Don’t Let Issues Fester – Keep It Small and Timely

Here’s a riddle for you – what do Pope Francis and Dr. Phil have in common?

Answer: They’ve both been quoted recently talking about the importance of couples in relationships addressing and resolving problematic issues at the time that they arise. Both men encouraged couples to deal quickly with the problems and frictions that inevitably arise in relationships.

Pope Francis advises, “… never let a day go by without restoring peace to your home.” (from his 2014 Valentine’s Day speech to engaged couples)

Dr. Phil (Phil McGraw, Ph.D., in an article for USA Weekend, 2/9/14) says that he and his wife agreed, even while dating, that they would, “… handle things as they came up before they got big… We’ve never let problems build up and then had a big blow-up.”

People have many different reasons for not addressing things as they occur. Sometimes it’s a (misguided) belief that the incident is too small to be worth talking about. While it can be useful “not to sweat the small stuff”, lots of “small stuff” tends to accumulate and become big stuff. You don’t have to be mortally wounded by something your partner did or said, or failed to do or say, for it to be worthy of discussion. If you talk about it while it’s small, it can be addressed, resolved, and disposed of with a minimum of fuss and emotion. If it sits and festers, or if it accumulates with multiple repetitions, it becomes big and painful. Now the emotion will be high and the relationship impact greater. What started out as a paper cut has now become a deep laceration requiring a lot more repair work to be healed.

Sometimes people hold off bringing up an issue because it feels TOO important. There may be a fear that you and your partner can’t come to a satisfactory resolution of something you consider really important. A partner can be so anxious that this could happen and that it could destabilize the relationship that it feels safer not to talk about it. The problem here of course is that problems of this importance won’t just go away and never return. Not talking about it is a short term way of avoiding a long term issue that is bound to show up again. Talking about it while it’s here and now can keep it from becoming a bigger issue later, when emotions may run much higher because of the delay. Trust your partner to join you in working to find a resolution that serves both of you and the relationship.

Sometimes people refrain from addressing things in the hope that the partner will mystically intuit the need for something to be talked about or fixed. This is a way to effectively double your disappointment. First was the disappointment of the problematic issue that occurred. And now you’ve added on the disappointment of your partner failing to be a mind-reader. It’s disrespectful of your partner and of your relationship to play with this kind of fantasy. Act like a responsible adult and be the one to initiate the necessary conversation. Wouldn’t you want to be treated with the same kind of respect?

Sometimes people don’t address things in a timely way because they’re afraid that they’ll look like complainers, fault-finders, or whiners. So they just keep sucking up the offense, anxiety, wound, or outrage. At the outset they may look easygoing and chill. As time goes by things tend to evolve in one of two ways – either the silent person eventually erupts in rage fueled by many accumulated events or that person eventually grows cold and hard toward the partner and the relationship. Neither outcome is a winner. Don’t believe that the only way to address an issue is negatively. The best and most effective way to address a problematic issue is to use “I statements” that express YOUR feeling or need without the accusatory attitude of a “you statement”. For example, a good “I statement” would be something like, “I get worried when I don’t hear from you and you’re much later than usual getting home.” This is in contrast to an accusatory “you statement” like, “You are so inconsiderate. Why can’t you call?!”

So, follow Dr. Phil’s and Pope Francis’s advice – bring peace to your home by dealing with things right away while they’re small and manageable. Let each day come to a peaceful close after open and meaningful communication that has shown respect, trust, and affection.

2014 A Great Year for Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

Some recent studies are predicting a bumper year in 2014 for MSPs. MarketsandMarkets forecast that the managed services market will grow by almost 80%, from $142.75 billion in 2013 to $256.05 billion in 2018 – and state that there is a “high demand” for managed services across every industry vertical. Forrester (News – Alert) predicts that managed services will grow at an annual rate of nearly 18 percent worldwide.

“Managed Services” can be a very misunderstood term, and there can be different perceptions of what it means, so what managed services are these studies referring to? According to the MarketsandMarkets study, the concept of managed services refers to areas within the following: Managed Data Center, Managed Network, Managed Information, Managed Mobility, Managed Infrastructure, Managed Communications, and Managed Security.

Based on these studies, there are 4 key drivers to the predicted growth:

1. Increased awareness of the market to the benefits of using MSPs (e.g. MarketstoMarkets study finds that companies that implement managed services will, on average, reduce their IT costs by 30 to 40%).

2. Improved pricing and offerings from MSPs, caused by maturation of the model, and also increased competition.

3. An increase in areas where companies seek managed services for – for example, there has been an increase in companies outsourcing wireless, communications and mobility areas, and this trend is set to continue.

4. The ‘rising tide’ of the expected growth in the economy.

If you are an MSP and you provide a good number of these services, this is all positive, but you might ask – which specific technology areas should you focus on? What segments should you be looking at? Here are 3 examples:

• BYOD will still trend: BYOD has grown strongly in the past few years. Gartner, Inc. predicts that there will be a doubling or tripling of personal devices in companies in 2014, due to mobile diversity and uptake. BYOD remains a tricky area for companies though, and they often need guidance from their MSP’s in addition to solution and service implementation. Many companies are also doing away with BYOD and instead issuing company mobile devices – and this also represents an area of opportunity for MSPs.

• The Cloud is still ‘Up There’: Growth in cloud systems and SaaS is generally expected to continue, and GigaOM Research predicts that the worldwide cloud market will grow by 126% this year. Logicalis predicts that nearly 80% of companies will pursue a private cloud strategy in 2014. The growth area within the cloud is expected to be with IaaS, where 122% growth is expected in 2014. Again, there can be different perceptions of what the Cloud is (e.g. Forbes recently reported that only 16% of people could adequately explain it), what the benefits are, and companies will lean on MSPs regarding, again, putting MSPs at a strategic level of discussion and consultation, which can only be positive.

• Security Needs Will Increase: Areas such as BYOD and Cloud do of course lead to tricky compliance and security concerns for companies. In one of our previous blog articles, we spoke of how 96% of companies in the UK acknowledge that they have insufficient IT security systems in place. There are plenty of stories that would give any CIO a headache about their security – most recently the SEA hacking of Microsoft’s blog and twitter accounts. So there is strong need in the market for strong solutions, advice, and services in this area. MSP’s that can significantly reduce this headache for CIOs will be in high demand.

The above areas are complex, and companies struggle to understand them properly, let alone understand what an appropriate solution would be. This also creates a challenge for MSPs to communicate a messaging that can be understood by the prospect company regarding these areas, to engage in the right kind of discussions, and adopt the most effective sales and marketing techniques and tactics with prospect companies. IT is at the heart of any solutions involving the above, and therefore MSPs really need to be at the heart of the strategic discussions within companies regarding these areas in order to provide the most value to their clients. MSP Partners and associations are providing training, resources, and material to MSP’s that provide superb guidance regarding sales and marketing approaches. In addition, specialised agencies that understand the go-to-market requirements in these solution areas can help MSPs to get in front of CIOs, and enable the kind of discussions that lead to a better outcome for all parties. I hope that indeed 2014 is a great year for all MSPs reading this – this market seems ready for it, and what’s more… the market NEEDS you.

How To Write A High-Impact Strategic Plan In Three Simple Steps

This week I had an intense call with a friend/client of mine who is in the process of re-branding his nonprofit organization and is working through his ideas of what he feels is the next best step for his cause. To give him credit, branding and strategic planning are exhausting, mentally wearing experiences. I joke with my coach sometimes that it was a miracle I survived the torture he put me through when it came time to writing my own strategic plan. Not so fun.

Writing a high-impact strategic plan comes down to three core areas. You have to build out these 3 areas if you really want to build a meaningful, helpful, marketable organization.

1. Who. Who are you planning to help? There is a resistance in the nonprofit sector to creating an ideal client profile because we want to help everyone and don’t want to leave anyone out; however, that is not working smart. To gain any ground in growing your organization you need to identify a very specific demographic and psychographic that you exist to serve. Trying to reach anyone in a general, vanilla way will get you nowhere because your message is so watered down. People feel compelled to work with you when they trust you and trust comes from showing that you really understand your audience (a result of appealing to their specific wants and needs).

2. What. After you know WHO your organization is going to help, you figure out what problem they have that is currently not being served well. This is where competitor analysis and viability studies come in. Are there 25 other orgs solving the exact problem you have a passion to solve? Maybe you need to change your idea. What other problem does your market have that you could be a part of solving? Before you start program planning, take a few months to research whether your clients really like your idea and if they would work with you. If you’re the only one who thinks your idea is a good idea then you’ve got a problem.

3. How. You know who you’re helping, you’ve identified a unique problem you can realistically be a part of time to plan out your first idea of how you’re going to help them overcome said challenge. Your “how” is developed through talking to your WHO about their WHAT. When you get data from them about what they’ve tried already to solve their problem. what they’d like to try instead etc you craft all those ideas into your Plan A concept and run it to test it. I teach my client to expect that they may need to run 20 (or even 200) ideas before you find one that really sticks with your clients. There is no “final” destination, it’s constantly going to be a work in progress.

Once you have your who, what and how you craft your mission statement. I will use mine for an example:

To help passionate start-up nonprofit leaders (who) develop the foundational leadership and management skills they need to enjoy successful, sustainable and satisfying careers (what)through courses, community building and coaching (how).

I know this is a lot of info to throw into one coaching letter but hope it helps simplify your planning process. As always, feel free to post a note below with your comments or questions, I look forward to hearing from you!

FIFA World Cup 2014 – Unprecedented Growth And Investment Opportunities In Brazil

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is almost one year away, but the contest for tickets is already under way. Of the estimated 3.3 million tickets available, 2.3 million tickets were requested within 24 hours when the sale opened on August 20th, 2013. The tournament will be hosted across 12 venues spread all over Brazil.Salvador, the capital of Bahia, will be hosting six games.

The tournament, which arouses the passions of football fans all over the world, will surely create new records in publicity and viewership as it is being held in a country that just loves its football and has produced some of the best players in the world. Brazil is a place that people view more as an experience than just a country.

For visiting football fans and tourists, the World Cup is going to treat them to an entertainment bonanza – exciting competition, calm scenic beaches, great cuisine, parties, nightlife and celebrations.

The government is taking the right steps to make this a great experience for everyone with huge investments in infrastructure. Bahia is also receiving its share of the attention as Salvador prepares to host some important matches.

World Cup 2014 – Bahia Plays Its Part

A total of 32 teams will be competing in the tournament, which starts on June 12th, 2014. The Taipava Arena Fonte Nova stadium in Salvador, Bahia will be one of the venues. There are 64 matches in all, 48 group matches, followed by 14 in the knockout stages, a third place playoff and the final.

Salvador, Bahia will host four of the group matches, one round of sixteen and one quarter-finals match. Here are the details:

Match: Group B: B1 versus B2.

Date: 3 June, 2014.

Time: 4 p.m.

Match: Group G: G1 versus G2.

Date: 16 June, 2014.

Time: 1 p.m.

Match: Group E: E1 versus E3.

Date: 20 June, 2014.

Time: 4 p.m.

Match: Group F: F2 versus F3.

Date: 25 June, 2014.

Time: 1 p.m.

Match: Round of 16: Leader of group H versus Runners up of group G.

Date: 1 July, 2014.

Time: 5 p.m.

Match: 3rd Quarter-finals.

Date: 5 July, 2014.

Time: 5 p.m.

A major tournament such as the football world cup needs a lot of infrastructure and considering that Brazil is going to host the next Olympic Games as well, the country is in the process of making huge infrastructure investments.

The draw will be held in Costa do Sauipe, a resort in the Bahia region of Brazil on December 6, 2013.

An Overview Of the Infrastructure Projects Involved

More than half of the stadiums hosting the tournament are brand new. Five others are being renovated. Some are ready and in the remaining, work is going on at a fast pace.

The investments involved are massive by any standards, with the construction or renovation of each stadium going to cost a few hundred million dollars. The National Stadium in the capital Brasilia is going to cost more than 500 million dollars.

Stadiums are not the only areas in focus. The world cup is going to see an unprecedented number of visitors and a lot of travel within Brazil as spectators move from one venue to another. Travel infrastructure, including roads, railways and airports are being added or renovated. Similarly, telecommunications infrastructure is also being modernized and enhanced.

The large number of visitors will also require other services such as hotels and food outlets. Although Brazil is not lacking in either of these areas due to the popularity of the country as a tourist destination, capacity has to be augmented and the overall quality has to be improved.

The above investments are just a small fraction of the overall investment. In short, Brazil’s entire infrastructure will see a major transformation. The country will continue to reap the benefits long after the World Cup and the Olympics are over. Some estimates from people in the Ministry Of Sports put the infrastructure investments close to about 18.7 billion US dollars.

Huge Publicity, Advertising And Real Estate Opportunities

As Brazil becomes the focus of the world’s attention in the next two years, according to reliable estimates, the number of visitors is going to increase by about 80%, which means a million extra visitors in the span of two years. But that is nothing compared to the number of people who are going to watch the events on television.

According to FIFA estimates, the combined viewership of the 2006 World Cup in Germany was about 26 billion. The event created a total of 71,000 hours of television broadcasting. The last World Cup in South Africa was broadcast by 245 channels in 204 countries. It is not too difficult to imagine the kind of viewership the 2014 tournament will generate. Publicity, branding and advertising opportunities for Brazil and Brazilian businesses will expand on a scale that has never been seen before.

The increased attention is already being felt in the real estate market. There is already a rush to buy properties before the prices get pushed up due to the upcoming sporting events. The money-spinning opportunities that the events will offer for real estate investors has not gone unnoticed.

Many people, who are looking for homes, apartments and commercial properties, intend to cash in on the huge number of visitors and the subsequent boost that the infrastructure investments will give to tourism. The World Cup and Olympics give an unprecedented opportunity to real estate investors to give their income streams a head-start as accommodation facilities will see demand beyond what they can possibly offer. Once the games are over, the same facilities will be kept busy due to the boost these events will give to the number of tourists visiting the country, especially the coastal regions of Bahia.

The Impact Of The World Cup On The Economy

Calculations by Ernst & Young reveal some astonishing facts and figures:

1: Production of goods and services for the World Cup will be close to USD 56 billion, which is more than four times what the country is spending on it.

2: Additional 6% increase in the GDP of the country during the period.

3: Three million additional jobs.

4: Food and beverages industry, tourism and utilities are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries.

5: The economic growth will be tremendous in the cities and states hosting the tournament.

6: Construction and sales of real estate are likely to see a huge boost and the property market is expected to see rapid expansion, especially in cities and states hosting the tournament, for example, Salvador and Bahia.

The reality is that no nation has yet organized two major world sporting events, in a short span of time like Brazil is doing with the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Summer Olympics 2016. Investors in Brazil are going to see some never before opportunities for investment and growth. Real estate and the industries catering to tourism will be biggest beneficiaries and the impact will be felt for many decades after the events take place.