Paul Helmick https://www.paulhelmick.com Experienced Technology Entrepreneur Wed, 09 Sep 2020 14:21:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.4 https://i1.wp.com/www.paulhelmick.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-twitterpaul.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Paul Helmick https://www.paulhelmick.com 32 32 18415141 Google Classroom Overview for Parents (and kids) https://www.paulhelmick.com/google-classroom-overview-for-parents-and-kids/ Wed, 09 Sep 2020 14:21:36 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=41093 Google Classroom Overview for Parents (and kids)

We are kicking of virtual school this year and I found this super helpful, short video helping parents (in just 9 minutes) learn everything they need to know in order to best support their kids with using Google Classroom.

Google Classroom is a digital classroom platform where teachers most assignments, materials, announcements, and more.

In this video, you’ll learn how to optimize the settings of Google Classroom to best suit the needs of your family, how students can join classes, how students can look up what assignments they still need to complete, as well as what assignments have already been graded.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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We are kicking of virtual school this year and I found this super helpful, short video helping parents (in just 9 minutes) learn everything they need to know in order to best support their kids with using Google Classroom.

Google Classroom is a digital classroom platform where teachers most assignments, materials, announcements, and more.

In this video, you’ll learn how to optimize the settings of Google Classroom to best suit the needs of your family, how students can join classes, how students can look up what assignments they still need to complete, as well as what assignments have already been graded.

You’ll also learn how to use the calendar function to support with time management, how students can ask public and private questions, as well as how to receive email notification about missing and upcoming work directly to your inbox.

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‘Back to Blog’ Season – it’s been 170 days! https://www.paulhelmick.com/back-to-blog-season-its-been-170-days/ Wed, 02 Sep 2020 00:48:03 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=41076 ‘Back to Blog’ Season – it’s been 170 days!

‘Back to Blog’ Season – it’s been 170 days!

I took quite a bit of time off from regular writing on the blog since we got back from visiting Great Wolfe Lodge during spring break. That was March 15th, 2020. Looking back over the summer it seems like it was years ago. With the back to school (virtual/remote/in-class) season starting up I thought it would be a good idea to get back into the groove of writing more and sharing some insights each day.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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‘Back to Blog’ Season – it’s been 170 days!

I took quite a bit of time off from regular writing on the blog since we got back from visiting Great Wolfe Lodge during spring break. That was March 15th, 2020. Looking back over the summer it seems like it was years ago. With the back to school (virtual/remote/in-class) season starting up I thought it would be a good idea to get back into the groove of writing more and sharing some insights each day.

back to the blog

In preparing for our 4th/5th graders going back to school at Bible Center School, you can look forward to seeing some thoughtful insights on educational / technology resources for kids. I’m going to be doing alot with the kids to help them learn coding, scratch, game creation, VR, AI, 3D Printing, VEX robotics, Arduino / RaspberryPi creations, and all sorts of fun STEM projects.

stem

I’ve also had time this summer to clean out the garage and make room for the Cybertruck (yes!). I’ve found all sorts of memorable treasures from years gone by in several different businesses, each of them quite ‘blogworthy’ and with their own interesting story behind them.

cybertruck1

I’ll continue to share more business, marketing, and technology related articles – focused on the ‘digital business transformation’ theme that Health Ventures advisory and professional services teams focus on.

You’ll be able to find everything here on the blog, in our monthly or weekly email digest or on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I hope these are helpful as you learn and grow in your own family or business endeavors.  I’ll continue to post my daily photo’s on Instagram.

Here’s to a new season and rhythm of writing! And my continued prayers for everyone health, safety, family and businesses as we enter this new season of fall 2020 together.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Is the Most Anticipated Launch of the Year https://www.paulhelmick.com/spacex-crew-dragon-is-the-most-anticipated-launch-of-the-year/ Tue, 26 May 2020 17:05:40 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40797 SpaceX Crew Dragon Is the Most Anticipated Launch of the Year

SpaceX is about to launch its Crew Dragon, and is making history by bringing back human spaceflight to U.S. soil.

  • This is an incredible six minute overview of what’s going to happen tomorrow
  • I’ve only seen one other special launch live from Cape Canaveral years ago
  • Been blessed with a close high school friend who’s been intimately involved with NASA, the shuttles and the space station over the years. Amazing to see continued progress and innovation like this.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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SpaceX is about to launch its Crew Dragon, and is making history by bringing back human spaceflight to U.S. soil.
  • This is an incredible six minute overview of what’s going to happen tomorrow
  • I’ve only seen one other special launch live from Cape Canaveral years ago
  • Been blessed with a close high school friend who’s been intimately involved with NASA, the shuttles and the space station over the years. Amazing to see continued progress and innovation like this.

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6 Predictions for How This Crisis Will Impact Small Businesses Long-Term https://www.paulhelmick.com/6-predictions-for-how-this-crisis-will-impact-small-businesses-long-term/ Sat, 23 May 2020 15:19:50 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40777 6 Predictions for How This Crisis Will Impact Small Businesses Long-Term

Whatever the new normal becomes, small-business owners will be at the forefront of shaping life as we know it. Some trends will prove durable long beyond this time.

  • I agree, more emphasis on digital tools, stronger customer connections, remote team collaboration and predictable revenue models
  1. Printed materials will face greater headwinds
  2. Digital channels will become a core marketing tactic for new businesses
  3. Building a customer email list will be even more vital
  4. More team collaboration from a distance
  5. More businesses of one
  6. Creating ongoing value that makes sense to sell as a subscription will be a major advantage.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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Whatever the new normal becomes, small-business owners will be at the forefront of shaping life as we know it. Some trends will prove durable long beyond this time.
  • I agree, more emphasis on digital tools, stronger customer connections, remote team collaboration and predictable revenue models
  1. Printed materials will face greater headwinds
  2. Digital channels will become a core marketing tactic for new businesses
  3. Building a customer email list will be even more vital
  4. More team collaboration from a distance
  5. More businesses of one
  6. Creating ongoing value that makes sense to sell as a subscription will be a major advantage.

 

Tigers now have kings. Grandmothers are requesting video meetings. Masks are a fashion statement. Changes are coming quickly, somehow happening for all of us at once, despite our population never being more physically distant. It is a dizzying time. Among the groups most challenged by this torrent of societal shifts are small businesses. Doors have been closed, and some may not reopen. These, however, are some of the most resilient and creative people on the planet. Whatever the new normal becomes, small-business owners will be at the forefront of shaping life as we know it. To help stoke those masters of ingenuity, here are some current trends I think will stick around.

1. Printed materials will face greater headwinds.

People have been predicting the downfall of print for decades. That is not the prediction here. Print has remained a key part of many small-business marketing playbooks even as digital and social content has taken off. The physical nature of a brochure that can be picked up and explored creates a visceral experience that digital content has yet to replace. It is precisely that visceral aspect that will make printed materials more scrutinized even after we emerge from the worst of the crisis.

That stack of brochures in the doctor’s office might start to seem unhygienic. Print materials that are literally handed from one person to another — like business cards or certificates — will be hit the hardest. Items that are viewed from a distance like posters and signs should see less impact. Adobe Spark, a product I help lead at Adobe, is already seeing drops in search demand by as much as 75 percent for some forms of print output.

2. Digital channels will become a core marketing tactic for new businesses.

Brick-and-mortar small-business owners are often reticent to spend their small amount of free time learning creative tools or how to build a successful social media strategy. The stay-at-home order has created both the time and the need to lean far more heavily on digital marketing.

Some might expect staying at home to drive people toward a full “Netflix and chill” approach to spending their time. There has actually been a surge of creative activity, especially around creating videos, banners and other digital marketing content. Spark has seen a rise in search demand by as much as 75 percent for social content. If Grandma can learn Zoom, small-business owners can learn how to post to their Instagram story.

3. Building a customer email list will be even more vital.

The sudden nature of this crisis made it challenging to communicate with customers. Business owners who had invested in developing customer email lists or methods for direct communication, such as social media groups, were in a far better position to maintain those relationships and manage demand as they came up with new ways to provide their goods or services.

Web sites, ecommerce, email lists and loyalty programs were wise strategies prior to now and will gain even more prominence. We might also see increased interest in developing custom mobile applications and personalization to form even tighter bonds.

4. More team collaboration from a distance.

Staying in touch with customers is critical, but they are not the only people you will need to communicate with from afar. Companies that already had ways to coordinate work with their employees online were in a better position to maintain operations than those who were completely reliant on face-to-face collaboration. Videoconferencing has been one of the clear beneficiaries as people from all walks of life are finding new ways to leverage the technology to stay connected. Conversations, though, are time-consuming.

The wisest businesses will take advantage of remote collaboration platforms that allow employees to work with each other asynchronously. Slack and Microsoft Teams have seen dramatic rises in usage. We have also seen an influx of new users in Spark who are taking advantage of the ability to allow businesses to set up their brand online and collaborate with others on branded digital content. Many of these products can be used for free, and given the likelihood that this situation may go on for a long time, there is every reason to get set up with them now.

5. More businesses of one.

Not every business can be done remotely. Technology has not enabled remote deck cleaning or massage services. That is causing many people to explore alternative sources of income. At the same time, we are seeing a huge rise in demand for remote experiences. People are turning to online fitness and cooking classes. They are picking up a guitar and taking online lessons. They are watching online concerts and performances.

The combination of skilled people at home needing to make money and bored people at home looking to enrich or entertain themselves is a recipe for a booming population of micro-entrepreneurs. One person with a skill in demand can find an audience. It may, or may not, surpass the earning potential of whatever the person was doing before, but it will open many people’s eyes to new possibilities.

6. Creating ongoing value that makes sense to sell as a subscription will be a major advantage.

As micro-entrepreneurs find their niche outside of the structures that usually helped them get paid, they have a unique opportunity to set their own prices and set up their own monetization structures.

This has the capacity to greatly destabilize how we value certain kinds of work or online experiences. It puts the power (and the responsibility) in the hands of individual creators, coaches or experience-makers. Savvy entrepreneurs could see greater income and stability by turning to subscription models and leaning into both live online experiences and asynchronous income sources.

This crisis is creating a strong incentive to push past any hesitation and build out an online aspect of how to operate. Many small businesses will be forced to have two business plans: one that operates when social distancing orders are lifted, and one that they can flip on when people are ordered to stay at home. These need not be mutually exclusive. The backup mode of operation can act as a way to augment existing business, even while people are allowed to physically enter the shop.

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The 6 Childhood Trends Of Successful Entrepreneurs https://www.paulhelmick.com/the-6-childhood-trends-of-successful-entrepreneurs/ Sat, 23 May 2020 15:08:02 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40780 The 6 Childhood Trends Of Successful Entrepreneurs

How a child spends the formative years of their live has a huge impact on their future.

  • Forbes researched the childhoods of hundreds of entrepreneurs and interviewing several successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from different backgrounds and discovered six unmistakable commonalities in their stories – see the full story below for insight into each area
  1. Experiencing change or disruption
  2. Understanding the “big wide world”
  3. Awareness of work
  4. Inquisitive with a desire to learn
  5. Independence
  6. Role models.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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How a child spends the formative years of their live has a huge impact on their future.
  • Forbes researched the childhoods of hundreds of entrepreneurs and interviewing several successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from different backgrounds and discovered six unmistakable commonalities in their stories – see the full story below for insight into each area
  1. Experiencing change or disruption
  2. Understanding the “big wide world”
  3. Awareness of work
  4. Inquisitive with a desire to learn
  5. Independence
  6. Role models.

 

The 6 childhood trends of successful entrepreneurs

via https://www.forbes.com/sites/jodiecook/2020/05/18/childhood-trends-of-entrepreneurs/

It’s impossible to control a child’s every encounter or conversation, at home or away. Unforeseen and undesirable circumstances will likely occur. The solution lies not in avoiding adversity at all costs, but in developing the attitude and mindset to thrive through any obstacle.

After researching the childhoods of hundreds of entrepreneurs and interviewing several successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from different backgrounds, I discovered six unmistakable commonalities in their stories. It’s only when looking back that trends are gleaned, but it gives an indication of what might happen when they are replicated for others.

These are the six childhood trends of future successful entrepreneurs. How many apply to your story?

1. Experiencing change or disruption

For a child, change is often seen as a bad thing. Moving schools, a change in routine or an unnerving event are avoided at all costs. Entering a new and unknown environment and being the new kid is always exaggerated in films; it plays on the fear of standing out or being unsure. However, often it’s the presence of disruption that gives someone the chance to develop resilience.

Within those entrepreneurs I researched and interviewed, nearly all could point to a significant event in childhood, that was thrown upon them, that they learned to deal with. For some it was moving school, city or even country. For others it was the separation of their parents or a global crisis. The mechanisms they developed for adapting became their framework for every future obstacle.

The earlier someone overcomes hurdles the sooner they learn that they are capable of overcoming them. They learn not to fear the unknown and frame disruption positively. Change can be a chance to learn, grow and experience something different instead of something to shy away from; a valuable lesson for children and adults alike.

The 6 childhood trends of successful entrepreneursPixabay

2. Understanding the “big wide world”

A sense of perspective is instrumental in entrepreneurship. Zooming out and seeing a situation from afar renders small details irrelevant and is an invaluable tool for evaluating what matters.

The sooner someone develops awareness of the world around them, the sooner they can practice perspective. Of the entrepreneurs and business leaders in my studies, many had some international experience in childhood. Examples included reading the international section of newspapers, being introduced to people from different cultures, or travelling themselves. They each became mindful that the way they lived wasn’t the only way to live.

Options on where and how to live put the onlooker firmly in the driving seat of their own life. They won’t accept how something is, because they know there’s more available to them. If a child can see that there is more to life than their immediate surroundings, they can set their imagination to who they could become and what they could achieve.

3. Awareness of work

Someone’s thoughts become their words. Their words become their attitudes and beliefs and, thereafter, their actions. These actions shape their future. How someone thinks, therefore, is in some way responsible for everything they achieve. How someone thinks about the concept of work is no different.

Many of the individuals I studied had an early introduction to the world of work. This didn’t necessarily mean they had a job. In some examples, conversations around the dinner table were enough to develop commercial awareness and start thinking about what work involves and why businesses exist. Some parents would point out businesses whilst on walks and encourage an assessment of their purpose. Children also pick up on their parents’ attitudes to their work; if they enjoy it, how much effort they put in and the kind of life it allows them to have.

Equally as important as talking about businesses is “playing businesses”. Experimentation naturally leads to discussions around supply and demand, buying and selling, hiring and firing. All within the safety of a home environment. Examples include selling tickets for living room dance performances, listing unused items on eBay and washing the neighbours’ cars. Each experience offers the chance to understand the role work might play in someone’s future.

The 6 childhood trends of successful entrepreneursPixabay

4. Inquisitive with a desire to learn

The ability to become fascinated with something develops many key skills of entrepreneurs. Learning how something works is the chance to replicate or improve it. Observing a process, such as trains going in and out of a train station, brings chance to understand how people and parts are coordinated.

Relentlessly asking “why” in a bid to understand, was a common feature in the childhoods of the entrepreneurs. Some took things apart only to put them back together. Some came up with novel inventions after thinking about a problem they could solve. Others unashamedly asked questions, which were encouraged by their parents. These future entrepreneurs were asked open-ended questions in return and were guided to find answers from their own digging. Their curiosity was celebrated, and they were allowed the chance to develop attention spans long enough to access deep learning.

Mastery; comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular subject or activity, is crucial to someone’s belief in their ability. Once mastery is achieved in one area, it can be applied to other areas with ease. Being able to think back to a time you persevered with learning and practicing, to great effect, gives you the confidence to replicate it.

5. Independence

Metaphorically throw someone in at the deep end, and they either sink or swim. The entrepreneurs studied were regularly thrown in at the deep end, but they were consistently reassured that they would figure out how to prosper. Their parents became their biggest champions, giving them the confidence and belief required.

Once these children had a taste of independence, they searched for it everywhere. They started to make their own decisions, welcomed the chance to take ownership of a process, and fiercely protected their solo pursuits.

The opportunities for independence started small then were built up when appropriate for the individual. Choosing outfits, booking appointments and planning their weekend led to independently thinking of solutions to problems or creative ideas. Each stage developed ownership, responsibility and a desire for someone to push themselves; vital skills for entrepreneurs.

The 6 childhood trends of successful entrepreneursPixabay

6. Role models

A child can only aspire to be what they know exists. In order for their imagination, and therefore their dreams and aspirations, to be big, they must realise the possibilities. Within the entrepreneurs and business leaders researched, as well as the founders of many household-name brands, the friends and family members they met when they were small had a profound impact on their ambition and future reality.

For some it was understanding the intricacies of another’s craft and emulating their precision and determination. For others it was seeing how someone approached their work and the values they lived by. The chance to meet and understand a variety of people, from all walks of life, marked multiple points of reference from which someone could form their own goals.

Humans are social creatures who mirror each other’s behaviours, mostly subconsciously. The people with whom a child interacts will shape the person they become. Someone being intentionally introduced to inspirational, successful and happy people will direct their thoughts and behaviour that way.

Whilst it’s not imperative that growing up to be a successful entrepreneur requires a childhood containing each of these six influences, the trends are unmistakeable. Reverse-engineering this research might set someone up for a happy and fulfilling future that they have deliberately chosen.

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Keeping Remote Sales Teams Productive https://www.paulhelmick.com/keeping-remote-sales-teams-productive/ Wed, 20 May 2020 04:11:27 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40773 Keeping Remote Sales Teams Productive

The use of Zoom and other face-to-face applications to carry out sales calls instead of doing them in person is the new normal. Businesses can and will go more digital, but with a lack of face-to-face meetings, there can be an consequences.

  • One study released prior to the pandemic indicated that 63% of companies had remote workers – that figure has only skyrocketed this year
  • With this major shift, some employees will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay productive and on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to maintaining that productivity
  • Here are four tips to keep your sales teams productive by encouraging them in times of change, shifting your messaging, finding the right customers and efficiently managing their time.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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The use of Zoom and other face-to-face applications to carry out sales calls instead of doing them in person is the new normal. Businesses can and will go more digital, but with a lack of face-to-face meetings, there can be an consequences.
  • One study released prior to the pandemic indicated that 63% of companies had remote workers – that figure has only skyrocketed this year
  • With this major shift, some employees will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay productive and on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to maintaining that productivity
  • Here are four tips to keep your sales teams productive by encouraging them in times of change, shifting your messaging, finding the right customers and efficiently managing their time.

managing_remote_sales_teams_nz_sales_manager_1_-5e80dffde3395

Encouraging the Team Through Changing Sales Climates

To me, the most important role of management is to motivate and remove obstacles for their sales teams. While our sales teams at WhiteHat Security have always been distributed, communicating with customers and prospects exclusively over the phone or video is a new challenge.

When presenting to a client over the phone, the prospect may not be fully focused, and there’s not a foolproof way of knowing. While holding a meeting over video chat, they could be browsing the web or distracted by others in the room not on camera. To combat these new added distractions, it’s important to do everything you can to keep the prospect engaged. And leaders need to clearly demonstrate best practices to their teams so that they enter virtual sales calls as prepared as possible.

When prospects convert, we feel motivated, and we are on a high. But it’s also important that when things aren’t working out, we continue feeling motivated and part of the team. Organizations need to understand that while there may be a dip in bookings attainment, there are other metrics that the company can rally around. One example is the customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is a leading indicator of how much value your customers are receiving from the product, and, ultimately, how likely that customer is to continue using your product in the future.

Sales predictability is the key to an organization’s success. Without it, forecasting everything from hiring to infrastructure is impossible to do. Given the economic uncertainty in the market today, forecasting through this change is an incredible challenge. However, even in the face of this change, we need to do everything we can to keep morale high. Rallying the organization around things they can control like a new product release or NPS Scores is a great way to keep the team motivated and morale high during these uncertain times.

Shifting Messaging

As sales reps begin to find new opportunities to sell in this market, changing the sales team’s messaging is critical to ensure you do not sound tone deaf or insulting to that market. Operating with empathy and understanding people are distracted from personal and professional challenges is important to ensure your message is received well. Yes, business must go on, but at the same time, business today is changing.

Sales management and enablement teams need to ensure they provide the sales teams with new scripts and talk tracks – what to say, what not to say, and how to say it. It’s important to avoid playing into the fear and frame your company as a partner during trying times. The sales team should use these tailored prompts to sensitively and effectively communicate with prospects. As leaders, we need the team to take a more thoughtful approach and show empathy.

Finding the Right Customers

Throughout any downturn in history, there are always winners and losers that emerge.  Leaders must guide their teams by helping them understand which verticals will perform best and where to focus or refocus their time. For example, claims will go up for health insurance, but there will be a downturn as more states mandate services that are free. Retail is literally shutting down coast to coast, and a strong e-commerce presence is absolutely essential. Therefore, those businesses will need help more than ever.

At the same time, when researching these verticals, teams need to be understanding and compassionate, so it doesn’t seem like they are preying on or capitalizing on them. They are there to ensure business continues, and they are ready to take on the new challenges presented by our changing world.

Efficiently Manage Time

For those who may not be used to remote work, effective time management can be a struggle. A remote worker must learn to micromanage their time. One key is to schedule calls to prospects when they are free to talk. Simply using emails, text messages, Slack chats, etc. to schedule appointments before calling can save a lot of time. Today, more than ever, people do not answer their phone if they don’t know the number – formalized invites will help to ensure a higher conversation and response rate.

Distractions will abound as well, and now more than ever, this is OK.  Whether it’s being around the family pet or children on a regular basis, the setting of the new office can feel drastically different to sales teams and their prospects. It’s important to set a routine that accommodates your home life and your work life with those you share a household with. Working from home becomes a team effort, and it’s important to manage time for everyone involved.

Sales teams are used to being “on” all of the time. However, it’s important to realize that while availability is a key requirement in any sales role, stepping back to spend time on personal health and family priorities is a must. Balancing the “always on” lifestyle of sales with all of the personal obligations of working from home requires a new way of thinking and a new understanding of all involved.

The percentage of businesses shifting to working from home has exploded and will continue to grow, whether companies are prepared for it or not. Remote working is likely to stick around after the pandemic is over, so it’s imperative to communicate and set expectations so that your sales leaders can more effectively coach, motivate and manage their teams remotely. What you learn about leading a remote workforce and handling a remote sales pool now will likely become best practice for your company for the long term.

Dave Gerry is the chief revenue officer of WhiteHat Security, a leader in application security, enabling businesses to protect critical data, ensure compliance, and manage risk.

via https://salesandmarketing.com/content/keeping-remote-sales-teams-productive

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Why writing matters in remote work https://www.paulhelmick.com/why-writing-matters-in-remote-work/ Sat, 16 May 2020 15:12:46 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40737 Why writing matters in remote work

In remote work, we communicate primarily through writing. We send messages. We document projects. We send meeting invites with a written description of the purpose. We’re writing all the time.

  • Many organizations are working from home at the moment – Thus, writing is even more important – Here’s why
  • Writing Saves Time
  • Writing Makes Meetings a Last Resort
  • Writing Removes Extrovert Bias
  • Writing Invites Other Perspectives
  • Read more for 5 tips to make your writing instantly more effective.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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In remote work, we communicate primarily through writing. We send messages. We document projects. We send meeting invites with a written description of the purpose. We’re writing all the time.
  • Many organizations are working from home at the moment – Thus, writing is even more important – Here’s why
  • Writing Saves Time
  • Writing Makes Meetings a Last Resort
  • Writing Removes Extrovert Bias
  • Writing Invites Other Perspectives
  • Read more for 5 tips to make your writing instantly more effective.

Via: http://www.timcasasola.com/blog/writing

Writing saves time.

Take this contrived example: You have a distributed team. Most of them live in SF, but one member lives in London and another lives in Manila. Both the London and Manila teammate couldn’t make a Very Important Meeting because of time zone conflicts. No one wrote up a summary of decisions made in the Very Important Meeting, so the London teammate reaches out to the Organizer to schedule a Meeting After the Meeting to catch up them and the Manila teammate up on the Very Important Meeting.

It takes 30 minutes of back-and-forth Slacking to find a time that works for Organizer, London Teammate, and Manila Teammate. The Meeting After the Meeting is planned for 30 minutes, but ends up being an hour.

This ends up costing three hours in total. As Basecamp puts it,

“Five people in a room for an hour isn’t a one hour meeting, it’s a five hour meeting.”

Had the Meeting Organizer took notes from the Very Important Meeting, three hours would have been saved. Writing prevents unnecessary meetings.

writing

Writing makes meetings a last resort.

In a remote context, you can’t pull your team aside to solve a problem. Yet most teams are used to doing this.

Sending a message to update a team member or make a request doesn’t need a meeting. If you frame the problem as a Slack post or a document, your teammates can chime in on their own time. This makes it non-disruptive to everyone, while moves the discussion forward.

“But what if the problem is juicy and we can’t solve it through an asynchronous discussion?”

My response to this is to still default to an asynchronous discussion because asynchronous discussion makes it clear when it needs a meeting. Many people aren’t agreeing. The Slack thread is 148 messages deep and no one made a decision. These signals mean that the discussion needs to be a meeting.

The point: default to asynchronous communication when discussing an issue and to use meetings as a last resort. Real-time sometimes, asynchronous most of the time.

Writing removes extrovert bias.

Modern work gives extroverts a free power-up that introverts have to earn through practice. Meetings favor folks who think out loud and don’t need time to think things through. It’s unfair, yet rarely noticed.

The good news is that remote work creates the space for introverts to contribute. Written discussion gives folks time to chew on a topic and think through what they want to say. If you identify as an introvert, take advantage. Let writing be your platform.

Writing invites other perspectives.

Writing forces people to think clearly. I’m sure this question has confronted you at least once when drafting a presentation: “What is it that I actually want to say?”

While writing forces people to think clearly, writing also forces teams to think clearly. In my experience, having a clearly written thing makes it easy for folks to collaborate with me. This is because people naturally enjoy poking holes in arguments, adding points that were missed, or mentioning any risks that weren’t taken into account. I’ve found it helpful to use this human tendency to my advantage. Extra opinions and poked holes are hard to surface if you didn’t write something in the first place.

From Steven Sinofsky’s Writing is Thinking:

“Writing something for an audience is a way of making you consult representatives of that audience before publishing. What will marketing think? Will sales people be able to sell? Whether you consider those perspectives before or not does not change that they will react. This isn’t “buy-in” or “heads-up” but actually consulting the real stakeholders of a decision.”

If one person puts their thoughts together and shares it with a team, this helps the rest of the team put their thoughts together. Give others a thing to react to. Or else your team may not examine the full breadth of a problem.

If writing’s not your jam, now’s time to get better. Here are some tips that have helped me.

Get to the point faster.

When you send someone a long presentation, document, or message, here’s what they care about: “What’s your point?” Do your reader a solid and answer this question early in your message. They’ll thank you.

Write to someone who has no idea what you do.

Anyone who has zero context about what you’re working on and reads what you write should immediately understand what you’re trying to convey. There’s a neat trick that helps: write to someone who has no idea what you do. I choose my mom. She should be able to read an article of mine online and get the gist.

Spell out your acronyms.

Even if your client or boss uses acronyms, always spell them out. “Create, read, update, and delete” levels the playing field. “CRUD” does not.

Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ‘em.

Whenever I write a presentation, I default to this format:

  1. Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ‘em

  2. Tell ’em

  3. Tell ’em what you just told ‘em

  4. Tell ’em what happens next

For example:

  • “I’m going to share you three options on how we could move forward. I’d love to know which option you prefer and why.” (Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ‘em)

  • “Here are our three options.” (Tell ‘em)

  • “The three options we went over were A, B, and C.” (Tell ’em what you just told ‘em)

  • “Given we chose option B, here are our next steps.” (Tell ’em what happens next)

This structure works so well for presentations because it makes your message easy to follow. Try it.

Use active voice, not passive voice.

“Our developers prefer Option B.” > “Option B is preferred by our developers.”

Passive voice plagues business communication. Don’t add to the plague. Use active voice.

Fewer commas. More periods.

I love complex ideas. But complex ideas always morph into long, rambling, verbose sentences, with lots of commas (and lots of parentheses). I’m working on this.

Gary Provost, author of Make Every Word Count, put it well:

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.”

Great writing makes remote work better. It saves time, reduces meetings, removes extrovert bias, and invites other perspectives.

You don’t need to write articles to be a better writer. Let every Slack message, email, and text be vehicles for you to improve.

If you work remotely, let writing be your friend.

via http://www.timcasasola.com/blog/writing

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40737
The B2B digital inflection point How sales have changed during COVID-19 https://www.paulhelmick.com/the-b2b-digital-inflection-point-how-sales-have-changed-during-covid-19/ Sat, 16 May 2020 15:06:42 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40715 The B2B digital inflection point How sales have changed during COVID-19

For sales leaders contemplating how to react, taking care of their people and customers must be a top priority.

  • Even as they manage that reality, sales leaders also need to adjust how their organizations sell in the face of new customer habits and trying economic times
  • In many ways, the changes in customer behavior are an acceleration of digital trends that were in motion before the pandemic hit
  • This is an incredible article from McKinsey believe we are at a digital inflection point, where B2B sales operations going forward will look fundamentally different from what they were before the pandemic
  • Spend.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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For sales leaders contemplating how to react, taking care of their people and customers must be a top priority.
  • Even as they manage that reality, sales leaders also need to adjust how their organizations sell in the face of new customer habits and trying economic times
  • In many ways, the changes in customer behavior are an acceleration of digital trends that were in motion before the pandemic hit
  • This is an incredible article from McKinsey believe we are at a digital inflection point, where B2B sales operations going forward will look fundamentally different from what they were before the pandemic
  • Spend. While companies are generally reducing spend, a sizable number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and—more than any other factor—location in the world
  • Digital. Looking forward, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions
  • Remote. Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a videoconferencing(VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.

Via McKinsey https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-b2b-digital-inflection-point-how-sales-have-changed-during-covid-19

COVID-19 has destroyed lives and livelihoods and continues to do so in many communities around the world. Although the full implications of the pandemic are far from certain, it is already clear that its economic consequences are dire.

To better understand how both customers and sellers are reacting, we launched a survey of B2B businesses across 11 countries in seven sectors and across 14 categories of spend. 1 1. According to a McKinsey Pulse Survey carried out among B2B companies in April 2020. Survey included >3,600 B2B decision makers in all sizes of companies, from <$100 million to >$10 billion, across the US, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Spain, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil. Industries covered: advanced industries, consumer & retail, global energy & materials, global finance, banking & insurance, pharma & medical products, technology, media & telecommunications, and travel, transportation & logistics. These findings reveal three emergent themes that we will continue to track:

  • Spend. While companies are generally reducing spend, a sizable number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and—more than any other factor—location in the world.
  • Digital. Looking forward, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.
  • Remote. Almost 90 percent of sales have moved to a videoconferencing(VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.

We hope the insights from this survey can help sales leaders calibrate their responses and navigate their organizations through the three phases of the COVID-19 response: 1) navigating the current crisis with resolve and resilience, 2) planning for the recovery, and 3) reimagining the next normal. Clearly there is a great deal of uncertainty, but we are seeing plenty of signals that indicate an acceleration of previous trends—omnichannel selling, inside sales, tech-enabled selling, e-commerce—rather than completely different behaviors.

Sales leaders are already moving quickly to navigate the crisis, with the best ones focusing on how to make targeted changes that help their businesses weather the storm and start preparing for the recovery. As we update this survey in the coming weeks, we will also share perspectives on planning for the recovery as well as reimagining the new normal for sales.

The shift in spend

Given some of the grim economic signals, we would have expected more drastic reductions in spend. But a sizable number are maintaining or even increasing it, at least for now. That is especially true for large B2B companies, 53 percent of which expect to increase or maintain spend over the next two weeks (April 8–21, 2020). In 85 percent of the cases, the rate of change in spend—either up or down—was no more than 25 percent of total spend (Exhibit 1).

the_b2b_digital_inflection_point_how_sales_have_changed_during_covid-19
We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com

This thread of optimism carried through across sectors, with those in pharma, medical products, technology, and media expecting the greatest increase in spend, while travel and global energy and materials expected the least.

These spend patterns play out in a similar way by geography, though US companies cited increasing or maintaining spend at a higher rate than their European counterparts. Chinese and Indian decision makers cited even higher rates of increasing or maintaining spend, with Indian companies notable for the vast majority responding that they are changing spend—36 percent increasing it and 46 percent cutting back—while only 16 percent are maintaining it.

The shift to digital

Similar to what we’ve seen in the B2C environment, the importance of digital channels for B2B companies has grown significantly in the past few years and has radically increased since the COVID-19 crisis began. Sales leaders on average rate digital channels approximately twice as important now as they were before (Exhibit 2), with B2B decision makers in Spain and the UK rating them even more highly (close to triple their previous importance) while those in Japan and South Korea, at the lower end of the scale, rated them closer to 1.5 times more important than before.

This shift in the importance of digital interactions is reflected in customer behaviors. When researching products, customers’ preference for digitally enabled sales interactions has jumped significantly, with suppliers’ mobile apps and social media or online communities showing their sharpest increase since 2019. Mobile apps are twice as important for researching products among Chinese buyers as they are for those in the UK or Germany. Interestingly, the importance of a supplier’s web page did not change much, likely because customers were already actively using supplier websites for this part of their journey.

In making a purchase, buyers cited a strong preference for self-service, with suppliers’ mobile apps more than doubling in importance since 2019. This carries on a pronounced trend of preference for self-service channels across every stage of the customer decision journey, which we first started tracking in 2016 (Exhibit 3).

But it is not enough to give customers multiple self-service options. Consistently getting the options right matters a lot. Buyers no longer are willing to accept less from their professional experience as B2B purchasers than they are accustomed to getting from their personal experience as consumers. Results in our 2019 survey showed that those suppliers who provide outstanding digital experiences to their buyers are more than twice as likely to be chosen as a primary supplier than those who provide poor experiences, and about 70 percent more likely than those providing only fair ones.

Within that context, we found that “getting it right” means delivering on the three things buyers value most: speed, transparency, and expertise. Those priorities apply across all channels, and they are more pertinent now than ever. For example, 33 percent of buyers surveyed rated the option of live chat during the research stage of their buying journey as one of the top-three requirements for a best-in-class supplier. Live chat, for example, is an option that delivers speed, transparency, and expertise—things that customers value most.

To deliver outstanding digital experiences and encourage loyalty, B2B companies need, at a minimum, to address customers’ most pressing pain points and frustrations. When we asked our sample of decision makers to select their top-three most frustrating issues with suppliers’ websites, 36 percent cited the length of the ordering process, 34 percent the difficulty of finding products, and 33 percent technical glitches with ordering. Other common concerns were confusing websites, a lack of information on delivery and technical support, and difficulty setting up payments.

The move to remote selling

Like almost all functions in essentially every sector, the shift to remote selling was born of necessity as lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and quarantining have forced people to stay at home. B2B sellers have reacted with astonishing speed: around 90 percent of them are working via videoconferencing or phone (Exhibit 4). China and India lead the way in the scale of this shift, with Spain and the UK not far behind. Not surprisingly, the trend is more pronounced in some sectors than in others: in technology, media, and telecoms, it is almost at 100 percent.

The effectiveness of the move to remote working, however, is up for debate among B2B decision makers (Exhibit 5). For every respondent who cited it as “less effective,” there was another who thought it was equally or more effective. We did find some differences by country, however, with India and the US rating remote working highest in perceived effectiveness, at 68 and 60 percent, respectively.


The sudden and massive shift to remote working prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the “consumerization” of B2B buying that was already underway have profound implications for how companies sell to and buy from one another. Sales leaders are already moving aggressively to adjust to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to adjusting sales forces to remote working, about 70 percent of companies have also established multi-disciplinary commercial nerve centers to manage sales operations during this time.

While most sales leaders accept the need for a move to increased use of digital channels (many, in fact, have made significant adjustments since quarantines started), it’s not as simple as just “moving to digital.” The sharp rise in the use of digital and self-service channels means that companies need to be thoughtful not only about how to enable effective digital interactions but also about how to deploy their sales reps to best effect. Re-orchestrating the customer experience and the accompanying sales processes across channels should be at the top of the list for sales leaders trying to manage effectively through this crisis and plan for recovery. So should determining how best to deploy sales professionals across channels to help customers and provide support when it is most needed.

In an environment where habits and practices have changed so quickly and will likely continue to do so, sales leaders need a clear view of what their customers want and what steps their company can take to address their needs. Traditional face-to-face interactions have given way to sales and service support by videoconference, webinar, phone, human chatbot, and other means. In this remote and digital world, however, there is still a crucial role for the human touch.

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Google Meet is here to host your video meetings, for free https://www.paulhelmick.com/google-meet-is-here-to-host-your-video-meetings-for-free/ Sat, 16 May 2020 14:56:56 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40743 Google Meet is here to host your video meetings, for free

Google meet is Google’s alternative to Zoom, and it’s free too

  • Because video meetings have never been more important, Google’s been fast-tracking the most requested features for Meet, and are now making them available to all
  • Meet is available for free for everyone at meet.google.com and on iOS or Android and is now integrated right into Gmail
  • Anyone can use Meet’s simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view—all built on Google’s secure, reliable global infrastructure.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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Google meet is Google’s alternative to Zoom, and it’s free too
  • Because video meetings have never been more important, Google’s been fast-tracking the most requested features for Meet, and are now making them available to all
  • Meet is available for free for everyone at meet.google.com and on iOS or Android and is now integrated right into Gmail
  • Anyone can use Meet’s simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view—all built on Google’s secure, reliable global infrastructure.

Click “Start a meeting” and a new window opens with a unique, secure meeting for you to join and then share with others. You can also easily join meetings shared with you by entering a meeting code. And you can plan video meetings and invite others directly from Google Calendar.

Google’s continuing to look for ways to make Google Meet more accessible and useful. For example, we know video meetings can be challenging to follow for those with hearing loss, which is why they have made sure AI-powered automatic live captioning was available to everyone.

If you have an existing Google Account (for example, if you’re a @gmail.com user), you can sign in at meet.google.com to get started. If you don’t have a free Google Account, it only takes a minute to create one using your work or personal email address of choice (we require this step as a security measure, and you’ll only need to do this once). Or look for Meet right in Gmail.

We hope Meet will help you connect to all your important meetings—from work meetings, to graduation meetings, to wedding meetings, and everything in between.

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Google Duo max group size is expanding to 32 callers at once https://www.paulhelmick.com/google-duo-max-group-size-is-expanding-to-32-callers-at-once/ Wed, 13 May 2020 20:25:52 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40740 Google Duo max group size is expanding to 32 callers at once

A big update is coming to Google’s quite-popular video chat app Duo

  • Duo is a casual cross-platform video chat app with a web version and android and iphone versions
  • Cross platform is the key here, I mostly use Facetime with my apple friends – but that leaves Android users out
  • Their other service, Google Meet is great for large groups and scheduled meetings but not so much for a quick calls
  • Google recently unveiled that group calls were finally on the way for the web version of the service
  • Google just announced that Duo calls will soon be able to handle up to 32 callers at once.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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A big update is coming to Google’s quite-popular video chat app Duo
  • Duo is a casual cross-platform video chat app with a web version and android and iphone versions
  • Cross platform is the key here, I mostly use Facetime with my apple friends – but that leaves Android users out
  • Their other service, Google Meet is great for large groups and scheduled meetings but not so much for a quick calls
  • Google recently unveiled that group calls were finally on the way for the web version of the service
  • Google just announced that Duo calls will soon be able to handle up to 32 callers at once.

https://duo.google.com/about/

google-duo-chromebook

 

 

 

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8 Essential Project Management Skills for Productive Work https://www.paulhelmick.com/8-essential-project-management-skills-for-productive-work/ Sat, 09 May 2020 16:55:38 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40712 8 Essential Project Management Skills for Productive Work

Every project manager has their strengths and weaknesses and to be genuinely productive, you must have a blend of project management skills that are adaptable and ready for any situation.

  • This article touches on 8 that really make or break your projects
  • Planning, Adaptability and Problem Solving
  • Communication, Openness to Learning and Risk Awareness
  • and lastly, Commercial Awareness and Facilitation
  • The article below shares deeper insight into each of these skills.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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Every project manager has their strengths and weaknesses and to be genuinely productive, you must have a blend of project management skills that are adaptable and ready for any situation.
  • This article touches on 8 that really make or break your projects
  • Planning, Adaptability and Problem Solving
  • Communication, Openness to Learning and Risk Awareness
  • and lastly, Commercial Awareness and Facilitation
  • The article below shares deeper insight into each of these skills.

No project is ever the same, especially when working with different stakeholders, team members, third parties, and new challenges in each moment.

Project managers and workers of all kinds have to learn fast and be adaptable, so it’s crucial you not only have these project management skills, but also that you’re always working on how you can improve them.

Having these essential skills as a project manager allows you to work productively and professionally. They will not only help you personally, but also in improving a team and, ultimately, the project itself.

projetmanagement

Via https://www.lifehack.org/872355/project-management-skills

1. Planning

If you’re not a good planner, then you’re not going to be very productive.

Planning is everything in project management as it encompasses all responsibilities of the project manager, from the project plan, risk management, budget, your time and that of those around you.

You need to be able to perform the right level of planning at the right time and with the right people. A project manager who is always calling the team together to create a new plan is going to quickly lose the faith of the team that wants to get the work done.

A project manager needs to be able to judge when to plan in detail and how far out, versus short-term planning that allows you to adjust the plan incrementally.

Being able to achieve balance between the details of long-term planning and short-term incremental planning is a skill in itself. Once you’re able to get the team into a natural flow of incremental planning, which covers the work required for risk management and dependency management, you’ll be in the right place as a project manager.

When the team enters this flow, they will be at their most productive.

Being a great planner also requires skills in task management because if you’re not productive, the work will stack up.

A project manager who can manage their tasks well has the ability to know what to work on and when. Focusing on what is important rather than what seems urgent brings the highest value to the project.

2. Adaptability

As a project manager, one of the critical skills is the ability to be adaptable to the current situation or environment. During a busy project, no one day is ever the same, so you have to be ready for whatever comes at you.

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That could be a change in the direction of the project, teammates calling in sick, left-field questions about the project from a stakeholder, or being asked to come and present an update at the last minute.

You need to expect something to happen that you didn’t plan for so that when it does happen, you can understand it with a calm mind and then take the appropriate action.

In project management, you’re typically not judged on what has just happened, but what you did next to bring a resolution to that situation.

Also be prepared to adapt how you present and communicate daily. For example, how you talk to a teammate is likely to be very different to how you speak to a CEO, Financial Controller, or the project’s stakeholder.

3. Problem Solving

When you’re a project manager, everyone expects you to have all the answers. It can be quite daunting as you can never know everything or as much as a teammate about their particular task or expertise.

What you’re expected to be able to do is to solve problems for any aspect of the project. This could be a problem like the budget being burnt too fast, team conflicts, demanding clients, or project delays.

To be a great problem solver, you need enough subject matter expertise across the whole project to be able to dig and probe to find out where the problem truly is. You can then use different problem solving techniques to solve these issues, too.

As a project manager, you must always be one step ahead of the problem as you need to be thinking about how it will impact the overall project. This systems thinking approach to problem-solving is a critical skill to develop because you don’t want to fix one problem if it just causes another elsewhere.

4. Communication

You have to be a clear and direct communicator as a project manager, whether that’s verbal or written as you’re working with diverse team roles and stakeholders, all varying in seniority.

The key to being an excellent communicator is to simplify what you’re sharing so the team member, client, or manager can take that information on board and act on it.

The project manager is there to keep the right information flowing to the right people and at the right time.

The right information can also mean the amount of information for the recipient, as a report for a CEO may need to be high-level and brief whether that’s written or verbal as they’re typically time-poor.

An update for your manager, though, may need detail as they’ll need more context so they can help and advise.

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Consistency is also essential when it comes to the communication on your project, as other team members, managers, or clients will then create their communication plans and updates around the information you provide.

The,n having designated days when you communicate certain aspects of your project must be consistent to allow this to happen.

You also need the ability to provide well-written communication, which could be in the form of email, reports, or presentations.

If your writing skills are lacking, then it’s the same issue as not being able to communicate well verbally: the recipients will either not fully understand what you’re sharing, or they will not trust it.

5. Openness to Learning

The best way to learn as a project manager is by doing, or learning on the job as it’s sometimes described. Unfortunately for many of us, learning on the job is tough as we usually learn the most through our mistakes.

Mistakes as a project manager are going to happen, and it’s how you deal with them and learn from them that make you a great project manager.

Retrospection is a big part of self-development and evaluation for you and your project team.

You need to be able to regularly take a step back and look at what worked well, what didn’t, and what you learned from it.

You can do this through individual journaling and team retrospectives. Journaling is a natural way to capture your thoughts, lessons learned, and actions at any time.

Having a journal with you at all times is key, and it can take the form of a note pad or a digital tool. Capture your learning as close to when the situations happen as possible as it’s fresh in the mind. This will allow you to use it again in the future.

Facilitating retrospectives is the first step for learning as a team, but then the project manager must support and act on these improvements post-retrospective. This helps build team morale, as well as confidence in you as a project manager as you’re helping the team develop.

6. Risk Awareness

Being risk aware means that you need to be thinking about what could go wrong on a project, not in a worried and stressful state but a focused and controlled state.

You need to be regularly thinking about how a particular task or workstream will look like in a few weeks and how you can make sure the team is as productive as possible. You should also be aware of what could stop them from working with a task, client, tool, or other team member.

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Risk management, like general project planning, requires you to be able to get the right balance between short and long term risks.

A risk that might hit the project in 6 months doesn’t need the whole team to down tools and work on how to mitigate it today. However, it is important to plan for a risk that is likely to impact the team in a week or two.

Risk management isn’t just for the project manager; it’s a team thing. A project manager isn’t going to be able to think of every risk or how to mitigate it. The team needs to support this in order to increase productivity across the board.

The project manager can probe and facilitate planning conversations or in status meetings with questions like:

  • Is that an assumption?
  • Is there anything that could stop you from completing that task?
  • Is there something I can do to make sure you have everything you need to complete the task?

These types of questions, when asked regularly, not only help manage risks, but, over time, the team starts to provide the answers without being asked.

7. Commercial Awareness

You need to understand the commercial aspects of your project, as well as how the budget works within the broader context of your business.

Having a detailed understanding of the commerciality allows you to speed up or avoid creating complicated conversations when it comes to a potential change in the budget.

Knowing what can and can’t do with the budget saves you, your team, and your financial controller time in the long run.

Consider the following example.

The team requests a new testing kit as it’s more advanced than the one you currently have in place. You understand the benefits of it, but you know exactly how much money the project can spend on external equipment, plus the reasons why this budget has been set.

Rather than extending the conversation or speaking to your financial controller, you’re able to explain to your team the reasons why they can’t purchase it and give them other options.

It’s easy to get stuck in the day to day of a project and not pay enough attention to the management of the budget. The budget is a critical component of a project due to the fact that if you don’t make a profit or maintain profitability, then it may not be deemed a success.

A project manager has to be able to balance driving the plan but at the same time managing the budget. Having an understanding of the budget allows you to then make decisions faster and with confidence when speaking with your manager and stakeholders.

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8. Facilitation

Being good at facilitating can be the difference between having a productive and enjoyable meeting and leaving the meeting with everyone frustrated with a lack of progress.

Facilitation skills allow you to get the best ideas out of a team as an engaged team member will more than likely speak up.

Excellent facilitation also helps with teasing out why problems occur through collaborative discussions.

Having excellent facilitation skills is one thing you need when running a project, but understanding your team is another. You need to be able to manage the relationships within the project team and, in some cases, deal with conflicts.

A project manager has to be good with people to be able to understand and spot their concerns, strengths, and weaknesses.

With all of this, you need to be able to facilitate not only the team dynamics but also the various types of team meetings, like planning workshops and project reviews.

Facilitation isn’t just about how you manage a workshop and deal with conflicts; as a project manager, you also need to show empathy and have a calmness about you, especially in stressful situations.

Every team member has a different story, so showing an understanding of their situation allows the you to manage the project, not by just numbers and tasks, but also by personality type.

The Bottom Line

Continuously refining, adapting, and improving these project management skills is the key to be becoming not only a great project manager but also a productive one.

If you lack in any of these skills, the impact can be that multiple issues start to occur on your project, and although small issues seem manageable in the moment, over time they begin to compound into something far harder to resolve.

Regularly review your project management skills through not only self-reflection but gathering feedback from peers and clients.

Productivity is all about how you maximize the skills you have and applying successful approaches you take. The more you repeat success, the quicker you’ll improve, and the speed to deliver them will also increase. Get started today!

More Tips on Project Management

Featured photo credit: NESA by Makers via unsplash.com

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54% of adults want to work remotely most of the time after the pandemic https://www.paulhelmick.com/54-of-adults-want-to-work-remotely-most-of-the-time-after-the-pandemic/ Sat, 09 May 2020 16:48:26 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40709 54% of adults want to work remotely most of the time after the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has created global shifts in the way people work, shop, and socialize

  • Millions of workers have transitioned their job operations to work remotely in the wake of the coronavirus, and as these workers settle into their home-based routines, many are finding they want to continue working from home after the pandemic, as it lends itself to flexibility and productivity
  • Working from home is not only popular but other studies have shown that those who work from home full-time reported being happy in their job 22% more than their counterparts who spent no time working from home
  • As employees return to the workplace, this a shift that many employers will need to consider accomodating more.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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The coronavirus pandemic has created global shifts in the way people work, shop, and socialize
  • Millions of workers have transitioned their job operations to work remotely in the wake of the coronavirus, and as these workers settle into their home-based routines, many are finding they want to continue working from home after the pandemic, as it lends itself to flexibility and productivity
  • Working from home is not only popular but other studies have shown that those who work from home full-time reported being happy in their job 22% more than their counterparts who spent no time working from home
  • As employees return to the workplace, this a shift that many employers will need to consider accomodating more.

  • The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of workers out of office spaces and into their homes, but 54% of workers polled in a new survey say they would prefer to continue working remotely full time.
  • IBM conducted a survey among 25,000 people to gauge how perspectives about work, transportation, and leisure changed since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
  • Working from home could make workers happier and save employees and employers money.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic has created global shifts in the way people work, shop, and socialize. While not every change created during the quarantined lifestyle of the pandemic will stick, many employees hope that working from home will.

A survey conducted by IBM found that 54% of employees would prefer to primarily work remotely.

IBM polled more than 25,000 US adults during April to figure out how COVID-19 has altered their perspectives on a range of topics including working from home.

Of those surveyed, 75% said they would like to continue to work from home in at least a partial capacity, while 40% of respondents said they feel strongly that their employer should give employees the choice to opt-in to remote work..

Working remotely is also an attractive option because it can help employees save on housing. When workers don’t have to report to an office, they have more flexibility to work from home in more rural or suburban settings.

But the shift to remote work might not only benefit employees but employers as well. Instead of leasing huge offices at high-dollar prices, employers could save money by renting smaller spaces — especially since experts predict offices will transition from a place where workers go to every day, to more of a central meeting spot for important meetings and collaborative work.

Some companies have already decided to make permanent shifts to working remotely or partially remote, such as Nationwide Insurance.

The change in working preferences goes hand in hand with IBM’s other finding, which found that people are more likely to use their own vehicles for transportation and intend to rely on less public transportation, rideshares, and taxi services.

Nearly 20% of respondents who regularly used public transportation such as trains, buses, or subways said they no longer would, and another 28% said they will likely use public transportation less often.

Rideshare and taxi services saw a similar drop, while 17% of people responded that they plan to use their own vehicle more and 1 in 4 people said they would use their personal vehicle as their exclusive mode of transportation moving forward as a result of COVID-19.

Via: https://www.businessinsider.com/54-percent-adults-want-mainly-work-remote-after-pandemic-study-2020-5
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US Adults Spend More Time Accessing the Internet and Apps on Their Smartphones Than Watching Traditional TV https://www.paulhelmick.com/us-adults-spend-more-time-accessing-the-internet-and-apps-on-their-smartphones-than-watching-traditional-tv/ Sat, 09 May 2020 16:40:46 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40717 US Adults Spend More Time Accessing the Internet and Apps on Their Smartphones Than Watching Traditional TV
  • Smartphone Internet Use Outpaces Traditional TV
  • American adults spent an average of 3:58 per day accessing the internet or apps on their smartphones, and 3:27 with TV
  • Recognize that it is a mobile / app-based world and connect with your customers accordingly.

-> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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  • Smartphone Internet Use Outpaces Traditional TV
  • American adults spent an average of 3:58 per day accessing the internet or apps on their smartphones, and 3:27 with TV
  • Recognize that it is a mobile / app-based world and connect with your customers accordingly.
  • Nielsen Adult Daily Media Usage in Q32019 Apr2020

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    40717
    MIT students painstakingly recreated their iconic campus in ‘Minecraft’ https://www.paulhelmick.com/mit-students-painstakingly-recreated-their-iconic-campus-in-minecraft/ Sat, 09 May 2020 16:27:22 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40643 MIT students painstakingly recreated their iconic campus in ‘Minecraft’

    This is one of the most amazing examples of virtual design and engineering I’ve seen

    • The block-building game “Minecraft,” which Microsoft bought in 2014 for over $2 billion, has been one of the most popular games worldwide over the last 10 years and now has 145 million active players each month
    • First Check out this 2 minute fly through video of their campus in Minecraft
    • It represents over 600 students / engineers with over two months of time on task design and construction in this model
    • Second – look over the full post linked in below for some of the highlights of work done in this virtual world
    • This is truly an amazing example of the virtual worlds / environments / projects that are to come.

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    This is one of the most amazing examples of virtual design and engineering I’ve seen
    • The block-building game “Minecraft,” which Microsoft bought in 2014 for over $2 billion, has been one of the most popular games worldwide over the last 10 years and now has 145 million active players each month
    • First Check out this 2 minute fly through video of their campus in Minecraft
    • It represents over 600 students / engineers with over two months of time on task design and construction in this model
    • Second – look over the full post linked in below for some of the highlights of work done in this virtual world
    • This is truly an amazing example of the virtual worlds / environments / projects that are to come.

    Full Article

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    40643
    Otter launches live transcription for Zoom meetings https://www.paulhelmick.com/otter-launches-live-transcription-for-zoom-meetings/ Sat, 02 May 2020 15:41:48 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40624 Otter launches live transcription for Zoom meetings

    Transcribing audio is a massive pain. Thankfully, Otter just made it a lot easier for people stuck at home on endless Zoom meetings.

    • The otter.ai app, available for free or with a paid plan, is by far the single best, easiest tool ever to instantly transcribe to text a meeting with one or more people.  I use it all the time to take notes from meetings, calls, etc – but I always have to upload a recording to it after the fact or have my phone out and the app up during a call.

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    • The otter.ai app, available for free or with a paid plan, is by far the single best, easiest tool ever to instantly transcribe to text a meeting with one or more people.  I use it all the time to take notes from meetings, calls, etc – but I always have to upload a recording to it after the fact or have my phone out and the app up during a call.
    • If you’ve never used, otter.ai, take 10 minutes, download the app for free on your phone and just test it out – being able to search back through via text for a word or phrase that was said in an hour long meeting is incredible…
    • And with their latest announcement, you can just plug this right into your Zoom meetings and get full transcriptions of your meeting with all of the text for each participant fully broken out – it’s incredible how far this technology has come.

    otterzoom

    Here’s the full announcement:

    Vai https://mashable.com/article/otter-zoom-transcription/

    The folks at the popular audio transcription service announced Thursday that its “Live Video Meeting Notes” feature is available for those who subscribe to Otter for Teams and Zoom Pro. According to Otter’s press release, paying users can open the LIVE menu at the top of the Zoom call to see Otter’s real-time transcription and add comments or photos.Otter will also supposedly take care of downloading recorded Zoom calls for transcription after the fact, too. It can also hear both sides of a conversation when a speaker is wearing headphones.

    Otter for Teams the most expensive service tier for Otter, coming in at $30 per month. That means this feature is more of a business-first inclusion, as useful as it may be for the site’s free users or those who pay for the individual product. You can get two months of free Otter for Teams service with the offer code “OTTER_RELIEF,” but the feature could very well be useful beyond two months from now.

    Teams users are having a good week, but things aren’t quite as peachy for free users. As Mashable’s resident Otter expert Matt Binder found out, free users are now limited to just three file uploads before they have to upgrade their plan. They can still do up to 600 minutes of live transcription per month, but transcription after the fact is now almost impossible without coughing up at least $10 per month.

    Still, businesses that rely on Zoom and can afford Otter for Teams might want to give this new transcription tool a shot. We also recommend the live transcription feature on the Google Pixel 4 if you’ve got one of those lying around.

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    40624
    Now Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent https://www.paulhelmick.com/now-is-an-unprecedented-opportunity-to-hire-great-talent/ Sat, 02 May 2020 15:34:17 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40654 Now Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent

    While the Covid-19 pandemic hits and reshapes companies, industries, national economies, and our society in previously unthinkable ways, business leaders need to think beyond survival to the opportunities this crisis might create, not only for their own organizations but the greater good. Chief among these is a chance to hire talented people at a time when they might have trouble finding or keeping jobs elsewhere.

    • According to The Economist, four-fifths of CEOs worry about skill shortages, while outside hiring at the top reached record highs, causing business for large global search firms to increase by 9% to 15% last year.

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    While the Covid-19 pandemic hits and reshapes companies, industries, national economies, and our society in previously unthinkable ways, business leaders need to think beyond survival to the opportunities this crisis might create, not only for their own organizations but the greater good. Chief among these is a chance to hire talented people at a time when they might have trouble finding or keeping jobs elsewhere.
    • According to The Economist, four-fifths of CEOs worry about skill shortages, while outside hiring at the top reached record highs, causing business for large global search firms to increase by 9% to 15% last year.
    • Now, many companies are laying off workers and downsizing. Some sectors are collapsing. It seems an unprecedented number of people, around the world, from new graduates to seasoned veterans, will be looking for employment.
    • Throughout history, economic hardships have created windows in which exceptional employees and leaders are widely available for a limited time.
    • Explore the thinking and questions below about how to attract world-class talent to your organization.

     

    Via https://hbr.org/2020/05/now-is-an-unprecedented-opportunity-to-hire-great-talent

    We’ve made our coronavirus coverage free for all readers. To get all of HBR’s content delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Daily Alert newsletter.

    Further Reading

    Now, many companies are laying off workers and downsizing. Some sectors are collapsing. It seems an unprecedented number of people, around the world, from new graduates to seasoned veterans, will be looking for employment. At the same time, a major force that had been fueling the intensity of the war for talent — globalization — might recede. As companies revisit their international expansion strategies and cross-border business practices, workers are recalculating their personal purpose and individual and family priorities, with serious implications for their geographic and work preferences and travel habits.

    The pool of available talent is suddenly both changing and expanding, and visionary leaders can make the most of it, preparing the ground for post-crisis recovery and growth. As management guru Jim Collins has shown us, making the leap from good to great starts with getting the right people on the bus.

    History Lessons

    Throughout history, economic hardships have created windows in which exceptional employees and leaders are widely available for a limited time. In the late 1940s, for example, many organizations were struggling. At Hewlett-Packard, the fledgling electronic equipment maker that would eventually become one of America’s best-known technology companies, business was slow and finances strained. But as legions of great engineers streamed out of closing or soon-to-close U.S. military labs, HP’s legendary founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard realized they couldn’t let such an amazing hiring opportunity pass them by. When asked how they could afford to keep taking on new people in those difficult years, their answer was simple: “How could we afford not to!”  Years later, when asked about the biggest contributor to HP’s success over the years, they routinely cited their willingness to invest in talent no matter the external economic climate.

    While most of us become short-sighted and irrational during crises, the best leaders and organizations stay calm and use them to their advantage, sprinting away from their competitors and never looking back. To use another analogy, they bring in architects to plan the new building even as the firefighters work to save the old one.

    Harvard Business School’s Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen considered the benefits of this kind of long-term thinking in an analysis of 4,700 companies across the last three recessions. They discovered that 9% were able to come out in much better positions than they entered because of their “progressive” focus. They did cut back, but were extremely selective about when and where they did so and, more importantly, they continued to make strategic investments. Rather than thinking in “either/or” terms — you’re either hiring or you’re downsizing — they, like HP following the war, embraced the “and,” understanding they could do both things if they were smart about it.

    Unfortunately, most companies make the mistake of uniformly freezing hiring in downturns. During the 2008 global financial crisis, BCG and the European Association for People Management surveyed 3,400 executives, including 90 senior human resources leaders in more than 30 countries, to see how they were responding. The most frequent action (or reaction) was to scale back recruiting. At the same time, survey participants rated the selective hiring of high-performing employees from competitors as one of the three most effective responses to the previous crisis (from a list of 22) and the one with the best impact on employee commitment. This irrationality is widespread. Those who stay rational can capitalize on it.

    Seizing the Opportunity

    So, how should visionary leaders go about capturing this once-in-a-century hiring opportunity? Through urgent and disciplined engagement in several initiatives:

    Ask your top leaders to list three to five great players they would have liked to have hired over the past five years and then check in with those people.

    These will probably be individuals they frequently deal with (as suppliers, advisors, clients), or even assessed as past potential candidates. In your next executive team meeting, discuss everyone’s selections, rank them in terms of attractiveness for and to your company, and agree on who to contact. It’s possible that many will now be open to considering an offer because their circumstances have changed. One of the best staff hires I ever made for Egon Zehnder was a brilliant young executive I’d previously met in Latin America whose career I had tracked closely for more than 10 years. He’d told me he would never consider joining the executive search profession. Yet, two decades ago, at a crucial time in his career as a CEO of a sizable company, the time was right. I asked, and he came on board. He has since become a global partner and office leader in his home country, as well as playing all sorts of key global roles.

    Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.

    Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, has repeatedly stated that the company’s high hiring bar is a critical factor in its success. When many years ago I spoke at one of its global recruiting summits, I met an army of hundreds of Amazonians dedicated to exactly that: bringing in the most promising new hires from target sectors and companies. One of them specialized full time in the military sector, in his view one of the best sources of talent in the United States. All companies should bring this level of focus and discipline to sourcing potential candidates, especially during this period. Insist that your senior HR leaders step up their efforts and purposefully assign some of your top-line managers to scout for outstanding people in key functions, particularly ones coming from hard-hit sectors such as airlines, hotels, and recreation, or start-ups that might already be faltering in the face of recession.

    Interview and check references remotely with the same rigor you would in person.

    Thanks to modern technology, we have the ability to replicate all of our traditional hiring processes and procedures in remote, physically distanced settings. Telephone calls and video conferences are a must. And then follow the same guidelines for great recruitment experts have described for years. Outline the qualities and competencies you’re looking for in a new hire before you start; at this time of flux, I would give heavy weight to soft skills, including inspirational leadership, change management, collaboration, and influencing, as well as the potential to keep growing, learning, and adapting to new circumstances. Such potential will stem from their curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination, on top of the right motivation. Ask behavior-based questions, such as “Could you tell me about a time you led your team through a big transition?” Record your thoughts and observations about how the person measures up to your initial metrics as soon as you’re done. Bring in more than one but not too many interviewers and compare notes with them. And carefully check references. Decades of social research have concluded that third-party opinions are much more accurate than individuals’ own views of themselves, particularly for soft skills.

    Go out of your way to motivate the best candidates. 

    Once you are convinced that you have the opportunity to bring in someone you really want, arrange to have the person speak to senior leaders who can share their love and passion for your company and describe the value they hope to build with the new colleague. Pay can be important but research shows that what truly motivates knowledge workers is a high level of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. In these trying times, flexible work arrangements will no doubt continue to be key, as will the chance to keep on learning and growing while working to build something larger than ourselves.

    Don’t ignore the sourcing, retaining, and development of in-house talent.

    This is also the time to carefully review your existing key players, stay closer to them than ever, assess their skills and knowledge in light of the revised outlook for you sector and company, and help them move from potential to success with targeted development plans including the right type of stretch assignments, which often arise from crises. During the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina, in which annualized GDP fell by 30% coupled with a 300% currency devaluation, I was contacted by an American bank operating in the country. It had lost more money there in a few weeks than it had made in cumulative profits over the previous century. And yet, at that point its leaders asked me to set up a retention plan for its top executives in Argentina. Their reasoning? Because of the bank’s situation, competitors would be targeting their talent; however, those were the very people they still needed to recover some those monumental losses.

    This pandemic has created unprecedented trauma around the world. The economic fallout will be equally painful for many. It can be tempting to focus on the short term of crisis management. But when we emerge from this unfolding tragedy, it will be the long-term thinkers who not only survive but thrive. If your organization is well-capitalized and visionary enough to hire for lasting greatness, now is the time.

    If our free content helps you to contend with these challenges, please consider subscribing to HBR. A subscription purchase is the best way to support the creation of these resources.

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    40654
    The U.S. Is Not Headed Toward a New Great Depression https://www.paulhelmick.com/the-u-s-is-not-headed-toward-a-new-great-depression/ Sat, 02 May 2020 15:19:54 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40648 The U.S. Is Not Headed Toward a New Great Depression

    There is no doubt that the coronavirus is driving a macroeconomic meltdown around the world. In the U.S. and elsewhere, heavy job losses will likely drive unemployment figures to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

    • Fiscal efforts to contain the crisis are pushing deficits to levels last seen during World War II.
    • Both developments have spurred fears and commentary that the crisis is spiraling into either a depression or a debt crisis.

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    There is no doubt that the coronavirus is driving a macroeconomic meltdown around the world. In the U.S. and elsewhere, heavy job losses will likely drive unemployment figures to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
    • Fiscal efforts to contain the crisis are pushing deficits to levels last seen during World War II.
    • Both developments have spurred fears and commentary that the crisis is spiraling into either a depression or a debt crisis.
    • This HBR article shares 4 very supported reasons why it will not be as bad as everyone thinks.

     

    Via https://hbr.org/2020/05/the-u-s-is-not-headed-toward-a-new-great-depression

    But is it too soon for such pessimism? The intensity of this shock isn’t in question — the depth and speed of the fall in output is unparalleled and frightening. And coronavirus will also leave a structural macroeconomic legacy if economies don’t return fully to their old growth trajectory or rates. But it’s a long way from a macroeconomic shock — even a severe one — to a structural regime break, such as a depression or a debt crisis.

    Price stability is the parameter to watch — it’s the key to a favorable macroeconomic regime. A break such as a depression or a debt crisis is marked by a shift to extreme deflation or inflation, respectively, and thus a breakdown of the normal functioning of the economy. Over the last 30 years, the U.S. economy has enjoyed falling, low, and stable inflation, which in turn, has driven low interest rates, longer business cycles, and high asset valuations. But if price stability falters, there would be massive consequences for the real and financial economies.

    So, knowing that, how worried should we be?

    The Four Paths to a Structural Regime Break

    Policy and politics are what stand between a severe crisis and a structural regime break. Persistently inadequate policy responses — rooted either in an inability or a political unwillingness — are what fail to stop the negative trajectory of a crisis-ridden economy. We’ve mapped four paths that lead to a structural regime break, using historical examples to illustrate each.

    1. Policy Error

    The first path to a depression occurs when politicians and policymakers conceptually struggle to diagnose and remedy the problem. The Great Depression is a classic example — it was an epic policy failure, which facilitated not only the depth of the crisis but also its length and legacy. Two conceptual misunderstandings were involved:

    • Monetary policy error and banking crisis: Limited oversight of the banking system, tight monetary policy, and bank runs resulted in thousands of bank failures and enormous losses to depositors between 1929 and 1933. The collapsing banking system crippled the flow of credit to firms and households. Even though the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, ostensibly to fight such crises, it stood by as the banking system collapsed, believing that monetary policy was on easy footing. In reality, it was stuck in a conceptual error.
    • Fiscal policy error and austerity: Politicians also stood by and watched the economy bleed out for much too long. The New Deal came too late to prevent the depression, and it was too little to reverse its impact. And when fiscal policy tightened again in 1937-38, the economy collapsed again. Eventually, World War II decisively ended the Great Depression by massively boosting aggregate demand, and even returning economic output to its pre-depression trend.

    The result of these policy mistakes was severe deflation (collapse in the price level) by well over 20%. This meant that while unemployment was at very high levels, the nominal value of many assets fell sharply, while the real burden of most debts rose sharply — leaving household and firms struggling to regain their footing.

    2. Political Willingness

    The second path from a deep crisis to a depression happens when the economic diagnosis is clear, and the remedies are known, but politicians stand in the path of solution. It’s a problem of willingness, more than understanding and mindsets.

    To illustrate this risk, we don’t have to look far: A lack of political will drove the U.S. economy dangerously close to a deflationary depression in 2008, when the U.S. Congress could not agree on a path forward in the global financial crisis.

    By late 2008, bank capital losses were piling up, leading to a credit crunch that was crippling the economy. With a rickety banking system, the risk of a path to a deflationary depression was real — as underlined by collapsing inflation expectations in the depth of the crisis.

    The most dangerous moment came on Sept. 29, 2008, when the House of Representatives voted down TARP, the $700 billion rescue package to recapitalize (or bail out) banks. The ensuing market collapse helped change the political price of standing in TARP’s way, and a few days later, on Oct. 3, the bill was passed.

    Effectively, political willingness came together in the last minute to prevent a structural regime break and contained the structural legacy to a U-shaped shock. While the U.S. economy regained its growth rate after a few years, it never found its way back to pre-crisis growth path, which is the definition of a U-shaped shock.

    3. Policy Dependence

    A third potential path from severe crisis to a depression is when policy makers do not have the operational autonomy, authority, or fiscal resources to act. This happens in countries or territories that lack monetary sovereignty, or central bank autonomy — in other words, in times of crisis they can’t use the central bank to ensure a healthy flow of credit even if their currency is stable. Internal depression — price and wage deflation — is the only way for such economies to rebalance and satisfy the constraints of monetary dependence.

    Perhaps the best example of such dependence is Greece’s relationship with the European Central Bank in the context of the global financial crisis. Unable to use the ECB for access to financing, Greece had to enter a depression that came with severe deflationary pressures.

    4. Policy Rejection

    The fourth path differs from the previous three in that it leads to a debt crisis, rather than a depression. In this case, policy makers know what to do, have the political will, yet they can’t raise the real resources to do anything, as the markets reject their actions. This is distinct from the other three paths in that instead of deflation, it leads to high inflation.

    Further Reading

    Think Argentina at various points in time, the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s, and, further back, Weimar Germany: In all of these instances, policy makers were unable to raise the real resources to finance their spending because debt and currency markets reject it.

    When looking at debt crisis risks, commentators too often are preoccupied with debt levels, but this is a misunderstanding of debt crises. They happen — and do not happen — at all levels of debt-to-GDP. Other factors, including anchored inflation expectations, negative risk-rate correlations (when risk goes up, rates go down), global demand for the currency in question, as well as the difference between nominal interest and growth rates all influence an economy’s ability to finance itself more than the debt-to-GDP ratio.

    Why the U.S. Is Unlikely to be Headed Towards a Structural Regime Break

    Though the path from the crisis we’re in now to either depression or debt crisis is not impossible, it’s not easy or natural, if we examine each of the four paths in regards to the current situation:

    • Policy Error — The policy challenge of coronavirus is enormous, but what is on display is the opposite of the inaction of the Great Depression. On the monetary side, the first signs of stress in the banking system — in the repo and commercial paper markets — were met with timely and sizable monetary policy action. On the fiscal side, it didn’t take long — certainly by Washington standards — to pass the $2 trillion CARES Act to provide funds to counteract the wave of liquidity and capital problems for the real economy (households and firms). Beyond any specific policy action, we are seeing a mindset in which policy makers will keep throwing policy innovations at the problem until something sticks — quite the opposite of the 1930s.
    • Political Willingness — It certainly is possible that political calculus gets in the way of averting a structural breakdown, but not very plausible because the political costs are high. To be sure there are two risks involved: 1) The unwillingness to craft a piece of legislation, perhaps because of differences in analysis, beliefs, or dogma; and 2) the failure to pass legislation because one side sees greater political gain in obstruction. While the TARP fiasco reminds us that both risks are real and shouldn’t be dismissed, crises tend to lubricate deal making, and the costs of political obstruction are particularly high, even in a hyper-partisan election year.
    • Policy Dependence — This path is not applicable in the U.S. because of monetary sovereignty. The Federal Reserve will always facilitate fiscal policy in a time of low and stable inflation and a healthy currency.
    • Policy Rejection — A debt crisis seems improbable for the U.S.: Inflation expectations are very well anchored (and, if anything, too low). The rate-risk correlation is very solid, where in risk-off periods (moment when investors are less tolerant of risk and prices of risk assets like stocks fall) bond prices rally (yields fall). The USD reserve currency status is deeply entrenched as the rest of the world needs to hold U.S. safe assets (and don’t wish to see their currencies appreciate). And nominal interest rates are generally lower than nominal growth (r – g < 0). All of these factors make for favorable financing conditions. Can coronavirus damage all that and deliver a crisis where markets refuse to purchase U.S. debt? It’s possible, but very implausible, and it would be a long and painful process. A break in the inflation regime plays out over several years.

    Why, then, are we seeing fears of a break take hold?

    We think at least part of the answer is the extreme intensity of the coronavirus shock. The depth and speed of output contraction threatens to influence perceptions and risk assessment in other dimensions of this shock, such as the structural legacy (the shape of the recovery) and the risks of structural regime break.

    While these fears are understandable, the analytical errors resulting from them could have significant consequences in terms of setting false expectations and encouraging inappropriate plans. A few principles of intellectual discipline may help leaders avoid these analytical traps:

    • Beware implicit and explicit equivalences to historical events. If describing the future, be aware of historical benchmarks. Meanwhile, if using historical benchmarks, be aware of their drivers and relevance to the present day.
    • Be wary of single data points and the inferences that can be drawn from them. Is there a passing resemblance or causal equivalence? Record outcomes in any data set always make great headlines, particularly in financial and economic reports, but the overall context determines their true significance.
    • Step back when fear is dominating the thought process and when extrapolating from high-intensity events. Even the worst ever in one dimension doesn’t mean the worst along all dimensions.
    • Be cognizant of what your scenarios imply: A depression-driven regime break also means large-scale deflation. A debt crisis regime break also means a weak currency and high inflation. Are these corollary conditions consistent and do they fit the facts?

    If our free content helps you to contend with these challenges, please consider subscribing to HBR. A subscription purchase is the best way to support the creation of these resources.

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    40648
    Coursera to give unemployed workers free access to 3,800 online courses https://www.paulhelmick.com/coursera-to-give-unemployed-workers-free-access-to-3800-online-courses/ Sat, 02 May 2020 15:13:42 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40634 Coursera to give unemployed workers free access to 3,800 online courses

    Online learning platform Coursera will make 3,800 of its courses available for free to people unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    • The goal of the initiative is to help workers develop skills to become re-employed, according to a Coursera blog post.
    • You can’t apply as an individual for the free courses; government agencies that serve unemployed workers have to apply for access.  This should be helpful in allowing workers to upskill or reskill w/minimal cost other than their time to learn.

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    Online learning platform Coursera will make 3,800 of its courses available for free to people unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    • The goal of the initiative is to help workers develop skills to become re-employed, according to a Coursera blog post.
    • You can’t apply as an individual for the free courses; government agencies that serve unemployed workers have to apply for access.  This should be helpful in allowing workers to upskill or reskill w/minimal cost other than their time to learn.
    • About 30 million people in the US have filed for unemployment in the past five weeks amid stay-at-home orders.
    • We’ve used Coursera training for several years for our teams to stay sharp with technical coding, business and marketing automation skills – it’s an amazing resource.
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    40634
    It’s Time to Rethink the Way You Attract Customers. Here’s How https://www.paulhelmick.com/its-time-to-rethink-the-way-you-attract-customers-heres-how/ Sat, 02 May 2020 15:00:20 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/?p=40657 It’s Time to Rethink the Way You Attract Customers. Here’s How

    It’s essential to have something of value, whether you call it a lead magnet, opt in, freebie, just some form of giveaway that lets potential customers get a little something of value free from their company in exchange for an email address.

    • Being generous in business can lead to greater loyalty and profits. These days, companies are doing this in the form of donations to the front lines, or shifting product lines to manufacture medical gowns instead of formal ones, for example.

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    It’s essential to have something of value, whether you call it a lead magnet, opt in, freebie, just some form of giveaway that lets potential customers get a little something of value free from their company in exchange for an email address.
    • Being generous in business can lead to greater loyalty and profits. These days, companies are doing this in the form of donations to the front lines, or shifting product lines to manufacture medical gowns instead of formal ones, for example. To be sure, these are big business changes — but here’s the connection to lead magnets.
    • When we see a lot of something, our brains judge it to be more important — in behavioral economics this is known as availability bias. When customers see sweeping generosity from many companies who may not have had that philosophy in the past, they raise their expectations for all businesses’ offerings.
    • To put it bluntly, even if they don’t realize it, people are expecting you and your business to give more than you ever have before. This higher expectation means your lead magnet needs to be generous and targeted to the current situation.
    • Here’s how to evaluate your current offer to ensure it’s still relevant and attractive.

    Via: https://www.inc.com/melina-palmer/its-time-to-rethink-way-you-attract-customers-heres-how.html

    Lead magnets are a great tool because it triggers reciprocity — a human’s natural desire to want to reciprocate whenever something is given to them.

    The good news is you potentially have some staff who can work on revitalizing your old opt in to one that meets the times. Here are some things to consider when reviewing your lead magnet:

    Does it still make sense?

    If your lead magnet was a tip sheet for putting on in-person events, or a checklist to make sure you packed everything before your business trip, it is not going to be useful to anyone right now. Consider your expertise and how it can shift to fit today’s needs (just like clothing brands that are making PPE).

    What keeps people up at night?

    When deciding on a direction for your new lead magnet, it is important to get into the mindset of your target market — what are they worried about and how can you fill that gap? Perhaps a tip sheet about putting on a virtual summit or how event planners can make up lost revenues. If your opt in isn’t solving a current problem, it is creating unnecessary noise that can reflect badly on your company. At best you could look oblivious and at worst you may look cold and uncaring.

    Where is the quick win?

    Customers’ brains are overloaded with lots of extra stuff right now. That means they likely don’t have the capacity for a big, cumbersome lead magnet. This is great news for you! It may feel like you need to go bigger to give more value, but that isn’t necessarily true. Putting in the extra time and effort to create a clear, simple, easily implemented freebie that helps people gain some confidence or get a quick win will be more impactful.

    Does it still fit your overall brand?

    Sure, you could make a lead magnet that a million people would enjoy, but if they aren’t also potential customers down the road it will not have the overall value for your business. Take some time to think about how this updated lead magnet ties into your company overall. Who is it for and if they wanted to buy something from you (that turns the quick win into a bigger success) how does one lead to the other? And, when we eventually emerge on the other side of this pandemic, are all these new leads you have connected to your business going to stick around? If not, reconsider the strategy.

    Most importantly…

    There are more people online than ever before, and they are shaking up their routines looking for solutions to problems they had never even considered. That means there are opportunities for all sorts of companies to be helpful and become relevant to a whole new set of customers.

    Though it is important to remember that the new lead magnet needs to be more about them than it is about you. Give generously and knowing that many of those people may never buy from you, and that is ok. Those who do buy may be further down the line than your regular lead cycle, and that is ok too.

    Today’s generosity in the form of a well crafted lead magnet will help your business to be on people’s minds now and into the future.

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    How to use iPad app multitasking to get more done https://www.paulhelmick.com/ipad-multitasking/ Sat, 25 Apr 2020 16:19:52 +0000 https://www.paulhelmick.com/ipad-multitasking/ How to use iPad app multitasking to get more done

    These new gestures make using the iPad even more convenient and useful than ever.

    • This is a short 5 minute video – and if you have an iPad – it’s worth watching twice!
    • Many of these tricks were new to me – and a couple of them are super useful
    • Having your text/messages float over any app you are using – very nice
    • Being able to split the screen with two apps – like a browser and email at the same time – quite helpful
    • Just keeps you from having to flip back and forth all of the time – hope you enjoy the ‘productivity boost’!

    -> Read More at PaulHelmick.com

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    These new gestures make using the iPad even more convenient and useful than ever.
    • This is a short 5 minute video – and if you have an iPad – it’s worth watching twice!
    • Many of these tricks were new to me – and a couple of them are super useful
    • Having your text/messages float over any app you are using – very nice
    • Being able to split the screen with two apps – like a browser and email at the same time – quite helpful
    • Just keeps you from having to flip back and forth all of the time – hope you enjoy the ‘productivity boost’!

     

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