Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Off the Map

The holiday season is over and I'm back on track. I've had two meetings, one with the co-founder of the company and another with the director of sales (whom I work directly for). I scheduled the meetings under the premise: My Personal Goals of 2008.

The goals were 4 in points: 1. Education 2. time 3. title and 4. outbound for more revenue.

1. Educational goals: I've read Skip Connely's book "Peak" and Richard Barrett's book "Liberating the corporate soul" and I buy into the self actualization stuff on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Why not? I want to feel better about myself and what a better way to do it than investing in my mind.

Management's response: Absolutely

2. I need more free time to focus on business growth and learning about this industry. I want to meet people, go to corporate events, and network myself into better business. The world of old outbound marketing is dead. I won't always be at my desk. I will aim to be mobile in '08.

Management's response: Absolutely

3. I need a title change to represent a leadership or managerial role. I've been working in this company for about 2 years and I am a bread winner. If I left the company, it would take two sales people to generate the revenue that I generate.

Management's response: Absolutely

4. I need leadership to have faith in what actions I will take to try and generate new dollars for the company. I need access to the power of the pen of the co-founder of the company. If I'm ever wasting time on internal issues or fighting with management of other departments, I need to be able to CC the highest level of the companies leadership to resolve the issue as fast as possible.

Management's response: Absolutely

So the stage is set for the next step in my plan, work less and earn more.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

New Year's Dinner, Now with less chicken.

Straight to the point:

On November 30th, I made my New Year's resolution. Playing it safe, I've nailed down a few realistic yet vague goals for the year all premised under one theme.

I can only talk about my New Years resolutions after I've started or nearly completed that resolution.

I've decided, based on the coaxing of a friend of mine, that if I wanted to talk about a resolution near New Year's day without breaking my own rule about talking about New Year's resolutions I would need to have one New Year's resolution far enough along so I could talk about it.

Resolution #1: Work less and enjoy work more.

I've humped through my job 50 hours a week for the past 15 months. I do well, make good money, and like the technology industry. Some of the things I like most about the this industry are the people, the events, the ideas, and the renewal of knowledge. The last point, the renewal of knowledge, is the best. Once a technology is understood, a new technology comes out that is just as important. Like HTML, to PHP, to AJAX and onward.

My goal for the next year is to meet more technical gurus, learn more in depth technical elements that define the value in any business proposition, and get involved with it.

I've already started. I've knocked about 4 hours off of my work week by being out of the office at technology events. Last week I met Robert Scoble and hung out with the 6 apart, facebook crowd. TONS of fun.

Now number on to #2 --- what's it going to be? I'm almost there. Almost.

Investing in me: Steven B.

Consider this: my New Year's resolution.

Part of my primary resolution this year is to work less - any way I can. I don't mean do less an effective job or slack off, I mean do less of the things that I consider work. Here are a few of the things that I'd assume that people would have the strongest associations with Work. 1. Showing up at the office everyday, at the same time. 2. Meeting where people talk about nothing and accomplish nothing. 3.dealing with other employees that don't like their job and want you to know it every day. 4. hourly paid work weeks 5. having several unofficial bosses all who want to tell you what you are supposed to be doing. On and On and On and On.

Work is hard.

So, I want to work less.

I would like to work for 20 hours a week, and spend the rest of my time investing in myself. Fortunately, I like the technology industry and even if I was a plumber I'd still be involved in it. So why not spend the rest of my time learning and innovating in the technology industry. For the other 20 hours of my paid hours, I will focus on making myself a better worker in any way I can.

I would like to become the most efficient worker in my job that I can. This way, 20 hours of my week will be worth 40 of anyone else's. I'm already finding this to be very easy.

I'll tell you how it goes.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tis the Season

So someone suggested they thought of the coolest Halloween Costume. I asked what it was. They said a Christmas tree. Well, well, well. Isn't that interesting.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nice Quote: Peter Block :The Empowered Manager

Nothing impresses me more then quiet ideas. Ideas that don't hit you over the head with meaning. Like this inspiring quote from Peter Block's The Empowered Manager, "Every act of creation is an act of faith. The essence of faith is to proceed without any real evidence that our effort will be rewarded. The act of faith in choosing to live out a way of operating that we alone believe in gives real meaning to our work and our lives." and to quote Richard Barrett's, Liberating the corporate soul, "because creativity involves uncertainty in outcomes, it is easily blocked... Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity..."

Thanks Richard for the summary and Peter for the quiet idea.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fuzzy Boarders

I think the tribble is the most commonly known fuzzy boarder out there. They come on board the Starship Enterprise with a clear purpose (some guy was selling them as pets) and soon become a problem. Their use (cuteness) yields to the more pressing issue of how to deal with an out of control and growing population of fuzzy boarders.

As I'm whittling my "Hiring employee's that like/respect your corporate mission" essay, *upcoming*, I'm starting to see where some problems may begin with start-ups and their employees. I've summed it into halves.

First half, when you are a boss hiring for your start-up - HAVE A CLEAR JOB DESCRIPTION. Stop the "Requirements to be determined at a later date" stuff. Since I'm from the worker bee category, not privy to the lunch time management meetings, I can just speculate on the motive to the fuzzy job description. It's because you as management know that committing to something means you've limited your capacity to make people do what you want. It's a pure power play. Stop it - it's not the right starting point for a healthy relationship.

The second half, new hires listen up, when looking for work with a start-up, make your perspective boss commit to the performance metrics that you will be judged by over the first few months. If you can't get that commitment be ready for relentless flow of new responsibilities and extra hours of work on stuff you don't give a damn about (TPS reports anyone?). You are officially a member of the Fuzzy Boarder community.

It's the employee who is hired with a specific job purpose but who is slowly strangled with other unrelated responsibilities that will become a liability, slow and unproductive. It's the employer who doesn't see the value in explicit job descriptions that will become the authoritarian micro manager that doesn't understand why you won't stop complaining when asked to put together the company directory because you are the only one who knows how to use the software.

This is, of course, up for debate ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Still waiting for an answer... M.F.I.

So, Dr. Thomas Cargill, what's the deal? You to busy to answer a stinking email. I spoke with one of his students and he commented that the guy doesn't have a lot of love for people. In general.

I know I'll need to call this guy and got a sinking feeling it's going to be unpleasant.

On the side, I'm looking for an opportunity to have someone work with me on the review of my really fun hiring strategies and long term employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, no one cares (friends and co-workers), so I'll probably need to pay someone to look at it. You know nothing like a couple of Lincoln's to get people interested.