Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tommy Goff (1933-2008)

Few people leave a mark on their chosen profession the way Tommy Goff left his mark on Alabama high school bands. In a career that scanned over 30 years, Mr. Goff's Auburn High School Bands were among the best not only in Alabama, but stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the elite in the Southeast.

A short biography of Tommy Goff's life can be found at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame site. Everyone who knew Mr. Goff would certainly be able to add to this biography with their own stories of how this incredible teacher touched their lives.

Thanks to some special folks whose vision for the future included a reverence for the past, a very complete set of recordings of the Auburn High School Band through the years is available. Whether you listen to all of the "snap, crackles, and pops" in this recording of Army of the Nile from the 1959 State Band Contest, Rocky Point Holiday from three decades later, the band's rendition of Victory at Sea, or any of the multitudes of standards from the band literature, you are sure to enjoy the experience.

In this life, there are givers and there are takers. Tommy Goff was definitely a giver. Mr. Goff passed away this past Thursday. He will be missed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beauty and Vision and Good Friends

At first glance, this post has nothing to do with organization and time management. Displayed here are several examples of glasswork produced by my good friend Lisa Mote. You can browse Lisa's glass studio by clicking here.

I post Lisa's work for two reasons. First, what she creates is beauty, and we need a whole lot more beauty in our lives. Secondly, in an e-mail just the other day, she talked to me about vision and how her studio has taken off since she clarified her vision of where she wanted it to go. Lisa has been featured on HGTV. It was pretty powerful stuff.

Lisa, thanks for making the world just a little bit better place by doing the thing you love to do.

You've got to think about the "big things" while you're doing the small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.

-Alvin Tofler

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dealing with Office 2007 Documents

In the last month, four different people have approached me with the same problem. They were sent a Word document which they could not open, even though they regularly use Word. In all four cases, the problem was the same: The document was saved in Word 2007 and the recipient was using Word 2003.

Here are two piece of information everyone needs to know:

  1. Office 2003 will not open an Office 2007 document.
  2. A free converter is available which will allow Office 2007 documents to be opened with Office 2003.
This problem is going to become more and more prevalent as more people make the switch to Office 2007, generally by virtue of purchasing a new computer. The very large percentage of us who are still doing just fine with Office 2003 won't be able to open documents from the growing percentage who made the switch.

What's the solution? Don't wait until you are faced with that "must open" document that just won't open. Get the converter while you are thinking about it. You are just a couple of mouse clicks away right this minute, so why not knock it out right now?

To get that converter, click here.

With a DSL connection, the download takes roughly five minutes.

Once you download the converter, you may wish to copy the installer to a flash drive. You will then be able to load that converter on your laptop or whip out the flash drive when a co-worker is running into his/her own problem opening a Word 2007 document!

You can even save those documents once you open them. Go to "Save As" and choose "Word Document" as the file type.

A few mouse clicks to download and install that converter, and then I can open anything saved in Office 2007. That's easy enough I will actually do it!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ensuring Outlook and GroupWise Work Together

During workshops on Outlook, I am sometimes asked about organizations which use GroupWise and whether or not they can take advantage of Outlook. I have not personally worked with GroupWise, so my knowledge is somewhat limited there.

I did come across a set of instructions on how to get Outlook and GroupWise to work together. Those instructions can be found here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How Did You Make Today Count?

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I value a comprehensive set of repeating tasks. Instead of hoping I think of things at the right time, I structure a system that insures I will think of them at the right time.

I have a daily task which shows up on my BlackBerry every day that reads, "How did you make today count?" That one question stares me in the face every evening. That one question forces me to think back over the events of the day and be honest about the way I used a very special gift. That one question helps me focus and compare how my day was spent in contrast to the vision I have for the future.

I have for some time adopted the practice of noting on my calendar the answer to that question. For me, it is sort of a mini-diary. It also serves as a compass.

How did you make today count? It is a sobering question indeed, at least for me. Perhaps the knowledge that I am going to have to answer that question when the day ends works on my subconscious from the time the day begins.

As you read this post, I invite you to join me in answering this question for yourself:

How did you make today count?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Don't Forget the Old Ones...For Dog Lovers Everywhere

A very good friend sent me this thought. In a blog devoted to using our time to maximize the results we get, I think this message is particularly appropriate.

The years go so very fast and before you know it that romping pup is old and gray muzzled and they have sat by our sides
while we read, watch TV, and work on our computers. Every so often they come and lay their heads in our laps, toss our elbow with their muzzle or gaze into our eyes and wait for us to notice them.

Take a moment now to remember what they mean to you..

I am your dog, and I have a little something I'd like to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise. It always seems like you are running here and running there, often much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now, while you sit there at your computer. See the way my dark brown eyes look at yours? They are slightly cloudy now. That comes with age. The gray hairs are beginning to ring my soft

You smile at me; I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine?

Do you see a spirit? A soul inside, who loves you as no other
could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a simple moment of your time? That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you have been saddened by the words you read on that screen, of others of my kind, passing. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, sometimes so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract clouded eyes.

Still the love is always there, even when we must take that long sleep, to run free in a distant land. I may not be here tomorrow; I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when deep grief fills their souls, and you will be angry at yourself that you did not have just "one more day" with me. Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me.

We have NOW, together. So come, sit down here next to me on the floor, and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart.

Come to me not as "alpha" or as "trainer" or even "Mom or Dad," come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur and let us look deep into one another's eyes and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general.

You decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share such things. Here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls.

I do not think of you as a "Dog on two feet" -- I know what you are and who you are.

You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if only for 15 minutes. Look deep into my eyes, and whisper into my ears.

Speak with your heart, with your joy, and I will know your true self.

We may not have tomorrow, but we do have today, and life is oh so very short.

So please--come sit with me now and let us share these precious moments we have together.

- Love, on behalf of canines everywhere.

Your Dog

In memory of Lassie Marie March 21, 1990-January 19, 2003

In celebration of Bonnie Lass (8 years old) and Skipper (12 years old)

Friday, September 05, 2008

When a New Student Enrolls Who Needs to Know?

When a new student enrolls in your school, know needs to know? This question is a particularly good one to ask in an elementary school setting. Answers from the audience generally include the librarian and lunchroom manager. Without fail, someone will add the music teacher, art teacher, counselor, PE teacher. The nurse is generally mentioned.

What becomes very obvious is that when a new student enrolls in a school, that information is important to far more people than the one teacher. The librarian needs to add the students to the library automation system. The lunchroom manager needs to establish an account. The teachers of music, art, PE, etc. need to be aware that a new student will be present in their classes within a day or so. The counselor may wish to meet with the student within the first week at the new school. To each person, the presence of a new student triggers some type of "to-do," even though the nature of that "to-do" varies from person to person.

The question is this--How is that message communicated in your school? When a new student arrives, what system is in place to notify all of those people?

The easiest solution I have found is a simple e-mail message. The first step is for the principal to identify all of the people in the school (other than the classroom teacher) who need to know about the presence of a new student. Next, create an e-mail "group" or "distribution list" in the administrative assistant's e-mail program and add those people. Call this group or distribution list "New Student."

From now on, when a new student enrolls, part of the procedure is for the administrative assistant to create an e-mail message that say's something like this:

Mark Johnson, 4th grade, has just enrolled in Mrs. Brown's class.

The administrative assistant sends that e-mail message to the "New Student" group.

When a student withdraws, we have the same scenario. This same group of people needs to know so that any obligations may be cleared up. Again, sending an e-mail message to the "New Student" group keeps the key players in the loop.

This technique is easy, and generally speaking, the easy things are the ones which actually wind up working!