Friday, April 30, 2010

How to communicate tech ideas to management

Techrepublic has some interesting things to say on this subject.

Pretend for a moment that you are an IT leader. (If you actually are an IT leader, this will be easy) You know what the company needs from a tech standpoint, but your CEO doesn’t. He/she may be technologically illiterate. How do you communicate your tech needs in a way he/she will understand?

First things first, leave your ego in your office. Don’t throw around big technical words just to sound smart or feel important. While that may make you feel better, it does nothing to help the situation.

16 Productivity-Enhancing Websites

Many companies place tight restrictions on internet usage for fear of unproductive behavior. While I believe the issue lies more with the employee than with the internet, I understand the need for restrictions.

Word of warning: Try not to go overboard…some websites can actually help productivity. For example, here’s a list of 16 productivity-enhancing websites that I found on While I don't agree that all of them are “productivity-enhancing”, there are a few nice sites there.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Come see what's new with m-Power at COMMON (hint: Pivot tables!)

Are you attending the COMMON conference next week? If so, be sure to stop by booth #413 and say hi to us. Sal and Steve will be there and they're pretty awesome. If that’s not enough incentive, come on by and take our survey to be entered into our 2010 giveaway!

I also heard a little rumor that they will be unveiling a new m-Power feature: Web-based pivot tables! I think they will have a demo at COMMON, so come on by and check it out. (That makes 3 reasons to stop by).

If you’re not attending COMMON this year, don’t worry. You’ll be hearing more about web-based pivot tables in the coming weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Work smarter, not harder

It’s a cliché phrase to be sure, often lacking in practicality. It’s been a Dilbert punchline more than once. It is widely spoken, yet seldom practiced.

Yet, if your business is to succeed, you must figure out how to work smarter on a company level. While there’s no one method that works for everyone, here are some practical examples of what “working smarter, not harder” looks like:

Friday, April 23, 2010

7 traits of a good leader in a bad economy

Nothing separates the good leaders from the bad like a troubled economy. When times are bad, a leader’s true colors are exposed. Some step up and succeed, while others crumble.

What’s the difference between a good and a bad leader? A good leader brings the best out of his/her team, while a poor leader provides no direction or motivation. A good leader will ultimately have more productive employees, while a bad leader hinders progress.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

5 problems with corporate IT

I just read a great article on entitled, "5 things I hate about corporate IT." The article comments are also an interesting read…they highlight the rift between IT and the business from the IT professional point of view. If you’re in management (non-IT) and you want to know what frustrates your IT department, read the comments.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dare to be different

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Technological advancement varies greatly from industry to industry, but very little within an industry. It seems like the companies within an industry care more about matching their competition, and less about bettering the competition.


Friday, April 16, 2010

4 tips for motivating employees

Did you know that most people in the US are unhappy with their jobs? It’s true. Despite going through one of the worst job markets in history, the majority of those still employed aren’t even satisfied with their job. In my experience, unhappy employees are unmotivated and unproductive employees.

So, how can you motivate your employees and make their work life a bit more enjoyable?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

75 popular open source desktop downloads

Think open source software isn’t for the enterprise? Think again. There is more great open source software available to businesses now than ever before. I just ran across a great list of 75 popular open source desktop downloads on Even better yet, many of them could replace expensive corporate software in your office.

However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the only benefit of open source is free software. Open source is not only a smart business move, it is something you should carefully consider when making software purchases.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to leapfrog the competition

There are very few innovators these days. A few companies lead the way while everyone else tries to catch up. Take Apple and the tablet computer for example. As soon as Apple announces a product, everyone scrambles to push out the same thing. Do you think we would be deluged with new tablet computers if not for the iPad? I doubt it.

There are two problems with “catch up” approach: First, the leaders have invested more thought and effort into their products, while the followers don’t have the luxury of time. Their products are hastily planned and assembled. Secondly, and most importantly, the “catch up” approach ensures that the followers will never get ahead.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Office tech: Productivity boost or time drain?

All that technology we’ve brought into our lives and into the workplace increases productivity, right? Yes and no. If used correctly, the answer is yes. If not, technology has the ability to actually hurt productivity.

I recently read a great article on Computerworld entitled, "Office tech: Productivity boost or time drain?" It’s an interesting read, and may make you think twice about multi-tasking.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

13 ways to simplify your workday

Do you ever come to the end of a busy workday and wonder what you did all day? You were busy, but didn’t quite accomplish anything. Be careful, don’t confuse “busy” with “productive”.

If your days are packed with busy, yet unproductive work, maybe it’s time you altered your routine. This article on has some great ideas for simplifying your work day. I especially like number 2 and 7.

One of the keys to productivity in general is automation. If your job involves repetitive tasks, such as those associated with Excel, I suggest you employ some automation tactics like this company did.

Monday, April 05, 2010

10 ways to make sure your data doesn’t walk out the door

Cyber security is hot topic right now. No one wants to make the news as the victim of a hacker attack. So, we beef up our cyber security. We buy the best security software. We lock down our systems so nothing can get out.

Unless it walks right out the front door.

Friday, April 02, 2010

How to teach yourself programming in 21 days

If I could give you two pieces of advice, they would be: First, never argue programming languages with a programmer, and second, never argue with your barber during a haircut. One is a lesson in futility and the other will make you look silly for at least a week.

While it’s impossible to get programmers with different skills to agree on which programming language is best, I believe they will all agree with one thing: Becoming a skilled programmer takes time. Even the simplest languages take time to learn and experience to use successfully.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

5 ways to get the most out of your employees

A manager can be the difference between productive and unproductive employees. A good manager will bring the best out of their employees, but poor leadership destroys morale, productivity, and can even bring down entire companies.

While not always the case, unmotivated or unhappy employees are often the signs of management problems. If you’ve noticed low morale among your employees, perhaps you should take a look at this article in entitled, "Five ways to lead your team to peak performance." It provides some great ways to motivate and bring the best out of your employees.

In my years managing, I’ve learned this: People will behave as they are treated. Treat employees like children, and they’ll behave like children. Treat them as valued and respected members of the team, and they will step up their performance.

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