Natural networker

This week was absolutely crazy, busy.  Nothing like hanging on in the middle of a storm.  This week, I helped bring on a couple of new team members to one of my teams.  I take a lot of pride in my onboarding process and it is really nice when someone truly recognizes the value.

Maybe that is the difference in the onboarding of seasoned folks verses initial entrances into a new career?  The folks who have significant, large organization experience seem to “get it” significantly better than the newer entrants.

Through this week’s experience, I was able to put my finger on another ingredient in my ‘secret sauce’ – networking.  It is all about networking.  The first couple of tasks open the gates to the network, but how those tasks get accomplished is through networking.

One of the guys told me I was a ‘natural networker’ and I took that as high praise and a smidgen of appreciation goes a long way.

Day 2

This has been a week.  This has been a year and it is only March!  Yikes!

Today’s challenges – attempting to convince a corporate IT guy that it is okay to technically break the rules, because my boss said so.  Yea, that went about as far you might think it would or should.  Why do we have all of these processes and procedures if all it takes is a handshake agreement to get a ‘pass’?

I don’t care and none of this would be bothering me if it wasn’t interfering with the rest of my workload!  I am not one of those people sitting on a lackadaisical job here.  The woman who reminds me a minimum of 3 times per week to do a task that I have been doing religiously for almost 5 years – she has a lackadaisical job, but I digress.

These are the things that delay my progress in onboarding a new team member.  I reiterate, my process works as long as you dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”.  Folks there are no shortcuts.  Every step is there for a reason.  Each task has a prerequisite.  If you skip one or the other, or take a left instead of a right, that will cause a delay in your processing toward productivity.

I digressed again.  I think this is bothering me so much because this delay in processing is really putting a crimp in my week.  If we had followed the process, we would be done.  I would be able to focus on my personal life during my off hours.  But no.  Not this week!  This week, I have to keep noodling on creative ideas to solve this randomly introduced hiccup into the whole process.  What pisses me off!  (Here comes the truest statement I have written in weeks!)  This whole damn thing could have been avoided!  I stated very clearly in August that if we did this option, my process would not only break, but I would not be able to use my secret sauce to get ‘er done.

If I wasn’t already annoyed about the whole chaos step introduced into my world at work, my life gets a nasty wrinkle too.  Guess this is a reminder to care about what is important. We have an appointment to do our taxes tomorrow – that means homework for me tonight.  Then had my nightly family call.  The news is the oncologist will be doing additional research, putting together the history and present it to essentially a board of experts.  We should have treatment recommendations next week at this time.

Yeppers this has been a challenging week.

 

 

My secret sauce?

I have an onboarding process that works.  It is valuable because it gets everyone productive in a very short time frame.  So what is the one way to set me up to fail?  Drop the ball.

I gave them my checklist.  I have been defining, writing, revising, producing the right steps for years.  When I have the time, I use it to keep it updated.  Well, of late, I haven’t had any time to do that because I am already trying to complete an 80 hour per week job in 40 hours as it is, so there isn’t a lot of lull in my schedule that allows me to produce updated tools in one of the most evolutionary environments I have ever experienced!

The interesting part is that even with my checklists, they can’t execute.  The reason my process works is because I do it.  I personalize every encounter.

Why does this have to be done this way and in this order?  Well because I understand the cadence necessary to optimize the transaction.  Maybe it is my old school database theories rising up from deep in my soul, but ultimately I am trying to optimize the employe eXperience for the newest team member.

I need to work in a ‘trusted’ environment again.  When I look back on my career, I realize I was the happiest when I was deep in the belly of the beast and optimizing transactions.  In some way, this has tainted my view of the world.  I see everything I am doing as a transaction to be optimized; so if I can remove roadblocks to completing that transaction, shouldn’t I do everything in my power to do so?

But it is more than that.  In my effort to be effective and efficient, I try to never forget that these are not just messages I am sending about, these are people!  At every step of the way to get the job done it is all about the people and the relationships.  I think I am one step closer to defining my own personal secret sauce!

 

 

Culture shift and it is time to move on down the road…

For a number of years I have had a job where the primary goals were to ensure that my leadership was successful and that our team would deliver on our promises.  Technically, this team should have been eliminated with one of the many reorganizations that we have endured, but we weren’t.  As a matter of fact, our breadth of influence has continued to expand over the years.

I take great pride in the fact we have not only survived, but thrived.  What makes me sad is the lack of understanding about what it has taken to ride these waves of change and continued forward.  It takes a lot of hard work to remain relevant in an ever-changing environment.  Essentially, what we did yesterday is not necessarily what we will be doing tomorrow.  The only way that we have been successful is through honest, open communication and a trusting relationship.

The most recent direct leadership change broke the rules.  The recently promoted Gen X’er is clueless.  There is a lot of power-tripping going on and a complete lack of communication.  The team has never been this disjointed and the morale can’t get much lower.  To be honest, these are the results of poor leadership and devaluation of the individual.  Ironically, this Gen-X leader reads lots of materials on how to manage and tries to implement them.  We have more checklists than anyone has ever seen, but they are just that – checklists.  Checklists without culture are worthless.  I equate them to lousy phone trees you encounter on thoughtless interactive voice response systems.  You do them just to get through to the next prompt, but the experience is anything but delightful.  There are no trusted relationships left of the team.  There are people going through the motions and there is absolutely no room for feedback or negotiation.

Since the latter years of MCI/Worldcomm, my favorite message has been ‘Perception is reality.’  That was their tagline and it really is a good reminder for anyone who ever engages in communication.  The message you are sending may mean one thing, but if the receiver perceives it to mean something different, the reality is the receiver’s perception is the meaning that will be consumed.  Advice to all leaders out there, when someone tells you this is their perception of your message, listen to them.  It is important to hear what is being said.  This is your opportunity to clarify an misperceptions and shouldn’t be used by you to defend what you meant.  If there is a strong disagreement between what you meant and the actual perception, work needs to be done together to bridge that gap.

I realize that this under-qualified leader has been promoted beyond her capabilities and we have spent the last few months trying to improve the situation, but without active listening and participation on this leader’s part, nothing will change.  This leader has broken the trust and is on an all out war against successfully achieving team goals.  My perception, which is my reality, is that we no longer have a solid vision and without vision, we are dead.

In years gone by, I would have dug in and tried to improve the situation, but not anymore.  My reality is my perception and currently I am perceiving a lack of appreciation for what it truly takes to get things done and I don’t feel like explaining it anymore.  What does that mean?  It is time for a new job.  So I am starting a quest to locate an organization that shares my values of professionalism, hard work, open, honest communications, accountability, reliability, fairness, honest days work for an honest day’s pay.   I used to work in that environment, but the recent culture shift has eliminated those shared values.

 

 

 

Partner to realize the vision

This is what I want!  I want the opportunity to partner to realize the vision.

Interviews are a joke.  Everyone shows up with their checklist.  The interviewer knows what they need to do, the interviewee has a set of pat answers designed to help them get the position.

Everyone has a checklist.  Everyone is trying to answer those questions in such a way as they can exemplify they know how to do all of that stuff on the checklist.

The reality is that anyone who gets the interview has already proven they have the basic skills necessary to do the job as defined by the job requisition filed to be able to publish the position.  From there, it is all a matter of mood.  The offer goes to the person who fits the emotional state of the interviewers at that point in time.

I am actively looking.  The culture of my current environment has become untenable and it is time for me to take action.  I deserve better!

 

Love the service, not the bills.

Spent hours over the last couple of days trying to decipher my second bill from magenta. Had no idea anything could be so convoluted! Finally figured it out after spending hours looking at it online. Saddest part? In order to download a pdf version for my personal files, I had to text with support. Now that I know how and where to get it done, I have documented it for future reference.
I will give credit where credit is due – the chat was positive. The agent on the other end knew what to do, we were just hindered by technology. The configuration of the online chat session wouldn’t allow me to move around on the website. Every time I tried to follow the directions from the chat agent, I would be redirected back to the support page that I had used to access chat support. I understand why this was happening, but think it is kind of a lame configuration on the part of the website owners.
No worries. As my father used to say, ‘that didn’t stop old Cisco.’ I was undeterred. Once I realized what was happening with the chat client session, I opened up a second, alternative browser that I could use to follow along with the instructions from the chat agent.
Positives – we were able to get to the core of my issue.
Negatives – maintaining multiple browsers in view in the itty bitty screen of my laptop made viewing everything difficult.
After solving the downloading of my bill issue, I spent some time deciphering what was really in this obnoxiously long and confusing bill. I think I was a bit spoiled from being a yellow customer for so very long. The reason I never had to deal with their no-service organization until after I left, their bills were clear and concise. It was easy to find and interpret the information provided on their bills.
This is not the case with the new provider. There are charges on my bill that are rightfully there, but not easily understood.
The main purpose for the switch was to save money on service when we upgraded our devices. Based on the analysis done before the switch, this should be a no brainer.
Reviewing the convoluted bills after the switch, I am not seeing any savings, actually it appears to be costing.
After spending hours surfing the community for explanations about all of the things on my bills, I finally figured it out. For the record, the information that I needed is not on the bill. There are charges on the pdf version of the bill that have absolutely no direct link to the line items in the details.
The web view provided me the information that I needed to see so I could understand what was being charged. The old school accountant deep in my soul is having a difficult time with the reconciliation. It just bothers me when there are ‘other charges’ on my bill that don’t add up from the line items in the details section.
When all is said and done, the math works, but not by using the bill itself. This makes me long for the good old days of the obf when they regulated how the bills were formatted and mandated that all of the information be clearly and accurately calculated.
I don’t know if there are any current regulations mandating accuracy in billing statement or not, but it sure seems there ought to be.
Bottom line –
In order for the online billing system to reconcile the payments that I have made, entries are made in the billing summary section of the pdf bill. Because I took advantage of their interest free installment plans for the purchase of the new devices and the installment plan charges are not included as separate line items on the pdf bill, there is a serious discrepancy when I tried to reconcile all of the summary items. The ‘other charges’ as listed on the detailed bill will never reconcile. As the consumer, I have to be aware of this and keep track of what I have paid on my own. Knowing this, I am able to reconcile the bill using the data available online. Seems like a lot of work with little to know benefit.
The easiest fix is to pay off the installment plans that I didn’t really want in the first place. My next bill will have similar issues. We had two separate installment plans. I paid the smaller of the 2 in full as part of my activities doing this billing reconciliation. After the next bill cuts, here in the next few days, I will pay the other installment plan in full. Hopefully, we will finally see the savings promised by changing carriers. Right now, the switch has been costing us. Here’s hoping!

Churned Customer Contact

Part of my rant yesterday was about how BofA could have kept me as a customer. Well, I was way too thoughtful to them. The only response I have heard from them is the reminder that my account balance was below $25. To which I say, ‘Duh!’  In our relationship, I continued to communicate with BofA, thinking someone, somewhere might care.  Wrong!
Sprint, on the other hand, has sent me a note asking me to provide my feedback. Now I know this isn’t much, but it is something. At least I have the opportunity to tell them what went into my decision.

The way I see it:
For over a year now, I have been less than pleased with the performance of my EVO Shift – HTC device. In my job, I am surrounded by technology. It is hard to miss. If you are missing it you aren’t paying attention and maybe you shouldn’t be there.   HTC had acknowledged a bug with my android version and their sense user interface and they had chosen not to fix it.  Fine and dandy.   HTC can be replaced.
I started looking around. I bought an ipad. I like the ipad. Made me at least consider an apple product in my arsenal of data processing tools. I was shopping for hardware.  I was already thinking about upgrading.  Not to be ‘bleeding edge’ but to consume the services that I am already purchasing.  Thanks to the amazing world of technology, this is an anticipated expense.

I remember being thrilled when Hesse took over at Sprint. I was pleased as punch that he was going to make a change. He did. There is no arguing with that fact. He made his mark.  The information systems are better. The tools available for the end-user consumer are marvelous. I appreciate you paying attention to the details that matter to the buyer.  However, it was the coupling of these tools and my domain knowledge that prompted my move. I was paying attention to the noise in the marketplace.

Hesse gave me the tools to analyze my purchase.  I watched as Sprint moved from paper-only to awesome end-user personalization.  The key being the end-user’s individual knowledge.  I liked being able to log in and look at what I wanted to look at, when I wanted to look at it.  I think the difference is I know what I am looking at.  Any service provider bill can be the most confusing thing in the world if you don’t know what you are looking for.  I have some tips on how to decipher the bill so that it matters and Hesse helped to simplify the system available to do the analysis.

I have some constraints when it comes to choosing a wireless service provider.  Sprint was the last of the big 3 that I would even consider.  I was seriously considering going prepaid.  Prepaid doesn’t have the stigma that it had not so long ago.  Some of us choose prepaid so we have more control over the spending.  I see it more as a frugal choice, as opposed to the loser choice that I used to associate with prepaid cards.  Guess the marketing from that product launch is still stuck in my head.

Along comes Legere.  I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan when it was first announced he was at the helm when T-Mobile went public.  I was resistant when I first saw the marketing.  The commercials with the cowboys actually turned me off.  But I follow a number of blogs about changes in the wireless industry, all utilities, actually.  I see wireless service as a utility in my life, because I can’t imagine life without it!

It was the perfect storm.  I hated my device.  Not the hardware, the firmware.  Sprint has provided me the tools to look at what I am getting for the money I am spending for the services I need.  Legere changed the game.  Now Hesse is providing me the opportunity to tell him how I feel.  Kudos to Sprint.  Too bad you waited until I churned, before you asked.