Got Questions? Need Training?

Do you have questions about how to use an application better? Do you have questions about cloud computing or which systems you need to upgrade this year? Do you have questions about your services or latest invoice? Is it time to look at a new phone system? If so, here’s a quick list for reference:

Monthly Trivia: Who Wants To Win A $25 Starbucks Gift Card?

Screen Shot 2558-01-13 at 2.49.29 PM

Take my Trivia Challenge and you could win too!

The Grand Prize Winner of Last Month's Trivia Challenge Quiz was John Bedard with Bedard Law Group. He was the FOURTH person to answer our quiz question last month: In the Wizard of Oz, what was the name of the Good Witch of the North? The correct answer was C) Glinda!

Now here is this month's trivia question:

Which of these characters turned 40 years old in 1990?

A. Charlie Brown
B. Bugs Bunny
C. Mickey Mouse
D. Fred Flintstone

The FIRST person with the right answer will receive a $25 gift card to Starbucks.

To play, email or call Kary at 678-730-5527 or email: kfaucher@mis-solutions.com.

An URGENT Security Warning For All Clients Running Microsoft Windows Server 2003

Screen Shot 2558-02-24 at 2.04.30 PMIf your organization is currently running either Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or Exchange 2003 on any servers in your office, you need to know about a dangerous security threat to your organization that must be addressed very soon. Please take a moment to read this important announcement.

As your IT Provider, we are aggressively reaching out to all clients that use Server 2003 to alert you to this serious security risk to your organization and inform you about what you need to do now to protect your company.

Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 Replacements MUST Be Made By July 14, 2015

Microsoft has officially announced that it will retire all support on the Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015. That means any business with this operating system still running will be completely exposed to serious hacker attacks aimed at taking control of your network, stealing data, crashing your system and inflicting a host of other business-crippling problems you do NOT want to have to deal with.

This is such a serious threat that the US Department Of Homeland Security has issued an official warning to all companies still running this operating system because firewalls and antivirus software will NOT be sufficient to completely protect your business from malicious attacks or data exfiltration. Running Server 2003 will also put many organizations out of compliance.

Unless you don’t care about cybercriminals running rampant in your company’s computer network, you MUST upgrade any equipment running this software. To assist you, Derek and Ruth Ann will be reaching out to you to discuss options. If you have any questions before then, please call Derek direct at 678-730-2706 or email dwynegar@mis-solutions.com.

Strategies To Prepare For Ice or Snow - Ideas From Atlanta’s February Ice Storm

Screen Shot 2558-02-24 at 2.00.09 PMIce, Ice Baby. We hope you fared well last week with the ice, closings, closed roads and power outages. During the midst, several clients asked, “What could we do differently to better prepare? “ To answer that, here are some ideas for you:

  1. What is the most important communication tool for your business? If it’s email, then perhaps consider hosting email outside the building. If it’s phones or other systems, have you considered a cloud based application? These are great questions and if you’d like to discuss your options, please talk with us to learn more ways to leverage technology for storm preparedness.
  2. Your Communication Plan – Did you have one? When weather or storms affect business, do you have a good communication plan to let your team, clients and vendors know? Who is responsible? Are you periodically reviewing your plan with team members so that everyone knows what to expect? For example, here at MIS – we rely heavily on email as our first tool for communication. Texting is our backup plan. Additionally, we have an inclement weather process outlined in our handbook that we follow. If you’d like a sample, let us know.
  3. How did your team do? Take time to meet with your team after an event like this year’s ice storm and figure out what went well (celebrate that), what could have been better and what will your team do differently next time? Update your plans, communications and training sources accordingly.

If there is something our team could have done better or differently to assist you in times like these, please let us know. We are here to serve.

- Jennifer

Your Signature Is More Than Just Your Name

Screen Shot 2558-02-20 at 1.57.18 PMDid you know that many people today use your e-mail signature as a way to get to know you and create a contact entry about you? Here are some layouts to consider:

  • Keep it short, but provide all the information you need for a reply.
  • 4-6 lines of information is pretty standard.
  • You can sue pipes or colons to separate text and try to use simple plain text unless you have the information repeated like the written signatures above.
  • Don't forget the basics like your name, phone number, company name, email and website.
  • Additional items like your social media accounts and logo are quite common too.Screen Shot 2558-02-20 at 1.59.31 PM
  • Signature services. Believe it or not, there are e-mail signature services like WiseStamp, Stationery Central and My Live Signature too.

How to Grow Star Performers

A study of computer programmers at Bell Laboratories showed that the star performers outperformed moderate performers by a margin of 8 to 1. If that holds true in your organization, the conversion of five of your moderate performers into star performers would be the equivalent of adding 35 moderate performers to your workforce. Where are you going to find the five additional star performers? You don’t find them. You develop them.

The Bell Labs study identified nine work strategies that characterize star performers. All of them are qualities that can be inculcated through a good corporate education system. According to researchers Robert Kelly and Janet Caplan, these qualities are:

  1. Taking initiative: accepting responsibility above and beyond your stated job, volunteering for additional activities and promoting new ideas.
  2. Networking: getting direct and immediate access to coworkers with technical expertise and sharing your own knowledge with those who need it.
  3. Self-management: regulating your own work commitments, time, performance level and career growth.
  4. Teamwork effectiveness: assuming joint responsibility for work activities, coordinating efforts and accomplishing shared goals with workers.
  5. Leadership: formulating, stating and building consensus on common goals and working to accomplish them.
  6. Followership: helping the leader to accomplish the organization’s goals and thinking for yourself rather than relying solely on managerial direction.
  7. Perspective: seeing your job in its larger context and taking on other viewpoints, like those of the customer, manager and work team.
  8. Show-and-tell: presenting your ideas persuasively in written or oral form.
  9. Organizational savvy: navigating the competing interests in an organization, be they individual or group, to promote cooperation, address conflicts and get things done.

Star performers considered initiative, technical competence and other cognitive abilities to be core competencies. Show-and-tell and organizational savvy were on the outer edge of their circle of importance. Middle performers placed show-and-tell and organizational savvy at the center. While star performers were focused on performance, middle performers were focused on impressing management.

Star performers and middle performers also showed marked differences in their attitudes toward networking. The middle performers waited until after they had encountered problems before looking around for someone who could provide help and support. The star performers built a network of helpers and supporters in advance, so they could call on them immediately when needed.

The study concluded that “Individual productivity... depends on the ability to channel one’s expertise, creativity and insight into working with other professionals.” Star performers emerge from educational systems tailored to the individual company and the individual job.