Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tether is back!

For those of you who don’t remember it’s previous 20 hour debut in the appstore, I forgive you! It was clearly only out for a hot minute. The claim was that the software burdened the data networks But now it’s back.  So for 15 dollars a year your can use iPhone or iPad to provide internet access for your laptop. You need to have a data plan on your iPad to use this feature. Who needs this app? Anyone who has ever traveled with his or her laptop and paid 10 bucks for 30 minutes of internet access! Tether is an application you can install from their website.It is also much cheaper to tether from your phone than paying 30 bucks a month for the mobile hotspot feature now offered for iPhones.

There is a downside, It is device specific. You can tether your one computer to your phone, not multiple devices.

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Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear!

This is a typical warning printed on the side view mirrors of most vehicles. It serves to warn you that things you see approaching are in closer proximity than you might think. My Pastor spoke of this in reference to the Kingdom of God today. It dawned on me that this is also applicable in the business world. Strategic planning is basically knowing which maneuvers and decisions one should make based on what they see happening around them.

In 2009 It was clear to me that while the newspaper industry had suffered for a while, it had finally begun to affect my workplace. A second round of buyouts was followed by layoffs that required a reduction in my already overworked staff. Budgets that stayed flat were celebrated as the new growth and more and more talented people were leaving for new jobs and their positions were remaining unfilled. I made a strategic play to go back to school and get my MBA because I could see the objects in the mirror.

I was laid off 6 months before my graduation. I am grateful for seeing the warning signs, knowing I would be ready for the next chapter in my life. The view from here is better. I know the potential for a new and great career is there. In fact, I see the signs that objects in this mirror are closer than they appear. I have had more traction on my resume than before, I have had both phone and in-person interviews. I have had time to make up in my mind what I want to do next and my search is more focused and targeted.

It is important that we react when we see the alert signs. I know that my new career is just around the corner even though it feels far off. I have begun mentally preparing myself for a full schedule again. I get up early though sleeping in for the past 8 months has been kind of nice. I have applied for more positions since I can see interest in my skill sets growing. I have a new childcare plan in mind for my daughters. I am saying thank you now for the alert in the mirror now because I know it’s coming. I have chosen to be happy now instead of waiting to be happy. I am glad that the objects seen in the mirror are coming toward me

Navigating change.

Another great lesson I was reminded of at the seminar I attended this week was the concept of embracing change. One of the biggest hurdles to moving forward with new ideas and innovation is the fear of change. As humans, we have a natural tendency to fear the unknown. Knowing what the future holds is a gift most of us don’t have so, being fearful of change can be crippling. Plain and simple fear of change leaves us unprepared.

In 2006, I was charged with the task of helping my staff move into multimedia production. While I was naturally nervous about what this new change would mean for my staff, I embraced the change because I knew I would need to be an example for my staff to get the buy-in I would need from key players in my department. I not only needed the agreement of my happy learner types, I specifically needed the buy-in of the unspoken leader of my staff.  The unspoken leader, while a whole other post topic, is the person whose constancy at the time was comforting to the staff. As there had been many leaders before me, the photo department had chosen their own d-facto leader whom they trusted to always be there.

This particular veteran photographer was a man of very few words but distinct actions. He was a professional he did stellar work consistently and I could tell that having his respect was extremely important to his colleagues. He had literally been shooting photos at the newspaper, for longer than I had been on Earth. This is how I knew he was great at embracing change.  He had been through the era of the newspapers transition from black and white printing to color, the darkroom transition from film processing and printing to digital scanners. He used the first digital SLRs in the newsroom and survived the introduction of PhotoShop, Quark and the pagination era. So, I started with him.

Our first multimedia endeavor was to produce audio slide shows with Marantz recorders. Many thought I was crazy to ask the oldest person on my staff to begin producing audio slideshows first, all the assumptions were that the veterans never wanted change, but the truth is, they understand change better than anyone on the team. They have lived through it and are still there!

Fast forward  3 years to 2009; the unspoken leader on my team retired. I threw his going away party at my home and took the time to share how much his constancy meant to me. He gave me a small hand written card that is still one of my prize possessions.

Make Way for Ducklings SculptureIt said “Thank you, I can go now because there is someone here who will help them navigate the changing waters,  you are a great Mother Duck”

This was in reference to a conversation we had once about my favorite children’s book inspired by my hometown of Boston, “Make Way for Ducklings!”  While looking for a safe place to raise their ducklings This mother duck enlisted the help of others to lead her flock to a new home. Who knew a children’s book would be such a great lesson about change and navigating the world we live in. Change is just a new home, and if you enlist the help of those who know it well to help you, you will most often get there safely.

 

 

Yes, and…..brilliant!

One of the most difficult tasks in business is brainstorming new ideas. The wonderful workshop I went to yesterday at the Brave New Workshop TheaterInnovating at the speed of Laughter” tackled the problems a lot of companies have with encouraging employees to think outside the box and share their ideas. They point out that one of the biggest hurdles is self-judgment. People are naturally apprehensive about feeling foolish or saying the wrong thing. The often talk themselves out of sharing good ideas because past experiences of idea sharing resulted in a long litany of reasons why their idea won’t work. John Sweeney, co-owner of the theater, conducted the workshop. Sweeney’s idea is for people to change their thinking toward ideas. A positive response can go a long way to encouraging more ideas being shared. One good way to do this is by starting your response to an idea with “Yes, and….” This shows you are both listening and still open to the idea. While every idea may not be feasible or appropriate, you goal here is to encourage the behavior of idea sharing.  So you response could be “Yes and I appreciate you sharing that idea with me” or “Yes, and can you tell me a little more about that?” Such a simple change from the usual “Yes, but” can help the ideas keep flowing!

How do you receive new ideas? Do you kill them before the person sharing leaves your desk? What are some ways you keep yourself from staunching the flow of ideas?

Innovation at the speed of what?

Marketing in the 21st century requires more creativity and technological savvy than ever. I have a unique opportunity today to attend a workshop sponsored by the Brave New Workshop Theater  in Minneapolis. This workshop takes a unique approach to inspiring creativity through improve exercises followed by brainstorming sessions. This unconventional approach is one of many ways to open one’s mind to new ways of problem solving. What are some of your creative jump-starts? Have you looked into ways to get out of your own box? Local workshops are a great way to meet new people and share how you approach the problem solving process. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Smugmug exposure lock for iPhone

Ok so I have regular readers who are not professional photographers who want to take better photos with their smartphones. Smugmug is an app that actually give you some options that a professional photographer consider, necessary for making great photos. On my SLR I have an exposure lock button. This button lets my camera meter for one area of a photo while letting me focus on another area. Until now your iPhone metered where you were focused allowing for little control of severe lighting etc.  Smugmug offers a lot of neat features, but as a pro this is my favorite.

Mini tantrums

Well it happened. The job I really wanted isn’t mine. I did not make it to round 3. This is not the standard rejection letter or you have great qualifications etc. I had been there more than once and researched the company and begun to picture myself there, so moving on takes a little work. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that when something bad happens, it’s ok to let yourself have the mini tantrum. The mini tantrum allows you to keep your sanity and speed up the grieving process.

The most important thing to remember is that if you keep the anger and disappointment inside, it will only harm you internally. It will build up and cause you to doubt yourself. Sometimes I like the dance it out mini tantrum. I just blare some of my favorite 90’s music and do really bad dances I learned in college. Have you ever seen an angry “Cabbage Patch?” It ain’t pretty! Yesterday I threw the “watching far too many episodes of 24 while eating chocolate and drinking half a bottle of wine” mini tantrum. This is a great quiet tantrum especially when the kids are sleeping! The second part to both of these tantrums is the important need to spill the beans. I shared my frustration with friends and family

If you let out the bad news and share it with friends and colleagues, some amazing things happen. You are instantly surrounded by people who will remind you of how talented you are. The best part is these people are believable because they actually know you! The morning after your mini tantrum, get up have whatever you want for breakfast (cause these calories don’t count after a mini tantrum) and plan a fun activity to celebrate your making it through the dark night.  Today, I will read “The Lorax” at my daughter’s preschool and we will see the movie this afternoon when the girls get home from school. Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday is a great cure for the blues! Lastly, be grateful for having a network of family and friends to lean on. I have a gratitude list on my computer. I add a few things a day. Today I’m grateful for not getting the job, because it was not God’s will.

Monday morning I will be back at the job of finding a job knowing I have a lot to offer and a lot to be grateful for.