CEO Blog - Time Leadership
Monday, February 21, 2011
I got good feedback from my interview questions blog so I thought I would continue in the vein of HR. Clearly the most critical thing for any business is staff. In most cases it is the biggest line on the P and L. One way to keep HR on track is with reviews.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Cloud Computing TrendsI thought the following press release was of interest. I invested in Hatsize and sit on the board.
Hatsize releases first annual Cloud Automation Trends Survey results. Landmark survey identifies 2011 cloud automation trends and indicates cloud automation will spur sales growth. Hatsize conducted anonymous survey of 181 North American business leaders.
Calgary, AB (Vocus/PRWEB) February 16, 2011
Hatsize, the leading cloud automation software provider for hands-on demos and training, today announced the results of a landmark survey on cloud automation trends based on feedback from a broad range of businesses in North America. It was delivered as an anonymous online survey to potential users of cloud automation in sales, channel, training, IT, and other functions. There were 181 respondents from businesses of all sizes and types. 57% of the survey respondents were director level or above.
“Hatsize conducted this anonymous survey to provide more concrete information about business users' plans and budgets for cloud automation,” said Sue Miller, Hatsize CEO. “The high percentage of respondents that indicated they have budgets in 2011 for cloud-enabled demos, proofs of concept, training and product launches is a very strong indicator of the immediate potential of this vibrant, emerging business.”
Business leaders who completed the survey cited the single, biggest challenge facing their companies in 2011 as sales growth (42% of respondents). Other growth challenges included differentiation (8%), channel sales (7%), and product launches (4%). Only 9% were concerned about cutting costs compared to 61% of respondents who were concerned about these growth-related challenges. This indicates respondents believe the economy is improving and corroborates the investments they plan to make in key cloud-automated revenue-generating initiatives in 2011.
The majority of respondents see cloud automation technology as a clear way to increase sales revenue in 2011. Specifically, 74% of respondents said they need one or more types of cloud automation. The most popular cloud automation solutions are ones aimed at improving demos, proof-of-concepts and training to drive more direct and indirect revenue faster.
Summary of Survey Results: Top 2011 Cloud Automation Trends
Clear Business Need
* 74% of respondents said they needed cloud automation
* 67% of respondents said they had budgeted projects
Top Challenges & Focus
* 61% of respondents are concerned about growth especially increasing revenues from direct and indirect sales
* 50% of respondents are interested in using cloud automation for demos, Proof-of-concepts (POCs) and training to achieve their growth objectives
* 54% of respondents said cloud-enabled demos and training are extremely important or very important in 2011
Due to the strong interest expressed in the results, Hatsize plans to conduct this survey annually.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
8 Ways to Get Good SleepIt is interesting how SEO is changing and becoming more mainstream. NY Times even had an article on it. One of my portfolio companies is SEO Pledge.
I usually read business and self help books (since I need so much self help). Last night I read one that is slightly out of that genre although the title (Emotional Freedom - Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life) sounds like a regular self help book.
The author - Judith Orloff shares much of her personal story. This makes the book more gripping.
The first Chapter has an awesome title - Emotional Freedom - The Secret to Serenity. The rest of the book basically goes on to backfill how to implement these secrets.
Part 2 of the book "Tools for Liberation" covers 7 transformations that must happen for serenity:
1 - Facing fear - building courage
2 - Facing frustration, disappointment and building patience
3 - Facing loneliness - building connection
4 - Facing anxiety and worry - Building inner calm
5 - Facing depression - building hope
6 - Facing jealousy and envy - building self esteem
7 - Facing anger - building compassion
As with everything, there may be answers but making them into reality is always the real challenge. Orloff gives examples and practical tips to try to achieve each transformation.
One point the book makes is the importance of sleep. Of course the book was interesting enough that I stayed up to read it so it hurt my sleep.
I believe that part of maturing and wisdom is being able to change your view on things.
I am embarrassed to say in the first four editions of my time management book "Time Leadership - Using the Secrets of Leadership for Time Management" I suggested that sleeping less was a great way to create more time. I have yet to publish the 5th edition (Know any good publishers who might like to publish it?) but will definitely change those sections.
Huffington Post has a good video on the Cult of No Sleep.
Mayo Clinic says you need 7 hours to be healthy. I strive for that although would not yet be there.
There is lots of studies on the health impact on sleep deprivation.
I now know that we need some optimum number of good sleep hours and I now even include that on my goal list.
Top 8 Ways to Get Good Sleep
1 - Have a good place to sleep. Cool enough, dark enough, with a good mattress etc. A small amount of investment and planning can make a huge difference.
2 - Avoid drugs. The obvious ones - caffeine and alcohol both impact sleep.
3 - If getting to sleep is a problem, learn to still the mind. Some ways to do this include progressive relaxation and meditation.
4 - Avoid "mindless" end of day activities that are too easy to keep doing. The most obvious one of these (that is not a problem for me since I have no TV) is TV. Computer games can have the same effect.
5 - Have a going to bed ritual. I find I cannot get to sleep easily if I do not give myself a bit of wind down time before bed.
6 - Try not to eat too late. I tend to have a problem with this one since I often do not get home until late. I often eat dinner at 8:30 or 9 and know this is too late.
7 - The obvious - go to bed early. Sounds simple but it takes planning.
8 - Learn to nap. This one is a bit of do as I say because I can go weeks without napping. That said, I do know how to nap well. I like napping for just 21 minutes. I can get up without feeling groggy and 21 minutes is not enough to make me feel guilty.
9 - Exercise. I like to exercise first thing in the morning. exercising too close to bed keeps me awake. In my SYNNEX CEO days I would take the redeye back from California and run for an hour. That run revved me up enough to stay up for the day.
Please add your comments with other ways to get a good sleep and I will recompile them into a future post.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
What Could Happen if You Do NothingEveryone who knows me (or is connected to me by linkedin, facebook or Twitter) knows I like quotations - especially motivational business quotations. There is one quote by Anthony Robbins that is often used that I do not like is "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten"
I guess this could be motivational if you have not been successful.
I see the opposite in successful people and businesses. The quote should be "If you do what you have always done, you will go bankrupt". Why? Because the environment changes. I see too many people wishing for the good old days. Things change - adapt to thrive.
I read a cute little book on coaching tonight "What Could Happen If You Do Nothing - a Manager's Handbook for Coaching Conversations" by Jane Murphy.
I am a big believer in coaching, training and mentoring. This book focuses on the coaching.
It has 3 sections -
1 - Listening - clearly a key management skill. It has a ton of practical ideas on how to listen well.
2 - Asking. A well thought out question can definitely guide someone in the right direction.
3 - Suggesting. It includes such things as how to be tactful.
I have found the larger the company or the more perceived power that the person speaking (or coaching) is, the more careful they need to be. The greater the power, the more people take suggestions, questions and comments at criticisms or as commands. This can be dangerous and have unintended consequences. Followers should not blindly follow but they seem to the more powerful the leader is.
I have often found that the leader or manager does not know the "right" answer. They simply need to give confidence to their coachee to make decisions and take a path. Confidence to trust themselves.
Communication is a key leadership skill that can be studied and learned. Tact is a good part of it.
Monday, February 07, 2011
The Great Workplace
I am just back from a week of travel that ended with a break for Québec Winter Carnival.
A plug for some of my investee companies (I don't often make my investments public):
Well.ca is having a free sample promotion. Online drugstore (not prescription stuff) made easy to buy.
Hitfix continues with awesome content.
And I hope RuMe saves the world with nylon bags.
I am not a big sports follower but General Sentiment has an interesting article on the Superbowl.
And not my company but I have been asked to help with a Leadership Survey. Click to help with that.
I was interested to read in the Globe that only insane people are entrepreneurs.
I read "The Great Workplace - How to Build It, How to Keep It and Why it Matters" by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin. Clearly I believe in having a great workplace so no need to sell me on that.
The book speaks of several factors that contribute to a great workplace:
Credibility - Belief in the Leader
Respect - People want to feel they are valued members of their organization.
Fairness - People are motivated by the feeling that things are fair.
Pride - People want to feel pride for their work and their company.
Comradeship - People need to feel a part of a group and are happiest in their work if it gives them that sense.
It goes on to elaborate on each of these factors including how they can be fostered.
My view is different people will be inspired by different things. And inspiration is relative - does it mean someone is willing to stay 5 minutes late or give up their weekend to the job.
I always ascribe to a "treat people right" philosophy. Or "be nice", "treat people as people" etc. In most cases this works. The challenge is if people do not view it as "being nice" and "being nice" means different things for different people.
The final chapter was on taking action. Critical in the success of any plan. It speaks of the Balances -
Responsibility and Humility
Passion and Patience
People and Results
I liked them all, although I am not sure they are opposites, exclusive or that they need balance. For example, inspired people are happy AND get great result.
Good book - every leader should read it.