Meeting Military Families’ Need for Flexible Child Care

first_imgThe life of a military family can be very unpredictable. Service demands and plans can change frequently, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Care for an injured military parent may mean hospital, doctor or therapy visits that wreak havoc on a family’s daily routine. The demands on family schedules are especially challenging when there is no non-military family member who can provide a level of consistency and predictability for young children.The bottom line? Military families need flexible child care options. Flexibility for military families means having trustworthy care:on short noticeon an irregular basisat non-traditional hoursfor an extended time, possibly overnighton an hourly basis for brief timesWhere can flexible care be found? It may not be easy but there are a few places to look.Flexible Child Care Programs & CaregiversThe greatest flexibility is offered by in-home child care providers and nannies. Although on the surface it appears to be an expensive option, it’s really not when one considers that a live-in provider offers stability and consistency for both children and parents in the midst of changing schedules, multiple deployments – even relocation! Nannies’ responsibilities also often include other household tasks. It can be an especially beneficial option for large families, families with no nearby relatives, single parents, and dual-military families. Lisa Werth, a nanny for a family whose parents both work at the Pentagon says, “My bosses often email me from the Pentagon to see if I know of a nanny looking for a job.” Being an in-home child care provider can be a rewarding and interesting employment option for child care professionals to consider.Family Child Care homes can also offer greater flexibility. FCC owners may choose to market specifically to military families if they live in a community with a high enough concentration. But even when the majority of a FCC owner’s families are civilian, they may be able to meet the need for emergency or non-traditional care for an individual military family in a way that a center simply couldn’t. FCC owners who are willing to provide flexible child care for military families should communicate that in their marketing and through their currently enrolled families (since word-of-mouth is often how new families are found), their local Resource and Referral agency, and professional associations.Flexibility in child care centers is the most difficult to find because it is the most expensive to provide on a larger scale. The less demand there is in a geographic area, the less likely it is that flexible options are available. The highest demand, of course, is on military installations, so it’s not surprising that each of the branches of the Armed Forces offer a variety of programs to meet these needs through their children, youth and teen programs. For example, programs at Camp LeJeune (Marines) include hourly child care, Family Child Care (24-hr, 7 days a week), and emergency drop-in care. The demand may be so high, however, that there is a waiting list for enrollment, in which case child care programs in the surrounding area may choose to satisfy the needs of families.Both FCC and center-based programs who are interested in serving military families should also consider becoming an approved provider for the military’s child care fee assistance program.  Approved programs are entered into a searchable online database, allowing military families to more easily locate programs that may be able to meet their unique needs. And remember, military families, especially Guard and Reserve, can be found living in communities all over the map. So no matter where you live, if you are willing and able to provide flexible care, even if only on an occasional basis, consider becoming an approved provider.Additional Programs to Fill Child Care GapsChild care programs and providers who can’t themselves meet the child care needs of every military family should be aware of other options to refer families to that may help fill the gaps.NACCRRA-Army Respite Child CareThe Army is working with the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) to provide financial support for community-based child care programs to offer respite care when short–term care needs arise. Approved programs are paid to provide free hourly child care to for families of soldiers who are deployed, serving on temporary duty (90-179 days), under a Wounded, Ill or Injured status or are Survivors of Fallen Warriors. Refer families to the website’s searchable database to find participating programs. Call NACCRRA at 1-800-424-2246 if you are interested in becoming an approved provider or want more information.Air Force Aid SocietyAir Force families who will be relocating because of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS in military lingo) are eligible for 20 hours of child care at a certified Family Child Care home (either on or off base). Call 1-800-769-8951 or e-mail dvosburg@afas.org if you are interested in becoming a certified FCC home or want help in locating homes to refer families to in your area.YMCA Military OutreachOne option that can meet some respite child care needs is the local Y. The Department of Defense pays for up to 16 hours of child care per month for infants through 12 year olds from eligible military families who don’t live on an installation.Family members of deployed National Guard and ReservistsActive Duty Independent Duty personnel (deployment is not a requirement)Relocated spouse/dependent children of deployed Active Duty personnelFamilies of deployed Active Duty personnel residing 30 miles from a military installationAlthough local Ys are not required to offer the program, many are choosing to participate, so check to see whether it’s an option that’s offered in your community. To find more information to share with families and search for participating Ys in your area, visit the Y’s website.SittercitySittercity is an online service that matches families with child care providers who can meet their needs, including last-minute emergency care, overnight care, etc. Sittercity has an extensive database of babysitters and nannies with detailed profiles that can be searched by location and 14 other options, including hourly rate, education/certification, and reviews from families. The Department of Defense has partnered with Sittercity to offer free membership to the matching service for military families. Entering your profile in the Sittercity database as a child care provider is free.New Programs on the HorizonThe Veterans Administration launched a pilot program last year that offers on-site child care at three VA medical facilities. The child care centers provide free, drop-in child care for eligible veterans who come to the facilities for health care services. The centers can care for children from 6 weeks to 12 years old. Time will tell whether the program will expand to others of the 149 medical centers in the VA system.What’s Available in Your Community?If you are one of the many individual child care centers and family child care providers who tailor their programs to the unique needs of military families, we would love to hear your story!Whole communities can also rally on behalf of military families, using local resources and combined creativity to meet a variety of military family needs, including child care. If you’ve been involved with or know of a community-level effort, please share your story, too. It may give others some fresh ideas for their own communities!Even with all these efforts, there is still much to do to meet the child care needs of military families. What suggestions do you have for creating a sturdier network of support?[Note: All branches of the military offer respite care for families of children with special needs through the Department of Defense Exceptional Family Member Respite Care program.]last_img read more

Renting or Owning….New Questions to Ask

first_img Return to article. Long DescriptionMonkeyBusiness Images/PhotospinAs time has passed, however, you may have come to the realization that in real life, things aren’t always so simple. Depending on your situation, it may be better to rent a house rather than own—especially for service members. But did you know that in today’s internet-connected economy, it’s getting easier and more common to rent (rather than buy) or pay to “share” all kinds of things, from dresses to bikes to toys?What’s driving this trend? It’s a combination of factors. Today’s young people move around a lot and often aren’t interested in owning a lot of “stuff,” a sentiment frequently echoed by many older people who are feeling an urge to de-clutter and purge. Renting some things helps keep the amount of objects we own (and have to move) a bit more limited.Of course, sometimes, consumerism (an interest in having “the latest and greatest”) also plays a role. Take a minute to think about the relationship many of us have with our cell phones. Though they may not technically be rented, in a way, they might as well be, since many of us get them in connection with a plan and trade up frequently. Yellow house with For Rent in front. 6/15/17. Photospin.https://www.photospin.com/Image/8f63a6c2-8b3c-4ac0-98a6-7f46dff99333 istock By Carol Church If you have achieved a certain age, you may have been brought up to believe that renting, while sometimes necessary, “throws money away.” After all, at the end of the rental period, you have spent your hard-earned cash, and are left with nothing tangible to own. Return to article. Long DescriptionBut renting can also be seen as eco-friendly and less consumptive, which appeals to many. And in the case of “sharing” enterprises, such as car sharing and bike sharing systems, renting may even feel like it’s part of a new kind of relationship with material goods, where we’re less attached to our own personal things and instead pay for the ability to “share” whatever it is with others.However, another factor that’s important to remember when considering the popularity of rental options is that some, such as rent-to-own stores, mainly aim to appeal to lower-income consumers who are typically drawn to the option due to lack of credit. These rental situations should be avoided.When Should Military Families Consider Renting?Anyone who’s had to pull up stakes and PCS more than once understands the appeal of owning fewer permanent items, especially large, bulky, or rarely used ones. The military lifestyle is not one that typically lends itself well to owning tons and tons of stuff, making the option to briefly rent items potentially appealing.In recognition of this reality, most bases have a great service called equipment checkout services or recreation checkout. This well-priced option offers service member families the opportunity to rent a number of items (most commonly outdoor recreation equipment, party items, and lawn and garden maintenance tools) at very reasonable prices. These services are the first place military families should look when considering a more “rental-oriented” lifestyle.But equipment checkout, while convenient, is limited. There are plenty of other options for families who may be interested in renting or sharing items rather than purchasing outright.Read on to parts 2 and 3 of this series to learn more about the surprising things available to rent today, and when it is and isn’t a good idea to rent instead of buy.References:Smith, S. (2010). A transumer manifesto. Retrieved from http://www.shareable.net/blog/a-transumer-manifestolast_img read more

The Truth About Why Most Indie Films Don’t Get Distributed

first_imgThe number one goal for just about any indie filmmaker is to secure distribution for their feature film. Unfortunately though, such a small percentage of films are actually able to achieve this.I’ve been making films for many years now, but it wasn’t until recently that I really started to wrap my head around the realities of distribution. Early on in my filmmaking career, I had a very limited view of the industry as a whole and for the most part my entire focus was on the creative process. Over the years though, I not only became accustomed to the realities of distribution based on my own experiences, but also those of my friends and colleagues.I have been involved with hundreds of productions – some which got distribution (even a few theatrically), and many more that didn’t. I have had the opportunity to attend film markets for the projects I have been involved with, meet with sales agents and distributors, and pick the brains of colleagues of mine that work in distribution. Only now do I feel like I have a firm grasp on the harsh realities of selling a film, and throughout this article I am going to outline some of my key takeaways.Star Power MattersLike many filmmakers, I used to tell myself that it really doesn’t matter if I had completely unknown actors in my films. Creatively speaking I actually love working with unknown talent as it allows the audience to connect with the film on a more universal level. From a business perspective though, stars (or at least recognizable faces) are one of the most important elements when it comes time to securing distribution.Many distributors that I know have told me first hand that they don’t even look at submissions unless there is a notable cast member attached to the project. This doesn’t mean your film absolutely won’t get distributed if you don’t have a name actor in it, but it will make it more difficult. The good news is that even with a modest budget it is often possible to get a notable actor in your film (even if it’s just as a cameo), and this can seriously help you get a foot in the door.Even Festival Darlings Struggle for DistributionThere is a common misconception that getting into a big festival like Sundance means that your film is guaranteed to get distribution. While there is no denying that major festivals open up lots of doors, they are by no means a guarantee.In fact many films that are rejected from these major festivals go on to secure distribution for other reasons (namely genre, which we will touch on next). Festival laurels simply don’t matter as much to distributors as we like to think. Perhaps the best thing about getting into a big festival is having access to potential buyers directly, but even if you film is well received it still needs to be marketable.Genre is CriticalIf you’re at the point in your career where selling a film is your number one goal, you need to start doing some serious homework with regards to genre. A few years ago indie-horror films were amongst the easiest to sell (even without name talent) as there was a huge demand in the market for them, and they did quite well overseas in foreign language markets.Soon after, found footage films became all the rage, and currently there is a big demand for sci-fi films, both domestically and overseas. You don’t need to choose your genre simply based on what is most marketable at any given moment, but understanding where you stand with regards to genre is really important so you can set your expectations accordingly.Timely Subject Matter is KeySimilarly to having a genre that is marketable, you also want to tap into subject matter that is timely, relevant, and interesting to a wide demographic. For instance, films that deal with subject matter like gun control may be of particular interest to distributors at the moment, since it’s such a controversial topic and certainly one that is tackled in the media every day.Like many of the other points on this list, you don’t always want to base your film around something topical simply because you think it will help with distribution. However, if you have several ideas floating around for your next film and one of them happens to be more pertinent at the moment, you may want to give greater consideration to that one.Audio Must Be Top-NotchWe all know that production value is critical when it comes time to sell your film. Distributors often won’t even look at films that were poorly shot and technically flawed, but perhaps the most important element in this regard is audio. Poor audio literally can be the deciding factor between a great film getting distribution or getting passed on, and I’ve been told personally by a number of distributors that it’s one of the primary reasons that they pass on films that were otherwise viable options for them.No matter how great your film might be, how beautifully it’s shot, and who’s in it, if the audio isn’t pristine, nothing else matters. It’s more important to have incredible audio than incredible cinematography with regards to distribution, so never skimp out in this department!You Don’t Need to Have it AllIn an ideal world, you have a film with star power that premieres at a great festival, touches on a timely subject matter and is technically well done. But in reality, you’ll never be able to have it all without a huge budget – nor do you need to in order to have distribution. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t afford name talent, or if you want to make a film in a genre that isn’t the flavor of the week.As long as you know the challenges associated with getting your film distributed, and understand what the market is looking for, you can find ways to make your film fit that mould, even with limited resources.last_img read more

How to Create a DIY Rain Machine that Actually Looks Great On-Camera

first_imgThis video was first shared by Tom Antos on his YouTube channel.  Have any other tips for building a DIY Rain Machine? Share in the comments below. Rugged DIY Rain Machine Option: $533/4 PVC pipe: 4 pieces that are 5 feet long – $5 at Home DepotPVC Cement – $7 on AmazonPlummers Tape – $1 on AmazonSprinkler Head extenders 1.5 in x 4 – $5 on AmazonSprinkler heads – $8 on AmazonT Bars for PVC pipe x 4 – $9 on Amazon3/4 in PVC End Cap – $9 on AmazonPVC to garden hose adapter – $9 on AmazonIn addition building the rain machine, this DIY tutorial covers a few topics related to using DIY rain on set including:Various rainfall patternsHow rain looks on cameraAdding lights to rain Learn how to create realistic rain in this awesome DIY video tutorial.If you’ve ever been on a shoot that calls for fake rain you’re likely aware that it can be incredibly tricky to make it believable. While having a P.A. hold their thumb over a garden hose may be a quick fix, it isn’t necessarily the best way to convey realistic rain.The following tutorial by director and cinematographer Tom Antos shows us how to create a realistic rain machine for around $50. The video covers two different methods: a cheap method and a durable method that can easily be taken apart. Both are great options depending on your on-set needs.You’ll need to make a quick trip to the hardware store in order to make these DIY rain machines, but they’re so simple your grandma could do it.Let’s break down the cost…Cheaper DIY Rain Machine Option: $22Sprinkler & Soaker Hose –  10$ on Amazon 3/4 copper clad clamps – $4 on Amazon4 pieces of 1×4 wood board – $8 at Home Depotlast_img read more

Is the Canon C700 the Best Camera You’re Not Using?

first_imgThe Canon C700 offers beautifully crisp and cinematic imagery, but is it ideal for your project?Cover image via Canon.Like most of us, I was confused when the Canon C700 came out. I wasn’t sure where it fit in the ecosystem with all the other camera options on the market. It’s taken some time, but the Canon C700 has begun to find its own niche. After this camera made its way into the hands of cinematographers, it produced surprisingly captivating results.Image QualityRecently, Canon released a short film shot on the C700 called “The Calling,” filmed entirely on the new camera system with Canon Cine Primes and Canon Cine zooms. The scenarios they “tested” this camera in really showcased the dynamic range and image quality of the camera. As a C300 Mark II shooter, I instantly noticed how much less noise was present in the shadows versus the C300 Mark II in 4K. The camera showcased excellent dynamic range that I was immediately impressed with. The highlights retained a surprising amount of information and the shadows were crisp and clean.Although the image is strikingly beautiful, it looks more digital than its competitors (RED, ARRI). However, as you can see in this short, the C700 still makes a great camera for narrative projects. Ultimately, I see it excelling in corporate and high-end documentary pieces. Check out this beautiful corporate film shot with the C700.UsabilityThe Canon C700 is reminiscent of the ARRI Alexa, and it’s AC friendly, with the ability to adjust camera setting such as exposure or frame rates with a simple flip of a switch or turn of a knob. This is an improvement over the C300 Mark II, for which switching these features is a few levels deep in the camera’s menu or adjustable only via a small button on the side of the camera.The crew behind “The Calling” spoke in depth about the the usability of the camera system and how it benefited their workflow and the production.ConclusionAfter spending some time on the market, the C700 has proven itself a viable contender. The beautiful images this camera is capable of really proves that it’s an outstanding camera in its category of high-end cinema cameras. However, I only see this camera being used in some niche scenarios and applications where it makes sense. I don’t see this as a camera that can work on every single production. That’s why I think it will work best as a rental and not a purchase option.Had this camera come out three years ago, it would have made an excellent purchase option for many owner-operators because it fit the needs of the time. However, now there are simply too many viable competitors in the space for creating a clean, crisp, and cinematic image.Have you used the Canon C700 before? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

Interview: 7 Filmmaking Tips for Creating Retro ’80s Action

first_imgMeet the very talented filmmaker trying to recreate retro ’80s action in the ambitious and fun new project Commando Ninja.All images via Benjamin Combes.Benjamin Combes is not the first man to try to make a classic action movie. Many have tried (most notably, during the 1980s and ’90s when the genre was a hot box office draw). We’ve also seen other retro synthwave projects like Kung Fury. However, Combes’s own project, Commando Ninja, has been in the works for a while and is now coming to light.Combes, who has worked in film and video for several years as a director in Montpellier, France, has honed his chops producing trailers and projects in the video game industry for brands like Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy, and Mario. We chatted with Combes about his newest project and what advice he has for anyone looking to create retro ’80s action.1. Shoot Like They Did in the ’80sTo start this project, I went back and re-watched every ’80s action movie I could remember. What stood out was that the action was always very clear and you could always understand what was happening on-screen. Stunt work and choreography was key as the camera was almost always stable on a tripod with minimal dolly movements.First off, when diving into an homage project, it’s highly important that you do your research. When looking through source materials, Combes developed a game plan based on what his filmmaking predecessors had to work with. Camera moves in that era were an unnecessary luxury, as the filmmakers would rather let the stunts provide the entertainment.2. Use Real Locations (not Green Screens)Like I said above, our goal on this project was to shoot a movie as it could have been done in the 1980s. Green screen keying is a great way to digitally extend locations, but I really don’t like the idea of actors playing ‘make believe’ in a studio. I found that the actors were really more enthusiastic being on location and actually getting to roam around in riverbeds than safe in studio.As Combes points out, green screen technology is truly a powerful tool for filmmaking projects both big and small. Kung Fury, for example, made heavy use of green screens and CGI to create a digital world. However, each project needs to find its own authenticity, and Combes’s dedication to ’80s technology rules comes through true to form.3. Work with Era-Specific SFX on SetFor me, real squibs is a huge detail that always stood out to me from the classic ’80s movies. We were able to hire some professional stuntmen who could handle things like squibs, grenade explosions, and swordfights. We also made an effort to use awful-looking dummies and fake body parts as they would in the ’80s for any stunts where people are exploded or thrown from balconies. Likewise, real locations [and] practical SFX were also the best part of the shooting days, and actors loved that. I remember actor Philippe Allier was particularly excited to be chased by a full-scale velociraptor.On small-budget productions (Commando Ninja was principally shot with less than $5,000 — its Kickstarter is trying to raise the rest of the necessary funds), working with real SFX can get expensive quickly. However, because Combes and his team embraced the cheesier aspects of ’80s action, they could sacrifice verisimilitude for safety — which is always important for explosive shoots.4. Get that Film LookIf you want to look like an ’80s movie, the film look is maybe the most important thing. We shot digital on a Panasonic GH4, so we tried to set everything we could to match film quality. Of course that means thinking about lighting, depth of field, focal length, focus, and shooting at 24fps [with] shutter speed [at] 1/48 to get the right motion blur.As you can see in the picture of their color grade, Combes used the GH4’s “Native Cinelike D” before trying to match color grades by taking shot-for-shot references from some of his favorite ’80s classics. Then the filmmakers added grain and dust overlays and created some organic pops and scratches to create a unique blend for the end result.Here are some great grain overlays from Rocketstock to consider for your ’80s projects.5. Attention to Detail with Props, Costumes, Haircuts, etc.I think details in movies are really important. I love making costumes, and I’m kind of a gun freak, so we paid attention to use only ’80s props, costumes, weapons, haircuts, and vehicles. I spent a lot of time on eBay and in vintage clothing shops to find the pieces for the costumes, contacted a lot of old vehicle owners, and verified if props were from the [right] era.Some folks can just be sticklers for the details. In Combes’s case, that meant caring about every little thing — from the shoes on his actors’ feet to their standard army haircuts to every detail of their props and costumes. If you’re trying to recreate a world gone by, you have to truly inhabit it.6. Embrace Humor in Your Action’80s action movies were violent, sexy, and (most of all) fun! Commando, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and RoboCop were all ’80s blockbusters that embraced a sense of humor. It’s a great way to defuse all the violence you sometimes witness with funny punchlines and tongue-in-cheek dialogue to help detach and enjoy all the blood and gore.Let’s face it: any retro ’80s action movie made today is going to get a few laughs. Combes, like those before him, has embraced the humor in the action by calling attention to over-the-top elements and tropes. It’s no coincidence either, as Combes points out (after reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography Total Recall) that comedy writers were often brought in to punch up one-liners.7. ’80s Era Lighting SetupsWhen you think of the ’80s, you think of neons and pastel colors like pink. Action movies from the ’80s were no different, and we worked hard to bring retro lighting setups to life. Of course, we didn’t want to abuse it, but we tried to bring back some nostalgia with colored gels for dark and night scenes and bright neons when we could.Today, it seems the trend in cinematic lighting is a heavy mix of orange and blue — and finding creative ways to use darkness and shadows. In the ’80s, shadows were big, but bright colors and neons were also popular. Combes admits that he was very lucky to work with a retro-style photographer for lighting setups and gel choices to get a look that was both ’80s and practical.For more info on Commando Ninja check out their Kickstarter here. For more retro filmmaking tips and tricks, check out these resources.Give Your Project a Retro-Creepy Vibe With 80s Synth MusicUse Film Grain Overlays to Add a Cinematic Look to Your Footage329 Free Action Elements for Video EditorsDetonate: 40 FREE Explosion SFX and VFX ElementsHow To Create Action Titles With Glitch Effects + Free Glitch Elementslast_img read more

Fast Is Slow, Slow is Fast

first_imgFast is slow. Slow is fast.You can’t cram success. Fast results are the product of having done the slow work that eventually produces results. You can’t cheat and get the fast results. You have to do the slow work.Slow is really fast. The more time and effort you put into building the competencies and skills that eventually produce faster results, the faster you produce them. The more time you spend doing the slow work of selling well, the faster you make your number. But you have to do the slow work.If you want access to your dream clients, you invest your time in building your nurture toolkit, creating value before claiming any, and developing the relationships you need in front of any opportunity. Nurturing is slow. Building relationships is slow. Creating value before claiming it feels really slow. Slow is fast.If you want your dream client to choose your solution, you do the slow work of understanding the ground truth, learning what really needs to happen to produce results. You do the slow work of meeting with decision-influencers and those with no formal authority. You build consensus over time. Understanding is slow. Consensus is slow. Slow is fast.If you try to take shortcuts to get the results you want without doing the slow work, it takes more time to get the results you want—and it makes it far less likely you get them at all. Trying to produce the results you need fast isn’t effective. You can’t violate the natural laws of the universe. Your need for results and for revenue don’t allow you to break the laws.Slow is fast. Fast is slow. Do the slow work and go faster.QuestionsWhat do you do in an attempt to produce fast results?Why do you need those results so urgently?Is there slow work that you could have done that would have made it easier, more likely, and faster to get the results you need now?last_img read more

How I Read Books Now

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now I’ve stopped trying to read a lot of books. I used to read a book a week. I read a book a week outside of my assigned reading in college and all the way through law school. I read hundreds and hundreds of books, and I am happy I invested my time doing so (there are few investments with so great a return). But now I have different outcomes, so I read differently.I read to apply what I am learning to my life. That means slowing down and going over the same ground a few times.Read Through: First I read a book from cover to cover. I highlight passages I find interesting or useful, but I don’t spend any real time thinking about their value or how I intend to use them in the future. I read the book just as I would have in the past.Listen to the Audio Book: This isn’t always possible, because some books aren’t available in this format. But when they are this is my second pass. I listen to the book I just read on audio while I am running, showering, and driving. It’s amazing how different the book and the experience are when you listen to it being read to you. It’s passive, but for me it seems to multiply my comprehension and retention.Second Reading: After I have listened to the book, I read the book a second time. It’s a very different experience the second time through, especially having listened to it. Sometimes you can hear the author’s voice. This time I read with one single purpose that I have managed to capture in a single sentence: Now that you know this what are you going to do different?It’s one thing to read for pleasure and another altogether to read with intention of using what you read to improve your life. There isn’t any reason to pick up the next book if you haven’t implemented and executed what you learned from the book you just finished. It takes time to digest a valuable work and the ideas therein.Slow is fast, and fast is slow in all things worth doing well.Books are magic.Note: This isn’t worth doing unless you pick really powerful books. I just finished the audio book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I’m on to my second read. After that, I am back to Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.last_img read more

It’s Not the Problem That Loses the Client. It’s How You Respond.

first_imgNo matter how good your product, and no matter how hard you try, your product is going to fail from time to time. It’s inevitable. No product is ever perfect.No service is ever perfect either. The restaurant that was impeccable the last time you ate there is unrecognizable the second time. The service you sell has days like that, too.The more complex the solution, that combination of products and services and outcomes, is rife with opportunities for problems and failures. No amount of effort can account for the challenges that occur in the normal course of execution.You might be tempted to believe that your company has an exclusive right to problems and failures. Because you have to deal with these challenges, and because you are emotionally invested, you are bothered by them, wishing you were perfect. You don’t lose clients because you have problems. You lose them when you handle them poorly.But problems are not your problem. How you respond to your problems, however, may be your problem.Hiding: One choice when dealing with problems is to avoid them, hoping that they go away or that someone else resolves them so you don’t have to. This choice typically ends not with the problem going away, but instead with the client going away.Avoiding Accountability: Another choice you might make is avoiding accountability for the problem or failure. After all, it’s your operations team that failed, not you. Why should you have to face the angry, upset, or irate client?Embrace: The best choice when dealing with problems is to respond to them quickly, apologize, dispatch them as fast as possible, and make changes to prevent those problems from reoccurring. This is what your client wants and expects from you. Mature, partner-oriented clients don’t judge you on whether or not you have problems. They judge you on how you respond when you the inevitable problems surface.Your clients have their own problems serving their clients. You want from them the same thing they want from their clients, namely, a chance to make things right.Your competitors have the exact same problems and challenges you have in executing what you sell. You know this because you call on their clients, and when these problems rise to a great enough level, you win those clients. Had your competitor better handled their problems, they may have retained those clients. This is also true for you.The best approach to dealing with problems is to handle them well. Wishing you weren’t going to have them is a poor strategy. Get better at managing them.last_img read more

Creating a Preference for You and Your Solution – Episode 26

first_imgNot enough people understand that selling is about creating a preference for you, your company, and your solution. This is what you are supposed to be doing when you are selling.last_img

Aggregate Tasks and Build Momentum

first_imgThere are two under appreciated ways to improve your productivity: aggregation and momentum.Like WorkIf you need to make cold calls, doing all the research at once is more effective than doing that same research between calls. By aggregating that work, you focus on a certain type of work, the work of seeking answers to questions you ask yourself before you make a call. Then, you aggregate your calls. By making all your calls together, you get more work done faster.You might also aggregate work like email and voicemail. You can keep your inbox shut for hours, open it long enough to respond to anything urgent (which is more rare than you might believe), and then save the emails that don’t require an urgent response for a time that makes more sense. I like to respond to email on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, if it is something that doesn’t require an immediate response (you don’t get paid for responding to emails or getting to Inbox Zero).If you want to be super productive, aggregating your work will help you do more, and it will allow you to do more in less time.The Big, Big MoIf you want momentum, do one task for a long period of time. There is something about giving yourself over to a single task that produces a flow state. In that state, you and the work become one, and you get more work done than you imagined. The time passes without you noticing.Aggregation is what allows you to build momentum.Back to cold calling. If you want to get really good at making calls, make a lot of calls in a row. With every call, you will get better. Your confidence will grow. After a full day of calls, you will be most effective. You can’t get the benefits of momentum when you are always switching tasks.I recently got rid of my giant monitors, and now I do everything on a laptop. I have one window open when I am writing. I have one window open when I am editing videos for the YouTube channel. I have two windows open when I process email, but the second window is only open so I can move tasks to Omnifocus, my task manager.Focus is the discipline of the super-productive.If you want to get more done, aggregate your work, and focus on one task so that you can build momentum. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Sanitisation operation at Dera comes to an end

first_imgThe three-day mammoth exercise to carry out “sanitisation” of the sprawling Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters premises here ended on Sunday evening, officials said.Security forces and various government departments had launched a coordinated effort to carry out the exercise on September 8.“Various teams engaged in this operation have submitted their report to the court commissioner, who will now submit his report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court,” an official said.A member of the State body of the Dera had been arrested for allegedly inciting violence on August 25 in Panchkula. Meanwhile, efforts continued to trace Dera chief’s adopted daughter Honeypreet Insan, against whom a lookout notice was issued earlier.Meanwhile, efforts continued to trace the Dera chief’s adopted daughter Honeypreet Insan, against whom a lookout notice was issued earlier.Searh on for functionaryPanchkula Police Commissioner A.S. Chawla said the police were also looking for another key functionary Aditya Insan.“We are at the job and hopeful of nabbing them soon,” he said. “We are conducting raids at various places and our teams have gone to different areas to trace them.” Mr. Chawla said the police needs to question Honeypreet regarding the disclosures made by some of the arrested persons.last_img read more

Lucknow to get first woman Mayor in 100 years

first_imgUttar Pradesh has already given India its first woman Governor and Chief Minister but Lucknow is set to make history on Sunday by electing its first woman Mayor in 100 years.A woman has never before been elected as head of the municipal body after the Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act came into existence. This time, however, the Lucknow mayoral seat has been reserved for women, hence all parties have fielded women candidates.The Samajwadi Party has selected Meera Vardhan, kin of educationist Acharya Narendra Dev and the Congress has pitched Prema Awasthi, wife of the former Congress legislator Surendra Nath.Freedom fighters Sarojini Naidu and Sucheta Kriplani were the country’s first female Govenor and Chief Minister respectively.Naidu, popularly known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, was the Governor of the United Provinces, now known as Uttar Pradesh, from 1947 to 1949. She was born in a Bengali family on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad and was educated in Chennai, London and Cambridge.Naidu was a follower of Mahatama Gandhi and participated in the freedom struggle. She, later, went on to become the president of the Indian National Congress. A poet of modern India, she wrote a collection, comprising children’s poems, nature poems, patriotic poems and poems of love and death.Kriplani, who held the Chief Minister’s office from 1963 to 1967, had come to the forefront during the Quit India Movement in 1942. She worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi during the Partition riots. She was one of the few women who were elected to the Constituent Assembly and was part of the sub-committee that drafted the Constitution.The civic polls will be held in the state capital tomorrow in the second leg of the three-phase municipal elections across Uttar Pradesh.Lucknow has thrice sent a woman to the Lok Sabha as its representative with Sheila Kaul being elected in 1971, 1980 and 1984.last_img read more

790 films from across the world to compete at MIFF

first_imgThe 15th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) will begin on January 28 at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai. The week-long festival of documentaries, short fiction and animation films from across the world will conclude on February 3.Films from 32 countriesThe oldest and largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia, MIFF began in 1990 and is organised by the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). The festival directorate has received a record 790 entries, with 194 entries from 32 countries in the international competition and 596 entries in the national competition. Prize money doubledThe prize money has been doubled for the Golden Conch Award for the best documentary in the international competition to ₹10 lakh. FICCI is planning a business platform to help documentary film makers find funding and screening venues. The proposal is in initial stages.The V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award for promotion of documentary movement in India will be conferred upon an eminent documentary film maker chosen by an independent jury. The award money has also been doubled from to ₹10 lakh. Altogether, cash awards of ₹58 lakh will be given away during MIFF 2018. People’s festivalThe delegate fee has been kept at a modest ₹100, and there will be no entry fee for students, a press release by the Press Information Bureau said on Sunday.last_img read more

Congress wins majority of seats in local body by-elections in Rajasthan

first_imgCongress on Tuesday won the majority of seats in the by-elections to Zila Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and municipal wards in Rajasthan. Congress won all the four Zila Parishad seats, 16 of the 27 seats in Panchayat Samitis and seven of the 13 municipal wards. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in 10 Panchayat Samiti wards, while one seat went to an independent candidate. The BJP candidates were elected in six municipal wards. The Zila Parishad seats and local body wards, for which by-elections were held last week, are situated in 26 districts of the State.The seats in various rural and urban local bodies had fallen vacant in Udaipur, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Banswara, Dausa, Sriganganagar, Pratapgarh, Nagaur, Baran and other districts. Congress candidate Rajendra Patidar won by a margin of 3,178 votes for the Zila Parishad seat in Banswara.Jubilant over the party’s victory in the by-polls, Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot said the BJP’s days were “numbered” in Rajasthan and its countdown had begun. “The Congress gave a tough fight to BJP in Gujarat. The Rajasthan government has completely neglected the people in both rural and urban areas during the last four years,” he said.Mr. Pilot said the by-poll results in the State, coming just after the Gujarat Assembly election results, were “very encouraging” for Congress, as the local bodies which went to polls were geographically situated all over Rajasthan. “The results have depicted people’s disenchantment with the BJP and a renewed faith in Congress,” he said, adding that his party would win in the upcoming by-elections to two Lok Sabha and one Assembly seats as well.last_img read more

Kashmir youth shuns militancy, returns home after mother’s appeal

first_imgOne more youth quit militancy on Friday to resume the normal life in Kashmir valley, according to the police.“Another young boy responding to the appeals of crying mother returned to the fold of family leaving path of violence in the valley. I wish the family happy re- union.” Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) S.P. Vaid.The police have refused to identify the youth for “security concerns.” Over 70 youth rejoined the mainstream and quit militancy in the past one year in Kashmir valley.Mehbooba outlines govt. initiativesNotably, last month, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in a written reply to a question of BJP MLC Vikram Randhawa, said: “four misguided youths shunned the path of violence and returned to the mainstream. Efforts are being made to counsel the families of militants to convince their wards to give up violence.”The government had taken a number of steps to contain radicalisation and extremism, and undertaken youth engagement activities, such as cricket tournaments. Youth clubs had been set up at the police station-level to train them in information technology and indoor games, she said.She also mentioned about the surveillance on social media, which had been enhanced as the Internet plays a major role in radicalisation of youth.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Security forces put on high alert in Jammu & Kashmir

first_imgSecurity forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on a high alert following reports of large scale infiltration of militants in the Valley from across the Line of Control, officials said here on Friday.Militants fired upon a CRPF vehicle in Pulwama on Friday morning. A police official there were no injuries in the attack. The CRPF vehicle of 183 Battalion came under fire at Eidgah crossing in Pulwama town. SSP Pulwama Mohd. Asalam Chaudhary said, “Soon after this incident, whole area has been cordoned off.” There are reports of infiltration of over 20 militants into Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) recently, the officials said. They said most of the militants are believed to be affiliated to Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit headed by Maulana Masood Azhar.The security grid is apprehending a spike in militant attacks in the state, particularly in the Valley, the officials added. The security forces have been asked to remain on a high alert and maintain vigil around sensitive security installations across the State, they said.The officials said it is rare for such a large number of militants to infiltrate in one go and indicated the desperation of their handlers across the LoC to keep the Kashmir pot boiling.last_img read more

4.5-magnitude earthquake hits India-Nepal border

first_imgA 4.5-magnitude earthquake hit the Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh on Friday afternoon, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The NCS, which works under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said the quake was reported at 12.45 pm at a depth of 33 km.last_img

‘We atoned for all our mistakes’

first_imgAs the near-century-old party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, battles internal crisis after its senior/old (Taksali) leaders recently revolted against party president Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal has defended his son, saying Mr. Sukhbir had offered to resign after the party’s defeat in the 2017 Assembly polls. Excerpts:The Shiromani Akali Dal has seen a revolt by a few senior leaders, who allege that the party has been “hijacked” by the “Badal family” and its ideology compromised. How do you react?I have always held them [Taksali leaders] in high esteem and still do. As for their complaints, I really don’t know what they mean by the “Badal family” because they still publicly declare that they want me to head the party, and I am the head of the Badal family. As for Mr. Sukhbir, they elected him as the party president, he was not appointed by me. In fact, his name was proposed by Jathedar Ranjit Singh Brahampura, the leader of the breakaway faction. So what can I say?The Akali Dal senior leadership, including you, your son Sukhbir and daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal, recently sought atonement for “mistakes that might have been committed during your (SAD-BJP) rule” at the Akal Takht. What were these mistakes?In Sikh religion, which guides the philosophy of the SAD, the relationship between the Guru and the Sikh is a direct one. When we atoned for our “mistakes”, we atoned for all the mistakes which the ‘Sangat’ (the people) may have deemed us guilty of. In our religion, the ‘Sangat’ enjoys the status of the Guru. In fact, even superior. Do you regret the handling of issues such as the pardon granted to Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case and the Kotkapura-Behbal Kalan police firing incidents of 2015, which followed the Bargari sacrilege?That issue was handled by the honourable Jathedar Sahib of Sri Akal Takht Sahib. No Sikh who believes in the tenets of his religion can comment on the decisions taken by the Takht Sahib.Do you think the revolt in the party could have been averted had Mr. Sukhbir resigned? At the first meeting of the party after the defeat in the 2017 Assembly elections, Mr. Sukhbir had not only offered his resignation but also insisted that it should be accepted and someone else should lead the party. I did not intervene at all. These same leaders had rejected his resignation offer then. Nothing has changed since then. They know how a president is appointed or changed and they are free to follow that course.How do you assess the current Congress government’s work in Punjab so far?You can ask the people. Have they fulfilled any of the promises they made? Have they even discharged the basic duty of a government? This government is not only a failure, in fact this government simply does not exist. People don’t know where to go to get their grievances redressed. The Chief Minister is unavailable even to his own partymen. So what should I say? You make your own independent assessment and tell me if I am wrong. I will correct myself.What’s your reaction to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s stand on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor regarding security concerns while dealing with Pakistan?He [Capt. Amarinder Singh] must not do anything that sabotages this achievement. Unfortunately, his stand is ‘neither here nor there’. And this is dictated by his intra-party insecurities. He should take the lead as he is the Chief Minister. At the moment, it does not appear that he is honest about implementing the corridor. The Government of India has taken the initiative and that has forced Pakistan to respond. Captain Sahib should ignore immature people in his party and his Cabinet who credit Pakistan for this achievement. He should implement the corridor as India’s achievement. Unfortunately, he looks so confused. I hope he clears his thoughts on the issue.You are in alliance with the BJP, but the Akali Dal has said that it would contest the Parliamentary/State Assembly elections in Haryana independently. Is it ethical to have a pre-poll alliance with the BJP, a ministerial berth in the Union Government and then fighting against the same party in other State/States?In Punjab, our alliance is not a political one. It is a guarantee for social and communal harmony. In other States and at the Centre, we follow a common minimum programme. The alliance in Punjab was a historical necessity considering the challenges to Hindu-Sikh unity and harmony. I think we served and are serving a great cause.What is your advice to the BJP, after the results of the Assembly elections held in five States recently?Ups and downs happen in life. I am sure there are much wiser people in the BJP than me to find out what needs to be improved.last_img read more

Goa Lokayukta wants CBI probe into suspected cartel rigging gadget tender

first_imgGoa Lokayukta Justice P.K. Mishra has recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into an alleged cartel of businessmen who might have rigged the tender in the procurement of nearly 50,000 tablet-PCs for distribution to school students in 2013, under the State’s flagship Cyberage Student Scheme.The Lokayukta submitted a report to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and a copy to the State government. The main thrust of the report was a recommendation for further inquiries into the bidding process to ascertain if an alleged cartel had been formed during 2013-14, or the previous or subsequent years. The Lokayukta was looking into a complaint by a local activist Dr. Aashish Kamat, who alleged that the State exchequer had been defrauded by a cartel of businessmen who manipulated the tender issued by the State-owned Information Technology Corporation. The complaint also estimated a scam of ₹12.64 crore in the purchase of the tablet-PCs and a violation of Central Vigilance Commission guidelines. The Lokayukta, in his report, questioned the reluctance of the Anti-Corruption Branch of State Vigilance to probe the matter due to the “fear of old skeletons” falling out of cupboards. The body had dragged its feet over probing the possibility of a cartel for nearly two years.The report also termed the then Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma’s attitude as “lackadaisical”. The Lokayukta observed there was a proper compliance report wherever the Chief Minister was the competent authority but no satisfactory one has been received from any other authority, including the Chief Secretary.The Lokayukta also noted that with three constables at his disposal, he was unable to conduct any investigation of complaints.In 2013, the then Manohar Parrikar-led government allotted 47,000 free tablets to students from Class V and VI. The scheme was withdrawn in 2015 by the subsequent BJP-led government led by Laxmikant Parsekar.last_img read more