Rule #2 – There is always more money there is never more time – reposted

I originally posted this in November 2010, but as it is formally rule #2, it will follow rule #1.

The phrase ‘time is money’ holds evermore true in the global economy where time zones have been removed as constraints to commerce. Even in our global depressed economy there is not fair balance between time and money.

Regardless, of your time management techniques, methodologies or process discipline you cannot –

  • Create
  • Save
  • Make
  • Manage
  • or Control

TIME.

Anyone who professes to, is comparable to someone saying they can change the past or make a pitcher throw a strike in the instead of walking that first batter in the bottom of the ninth. Sorry, a distraction there regarding the current playoffs. However, you can create, save, make, manage and control MONEY. You can use what money you have now to make more. You can use save the money you have now to use later. But, most importantly, you can use money to have an activity take less time by getting the right expertise, quantity of staff or tools. So, to restart – there is NEVER more time, but there is ALWAYS more money. Yes, even now.

The value of time – 

This statement about money and time, I have used during my career to help guide me on decisions. Whether the decision regarded hiring, firing, budget allocations or what client to work for or not. It is part of my value system. If you do utilize this value statement as I have, you must accept the following explanation of the statement.

What is money? In business, money is the item we use to exchange for our goods or services. Money can be cash, receivables (billed, not paid), a credit line, an asset, a loan or an investment. The business invests all of the previous lists of money in people, facilities, equipment, raw materials, services to vendor and taxes, of course. These investments are planned, analyzed, considered, debated, refined, measured and tracked to grow a business. At times, the investments may be to forestall a competitive advance or meet a government or industry compliance requirement.

Even if the investment decision is to meet a compliance requirement, it is still made and the money spent to help the business grow, as begrudgingly as the money is spent on this compliance, it does so to allow it to continue to grow. The balance between the money spent and the growth achieved is the challenge every business struggles to be on the positive side. Tracking, measuring, forecasting, budgeting, banking, reporting and so on all about money. Upwards of 80% of a businesses reports are configured to report currency. How much money did we spend, get back in return (ROI) and/or what advantage did the money deliver.

Now what is time? Regardless of business or non-business, time is only the now or later. Today or tomorrow, this week or next, this year or 10 years from now are other ways to say it. But, they all mean now or later. We could get into Einstein’s theories on time, but for me there is right now or later. Time can be measured and tracked. The amount of time can be planned, analyzed, considered, debated, and refined. Some investment of time is always needed when there is an investment in money.

However, this where the large difference in money and time, time and money comes to light.

You have up to 80% of reporting in a business regarding money, that leaves only 20% for time, but in truth time reporting is 5% or less. The other 15% is made up of reports on material, people or facility quantities. So with all this attention, prioritization and focus on money, does business consider time as a major component of their decision making?

Most do not consider time as a major component, more as an afterthought. To use my value statement of ‘There is always more money, never more time’, a business must make time more than an afterthought.

More money can be made, found, borrowed, heck even stolen

Legal Disclaimer – I do not recommend, condone or suggest that stealing is acceptable, ethical or something you should do – so no blaming me for getting caught

, but time cannot be made, found, borrowed or stolen. The phase ‘make more time’ is false. An allocation or assignment of more future (later) time is possible. But, a there is no way to make or give more time. This is the important basis to use this statement as part of your value system in making decisions.

The final point here is that spending the correct amount of money, on the correct material or service at the correct point in time can reduce the amount of later time a business uses to attain some growth. A project the business decides to spend money on and to hire expert consultants to perform part of the project, reducing the ‘later’ time the project will take to deliver the return on the money investment or a business decides to spend more with a local supplier to ensure ‘later’ time deliveries have a higher likelihood of on time delivery. The important part here is to create metrics and reporting that validate that the ‘later’ time was saved based on what you value time as, thus back to money. Time is worth money and money is worth time – a business needs to consider both equally.

What do I want to say – that spending money is almost always worth it if you can reduce future ‘later’ time.

What do I want to people to do – start considering time more when they make decisions, especially on where to spend money. How much ‘later’ time will this money save if I spend it now versus spending it when ‘later’ comes.

Especially, when you consider a proposal and decide to cut a component of the proposal to make the proposal fit into a money constraint. Take the time to consider what that reduction means when the future comes around and you may need to spend that small amount of money you cut anyway. Yes, you may not have had to spend any more money, but I would put a dollar of my money over a minute of my time that decision cost you twice as much time.

Time is just as easy to track as money.

Ask yourself how much of your decision making data includes time oriented information.

Some other thoughts by others on time vs money –

thinksimplenow

Marketing Wharton School

Forbes

Advertisements

Rule #1 ask forgiveness instead of permission

Attributed to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, amongst other grand achievements is a pioneer in the programming world starting with COBOL creation.    

In short, the key to high performing teams is following this rule.

There are two sides of this rule. The employee side side should understand that when when you are asking management to grant permission you are asking them to accept partial responsibility for your specific actions the permission is granting. Now, you might say, that a manager is always responsible for an employee’s actions. Very true, yet by asking for permission your are forcing a manager to be comforted with that reality. Somewhat similar to a person realizing they are a Dad or Mom the first time they here a baby crying and realize they are in responsible for soothing their baby.

Up to that point the manager/Dad or Mom always knew they were responsible, but suddenly it is real.

Whereas, asking a manager for forgiveness actually caters to their ego. For asking for permission is requiring them to accept responsibility, asking for forgiveness allows them to be benevolent and merciful. You, in effect are bowing to their hierarchical power over you. Feeding the ego strongly this does.

This is all well and good, but a manager can use this rule to a more important end then stroking their ego. It can support a culture change from risk avoidance to smart risk taking.

The rule of ask forgiveness, instead of permission is an incentive for staff to overcome a fear of failure. Part of staff’s fear is having to ask permission and defend verbally to a superior why they want to do something. No matter how warm and fuzzy a boss you may be, having to defend course of action in a culture of risk avoidance is scary and along with risk, avoided.

So that is the first part of fear, is having to go ask the boss about it. The second part is the fear of taking action. Covering yourself by having your manager approve your actions slows down execution and can be a killer when you are dealing with customer problems, product/service launches or testing new ideas.

For a manager who wishes to have a high performing team, you need team members who you can delegate responsibility too and a key to developing that capability is that the team feels safe and free to take action. You need a culture of risk takers to have that high performing team.

Yes, you will have those staff who abuse the rule. You should be corrective actioning those members off your team as they are counter productive in other areas as well.

The one codicil    to this rule is the magnitude level. If a team member performs an action and said action has a large NEGATIVE dollar impact to the bottom line, say 6 figures or more, than realistically they are gone. Make the team aware of this codicil.

Book Review – Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

I purchased this book in an attempt at my previous position as CIO to find

new techniques to motivate a staff that was from 4 different generations.  In

the end, I discovered more about my motivations than theirs, but while it is

not an easy read with broad and complex concepts, they are described well.

 

 

 

 

 

  • For-benefit organizations or B Corporations page 25
    • This seems out of place at first, but when you understand what are the new motivating factors for people, especially the newer generations B Corporations are very attractive to those 20 and early 30 year olds.
  • Carrots and Sticks: The Seven Deadly Flaws page 59
    • The thinking of offering carrots (even without sticks) is flawed in that it states that your impact is worth X.  The worth of the impact is on the impact, not the X dollar reward.
  • Flow page 115
    • This concept is discussed deeply, but in short that feeling of being in the zone when things come easily, the day goes quickly and you feel successful.  It is attainable more than by just fate.
  • Performance vs Learning goals page 122
    • Flies in the face of  ‘those who do, do, those who can’t teach’.  Those who can learn, do more than just that singular task, but translate that learned goal to cross purposes.
  • Effort when there is no ‘flow’ page 125
    • Another book (Pinstripes Principles) has a quote – ‘you do not have to have talent to give 100% effort’.  In Drive the quote is – ‘Effort means you care about something’.  Effort is what you do when talent is not there and should be recognized as being more successful than when the talent is all there.
  • Value something, you attain it – now what? Page 143
    • This was a point which had the ‘a HA’ moment for me as I attained something that I wanted, several things actually and through well I got it, now I should be happy.  Nope, misplaced values.  I had already realigned myself, but this cleared up why I had to.
  • Toolkit for working yourself and your team through this – page 152
    • There are several toolkits here for individual and team, parents and so on.

I use this book to check step my work with teams of people whether it be in my volunteer activities or work, along with my own life.  But, predominately it is to see if when I find a person who is not motivated to give me insight into why and what, if anything, I can do.

ERP additional perspective on 2011 activities in relation to ERP (still not Enterprise Resource Planning)

Moves to the cloud 

Maybe your company has that CRM package that is cloud based, I have no doubt your fellow employees are using Google Docs or some other cloud based sharing program.  So, it comes now for many companies to decide on the ERP upgrade or replacement.  Are you comfortable moving to the cloud?  What would worry me –

–       how reliable is my ISP and can I expand the bandwidth to keep up with the performance requirements

–       what staffing changes will I need to make to move from application/server administration to vendor management

–       am I ready to change to focus more on contract metrics to hold my vendor accountable to said metrics

Your choices

SAP Oracle
Netsuite Intacct
Plex Acumatica
Epicor  

Coming soon to a cloud near you is Microsoft’s offering of their Dynamics product line.  Not until 2012 and the NAV first with the others I assume to follow.  

Do I recommend one over another?  I will answer that based this –

If you have one of the above or other ERP/CRM/etc. that now offers a cloud solution, seriously look at that as your first option.

If you are one of those wonderful companies who has by some happenstance found yourself with multiple ERP’s and wish in your dream of dreams consolidate to one ERP.  Well then, good luck as I snicker and walk away.

No, no, that is not right.  That was mean spirited of me and I do apologize.  Still snickering, yes, but feeling very very guilty about it.  Consolidating is the right thing to do if you have one company, with very common business processes and an organization that has strategically agreed that improved common business processes will deliver significant top or bottom line impact.  If that is not the case, that could be a bit of a problem.

Book Review – Chief Performance Officer

Let me start by stating I know the author (Tony Politano) and consider him a friend, so add what you feel is appropriate bias to my review here.   

The book was given to me some 12 years ago, so this review is long in coming.  Let me state it is not a quick read as the concepts take more than one pass over to get a grasp of and for me a couple of meetings with Tony to sink them in my thick Irish/German skull.

  • Data Understanding & Availability page 14
    • The fact that most executives make decisions on their business looking at data that is readily available versus highly intelligent and actionable information is compelling.
  • Top Down vs. Bottom Up vs. Middle Out page 17
    • How when we look at information that is less than readily available data can provide a variable impact on decision-making.  Most organizations look Top Down only.  Think of Bottom Up or Middle Out as the 80/20 rule for BI.  You can have 80% of the good information you need to make decisions while only looking at 20% of the data.
  • Data Proliferation without Splashing page 25
    • This is the part you need to read more than once to truly get, and I recommend spending time with Tony to fully get it.  Well worth it.
  • The Driver, Mechanic and Buyer
    • Here Tony will cringe as I skip over the bulk of the book.  These three types of data users and the decisions they will make can help you categorize your BI in what the ‘briefing books’ Tony describes.

This book I return to anytime I am working on or asked for advice on a business intelligence project.  The concepts take BI reporting to the level that data is truly intelligent information.  Not just a sales report, but also an actionable graphic on customer behavior and the impact on your growth and so on.  Read it once.  Then again.

If it is something you feel you need to explore more reach out to Tony through his site.

If you wonder what a CPO is – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Performance_Officer_of_the_United_States

 

Cost of telecommunications / ISP going up – who gets hurt

In this article from the Washington Post they describe how AT&T last year ended their unlimited data plan and in July 2011 Verizon will do the same.  It has been talked about, put in place in Canada, charging by usage for internet download/upload service.

While the article describes the impact consumers, that ‘an hour of streaming will breach the basic 2 GB cap’ and how the FCC and Congress are discussing ways to require carriers to notify consumers when they are approaching their cap.  The impact to this are SAAS services.

Those consumer services like Hulu and Fancast – my favorites for watching TV when I want to along with my all time favorite MLB.TV which offers the best package ever.  With Yankee games averaging 3.5 hours, I could use my cap up on one game per month.

Then there are the business services where they have just started to plop iPads and other tablets all over their organizations.  How will that impact their use of Salesforce.com, MySAP or Google docs?

The article does not touch on that impact and it should.  Because I would bet real money that many CIO’s, VP’s of IT and other leaders in IT have not planned the budget impact in 2011, 2012 or beyond for quadrupling of their telecom / ISP cost tied to these cloud services.  I am an advocate of moving to the cloud, but calculate into the cost reductions what would happen if your access to those cloud services – doubles, triples or more likely quadruples in the next 3 years.

 

Is planning poor or planning not desired any longer due to due to ready availability of everything

20 years ago most of us had to have a weekly shopping trip to get groceries as the stores where not open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

 

 

 

20 years ago we had to plan a trip to the bank, as ATM’s could perform minimum transactions and most did not trust them for deposits.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 years ago if you needed new clothes, shoes, books and so on – you had to schedule a trip to those stores around those stores limited hours.

The impact on the lack of ready availability requiring planning on other activities – throwing a party, performing some home improvement, and doing a job search.

My thought that has entered my head and bounced around is — the fact that you needed to plan in your daily lives back 20 years ago had an impact on how your were able to plan and execute in your work life?  Leading to the thought that the fact you do not need to plan as much in your daily life due to readily available almost everything impacted our culture, our lives in a way that has reduced our planning ability and as such is affecting business planning.

Planning definition – http://www.opm.gov/perform/plan.asp

Is this somewhat generational with Y Gens taking their outspoken, bold thinking, sense of self-worth and combining that with the culture of not needing to plan?

Will the Z Gens who multi-task at a level that makes Y, never mind X Gens heads spin be productive, but only in environments that are reactive, not proactive planning focused organizations?

The impact on supplier companies is staggering when you consider that the generations coming into power in business organizations expect that all of their suppliers are readily able to deliver on the a varying level of demand within hours, perhaps days, but definitely unacceptable is weeks or months.

How will projects of various lengths be impacted?

Will all projects have to be short term as the ability to plan multiple stages over several months and years become almost impossible for the culture to conceive?

Will poor planning continue to be the bain of projects ?

We are talking about the next step for NASA is Mars.   It was in 1963 that the President issued that directive that the USA be the first to the moon.  6 years later, after what could have been the end of his second term it happened.  I wonder how the current evolving culture would accomplish a task that took 6 years to plan and execute.

 

 

 

I see it today in businesses that are no longer talking 5 or 7-year strategies, but 2 and 3-year strategic plans.  See this article in the Wall Street Journal stating that the downturn changed the view of how we run our business.  Is it just the down turn or the culture too?

 

Is this all just are business world changing so rapidly?

I wonder, how much an impact that the lack of the need to plan much of our daily lives has on the lack of the ability / desire to plan longer term for our business lives.

I wonder if this is a bad thing.  My education says it is, but my gut says it is part of our evolution.