Archive of: How To

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Effective Communication: How to Get to the Point

To be a successful communicator, think of your listener first, and focus on attention.

Communication is hard. To successfully convey information requires taking what's in my head and getting it into yours in some reasonable facsimile of the original thought or idea. If you think this is easy, just remember the last time you tried to inform a group of individuals about an upcoming change – and then remember the many (sometimes baffling) concerns and rumors that arose as a result!

As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place." That's because most of us focus only on the front end of the communication process – the part that's all about us: the information we want to convey (the message) and how we plan to convey it (the medium).

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Four Keys to Successful Change

Ever try to get someone to change the way they do something that they've been doing the same way for years? Ever try to break one of your own habits? It's not easy. Not because people are intentionally contrary or obstinate, but because big parts of our brains operate on autopilot, in deep grooves of habit, and establishing new pathways is hard.

This can be a serious problem for individuals or managers who find themselves in the midst of major change efforts.

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How to Succeed as an Early Adopter: Interview with Genentech CIO Todd Pierce

This is Part Two of my interview with Todd Pierce, CIO of Genentech. In Part One, we spoke about effective communication.

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How to Start Your Own Business Without Wasting Time and Money, Part II: Your Office and Tools

There are a number of things to consider when equipping your new business: in particular, quality, comfort and cost. Anything that's going to touch a customer or be part of how you portray your brand should be the very best. You also want to make sure your workspace is comfortable and inviting -- you're going to be spending a lot of time there, and it should help you feel professionally energized. But you don't have to spend a fortune.

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How to Start Your Own Business Without Wasting Time and Money, Part I

Starting your own business is a blast. There's so much to learn and try out, without the benefit (or buffer) of a team of people to help execute. I haven't had this much fun in years! It requires resourcefulness, resolve and resilience -- all great characteristics to develop no matter what your situation. It helps to be completely open to opportunity as well.

A few weeks ago, Computerworld ran an article titled, "Becoming an IT consultant: Do's, don'ts and disasters to avoid" for executives thinking of striking out on their own (or who find themselves there regardless of intention). It provides a great overview and shares the real-life experiences of some former CIOs, but it left me wanting more in the way of nuts and bolts.