think there is not much to lose, and maybe something valuable to gain?

If you can ask those questions and they pass the test, then I would give it a shot.

sp