How do you Communicate?

During human communication seminars, you often hear that whenever you are communicating with someone they pay attention to 7% of your words, 38% on the tone of your voice and 55% on your body language. While these factors are important, I believe that visual representation in disseminating information in pictures and videos should be considered important as well. However, I have not come across any studies or polls that show the percentage distribution between all these factors and thus to better understand them I have created the following polls:


Talking

Listening

To the Cloud or Not to the Cloud

It seems like these days most organizations are interested in jumping onto the Cloud Computing bandwagon in one way or another. While there are many reasons why organizations want to move to the Cloud, I believe that optimization of business and technology processes should strongly be considered Pre-Cloud adoption. Additionally, organizations need to develop strong Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to measure against the performance of a Cloud vendor and take into consideration the consequences if the KPIs and SLAs are not met. Thus, the thought of improving your organization and inspiration from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet led me to write the following:

To the Cloud or not to the Cloud, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer at the hands of IT
The processes and systems of extreme complexity
Or to take the decision to outsource against a sea of issues
And by opposing end them: to completely, to partially
No more; and by partially, to say we end
The headache, and the thousand business challenges
That implementation is heir to? ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To completely to partially,
To partially, perchance to dream; aye, there’s the rub,
For completely what new issues may arise
When the organization has shuffled off this essential support,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of a vendor’s contract;
For who would bear the disruptions and problems of time,
Is the management wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised mind, the compliance delay,
The insolence of office and the rejection
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his demise make
With outdated processes? Who would governance bear,
To complain and sweat under sub-standard operations,
But that the dread of something after completely,
The undiscovered lessons learned, from whose goal
No professional return, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those problems we have,
Than ask to other that we know not of.
The conscience does make ignorant of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their thoughts turn awry,
And lose the name of action. Soft you now,
The fair (insert company name here), in thy orisons
Be all my decisions remembered.

Cloud Adoption
Cloud Adoption

 

References:

  1. 5 Factors for Business Transformation
  2. 5 Questions to Ask About Your Business Processes

5 Observations on Being Innovative (at an organizational level)

A typical organizational analysis entails observing the organization from the strategic, political and cultural lenses encompassing people, processes and technologies. While these lenses are useful in understanding the workings of an organization, they are not sufficient for an organization to be innovative. To be innovative, organizations need to have a constant flow of ideas that are generated, captured and then shared smoothly up/down and horizontally across the organization.  These ideas can potentially turn into products and/or services and thus propel the organization forward and keep them ahead of the competition.

In this blog post, I will focus on how to generate ideas for your organization and introduce a term I coined the Innovation Diversity Lens. The basis of this lens emerges from the fact that given the right environment, diversity of people and ideas can lead to innovation. So how does an organization generate ideas? Well, I am glad you asked.  According to my current view of the world, idea generation happens in the following 5 ways:

  1. By tapping into the innovation capabilities within the organization through internal customers. Typically people who are closest to the work can tell you what is not efficient and how it can be improved. Taking this information from multiple people and the co-dependencies of processes you can have a holistic idea of what can happen.
  2. By becoming a catalyst for innovation for external customers. Think about how new versions of the software are released typically based upon new requirements from the customers.
  3. Keeping abreast of innovation within your industry.
  4. Keeping abreast of innovation outside your industry through cross-pollination of ideas. Think about how concepts of Project Management emerged from construction and are now used in software development.
  5. Integration, customization, and combination of the above.
Idea Generation Map Idea Generation Map

 

Budget Sequestration is Real even if it is not…

Yes, I know the data is old but bear with me on this. According to a 2003 Brookings study on Public Service, the U.S. Federal Government is composed of 3,900 political appointees, 2.7 million civilian personnel, 1.5 million uniformed personnel, and 5.6 million federal contract workers. This means that the federal contractor workforce is greater than the political appointees, civilian and uniformed personnel combined. I will let this sink in for a while…

As time progresses, the number of federal contract workers is only going to increase over time. These federal contractors are not only the big boys as found on the top 100 federal contracts list but also small companies who may only have one or two contracts with a federal government agency. For an almost complete list of the number of federal contractors visit here. OK, what this means in terms of the ground reality is that when the sequester hits, it will affect the federal contractors community first as it will result in cancellation of contracts, non-renewal of projects and no-issuance of new task orders which will cause hiring freezes and federal contractors looking into other sources of revenue to stay afloat. While the sequester will most definitely affect the small businesses but it will also affect the large federal contractors as well due to the uncertainty caused by lack of appropriate action.

You may ask why we should care about this right now since the sequestration has not happened yet and it will be decided in March if it goes ahead or not. This is where I come in to inform you that even though sequestration has not started officially but just the threat of it has forced federal agencies to unofficially start cutting their budgets and some federal contractors have already frozen hiring somewhat. In my conversation with a federal contractor, they indicated that “we never planned for this.”

So now, let’s connect the dots…simply put sequestration (or threat of sequestration) is resulting in hiring freezes. Since people cannot find higher-paying good jobs with the federal contractors, people have cut down on the consumption of products, services and delayed purchase of any large items.  Since 70% of the U.S. economy is based on consumerism, you can image what long-lasting effects sequestration is having and will continue to have directly within the DC Metropolitan areas but also across the nation.

An Observation of Healthcare at a Clinic…

Last week, I took my wife to a well-known local clinic since she had the flu that is spreading across the U.S this year. Since I had my notebook, I started to make some observations in regard to the overall process and customer service. In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to make a surface-level current state analysis and propose a future state to be considered.

As we walked into the clinic, the receptionist smiled at us and asked how she could help. We explained to her that my wife probably had the flu that is going around. She asked us to sign-in and gave us paperwork to fill out since it was the first time we came to this clinic. While filling out the paperwork, I overheard another person come into the clinic and the receptionist inquired if they had been to the clinic in the last 4 months and if not then paperwork needs to be filled out (again).  After finishing our paperwork, we gave it back to the receptionist and she asked for my wife’s driver’s license. I am assuming that all this information was needed to create a preliminary patient record on the computer.

30 minutes later the nurse called her name and took us to a small room. In this room, the nurse requested my wife to change into a medical gown and gave us some privacy to do so. After 20 minutes the nurse came back and started typing the information in the paperwork into a computer in the room. The computer was placed in a way that the nurse had her back towards my wife. After typing the paperwork information the nurse typed the blood pressure reading, temperature, height, and weight into the computer. During the data entry, I asked the nurse how come my wife still got the flu since she had taken the flu shot a couple of weeks ago. I was explained that the current flu shot only protects against 4 strains of the flu and the flu strain that my wife had is different.

After the nurse left it took about another 15 minutes before the doctor came into the room and looked at the paperwork and inquired about a medication listed that she could not find in the system. This medication is a Tylenol-type medication but since it was not sold in the U.S. there was no record of it and thus we explained to the doctor that the active ingredient was Acetaminophen and the dosage level. After inputting this information into the computer,  the doctor recommended a basic test that would be carried out at the facility.

The doctor left and the lab technician came in about 10 minutes later and took samples for the basic test. Another 20 minutes go by and then the doctor comes into the small room and informs us that nothing serious was found during the test and prescribes antibiotics. The doctor also informs us that she will conduct further tests whose results will be known in the next 48 hours and regardless of the result she will call us. 4 days have gone by and we have not received a call from the doctor.

So that is the current state and it seems pretty typical but now the fun part begins where I propose a few things to think about and how I would hope the process would go in the future…

As we walk into the clinic, the receptionist smiles at us and my wife swipe her health insurance card across a card reader. The card reader signs her in, provides a queue number, the receptionist confirms that the record is accessible and provides a medical gown. After this the receptionist asks if we want to use the self-service kiosk to take readings for blood pressure, temperature, height, and weight or if we prefer that a medical professional take these readings. We prefer the self-service kiosk that takes about five minutes and updates the patient record.  The patient record also contains the flu shot information that my wife took several weeks earlier. This information and the readings taken by the self-service kiosk are not displayed anywhere on the self-service kiosk but it gives the option to the patient if they want to print this information for themselves and gives a list of basic tests that are taken. Additionally, she is glad to have access to her patient records available securely online if she wanted to view them herself to see what medical conditions she has had and the insurances she used in the past.

A few minutes go by and then it is her turn.  We enter a private room that has a sign outside indicating if the patient is ready or not. The doctor comes in and after some inquiry recommends a basic test that we already know about from the self-service kiosk. Then the doctor leaves and the lab technician comes to take test samples. The test is carried out at the facility while we wait in the private room. Additional minutes go by and the doctor shows up indicating that nothing serious was found and prescribes antibiotics. As the doctor is putting this information into the patient record, it indicates if there is a history of any allergic reactions to this antibiotic and if the current medications will have any effect on my wife. The doctor informs about additional tests that will be conducted and if we request they can provide us a printout about those tests.

As we leave, the doctor indicates that an automated message will be sent to the cell phone to indicate if the results have not found anything and we will have a window of about 5 minutes to call back if we want to discuss something further. In the case the doctor finds something that needs to be explored further, she would call us as soon as possible or within 1 day whichever is sooner after the results have been received.