Early in my career, I worked for a small consulting firm as a software developer. I liked the company and I like the work. I had a very supportive manager. Perhaps because of those factors, and some credit to my small town, mid-western roots, I worked hard on my projects. I put in long hours and ate at a lot of food out of paper bags from carry-out restaurants.
I was there just short of four years before the company went out of business. Another consulting firm came in within days to interview anyone who was interested. I interviewed with them and was hired by them. I learned later that when they talked to my boss about me, he told them “Lew will do whatever it takes to get the project done right and on time.” Continue reading How to Create Your Personal Brand→
I worked my way through college waiting tables. At one place I worked, we had a cook who treated employee meals differently than customer meals. Customers received the standard fair. They got what they ordered. But when an employee went on break and ordered a meal, this cook had a tendency to “gold plate” it. If you ordered a cheeseburger, you were likely to get double-bacon cheeseburger. Side of fries? You would get a big honkin basket of fries.
It was a nice gesture, but we would often get much more than we could eat. Sometimes we would get something we didn’t even want. We could see that he was trying hard to get in good with his fellow staff members. But he was trying a little too hard. It was overkill. Continue reading How to Lose Business by Gold Plating→
We work in an environment of nearly constant change. Technology has not only changed the way we do virtually everything, the rate of change increases at a more rapid rate every day.
For those who work in technology, the job market is pretty good these days. Despite what are considered high unemployment numbers for the nation as a whole, if you work in technology, you’re most likely in high demand.
Imagine a scenario where you have a pipe that leaks under your kitchen sink. You may be an expert user of water and all things plumbing, but when it comes to the technical solution of fixing a leak, you know enough to turn to the experts.
So you call a plumber who comes to your house to investigate. You show him the leak and tell him, “That pipe right there needs to be replaced. How much will you charge to replace it?”
The plumber, by virtue of his title, knows a little more about plumbing than you do. He investigates the leak and determines that, in addition to the pipe you have pointed out, there is another pipe that needs replacing.
I was involved in a conversation the other day about what differentiates a consultant from a non-consultant.
If you asked a non-consultant, perhaps the first answer you’d get is that there must be a prerequisite for arrogance in order to be a consultant. I’ve met my share of consultants who are condescending to their clients and think that they know so much more than their clients. These are not what the consulting industry considers good consultants. Continue reading The Difference between Consultants and Employees→
Working from home is a growing trend in the business world. In an effort to cut back on office space and other overhead costs, many companies have set up their employees with the technology they need to do their jobs in their home offices.
The big issue that management has with WFH arrangements is trust. How do they know their employees are working if they can’t see them working? One could argue that perhaps they shouldn’t hire someone they don’t trust, but that’s a topic for another blog. Continue reading Why Do You Want to Work From Home?→
The city was experiencing a rash of fires. Arson was usually suspected but the source of the flame could never be proven.
Fortunately, the city had a crack firefighting squad. Mark was the star of the show. Every fireman on the crew admitted that they wouldn’t be as successful without Mark. It seemed that at the outbreak of every fire, Mark was the one who knew exactly what to do. Everyone turned to Mark.
Maybe you’ve experienced this scenario. You’re sitting in the client’s conference room attempting to help them solve a problem. In an effort to brainstorm, you come up with some ideas. Perhaps you saw the same ideas implemented successfully at another client.
With each suggestion that you come up with, they counter with one or more reasons that the idea “just won’t work here”. After shooting down a few ideas, they convey to you, whether in words or just with the look on their face, “let me bring you into the real world”.