Does it look like your boring old keyboard?
You have a treasure chest full of
Larry Ludden’s people love him.
Larry works as a regional manager for a Phoenix-based office-supply company and has 18 people reporting to him. Over the years, Larry had become legendary for taking care of his team. If you were in the hospital, or if your daughter had gotten engaged, you could count on a personal visit from him, or a heartfelt note. And everyone – even the men! – got a long-stemmed rose on their birthday.
So when he was forced to lay off some of his staff, it really did hurt him almost as much as it did them. Larry’s wife Sue baked baskets of her famous muffins … there were tearful goodbyes … and Larry called everyone he knew, trying to secure new jobs for people.Those layoffs took a toll on several levels. Not only was the workplace a little less friendly, it became a lot less efficient. Quarterly reports were filed late. Typos appeared in PowerPoints. Sales appointments were missed – and, not surprisingly, so were sales goals. Larry even started forgetting his staff’s birthdays – an unheard-of occurrence.
At a national meeting, Larry was called on the carpet in front of the other regional managers. “The layoffs have impacted us all, Ludden,” said Alan Keller, Larry’s boss at Corporate. “I know you’re working hard – we all are – but you’ve got to find a way to work smarter, too.”
“I mean, look at Tennant.” Keller gestured in the direction of Jim Tennant, Larry’s longtime colleague. “He cut even more people than you did, but his reports are on time, accurate, and they’re easier to read. Plus, his office hit their numbers last year – something I can’t say for yours.”
Larry was stunned. Tennant had been with the company as long as Larry – in fact, they were hired on the same day. They had gone through training together and had progressed through the ranks at about the same pace. And now he was being held up as a shining example, while Larry looked (and felt) like an idiot.Larry was about to defend himself when Keller looked at his watch and said, “Well that’s enough fun for today. Let’s pick this up tomorrow morning.”
The regional managers hit the bar. Larry hit it hard.
“What am I, a loser?” Larry asked Tennant. “I’ve been here 15 years, and just because I’m a little behind on some reports and goals, they treat me like dirt? I mean, this year they took away 25% of my staff!”
“I know, I know,” Tennant sympathized. “It happened to me, too.”
“Then how come you’re getting your reports in on time? How come you’re hitting your sales goals? Why do you look like the fair-haired boy, and I end up looking like a candidate for the unemployment line?”
“Well, for one thing,” Tennant replied, “I use office technology.”
“Well, for one thing, I do, too,” came Larry’s hostile retort. “My last name is Ludden, not Luddite, for Pete’s sake. And, besides, I don’t have any room in my budget for new software. Even if I did, I don’t have the time to train on it!”
“Easy, buddy, easy,” Tennant soothed. “I’m in the same boat. You just need to work smarter.”
Larry rolled his eyes. “I swear, the next guy who says that to me gets a mouthful of Chiclets.”
“OK, OK. But let me ask you something. You have Excel, right?”
“How about PowerPoint?”
“I’m guessing you own a cell phone?”
Larry waved his BlackBerry an inch from Tennant’s nose.
“Well, then, you’re halfway home. Because I’ve found a resource that really WILL help you work smarter.” He mock-dodged an expected punch … reached into his briefcase … and flopped a book onto the bar.
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Table of Contents
Supercharge Your Computer: Tips & Tools
Speed Tasks in Microsoft Word
Boost E-mail/Outlook Efficiency
Log on to Online Tools and Useful Sites
Excel in Using Excel
Optimize PowerPoint Presentations
Save Time With Conferencing and Podcasts
Tap Into Cell Phone Services
Download Templates or Create Your Own
Larry immediately started tearing through the book. “Wait – Excel can do THIS? I never knew! And look at all these cool ways to use Outlook. This can get my office back on track – and maybe save my job in the process!”
“I know,” smiled Tennant. “C’mon, read this later. I know a place in Scottsdale that does a mesquite cowboy steak that you won’t believe.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Larry replied, not even looking up. “I want to see what I’ve been missing. Imagine – all these tools have been at my fingertips for years!”
Larry Ludden took the book to his room that night. The next week, he bought copies for his whole office. Now his office runs more smoothly and efficiently than ever. He never misses a deadline … hits (and exceeds) his sales targets … and he hasn’t forgotten a birthday since reading 77 Technology Tips to Boost Office Productivity.And at the next management meeting, Larry and Jim Tennant each received a Shining Star award from Alan Keller. Tennant gave Larry a knowing wink, and a warm handshake. Larry gave Tennant a basket of Sue’s homemade muffins … and his undying thanks.
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