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2 min read

The Importance of Vacations

By Adam Walter on May 23, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/YWobWj0OcGU


Every single person is super unique, but we all have one thing in common: a need for rest and recuperation. You may be convinced that you can work and work and work with no breaks. In a world that is so fast-paced, we reward people that are hardcore and refuse to step back or take a deep breath.

Although hard work is great and should be rewarded, it’s also pivotal that you take breaks. You can only work efficiently for so long without resting. The longer you work on something with no break, the more mistakes you will make.

You’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve tried to solve a problem or fix something and the longer you stare at it, the harder it seems to come up with a solution. Contrary to popular belief, that problem will not magically become clear by spending more time staring at it. The best thing to do is put it away and come back to it in a little while. You will most likely find that time away makes the solution easier to figure out—maybe even obvious!

Your brain needs time to work stuff out and process. It is a muscle and should be treated with the same respect and care that you treat the rest of your body. Give it time to relax and put good stuff in so you can get good stuff out. Take working out for example. You can’t do your maximum lifts every single day or you will wear your body out. You have to give your muscles days to do light workouts in order to come back the next day and work hard. You also wouldn’t put the heaviest weights on and expect to be able to lift over and over without feeling completely tired and burnt out. And, after a workout, you have to stretch your muscles to allow the best recovery—basically, you have to take care of yourself.

Even if your company offers unlimited paid time off, it can be hard to take advantage of that. You want to get stuff done and you probably think the harder you work, the more you’ll get done. When you’re tired, your body goes into autopilot and simply plays the part. You may feel like you’re being productive when really, you’re getting as much done as you could.

Your brain needs a change of scenery. That doesn’t mean simply slowing down on work; it means you need to switch up what you’re doing. Find something that you enjoy like reading, playing video games or going for a walk to give your mind a much-needed mini-vacation. When you return to your desk, it will be easier for you to focus on the tasks at hand.

Vacations don’t just mean taking a week off and traveling. Taking 30 minutes or 2 hours every day to focus on something else or rest will help you put your distractions on hold. There is a value in dedicated away time that includes unplugging from your work, your phone and anything that might cause you stress.
You may think that this topic doesn’t pertain to you. But, if you find yourself snapping at people, eating or drinking more or having a hard time sleeping, then you are out of balance and your body is trying to overcompensate for your lack of energy. It’s time to take a vacation, trust us!

You should definitely still take that awesome family vacation in the middle of summer. But, make sure that isn’t your only vacation this year. Take time every single day to do something that will make your brain relaxed and make work more enjoyable. Humans were not created to constantly work. Relax and give your body time to recharge and focus!

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Strategic Leadership
2 min read

Why are you in Tech?

By Adam Walter on May 16, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/ArFI83D0yUE

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Are you a bad MSP?

By Adam Walter on May 2, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

In your job, you most likely assume that you’re doing well. Why wouldn’t you? But, if most people think they’re performing well, how do we actually gauge that and test performance? It’s really easy to talk about what makes a good MSP, and that’s generally what we like to focus on. This is a touchy subject, but one that can really benefit you in your pursuit to be a great MSP. So, let’s get started with how to see if you are a good or bad MSP!

The first thing to look at within your MSP is client retention. If your clients are only staying with you because of an iron-clad agreement, then you may have a problem. If you’re only keeping clients because you’re the cheapest bid in town, that is also a red flag. You should be offering a value to your clients that would make them want to stay with you, no matter what. Client retention should not come from force or a constant effort on your part to convince them to stay.

If you can provide an easy out for your clients and they choose to stay, then you’re doing well. We always stress conversations with your clients, and this is a great way to talk about your value and what you provide for them. You shouldn’t have to beg them to stay!

The next thing you should dive into is whether you are continuously improving. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Essentially, continuous improvement is the cornerstone of what makes you a good MSP. Do you know if you are operating better than you were last year? Do you have the metrics to analyze to see that growth? If you haven’t improved or don’t have ways to track data, then you’re a bad MSP.

If you answered no to the following questions, it probably doesn’t feel like you’re doing badly. Generally, a lack of improvement happens from ignorance or pride. The best thing to do is identify what could be improved within your organization. It doesn’t have to be monumental changes—just small steps that will help you grow in the long run.

The third and final metric is whether your clients are in your lane. Basically, are your clients looking for the type of MSP that you are providing when looking at both services and culture.

People are always looking for different things, and there are a ton of options for MSPs. The thing to look at is what you are providing your clients. Do those services line up with what your client truly needs? If so, great! But, if not, it is time to refer them to another MSP that will align with them better.

Let’s say you work really well with schools, and that is your niche. Almost all of your clients come to you knowing that and looking for high-quality services that might cost a bit more but will align with the education field. If a hospital comes to you looking for the cheapest option, chances are they are not going to be a good fit for you. As a good MSP, you would refer them to another agency that will be able to serve them best.

Use metrics—customer retention, continuous improvement and whether you align with your clients—to test whether you’re a good MSP. If you aren’t, then it’s not too late to improve in each of these areas! If you are doing well, then maximize those skills!

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Tech and Teens

By Adam Walter on Apr 4, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

We’ve got a very special guest with us for this week’s episode: Lizzie Walter, my daughter! We’re talking about one teenager’s opinion on technology and how it affects school, home life and friendships. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation!

Adam and Skip: What kinds of technologies rule your life right now?

Lizzy: Snapchat and Instagram. I don’t have Snapchat, but most teenagers have them. I usually use Instagram over most other things, even though Instagram is pretty similar to Facebook.

Adam and Skip: When we were in school, we used to have books for classes and carried them around in our backpacks. Today, most people have Chromebooks for school. What do you guys use for school?

Lizzy: Google Classroom, a portal with all of our textbooks and video platforms, Google Keep for notes and Google Classroom to plan and keep track of assignments.

Adam and Skip: Do you trust these technologies, or do you feel the need to check on it and make sure everything is working properly?

Lizzy: I trust that it’s going to be there and give me the information that I need.

Adam and Skip: Google Classroom is pretty accessible. Given the choice, would you rather pick up your phone or your Chromebook?

Lizzy: I prefer my phone to quickly check assignments, but if I have to do something on a Google Doc, then I prefer to use my Chromebook because it’s easier to see and type on. And, It’s less distracting.

Adam and Skip: VR is the new, cool technology in town. How big are you on VR stuff?

Lizzy: It’s cool and all, but most of my friends don’t have a VR headset, so I can’t really talk to them or play with them on that. I have other stuff I can do with my friends.

Adam and Skip: What’s your digital life like at home?

Lizzy: We turn on the TV and everything that we want to watch is there. Sometimes we have to pay for stuff, but that’s becoming less and less of a thing. My phone, the switch and the Xbox are my favorite technologies at home.

Adam and Skip: It’s pretty normal to get mad at technology. Do you ever get frustrated with technology?

Lizzy: Yeah. I probably yell at my phone on a daily basis because something isn’t loading.

Adam and Skip: Do teens unplug or take technology breaks?

Lizzy: Some of us do, but not a lot. I feel like I need that every once in a while. I like being outside and it’s nice to get a break from technology. I really don’t think about how much I use my phone or other technology. I can see how much I use it, but it doesn’t really bother me because I am just used to it.

Adam and Skip: What do your friends think about technology controls or people watching over them on their devices?

Lizzy: I have gotten a few complaints about restrictions, especially when I run out of time on a game.

Adam: Can you explain to everyone what our deal is and how you get restrictions with your phone?

Lizzy: I usually get more restrictions when I am abusing the phone, spending too much time on it or downloading games I’m not supposed to. But, if I’m open with how I’m using my phone and my screen time goes down, then I get more freedom and my restrictions get loosened.

Adam and Skip: To wrap up, what’s one piece of advice you can give tech leaders and parents?

Lizzy: Restrictions are good because they help turn your kid in the right direction. You may think you’re being mean, but in the long run, it’s super helpful.

Just like at Humanize IT, good conversations and open communication help everything run smoothly. Thanks Lizzie for chatting with us about your take on technology! Join us next week for another episode.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Implement New IT Services
2 min read

Operations Vs. Strategy

By Adam Walter on Mar 21, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

If you’re an engineer then you might not like to talk about strategy. We get it! But, strategy is super important in any successful organization. This week, we are going to focus on how strategy is a component that we need to focus on as well as operations.

The simple fact is, strategy is not just simple planning; it’s a larger item that shows where your organization will be going someday. If you’re technical, you might not understand this. You might be someone who hears a bunch of strategic ideas and instantly thinks that none of it can be done. You might be thinking that the ideas are crazy and completely impossible.

The important thing to keep in mind is that none of these strategies and tactics need to be done tomorrow. These are ideas that are going to take time and very small steps forward. Strategy is where your organization is headed. You don’t have to get there by the end of the week!

Where your company is currently and where you will be in the future will look drastically different. You just have to focus on what you’re doing right now and then build to that future company bit by bit.

Look at strategy as the goal that your company is aiming towards, and operations are how you will get there. Strategy should be done in steps and you never have to know what the future step will be. If you’re on step 2, then do what is necessary for step 2 and slowly, step 3 will work its way to your understanding and become clear to your company. Once you’re on step 3, that can be your focus until step 4 begins to form and take place.

Another important thing to keep in mind is, while strategy is important, it’s not everything. Some people get too lost in strategy and nothing ever gets done. Those are the people that engineers hate. Their heads are always in the clouds and nothing ever happens. Operations are the day-to-day tasks that allow strategy to be accomplished. Both strategy and operations must work hand-in-hand.

The frustrating thing about strategy is you most likely will not see the fruits of your labor for months if not years. Results from operations can be seen by the end of the day. This doesn't make one more important than the other — it simply means that you have to be patient and know that both are very critical to your organization no matter the length of time it takes to see results.

In order for both of these to work together, there must be trust. People in strategy need to understand that their engineers will have the ideas and the operations people will be able to accomplish it. The people in operations need to look at the strategic people and know that they have great direction and know where the company is headed. When both work together, that’s when success happens.

In order to understand if your strategy and operations are working together, look back at your company and where you were a couple of years ago. Have you accomplished what your strategists thought would accomplish with the operations help? If not, be honest and make changes based on what you see that is working. Essentially, don’t just take steps to take them. Take steps to get where you’re trying to go.

The moral of the story: strategy is where you are going and operations are how you get there.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies CIO
2 min read

Talk Like a CEO

By Adam Walter on Mar 14, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Last week, our focus was talking like a CFO. This week, we’re tackling how to talk like a CEO!

You might have heard the phrase: one throat to choke, one back to pat. Well, that’s the CEO of a company. They are responsible for their company in the good and the bad, for better or worse. CEO is a title that a lot of people want, but it comes with a lot of weight.

As an MSP, when you’re talking to your clients in a meeting, the CEO might be trying not to fall asleep. Don’t take this personally, their focus is just mainly on the success of the company at large.

With that information in mind, there is one sure-fire way to get the CEO on your side. Make them look good. Yep, it’s that simple. Let them know how your products and services will make their company excel.

More than half of the CEO’s job is politics — essentially, making their company look good and being responsible with their decisions. They are looking for success, which means you need to let them know how your products and services are going to bring that success.

One thing to keep in mind is that success looks different for every CEO. Just like finding success with a CFO, talking to your client’s CEO is how you can determine how success is measured in their company. It is going to be a moving target, really. You can not take one thing that is important to one CEO and assume that it is going to be the same target that the next CEO is shooting for. Having conversations with each CEO will allow you to aim for the right things.

Another important tip is to get a grip on what the company’s culture is. Knowing what the culture is will allow you to get to the table in front of the CEO seamlessly. Some companies are hierarchical where there is an order of people that you must talk to or go through in order to chat with the CEO. Go through that process and be respectful of the way their business is structured. Other businesses are more of a level playing field and it’s okay to go directly to the CEO or upper-level management. Just be aware of that culture and go through the process of communicating accordingly. If you don’t, the CEO will be much less likely to meet with you at all, or they will choose to skip any meetings going forward.

The last tip we have for you is to learn the CEO’s vision for the company. The CEO is constantly going back to the basics of what the mission and vision of the company are and how you fit into that. Figure out what that vision is and put what you’re bringing to the table in that context.

A great way to do that is to go to your client or potential client’s website and write in your own words what you believe their vision is. In your meeting with the client, ask the CEO to take a look at it and make sure that what you wrote is correct. This will let the CEO know that you understand them and desire to make them look good with your solutions.

The CEO’s opinion is important, so have a listening-focused conversation, learn their measure of success, get a grip on their company culture and understand their CEO’s vision for the company. If you do all of that, you’ll be talking like a CEO and bringing success to you and your client in a heartbeat.

Topics: Managed Services Providers CIO Quarterly Business Review
2 min read

How to Fire Your MSP

By Adam Walter on Feb 7, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies MSP Humanize Podcast
3 min read

Holiday Security Tips

By Adam Walter on Dec 13, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

The holiday season is in full swing, which means that you need to know security tips to protect
yourself from fraud and getting information stolen.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Security
2 min read

Holidays

By Adam Walter on Dec 6, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies CIO
2 min read

Tech Conferences

By Adam Walter on Nov 29, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Sales
2 min read

Inspiration

By Adam Walter on Nov 1, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Managed Services Providers MSP CIO
2 min read

Internet of Things

By Adam Walter on Oct 11, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Implement New IT Services Adam Walter
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