Balancing mommyhood and work

On August 14th, it will mark 2 months since our relocation from Miami Beach, FL to Los Angeles, CA. All our family is in Florida so it was just us. I nurse my 3 month old baby every 3 hours and take care of my very social, outgoing, witty 4-year-old son that’s not the type to sit down for too long.

My husband works from home so the first priority is to make sure the kids are not distracting him while he is programming for clients and building our own proprietary social gaming site: rivvid.com

Back in Florida, my son would attend school for 3 hours /3 days a week and my mother in law took care of him until 5pm. So I was used to get working done during the day. At first, I was taking my son to The Coop so he can play with the kids in an indoor playground while I use their WI-FI access to get work done until 3pm. After 3pm, we took advantage of Pinz amazing $2 dollar bowling deal before 4pm,  do some Math Readiness /Kindergarten workbooks, outdoor playground, enjoy the 4pm games at the library, replenish our book supply, etc until it was time to go home for us to have dinner as a family.

After 3 weeks of going to The Coop 3 times  a week – my son was getting bored with the schedule, so it was time to change things up. So now I’ve given up in trying to work during the day and work after dinner when the kids are tucked in bed. On Thursdays, I swap with my husband and those are the days I line up meetings while he hangs out with the boys.

Yeah, we can get a nanny….they sure are everywhere during the day! I’m just not ready to have a nanny take care of our kids when they got us. So, I’m trying to figure out a system where I can still wheel and deal while enjoying my mommyhood.

Naturally, my son watching his parents work on a social gaming site, he wanted part of the action. So….one day while having my son film me feed our 3 month old boy (great way to keep the 4-year-old entertained, by the way) and realizing how much I enjoy my son’s conversations…..my son and I decided to launch Conversations with a 4 year old to capture my son’s funny moments and insights as a way to share with our family back in Florida.

I personally felt the “I must get work done during the day” pressure but the kind of work I do can also get done at night (social media campaigning for clients while building our audience for rivvid.com) – plus I have my Thursdays for conference calls. After having that breakthrough in not having that pressure in the back of my mind, I can now simply enjoy being in the present moment with my kids and having a ball with my little butterballs while they still “like to hang out with mom.”

 

Rivvid Trivia Game ranked #3 in Google for How does Google Plus work

Everyone wants to understand more about this social media tool Google  launched. Check out the PDF link below that shows how Rivvid’s free online trivia game on Google Plus is ranked #3 when you google: How does Google Plus work . This is proof how Rivvid’s trivia games are SEO friendly.

Here is the link to PDF: how does google plus work – Google Search

Morning Tid Bit: Team Building Ideas to improve business environment

A morning tid bit on some team building ideas that will help boost employee morale and the energy in the office.

Step 1 to the Power of the Virtual Workforce: Choosing an Online Database / Web based document and management system

We’ve all experienced the morning of misery, where your team hasnt completed important tasks from the day before, the pile of files on your desk are stacking up, and the stream of emails are pouring in. Your phone starts to ring and you wonder….how can I possibly focus on the days’ priorities?

We’ll share some great ways to help you make it through with flying colors – and to prevent this from happening time and time again – we will start with the first steps of how to incorporate Internet technology and solid process implementation into your day to day.

The first step is to prioritize your to-dos into categories that meet your operational and sales goals.

Next, how can you organize your to do’s in alignment with measurable results that will allow you to make better business decisions on what will keep your company from losing money and keeping clients happy. For example, how can you tie in a to do with the amount of cashflow thats tied into that goal? How about if it’s a to do that’s driven to sustain customer attrition?

The answer is a resource that can provide you with immediate access to needed documents and query real-time information pertaining to your goals.

Some of the challenges you will be presented with when trying to incorporate this across your organization are mentioned below and some tips are tied in as to how to overcome them:

First Problem: File Folders and Email
If your office environment uses file folders and emails to:

  • store or send documents
  • document activity
  • delegate “to do’s” to the next individual

…then these are most likely the kind of questions you hear at your office:  “Who has my folder?”, Where is this folder?” , “When did you ask me to handle that?”

Priorities and documents are lost in the shuffle, nothing gets completed on time, and your staff feels overwhelmed.

The solution is delegating responsibility in a way that creates accountability (click here to read more about this) and to digitize your documents, making them easily searched and sorted.

Second Problem: Excel Spreadsheets

You may have 50 different Excel spreadsheets and know exactly which one contains the data you need; however, Excel files fall victim to the following common problems:

  • Lack of Consistency. Too often a staff member may create their own version/format of data. Making it difficult to quickly find data and create repetition of the same data in multiple files.
  • They are sometimes outdated
  • Locks others out when someone is updating it

The goal is to find an online database that allows you to customize the fields you will need to store your data, doesn’t restrict others from updating information on that same case while others are reviewing the information, and allows you to quickly retrieve information (some interfaces requires too many click-through to attain the information you are looking for).

There are cost effective, user friendly and quick to deploy databases available online. For resources, contact us at 786-218-1021 to see what kind will best fit your current needs.

Third Problem: Process

After addressing the previous two issues, you will need to implement a process that allows your staff to effectively use these new tools. You must evaluate your business structure, checkpoints and protocols within your operations before, during and after internet software/online database implementation.

You will need to marry the process, people and tools in such a way that will ensure your business is moving closer to your sales objectives.

Some key steps along the way are:

  • Improving how work orders are processed internally
  • Reducing the amount of time your teams spends processing tasks
  • Facilitating smoother and more efficient communication
  • Re-training staff on software tools as business climate and software tools change – don’t assume they will figure it out on their own.
  • Ensure EXECUTION (without micro-managing)

This is just the beginning to a faster, more efficient working environment that allows your team to work from anywhere at any time, potentially even reducing your office space needs and cutting expenses.

Learn more at our upcoming workshop on how to create a collaborative and virtual workforce determined to continuously strive to find the best ways to work together.

BPM PART II: How important consistency is when establishing business rules to reinforce accountability

In continuation from this article

In Dog and Human Behavior , CW Meisterfeld and Ernest Pecci, describe an experiment in which a cage is divided into two equal sections, one empty and one housing lab mice.  When mice were given mild shocks the mice quickly learned to cross into the safe zone. As long as this was consistent, the mice appear to be minimally disturbed by inconvenience. However, start administering the shocks randomly and INCONSISTENTLY, the mice will soon huddle helplessly in a corner, gradually ignoring the shocks.
“Employee rely on knowing the rules.

“If you’re inconsistent, they’ll always wonder how to make you happy, which is obviously not as productive as doing a great job based on clear performance standards.” Alpha Male Syndrome, Kate Ludlam, Eddie Erlanson

The next steps to remain consistent with the implementation of these protocols are:
1.    Create a buy in or prep discussion as to why this is important for everyone as a team
2.    Important your team is COMMITTED to incorporate the new protocols into their day to day.
3.    Make sure you set an example of following protocols as well.
4.    BE PATIENT. There is a learning curve for everyone to understand how to use the web software. Plus, the and the other change they need to adapt to is getting in the habit of how to use it according to the rules. Have you provided some time for your team to adjust to the new processes?
5.    Through out this process encourage your teams’ feedback, ideas, and suggestions. Everyone has different and varied perspectives that each are important to consider while streamlining your operations.
6.    Important your team understands this mantra: Individuals who care about their team identify with other members by watching each other’s back, take personal risks for the common good and do what it takes for the team to win.
7.    Instill a place for everyone to submit their ideas and questions to so you have a consolidated place to review. This opens the lines of communication to allow everyone to feel they are part of the continuous change needed to improve the business process.
8.    Throughout this process you will find the need to fine tune some processes and then provide additional training. It may require team collaboration to revisit the AS-IS Process Map, some team training to learn the new business rules/systems/process, or one on one training. In this article I provide some suggestions when addressing these suggestions, but what’s most important is TAKING ACTION after this information is submitted AND do not wait too long before addressing it.

The benefits of incorporating these steps are that you will find a reduction of negativity that places at work and less complaints about the “toxic co-workers.” Click Here to see the list of benefits of how business process management helps your business.

BPM PART I: How to leverage business process management and internet technology to reinforce accountability

Accountability is a common problem in the workplace and the demand to find a working model for accountability is challenging. Everyone is different in their personal work and communication styles and the challenge in getting everyone to work together effectively takes a series of steps to ensure each one is creating ownership of how they affect each other in the workplace.

Without accountability you are experiencing:
• Excuse making
• Finding faults
• Misunderstandings

The series of articles that we will discuss is how communication, process, and internet tools may come together as a stepping stone to build an accountable working model.

The following suggestions will help create accountability, prevent blame, and instill good communication into your team environment.

Delegation

Robert Shapiro, former Chairman and CEO of Monsanto said:

“If you could get every person to be 30% more effective in performing their jobs, not by working harder and not by working smarter in ways that have already been tapped, but by becoming 30% more effective in working together, you’d be way ahead of you industry.”

One way of effectively delegating responsibilities with web software is using to do’s and milestones as tools to help manage tasks surrounding your project. If you take the project management system, Basecamp for example, you may use milestones to allow your team to schedule their time. These web tools allow everyone to have a calendar system to refer to in order to understand overall deliverables and ensure an effective working environment.
1. Eliminate the wasted time spent to collectively sort through tons of emails and message threads to obtain real-time project status.
2. Eliminate the wasted time spent following up on items we need to move forward on to complete projects. i.e. overall status reporting, and next step direction (I like to call this the baton pass)….
3. Eliminate confusion about where a project is and who’s responsible for the next step for completion.
4. Create a realistic project roll out so we deliver our projects/services on time, every time with 100% satisfaction by effectively managing both client expectations and production resources.

Encourage everyone to actively follow milestone delegation and contribute thoughtful feedback and ideas to continuously to improve the effectiveness of using this tool.

An upcoming article on Consistency will go into detail as to why it will help employees stick to performance standards.

Choosing a CMS system

Below are resources to help you find the right CMS systems. Are you currently using one? DO you recommend anyone in particular? What do you like about it?

Articles on Choosing a CMS system:

http://www.packtpub.com/article/how_to_choose_an_open_source_content_management_system

http://www.opensourcecms.com/hobbes/HowToChooseACMS.pdf

Here is an extensive list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_content_management_systems

Awards:

http://www.packtpub.com/award

Why you absolutely NEED BPM and how business process management (BPM) can help your business

The problem with today’s organizations is that each department has optimized its own subdivision by operating off of their own agenda and performance metrics which do not align resources with the overall organizational strategy.

In managing your employees, you find:

  • You are spending more time following up
  • They are not working on what’s priority for the company’s objective
  • Everyone is blaming each other
  • Wondering who is accountable to handle these tasks
  • You are better off handling the task yourself because it will get done faster

BPM improves business agility which in today’s economy is becoming increasingly important as business moves at the speed of thought. Companies need to be prepared to change direction, capture and develop new markets, or react to industry changes. Click here to read about the different stages a business goes through when incorporating BPM into your workplace.

Executive management needs a comprehensive view into all aspects of the business in order to maximize returns and manage the operation effectively. To make this happen, your organization will go through various work management styles until your organization is capable to evolve easily and seamlessly as competition stiffens, you experience growth or when demand increases. The rewards are greater efficiency, effectiveness, and perhaps even survival.

BPM improves business agility which in today’s economy is becoming increasingly important as business moves at the speed of thought. Companies need to be prepared to change direction, capture and develop new markets, or react to industry changes.

BPM affects business in 3 major ways:

First it provides clarity and allows management to really understand how the business operates so they can make important decisions based on accurate information. Once there is a clear picture it enables better risk management, opportunity assessment, and resource allocation for future strategic initiatives. Knowing where you are and being able to analyze and measure how potential change will impact your business leads to increase in quality, cycle time improvements, and employees and customer satisfaction.

Second, it provides a solid organizational structure. Some think that business agility is merely moving people around or implementing some packaged software, but it really is about creating total synergy between technology, process and people.

Finally, it harnesses mass collaboration and provides an opportunity for all team members, at all levels, the ability to greatly improve productivity and cultivate innovation.

With an effective BPM solution your business WILL experience

  • Increased Revenue
  • Decreased Costs
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction (service)
  • New found business agility
  • More control over business activities
  • Increased efficiency and performance
  • Seamless introduction of new team members into existing systems
  • Improved ways to process work orders
  • Better communication with staff, clients, and partners
  • Clear documentation of all tasks in a complete operational manual
  • A competitive advantage
  • Realistic performance metrics.
  • Collaboration among team members cultivating innovation and creativity
  • Automated and optimized business processes

Companies are starting to realize they NEED BPM consulting, training, and support in order to compete in the new economy.

Uvium is excited to be a part of the convergence of collaboration and process management, as we consult progressive companies and organizations in uniting: people, process and technology. We optimize our BPM solutions by integrating the latest Web 2.0 tools enabling users to create and share their own applications, processes, and content.

PLEASE LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW AS TO HOW THIS ARTICLE AFFECTED YOU!

The Different Stages a Business goes through when experiencing growth

 

Most businesses fit in one of these 5 stages of the BPM Cycle.

Stage 0 – (Unaware)

People are unaware that business rules have a value worth contemplating.

Business Rules are buried in code, documents, and people’s heads. You lack the ability to accurately predict how change would impact your business. What’s probably taking place in your business is that there is talk about harvesting business rules from your staff, documents, or mining it through the software code that is used to run your day to day activities, but that has yet to happen. You may even lack a well drafted working Operations Manual. Do any of the following sound familiar? 

  • Your organization has outgrown your current technology
  • Your staff and or clients are frustrated with delayed deliveries, human error, and miscommunication while providing service.
  • It’s difficult to quickly access the information you need
  • You implemented a business process, but no one uses it.
  • Good policy change doesn’t get implemented
  • It’s challenging to track and follow up with sales leads
  • You don’t have the in house resources or time to keep your website updated.
  • Customers can’t seem to get answers to critical questions in a timely matter.
  • Processes are managed by different teams, thus increasing the chances of tasks slipping through the cracks and or important issues lost in translation.
  • You know the direction you want to lead your business, but are held back due to operational issues.
  • You are trying to figure out an internet strategy that compliments your business plan.

 

These are just a few of the problems small business face at the “Unaware” stage

Its ok! There is hope once you find PURPOSE! 

Level 1 (Purpose): 

 

At this stage there is an understanding that there IS value in establishing business rules and executing day to day operations based on these rules. These rules generally exist in a digital repository accessible and managed manually and available only to top level executives in documents or spreadsheets. The ability to predict the impact of these rules is low. Analyzing your business rules at this stage is possible, but time consuming and often not done at all. You understand the value and organizational efficiency inherent in business rules and you aspire to implement an intelligent, forward thinking BPM system but lack know how, time, strategy, or training to execute this initiative.

As companies continue to rely on technology to drive business growth, they are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits effective performance management can bring to all areas of the organization.

Evaluating or seeking to implement BPM software

Performing an organizational self-assessment is a great place to start

Can your company independently assess its needs and requirements? Most companies find this to be quite difficult. Does your company have in-house the expertise, both technically and functionally, to evaluate the vendor offerings in the market today? BPM is still a relatively arcane science; its blend of business process and technology makes it legitimately a “hybrid” specialty.

The objective to optimize an area which has been identified as an area for improvement – if you don’t know this area you need a mapping session (call 2 action contact  a Uvium consultant to Schedule a mapping session)

Level 2 (Repeatable):

“Employees rely on knowing the rules. If you’re inconsistent, they’ll always wonder how to make you happy, which is obviously not as productive as doing a great job based on clear performance standards.” Alpha Male Syndrome, Kate Ludlam, Eddie Erlanson

At this stage an organization begins to aggressively analyze their business rules and change is driven by this analysis. This happens by creating a custom documentation process that clearly defines the individual role of BPM and incorporates accountability and structure to integrate and analyze established rules on a continuous basis. Analysis of your business rules is possible and automated, yet the ability to predict the impact of these rules is still low. At this point you probably adopted some BPM software and are capable of defining, changing, and implementing business rules.

Early adopters of BPM systems are achieving top-quartile performance results in a range of areas from finance and accounting, budgeting, financial reporting, to planning, and performance measurement, to name a few. In conjunction with solid business intelligence and web centric infrastructure, a new robust BPM system if implemented and administered effectively can support new and improved processes and sustain rapid growth.

Experience double digit growth, increased efficiency, eliminate bottle necks – find out how in a Uvium work session.

What we do in a work session

Identification and prioritization of strategic initiatives

Project scoping and kick-off

Team development

Requirements definition for supporting technology

Design specifications for supporting technology

Risk Analysis

Test Planning and Test Scenario development

Implementation Planning

Work-in-Progress Reviews throughout the project lifecycle

Post-implementation Reviews

Level 3 (Defined):

Robert Shapiro, former Chairman and CEO of Monsanto said:

“If you could get every person to be 30% more effective in performing their jobs, not by working harder and not by working smarter in ways that have already been tapped, but by becoming 30% more effective in working together, you’d be way ahead of you industry.”

At this level an organization usually displays an active rules management system which takes advantage of forward thinking mass collaboration strategies. Implementation of these strategies achieves high levels of success from the practice of sharing business rules past previous executive boundaries. The overall benefits of BPM have become very clear and measurable. These proven rules and techniques can now be standardized and made readily available throughout the whole organization.

Level 4 (Measurable):

Here the ability to predict the impact of rule changes on business is possible, and directly associated with business metrics that correlate with organizational efficiency and growth.   At this point you understand how business rules influence your client base, can predict how managing rules realize future profits, and better understand where time is spent amongst your staff so bottle necks can be eliminated.

Level 5 (Continuously Improved):

 

At this level you have a well established BPM system that runs smoothly with web centric real-time access without boundaries for mass collaboration and synergy amongst all involved members. The business is thriving following intelligent forward thinking rules. By consistent measurement you improve operational efficiency and predictive decision management. You are poised to react quickly to new market opportunities and generate maximum return on future BPM initiatives. 

Leave us a comment below on what you think!

user-generated video becomes less alluring to viewers—and advertisers

I just returned from New York where I checked out companies that design, market, and produces Internet TV shows for users. One of them was: http://www.foryourimagination.com/

Here is a picture of one of a movie reel they hosted for their invitees so everyone can check out the latest “tv shows” out there.

I also attended a conference called The Future of Television. I was hoping to hear all the latest and greatest of what the TV has to offer. However, the main focus was about two components about TV. The importance of how TV must incorporate the internet as part of their distribution model to get advertising circulated in various mediums.  The other is how consumers are pushing content themselves and we are in an era where everything we want is on demand. Tivo is a perfect example. We fast forward through commercials, we demand exactly what we want to see and when we want to see it.

Here is an article about how consumers prefer to see something professionally made rather than people recording in their own back yards. Do you think this article is biased or for real? Click here.