sábado, 21 de junio de 2008

Finally Online

Tough months of development and design work are behind our team. With an international team we developed our newest project: Delegate it!
The virtual assistants are now ready to be hired via internet - just like buying from Amazon.
Check www.delegationnation.com and tell me what you think!
You might want to win some time of your life back and get somebody else to get the job done. This is what we are doing.
Looking forward to your comments

martes, 2 de octubre de 2007

Come to Guatemala for some great sail fishing!

I have been out for fishing - great time. For me as an allergic to all sea food it was kind of difficult to understand why I should go fishing. But being introduced to catch and release, spending a day on the boad and fighting with some fish...I consider myself already as addicted... Here some reasons why you should take the opportunity of a fishing trip to Guatemala.

Guatemala has one of the worlds largest concentration of sailfish, the average for fishing is 20 or more sailfish per day, there are opportunities to catch blue marlin, black marlin, tuna and dorado. You can find large pods of sailfish between 2 and 50 miles from port. Which is really no distance at all compared to other spots in the world. You can even enjoy the sight of some dolphins close to shore out of your beach residence.

The best seasons to visit Guatemala for this sport are November to May, but you will still find action all year round; by law, Guatemala mandates the use of circle hooks while billfishing and all billfish are catch and release, both laws are supported by Fishing International.

In front of the Pacific coast of Guatemala it usually doesn't take long to get a sailfish to rise and during the peak fishing season an angler or group of anglers might have several sailfish interested in the teasers and lures at the same time. It is not uncommon to have two (double) or three (triple) sailfish hooked at the same time.

If you like to catch big fish, local sailfish usually weight between 70 to 120 pounds and sometimes go absolutely crazy when they are hooked, they jump, dive, and swim towards and away from the boat, sometimes they try to jump into the boat, you can imagine the maneuvers some sailfish are bound to attempt. When marlin appear, one mate reels in all sailfish lines, the mate in charge of the marlin rod will cast the mackerel into the water while the captain maneuvers the boat closer to the fish, mean while, the angler straps into the fighting chair. Local marlins weight around 350 to 600 pounds and are pretty fast, they dive and jump, and while the angler is reeling in line, figuring out where the fish went, what looks like another marlin jumping off in the distance is actually there fish! You must have a strong grip because they are large strong fish.

Guatemala is catch and release for billfish so any sailfish and marlin you catch will be returned to the sea, photographs will assure anyone the billfish was THIS BIG! If you catch a dorado, it is used to make “Ceviche”, which is a local specialty, or sandwiches and cooked fish are served as lunch, right on board...ok, not for me!

The current record is "over 80 sailfish caught and released in one day". This record was set in February 2003 in Guatemala.

All this adventure isn’t far from the city, a drive from Guatemala city airport to a first class resort with air conditioned rooms, pools, restaurants, etc. takes about 90 minutes. The marina has a restaurant, and a formal dock witch is equipped with a variety of boats such as tiburoneras, panfas, sport fishing yatches, etc.

Here are some links were you can checkout some cool articles of sport fishing in Guatemala:

If you would like to visit Guatemala and do some sport fishing, just call my offices and ask for my assistant Silvia: +502-23810888, leave a message here or send an e-mail to Silvia salburez@officient.biz
She will connect you with some travel providers and give you further information. Have a great time!

lunes, 17 de septiembre de 2007

Colin Powell on Recruiting

Just stumpled over some comments from Colin Powell on Recruiting. When I first listened to him at WCIT 2006, I decided that this man is worth to really listen, too. You should have seen him speaking to an international public, full of chinese, muslim, french and everybody else who wouldn't be imagined to be a fan of a former general and member of the Bush administration... you should have seen the enduring standing ovations after his 1 hour speech... However, this is some important words for everyone who has to hire:

"Powell's Rules for Picking People:”
Look for intelligence and judgment, and most critically,
a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also
look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced
ego, and the drive to get things done.

How often do our recruitment and hiring processes tap into these attributes? More often than not, we ignore them in favor of length of resume, degrees and prior titles. A string of job descriptions a recruit held yesterday seem to be more important than who one is today, what they can contribute tomorrow, or how well their values mesh with those of the organization. You can train a bright, willing novice in the fundamentals of your business fairly readily, but it's a lot harder to train someone to have integrity, judgment, energy, balance, and the drive to get things done. Good leaders stack the deck in their favor right in the recruitment phase.

Right now, I just wonder - and how do I figure this out. Perhaps you guys can help me... What questions to ask? How do you test judgment or integrity? Especially the balanced ego...this is something...how do you know after perhaps a few interviews?

sábado, 15 de septiembre de 2007

3 Steps to Change Management

I know there is more to do about change management, but for today I want to keep it simple and easy to start off. Why Change Management? Any project you are managing, forget about it if you don't drive through a clear and well organized strategy for change management. So what's change management?
This definition is pretty complete: "Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level. A somewhat ambiguous term, change management has at least three different aspects, including: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change. A proactive approach to dealing with change is at the core of all three aspects. For an organization, change management means defining and implementing procedures and/or technologies to deal with changes in the business environment and to profit from changing opportunities."
Ok, proactive and systematic approach! That's the key! Therefore, I propose the following 3 steps:
1. Create feeling of urgency
2. Include, include, include
3. Communicate steadily

1. Create feeling of urgency
If you want to implement or change something, people want to understand why. You must have a real purpose and objective, otherwise it would be a waste of time. Find the true reason for the project, define the external pressure and the internal needs to do something different. Human kind is reluctant to change and without real pressure, nobody is going to change anything about himself or the way he does something. Look for what the competitor is doing, find the problems people have and communicate your project as a solution to this. And that's why:

2. Include, include, include
To learn what you need to change and where you want to go, you must include all the people affected or involved into your project. Include them from the first day, let them know about your thinking. But first of all, try to understand what their needs are and what they would want to be changed. Make them part of the solution, listen actively and use the recommendations people make. Thank for the work and have them participate in as many steps as possible. Basically, make them owners of the solution. And therefore:

3. Communicate steadily
Have a plan. Send regularly e-mails to all stakeholders explaining the project advance. Schedule meetings with areas and explain status as well as next steps to the implementation of something new. If we are talking about huge organizations or huge changes with many people involved, Coffee Breaks are a great tool. Group them up shortly after lunch, give a 5-10 minute presentation about the project and listen actively to all doubts and comments. Respond to questions openly and just be there. You cannot close yourself into a project office and wait for the change to happen, you have to be out there where the change will happen! Use each and every opportunity to remind people of the need to make this project successful, get their feedback and involve them actively in the solution finding and implementation process.

In future posts more about building a key team, other communication tools and the fun of managing such a project. Are you involved in a change process? Where you affected by change? What did you learn? What were the problems? Please comment and let us know about it.
And don't forget to follow the interesting links proposed on the right side...there might be something more about change management...

martes, 4 de septiembre de 2007

Shared Services - Let's talk about it

Some news in my life: By today I am heading a project to implement Shared Services in our oldstyle, but very sustainable succesful organisation. Do people know what's awaiting them? I don't think so. Should people be afraid? I don't think so.
What's shared services? For me, it's the scoping and reengineering of former internal staff departments...something that had be part of the company but was never received as the extra value. Outsourcing and Shared Services has clearly shown that you can achieve huge benefits for employees as well as for shareholders of an organisation. All comes back to "Execution". How do I as a company excecute not only on sales and operations side, but within in my back, middle and front office. How do I motivate the stakeholders who don't have a direct touch on the product or the customer. How do they see themselves and set objectives to perform to their best possibilities.
We will go a widely proven and many times implemented road. In no case, we should forget about people's feelings, needs and motivators when taking decisions. The clear communication will be key as well as the focus on building a better workplace for everybody. This will allow the shareholders to see the returns on their investments they expect. As a more than 100 year old corporation we have some very special situations; situations which must be handled by smart and forward looking managers. I am looking forward to work with a team of some of the best people we have to really implement something sustainable for the corporation.
Do you have experiences with Shared Services? Have you been "outsourced"? What are and were the learning you had on your road to success in Shared Services? I would like to read some comments on failures and successes you have experienced...

Keep you posted!

lunes, 6 de agosto de 2007

Business Location Outsourcing - This is the future Trend

The World is Flat, Four Hour Work Week, Outsourcing, Business Process Partnership, Drop Shipping, Work-Life-Balance all comes back to one major solution - this is what we are dedicated to at Officient: Business Location Outsourcing. We are one year old, growing fast and haven't yet clearly comunicated this new term in the business world. Business Location Outsourcing - BLO - is more complete than most concepts before. To sum it up in one phrase: Just start your business, but don't be there, let just somebody else manage and run it for you.
I am posting this tonight, to be able to one day in the future really proof that it was us to be the first one on the market.
Ok, coming back. Why Business Location Outsourcing and not Business Process Outsourcing? Let's quickly define Business Process Outsourcing: BPO is the contracting of a specific business task, such as payroll, to a third party service provider (Wikipedia). This is helpful for big business with specialized processes and needs. For a small company or a start-up entrepreneur it is impossible to even negotiate with companies offering this service. The cost of negotiation becomes that high that you better do it the old fashioned way.
Business Location Outsourcing on the other handside is the one stop shopping for all the services you need to start a company. With the flat world we live in today, there is no reason why your phone shouldn't be attended by professionals at the other end of the world. Furthermore, there is no reason why you shouldn't trust the management, hiring, payroll, billing, etc. to specialists who already run a few companies. With BLO you have the solution to bring in the idea, the rather small investment into an already funcioning organization which will ensure your business success.
Any questions? Just leave me a message here - I will be adding on this down the road.

sábado, 4 de agosto de 2007

3 Reasons to learn languages for Business Success

While reading the must read blog of Tim Ferris I stumbled over a Wittgenstein quote: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Being German, living in Guatemala and thinking major parts of my wake time in English I really want to add on this.Words have always been a diferentiator. Social classes in every country speak different, little villages with few miles distance differentiate each other for minor dialect changes, priests used to preach in Latin and the current pope revives this - who cares that the "sheep" don't understand Latin. (Some more on my last side comment here)Coming to language in business.
English is the common business language. Even though you speak Spanish, German or whatever other mother tongue, consultants coming to your business will talk about: Balanced Scorecard, Lean Manufacturing, Reengineering, Key Success Factors, etc. Everybody uses more English in Business than people actually recognize. Especially Germans just take over the English vocabulary in their common German like they did with French in past centuries.

Therefore, the number one reason for language skills in Business is: You have to speak Business English. Even native speakers have to learn to speak Business English, pretty much like everybody else. You don't? You are easily recognized as not experienced, limited capacity or just off topic. For great training just check International Business Academy

Number two reason: Communication is key. The commonly trained communication principle "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" is some of the most complicated skills ever. Active Listening, interpretation and reiteration if understood cost discipline and self-control. By knowing several languages and cultural difference you make your life much easier. There are key words in every language which send you the message about the feelings and the objectives of the other speaker. Some key words Guatemalans use are "Fijase que" and "pena" - I will explain these words in a later blog, but by hearing these words in Guatemala you know that there is a problem, not a solution. If an american business person uses the word "bottomline" than you know that now is the moment to really understand what he wants to say. I believe great communication skills are a major asset of successful people. You can work on your communication skills by actively listening and writing, less by talking. In future blogs more on this one, too.

Last by not least: A portfolio of options is better than a single investment. Simply, if you have more words to use in whatever language you have a better probability of success. Let me put it like this: If you are a call center operator in Guatemala and speak only spanish your salary will be about 300$/month. If you speak English you will easily make 500$ and more. If you apply for a job in Germany, you are highly qualified but the other applicants speaks English...he gets the job. And in whatever difficult situation of communication, conflict or business you will always have more bullets to shoot back. By learning another language you will always advance all your skills on the same time.

If there are any language learners out there reading this while struggeling with advancing their individual skills, I hope these reasons give you some more motivation. My bottomline is that whatever language you learn and how hard it might be, for sure, you are not loosing your time - you always advance as a person. This will always help to be successful in your life.