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The Value of Your Time


The Value of Your Time

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blandry
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This all sounds VERY suspicious...

"There was a mismatch of expectations in the presentation of a new product..."

"The CEO of a 3,000+ person company had to approve a $1,500-2,000 trip for a sale worth tens of millions of dollars in revenue."

The way you are presenting this Steve, sounds very slanted. It sounds to me like your friend the sales person either "oversold" or flat out made promises that are false. That's a very good term; "mismatch of expectations", (and to come up with it you might have a great future in Washington DC where there have been a few recent mismatches of expectations) - but if, as you say this is a sale worth tens of millions of dollars in revenue, how did your friend manage to create a "mismatch of expectations"? With that kind of money at stake, surely a bit more caution and clarity should be in order.

None the less, suppose this 3,000+ person company is sitting on the verge of bankruptcy? Would you then argue the CEO should not be concerning himself with this seemingly minor expense? If I were the CEO, I would not only be a little concerned about the expense but WHY the expense is required AT ALL!!! Sounds like it is required because your friend basically "screwed up".

Sure, trust your people to do their jobs - but if you have a person who develops a "mismatch of expectations" where tens of millions of dollars are at stake, you'd better put this guy under the microscope - because its not the ten minutes the CEO will spend to unravel what happened there that matters - its a sales guy who clearly is not doing his job as he should. And whether its a company with 3, 300 or 3,000 - you'd better get that fixed soon.

In other words, yeah, a $2,000 expense is minor - but a mismatch of expectations with a huge valuable client IS A MAJOR CRISIS that indeed requires some CEO attention!

There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
jcrawf02
jcrawf02
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blandry (2/18/2009)
This all sounds VERY suspicious...

"There was a mismatch of expectations in the presentation of a new product..."

"The CEO of a 3,000+ person company had to approve a $1,500-2,000 trip for a sale worth tens of millions of dollars in revenue."

The way you are presenting this Steve, sounds very slanted. It sounds to me like your friend the sales person either "oversold" or flat out made promises that are false. That's a very good term; "mismatch of expectations", (and to come up with it you might have a great future in Washington DC where there have been a few recent mismatches of expectations) - but if, as you say this is a sale worth tens of millions of dollars in revenue, how did your friend manage to create a "mismatch of expectations"? With that kind of money at stake, surely a bit more caution and clarity should be in order.

None the less, suppose this 3,000+ person company is sitting on the verge of bankruptcy? Would you then argue the CEO should not be concerning himself with this seemingly minor expense? If I were the CEO, I would not only be a little concerned about the expense but WHY the expense is required AT ALL!!! Sounds like it is required because your friend basically "screwed up".

Sure, trust your people to do their jobs - but if you have a person who develops a "mismatch of expectations" where tens of millions of dollars are at stake, you'd better put this guy under the microscope - because its not the ten minutes the CEO will spend to unravel what happened there that matters - its a sales guy who clearly is not doing his job as he should. And whether its a company with 3, 300 or 3,000 - you'd better get that fixed soon.

In other words, yeah, a $2,000 expense is minor - but a mismatch of expectations with a huge valuable client IS A MAJOR CRISIS that indeed requires some CEO attention!

But as Andy pointed out, balance is key. If you give your employees the impression that you trust them to do nothing, and they have no authority for any decisions, then how hard are they really going to work? How much ownership will they take? Can they take?

And if the company is in dire straits, such that the CEO needs to sign off on every expense, then a sale of this magnitude should be a no-brainer, and someone should have got the CEO's attention sooner.

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"stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."
OCTom
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So, is this about expectations of clients or about what work is appropriate for a pay grade?

Our industry is notorious for mismatched expectations. Whether it's with a vendor, a client, or a user, expectations and commitments must be communicated and understood by all parties. Maybe that didn't happen in this case.

Maybe the CEO is a control freak and that's why the need to approve all travel. Or, maybe some employees have screwed the company on travel and he wants a hand in it to stop it. Or, maybe the CEO wants to talk to the friend to see why the mismatch occurred in the first place.

I don't know that I'd be too hard on language and grammar in the editorials. After all, we ARE I.T. people. Wink
JenG
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I'm a great example of misuse of resources. I'm supposed to be a database developer and reporting expert. I spend most of my time doing desktop support and trying to teach totally inept people how to use computers! Whenever I propose a new database project that would improve one of our processes, I get shot down. If the current process works (albeit totally inefficiently), why on earth would we want to put time into improving it?!? It's more important that I go explain to someone for the 1000th how to log on to our intranet.
jcrawf02
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JenG (2/18/2009)
I'm a great example of misuse of resources. I'm supposed to be a database developer and reporting expert. I spend most of my time doing desktop support and trying to teach totally inept people how to use computers! Whenever I propose a new database project that would improve one of our processes, I get shot down. If the current process works (albeit totally inefficiently), why on earth would we want to put time into improving it?!? It's more important that I go explain to someone for the 1000th how to log on to our intranet.


At least you're not bitter. By the way, email system's down, I sent you an email.

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How best to post your question
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"stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."
Tobar
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.. and now for a thought completely different .. (sorry if my grammar is bad :-) )

I am a well paid consultant [is that redundant?], but I regularly make coffee. I have been on the "coffee team" at most of the sites I have worked. Is that a good use of company money? Well, people aren't complaining about "no coffee", and there is a shared sense of community which leads to a better working relationship with the client's workers. This relationship in turn which leads directly to smoother projects and better results on projects.

----

Yes there are grammatical mistakes that could be corrected. In my mind the error rate is insignificant as the delivery is understood and the content usually superb.

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Paul.
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As an example for inappropriate use of resources. At a previous job, the IT manager was also responsible for changing light-bulbs and putting in new plumbing when we took over the office's ground floor, (e.g. putting in new radiators).

The department was only about 5 people, (the company was about 150 in total), but that was seriously part of his remit; technically it was IT's responsibility, but he decided that he didn't want the two support people and two developers having to do that.

Paul

Jason Miller-476791
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nicholas.catley (2/18/2009)
thanks...BigGrin But you kind of miss my point. The article was about people with appropriate skills doing appropriate tasks. As a person commenting on a forum, adequate comprehensibility is quite sufficient.

When submitting an article to a wide readserhip, a high standard is appropriate.

No offense meant or taken!



Actually, upon review, I think I understand your point. I tend to allow for minor grammatical errors and spellnig mistakes. I do not know who is a native English speaker and who is an EASL speaker.


In any event, I'd like to emphasize a point that never ceases to amaze me.
Back in the day, I worked in a restaurant. I was hired as a jack of all trades. I bussed tables, played host, prep cook, and once even drowned in the dish tank. My point is this, I was hired to help the restaurant succeed. Even though my official capacity was X, I often had to do Y, Z, and a few others.
I have worked with some folks (not many) that are incredulous at the notion of stepping out of the sphere of comfort and pitching in. I am not the best Windows Admin, but I can help. I'm not the carpenter, but I can help. I'm certainly not the best X, but I try to help.

I tend to believe that most people on this forum think similarly.

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Jason Miller
Tom Garth
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It is probably safe to assume that as CEO, the travel approval rule is one that he/she feels is important. I could speculate that travel time is unproductive, or that under 7 days might indicate a sudden decision that could have been thought through more thoroughly. The point is, this CEO wants details on these specific instances. I would grant the benefit of doubt, and believe the reasons are probably worthwhile to this CEO, and the same could apply to anyone in a managerial position, that wants to take out the trash every day.

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Steve Jones
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blandry,

I didn't reveal all the information, but there is a bit more. My friend manages the customer relationship, there are 3 or 4 sales people involved and engineers, and there was a mismatch between what the client expected and what was presented for a new sale. It's a long term relationship, worth millions a year, and this was a large sale of a new product (not an upgrade). I can't reveal more details, but my friend was asked by the client to come that day for meetings the next day.

The CEO isn't, or wasn't involved in this sale. The company has revenue in the hundreds of millions a year, though this is a big sale for them. However the CEO does have to approve all travel taking place in less than seven days. It's a similar policy that I've seen in large corporations, though typically it's the CFO or COO doing it.

The company is a public company, not on the verge of bankruptcy, reporting decent results given the economy.

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