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I received Microsoft Community Contributor Award | 2011

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 11, 2010

I just received Microsoft Community Contributor Award | 2011.

Here is the detail about this award: MCC

The Microsoft Community Contributor Award seeks to recognize notable contributions to Microsoft online community forums such as TechNet, MSDN® and Answers. The value of these resources is greatly enhanced by participants who voluntarily contribute their time and energy to improve the online community experience for others. Each day around the world, Microsoft Community Contributor Award recipients contribute to Microsoft online technical communities in a range of ways, including providing helpful answers, translating online resources into local languages and serving as moderators.

Through the Microsoft® Community Contributor Award, Microsoft expresses their thanks to individuals who freely volunteer their time and energy to help improve the Microsoft online technical community experience for others.

More and more technology users are seeking ideas and solutions for enhancing their technology experience through online resources. At Microsoft, customers find answers when and where they want them through online forums such as TechNet, MSDN® and Answers.

Today, up to 4,000,000 people gain valuable information through Microsoft online forums–and that number is growing.

These valuable resources are enhanced by the contributions of Microsoft Community Contributor awardees, who help other participants in a range of ways, such as providing helpful answers, translating online resources into local languages and serving as moderators.”

Frequently Asked Question about this award.

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Posted in Certifications, Leadership Training, Microsoft | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Announcing: The Microsoft Certified Career Conference

Posted by Rubel Khan on September 26, 2010

The Born to Learn team is working on an exciting series of online events; we are proud to announce The Microsoft Certified Career Conference.

Why this event? Well, staying competitive in the job market is top of mind for most people these days. Skills and knowledge can give you the competitive edge – whether you are just starting your career in IT or looking at your next career step. The Microsoft Certified Career Conference is a series of virtual events where you can meet potential employers, hone your technical knowledge, acquire job-seeking skills, network with fellow professionals, and glean career advice from real-life experts in the field.

What will you learn? Well, we will be offering a number of tracks that will help you build the technical skills as well as the soft skills that can make you stand out in the crowd. In addition you can visit the Career Fair and meet potential future employers. Whether you want to see who is hiring around the world, what types of positions are currently open in the market, or just want the opportunity to chat directly with company recruiters about their ideal candidates – The Career Fair offers a wide variety of opportunities. A full company list for your review will be available for download closer to the event date.

The conference’s main tracks:

  • First Course: Technical sessions based on Microsoft Official courses where you will get a ‘taste’ of the course. We will offer sessions for IT Professionals, Developers, and Office power users and they will be delivered by MCTs and courseware authors. Audience: anyone considering taking Microsoft Training, each session will focus on one specific course.
  • Super Cert Me: Thinking about taking an exam? How about some help in preparing for the exam? Audience: these high tempo exam preparation sessions assume a proficient level of knowledge on the course’s topic.
  • Best practices: landing a job is an art – these sessions will help you identify the job that is right for you, write great letters, prepare for job interviews etc. etc.
  • People and Technology: Whether you are in an IT career or whether you manage a team, new technologies impact the way we all work. What impact can ‘Cloud Computing’ have on your career or on your team? Will Unified Communications change the way we work? Audience: Hiring Managers, MCPs
  • Opportunity Knocks: New technology = new business opportunity. Learn more about the technology, find out how where the business opportunities are and how to get started.
  • The 60 Minute Rock Star: whether you are in accounting, marketing or an administrative assistant, we will show you tricks that will boost your productivity and amaze your colleagues
  • A Day in the Life: What is it actually like to be an IT manager, an Enterprise Administrator, or an application developer? People in these roles will share what life is like for them, the challenges they face, the opportunities they see, the skills they learned on the job etc.
  • MCT & Educator track: Microsoft Certified Trainers and academic educators are invited to learn about new courses and the tools of the trade. Audience: MCTs and Educators.

We’re still working on these tracks and of course we would love to hear your suggestions and input. At the same time, we look forward to the Career Fair, where you can meet potential future employers and discuss potential job roles. Be a part of it and register now.

MCPs and MCTs: keep an eye out for the MCP and MCT Newsletters for an attractive MCP discount!

Look out for more updates here on Born to Learn and of course: Find us on Facebook.

If your organization is interested in exhibiting at the Career Fair, or if you’re interested in speaking at this or future events, please contact our event team.

Source: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2010/09/17/announcing-the-microsoft-certified-career-conference.aspx

Posted in Certifications, Leadership Training, Microsoft | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Which tech skills are in demand on Wall Street?

Posted by Rubel Khan on August 9, 2010

Programming, operating system knowledge, database skills and especially risk management are in demand as financial companies expand their hiring. "Technology is extremely important on Wall Street, where they have vast quantities of data that needs real-time analysis," says Constance Melrose of eFinancialCareers. "We have a lot of clients who are looking for technologists who can handle the speed, quantity and precision of that information."

Read full article here Network World

Posted in Leadership Training, Microsoft | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What makes a good boss? By Jeff Wuorio

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 25, 2010

Everyone tells tales of the bad boss from hell. But what about the angels of the workplace? Have you ever considered what makes a good boss good?

The answer to that question is admittedly mercurial, as one person’s view of a top-notch employer will differ from somebody else’s. However, there are a number of traits, attitudes and abilities that are common to all good bosses. Moreover, the need for solid leadership skills is especially telling with smaller businesses.

“Being a good boss is important in any organization, but it’s particularly important for small business,” says Rob Sheehan, director of executive education at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland. “With smaller businesses, you really have the opportunity to set the tone for the entire company.” Bearing in mind the importance of good leadership to business, consider the following lineup of skills, strategies and attributes:

Be inclusive. With a smaller operation, it’s essential that everyone feels like an equal and involved part of the team. A good employer is certain to treat each employee fairly, not only in terms of salary and other forms of compensation, but also in how that employee is involved in the daily function of the business. Encourage feedback, innovation and creativity so employees feel genuinely engaged.

“You need to create an environment of integrity, trust and respect to make absolutely certain that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of the differences they may have,” says Sheehan. “It’s essential to be inclusive, because that keeps everyone on the same page when it comes to the business’s long-term goals.”

Mission, not just money. Very few businesses operate out of sheer altruism, but that’s not to say that turning a profit is the primary philosophical and practical focus. Rather, an effective boss establishes a genuine business mission. How that takes shape depends both on the business and on the overriding focus the boss wants to set. For instance, a restaurant owner may push speedy lunchtime service as a way of serving the time-strapped business community. By contrast, a medical supply outfit may emphasize how its products improve customers’ health. Not only can a clear mission serve to motivate employees, it can also infuse a sense of importance in their jobs.

“The point to be made is that there’s something bigger than money,” says Sheehan. “That can really help in keeping employees from feeling as though they have some mundane, day in and day out job.”

Nothing to fear but fear itself. Many of us have had bosses who would be right at home with a guillotine next to their desk calendars. Make one mistake on the job and feel free to slip your noggin right in beneath the blade. Conversely, an effective boss encourages his or her employees not to be gun shy about an occasional snafu along the road toward better job performance.

“This requires a mentality that encourages learning rather than a fear of making a mistake. Try something new and different, but know we’re not going to kill each other if things don’t work out,” says Sheehan. “I was a swimmer in college and I swam fast when I imagined a shark was after me. I swam just as fast when I imagined I was in the Olympics. It’s a question of what you want to focus on “fear or opportunity.”

Don’t just lead — coach. It’s common to hear a sports reporter observe that one coach out-coached another in a particular game. The same dynamic holds true for your business, in which you view your position both as a leader and a coach who teaches, encourages and, if need be, corrects employees.

“A coach sees things very differently than the players,” says Sheehan. “It’s important to use that different perspective to educate and encourage. But it’s also important, like a good coach, to lead your team by example. For instance, while you should point out mistakes by your employees, be sure to admit when you yourself make a mistake.”

It’s their careers, too. Don’t forget that the people who work for you are looking to you to help them navigate and advance their careers. As I said, it’s not all about money. But it is all about making your employees see how to improve and create meaningful careers for themselves. If an employee has a goal of becoming a manager or running his or her own business someday, nurture that goal. Tell them the traits they need to work on to achieve their ultimate plans.

Made, not necessarily born. One final aspect of being a good boss is recognizing that much of what goes into being an effective leader is, in fact, learned behavior. Of course, there always have been and will be bosses who seem to have a flawless touch in leading and motivating. But for every natural, there are just as many top-flight bosses who got that way by attending management classes and seminars, reading books on effective leadership and, just as important, understanding that a good employer naturally attracts first-rate employees.

“People can definitely develop good leadership capabilities,” says Sheehan. “To a certain degree, we all have innate traits that make us good bosses. All you really have to do is work to develop those traits to their utmost.”

Jeff Wuorio is an author and consultant who writes about small-business management issues, and publishes a monthly newsletter.

Jeff Wuorio is a veteran freelance writer and author based in southern Maine. He writes about small-business management, marketing and technology issues, and can be reached at jwuorio@adelphia.net.

Source: http://www.connectitnews.com/usa/story.cfm?item=4013

Posted in Leadership Training | 1 Comment »

ConnectIT USA – The 10 questions change leaders must answer first

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 21, 2010

ConnectIT USA – The 10 questions change leaders must answer first.

Two or three years ago I read a news story about an executive who had been hired to turn around the fortunes of a business that was on the rocks. The product was bad. Morale was awful. Management appeared to be confused about what to do. And customers were staying away in droves.

Clearly, this fellow had been hired to make changes, and here’s what he said: “We gotta shake this place up and keep shaking until we get it right.”

He was a change manager, to be sure. He had been brought in because things were not working well and somebody had to make miracles happen quickly. And our guy did that in spades, firing middle managers with abandon, reversing policies that had served the organization well, and establishing immediately that he was King.

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10 Tips for Better E-mailing in 2010

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 20, 2010

Making that Office Productivity Resolution a Reality: 10 Tips for Better E-mailing in 2010

19 January, 2010 By Marsha Egan

At the beginning of the last decade, e-mail use was already mainstream. Businesses had integrated it into their daily affairs, and periodically checking our inboxes was part of our quotidian routine. Over the next 10 years, e-mail use continued to grow. But unlike before, when we actually maintained control, e-mail started to rule our lives. Wi-fi made checking e-mail at the airport terminal irresistible, and now we awake from our slumber when our smartphones ding in the middle of the night.

Now, in 2010, entrepreneurs, executives, and those working from home offices struggle with the overwhelming number of e-mails they receive each day. Since my 12-Step Program for E-mail E-ddiction received international attention in 2007, I’ve heard thousands of stories from office employees around the world who struggle with e-mail overwhelm. Their stories are all unique, but the bottom line is always the same: their inboxes stress them out. In today’s world, where e-mail is an inevitable part of our work (and personal) lives, stress caused by our inboxes sets the tone for much bigger problems.

But, there’s hope! Instead of letting excessive amounts of e-mail control you, recognize that you have a problem with the way you manage your e-mail, and then do something about it! For the third year in a row, I have declared the last week in January as “Clean Out Your Inbox Week.” January is an excellent time for new beginnings, and as we advance into a new decade, Clean Out Your Inbox Week 2010 is the perfect occasion to incorporate healthy e-mail habits into your life so that the next decade is less hectic.

Here are 10 sure-fire tips to sending more effective e-mails. By following these tips, you will begin to regain control of your Inbox and set the example for others.

1. Be very clear. By making sure that the content of your e-mails is very understandable, you can avoid people e-mailing you with questions. Taking a small amount of time on the front end to read through the e-mail you are about to send can go a long way in avoiding a return question.

2. Make the subject line detailed. By including detailed information in your subject lines, your recipients will be able to sort and respond to your message with the right priority. The detailed subject line will also help you sort and handle responses.

3. Use only one subject per e-mail. The reality is that most people skim over their e-mail. If you put two requests in one e-mail, there is a strong likelihood that only one of the requests will be given attention. It is more effective to send two e-mails with different subjects than to incorporate two subjects into one e-mail. This practice is also helpful for people who want to file their messages.

4. Place the main point, assignment, or request in the first two lines of the e-mail. People have a tendency to build up to a conclusion when they write. At times, this tendency makes it very difficult for e-mail readers to figure out what the main issue or request is. By putting your main point in the first two sentences, you can avoid misinterpretations and get readers focused on exactly what you want, right from the get-go.

5. Copy only the people who need to read the message. For every extraneous person you copy on an e-mail, there is potential to receive a response from each. Now, you’ve just created more unnecessary e-mail for the both of you!

6. Send less e-mail. While this may seem a no-brainer, e-mail begets e-mail. Consider your alternatives. In many cases, it is better and easier to pick up the phone, visit the would-be recipient’s desk, or simply not respond.

7. Have a detailed signature line. Make sure that all of your contact information is in the signature line of every e-mail you send. This way, anyone who needs to contact you will not have to e-mail you asking for your address, fax number, etc.

8. Keep e-mails short. When you send short, easy-to-read messages, people will respond in the same manner and you save incredible amounts of time sorting through your inbox.

9. Avoid controversial or argumentative e-mailing. When you engage in an emotional discussion via e-mail, the e-mails will spiral out of control. Emotional issues should never be handled by e-mail; a phone call or person-to-person handling of the situation is best, both for the sake of your inbox, and the health of the office dynamic.

10. Purge! Purge! Purge! People don’t realize that too many megabytes can cripple, slow, or even crash their hard drives. Systematic deletions of out-of-date items, saving e-mails without large attachments to the hard drive, and purging your sent mail can help you stay ahead of the curve and protect your computer.

While each one of these tips may save only a small amount of time or reduce your e-mail only by a few, collectively they have enormous potential to help you control the number of the e-mails you receive. E-mail is here to stay, so the sooner you develop productive habits with its use, the more time you will have for what is really important in your life. Here’s to a more productive and less stressful decade!

For more information, please visit http://www.EganEmailSolutions.com. And to start your own Clean Out Your Inbox Week campaign, visit http://EganEmailSolutions.com/ekit.html.

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC, is CEO of the Egan Group, Inc., Reading PA. An ICF-Certified Professional Coach, she is a global authority on e-mail productivity. She works with companies who want to recover lost time and money due to wasteful e-mail practices. Her newest book, Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-Mail Excellence, released in 2009, is available on Amazon. Her ebooks “Help! I’ve Fallen into My Inbox and Can’t Climb Out!,””Five E-mail Self management Strategies that Will Add Hours to Your Week” and “Reclaim Your Workplace E-mail Productivity: Add BIG BUCKS to Your Bottom Line” can be found at http://EganEmailSolutions.com.

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Ten Practices for 2010 Your CFO Will Love By Irwin Teodoro

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 4, 2010

IT leaders must learn to speak CFO

I have nothing against a chief financial officer. Being CFO is a tough position with a lot of pressures that can easily be misunderstood. That being said, it is the money people who generally stand in the way of engineers and technologists and the spending required to accomplish great things with IT. It is a common problem we all have–dealing with accounting, the CFO, or other non-IT management. Of course, our running joke is the CFO thinks of technology as a $499 PC they can pick up at Staples or OfficeMax.

CFOs don’t understand why $29 billion is collectively used to power and cool IT infrastructure; 50 cents for every dollar spent annually on servers. They do understand the “space crunch” that IT manifests at $2,400 a server and $40,000 a rack at $1,000 a square foot. They see the money going out the door. Then they read about “server sprawl” and the $140 billion in excess server capacity available in the United States–a three-year supply. No wonder they get so upset: You’re spending how much? On what?

So we walk away with the feeling they simply don’t get IT. But some of the problem belongs with those of us in the IT organization–we don’t communicate in the language of the CFO. And because we don’t, we shouldn’t act surprised when we get pushback on spending requests. This needs to change. Here are 10 areas where we, as the promoters of IT, can begin to communicate better with the CFO.

1. Think TCO, not ROI

Traditional ROI thinking won’t work anymore for us. To the CFO, return on investment is how much money you’re going to give back to the company. Let’s face it. Most IT projects–no matter how compelling–don’t bring “return” to the organization like an additional salesperson, a new marketing campaign, or a new product launch. Discuss projects with CFOs in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO). Repeat until you are blue in the face: IT projects are overhead. You get over this by demonstrating fiscal stewardship by showing that you are providing the lowest cost. To do that you must provide options, comparisons, case studies, and examples.

2. Clouds

CFOs like what they hear about cloud computing as a cost saver. Don’t fight them on it. You can leverage what they are hearing in order to steer cloud spending on the right IT projects. All CFOs understand that you don’t want private customer records or sensitive financial data “in the cloud,” for example. Incorporate cloud or managed services for tactical, not strategic, applications.

3. Green IT

For all the talk about Green IT, are you not surprised that for CFOs it still has nothing to do with the environment? The reality is no green projects exist unless they have a better TCO. You can forget about there being a market to pay a premium for Green IT. Again, it is important here to build a case on typically hidden facts. What are you really paying for power, space, etc., that might help justify the business spend on green technology? Once you build a solid business case on facts, only then bring up the public and community relations intangibles of being a solid, environmentally conscious firm.

4, 5, and 6. Virtualize, Virtualize, and Virtualize

This subject takes up three spots because there are three key virtualization targets—servers, desktop, and storage. But again, the key here is how to justify and how now not to justify.

Let’s start with server virtualization, since it is the easiest to justify TCO-wise. The challenge is to provide accurate savings estimates upfront. In other words, don’t guess as to the savings. Many times virtualization projects are viewed as unsuccessful because the savings don’t match the upfront promises. This can be avoided by running a formal assessment before asking for funds. Collect real-world usage statistics to build an accurate business case. And don’t use low-traffic period estimates. If your IT use peaks during the end-of-the-month business close, then include that time period in your assessment.

Desktop virtualization projects usually require a multi-year business case. It’s tough to justify a full-scale virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) program in the first year because of the upfront capital expenses. But VDI can extend the typical three-year desktop refresh cycle, reduce operating costs for support, maintenance and upgrades, and reduce subsequent year capital expenditures.

Finally, check into the new wave of storage virtualization products. They can lower capital spending by up to 90 percent.

7. Adopt IT-centric business continuity

Three major concepts–risk management, disaster recovery, and business continuity–have become blurred over the years because the responsibility of planning has been foisted upon IT leadership without the explicit participation of business leadership. (The CFO?)

This needs to change. And the change can come about by the adoption of new planning for business continuity that is IT-centric. By adding a couple of critical steps in the planning process line, the overwhelming burden of IT leadership to determine which business units are most important, what priorities should exist after a disaster, and how to ensure business continuity is removed. Decisions no longer will be made in a vacuum and will result in the optimal dynamics within the cost, time, and risk relationship for a particular enterprise.

8. Align with the Big Picture

It should go without saying that IT projects should align with the benefit to the organization’s core mission. Unfortunately, many projects do not. IT has to get this message out and communicate it beyond the IT group. To align IT with key business objectives, you have to understand how IT is the differentiation or delivery of the product or service.

9. Proactive Cost Reduction

DuPont is like a lot of big companies that learn the hard way. Organizations that retain documents beyond required retention periods will face higher costs and greater risks should that information be subject to discovery. So DuPont did a three-year internal study of document discovery requests. They learned that in three years, 75 million pages of text were reviewed. They also learned that 50 percent of the documents that were reviewed were kept beyond their required retention period. DuPont estimated the cost of reviewing documents past their retention periods was $12 million. For this particular example, e-mail archiving is a good way to demonstrate to CFOs that IT can be proactive in cutting costs. Always be on the lookout for these kinds of projects.

10. Reduce Data Center Costs

Modular data centers are becoming a way to cut costs. Google and other major players are starting to look to this model to avoid building and construction costs. The use of managed or hosted services should be another consideration. This combination can reduce capital expenses with incremental expansion. It can also bring about 40 percent lower cooling costs in one-eighth the space.

The relationship between the CFO and the CIO can sometimes have more debits than credits, but it is still definitely worth the investment in time and effort to highlight IT projects in terms the CFO will understand. This means working hard to determine the full financial impact of your programs, demonstrating that you are looking at the total cost of ownership, and considering the company-wide financial impact of your projects. While past performance is no guarantee of future returns, if you can successfully strengthen the relationship between you and your CFO, the return on investment–excuse me, I mean the total cost of ownership–can be stunning.

Irwin Teodoro is director of engineering for systems integration at Laurus Technologies, a leading provider of IT consulting and systems integration solutions. He is responsible for assessment services, integration of multi-vendor solutions, and coordination of professional service project for Laurus. Previously, Teodoro handled professional services and consulting roles for Sayers, EMC, StorageTek, and Comdisco.

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Ten tips to becoming a better communicator By Liz Guthridge

Posted by Rubel Khan on January 4, 2010

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he reports that an individual needs to practice a complex task for about 10,000 hours before he or she becomes a world-class expert. He cites the Beatles, Mozart, Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and others. (Ability, luck, support from others and timing are also important for success.)

Generally, you can reach the 10,000 hour milestone after 10 years. According to a neurologist cited in the book, the brain needs that many hours to assimilate all the lessons from practicing a complex craft to reach a level of mastery.

What about the 10,000 hour rule in day-to-day communication? Most of us certainly spend the majority of our waking hours communicating — much more than the 1,000 annual hours for a decade.

Yet how come so few of us are experts? Yes, we have flashes of brilliance every now and then, some of us more often than not. But many of our co-workers, friends and families still complain about our miscommunication misfires.

Unlike the musicians, athletes and technologists, we probably aren’t taking our practice as seriously as we should. For example, to ensure we’re becoming better communicators, not just older communicators, consider following these 10 tips.

1. Know our intent, including what outcomes we want.

2. Put ourselves in others’ shoes to help us shape our message.

3. Rehearse what we’ll say and edit what we write.

4. Listen better.

5. Acknowledge what people tell us.

6. Question ourselves and others; be curious.

7. Tell more stories.

8. Work with a coach.

9. Match our words and actions.

10. Practice humility.

It’s ironic that a frequent excuse for not communicating well is not having enough time. We communicate many more hours than Tiger Woods (used to) play golf, yet few of us are on par with him. (Yes, bad pun intended for which I should get knocked down a few hundred hours.)

So be mindful about practicing. Eliminate wasteful communication. Make the hours matter and become a better LEAN Communicator.

Source: http://www.connectitnews.com/usa/story.cfm?item=3938

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Seven ways to defuse angry customers – By Jeff Wuorio

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 15, 2009

Flush with frustration over something gone wrong, the client or customer flies into an uncontrollable rage. Complaints crescendo into shouts, accusations fly and, sad to say, an occasional profanity slices what little silence remains.

Although every small-businessperson needs a bucket of water to douse these sorts of fires, it’s hard to know where to reach amid the flames. Here are seven at-the-ready responses that may help tame even the most unpleasant situation:

“Let’s go over what’s happened.”

This simple phrase covers several powerful areas. For one thing, by asking your client to recount the wrong, you’re forcing him to think, not just vent. That unto itself can smooth things considerably. On top of that, you’re letting the other person know that you’re genuinely interested in his or her version of what happened. Lastly, it deals you some time to listen and, hopefully, devise a solution to the problem at hand.

“Let’s get together to talk about this.”

If a client is screeching at you over the phone, suggest that you meet face to face to iron out what’s wrong. Again, that can inject some much-needed cooling down time into the situation. And, no matter if your customer is a quick-to-back-off bully or simply conscious of behaving more civilly face to face, chances are good that your conversation will be far more controlled and productive when you actually get together.

“Let’s have someone else hear what’s happened.”

Confrontations between customers and business owners are akin to two rams butting heads; not only is there little movement one way or the other, you can end up with a mountain-sized migraine for your trouble. Another way to defuse the situation and work toward a resolution is to call in a third party. This could be a partner or someone else with whom you work. Have them listen to the issue. Make sure this informal arbiter knows that he or she should approach the situation as objectively as possible; that may cue both you and your customer to do the same.

“Let’s see what we can do to resolve this.”

Having heard every possible side of the story, this reaffirms your intent to hammer out a solution that’s satisfactory to everyone involved. Not only that, but your commitment to a fair resolution also moves past the accusation and moves toward identifying what went wrong and taking reasonable steps to correct it.

“Let’s hear how you think we should solve this.”

Be selective in choosing this strategy. If you already understand what the client wants — and it’s unacceptable — then this is not the right line to use. But if a resolution isn’t obvious, you’re tossing the issue into your customer’s lap, which may help her appreciate your perspective and, in turn, suggest a reasonable conclusion. Conversely, the customer may suggest a resolution that costs you and your company big, so you need to step carefully here. Gauge where the other person is with this tack — the more steam he seems to have let off, the greater the chances for success.

“Let’s talk about ways this won’t happen again.”

This is the death knell for what once was a customer tirade. Once more, this demonstrates your interest in both your client’s ideas as well as your ongoing commitment to solid customer care. Not only have you worked carefully to craft a suitable conclusion to the issue at hand, you also want to make doubly sure that this particular snafu never resurfaces. And, should your client offer ideas that seem reasonable, implement them to make certain the dead stay six feet down.

“Let’s use ‘let’s’ as much as we can.”

Of course, you wouldn’t actually say this out loud, but note that the prior six ideas all begin with the first person plural. No matter how you approach the problem of a peeved customer, try to be as inclusive as possible in every solution you offer. For one thing, that immediately defuses the “us versus them” landmine. For another, you also let the person on the other side of the issue know that you consider a common understanding as an important outcome to the discussion.

Jeff Wuorio is a veteran freelance writer and author based in southern Maine. He writes about small-business management, marketing and technology issues, and can be reached at jwuorio@adelphia.net.

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Want to Move Up? Learn to Manage Like a CEO – By Steve Tobak

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 13, 2009

If you really want to learn how to move up in the business world, you’ve got relatively few sources of expert information. And when you’re done with all the MBA BS, the business self-help books, and God help us – the life coaches – ask somebody who’s done it, and he’ll tell you.

Come to think of it, if you think you can learn what works in the real world from anyone but someone who actually succeeded in the real world, well, let’s just say you might want to rethink your management potential.

In the past we’ve talked about all kinds of management tools and leadership qualities, but this time, we’re going to cut right to the chase. You won’t find these five tips anywhere else, since you’re the first ones to read them. Moreover, these are indeed CEO best practices that I’ve observed in few middle managers – those with CEO potential.  

5 Ways to Manage Like a CEO

  1. Focus on critical, trouble areas and leave everything else alone. Successful CEOs have learned to rapidly determine when a direct report or functional area is in trouble. Then, with laser-like precision, they go to work on determining what’s wrong and resolving the issue with all due haste. Because of the focus required, too many problem areas can spell trouble, which leads us to the next point. 
  2. Hire functional experts who are also solid, upcoming managers. The order and choice of words is critical here. You can mentor capable, upcoming managers, but you probably can’t teach them a functional expertise, nor should you or will you have the time. If they’re not eminently capable, you can end up with multiple critical simultaneous problems, which could be job or even career-ending. 
  3. Business comes first. Business and customers always, always, always comes first. Now, that doesn’t mean you let morale get out of control or internal processes fall apart, but you must recognize that the primary function of the business is business, and that means customers and sales. Any manager who doesn’t get that is doomed to mediocrity and stagnation.
  4. Manage up. A critical function of any manager is to provide his boss with what she needs to succeed, and in a manner that fosters a compatible and mutually beneficial relationship. And frankly, that goes for peers, too. If you sense your boss and peers are not getting what they need from you, meet one-on-one and ask. Successful CEOs work with their boards and other key stakeholders the same way.  
  5. Help to “manage the company.” This is a critical mindset that can make all the difference in your career. If you have a strong silo mentality – my group is all that matters – you will never move up. But if you always remember that one of your priorities is to help “manage the company,” then your chances are great increased. Why? That mindset gives you a broader perspective that will indeed help the company and be positively perceived by peers and executive management.   

Okay, so what do all you up-and-comers out there think I missed?

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