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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The 7 Pillars of Connecting With Absolutely Anyone

The 7 Pillars of Connecting With Absolutely Anyone

1. Be genuine. The only connections that work will be the ones that you truly care about; the world will see through anything short of that. If you don’t have a genuine interest in the person with whom you’re trying to connect, then stop trying.

2. Provide massive help. Even the biggest and most powerful people in the world have something they’d like help with. Too many people never reach out to those above them due to the fear that they wouldn’t be able to offer anything in return. But you have more to offer than you realize: write an article or blog post about them, share their project with your community, offer to spread their message through a video interview with them. Give real thought to who you could connect them with to benefit their goals. If it turns out you can’t be that helpful, the gesture alone will stand out.

3. Pay ridiculous attention. It’s nearly impossible to genuinely offer help if you don’t pay attention — I mean real attention, not just to what business they started or what sport they like! Do your research by reading blog posts, books and articles about the connection beforehand. Learn about their backgrounds and passions. Invest genuine time in learning what really matters to them and how you can help.

4. Connect with people close to them. Most job openings are filled through networking and referrals, and making connections is no different. You automatically arrive with credibility when referred to someone you want to meet by a mutual friend. For example, I recently wanted to meet a best-selling author, and it turned out we had the same personal trainer. In reality, that fact means nothing, but in the world of social dynamics, it’s gold! Spend more time connecting with your current network of friends and colleagues and see where it leads.

5. Persistence wins most battles. If you can’t get a direct referral, simply click send on that email or leave a message after the beep. But do not stop there, as most the world tends to. The first attempt is just the very beginning. Realize that the first try may get you nowhere, but the fifth or the tenth tries are the ones that start to yield results. An unreturned email or voicemail doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with you. It’s your job to be persistent! I sometimes get hundreds of requests in a day from readers who want to connect, but only about 2 percent ever follow up. Don’t be in a hurry, but don’t be invisible either.

6. Make real friends. Think about how you’ve made the friends you have. That’s all this is. You only make friends with people you genuinely want in your life. The same rule should go for bigger-name connections. Don’t over-think it. Be human, be helpful and most humans will happily be human in return, regardless of who they are.

7. Remain unforgettable. All of the above are simple — yet sadly underused — ways of standing out. Send birthday cards. Mail your favorite book with a signed personal note from you on the inside flap. Send them your family Christmas card. Be genuinely helpful. You’d be surprised how the simplest things actually never get done. Being memorable isn’t as hard as some think!

It all comes back to helping others. If you spent 100 percent of your waking hours thinking about how you can help absolutely everyone you come in contact with — from the woman who makes your latte, to the top authority in your industry — you will find everything else tends to take care of itself. The world will suddenly be in your corner.

Scott Dinsmore - 'Live your legend' coaching company wrote this and I think it has nailed the concept of connecting with people really well ! Thanks to Toby Woolfe for putting me onto this...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pitfalls of being a 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion' the Trendy Mainframe

As the Kinks sang in 1966 a 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion' can be found "eagerly pursuing all the latest fads and trends" now whilst Vogue and GQ will tell us in their advert laden publications that is the way for us to tailor (excuse the pun) our attire as the seasons progress, taking the same approach to IT decisions is fraught with danger.  Let me elaborate on my point.

On average a CIO has a tenure just longer than a presidential term, namely 5-years according to research, details of which can be found at:

The first year as CIO is the honeymoon. The second year is about strategy and planning, and the third year is about implementing. In the fourth year they (the higher-ups) figure out that the execution isn't going that well, and in the fifth year, you start looking for your next job.  So whilst it tempting for a CIO to back the latest fad and trend early in their tenure and look to make this their signature project, according to the research this approach does not appear to be serving CIO's well, assuming they want a job longer than 5-years that is...

The old IT maxim was that "you won't get fired for buying IBM", now this largely holds true as big Blue's list of 'bad' products over the years has been pretty small compared to it's peers, but it appears to this Blogger at least that it is still just about perceived as fashionable to move away from the mainframe.  

The rationale for this from most of my conversations with mainframe shops is that the mainframe is massively visible on IT cost reports and therefore attracts undue attention and typically not positively.  Now whilst on one level this makes 'sense' if you just drill down and scratch the surface then this simple rationale is fatally flawed.  Just because the mainframe is a single line item on a spreadsheet does not make it the least cost effective.  How hard is it to group all the x86 costs and UNIX costs into one-line item and compare them platform-by-platform.  When we did this analysis within a large UK retail bank the analysis showed that 97% of the banks IT logic ran on the mainframe and that it represented only 7% of the total IT budget.  To take a personnel approach in another of my clients their entire IT staff numbers 700 people, while only 14 of these work on the mainframe.

Lets take an alternative look, a large retail bank in the UK has for the last 5-6 years been looking to migrate off their mainframe platform to a more fashionable COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) application.  The previous CIO (are you seeing the trend yet) embarked on this high profile project convinced he could remove the single largest item on his cost spreadsheet.  Well with the help of our DeLorean we can move forward to the latest press release on this project:

Where the bank decides to stay on the mainframe as it's strategic platform and mothball the reputedly £600m+ 'investment' it has made in trying to get off the mainframe.

Now I am not saying that everybody should remain on their current hardware platform and every IT shop needs progress and cost reduction initiatives, IT Execs need to be sure and damned sure they are making financially sound well thought through business driven decisions rather than following the latest trend.  Only then in this Bloggers view will they look to get the career stability at least some of them crave...

Keen to get your insight so post your comments below or ping me @StevenDickens3 or jst post using the hashtag #mainframedebate