Thursday, November 5, 2015

To Podcast or Not to Podcast

The monthly AppsJack meetups have been fun and very educational since February of 2014 when we did our first one.  In my opinion, they keep getting better and more interesting each month but one of the limitations is that people have to be available and there's no real record of what happened.  I'd like to improve that and am thinking about producing a podcast.  I'd like your input on what would be interesting and relevant for you in your business and life.

Here's what people are saying about the idea so far (we'll update this page as I get more input):

"I love podcasts as long as they are interesting, fast paced, concise. and under 20 minutes each track. I enjoy learning new things, so educational, coaching, self-help, tutorial style, etc are usually the ones I listen to when I have time." - Brandi 11/5/15

What do you think?

Outline for Managing External Relationships Discussion on November 24th in Bellevue

Here are the various aspects of the Managing External Relationships topic we may cover during our November 24th meeting in Bellevue, WA about this topic:
  • Public vs. Private
    • Open Innovation (via Phil R.)
  • Relationship and communications with:
    • Channel Partners
    • Collaborators
    • Joint Venture Partners
    • Gov't 
      • Fed
      • State
      • County
      • Local
    • Investor 
    • Employee 
    • "Board"
    • Industry
    • Community
    • From Conversation with John A.
      • Provincialism
      • Homogeneity and Heterogeneity
      • Inclusive and Exclusive
      • Open and Closed
      • Economic factors like war 
      • Threat rigidity hypothesis
    • Specific
      • Joe: 
        • Public Adjusters (in Insurance) and Insurance Brokers.  
        • What are the types of agreement documents used to clearly define the expectations of the customers.
        • tips on how to work with them in ways that are mutually beneficial
We'll update this page as we learn more from our audience and participants about what they want. Sign up for the meetup via our page.

What are the other issues would you like see as part of the discussion on this topic?

Friday, October 30, 2015

November is about Managing your External Relationships: Don't get it wrong

The November AppsJack Business Conversation is about Managing External Relationships.  Start thinking about how this area affects your life and business.  In October, the topic was Risk, Compliance, and Resiliency (RCR).  On Tuesday, I met with Dave, Corey, Todd, and Thomas and we discussed RCR over food and drinks.  The December topic is Develop and Manage Business Capabilities and then in January we return to our Operating Processes, starting with Developing Vision and Strategy.

Like the other 12 business practice areas, Managing External Relationships is a fascinating and important topic to me.  APQC says that this practice area is about managing relationships and communications for your: Investors, Government, Industry, Board of Directors, Advisors, Friends and Family and your Public Relations program.  I totally agree.  And I think there are a lot of other stakeholders to consider as well such as employees.  The real question is: what is external, and what is internal?

Internal relationships are those with your trusted advisors and core teams whereas external communications are with all others.  As leaders we must be very strategic and intentional about our external relationships.

I find this area to be quite similar to Stakeholder Management and Communication Management in PMBOK.

Here are some thoughts from me on the various areas in the case of my business:

Investors.  I don't have those yet but would like to get them.

Government.  Sigh.  Those guys.  City, State, Feds.  Not fun but you have to keep up with them.  You need a plan and practice to comply with, communicate with and pay these folks.

Industry.  In my case I am in the tech and business services industries.  I do my meetup to keep up with the industry and I read a lot to keep up with tech.

Boards.  My board of directors is currently non-existent.

Friends and family.  This is more of a personal comment.  I know in my life, I have to continue to focus on this topic to find balance, help, support and value.

Your customers.  What's more important than those who pay you?

Your employees.  What's more important than those who supply your customers?

Your suppliers.  What's more important than those who supply you?

Other stakeholders.  Who else do you need to consider?

PR Program.  The public relations program is the plan I said above.

Some questions to consider this month.  Please feel free to write in with your thoughts:

  • What 
    • do you find 
      • interesting / challenging 
        • about this managing external relationships?  
    • else 
      • do you see 
        • as part of this area?  
    • questions or issues 
      • come up for you
        • about this topic? 
    • help
      • do you need or want
        • with this topic?

  • How 
    • do you 
      • practice this area?
    • does this area affect 
      • your business? 
      • your workday?
      • your life?
How do you manage and think about your external relationships?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Two resources for managing your time more effectively

Lately, I've been struggling in my thinking about time management.  I think with the summer upon me and pulls from friends and family to get out, have fun, etc. it's been a tough finding enough time for some things that do indeed matter.  The question I've been asking myself is:

With the resources and tools I currently possess, and with the notion of "trying to keep it simple" in mind, how do I A) do business development and grow in my career B) be physically active and C) deal with the rest of life?  

I asked a new associate for some help in this area and he recommended Anthony Robbins' Rapid Planning Method (RPM), which is apparently similar to David Allen’s Get Things Done method.  Have you heard of these?  From what he said, Robbins' mindset & methods for succeeding in life and business have been a great source of inspiration for him and he uses RPM as a tool to baseline himself when he finds that he's getting ‘lost in the weeds’, overwhelmed, etc.

What have you found to be useful methods for managing your time, staying motivated and organized?  (I'm not talking about technologies here, per say, more simple tools and methods).

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Came up with some new fun AppsJack graphics tonight

AppsJack as playing card #1.  Purple color.  

Also happy with this.  Purple.  Jack's in there.  AppsJack.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 2015 AppsJack Human Resources Meetup Held in Bellevue, WA

June 23, 2015
Lake Hills Library, Bellevue, WA

Last night at 7 PM the June AppsJack Business Services meetup was held at the Lake Hills Library in Bellevue, WA.  The event was attended by 12 guests.  Lively and interesting, entertaining, insightful conversations were had.  The topic was Human Capital Management and the subtopics were Recruiting and Retention.  The group focused some of its attention the issues of millennials.

This event represented the sixth curricula in the AppsJack Meetup calendar year.  AppsJack follows the APQC model to provide structure, value, and context to its meetups and to build knowledge and community around key business areas.  This meetup was the first of the AppsJack content areas to be in the realm of “support processes”.  The previous 5 sessions were on the operating processes from APQC.

Some attendees were repeat visitors and sum were brand new, many of whom had found the event via the AppsJack Meetup group page.  The crowd was a great mix of male and female, young and old, and across a variety of different industries and experience levels.  Among the repeat visitors were Eric Veal (host), Jehan, Hsuan-hua, Dave, and Meng.  The newbies to the group included Liat, Elena, Natsune and a handful of others.

What follows is a listing of the various topics and points covered.  Items marked in bold underline should be considered for future AppsJack meetups.  The next AppsJack meetup will be on Information Technology Management, Internet of Things (IoT) on July 28.
  1. Employee education and training programs both on- and off-the-job were discussed.  The issue of training people on the job or after hiring vs. hiring the right people and having people be able to ‘hit the ground running’ from the start.
  2. The benefits of diversity were covered.
  3. The issue of searching organically (through network) vs. systematically was discussed.  There are pros and cons of each and culture is impacted by the choice in methods made.  Searching applies to both the recruiter and the candidate and both may share some practices.
  4. Culture and its importance was discussed.  Someone shared that they wanted to find a company with “a culture”.  It was explained that all companies have a culture, whether they like it or not. Properties of culture were discussed:  was it positive or negative, what were its artifacts, rituals and ceremonies, was it strong or weak?  Learning organizations, per se, were not discussed conceptually and could be a point of subsequent conversations.  With respect to the retention, the notion of an employer’s preference to fire or lay off vs. an employee’s choice to leave was not discussed.  Work-life balance is an aspect of company culture within the context of freedoms and demands for the employee.
  5. Someone who was a millennial wanted to discuss differences of the millennials.  Who they are, their traits, differences, and value were discussed.  We learned that millennials want to have a cause or purpose, may trust less in big systems and bureaucracies, expect a lot, need to have something in it for them (purpose), and enjoy life out of work with friends from work.  They want fun companies with good cultures.  “Fiefdoms” and barriers were discussed between roles, departments, levels, locations, age groups, etc.  All of this complexity makes up a corporate culture’s richness.  Age differences of all kinds were discussed.  Industrial and worker-class differences were not covered in detail but it was recognized that they existed and practices for white collar and blue collar industries or groups were thought to be different.
  6. The role and importance of modern HR Information systems (HRIS) was brought up as a potential topic but was not covered in detail.  The topic of role-based systems: security, communications, and training was discussed in addition to the power of technology to enable new possibilities for people and businesses.  The importance of knowledge management systems was not discussed but is a critical part of a successful and growing, risk-avoiding organization.
  7. The purpose and role of the HR department was mentioned.
  8. We spoke about practices and differences between using in-house recruiters and staff vs. using outsourced services and agencies.  The issue of contractors vs. full-time employee labor was discussed but not fully explored.
  9. The importance of compensation and pay was mentioned briefly by Dave.  He shared that he was having a hard time landing the right talent and believed that the cause was his employer’s low-pay policies.  Benefits, perks, and the value / prestige / reputation of the company was not really discussed other than one attendees interest in finding a company with a [good] culture.  Points were made about cultures within companies being largely dependent on a person’s immediate manager rather than the overall system and culture for the company, the local level remains very critical.
  10. Differences between the HR practice of enterprises vs. those of startups (as well as those across industries and worker classes) were mentioned but not fully discussed.
  11. HR business models were not discussed but should be further explored.
  12. Ethics was not discussed.
  13. The notion of requirements—both those for projects and products as well as those for human resources—was discussed in the context of hiring: hard requirements and soft requirements and how job seeking and landing is typically a gray area and not one that is cut and dried.  Wht also comes into play is personal relationships, biases and perceptions.  Younger professionals were encouraged to act confidently, ‘act as if’ and ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.  The ways that people are perceived as candidates and employees quantitative and qualitative methods, verbal, non-verbal and written communications.
  14. Some brief discussions were had about creative hiring and interviewing practices.  This topic should be further explored.  The pros and cons of different interviewing and screening methods were discussed.
  15. The importance of models such as Wexler’s 4 Faces of Capitalism and personality tests (Myers Briggs, etc.) were noted but not in detail and should be topics for further discussion.  One member shared that Microsoft leaders were selected who fit what he perceived to be extremely narrow and consistent criteria and types.
  16. Other resource types such as financial, relational, reputational, and information were not discussed but could be fodder for future discussion.
  17. The differences between needs and approaches to the management of individuals, small groups, and larger organizations was not discussed but should be a topic for another time.
  18. Microsoft and AT&T were discussed as local employees and some of their practices were covered.  The issue of managed services vs. staff augmentation and the impact that those practices have on corporate culture and environment was discussed.
  19. The question ‘what is organization development?’ was not discussed, but should be soon.
  20. Labor unions, guilds, and organized labor were not discussed but could serve as a good topic for another session.
  21. Conflict management was not discussed.

There is so much depth and richness to the topic of Human Resources Management it is incredible.  At the end of the event, Natsune promoted her event, which is planned for July 15th in the University District area of Seattle.  Also, Liat shared about a meetup event she is hosting as well.  Several members exchanged contact information and made promises to stay connected with one another.

The next AppsJack Meetup event will be held July 28th and will cover Information Technology Management.  The event may be sponsored by Neudesic Consulting and feature Ben Griner, their Director of Management Consulting.

AppsJack’s meetups are fun local community events that help businesses and business service professionals connect over interesting discussions and topics in comfortable environments.  The events are a great way to meet new people, share experience, and identify individuals within the community with whom you feel comfortable sharing your ideas and issues.  Each month is a different topic and the big events are typically planned for the 4th Tuesday of the month.  AppsJack’s vision is to create an organized network of meetups on business and other critical management topics for people, property and planet.  AppsJack is a knowledge management consulting company who has helped businesses such as Siemens, Microsoft and the US Forest Service manage and improve major initiatives that make communications more effective and efficient.  More info can be found at or by contacting Eric Veal, Founder and CEO of AppsJack Corporation.

Eric Veal, MSIS, MBA, PMP is a NW Washington Native who lives in Kirkland, WA with his wife and pets.  Eric has been consulting with companies on business, technology and growth issues since he first worked on his mom and dad’s businesses in 1996.  Eric is originally from Guemes Island, WA and attended Western Washington University and Foster School of Business, respectively, for his undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Eric received his Project Management Professional certificate in 2006 while working at Siemens Healthcare.  At Siemens, Eric was in their leadership development program and worked as a process improvement consultant and intranet architect.  His experiences at Siemens inspired him to start his own company, AppsJack, to pursue his dreams.