Friday, 10 March 2006

Newsletter Issue 110, March 2006

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 110, March 2006
Hi guys,
How well do you delegate? You can find out in Delegating Well Part 1 from AMA below.
Is the art of handwriting dead? See what you think in Handwriting - a Lost Art? 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Delegating Well, Part 1

In a recent issue of the American Management Association's newsletter, AMA had a great article on delegation. AMA's editor, Shari Lifland, has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here for all of you to enjoy. This time we are looking at the do's of delegation.
AMA’s Delegation Bootcamp provides guidelines that help managers learn how to turn over the right amount of responsibility and authority to the appropriate people. Following are some excerpts from their seminar concerning the do’s of effective delegation.
Delegation is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Many executives, managers and supervisors avoid delegation because of various practical and emotional barriers. For example, they may be afraid to relinquish control of some tasks or they may worry that employees will resist or resent delegation. It’s important to overcome these challenges, as effective delegation can have wide-ranging benefits for the delegator, the delegatees and the organisation as a whole.
Carol Ellis in her book Management Skills for New Managers outlines the importance of effective delegation as “Managers who delegate effectively have direct reports who are more capable and enthusiastic because of the delegation experience. A good manager knows that delegation is the way to achieve results through others.”
Why Delegate? 
  1. Benefits to the delegator:
    • Relieves you of some of your workload, time pressure and stress
    • Allows you to devote your energies to higher-payoff tasks
    • Prepares people to handle tasks in your absence
    • Prepares people to take on your job so you can move up
    • Allows you to assess a delegatee’s potential
  2. Benefits to the delegatees:
    • Develops their skills, abilities, experience, perspective and judgment
    • Prepares them for greater responsibility, authority and promotion
    • Raises their involvement and visibility within an organisation
    • Helps them feel more trusted and significant
    • Builds their motivation
  3. Benefits to the organisation:
    • Improves decision making and execution through wider involvement
    • Develops organisational resilience by developing more skilled staff members
    • Creates a climate of trust and empowerment
    • Demonstrates a belief in the value and importance of people
    • Allows for easier and more effective promotion and succession planning
The Do's: Tasks that can be delegated:
  • Recurring decisions and actions that others can handle
  • Pressing priorities you can’t handle but others can
  • Special projects and long-range tasks
  • Detail work on projects you are handling
  • Tasks that could help people grow in areas key to their future
  • Tip: Keep in mind that the responsibilities you delegate should be “SMART$” (Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Reachable, Timely and within budget)
Thanks very much to Shari Lifland and AMA at Next time, in part two of Delegating Well, we will look at when NOT to delegate.

Handwriting - a Lost Art?

According to a Lloyds TSB insurance survey, one in three UK children has a computer in their bedroom, and I can imagine in NZ our stats will be much the same. Because of that technology, we communicate via email or phone rather than letter, we use electronic diaries more than paper, class work is word processed and we increasingly use electronic signatures over 'real' ones.
Stuart Jeffries at the Guardian wrote a very interesting article recently on "the death of handwriting", now that UK ATM cards will finally accept pin numbers instead of signatures. He lamented "today, as chip and pin technology becomes compulsory on the high street, even our signatures have become obsolete."
If handwriting is about to be relegated to history, it is probably a good time to consider its beginnings. The Sumerians started the whole recording system business, accounting via a stylus and wet clay; soon to be followed by nearly everyone else on the planet as they caught onto what a great thing this writing lark was. Clay tablets gave way to advancing technology - quill and paper - because it was EASIER. Just as latin script replaced German gothic script because latin script was easier to write and read. In the British empire, copperplate gave way to round-hand for the same reason.
Today, we have new technologies that make writing easier via microprocessors. Globally, latin script dominates due both to English being the business lingua franca and to computer technology. The 95% of us who use IBM PCs use the standard Times New Roman or Arial typefaces on our computers, internet and cellphones instead of our own, personalised handwriting and don't have a moments' qualm over that.
The 'art' of handwriting (or calligraphy or penmanship) is already outmoded - I don't think many of us can call our scribbly writing 'art'! Despite providing a sneak peek of our inner character, hand writing and signatures are definitely declining in use, with PCs, pin numbers and internet banking accelerating the process. Are there hoardes of graphologists out there who will slowly die off without replacement? And if they do, does it matter?
We still write, but now the act of writing and the art of handwriting have grown apart. Do we think less of someone because they send an email rather than a note? I tend to send everything electronically these days, and I definitely prefer to receive electronic Christmas cards, thank you notes, birthday greetings and email letters. I can then keep them on my PC, back 'em up and they are there for as long as I want to keep 'em. It avoids the issue of having slippy piles of tree-&-ink that I hate to throw out, but end up doing so because it gets ridiculous to try to keep it all.
I feel a bold statement coming on. I think that handwriting is becoming superseded. I think we have now found an easier way, and that this easier technology will continue to erode our reliance on paper and ink. Better power supplies, smaller technologies, voice recognition and 'scribble' recognition will see handwriting, as a skill, completely marginalised. Not next year, but maybe this century.
Also, I think that handwriting will eventually become a minority hobby along with other skills which have been overtaken by technology such as abacus work, Ancient Greek, comportment and tatting (all of which were taught as a matter of course in 18th Century schools). I am not sure that this is a bad thing. It is just a different thing.
New skills will arise to take the place of the old and outmoded ones. In other words, this is yet another evolution; 'in with the new, out with the old'.
Anyone know a graphologist who wants to retrain?
You can read Stuart Jeffries's article, "The Death of Handwriting" at the Guardian online at,,1709128,00.html

Measure Power Usage with 'Kill-a-Watt'

Are your electronics or appliances power guzzlers? You can find out where you're power consumption is going by testing your equipment, electronics and appliances with the Kill-A-Watt Meter.
Simply connect your appliances via the Kill A Watt™ plug into the mains, then watch their energy usage. This dinky American tool has a good-sized LCD display which shows appliance consumption by the Kilowatt-hour. You can calculate power consumption by the hour, day, week, month, or year, and it also shows volts, amps, Hz and VA.
With that knowledge you might decide that to turn some things off at the wall instead of leaving them on standby because you know how much each appliance is costing you.
To operate Kill-a-Watt in New Zealand you will require a 110V (US voltage) to 240V (NZ) transformer. You can order Kill-a-Watt on-line at for approximately USD$31.95 (≈NZD$48 + shipping).
A must-have for the newly-converted energy conscious.
TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • ICT, Information & Communications Technology. Electronic information-processing technologies including computers, the Internet, fixed-line telecommunications, mobile phones, wireless communications, networks, broadband, and specialised application devices (eg barcode scanners, Braille readers, GPS).
  • SMTP, Simple Mail Transport Protocol. A TCP/IP protocol used in sending and receiving e-mail, usually used with one of two other protocols, POP3 or IMAP, that let the user save messages in a server mailbox and download them periodically from the server.
Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
This time we are looking at all you can do with Shift and Home;
  • Excel "Extend a selection to the beginning of a field or row or select from the insertion point to the beginning of the entry" Shift & Home
  • Excel "Extend the selection to the cell in the upper-left corner of the window" Scroll Lock & Shift & Home
  • Excel "Extend the selection to the last cell used on the worksheet (lower-right corner) (with End mode on)" End & Shift & Home
  • Outlook "Select from the insertion point to the beginning of the entry (or text box entry) or extend the selection to the first card in a list or change the duration of the selected block of time when working in day/week/month view" Shift & Home
  • PowerPoint "Select from the insertion point to the beginning of the entry" Shift & Home
  • Publisher "Extend the highlighting to the first character in a text box or go to the start of a line" Shift & Home
  • Access "Select from the insertion point in the text box to the beginning of the text box entry" Shift & Home
  • Frontpage "Go to the beginning of a line " Shift & Home
  • Windows "Select the first item in the list and additional items below it" Shift & Home
  • Word "Select from the current position of within a line or text box entry to the beginning" Shift & Home

Hot Linx
If you want to find out what new business ventures and development are happening in the Nelson region, you need look no further than the EDA's website at
The planet's largest telescope, Magellan, is under construction, and Discover's article on its progress can be read at
If you are at a bit of a loose end and want a snippet of entertainment, try a quick visit to view some of the excellent ads that have been posted at
Microsoft is working on a hard/software device called Origami which sounds very interesting. Read about it at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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