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Trust July 26, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell, The Daily Grind.
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Dad likes to say that when it comes to placing his trust in the people he hires, he does so either completely or not at all.

That’s it. Either a person is trusted or (s)he’s not. There’s no in between, no such thing as “I trust them seventy percent of the time”, no room for “I trust you, but…”

He’s right of course.

I came up with the graphic above while thinking about this. No particular reason; I just thought it captured the concept succinctly.

Would also look good on a T-shirt, methinks.

Balanced Budget July 23, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell, The Daily Grind.
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Or to put it simply:

  1. Don’t spend, if you can avoid it.
  2. Spend within your means, if you must spend at all.
  3. Spend wisely by spending on what you need.

Easy in theory, but often hard to do in practice.

Maybe the Pufferfish Ate It [The Internet Is Down] July 17, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell, Technology.
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Twitter has a fail whale. Meanwhile, URL-shortening service Bit.ly has…a pufferfish to blame when one of their links goes a little bit haywire.

“Maybe one of the pufferfish ate it.”  Well, he does look a little hungry…

[Confused about The Internet is Down? Then read my post on the whale.]

Why Nobody Likes You July 14, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Show and Tell.
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Just because I feel a little mean today, I dedicate this to all the small-minded people I have ever met. For embodying those two traits so well, this one’s for you.

(With deep admiration for Jessica Hagy’s Webby-worthy work at Indexed. Is it obvious it’s on my RSS pull list? I came up with this one on my own, though.)

All of the Above July 2, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Show and Tell.
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I don’t consider myself particularly religious, but I do try to do right by my Catholic upbringing. In that respect, whenever I go to hear mass, I look forward to getting some time to think and reflect upon what’s going on in my life.

Sometimes, however, I find it hard to do just that. I kneel down to pray and realize I don’t even know where to begin. In those instances, maybe out of frustration if not resignation, my default starting point is “All of the Above.”

Oddly enough, it helps. For me anyway. When it does, the momentary peace that comes over me makes me realize what a wonderful and powerful thing it is to have faith.

When It All Comes Together June 5, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Presentations, Show and Tell.
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Just doing some visual thinking: what else is an amazing presentation other than when great content is coupled with sound design and solid delivery?

As for the other intersections, I humbly submit that:

CONTENT + DELIVERY = SPEECH

CONTENT + AESTHETIC = ART

AESTHETIC + DELIVERY = ADVERTISING

(I kid! But it does make a strange amount of sense.)

I’ve Got Presentation on My Mind June 2, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books, Presentations, Show and Tell.
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Clearly, I think about presentations a wee bit more than might be healthy. That said, this is one awesome reading list.

Life Balance Sheet May 21, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Show and Tell, The Daily Grind.
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Click the image to embiggen. Just a little something that came to mind. I’d say it’s worth thinking about.

I’m not an accountant, so if anyone has suggestions how to improve it (besides working on my handwriting), let me know.

Blame the Computer [The Internet is Down] May 12, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell, Technology.
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Quirky! Love the Bobblehead. And yes, blame the computer whydontcha?

This one from Vanity Fair online comes courtesy of supergirlhero13, whose birthday also happens to be today! Happy Birthday!

[Confused about The Internet is Down? Then check out the whale.]

Willing and Able May 3, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Show and Tell, The Daily Grind.
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My dad likes to use the above diagram when he gets philosophical about hiring and working with people. It’s not too hard to figure out, but it is a helpful framework for businesses.

Strictly speaking, dad has only two criteria for hiring: a.) he must like the candidate in question and b.) the candidate must be capable of doing the job. After all, there’s no point hiring someone you don’t want to work with, and if the person can’t get the job done anyway, pretty soon you won’t much like him/her.

Having said that, evaluating a person’s performance boils down to both attitude and aptitude; that is to say, their willingness and ability to do what they were hired to do. As the diagram describes, people tend to fall into any one of the four categories:

  • Willing and Able. These are the best people to work with and, by definition, are or can be assets to the organization, and thus are very much worth keeping. (Top-left box.)
  • Unwilling and Unable. Yes, there are such people. Let’s face it: sometimes people apply for a job they don’t particularly want or aren’t even qualified for. Whatever the reason, these kinds of people should be avoided at all costs; but if they happen to make their way into an organization, odds are they won’t last for long. (Bottom-right box.)
  • Able yet Unwilling. Some people are very talented and quite qualified, yet just don’t have the motivation to do a job well, if at all. (Top-right box.)
  • Willing yet Unable. On the other hand, there are those who simply do not have the skill set required to get the job done, yet are deeply committed to trying as hard as they can.

Of the four, the first two are the easiest to pass judgment on. Managers should hire and work to keep people that are willing and able; meanwhile, it’s inevitable that anyone unwilling and unable will fall by their own weight at some point.

However, the hardest to pass judgment on are the “yets”: the able yet unwilling and the willing yet unable. Consider the former: it’s tempting to think that with the right attitude adjustment or the right incentives (carrot or stick), such individuals might still be useful to an organization. This may work for a time. But at some point it will be much more attractive to simply look for persons willing and able to do the job rather than pull teeth working with someone able yet unwilling.

On the other hand, willing yet unable people are a conundrum. Such individuals can be the most committed and the most motivated to the organization but have are unfortunately outclassed (or Peter-principled) and fumble the tasks they’re assigned. Can they be trained to be better? Maybe, or at least up to a point. They’re like the walking wounded (as dad calls them): though raring for battle, sometimes it’s for their own good to stay on the sidelines.

Of course, there’s a larger point to all this. Inasmuch as the above is a useful framework for managers to evaluate staff or job candidates, it is equally useful to ask ourselves the question: in which box do we belong?