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Photo Credit: Civility 2 (CC BY 2.0) by gabrieleventi
When Asking for Help, Be Super Courteous

When Asking for Help, Be Super Courteous

This is common sense, but I do not see it frequent enough. When asking for help, be extremely courteous and polite to the person who provides the help. I know this is a shocking thought but bear with me for a moment.

It is common for me to spend a significant amount of time in various technical forums. I do not believe in reinventing the wheel when it comes to resolving a problem. 95% of all technical issues are not new. I prefer to spend my time researching the problem instead of getting frustrated by doing random troubleshooting steps.

The anonymity of the Internet has never been known to bring out the very best in people. How people talk with others online is shocking. Why take frustrations out on the very people who are trying to help? Especially, when they are doing so at no charge. I was researching a problem with WordPress and was reading support postings for various themes. Luckily for me, the solution was found in about 30 minutes of searching. However, the experience left me disappointed at how many times I read users making demands, lashing out, and having unreasonable expectations of developers.

The developers are giving these products away for free. Again, these are free services. Why are people so demanding that developers turn code changes around in a day or two? They are not paying these people anything. Furthermore, the users’ attitude and demands lower the chances the developers will continue responding. Some of the threads had great dialogues where the developers were very active in their support. When the user became demanding, the developer simply stopped responding. I do not fault the developers at all.

If you want someone to do something for you at no cost, then extreme courteousness and politeness are needed.

Be accommodating to the support provider’s schedule. These people have day jobs, other obligations, and families. Remember, a significant number are doing the development work out of the kindness of their heart. Be nice, be thankful, and be appreciative of all the great work these developers do at no charge.

I would like to thank the developer of my theme, Falguni. It is excellent code, and she is super responsive in the forms. Plug-in authors Automattic, Michael Torbert, John Godley, Frederick Townes and Pankaj Jha, Thank You for all the considerable work!  As a member of the community, you do great work, and it is incredibly appreciated. Of course, none of this would be possible without the incredible job from the team of developers at

Be polite, be courteous, and be grateful.

Photo Credit: Byrne
Screwed up at work or ??? A simple plan to help with the recovery process

Screwed up at work or ??? A simple plan to help with the recovery process

We all make mistakes and screw up from time-to-time.  As imperfect humans, we must accept that there will be inevitable errors. Instead of going into a panic mode after-the-fact, some focus should be spent on minimizing the opportunities for errors and developing a generic recovery strategy.

Preparing a generic and adaptable plan in advance allows the focus to be on the resolution and recovery processes instead of the distractions that arise from confusion, dodging blame, or a thinly veiled attempt at a C.Y.A. maneuver.

I tend not to make small or frequent blunders.  I save all the goodwill I generate from being a consistent performer for the bigger mistakes that I make from time-to-time.  Recovering from these errors provides me an opportunity to improve my leadership skills, learn valuable life lessons, and strengthen relationships through a sincere rebuilding effort.

When a serious misstep occurs, I follow a few key guidelines that reduce the damage while maximizing the chances for possible relationship gains.

Take Full Responsibility

  • Admit and Apologize: This takes the gas out of anyone attacking or seeking to play up the failure through a nefarious blame game. Most people consider it unfair to attack someone who has taken full responsibility and given a deep personal apology.
  • We must show authentic levels of remorse without giving excuses for the outcome or our conduct.
  • Accept the consequences of our actions with grace and maturity

Establish Open Lines of Communications

  • Complete an effective postmortem of the situation and your conduct. Bring in stakeholders and the concerned parties for private individual feedback sessions. Once complete, share the results. Open and honest communication is critical. Do not compound the problem by trying to keep things in the dark as it never works out in the end.

Correct the Mistake

  • Some errors cannot be rectified, but many can be made improved. This may take some creative thinking, but search out how best to make it right.  Remember, making it right must be from the perspective of the wronged party.  What is “right and fair” to you, may feel like a further wrong from their perspective.
  • If proper for the circumstance, compensate the affected parties.

Work to Reestablish Trust

  • Seek outside help and perspective from mentors and an executive coach to help deepen your understanding of the impact on others and how to address the personal underlying issues.
  • Create a mitigating plan that lowers the risk of a future occurrence. This even goes when the mistake is personal such a public confrontation. The plan should be shared as well. Keep people informed and close.  It helps greatly with rebuilding trust.
  • Be open to more feedback sessions as people may need to express their feeling multiple times before they are able to accept and forgive.

Even significant mistakes do not have to be the end of the world or a career. Obviously, this excludes things such as criminal conduct and huge moral lapses in judgment.  Most times when people have a lapse in judgment or make a mistake, it is recoverable.  How we choose to address these events and its impact on others is critical to our growth and long-term success.

Photo Credit: Groenmen
So Many Cords – Where is Wireless Charging??

So Many Cords – Where is Wireless Charging??

I was just picking up around the house and noticed just how many darn power cords we use. We are a gadget-based household; I am a techie to say the least. We have smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, music players, and every other conceivable electronic device ever made under the sun.

I just collected everything and plugged them all into charge; we must have 12+ power cords. I have a total of five (5) different connectors on these devices.  One connector would be outstanding, but how about the world standardize on two (2) or three (3)?  These devices are spread throughout the house, so you do not realize just how many you have. I feel as if I may need to build an ultimate charging shelf to keep all this straight.  Challenge – Go and Collect all of your devices and cords.  How many do you have?

I KNOW in a couple more years wireless charging will be the standard. IT CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH! I do look forward to the time when I can walk in, toss my devices down, and know they are getting charged. Besides, how is that children seem to eat power chargers like Tic Tacs? It is crazy! I think that I should start assigning them a home.  Funny, I never thought about tracking my power cords before, but it might save me a trip or two to Verizon to replace the wondering power cords.

Enough…back to the to-do list…

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Read More by Listening

Read More by Listening

I love to read, but it is nearly impossible to read as much as I wish.  Between professional and personal obligations, there is not enough hours during a day.  Unfortunately, the volume of brand new material released every year does not allow me to see my reading list dwindle very far.  For every book I knock off the list, it seems like I add two or three new ones to take its place.  This does not even account for the material that I want to read a second or third time.

We all have dreaded commutes and repetitious physical activity time such as working out in the gym.  I am an advocate for using this time to listen to books.  I find driving or working out on cardio equipment is a perfect time to help knock down that reading list.  While I certainly enjoy listening to an audio book, I do not do it all the time.  I find that if I listen to audio books too frequently that I will usually begin to daydream and let my mind wander off the material.  So I cycle between listening to music and listening to audio books.  Usually, it is two weeks of listening to books to one week of listening to music.

When I am in a more audio book focused mindset, I knock out an additional 20 books a year by simply using the time in my car or working out in the gym.  I do not read in the evenings at anywhere near this rate and typically finish a book a month.  Listening to books allows me to expand my annual book consumption by over 100%.

Additionally, I prefer to listen to books that are more personal interest versus reading more business focused material. Only about one in three audio books is related to business or personal development.  The other two books tend to be biographical, historical, or educational in nature.  I am not one that is fond of listening to works of fiction.  I do read fiction, but it is almost always on my Kindle.  For me, a talented fiction writer is someone who can take me into the world of the book and leave my sense of reality. I lose all track of time and sense of place while reading and stop seeing the pages. The story exists in only my mind’s eye.  I have never experienced this while listening to an audio book…I think it is just something about the process of reading that allows me to join the book’s world so vividly.

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