Reactive or Responsive – Embracing change

Here @VoIPSupply we have long talked about the fact that nothing can improve without change and that without improvement, technology and competition will render you obsolete. In line with this topic are two of our Core Values, No Donkeys! and Be a Very Hungry Caterpillar. In short, these two core values speak to one’s attitude as well as one’s passion and ability to both learn new things and adapt to changes around them.

Anytime a change is introduced into the business (or life in general) there are two ways that people tend to handle it; they either react to the change or they respond to the change, two very different things.

An analogy would be a nasty case of pneumonia and a visit to the doctor. Once diagnosed, the doctor is likely to prescribe some antibiotics to fight off the illness. What happens when you take the antibiotics? Let’s say you return to the doctor the next day and he says that you are reacting to the antibiotics. Generally speaking, that’s bad news and means your body is rejecting or is allergic to the antibiotics. You need to stop taking them promptly. On the other hand, the doctor could say that you are responding well to the antibiotics. From experience, that is the good answer, meaning the medicine is working and you are on the mend.

When change is introduced into your workplace or personal life, you have the same two options and the choice all yours. You can react to it or you can respond to it.

Some typical reactions tend to be rejection, avoidance, dismissal, belittlement, objecting or flat out refusal to accept the change despite knowing that improvements cannot happen without change.

More favorable are the responses to change. One can ask questions and learn more about how this change is going to help them, they can adopt the change and begin integrating it into their role and they can come together as a team and help each other accept the change with the understanding that without change there is no opportunity for improvement.

If you slap a donkey on the ass, it will likely react with a kick to your face. If you feed a hungry caterpillar, it will respond and turn into a beautiful butterfly.

Jumping a ten foot hurdle?


Completing small tasks is usually easy enough, but what about those huge ones, the monstrous changes and improvements?

Is it time to get into shape with both diet and exercise daily, time to earn that promotion you want, to buy your dream home, quite smoking or cross off your greatest bucket list item?

Here is a list that may help, courtesy of one of my Entrepreneurs’ Organization friends.

  • Set one goal, one. Make it bold while keeping it simple.
  • Find inspiration. Seek out the benefits, others that have been successful, visualize the end result (with a picture)
  • Get excited. Change is a good thing, nothing can improve without it. Pump yourself up for success.
  • Build anticipation. Don’t start right away. Set your start date weeks or a month into the future and give yourself time to become mentally and emotionally invested.
  • Post it, print it, BIG. Force yourself to think about your hurdle, see it, read it, picture it everywhere. Post-its on your mirror, poster on your wall, write it on your forehead if you must.
  • Commit to it publicly. Accountability is the key to success and often easier to have others hold you accountable than to do it yourself. Make your goal known so people can help you when you’re weak.
  • Think about it daily. Habits are hard to break and easy to fall back into. Whatever has held you back til now will still be there, think about your goal and resist.
  • Get support. You can’t and don’t need to do everything yourself. It’s in people’s nature to be helpful, it makes others feel good and important. Whether a support group or your friends and family, others want to see you succeed.
  • Stick with it. Everything takes time. Be patient and persist. If you fall down, get back up and keep trying. Quitters never win and winners never quit (unless you are trying to quit something:)
  • Build on small successes. Have you ever seen an infant learn to walk? They don’t just stand up one day and start walking. One step at a time is still closer than not stepping at all.
  • Read about it regularly. Chances are probably 100% that you are not the first to be taking on this quest. Read about what others have done, what professionals recommend and successful feedback. Just don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
  • Call for help when motivation ebbs. It’s probably going to happen at some point. Lean on your supporters. Reach out and ask for words of encouragement when you just want to give in.
  • Talk about the benefits, not the difficulties. If it was easy it wouldn’t take much effort, so we know there are difficulties. Talk about the benefits, remind yourself and others why you are putting in this much effort.
  • Squash negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. With a positive attitude you can overcome just about anything. When those negative thoughts creep in, have your list of benefits present to review and remind you of your goal and small successes.
  • Don’t look back, other than to celebrate your success. You cannot change your past, don’t waste your time. You can affect today and tomorrow. When you reach your goal, then, take time to look back at all you have accomplished.

All the best!

To focus or not to focus, kind of a silly question

With dozens of simultaneous and constant distractions, how is one to focus and be effective?

You can write down your task lists, highlight your top 5 activities, schedule your day, use a day planner and any number of other forms of organization and planning. I still don’t believe you will be working (or playing) at anywhere near your full potential.

To skip to the point of this collection of words, you control most of your distractions or they control you.

Turn off your non-organic tools, toys and necessary technical devices – At lease for a few hours a day, completely off! This is primarily for the working folk, plan for it and then execute.

What do I mean?

Check your email one last time and quit the program, put your phone on do not disturb, turn off your cell phone, log out of instant messenger and turn off any other app that notifies you of facebook updates, new tweets, cool new instagram photos, important news bulletins, weather alerts and the other million possible interruptions.

All done?

Good, now go to the bathroom, grab that last cup of coffee or water and get ready to blow your own mind. If you can, shut your door or find a quiet place to work. With no interruptions, look at your list of tasks and put your collective focus on it and nothing else. For the next 2-3 hours, do just that. Whoever is calling, emailing, IM’ing, texting or in some other way trying to reach you, can either wait or seek you out personally.

Simple right?

Think of how many of these interruptions and distractions float by your eyes, ears and within your head long after the pop-up is gone. Compound these with the other huge distraction, LIFE. Kids, money, bills, taxes, family, health, temperature, noise, hunger and whatever personal relationships you happen to have going on at the time. Fortunately you can remember to breath during all of these interruptions.

For the record, I’m being a huge hypocrite writing this, but I am thinking about it and try to execute as often as I can. Even now I am ignoring my phone, email, facebook account and weatherbug telling me it’s snowing outside.

If you happen to be one of my wonderful workmates, please understand that this behavior and these activities are welcomed and encouraged. You won’t even need that get out of jail free card.

Get with the times NY, budget help from a geek.

I can’t vote, but I can use my brain combined with technology and common sense.

Turn on the news and you can hear all about budget crisis, no money for schools, need for increased taxes, less social benefits, etc…

NY Speeding Cameras (all 12)

As you may know, one of the product categories on VoIPSupply.com is IP Cameras. If used at all, these fancy devices could add a lot of money to the coffers in NY State.

Thanks to some internet resources like the NY State Troopers annual report, I was able to do come quick math to make a suggestion. I’d love to hear why it hasn’t happened yet.

Note: The average speeding ticket in NY is $150.

In 2009, Troop T, the state troopers that patrol the I-90 wrote 85,672 tickets. I’m taking a guess here, but while they were writing those tickets, they missed 5 more speeders driving past them. I’m also guessing that they were not waiting to stop speeders 100% of the time they were on the clock. So let’s do the simple math of $85,672 times $150 and we get $12,850,800, not too shabby.

Now let’s say we put up speeding cameras to snap photos and automatically send the tickets to the speeder’s house. A novel idea, I know.

We could receive some non-cash benefits first. Less accidents or deaths related to rubberneckers and we could then deploy the police to stop more violent crimes.

Financially, big gains for the state which theoretically could be used wisely to close the budget gap, pay police more, increase educational budgets and support greater social services.

How much? For those without a calculator, let’s go very conservative and say we caught just the 5 extra speeders that were missed while our officer was manually writing a ticket.

Five speeders, times 85,672 (manual tickets), times $150 (average ticket)… wait for it… $64,254,000.

If you added in all of the rest of the state troopers in NY and their coverage areas, this number would double or triple and even that is ultra-conservative.

Go even further and add in red-light cameras, wow.

I’d venture, with some use of technology and legislative support, automating traffic tickets alone would wipe out 25%-50% of our current $2 billion deficit.

I won’t harp on any of the sensitive issues, there is no need to when simple solutions are right in front of you.

Stop arguing and do something. Make a decision, even if it means you won’t be popular enough to be re-elected – know that you did the right thing for the people.

The brain at work or home (and play)

Lists are a big part of any plan for success.

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail.

For tasks at hand, things to remember and other knowledge that you want to recall quickly, I put them to a list written out on paper.

For the skeptics of the world, those that “remember everything” and have no need for lists, try this very simple example.

Below are a list of words. Read them all once, twice, even three times. Now, close your eyes and count to 20 then speak the names of your 5 closest friends.

With your eyes still closed, read back as many of the words on the list as you can in 10 seconds.

 

  1. Two
  2. Paris
  3. Elvis
  4. Galveston
  5. Sea-hawks
  6. Seventeen
  7. 1943
  8. Alan
  9. Nebraska
  10. Disney
  11. Lincoln
  12. Washington
  13. Wilson
  14. Wildcats
  15. Filthy
  16. Fifteen
  17. New
  18. Nine
  19. Twelve
  20. Eyes

Now, open your eyes and read off the list as many words as you can in 10 seconds.

 

I won’t ask how you did because even having written the list myself, I couldn’t get them all in 10 seconds if I wanted to.

From a sales perspective, those words are your customers and actions that need to be addressed today. Outside of work, those are all of the things you need to get done before winter. At play, those are all of the fun thing you have done with friends when next you wonder what to do.

One of the first things I do when trying to remember what I had planned for the day and what I should do next is to create a list, so I don’t have to think about it anymore.