Go with the flow

I was recently having discussions with a potential new customer about how we could support their vision of having a business which is much less dependent on him, the business owner. 

 

He sent me a LONG email with lots of description about what he wanted to happen and how he thought various bits could be supported by software, my team and other members of his outsourced team.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Oct-21st---Process-mapping.jpg Now I don’t know about you but 2 or 3 pages of writing, however ordered it was, just draws a blank with me.
  I’m a visual person and I needed to see the picture of how all this was going to fit together.  So I jumped onto my flow-charting software and pretty quickly turned the 2 sides of words into a bright colourful flow-chart which showed clearly what order things were going to happen and who (person or software) was going to be doing each bit.

Now I know that process flow-charts are my ‘thing’ but this isn’t out of reach of anyone.  There are a variety of very affordable (some free) software which you can use to easily map out the flow of the work through your business.  And the benefit of this isn’t just to get a nice pretty picture at the end of it, but the process (excuse the pun) of sitting and working out exactly what order things happen in and what needs to happen if … is really  helpful in making your business more efficient.

So if you fancy having a go, why not look at some of these pieces of software:

www.gliffy.com

www.lucidchart.com

www.nchsoftware.com/chart/

If you specifically want Microsoft software search Google for ‘Microsoft Visio’ but be warned this is considerably more expensive.

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Would you employ a robot manager?

Me and my team have been providing virtual admin support for well over 8 years and even now some people are a bit wary of someone being able to do their work remotely.  Either that or they crack the joke about us not being real.

Well these people are going to be totally freaked-out by an article I read last night – Could a big data-crunching machine be your boss one day?


b2ap3_thumbnail_Oct-14th---Amelia.jpg

Meet Amelia, a “neatly dressed, emotionally intelligent, whip-smart learning cognitive agent”.  According to her creators she could end up being your boss one day.

As business owners we can probably be fairly sure that she won’t be our boss, but would you consider employing a machine/robot to manage your team?

I’m acutely aware that whilst computers and high-speed internet have enabled my industry to grow rapidly over the last 8 years, they might also be the death of it in years to come as computers can do more and more of our admin tasks for us.  But I’m still not convinced that a computer can manage a team of people.  I get that they can process a ton more data than a human brain and that they will make unemotional decisions, but surely we still need human, emotional judgement when it comes to managing humans?

Read the full article here and I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts. 

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It’s Magic … and flipping useful!

Rather than spouting my thoughts this week I thought we’d have a ‘top tip’ week.

Are you a trainer?

Are you a consultant doing brainstorming sessions with clients?

Are you a business owner doing brainstorming sessions for yourself?

Do you use a whiteboard but often run out of space?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions (which you should have done if you’re a business owner!) let me ask you one more question - do you use Magic Whiteboard?

 


b2ap3_thumbnail_Oct-7th---Magic-Whiteboard_20141008-080738_1.jpgMagic Whiteboard is a fantastic invention that I discovered early this year and it’s brilliant for easily getting some temporary writing space on a wall.

If you could really do with a whiteboard when you’re with clients or in training session this is an easily portable answer, all you need is a bit of wall space.  No more dragging flipcharts around or paying extra fees to hire them in a training centre.

If you’re working on a project in the office and need a bit of space to plan things, just find a spare bit of wall and you have an instant whiteboard to plan on.

Magic whiteboard isn’t cheap but it’s so useful and easy to use.  You just tear off a sheet (or more, depending on space) and put it on the wall.  No fixings required, it stays there by magic (well, static actually).  A normal set of dry wipe markers and a board rubber (or cloth) and you’re sorted.

One of my customers thought it was so good they got me to put a couple of spare sheets up before I left!

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