My Sessions at Sage Summit 2013

I have had a number of requests from Sage Partners about my sessions at the upcoming Sage Summit.

Here is a quick view of all of them.

Name Day Time Co-star
The Salesatative Consultant Sunday 1pm-3pm Rob Johnson
The Salesatative Consultant (repeat) Sunday 3:30pm-5:30pm Rob Johnson
A Complete Waste of Time – Redux Monday 2pm-3pm The Attendees
Creating Access Level Agreements Monday 3:15pm-4:15pm
Avoiding Iatrogenic Consulting Monday 4:30pm-5:30pm
Introduction to the Firm of the Future Tuesday 11:15am-12:30pm
Long Distance Customer Relationships Tuesday 2pm-3:15pm Judy Thornell

Wayne Schulz

Making Your Business Anti-Fragile Wednesday 8:30am-10am
Creating Strategy in a Small Business Wednesday 10:30am-12pm
Top Ten Business Myths Wednesday 2pm-3:15pm
Initiating a Project in a Small Business Thursday 3:15pm-4:15pm John Shaver
In Defense of Business Thursday 4:30pm-5:50pm

 

If you have any questions about the details please feel free to comment or email me.

Lesson from the Salon

I have often spoken about the parallels between software implementation consultants and salon owners. For example, both revenue models have about 50 percent coming from the sale of product (including renewals for software) and about 50 percent coming from service provided.

This morning, this “Suggested post” was in my Facebook stream:

Screenshot_4_16_13_6_48_AM

Notice that it mentions that Julie is salon owner, but what is to stop individual stylists from creating their own App. This way if they leave the salon of their current employ, their clientele can easily track them down and bypass what I understand from my wife and other female colleagues as “the hunt” that takes place when this occurs now.

Of course, the jump to software implementation consulting is easy to see. Individual consultants can set up Apps and away they go.

This enforces the great idea from Peter Drucker that, “In a knowledge society, the most probable assumption for an organization to make is that they need the knowledge workers far more than the knowledge workers need them.”

What are you doing to make you organization a place where knowledge worker thrive and get their knowledge dividend?

An Oldie, but Goodie – The Seven S Model

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak about an old friend, the Seven S Model, as part of the Sage Thought Leadership Webcast Series. This model originated at McKinsey and Company in the 1970s and was made famous by appearing on page 10 in Tom Peters and and Robert Waterman’s all-time best seller, In Search of Excellence.

images-12I present a modified version of the model which was taught to me by Howard Hansen and Doug Burgum of Great Plains Software. I am forever indebted to both of them as this model has had a most profound impact on my career.

Entitled The Seven S Model and Shared Vision, this webcast is dedicated to the possibility that organizations that have well-defined and shared visions of their future will be better places for team members to work and have happier customers. Creating a well-defined shared vision is hard work and not for everyone as it requires us to look deep into ourselves and examine our beliefs as people.

Here is the video. My thanks to my friend and college Greg Tirico for agreeing to do this interview style as opposed to the normal talking-head style that is all to prevalent today.

And, here are the slides.

Please comment with any questions or feedback that you might have.

TGO Consulting Joins Ed’s List

Screenshot_2_6_13_1_34_PMI am thrilled to announce another addition to the tongue-in-cheek-eponymous Ed’s ListTGO Consulting.

I have had the honor of knowing the principals Tracy, George, and Orgad for almost 20 years. We were all Great Plains Software partners back in the day.

TGO Consulting is the largest organization in the information technology consulting business that has eliminated timesheets. In fact, other than the advertising agency of Ogilvy and Mather, they are the largest known professional firm to go timeless across the entire professional sector.

In celebration of this, I thought it would be beneficial to have them share their story, and they graciously agreed to record this podcast for me. (I apologize for the echo at the beginning. It self corrected and I hope you don’t find it too distracting.)

Enjoy!

Firm of the Future at DFW

Attention my fellow Dallasites and Fort Worthians. Ron Baker and I are delivering our famous (well, in our minds anyway) Firm of the Future Symposium at the Hilton DFW Lakes hotel on February 12 and 13.

This class is for all professionals: accountants, lawyers, IT consultants, architects, engineers, advertising agencies, we have even had a doctor attend.

 

If you are interested here are the details:

Firm of the Future Symposium

The Firm of the Future Symposium coming to a city near you will feature Ron Baker of the Vera Sage Institute. The symposium will feature Ron Baker of the VeraSage Institute and Ed Kless, Sage senior director, partner strategy and development. This experience is dedicated to the possibility that a professional organization can be run more effectively when it becomes a knowledge firm rather than a service firm. Creating such an organization is hard work and not for everyone, as it requires partners to think differently than they have in the past about what it is that they do.

The registration fee for the first attendee is $2,000. The fee for additional attendees is $1,000.

Download the agenda for this event .

Location

Date

Sage University

Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center
1800 Highway 26 East
Grapevine, TX 76051

Feb. 12-13

Register Today
Path: Login >
select Academies & Workshops >
Mid-Market ERP

 

The registration site is not the friendliest, so if you have any problems, please just let me know and I will take care of it.

If you have any questions, let me know.

 

A Post On, Egads, Effort

images-5Regular readers of this space will know I am not a fan of the cult of efficiency that enraptures most businesses today. In my project management classes I stress that duration is the more important metric both the the professional and the customer.

That said, I would like to update the idea of comparative advantage as originally put forward by economist David Ricardo, but updated for the knowledge worker, especially the small firm. This idea seems to be about efficiency, but if one looks deeper, one will see that it is truly about effectiveness.

Adam Able is the owner/operator of a small IT consulting firm. Adam has been working in his industry for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge and domain expertise with the products with which he works. Because of this Adam, can slam out a new customized report in an average of two hours. He can also do an average migration of data in one hour.

Igor Egit is relatively new his profession; he has been at it a little over a year. Igor is not the brightest bulb in the drawer. On average it takes him three hours to deliver a new custom report, 50 percent more than Adam. While Igor does not suck at reports, he is a migration moron and it takes him four hours to develop a workable data migration, 400 percent longer than Adam.

This table shows the comparison.

  Igor Adam
Report 3 2
Migration 4 1
Total 7 3

 

If each does one report and one migration the total is 10 hours and the yield is two reports and two migrations.

Comparative advantage says that while Adam is better at both, and could theoretically do it himself in six hours, he is better off specializing in migrations and allowing Igor to do the reports, even though this runs counter to the idea of efficiency.

This table demonstrates the results of specialization.

Igor Adam
3 1
3 1
6 2

 

Notice again, that the yield is still two reports and two migrations, however, each received an hour of additional discretionary time. In addition, the total effort decreased to eight hours.

Now, some may argue that from an efficiency standpoint, it would be better to have Adam do both, since the total would be six hours not eight. What would that do to Adam’s leisure time? It would reduce it by four hours.

Looked at in this light, we can see that the question is: does it make sense for Adam to trade four hours of discretionary time in exchange for two reports from Igor. This is a value tradeoff that only Adam (and in a sense Igor) can make.

The trap is set, however, if we introduce the idea of a billable time rate to this example. Since it is unlikely that Adam’s rate would be three times that of Igor’s. Adam’s customers will either a) insist that they pay a reduced rate for Igor, or worse, b) insist that Adam himself do the work.

The traps is sprung! Adam, in the name of good service, will acquiesce to the customer. Likely, Igor will be out of a job; and Adam will miss more Little League games.

On Chunking

For those of you who struggle with ensuring that delegated tasks are completed on time, I have some good news for you. New work by some behavioral economists has shed some light on this difficult situation.

Most of us are familiar with the psychological concept of chunking in large part because of a famous paper published in 1956 by George A. Miller entitled The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information.

The idea is that our short-term memories can only remember 7 +/- 2 items in a list, such as number, unless we chunk it down into groups of numbers. Some common examples would be phone, credit card and social security numbers.

More interestingly, some behavioral economists have demonstrated that the same concept can be applied to the assignment of tasks. When an assignment is given to a person to complete, it is far more likely to be completed if it is chunked into two or three sub-tasks, rather than just assigned as a single task.

Rory Sutherland refers to this in many of his presentations. Here is one from the APA. He talks about this concept beginning at 2:45, but watch the whole thing it is great stuff!

The lesson here for professionals is this – whenever you give an assignment break into at least two parts, even if it seems somewhat artificial. Some examples:

  • “Enter this data, then call me.”
  • “Review this document for clarity, then email it back to me.”
  • “Create the report layout you want, then convert it to a pdf.”

I believe this will work when you assign tasks to fellow team members, but, more importantly, I believe it will help with tasks that you assign to your customers.

I have begun to experiment with it and it seems to be working.

My “Why” – Latest Edition

Two years ago, I posted twice about my Why statement. (See those posted here and here for further explanation.)

Since I am convinced that one’s Why is a ever emerging concept, I thought it would be appropriate to share my latest Why, which is:

I believe that entrepreneurs continue the work of creation. I help entrepreneurs (mostly Sage partners and customers) understand how they create value for their customers  and better capture that value through the prices they set.

Please note that the first sentence is the key. I have been testing this at gatherings such as cocktail parties and even PTA meetings when I am asked the usual obligatory opening question, “So, what do you do?”

I have been replying with my Why. This is usually followed by a quizzical look, but after a brief moment, some variation of the phrase, “Tell me more,” is uttered. This leads to some great conversations. Conversations I never would have had, if I did not start with Why.