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Reflections on Starting Your Next Chapter During a Pandemic
What should be an exciting time in the Amorebieta household has been fraught with bittersweet reactions and uncertainty. Our middle daughter, Lukenna, is set to graduate from high school this spring, but like many kids, she hasn’t had the chance to walk across the stage and receive her diploma (yet — who knows!) due to COVID-19. At the time of writing this, Lukenna and her classmates have been doing online schooling since mid-March. Lukenna was thrilled to not have to go to school, but like her classmates and friends, she was bummed to miss out on the traditional senior milestones like prom and graduation. Thankfully, she ended her senior volleyball career this fall, and I’m proud of the way she is taking this all in stride. Nothing really seems to get her down about the situation. Like many parents, my wife and I are trying to do our best to just support Lukenna and our other kids during this very strange time with COVID-19. To miss out on things like prom and that feeling of accomplishment as you walk across the stage at graduation is just so very sad. We’ve even heard of college campuses that may be closed for the fall semester, causing me to wonder about all those freshmen who will miss out on that crucial, exciting first semester away from home. Of course, as teenagers do, I’m sure some haven’t fully come to understand what these milestones could mean to them, but at such a transitionary point in their lives, it’s sad to think about what they will miss. None of this takes away from all the hard work that was put into their schoolwork, nor does it take away from what lies ahead. They still deserve recognition for the work they put in to get to this point.
I graduated high school in the early ‘90s, you could pretty much guarantee everyone was either going to Boise State, BYU, or the University of Idaho. Those were really the only options we considered upon graduation, but today, many kids are feeling the push to do more. They look to prestigious colleges and universities outside of this region and put so much pressure on themselves. I remember the excitement of graduation, and most of all, I could not wait to get out of the house. My parents weren’t strict disciplinarians, but I still could not wait to move in with my buddies after graduation. And that’s just what I did! About a week after graduation, I was settling into my new place with a few friends of mine, and I was suddenly on my own for the first time. In today’s world, that’s not always the case. My eldest daughter went to the dorms after high school, and we’re still sorting out what my middle daughter will do. Some kids stick around home more and feel the weight of that pressure to make the best and right choice immediately, instead of failing a few times and learning as they go. Maybe it would be better if we lifted some of that pressure, let them wander, and figure out what they want. Graduation is exciting and emotional, and while the graduation ceremony will be virtual and then drive-through to accept their diplomas, it is still worth celebrating it and their accomplishments. Who knows what lies ahead for them. This is the beginning of a new and strange chapter. But it’s one they get to write — even in a pandemic.
Congrats, Lukenna, and the graduating class of 2020!
All of this has caused me to reflect on my own graduation. Times have really changed since I received my high school diploma! When
5 Words to Control the Conversation Lessons in Communication From Tim Cook
In the third quarter of 2019, Apple’s quarterly report showed an unexpected slip in profits. Even iPhone revenue had slipped. But instead of taking a bad hit, Apple’s stocks spiked higher after the report was released. Why? Apple CEO Tim Cook used five magic words. Knowing how to successfully talk about your business is key to continued success. You know your work better than anyone else, so you know if things are going well or if you need to course-correct. However, the outside perspective doesn’t always match the reality of the situation. If someone comes in with concerns or outright anger because of what they think the situation is, you need to reframe the conversation and quickly show them the bigger picture. Tim Cook does this with the simple phrase, “The way I see it …” When addressing concerns about Apple’s dip in profits, Cook took control of the narrative and presented the message he wanted people to focus on: Apple’s record service growth.
“The way I see it,” Cook said, “we had the strongest hardware portfolio ever. We’ve got new products on the way. The pipeline is full of great new stuff on the product and the services side. We’re very fortunate and have worked very hard to have loyal customers ... The installed base is growing — hit a new record. That’s obviously a good thing. And we’ve got the wearables area that is doing extremely well.” Suddenly, investors weren’t worried about the iPhone anymore because Cook reminded them that Apple’s wearables and services alone were close to a Fortune 500 company. Cook provided important context about his company by taking control of the conversation. Controlling the conversation is how leaders steer their teams through stormy weather. They pair their deep knowledge of the business with effective communication skills so people understand the bigger picture and aren’t hung up on details that only show half the story. Keep in mind that leaders like Cook don’t mislead people with false or exaggerated information. They stick to what’s true while reframing it in a way so outsiders will better understand. If you need to reframe the situation or explain some complicated aspect of your business, start with the magic words: “The way I see it ...”
See What Our Customers Are Saying
2020 has been a year of many, many changes, and we want to thank everyone who has trusted us with their IT service during this tumultuous year. That said, we couldn’t offer this service without the dedication and proficiency of our team. To honor this, we want to recognize the following MicroTech employees. Birthday: Janni Sweet Work Anniversary: Danny Ryan (4 years) and Ken Holt (2 years) Thank you, Janni, Danny, and Ken, for your continued commitment!
Our company has been using MicroTech’s services for years. They have supported our practice through many changes and growth, all the while maintaining professionalism and eagerness to help. We look forward to working with them for
many years to come. –Michelle A.
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WHAT ARE YOU PAYING FOR?
Auditing Your MSP
We all have that trusty T-shirt we know is going to make us look and feel good. Sure, the seam is slightly torn, there’s a stain from a party, and the logo is faded. It might not be the best, but it’s comfortable. That’s a fine (and environmentally friendly) approach to clothing, but if you’re taking the same approach to your managed service provider (MSP), then you need to reevaluate why you trust this MSP with your business.
how much will be lost when your servers crash or hackers hold your data hostage for cash. If your review found that your MSP is lacking in some of the most basic areas, then you can kiss this money goodbye. Evaluate what downtime could mean for you and what you need from your MSP as a result. 3. Calculate: Does the company charge you for a service you don’t really need? Are they actually complying with their terms? You want and deserve a five-star IT service to help your company thrive, and that includes a team that understands your business and offers the services you need to thrive — not just a basic level of attention. You don’t have to accept the status quo when it comes to the service your MSP is giving your company. Auditing your MSP can give you a broader understanding of what you’re actually paying for.
Follow this step-by-step guide to get started.
To begin, gather your original contract, the MSP’s service level agreement, and network performance reports. Gather all pertinent data on response times, incidents, and complaints to get a broader view of your MSP, too. Then, dive into this list. 1. Review: One of the greatest advantages of an MSP for small and medium businesses is its proactivity. An MSP should be actively reviewing and assessing your security, storage, and other needs to ensure you’re receiving optimal coverage. If they aren’t remotely updating your devices on a regular basis, overseeing your security center, reviewing error logs, and responding to cloud-based needs, then they aren’t doing the job you need them to do. 2. Evaluate: A 2014 study by Gartner found that companies lose an average of $5,600 for each minute of downtime. Imagine
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Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes
You can’t go wrong with grilled chicken and tomatoes on a warm summer’s evening. It’s a simple recipe that packs a flavor punch.
• • • • •
2 tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic
8 Roma tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1. For marinade: In blender, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and basil. Cut 2 tomatoes into quarters and add to mixture. Cover and process until blended. Halve remaining tomatoes for grilling. 2. In bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Reserve remaining marinade.
3. Heat grill to about 350–400 F. Lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until internal temperature reads 165 F, about 4–6 minutes per side. Grill tomatoes until lightly browned, about 2–4 minutes per side. Discard remaining marinade. 4. Serve chicken and tomatoes with reserved marinade.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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Celebrating the Class of 2020
Communicate Like an Apple CEO
Audit Your MSP for Maximum Service
Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes
The Secret to Leading in a Crisis
‘The Agony of Decision’ Has Answers Unsure of How to Lead Your Business Through a Crisis?
When business coach and scholar Helio Fred Garcia published “The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis” back in 2017, he had no way of knowing that a pandemic would break out just three years later. Now, his book about how to make tough calls under pressure is more relevant than ever for entrepreneurs.
As one Amazon reviewer writes, “Helio Fred Garcia provides a thorough discussion of the do’s and don’ts of crisis response with both current and historical events (remember Exxon Valdez or Tylenol?) that clearly demonstrate the right way to respond … and the gateway to disaster.” With more than 30 years of experience mentoring massive international companies and nurturing business leaders at top American universities under his belt, Garcia is the perfect person to give voice to these tough lessons. His prose is self-assured, knowledgeable, and easy to read, which makes “The Agony of Decision” a surprisingly comforting book for an entrepreneur going through hardship. There’s a reason BookAuthority named it one of their best crisis management books of all time! In the last few months, the coronavirus has proven to be the ultimate test of crisis management. If you’re in the process of figuring out how to lead your business effectively through the turbulence and could use a decision-making toolkit to help you when the phone rings with bad news, “The Agony of Decision” might be your ideal summer read.
“The Agony of Decision” teaches that when your company is on the line, it’s quick thinking — more than smooth communication, effective execution, or even expertise — that can save it. The book offers a framework to guide you through the decision-making process, helping you identify and weigh each outcome, then choose the right one. Answer that first big question, Garcia teaches, and the rest of the tumblers will click into place, allowing you to lead your company forward. To prove it, he weaves his personal experiences and decision-making scaffolding with notable stories of past business failures and successes.
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