Archive for November, 2015

Thinking about Winter, Snow, Holidays and Calories

November 12th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

The climate cycle continues in North America – it’s Winter in the mountains to the west of my office windows. Let’s review some of the scenarios that we might encounter for the next 5 to 6 months.

First on the list is the nuisance called Daylight Savings time: we need to change every device that displays time. The manual devices are fairly easy to remember and adjust; the electronic devices are going to be discovered for days after the change, then you either punch a teeny tiny button or unfold a paper clip to depress a hidden button multiple times and then repeat as you’ve over-corrected (sigh). It's 2 weeks since change and I'm still finding devices to correct 🙁

Next is preparing your vehicle: do you need to change tires or pack chains in your truck? Check to see if chains are required on any of the roads you travel and then you’ll have them if needed. How about your personal winter kit?

Red Cross, FEMA, state governments (Colorado for example) and even TV channels offer these checklists.

  • If your business has vehicles, your contracted maintenance provider should be ready to schedule checks on all your vehicles
  • YOU/your company’s insurance agent should have a winter driving review session for anyone that drives company vehicles.
  • Your company vehicles should add winter items to the existing emergency pack or check to refresh items already in the kit.

Third (or first) on your list are all the holidays coming up and what is your organizational vacation strategy or plan?

  • The company’s plan for shut down or limited operations should be published already.
    • Do you have an existing personnel strategy around those plans?
    • What is the mechanical plan for the shut down? Is this time for maintenance?
    • Have the Facilities and Security teams been involved with plan?
  • The individual vacation plans should be considered with the whole operation or team in mind. If a key person is going to be gone then what is the plan? Is their backup available? Has the training been refreshed?
  • Ensure all the phone and email notifications mention that the person is away from desk and the expected date back at work.
    • Avoid mentioning any personal travel plans due to safety/security of personal nature.
    • If a backup is available, mention that person by name and phone number
  • If company signage needs to be updated, schedule that task as soon as possible so it’s done when you close the door or the last person turns off the lights.

Next on the list is Calories to be consumed during the holidays:

  • If this means at a company sponsored event, be sure that you self-manage your plate and glass.
    • Company event planning is whole separate subject --- too many factors to discuss here.
  • Consider reflecting on your calorie intake in 24 or 48 hour blocks of time.
  • Plan for walks or exercise on a daily basis and keep to your schedule!
  • Don’t beat yourself for enjoying the flavors available, just be aware of portions.

Last on the list is ‘time for reflection’:

  • Take time to refresh & restore your energies
  • Take time to reflect on the good business during previous year; celebrate the good stuff!
  • What needs to improve? List any details you think of for the budgeting portion of the plan.
  • What are you going to do in January or first quarter? You have the space and time to think about those ‘grand pans’ now

Preparation for National Convention

November 12th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

I had the chance to go to my first trade show in the ‘disaster’ industry last month, out of town, and did not know if any local ACP chapter members attending. Ever Onward!

One has to consider the cost of attending one of these events – both financially and time-wise.

  • Will the education from speakers add to my mental and physical libraries?
  • Will my cousin be available to host me (offset the hotel bill)?
  • Can I get a good airfare?
  • Will I find interesting exhibitors?
  • Will I see anyone I know from other industries?

I did a quick review with my CPA on what would be deductible or not (and some items that are only 50% deductible), so I had the start of a budgeting process.

  • Entrance fee
  • Airfare
  • Meals not covered at event
  • COFFEE
  • Transportation back/forth to event
  • Trinkets to bring home

What to pack:

  • Appropriate layers for outside the event.
  • More layers for inside the ‘refrigerator’ convention center that will fit in my tote
  • PC, new travel surge protector, several thumb drives
  • All the charger cables for phone, PC and tablet
  • Comfortable shoes (2 pair) to switch each day
  • Materials to share (business cards, BCPWest rack cards and more business cards)
  • Folder with agenda, map/list of exhibitors and pre-event postcards and solitations

The trip report:

I registered during the first ½ day – out of 4, and while organizing my tote ran into several folks from the local ACP chapter! We had similar list of classes so we compared our ‘2nd choices’ and agreed to divide and conquer, sharing notes later so we had better coverage of the 4 days – yeah!

Several of the seminars provided handouts or links to grab the handout later – wise choice. The event also had links to several of the main speakers, but not full coverage. The fellow attendees were always checking their phones for ‘hot situations’ back home, so were interrupting with questions covered in previous minutes --- really irritating. I made a practice of checking email only on breaks so I could get the ‘full message’ while in session.

Exhibitor Hall was full of enterprise level products, so I challenged those companies to consider the smaller companies or the suppliers/vendors/contractors to the big companies – it takes all of them to keep production rolling. I had a list of vendors that I wished to ask about scaling for the small/medium business and found them to be interested in the conversation.

I have been listening to many webinars provided by several of the exhibitors and made sure to thank them for the continuing education – I have been able to forward several presentations to appropriate customers. The SWAG was normal stuff and I would load up on the last afternoon, so I would not have to carry the weight around and the exhibitors are willing to share so they don’t have to take home!

We are going to add a new tab to the web site called ‘Community Resources’ that will have listings, links and  descriptions of products or service companies that I have found over the years. These are NOT endorsements, merely information for you and your team to consider.