Do You Create Reports No One Reads?


Do You Create Fly Reports

Many years ago I attended an IBM Conference where I learned about “Fly” reports. Read on and learn why “Fly” reports are a sad indictment of business today and see if your co-workers see your efforts as “Fly Reports”!

Dateline November, 1943 Somewhere in the South Pacific

In the movie “South Pacific” we have two adventuresome individuals providing a very boring, yet dangerous service: Coast Watchers!

Coast Watchers were responsible for reporting on Japanese supply and troop movements in the South Pacific. They would identify the types and number of ships, the direction and speed they were moving and report the information back to the US Naval Command.

Frequently Dangerous but Incredibly Boring

The movie portrays the role as exciting and always dangerous. To some extent that’s true, but for certain there were many days the Coast Watchers saw nothing and were not being chased or strafed by enemy planes. So what to do?

I’m guessing all the Coast Watchers had their own way of passing time. However, there were at least two who were a little more creative at least some of the time.

Creating Fly Reports

In an effort to reduce their boredom and see if Naval Command was paying any attention; the two industrious Coast Watchers created the first “Fly Report”. It went something like this:

The Coast Watchers waited to hear something from Naval Command but after several months with no response; they stopped producing the report. A few days after their typical time for submitting the report they finally received a message from Command, it said: “Where is your monthly Fly Report?”

Why We Create “Fly Reports”

There are many reasons we create “Fly Reports” including:

  • Management direction;
  • Because it’s always been produced;
  • Maybe you thought it would be helpful;
  • It’s system generated;
  • Someone requested the information; or
  • It’s something to do.

A Real Life Example of “Fly Reports”

Early in my career I worked for IBM and one of my customers was a Federal Jobs Agency. The agency had a couple of pretty sharp programmers with a commanding knowledge of the data they wanted to collect. The account didn’t require a lot of technical support; however I stopped in periodically just to see how they were doing. A couple years after turning the account over I ran into one of the non-programmer employees and asked how things were going.

His Response Caught Me Off Guard.

He said he was no longer with the agency. He went on to say he had to leave because he no longer had an office; it started with reports being stacked in the corner and had evolve to his office being taken over by the mountains of reports which no one had time to read. The ultimate example of “Fly Reports”?

Do You Have “Fly Reports”?

It is highly likely your organization has “Fly Reports”. If you are not getting feedback on your reports or the expected results aren’t happening; you have probably identified a “Fly Report”. For the next three report cycles continue to produce the report but don’t distribute it to anyone. See if they come to you asking for the information; if they don’t it’s time to inform the distribution list you will no longer be distributing the information and, unless someone complains and can justify the effort, stop wasting your time and resources. You have better things to do!

Eliminating “Fly Reports”

There are two methods for eliminating “Fly Reports; either make them useful or get rid of them. If the information presented in the reports is useful; then you must question why it isn’t being used. Is it a matter of understanding how to use the report or what the information is telling the reader? If so, train the users on how to use the information. If the value of the information appears to be minimal or non-existent; then follow the Coast Watchers’ solution and stop providing the report.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I think it’s safe to say; some information is useful and valuable and some is not; the question is whether the reader can tell the difference. The reader must be able to discern value and when there is value be able to interpret and apply the data. If they can’t do this and training doesn’t help; then it’s time to replace the person.

To reiterate: if there is no value stop sending the information; again I didn’t say stop producing the information because there is a difference. To stop sending now doesn’t preclude sending the information later; it simply means it could be sent later, if requested. To stop producing means the relevant information at the appropriate point in time may no longer exist and therefore you could be in trouble!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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Social Media Does Not Provide Instantaneous Results


Going Viral Takes Time

I was talking with one of my clients recently about their Social Media efforts. The owners had been questioning whether the Social Media effort, which they had started about 5 months ago, was producing anything tangible. She told them that it was and was able to give one or two examples. That provided a little bit of satisfaction, but not too much.

Ironically I had been thinking about that same thing with this client and had done a couple of Google searches to see how we were doing. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. This client had two pages of Google results and upon review I saw that some of the results were from reposts of our Blog articles.

I forwarded the search criteria so they could perform the same search and see for themselves what was happening. No, it is not bringing droves of people into their office thus far, but it is starting to take effect.

You Must Have Patience

The reality is that there are billions of businesses, articles, blogs, and everything else on the Internet and taking or making your place in that thriving world takes time and patience. Even when you are attempting to make a dent in a small segment of the Internet it still does not happen overnight.

You Must Create Your Own Following

To be successful you must be able to create a following and you do that by having interesting and informational posts. The fact that you post something is of little consequence; the fact that you post something that interests and attracts an audience makes all the difference.

Identify Your Target and Then Focus Your Efforts

Creating a following takes time and effort. Here are some key questions that you need to answer before you proceed:

  1. What is your target market?
  2. Is your target market…
    1. Local?
    2. Regional?
    3. National?
    4. Worldwide?
  3. Who is in your target market?
    1. Male?
    2. Female?
    3. Young?
    4. Old?
    5. Metropolitan?
    6. Suburban?
    7. Rural?

Obviously there is much more to the process than these few questions, but the ability to answer these questions will make your process much more successful and targeted. There are many people pushing the idea of building your list by the thousands every day, the question is whether you are adding valuable names or simply adding names. Be focused in your efforts so you create an audience that is interested in your message.

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Tom Staskiewicz consults with individuals and businesses on the use of Social Media to help you build your brand and your business. Don’t waste time where there is no value. You must have a strategy so you don’t throw your money away on wasted efforts.

Networking May Be Right Up There With The Fear Of Speaking


My LinkedIn Poll

I have an unscientific LinkedIn poll with a few results, but I am going out on a limb to draw some conclusions because I find it interesting.

The question I asked and the possible responses:

What is your greatest networking challenge?

  • Identifying possible connections?
  • Lack of comfort when inviting?
  • Available time?
  • Understanding networking value?
  • Believe it to be bothersome?

I was and still am asking about your biggest challenge to networking (go to my poll to participate). I am suprised by the responses I have received. The results are split 50/50 between small and large organizations, 33% women and 67% male, 33% C and VP-level, and all respondents were between 35 and 54.

As to response all but one indicates a lack of comfort when inviting people to connect and one of the non-C and VP level individuals indicated time constraints.

As I said above 50% of the current responses are from C and VP-level respondents and these individuals all identified the lack of comfort inviting as their biggest challenge as well. This really surprised me. I expected time challenges to be their reason.

What Do the Responses Mean

Although I received just a couple of comments; those comments and my experience lead me to the conclusion that the problem is a fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is powerful and it stands in the way of many successes. Successful people, however, do not let this fear stop them. They continually move forward.

When you invite people you do put yourself out there and invite a potential negative response, but that is a risk you must take; if you are going to be successful. If you are still laboring over a no response; you must really question your commitment.

The reality is that the worse that can happen is someone says: no. At that point you just need to dust yourself off and move on. Don’t dwell on it when someone says no; keep moving forward to your next invitation.

Your level of success can be measured by the size of your rolodex. The truly successful realize that they cannot do it on their own, it is with the help of others that they will continue to move forward.

I would appreciate it if you would take a minute to respond to my poll, so we can build better results.

STOP! Before You Take a Step Forward on Your Social Marketing – Read This!


Social Media Marketing Reality

First, do not get me wrong; I am a proponent of Social Media Marketing and I encourage the behavior. The problem is that it is being sold to you incorrectly. Social Networking Consultants, Specialists, Experts, or whatever you want to call them are not telling you the truth!

Social Media Marketing Is Not a Rainmaker Proposition

Social Media Marketing has the potential to drive business, and, yes, even massive business through your doors. The caveat is that it takes work; lots of work. It takes commitment; lots of commitment. It takes time; lots of time.

There is no getting around it; Social Media Marketing is not for the faint of heart.

Case in Point

Earlier this year I was talking to a friend about Social Media Marketing and the opportunities that it offers a business. While I am firmly committed to that statement; I have since come to realize that most business owners do not have the level of commitment necessary to make it successful.

This friend changed the website; it was not necessarily for the better. In fact, the old site, to me, was far more aesthetically pleasing. The content from the old page to the new page is not significantly different, but they can say things have changed.

As part of the new look they created a blog. Blogs are great but again they require commitment and dedication. This is not a stop-start proposition; this is a commitment and your audience is expecting regular postings. This friend created three or four articles over the span of four or five days in February and has done nothing since.

The truth is they should pull down the blog. This minimal effort gives the impression that there is no follow through within the organization and does not help them and, in fact, does more damage. It is like jumping into the deep part of the lake and making a big splash and then not coming back to the surface because you were not prepared and had not made the prior commitment to learn how to swim.

Social Media Marketing Requires Commitment

It is not that these owners are not committed to their business; it is the commitment to Social Media Marketing that is lacking. Not surprisingly business owners have many other day-to-day tasks that occupy their time and it is hard to think about Social Media Marketing when your biggest customer is getting ready to bail on you or your top salesperson is considering a new opportunity.

Obviously those situations loom larger and their immediate impact on the business is far more important and the effect is far more quickly realized and felt. The truth is that most business owners and managers do not have the time available to put into Social Media Marketing.

Before You Jump In; Ask Yourself If You Are Ready to Follow Through

Do not just stick your toe into the water to determine the temperature. This is a situation where you make the commitment, jump in, and stay there for the long-haul.

Next Time I Will Talk About Trying To Do Too Much

Social Media Consultants talk about using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mashable, Websites, Blogs, Digg, Del-i-cious, YouTube, and others. The truth is that it takes an entire department or staff to monitor all of those sites and a tremendous commitment. Trying to do too much; too fast will leave you frustrated and unsatisfied. Do not do it!

Social Media – Can We Learn from Restaurants


We Can Learn from Restaurants

I believe there are social media lessons to be learned from restaurants. The other day, after finishing a meal at the Olive Garden, I started thinking about what does my business and the businesses of my customers have in common with a restaurant. What can we learn?

I started thinking about the entire sequence of a meal and how that affects the customer.

The first thing that the restaurant owners decide is what type of restaurant do they want. Will they be fast food or full service? Will they be inexpensive, moderate priced, or expensive? What type of food will they offer: a wide variety of foods, a particular specialty, or a specific ethnicity.

Where will they locate the restaurant? Who will be their target market or customer?

Once you move beyond fast food, most restaurants understand that they need to get the food moving to the patron. There is nothing worse, than a table full of people just sitting and waiting. Restaurant owners have learned that you need to get the customer or patron involved immediately.

In the past they would immediately serve you water, but today they start by taking your drink order. Why? Because it is quick and easy. People decide quickly on what they will have to drink. The next question is whether you want an appetizer; again these are food choices that are quick to assemble and get to the table. After the appetizers are ordered and before they are served your main course order is taken. This takes longer to prepare, but you have your drinks and your appetizers to keep you occupied.

So What Does This Have To Do With Social Media?

How are you doing at deciding the questions to be asked for your business? What are the parameters for your choices and decisions? Why are you doing what you are doing? What are your goals and objectives?

10 -15 years ago businesses began creating web sites. The question I ask is why? The answer for many was that they were told if they did not have a web site; then they were not serious about their business. A few years later the question was whether they were using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and keywords; because, if they were not, then they were not serious about their business. Today the question is whether the business is using Social Media; because if they are not then they are not serious about their business.

The problem I see with all of these options is that the reasons were often incorrect. Instead of doing the methodical process that a restaurant or any business, for that matter, follows; businesses rushed into web sites, SEO, and now they are rushing into Social Media.

Choosing to Participate in Social Media

A business’s participation in Social Media should be thought out.

  • What is the goal?
  • What is the expectation?
  • What is the expected benefit?
  • What is expected of the visitor?
  • Who is the expected visitor?
  • How do you want the visitor to respond?
  • Are you going to capture visitor information?
  • What information do you want to capture?
  • How are you going to capture the information?
  • What do you have to offer in exchange for this information?

If you are not asking and answering these questions; it will be like driving without a destination. You will not:

  1. Know where you are going.
  2. You will not know whether you are heading in the correct direction.
  3. You will not know when you get there or if you get there.
  4. You will never be able to correct your course.

Social Media is not something you put on auto-pilot and then leave it alone. The great thing is that it is easy to change course, but only if you know the course you are taking.

Are You Prepared for the UNTHINKABLE!


Many people thought and many people still think unemployment could never happen to them

We Are Living in the Age of the UNTHINKABLE

Working with the unemployed I see a lot of people dealing with the UNTHINKABLE! For whatever reason – lay off, plant closing, staff reductions, off shore sourcing, obsolete jobs, etc. – they no longer have a job.

Not only do they not have a job, they have not had a job for an extended period of time. They are dealing with the UNTHINKABLE.

Who ever thought we would be in an economy like the one existing today? For sure none of the supposed economic “experts”.

For sure there are people who say they saw the demise of the banking system or the trading houses; I am not so sure how much stock I put in their statements, but it is what some, at least, are saying. Even Alan Greenspan did not see this coming and admits not only did he not see it coming, it never even registered in his thoughts or planning.

Where Are You in Your UNTHINKABLE Thinking

Now we are fully in the Age of the UNTHINKABLE; where are you in your thinking and planning? Are you doing anything to prepare you if the UNTHINKABLE were to happen to you?

If you are like most people, your answer is NO. As a whole, we do not like to think about the UNTHINKABLE. It is easier to ignore and believe the UNTHINKABLE only happens to the other guy or the other family. It may get close, but it will never reach you.

This is ostrich thinking and no one can afford to have their head in the sand. Everyone is susceptible to the UNTHINKABLE. Everyone needs to have a plan as to how they would cope if the UNTHINKABLE were to happen to them.

How to Plan for the UNTHINKABLE

The first thing that must be done is to take your head out of the sand and look around. You must look for signs of the UNTHINKABLE coming in your direction. You must be:

      Open to things you do not want to hear.
      Open to things you do not want to see.
      Looking for things you do not want to hear or see.
      Preparing for changes you may not want.
      Looking for signs of change.

This all may sound ominous to you, but the reality is; if you are prepared you will have a plan. You may still be caught off guard, but by taking these steps you will be in a better position.

I will be examining these issues and what you can do to prepare yourself and your family in the event the UNTHINKABLE strikes closer to home.

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out our career site at http://toyourcareersuccess.com and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!