Archive for May, 2008

Yogi Berra was a Kiwi?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

“In the words of a famous Kiwi sports commentator, it was deja vu all over again” - according to a story in the Dominion Post. Perhaps a Kiwi commentator plagiarised the famous Yogi Berra - but attribution must go to the originator who was not only a sly wit but a great baseball player and coach. There are “yogi-isms” all over the Net.

I have two favourites:

“You should always go to other people’s funerals otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

When he was told he looked cool, responded with “You don’t look so hot yourself”.

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When does a meeting start?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Not a silly question, really - especially if you’re footing the bill.

When does a meeting start? Is it when everyone has finally arrived in the meeting room? Or perhaps when the group decide to start proceedings, even though one or more of the participants haven’t arrived yet?

The Action Meetings approach to more effective meetings is that a meeting starts when the need for it is identified. From that point on time and money are expended. There is much to do:

  • Who will be there and will add value (not just make up the numbers)?
  • What is the meetings purpose - in other words what outcomes must be achieved?
  • How long should it take? The default time seems to be an hour irrespective of whether an hour is the right length of time, too long or too short!
  • What about the venue?
  • What pre-meeting preparation must occur in order to achieve the desired outcomes?

The list above is not exhaustive - you may well be able to add to it - but it illustrates that a meeting starts well before the participants to get to eyeball one another.

Action Meetings is a method for designing and delivering effective meetings - the end-to-end meeting process not just the time spent in the room together.

Police attack the cause of the problem

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Unlike the scatter gun approach to “speed” being the cause of many accidents, it is welcome to see the Police in Christchurch taking a specific remedy to a specifically defined problem and cause - tailgaters causing crashes.

Sergeant John Hamilton of Christchurch Police is quoted:

“We are going where crashes are and the motorway is a grade-two crash area (grade one being the worst).

“We’re doing it as a lead-up to wet weather. When we get rain, that’s when crashes occur.”

As regular readers of this blog will know, repetitive failure is effectively addressed when the specific cause of failure is identified and addressed. Anything else may look like you’re fixing it but it’s really a WOMBAT.

Australian drivers put schoolchildren at risk

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Recent article in The Wellingtonian (May 15) bemoans the speed at which kiwi drivers go past schools. The New Zealand Police “Speed Kills Kids” campaign has stated that if you go more than 5km over the limit within 250m of a school you’ll be ticketed. This year they have caught over 9000 motorists going over 54km/h. The article cites some schools where the rate is 13 vehicles per 100 and 8 vehicles per 100 over the limit.

Across the ditch, Australian drivers legally drive past their schools at 60km/h because that is the standard urban speed limit. If the local publicity and statistics used to base this campaign are to be believed, it must be carnage over there.

If these campaigns are to be really effective they have to be credible. A person of close acquaintance was ticketed for driving more than 5km over the limit going past a school. The rural school was on a road with a 70km/h limit (how dangerous is that?) and the ticket was given in mid-January (school holidays).

Repeat this - the F4 key is your friend

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

If you work with Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) there’s a keyboard shortcut that can be very useful, especially if you want to repeat what you’ve just done. It’s the F4 key.

I’ve been working in Excel quite a lot recently and needing to insert multiple rows. The quick way to do this is insert a row and then press the F4 key as many times as you need. (If you know a faster way, add a comment or email me.)

You want to draw 5 identical size boxes - draw one then press F4 four times. You add some text to one of those boxes and want to add the same text to another - select the other box and press F4. You want to change the text from Times New Roman to Verdana - do it one, select the text in the other box and press F4.

Seems that most people have become very dependent upon their mice these days - pointing and clicking and right clicking. Don’t forget keyboard shortcuts, they are often much faster.