April 2012

    • The Problem with Sounding Smart - Business process consulting may seem like highly intellectual work filled with buzzwords and complicated ideas. In truth, good business process consulting is about clear thinking and avoids the trap of "smart talk."
    • Employee Productivity Is Not About Money - Employee productivity is something every company wants to increase. A new article lists nine ways to increase employee productivity without using cash.
    • Business Methodology of Thank You Notes - Though some would argue that writing thank you notes is a thing of the past, we at Slaughter Development disagree. And, according to a recent blog post from the Managing Editor of Business Insider, this type of process methodology is a vital part of achieving success.
    • Increase Productivity by Going Mobile - Increased productivity in government sounds like a contradiction in terms. But a new article says that mobile devices may be fundamental to Federal efforts to increase productivity.
    • The Impact of Office Space - Ever wonder what your office space says about your company? Does it have an impact on your business as well as your employees, customers and/or potential clients? These may sound like silly or insignificant questions, but trust us, they're important to think about when it comes to process improvement.
    • A Clever Productivity Tip for Blogging - Business process methodologies may be unbelievably complex or surprisingly simple. One blogger recently featured our own Robby Slaughter and demonstrated a clever productivity tip in his blogging process.
    • Why Social Media Isn't A Waste of Time - When most people think of social media, they think of it as a source of entertainment, where they can watch a funny video on Facebook or follow a comedian's jokes on Twitter. What some people don't realize is that while social media does entertain, it also does so much more than that.
    • Four Destructive Corporate Myths - The best companies in the world should be the smartest, right? Amazingly, many organizations continue to believe in myths that have been debunked for ages.

    March 2012

    • The Ease of Understanding Blog Writing - Every writer has a different approach to the blogging process. Some may have a well-established checklist system that defines and regulates the entire writing process, while others may not. Today, we have a guest post that focuses in on blog writing and the importance for regulating reading levels.
    • Process Improvement Through Social Media - Social media is a great way to build relationships, but it turns out it can be used for business process improvement. An Indianapolis firm is using an enormous network to be more efficient in customer service.
    • Employee Productivity and Bad Bosses - Improving employee productivity is part of the goal of every business, small and large. The biggest problem in improving productivity, however, may rest with the boss.
    • Productivity Improvement Advice from Seth - Productivity improvement advice is everywhere. But recently, author and consultant Seth Godin offered one theory on why it doesn't work. I disagree.
    • Business Process Modeling: The "Why" - Business Process Modeling (BPM) software is becoming more and more popular in large organizations. A writer for ebiz helps explain why these tools are gaining traction.
    • Why Great Employees Leave Big Firms - Employee retention is crucial to maximizing productivity. So why do the biggest companies fail to retain their best employees?
    • Overcoming Boredom The Productive Way - I dread the winter months because I'm forced to take my jogging indoors on the treadmill, which is a source of boredom at its best. Yet, I've decided it's time to turn this negative process into a better, more productive one.
    • Should Workplaces Ban E-Mail? - Email productivity seems like a contradiction in terms. That's why one company is making headlines by claiming they have outlawed this technology in the workplace.
    • Increase Productivity: Engaging With Others - Increasing productivity may be the objective, but most of the time it seems like we are only increasing activity. A clip from an old animated cartoon makes this point in a hilarious and poignant way.
    • The Productivity Double Standard - Business process improvement is a major initiative of many companies. So why aren't executives looking to improve their own efficiency?
    • Why Being On Time Matters - Process improvement mostly consists of tasks like analysis, optimization, and implementation. But sometimes the best way to improve business process is to simply focus on being on time.
    • Breaking the Code of Silence - An obvious part of any company is the process of payment. You do work or deliver a product and you receive funds for that payment. But what do you do when this business process breaks down, especially when you’re in a small business? Today’s guest post from Lorraine Ball discusses this question with frankness and sincerity.

    February 2012

    • The Insult of "Employee Appreciation Day" - Employee appreciation is something we know we should do. Employee appreciation encourages productivity and retention, right? But it's also kind of insulting.
    • Productivity Tool from Facebook's Cofounder - A new employee productivity tool created by one of the co-founders of Facebook's gets a few things right about employee productivity challenges. But does it create as many problems as it solves?
    • Performance Reviews Still Stink! - Every employee dreads the performance review, and research shows they are a waste of time. A new Wall Street Journal piece notes they may finally be losing steam.
    • Fired for Clicking on YouTube - Corporate productivity depends on employee productivity, right? But what happens when workers are "scared straight" by backwards company policies?
    • The Negative Effects of Being Unaware - The World's Greatest Hobby on Tour (WGH) recently visited the Indiana State Fairgrounds. And, while the train displays were quite impressive, I found myself mesmerized more by the unproductive exhibits consumed by crowds.
    • Business Process Traps Woman in Airport - Business process is supposed to make everything efficient. In this case, however, a broken business process apparently left a woman stranded in the airport.
    • Work at Home for More Employee Productivity - Employee productivity is always a hot topic. A new study covers the impact that working from home has on employee productivity—and it might surprise you.
    • Increasing Productivity through Ifttt - Here at Slaughter Development, we're always looking for new ways to increase productivity. Well, our founder and CEO has discovered a new product that does just that!
    • The Clashing of Sales Teams - I love my house, but I can't deny there is a bit of quirkiness about it. And despite the fact that it was built in the 80's and has an abundance of outdated "perks" all over the place, perhaps the most noticeable oddity is the mismatching windows.
    • [VIDEO] Hard Work Pays Off In Seconds - When it comes to business process optimization in the office, many of us have the same goal in mind: to enhance productivity and increase satisfaction. And while process improvement is a great start in the journey, there's one key factor we should all keep in mind when setting our sights on achieving optimal results in any given process.
    • Delivra's Workplace Culture - "The culture of a working organization is both the common and collective viewpoint on both the meaning and the value of work." Some of you may recognize this as Robby Slaughter's personal definition of workplace culture defined in The Methodology Blog.
    • Increase Productivity by 5% In One Day - Every company and every employee wants to be more productive. Are there actually easy things you can do to make a significant  productivity increase in only one day?
    • What Happens to a Dream Deferred? - Employee retention. It's something every company wants, but few achieve. But what if we knew the reason that employees leave?

    January 2012

    • Email Productivity: The Psychology of BCC - We all want to increase our email productivity. One area where we tend to create headaches for ourselves is in the use of blind carbon copy (BCC).
    • [VIDEO] Routine Process Gone Bad - Business processes are supposed to be fairly smooth, especially when they happen all the time. But in this case, an everyday situation had a completely broken business process which upset a family and wasted considerable time and resources.
    • Successful Election, Wrong Candidate - In November, elections were running high. Candidates were campaigning, citizens were voting and positions were being filled. For one political hopeful however, the election was a bittersweet success.
    • Effects of Micromanagement On Employees - Being productive as an employee isn't just about getting work done. It's about performing assigned tasks thoroughly, efficiently and in a quality manner—whether people are watching or not.
    • Tips To Help Your Growing Business - If you are a part of a small to medium-sized business and have been looking everywhere for tips on increasing productivity, search no more. Whether you need one suggestion or perhaps ninety-five, a recent blog post provided plenty of tips for you to choose from!
    • The Ugly Truth About Working Late - Over at the Harvard Business Review blog network, Ron Ashkenas asks an important question to professionals: Should you stay late or go home?
    • This Is Urgent! - How many times have you heard that? Someone asks you to do something, and it is urgent.  You consider your calendar, the day’s pressures, expectations, commitments, and whether you can drop what you’re doing to respond. At that moment, you’re weighing the various components of response.
    • Are Contract Employees More Productive - Employee productivity is always a hot topic. But is there a relationship between employee productivity and their status as a contractor?
    • Is "Work/Life Balance" a Myth? - It's almost certain that you know the phrase "work/life balance." This is a term which is meant to communicate the notion that people should not let either their personal or professional lives take complete control. But is the idea really possible or just another workplace myth?
    • Switching the Enterprise to the Mac - You don't have to be a technology pro to know that most companies don't use Macintosh computers. But could these machines actually increase corporate productivity?
    • When Your Emails Aren't Being Read - Business process improvement is the reason we send emails instead of memos. What do you do if someone doesn’t seem to read your messages because they ask questions you’ve already answered? What happens if they simply don’t do the work assigned?
    • How to Truly Stop Procrastinating - Personal productivity goes down the tubes when we procrastinate. How do we stay productive and keep on-task when distractions seem so enticing?

    December 2011

    • Setting Our Sights On 2012 - Today many of us will spend the final hours of the year wrapping-up the business process improvement projects and tasks we set forth in 2011. The question is, come Monday, what is your plan?
    • Tremendously interesting, but not too much -

      Did you know there are degrees of “interesting”? Sure, we’ve all met someone who is NOT interesting, but have you ever met anyone who is TOO interesting? If not, it is my honor to introduce myself to you: My name is Scott, and I am too interesting.

    • Just Another Day's Work - For most of us, a usual day at work revolves around some combination of  emailing, computing, meeting, processing, selling, calling, writing, testing or perhaps creating. Yet, for one young man, a day at work is all about adrenaline and the only important function is staying alive.
    • Increase Productivity: Ditch Your Holiday Party - Increasing employee productivity is important all the time. But at the end of the year, we tend to put productivity aside for a tradition of a holiday party. Is throwing a company bash a good idea?
    • Empower Employees To Win Customers - Banks aren't known for making exceptions. If the employees of a branch had acted reasonably however, they might have kept the business of a notable Indianapolis resident.
    • Killing the Status Meeting - We're all familiar with death by PowerPoint and email overload. But one executive thinks we should kill the status meeting.
    • Misery Index: Becoming Happy - Previously on The Methodology Blog, we discussed why workplace rewards are typically not a good idea. Today, we'd like to address how to find happiness in your job.
    • The Meaning of "Workplace Culture" - Productive organizations are those with a healthy workplace culture. But what does that phrase, "workplace culture" really mean? How can a company improve its culture?
    • When The Right Answer is Wrong - Productive communication requires that we agree on questions and find consensus on answers. What happens when the way we confirm our understanding doesn't actually make sense?
    • Campfire Stories, Part 3 - Business process analysis is a complicated process, but the result is often easily retold. Once again we're featuring some "campfire stories" of great business process improvement here on The Methodology Blog.
    • Training: Can it Solve Unemployment? - According to government officials, about 14 million Americans are currently unemployed. One article asks if the secret to putting people back to work might be as simple as training.
    • Corporate Secrets and Blinders - Pretty much anyone who has ever worked in an organization has had to deal with the frustration of secrecy. Why do we keep so many secrets at work, and what can we do about it?

    November 2011

    • Do’s and Don’ts with QR Codes -

      Smartphone technology is awesome. And with each passing year, it's becoming easier to recognize just how much it positively enhances business. One such benefit to the technology is the unique and powerful function of the QR code.

    • Misery Index: Lack of Rewards - Recently, the team at Slaughter Development stumbled upon an article that listed the ten most despised jobs in America. And while there was validity in the complaints of those who work in such areas, we found one such agitation surprising.
    • Action and Allergic Reaction - The other night I landed myself in the emergency room with a severe allergic reaction. Despite the terrifying journey, I certainly learned one important lesson: to avoid troublesome reactions, take preventative action.
    • The Good Kind of Stress - We all stress about having too much stress, whether at work, at home or even on vacation. But it turns out that the sensation of being involuntarily excited comes in two categories—and one of them is actually good for you!
    • [COMIC] Avoiding Stress While On Vacation - We all benefit from a break from work. So why is it that we often bring our laptops, cellphones and other workplace items with us on vacation?
    • The Tech of Unintended Consequences - Technology can be used for good or for evil. In one recent email efficiency problem we heard about, however, a business system had some fairly negative unintended consequences.
    • Our Latest Failure: The 500th Post Contest - A few weeks back, we thought it might be fun to celebrate post #500 on our little blog with a contest. We invited readers to submit guest posts in exchange for the chance to win a $75 grand prize. Unfortunately, our sweepstakes was a total failure.
    • Conference Calls Almost Always Stink - Perhaps the most unproductive part of modern business is the conference call. They are almost always a complete waste of time.
    • The Empowered Coffee Shop Barista - Working at a coffee shop might sound like a mindless job that has nothing to do with professional organizations that want to engage employees and foster productive, collaborative work environments. However, one author notes the surprising humanity in this job.
    • Planning Goals In 2012 - As crazy as it might seem, 2012 is right around the corner. And if you're thinking man 2011 really flew by, we couldn't agree more! The fact is, we can't stop time from ticking away. So, as we wrap up accomplishing the goals we set forth in 2011, it's time we begin thinking about what we hope to satisfy in the new year.
    • Misery Index Rises - When we hear about unhappiness at work, it's easy to make assumptions as to why a person is dissatisfied in their job. It could be low pay, bad benefits, stress overload, rift between co-workers or trouble with the boss. But in a recent survey, two factors rose above the rest.
    • [VIDEO] The Future of Productivity - A new six minute video clip predicts how we will work in the near future with incredible embedded technology. Although the visuals are impressive and futuristic, many of the improvements in the video are possible today.

    October 2011

    • Imagination At Work, Halloween Style - Today is Halloween! As we speak, kids across America are anxiously awaiting school parades, costume parties and candy. And while we certainly know the elation trick-or-treaters have for the fright night celebration, we as adults should view the evening as a source of inspiration rather than just tooth decay. After all, if creativity can take kids to a whole new world of excitement, why can't we do the same in the workplace?
    • Technology and Grilled Cheese - Comfort food comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. But, as any elementary-aged child would agree, nothing tops a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Unless of course you're someone that not only wants comfort but convenience as well. If you fit in that category, it gets even better.
    • Self Checkout: Smart or Not? - Self-checkout kiosks are popping up just about everywhere: airports, movie theaters, subway and bus stations, photo labs and even supermarkets. And while the technology has improved productivity and efficiency in some of these venues, it has lagged in at least one.
    • The 500th Post Contest - The Methodology Blog is reaching quite a milestone in the blogging world: its five-hundredth post! So, we've decided to conjure up a little fun to help ring in this landmark event!
    • E-Mail Overload: Why E-Mail is like Oil - Once again Slaughter Development's founder tackled the topic of email. This time however, he utilized a simple analogy to demonstrate the powerful effects it has on business productivity: E-mail is like oil: indispensable if used right; despicable if used wrong.
    • A Complete Waste of Sponsorship - A few months ago we attended a major industry conference with a huge corporate sponsorship. As far as we could tell, however, that effort was nearly a complete waste of cash.
    • The Salesman Versus the System - I have a friend who works for a major consumer brand. I can't name the company, but it's certainly one you know. He's a great salesman and I'm happy to come buy products I want from him in his store. Unfortunately, this makes for a terrible customer experience.
    • Pulling An All Nighter - Now that another round of the 24 Hour Web Project is over, it’s time to comment on whether this is generally a good business process and a healthy business practice. Our answer in two words: Yes, sometimes.
    • Misrepresented Grant - Today's post on The Methodology Blog is from Ben Risinger, a freelance public relations professional in the Indianapolis area with over 10 years of experience. His stops include Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe, Bluffton University, ALL STAR Vacation Homes and the American Cancer Society to name a few.
    • Anti-Social Media - Here's a question for the day: How can you tell when a company's product has swept the nation? Answer: the moment it becomes the the running joke on television.
    • How to Waste $63 Billion Dollars - A new study from Harvard Medical School reports that US employers are losing $63 billion a year. The culprit is the familiar diagnosis of insomnia.
    • This is Important: Debunking Multitasking - Everybody jokes about "multitasking" and how many "hats they have to wear at once." But we should be clear: multitasking is a myth and this myth is a serious problem.
    • Unload the Backpack Weight - The American Occupational Therapy Association recently suggested that backpacks weigh no more than 10% of a student's body weight. With news such as this, manufacturers have begun tackling the challenge of creating ergonomic designs that are not just spacious but fashionable as well.

    September 2011

    • Why Increased Productivity is Unpopular - People often think that the productivity consulting business should be in high demand. But there's a terrible secret: increased productivity requires change, and people hate change.
    • A Lesson from Six Months of Email - Every six months, I archive my Sent Items folder. This may sound geeky, but it's one of the most productive and satisfying activities I do all year.
    • The Most Important Blog Indiana 2011 Lesson - I learned a ton at Blog Indiana 2011. Instead of reviewing individual sessions and transcribing gems from speakers, I brought back a single theme from the entire event: To succeed online, think and measure like a content consumer.
    • Why You Can't Find a Job - Securing a job is not always an easy task. And though the ever-growing competition can be a thorn in our side, perhaps all we need is a new perspective to set ourselves a part.
    • The Productivity Loop - Today's post on The Methodology Blog is from Chris Arnold. He is the owner of Arnold Business Advisors, LLC which is a coaching and consulting business primarily focused in the areas of strategy implementation, leadership development, team alignments, and executive coaching.
    • The Postcard Paradox - Besides the occasional coupon booklet or greeting card, the majority of post that arrives in my mailbox each day can be categorized as either pointless junk or boring bills. Yet, every once in awhile a piece catches my eye.
    • The Pie is STILL Baking - After working on countless projects, it's easy to spot patterns that have the potential to create challenges. One of my favorite has to do with our nearly incurable desire to be nosy. We like to hover in the kitchen, sample the ingredients, peek in the oven and taste before serving. Ask any cook: this is not helpful.
    • Invention For Innovation's Sake - ACCO Brands Corp., one of the leading companies in office supplies, recently created a new product that seems to trump traditional paper clips when it comes to keeping documents organized. The question however, is whether or not the invention is money well spent.
    • Profit Improvement Event - Simons Bitzer & Associates is hosting an interactive workshop on profit improvement planning where the overall message is clear. Even small changes in key variables can have a profound impact on your bottom line.
    • Brain Aerobics - Easily escaping the normal humdrum of life may at times be difficult. After all, our daily routine is usually the map through which we navigate our lives. Yet according to an anti-aging expert, partaking in unfamiliar activity each day is an important step in keeping our brains in shape.
    • Six Office Sins - A stressful work environment does more than frazzle a person's nerves. It can destroy productivity, deflate morale and keep creativity at bay. So, what can we do to make the workplace less chaotic?
    • The Next Educational Frontier - According to Slaughter Development's founder, when it comes to business, we all could benefit from continued training. And thanks to the online technology of today, we are seeing just how effective workforce development and continuing education has become for those who partake in social learning.
    • At Software Startup, Hours Are [Expletive] - Productive, efficient, highly-effective people are often very direct in stating their point of view. One software developer in particular doesn't hesitate to use a dirty word in his argument about measuring hours at work.

    August 2011

    • Small Biz Spotlight - This summer, Slaughter Development received the privilege of being a part of the top headlines in the Develop Indy Newsletter.
    • Want To Get Noticed? - Today's post on The Methodology Blog is by Pam Ruster, a licensed clinical social worker and Owner/President of Supportive Systems, LLC, which provides EAP and Corporate Development services to corporations throughout Indiana. Pam has extensive experience as a consultant and trainer, presenting numerous workshops and seminars.
    • Change: An Organization-Wide Effort - Transforming an organization to be more productive shouldn't just be a top-down effort. A blogger explains why increasing efficiency should include everyone.
    • Linking Indiana Networking Event - If you are utilizing Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to enhance your business and are looking for ways to become more productive in the technology, there's an upcoming event that will surely be of benefit to you.
    • Remote Work Confession - Under the condition of anonymity, a friend recently admitted to me that he loved his new job but one factor frustrated him to no end. He explained that "99% of what I do at work could be done remotely, but I have to be in the office 100% of the time."
    • You Have More Content Than You Realize - Writing a blog is easy enough. The hard part is maintaining it. And while lack of motivation for upkeep can lead to neglect, it's continually having to generate content that often leads bloggers toward project abandonment. In regards to this, Slaughter Development's founder has some good advice.
    • Paper Receipts: Useful or Useless? - Debating as to whether or not paperless receipts would increase productivity in your business? If so, perhaps some advice from Lavon Temple at Delivra will help make your decision easier. Take a look at the pros and cons she discovered after researching the topic.
    • Disenchanted At Work - Peter is a talented graphic designer at a mid-sized marketing firm in Chicago.  And despite his well-known reputation for innovative ideas in the office, his motivation at work has fallen drastically. Interestingly enough, it's not the financial praise and appreciation (or lack thereof) that has him down.
    • The Defeats of a Hoosier Star - As controversial a discussion as it may be with sports fans, one could argue that Hoosiers is one of the best movies of all time. Its inspirational message alone should be reason enough to contemplate this suggestion. Yet, if you're still not convinced, just look to the leading star for proof of greatness.
    • Tips For Improving Email Etiquette - Here at The Methodology Blog, we like to talk about email. And though the subject matter is easy to discuss since it's a main source of communication in business, we focus our attention on it more often than not because it can seriously effect workflow and productivity in the office.
    • Success With A Twist - Creating a successful business involves more than just a great idea; it also takes a wide range of skills. For a Chicago businesswoman however, one technique in particular helped morph her company into a multi-million dollar business.
    • The Dilemma With Instructions - Reading directions is simply a part of life. And though I've come across instructions that are very clear, I'm often forced to rely on my own interpretations.  Today I came across two examples that demonstrate this issue perfectly.
    • How To Hit Your Targets - Today's post on The Methodology Blog is by James Lawther, head of Operational Excellence for a FTSE 100 insurance company. As a veteran in the manufacturing, retail and service industry, he has learned quite a bit about operational improvement. Today, he tackles the idea of targets and what to watch out for when utilizing them in the workplace.
    • How Not To View Job Security: Part 3 - Today we wrap up our three part series on job security by highlighting five tips we feel "hit the mark" when maintaining your position at work.

    July 2011

    • Online Shopping Catastrophe - Awhile back, The Methodology Blog highlighted a story about an accidental airfare discount that resulted in a $320 savings for travelers. And though this scenario was unbelievable, surprisingly we discovered an even larger bungle that gave way to an astounding $1,500 savings.
    • Devoting Time to Online Marketing - Recently, Slaughter Development's founder set out to reveal his secret to great online marketing. His tool for the demonstration? Writing a meaningful blog post in eight minutes.
    • Efficient System Gets Fried - The recent thunderstorms in Indianapolis have left one Slaughter Development colleague quite unhappy. Not only has the severe lightning fried her phone and computer lines, it's singed her confidence in a nationally recognized provider.
    • Technology and Productivity is Possible - In May, Slaughter Development's founder, Robby Slaughter, compared productivity in technology to that of Murphy's Law: “If it can go wrong, it will.” Yet, he suggests there are steps that can ensure better, more efficient use of your computer.
    • Sharing Tips Is Money - Jacqueline Mueller is a waitress at a top-rated LA restaurant. She's been named highest in sales revenue among dozens of servers for three years running. Despite popular opinion, Ms. Mueller believes that the most lucrative payout is not pocketing tips, but sharing them with colleagues.
    • Lessons From The Turnpike - Harry Howe, President of Howe Leadership, provides a powerful message today on The Methodology Blog: When working environments are fraught with uncertainty, focus on flexibility.
    • The Passive-Aggressive Robot - Recently we heard about an email productivity technique that appears to save time, but might also make people angry. When is increased efficiency actually offensive?
    • Making Your Customers More Productive - Founder and principal of Slaughter Development recently passed along a few words of advice to email marketing copy editors. Write your content so that it can be consumed and understood quickly and easily.
    • How Not To View Job Security: Part 2 - Last month we analyzed five of the sixteen tips that Yahoo! Finance provided about maintaining job security. Although those suggestions missed their mark, we did discover some that could be beneficial—if slightly altered.
    • The Last Hour Problem - The telecommunications industry often talks about the "last mile problem." But just about every industry has a process and productivity issue that might be called "the last hour problem."
    • The Genius of Library Workflow - About once a month, I volunteer at St. Anthony's Padua Academy on the near east side of Indianapolis. Their elementary school library is a fantastic place to learn about workflow.
    • The Trouble with Workplace Heroes - Local entrepreneur Jeb Banner recently blogged about Herculean efforts at work. His message: beware the heroic worker.
    • The Double Audience, Double Editing Rule - Robby Slaughter, founder and principal of Slaughter Development, asked an interesting question in a recent guest post published on Delivra's blog: How do you improve communications, and what does this have to do with email marketing?

    June 2011

    • The Funneling Sales Call - Today on The Methodology Blog we tell the story of Joe, who has been in phone sales for over a year and has done pretty well for himself. He spends his days pitching a product and setting up appointments for potential customers. All in all, his phone calls appear successful. But are they really? We'll let you be the judge.
    • The Importance of Workflow - Improving workflow doesn't require intimate knowledge of technical systems. As one blogger demonstrates, it simply requires keen observation.
    • Not The Weirdest News - Bert Martinez, CEO of a business training firm in Houston, recently decided to implement a four day workweek. This notion, according to MSN, is unusual enough to be considered a top story in weird news.
    • Remote Work Revolution - As The Methodology Blog has previously discussed, facetime is a paradox. Strangely enough, many people still believe that being present in the office means they're being productive. Why is that?
    • The Most Important Idea, Ever - Writing blog posts that make sweeping claims for all time are like the story of the patent clerk who said that "everything had been invented." Still, Alfie Kohn's 1993 article for Harvard Business Review may be the most important and yet almost completely ignored idea in business.
    • How Not To View Job Security: Part 1 - As our economy continues to fluctuate, one major concern for Americans is job security. So it's not surprising that many of us turn to articles published on the Internet for assistance and inspiration on how to keep ourselves up-to-date on current trends and solutions to this common predicament. But what if the advice leads you astray?
    • Technique To Increase Productivity - Contemplating how to improve productivity in the workplace is certainly not uncommon. But when it comes to addressing it between employer and employee, it can be a sensitive topic of discussion. So is there a good way to broach the subject matter without creating tension or anxiety?
    • Waiting, Productivity, LIFO and FIFO - You might have seen the four letters LIFO or FIFO before. These may sound like obscure industry acronyms, but they actually describe a fundamental aspect of everyday workplace productivity: order.
    • The Facetime Paradox - The essayist Paul Graham likes to point out that productivity is not about appearing productive. He writes, "If you work here we expect you to get a lot done. Don't try to fool us just by being here a lot."
    • The Menu That Backfired - I recently dined at a new Mexican restaurant in town. And though the atmosphere was inviting, the waitstaff polite and the food relatively good, I left the establishment less than satisfied. The problem? I had no idea what I was ordering.
    • Making Outbound Calls Productive - At least once a week, I run across a business that doesn't seem to know how to use the telephone. Here's the story of one call I received which was unbelievably painful.
    • Campfire Stories, Part 2 - When experts get together, they like to share tall tales. These were probably based in history but have been exaggerated over time. Here are a few more "campfire stories" we've collected.
    • The Causes of Overwork, Part 3 - It's time for the final installment in our three part series about why people are overworked. In this episode, we cover the most shameful and difficult factor of all.

    May 2011

    • IBM and BPM Express - IBM is a major player in the corporate business process modeling (BPM) software world. Recently, however, they've starting going after smaller organizations.
    • Accidentally Destroying Morale - Company morale is essential to productivity and success. A new article, however, suggests ways you might be destroying people's spirits without realizing it.
    • Why I Dislike Time Auditing - A popular technique among productivity experts is "time auditing." This is an approach where you obsessively record what you are doing every fifteen minutes in order to maximize your use of time. I think this is a terrible idea.
    • Increase Email Marketing Productivity - Today's post on The Methodology Blog comes from Lavon Temple of Delivra. She gives her perspective on the intersection of productivity and email marketing.
    • Convention Isn't Always Best - A surprising philosophy has landed three separate organizations onto the "best company to work for" list. Their secret? A positive, happy work environment that is fun, quirky and perhaps a tad unconventional.
    • Backwards Company Policies - Often the most interesting aspects of employee workflow are not procedures that are highly efficient but subtle workarounds. We received an email with an offhand comment that demonstrates this issue perfectly.
    • Back to Basics - Warm air is on the rise. Flowers are in bloom. Our beloved daylight has been extended. Spring is finally here! And as joyous as a time this is to so many of us who have officially scorned the cold, wintry weather, it also marks one very important milestone: spring cleaning.
    • Mental Balance and Variation - To Slaughter Development's founder, balance and variation is key in creating and maintaining a proper diet. Likewise, it's essential in the continued development of our minds.
    • Daydreaming to Improve Productivity - You might think that letting your mind wander is a sign that you need to knuckle down and focus. But psychologists report that daydreaming may actually help you get more done!
    • Band Aids and Filling Gaps - Today's blog post is by Nick Carter, author of "Unfunded: From Bootstrap to Blue Chip Without the Fuel of Round-A Capital." His entry offers the story behind the story, untold tidbits that didn't make the book's final cut.

    April 2011

    • Perspective and Illusion - Not everything is as it seems. And yet, despite our knowledge of this fact, we are still amazed by magicians with their slight of hand. What we can't deny however is that no matter the stunt, illusion or mystery, we have a natural ability to create and share our own, unique perspective with those around us.
    • Sailing At Work Despite Anchors - Slaughter Development's founder recently shared his views on a nagging question: What do you do when your office mate is an organizational boat anchor?
    • Medical TWEETment - As the corporate world continues to benefit from social media's powerful communication techniques, it's not surprising that doctors and hospitals are now climbing aboard the bandwagon to create electronic footprints using similar technologies.
    • Outstanding Confirmation System - As a working mother I have a lot to juggle when it comes to organizing my life. So when I discover something that makes my day run smoother—no matter how small it may be—I often feel compelled to share it with others.  This is one of those times.
    • Ticket Woes for Superbowl Fans - In February, nearly 400 football fans were denied the seats they purchased at the Super Bowl. And despite the efforts at reconciling the situation, anger and outrage was ever present in the hearts of many. So what exactly happened?
    • CRM Value - Today’s post on The Methodology Blog is from Denise Speer, founder and owner of c3-indy. As a marketing specialist and entrepreneur, she is a strong advocate for Customer Relationship Management software in assisting the sales process. To her, it "increases efficiency while being indispensable in delivering high-quality customer service".
    • Stop It, You Big Bully! - When we hear the word "bully", it's hard to picture anything outside the typical image of a buff teenager who teases others and is the source of peer pressure in school. But we as adults know, there's no age limit when it comes to creating negative, unproductive environments dominated by power struggles.
    • The D&D;’s of Social Media PR - Small business owners know that half the battle to successfully growing a company is by building a public image. And though the world of social media provides an endless opportunity for exposure, it takes a lot of time and energy to maintain. So, are there ways to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to social media PR?
    • Reading Employee Email - A few weeks ago, I was casually discussing the topic of corporate email privacy with another professional. Although the standard policy on the topic is fairly well-known, I was shocked to learn how his company managed individual email accounts.
    • Gaining Momentum in Resolutions - Being that it's now four months into the new year, some of us may be contemplating exactly how we can regain momentum on our otherwise abandoned New Year's Resolutions. Well, if motivation is what you need, Slaughter Development's founder has some advice on why starting over is not just refreshing. It's also productive.
    • The Lightyear Tickets - Every so often I like to treat my kids to BIG surprises. Usually, my creativity caps off somewhere between a trip to the toy store or the movie theater. But recently, I had a brilliant idea. I just didnt' realize that buying tickets to see Buzz Lightyear would take me years to arrange.
    • The Bowling Breakthrough - Athletes take on all sorts of styles and skills to help gain momentum in their sport. And as great as it may be always go by the book, sometimes it takes an unorthodox approach to bring an even stronger game. At least that's how Tim Wolchko became a champion bowler.
    • National "Avoid Your Email Day" - Today is quite special because it has officially become our nation's "Avoid Your Email Day".  So what are you waiting for? Close that inbox window and experience the freedom it brings!

    March 2011

    • The Formula For More - It seems we are always searching for that "silver bullet" that will be the answer to all our dilemmas. An upcoming seminar from Slaughter Development outlines one solution as a handy formula: Productivity + Satisfaction = Results.
    • Upkeep Made Simple - A recent article highlighted six different household tasks that, if done on a yearly basis, could save thousands of dollars in home repair. After reading the information, you may reach one simple conclusion: upkeep is important.
    • The Causes of Overwork, Part 2 - The economy may be slowly rebounding, but that's no reason to be exhausted. Here's part two of The Causes of Overwork.
    • Perseverance In Expediting Tolls - As a former Chicagoan, who has traveled to and from Indiana quite readily, I was once confident in my knowledge of the I-90 toll road workflow. Recently however, I found out otherwise. 
    • The Meaning of Innovation - Technology giant IBM is on the move again. They are celebrating 100 years of history with an amazing new promotional video.
    • Your Calendar Can Be More - Many of us utilize our daily planners to organize meetings and appointments. Yet, how can we leverage our calendars to not only remind us of future events, but keep us mindful of personal productivity?
    • Did you READ the email? - We admit it. We love it when social media reveals workplace frustration. Here's another one fired off via Twitter.
    • Five Productivity Secrets - Great advice is that which stands the test of time. Here are five productivity tips from January 2010 that make serious sense in 2011.
    • Campfire Stories - Any industry has its tall tales, which are passed along and extended every time. Here's some of the more famous "campfire stories" from the world of productivity and process improvement.
    • Helping You Write Your Résumé - As your manager, my most important, long-term project is you. In fact, my job is to help you write your résumé.
    • Neophyte or Expert: Quality Matters! - Despite his frustrating car trouble, Robby Slaughter used his poor experience with a mechanical repair shop as a source of inspiration in a recent blog post. His message: "Quality matters!" 
    • The Causes of Overwork, Part 1 - If you're working too hard, putting in too many hours and not getting enough sleep, there is certainly a culprit. In fact, overwork is caused by at least one of exactly three reasons.
    • Reflection: Disservice Notified, Not Rectified - Last week, we told the story of Michael and his troubles with the local health department. Today we reflect on his experience and offer some advice for the situation---in the form of a video response.

    February 2011

    • Productivity and Mindfulness - Concerned that your inability to concentrate might affect your productivity at work? You might be interested in the results of a powerful new scientific study.
    • Email Marketing and Productivity - Today's message on The Methodology Blog: there's no need to associate email marketing with SPAM.
    • Disservice Notified, Not Rectified - Unlike usual water cooler discussions—where sports, weather, celebrities, and trivia tend to take over—a recent story circulating around an Indianapolis office is far from exciting or whimsical. In fact, it's down right infuriating.
    • Judging Your Own Day - Many of us have come home after work and have made a simple pronouncement: "I really had a productive day." Or sometimes: "Wow, it feels like I got nothing done." What's the difference?
    • Other Duties as Assigned - Often, an idle comment made by an employee speaks volumes about their work environment. Consider a message sent via the social networking site Twitter.
    • Business Artifacts In The Workplace - We're all familiar with the popular sign: “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.” What we may not know or realize is that such a sign may convey different meanings that could negatively impact consumers. So how can workplace artifacts be improved?
    • The Value In Seeking Expertise - Today's post on The Methodology Blog is from Denise Speer, founder and owner of c3-indy. As a marketing specialist and entrepreneur, she knows the exhilaration that comes with building a company, but doesn't deny that certain projects can be more difficult than others to accomplish. Her advice: don't be afraid to consult experts.
    • Surveys, Contests and Prizes (Oh My!) - Last week, we announced the winner of a promotion based around a customer survey and a chance to win a free $50 gift card. But as productivity experts, we have to ask: are prizes linked to surveys a good idea?
    • Time and Optimistic Initiatives - Streamlining processes to achieve increased productivity is a great strategy. Slaughter Development should know since we are, after all, strong advocates of such a philosophy. But it's important to realize that transitioning to new systems needs more than just innovation. Upgrading also takes time.  
    • How Not To Learn To Ride a Bike - Chances are that when you were a kid, you learned to ride a bike. It wasn't easy, but after some time and perhaps a few scrapes and bruises you eventually figured it out. So why, as adults, do we expect to master complex business processes and systems quickly and without bumps along the way?
    • Take A Chance On Trust - Robby Slaughter, founder and principal of Slaughter Development, proposed an interesting idea recently in a popular business magazine. "Consider doing something drastic," he challenged the journal's readers. "Trust your employees."
    • Survey Contest Winner - Today we announce the winner of our 2010 Productivity Series Survey Contest! So, without further ado, the prize goes to . . .

    January 2011

    • What It Means To Be Productive - There's an old adage that suggests "the cobbler's children have no shoes." As a productivity expert however, I don't think this saying is acceptable. I make it a point to get a tremendous amount of work accomplished in a given day.
    • 14 Tips to Motivate Employees - A recent article lists "14 Management Do's and Don'ts to Motivate Employees." Yet, unlike many opinion pieces on this topic, every one of the suggestions is fantastic advice.
    • Underearning Problem - Believe it or not, there are people who are addicted to low-paying work. And though such an affliction is hard to fathom, it's one that should be tackled head on. After all, personal empowerment can make all the difference when it comes to satisfaction and achievement.
    • Bungled and Bulldozed - As 2011 rings in, so do the unanticipated mistakes that unfortunately occur. For one man in Pittsburgh, one such bungle did more than ruin his new year—it left him homeless.
    • Making More Time in 2011 - A local Indiana payroll company knows more than just the intricacies of federal, state and local laws about income. They also have some solid ideas on time management.
    • Why Partnerships Fail - Last month, The Methodology Blog discussed the value in partnerships. We highlighted the top five ways that help determine whether or not  a partnership is right. Today, we'll discuss what happens when partnerships fail.
    • The Worst Place to Work - We think of the office as where we work. Yet if you really want to focus on crucial tasks, heading to our desks during regular business hours is a terrible idea.
    • Accounting for Time - When it comes to business, there are many knowledgeable experts that can help manage money. But when it comes to something as invaluable and fleeting as time, justifying and balancing every minute isn't as easy. 
    • Dominate Your Destiny Conference - For entrepreneurs looking to become more productive and increase business, consider attending the upcoming Dominate Your Destiny Indy Business Conference.
    • The Lesson In Affliction - For those who are looking for ways to get through the day with enough energy—and without undo stress—perhaps take a lesson from people who suffer from an incurable disease. For diabetics, managing health is certainly tiresome, but through control and routine they're doing more than just managing their condition. They're improving their lives. 
    • Billion Dollar Quest - Today we have a fun riddle: What's the best way to make a billion dollars?

    December 2010

    • Selecting a Partnership - For anyone who experienced (and survived) team projects in high school and college, the all-too familiar sounds of begrudging moans and complaints may be all that is remembered of the unpopular exercise. Yet, the value in learning how to create partnerships does not go in vain. On the contrary, the lessons extend for decades to come. 
    • Scientific Ideas Through Diagrams - Earlier this month, Decision Science News ran a post about communicating complex scientific topics to the general public. Their solution? Use pictures.
    • Lights That Step It Up - Now that Christmas Eve is finally here, many houses are donning the holiday spirit with twinkling lights and joyous decorations. But none can compare to one student's vast display of creativity and vision.
    • The Power of Thoughtful Giving - We've all experienced the joy that comes with giving a gift. So how can we relay such positive energy in the office this holiday season when budgets are tight?
    • Small Changes, Growing Results - It's difficult to recognize all the minute changes that inevitably occur in a project or a person when you see and interact with them everyday.  But it's precisely this type of natural progression that creates growth that is both positive and important.  
    • Workplaces and Workspaces - In the last few decades, real estate has become more flexible when designing and utilizing spaces. Unlike previous generations where structures were built for one particular purpose, it's common nowadays to see homes with offices and commercial buildings with restaurants and shops. And though this flexibility certainly brings more convenience, is it actually increasing our inability to focus? 
    • People Who Don't Like People - When it comes to choosing a career, certain criteria may help narrow down a person's decision. Some considerations include: salary, education, availability, interest or even talent. But what about basing it off of whether or not you like other people?
    • Counterproductive Survey - Recently, someone forwarded us a screenshot from an online survey for a noted market research company. The image shows a confusing question with a rather obvious answer.
    • Over Simplified Text - When it comes to emails, phone calls and even texting, being long-winded or vague does more than lose the attention of your audience. It wreaks havoc on a person's productivity. I should know. It took three emails, three voicemails and nearly five hours to receive an answer to one question.
    • Business Productivity at Lunch - Though breakfast is generally considered the most important meal of the day, it's hard to deny how great lunch can be. Not only is it a welcomed break from work, it's the perfect time to re-energize and regroup. But can a working lunch be just as enjoyable?
    • A Wheel Blunder - Recently, the popular game show Wheel of Fortune made headlines after a young contestant figured out a puzzle with only one letter shown. The woman's display was amazing, but quite unusual. After all, for three previous contestants, speaking—let alone guessing—the correct answer was far from easy.

    November 2010

    • Customer Service and Phone Calls - Over at the website, a commenter retold the story of the "best use of a cell phone" he has seen all year. The call was placed while standing in line to the same desk:
    • 2010 Productivity Series Wrap-Up - On Wednesday, December 1 at 2PM Slaughter Development is hosting its final Productivity Series Session of 2010!  The session is entitled Productivity + Satisfaction = Results.
    • Defining Limits - For toddlers who make mistakes, punishment in a time out chair is relatively standard. Yet, according to the judicial system, a four-year-old can actually be sued.
    • Understanding Mystery Clients - A Brazilian man was recently rewarded $17,500 after a judge ruled his weight gain resulted from managing a McDonald's franchise. And though his clothes were snug, his argument was far from tight.
    • Health, Gender and Productivity - From t-shirts to cereal boxes to football cleats, everywhere we looked this past October pink was the fashion. Congratulations to all who participated in National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It had an incredible impact on our society as well as those who suffer from the disease—men and women alike.
    • The Two Taxi Problem - Calling a cab is a smart way to ensure that you have reliable transportation without having to deal with the hassles of parking. Calling two cabs, however, is potentially a disaster.
    • The Challenge to Stopping Short - Let's be honest, at some point or another we've all taken on a project that is never finished. For some of us, the choice to give up may be easy and guilt free. For others, the idea of throwing in the towel is more than just difficult. It's painful. For my friend Gary, it was a matter of life or death.
    • How Not to Forget - Attending a training seminar to positively enhance your work performance is quite beneficial. But what happens when it comes time to implement the information in the office? If you have problems retaining information or trouble finding the time to integrate new techniques, Slaughter Development's founder has some great tips that can help overcome such roadblocks.
    • Productivity and Rewards - In this tough economy, many companies are looking at other ways to reward employees besides the traditional raise. A new article makes ten distinct suggestions, but will these increase productivity or just damage morale further?
    • Failure And a Dose Of Espresso - Robby Slaughter appeared once again on Eric Marasco's Espresso To Go Show. The coffee-break topic? His new book, Failure: The Secret To Success.
    • A Foreign Mistake - To many Atascosa County residents, the ballot insert appeared fine. For one voter however, it seemed totally foreign.
    • Productive Text Messaging - The text message phenomenon has left the world of teenagers and moved into business. Yet for many professionals, texting is mostly frustrating and useless.

    October 2010

    • Impostor Syndrome - When it comes job performance, it's not uncommon for individuals to ponder—and more so worry—whether or not they know what they're doing.  In a recent issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal, Robby Slaughter explained the "Imposter Syndrome" and discussed ways to avoid suffering from the syndrome.
    • Repairing The Gap - If you've ever wondered how to measure the success of a company's branding, you could take a lesson from The Gap. Despite the retailer's plans to revamp its logo, the contemporary design recently hit the chopping block after dedicated shoppers voiced their extreme discontent. 
    • When and How to Micromanage - Here at The Methodology Blog, we're not big fans of micromanagement. But then again, who is? One writer believes there are some times that it actually makes sense.
    • Failure, Risk and Success - Cathie Black, chairman of Hearst Magazines, recently published a book that unveils her secrets to success. Interestingly enough, much like Slaughter Development, her tips encourage readers to embrace failure and take risks.
    • Blog Talk Radio Interview - A few weeks ago, Robby Slaughter joined Blog Talk Radio personalities Victoria Finch and Jeff Dalverny on The Credit and Finance Show. The program is now available online.
    • Unconventional Goal - There is certainly nothing wrong with reaching success in a standard, uniform manner. For one team in Belfast though, utilizing an unconventional method to score a goal brought more than just a successful win—it created worldwide recognition. 
    • Compliance Made Easy - Robby Slaughter recently wrote a guest post for The Circle R blog in regards to conforming to legal requirements in business. According to him, compliance can actually create a more effective and efficient environment.
    • I Hate Out Of Office - Last month, I ranted about Google Priority Inbox. So this month, I'm taking on another "feature" of email I despise: the out-of-office message.
    • Cracks in Security - With all the technology available to homeowners, it can be daunting when attempting to choose the right type of home security system. But, if you're looking for a recommendation I suppose you could try mine. After all, its virtually impossible to escape. My husband and I should know; we can't even dodge it.
    • The Calling of Business Cards - Ever wonder about the origin of business cards? In a recent video, Robby Slaughter reveals the true meaning behind their existence and provides helpful information on how to use them successfully.
    • A Week Without Facebook - Thanks to the speed, ease and accessibility of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn, social media is a great tool for widespread communication. So, what happens if such innovative technology is taken away? Can we survive?
    • Under the Weather - We've all been subject to falling ill at work at one point or another. When it happens, most often we head home for some rest and recuperation. Yet, there's one occupation where more than half of its professionals stick it out and work while sick.
    • Slaughter on WXNT 1430 AM - Last month, Robby Slaughter joined Pete the Planner on local radio show Skills Your Dad Never Taught You. The program was broadcast on WXNT 1430 AM.

    September 2010

    • Goal Setting and Perspective - Reader Mandy Cooley pointed us to a recent blog post about goal setting. The message: perspective on objectives is as important as the goals themselves.
    • Doodling to Beat Boredom - Trying to determine whether or not meetings are productive in your office? If so, take a good look around the conference table during your next brainstorming session for some signs of boredom. You may just be able to draw some definitive conclusions.
    • Sleeping on the Job - We've all been tempted to doze off at the office. A new report, however, explains that some companies are actually encouraging their employees to sleep at work!
    • Coffee and Donuts Workflow - On occasion I help out with one of the hospitality programs at our church: coffee and donuts after the service. You might be shocked just at the level of planning involved in such a simple task.
    • Under Achieving Logo - "Appearances can be deceiving" or so the saying goes. Yet according to students, teachers and alumni of one institution, the appearance of a new logo has a fairly obvious subtext.
    • Language and Weight Loss - Changing your habits at work doesn't have as much to do with work as you might think. For advice on how to be more effective in becoming more productive, we turn to the world of dieting.
    • Desktop is King - Still can't decide which email system is better: desktop or web-based?  Robby Slaughter recently tackled this subject on The Marketing Tech Blog. In his view, there are several main reasons why desktop email reigns as king.
    • Spectator on Biz Etiquette - A local Indianapolis e-newsletter provides insight on cultural events and unsung hotspots. Last month, however, The IndySpectator included a piece on the importance of manners at work.
    • The Power of Twitter - There's no doubt, social media is a powerful source of communication. For NHL fan Brendan Millhouser who made a recent and undeniable discovery, Twitter became a mouthpiece for sharing the truth.
    • What Google Should Do - Last week, I explained why Google's new Priority Inbox feature was a terrible idea. This week, I'll explain what they should do instead.
    • The Part-Time Mentality - When the stress of jobs begin to weigh heavy, many of us react predictably: we work more. Yet, what if the best way to overcome demanding workloads was to simply adopt a new point of view?
    • From Panic to Pandemonium - What happens when bad luck collides with a terrible decision? For a high school football team, the answer is captured on video—and it looks an awful lot like panic followed by a series of embarrassing mistakes.
    • Gmail Priority: A Sad Tragedy - The latest news from Google is an upgrade to their popular email service, Gmail. Now, instead of just one Inbox, users get to have two. This is a terrible idea.
    • The Ultimate Traffic Dilemma - No one likes rush hour traffic, especially when it stretches farther than the eyes can see. For the poor commuters in Beijing, the gridlock is not only record breaking in distance, but has been persisting for ten days straight.

    August 2010

    • The Unexpected Inspiration - Having never attended Blog Indiana before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But as I reflect back on what I learned, I'd say this conference was more than just eye-opening. It proved to be a source of unexpected inspiration.
    • Agonizing Presentation - My slides from Blog Indiana 2010 are now available online. The presentation was called Producing Content Without Agony and if you must know: yes, I beat my record.
    • Blog Indiana 2010 - For those of us afraid of making mistakes, avoiding the unknown and side stepping risk can certainly seem appealing. Yet, overcoming the fear of failure and taking chances can prove extremely beneficial. For Slaughter Development's founder, achieving productivity comes from tackling challenges head on—even if it means writing a blog post in under five minutes. 
    • Help! I'm Productive! - To the majority of us, being productive in the office is a great thing. Yet, for one individual, consistently accomplishing her work is a big problem.
    • Exposure to Social Media - Today's post on The Methodology Blog is from Kristin Page, project manager for Golden Technologies. As a social media and internet marketing specialist, she advocates the importance for maintaining rules and regulations in regards to social media use in the workplace. Yet, for companies looking for exposure, her advice is simple: encourage employees to use it.
    • The Etiquette of Networking - There's no doubt: networking is hard work. And despite the incredible amount of diligence it takes to be successful at it, there is also a certain amount of finesse and etiquette that can either make or break your efforts. So, what's the secret to good networking?
    • Improvement Through A Fire Pit? - Next time your company decides to partake in some team building, you may want to steer clear of the exotic. After all, for one daring real estate company in Italy, a bizarre choice of exercise left some employees literally burned.
    • Our Biggest Mistakes - Since I just authored a book called Failure: The Secret to Success, it's probably a good time to talk about things we do wrong at Slaughter Development. One mistake, in particular, we keep making because it's so tremendously attractive.
    • Does Happiness Affect Productivity? - A professor named Daniel Sgori recently published an article that outlines the connection between happiness and productivity. In short, the impact is enormous.
    • Vacationing: No Cords Allowed - With the convenience of technologies such as laptops, BlackBerrys and cell phones, taking a true vacation from work is hard to accomplish. Yet, for many, checking email on the beach sounds efficient. But is it really?
    • Judging By Workspace - Is your office messy, sterile or filled with distractions?  If so, a slight renovation could do you some good. Turns out, the state of your workspace can not only affect your own productivity, but your ability to gain trust, respect and confidence from surrounding co-workers and employees. 
    • A Clean Handshake - I wouldn't characterize myself as a germaphobe; however, I'd say that my tolerance for public restrooms is quite low. To me, there is nothing worse than being subjected to unkempt toilets, grungy floors, slimy sinks and bacteria-caked doorknobs; particularly since I'm forced to touch them. So why, with the increased appearances of automatic bathroom appliances, is my mind still not at ease?
    • The Call Volume Paradox - Joe is a sales professional with a problem. His management is unhappy despite the fact that Joe is fantastically successful at closing great deals.

    July 2010

    • Working on a Railroad - One might think that government employees at the Texas Railroad Commission would take great pride in taking care of trains in the Lone Star State. It's too bad, then, that the agency has no authority over railroads.
    • Workplace Productivity and Motivation - Rewards and punishments are such an integral part of organizations it's hard to imagine doing anything else. Yet a new video reminds us that these are the least effective ways to motivate anyone.
    • Ring, Ring Go Away - When it comes to being productive, a ringing telephone is far from helpful. In fact, many would agree the nuisance is downright distracting.  But can this type of communication be avoided when conducting business? To Slaughter Development's founder, the phone can and should be handled more intelligently.
    • Should Workflow be Lightweight? - Andrew McAfee has been singing the praises of "lightweight workflow." But is he really talking about reducing churn or just trying to better leverage interruptions?
    • The Power of Zoning - At our last event in the 2010 Productivity Series, we talked about Workplace Artifacts. A powerful component of effective forms, files and workspaces is the use of zoning.
    • Dissipating Fear With Trust - Despite the occasional need for rollercoaster rides or horror films, fear is not an emotion most people want to experience often. This is particularly true if it shows up in the office.
    • No Review; Plan And Do - Robby Slaughter, founder of Slaughter Development, recently addressed a dilemma posed in the B2B Social Media Digest regarding performance reviews. His suggestion: "We don’t need to review, we need to plan and do."
    • Blog Indiana and Total Insanity - I'm speaking again at Blog Indiana this year on the topic of blogging and productivity. This year's topic: "Producing Content Without Agony."
    • Retirement R&R;? - Believe it or not, the time has come for baby boomers to trade in meetings and work weeks for some well deserved R&R. For my father-in-law however, the process of retirement—let alone the idea—is anything but relaxing.
    • Disregarding Decision - Jacob Miller prides himself on his decisiveness. No matter what options, alternatives or dilemmas forthcoming, he makes a choice and sticks to it. That is of course, until he chose to construct a home.
    • Productivity and the World Cup - The folks at Mashable have been touting an infographic that complains about "lost productivity" due to the 2010 World Cup. It's filled with bogus, deceptive figures that make our blood boil.
    • Soliciting Help - When projects at work become overwhelming, its not uncommon to seek assistance from employees. But what happens when their workload is just as hefty?

    June 2010

    • Sing in Collaboration - Ever wonder what the results would be if there was further collaboration on an already established masterpiece? The end result just may strike an inspirational chord.
    • Quick Trick: Tradeoffs - Slaughter Development's founder recently contributed as a guest to The Marketing Tech Blog. His topic: the quick-and-dirty trick for describing any project.
    • No Luck Lotto - Many Hoosiers are discovering that luck isn't the only way to find unexpected funds. If you've been eyeing that brand new grill for your back porch, maybe it's time you check in with the state government. After all, there's nothing to lose but unclaimed money.
    • The Buzz: Video Interview - Robby Slaughter was interviewed on The Buzz, an internet video show. Check out his conversation with host Tony Scelzo.
    • Replacing Chainj for Change? - Though it consists of merely six letters, one of the most straightforward words in the English language is C-H-A-N-G-E.  Yet two prominent groups see a need for further simplification of this term.
    • Visualizing Possibility - There are moments when work starts to feel overwhelming. Artist John Bramblitt faces this reality everyday. And though he may not see these challenges personally, overcoming his obstacles brings more than just reassurance: it creates success far beyond what the eyes can see.
    • Stand Strong And Work - Feeling tired at work? Why not try something new: get rid of your chair. It may sound exhausting, but standing while you work not only improves productivity, but provides a larger sense of accomplishment.
    • Not Such a Happy Meal - McDonald's made headlines recently when a substance linked to cancer was discovered in their promotional toys. Yet, despite the immediate recall a week ago, commercials promoting the product are still airing on major networks.
    • Goodbye Impulse Buys - Ever find yourself running out to the grocery store for milk and eggs only to return with fifteen grocery bags and a hefty receipt reflecting your impulse buys? If this sounds familiar, don't fret. Slaughter Development's founder has some suggestions that will help your shopping become more efficient and less costly.
    • More Than a Name - Every file on your computer has to have a name. Selecting the right text might seem like an easy task, but bad filenames are actually a major problem.
    • Productivity and Social Media - Whether utilized for business or personal reasons, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn have become a significant source of communication. Yet, as useful as these tools can be, they can easily hinder productivity.  
    • To Participate or Not? - On the fence as to whether or not social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are beneficial and worthwhile? Well, there is some advice that will help take away feelings of guilt or indecisiveness when it comes to "indulging" in this type of communication.
    • Encouraging Mediocrity - Mediocrity in the workforce certainly lacks luster. Not only does it deflate drive and motivation, but it inhibits productivity. Yet, what if that's the standard being encouraged in your office?

    May 2010

    • Failing Expectations - Regardless of position or title, the inability to reach full potential in a job could create problems that have consequences. This applies even if the job is to run, throw and catch.
    • The 99-Year Mistake - No matter how fool-proof something may seem or how long it has existed without discrepancy, correction or improvement is always a possibility—even if it means updating after 99 years.
    • A Healthy Inbox - Many can relate to the stress caused by an overflowing email inbox at work. In May's edition of Health Minute Magazine, Robby Slaughter discusses how a healthy inbox can help promote a healthy lifestyle.
    • The Government Job - If pressed, most individuals in the private sector would probably repeat the stereotype that government jobs are easy and nearly impossible to lose. A new article, however, shows that these positions can be extremely difficult to get.
    • Productivity in Poverty - In the modern, technology-powered workplace, it may seem like being more productive is mostly a matter of the latest gizmo. However, a short video proves that there are some ingenious employees in the most impoverished places in the world.
    • Five Ways To "Play Nice" - After spending 40-hours a week together, some teams within an organization become so close that they start behaving like a dysfunctional family.  In other words, professional behavior goes flying out the door and team members stop "playing nice."  This, of course, is a recipe for disaster that often results in disengaged employees and a loss of productivity.
    • How about Three Sigma? - According to one noted blogger, three sigmas ought to be enough. More importantly, though, is the question of whether we should use any sigmas whatsoever.
    • No Minutes? Try Lying - Chances are many of us have indulged once or twice in a white lie with the knowledge that, for the most part, the statement has little to no serious consequence. For one man however, his version of a "white lie" was far from harmless.
    • The Power of Passive Voice - Your English teacher warned you not to use the "passive voice" when writing, but doing so is one of the easiest ways to improve productivity in your workplace. Changing language can change culture!
    • Simple Process, Sweet Outcome - Nowadays, million dollar contests seem to be popping up everywhere. Whether answering trivia, surviving the great outdoors, or even completing silly games,victors can earn major prizes. For one recent winner however, path to victory has led to controversy.
    • Workplace Productivity and Financial Advice - A new study of employee benefits reports that workers want financial advice at the office. Most believe that counseling programs would increase their productivity.
    • Brain Physical - Since our founding, Slaughter Development has worked alongside clients to increase office productivity by improving or even eliminating inefficient processes. Our goal? Open avenues for innovation and create a healthier workflow for stakeholders. It turns out that doing so doesn't just create a healthier sense of productivity— it also nurtures the brain.

    April 2010

    • A Symphony of Strengths - Indianapolis-based Ignite HR Consulting is hosting an evening of training, networking and music. The education program focuses on an emerging movement in corporate training called Strengths.
    • Hailing An Airplane - A warning to airline travelers: regardless of tickets, checked luggage and your presence at the gate, there is no guarantee your plane won't leave without you. For Luke Mueller, a Los Angeles teacher and musician, one quick bathroom stop cost him more than a wasted $700 flight—it resulted in eight hours of grueling travel.
    • A Juror's Burden - In the United States' judicial system, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. And though hefty laws exist to protect this right, is it possible that bad processes and desperate measures get in the way of a fair trial?
    • Embracing The Fun Of Technology - Technology is not a rare concept to come by in today's society. Yet, while many embrace advances and strive to become experts, others may find it daunting and difficult to understand. Robby Slaughter, a principal with Slaughter Development, recently discussed this topic on the Marketing Tech Blog.
    • You Owe Four Cents - Now that tax day has come and gone, millions of Americans hope they have completed their taxes correctly. One man in California, however, suffered the penalty of underpayment.
    • Crabgrass Strikes Again! - As all Hoosiers have seen, our long-awaited anticipation for spring has finally come to an end! The glorious recipe of warm weather and blooming flowers is magic to those of us fare-weather winter fans. The only thing left to combat—besides the clouds of pollen—is: crabgrass.
    • IBJ: Killing the Operations Manual - Still scratching your head trying to figure out which desk drawer you've stashed your company's operations manual? Recently, the Indianapolis Business Journal published an article, written by Slaughter Development's very own founder, which discusses ways to improve the manual to the point of actually utilizing it rather than forgetting about it.
    • Helpful Assistance or Disruptive Gesture? - Is there ever a time when being helpful is counterproductive or even taxing? According to one source, even the simplest of actions can hinder workflow.
    • Asking for Help and Productivity - We all know that achievement comes through collaboration, not isolation. However, it's not always clear when we should ask for help.
    • Praise = Improvement - Previously discussed on The Methodology Blog, Applebee's newest digital technology for faster service has been integrated into several of its restaurants. Though the chain hopes the technology proves beneficial, a recent dining experience of my own has reaffirmed the value in good, "old fashioned" service and the simple act of praise.
    • The Incredible Sandwich Guy - Indianapolis-based image coach Starla West recently dropped into a Jimmy John's franchise to buy a meal. Little did she know that her entire day would be transformed by the experience.
    • Indiana Small Business Fair - Join Slaughter Development and hundreds of other businesses at the Indiana Small Business Fair on May 11, 2009.
    • Get To Know Your Keyboard - When it comes to productivity, we often turn to computers for quick results. Yet, ironically, the functions that are designed to increase usability are often times neglected. Robby Slaughter, founder of Slaughter Development, discusses the power of ALT + TAB keys in a guest post on The Marketing Tech blog.

    March 2010

    • The Nagging Call - Like any consumer willing to accommodate certain processes in order to better service my needs, I've agreed in previous months to partake in phone surveys that assist in music selection for radio stations. About every two months, I receive a phone call asking for my participation. And, up until this month, I always agree. However, this past week brought an entirely different scenario.
    • Take Me Out to the Ball Game - Our local minor league baseball team has an exciting opportunity for a bright, hardworking individual. The internship offers an entry into the world of sports PR and the explicit promise of 100 hours per week.
    • Speed Blogging - Robby Slaughter, principal and founder of Slaughter Development, was recently asked by Roundpeg to write a guest post about efficient blogging. His advice: let go.
    • Meeting By Sofa Boat - Some find conducting business at a coffee shop a nice way to create a casual environment for a meeting. But if you're looking for a more interesting twist on scenery, you could consider sailing the open seas on the newly introduced "sofa boat".
    • Wrongful Foreclosure - The Methodology Blog has previously discussed process errors that drastically impact unsuspecting people. Likewise, today's topic on accidental housing foreclosures highlights the aftermath which follows unstable systems.
    • Conventions of Dress Codes - Having a dress code in the office is quite common. Yet, some say that nowadays they're not followed as strictly as in past decades. The question is, which is worse: wrong attire or pigeonholing?
    • Stakeholders vs. Shareholders - Pop quiz: What's the difference between a stakeholder and a shareholder? Here's a hint: it's at the root of some recent problems affecting Indiana communities.
    • Snapshot on Perspective - Recently, USA Today's website captured a very intriguing photograph of a young boy in midair. The question is, what's you're perspective on the image?
    • The Myth of Management Buy-In - Almost every change management professional talks about "management buy-in." But actually, the most interesting and powerful business process improvements occur without the involvement of leadership.
    • Slaughter Development in the WSJ - Our founder, Robby Slaughter, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal about productivity and social media. The message: social media is powerful stuff, especially for small business.
    • The Worst Possible Decision - Sometimes, it's hard to evaluate which choice is the best for your business. But it's clear that one is always the worst: dismissing an employee.
    • The Paperless Dream - Most offices are driven by paper. One document management expert, however, wants to know what it will take to get paper out of the workplace entirely.
    • Dilbert On Playing Dumb - Dilbert strikes again! A recent episode of the popular comic strip once again resonates with Slaughter Development.
    • Escaping Death By Meeting - On Wednesday, Slaughter Development presented the third session in the 2010 Productivity Series. The program for this month was "Escaping Death By Meeting - How and Why to Meet." If you were unable to attend or would like to simply refresh your memory, the slides from this presentation are now available here on The Methodology Blog.
    • Marketing: Your Sixth Man - Today's post for The Methodology Blog is from Lorraine Ball, president of Roundpeg.  Her advice on getting the biggest bang for your buck in marketing: understand your clients and establish standards for success.
    • Rotary Phone Nostalgia - If you frequently type numbers into a computer, a 10-key is an essential productivity tool. But one hobbyist decided to build a less efficient system out of an old rotary telephone.

    February 2010

    • The Mysterious Process - Operating a business through process-oriented work is what defines a successful company. And, despite the dozens of adjectives that go into describing any given process, the purpose should be well-defined and known to all stakeholders involved.
    • Salesforce and BPM - Earlier this month, announced a new feature for their product suite. You can now visually design processes for your business.
    • IBJ: Does Your Workflow Bring Satisfaction - Slaughter Development founder Robby Slaughter has contributed another article in the Indianapolis Business Journal this week. The piece is titled “Does Your Workflow Bring Satisfaction?”
    • Ambition, Motivation and Productivity - A feature in Time Magazine poses a powerful, and perhaps dangerous theory about ambition. The article implies that perhaps some people are just more likely to succeed.
    • Job Satisfaction Plummets - Here's a double whammy for the working professional. You hate your job and want to quit, but the economy is bad so you're afraid to leave.
    • Incentives to Innovate - There's a weird relationship between innovation and motivation. You can't force creativity. Instead, you have to find ways to inspire creative people and get out of the way.
    • Don’t Belittle Your Staff - Today's post for The Methodology Blog comes from Nick Carter, owner of AddressTwo. He points out that there's an easy way to destroy productivity: destroy morale.
    • Disorganized Office, Discredited Report - As well all know, the trends of "going green", resource preservation and climate control have taken our society by storm. Yet, amidst the hype, a leader in the movement is currently under a magnifying glass for his disorganization.
    • Broken Form - How many times have you had to fill out a government form, only to find yourself struggling to fit all the required information in impossibly small boxes? These processes illustrate a broken workflow, but not how you might think.
    • Victim One Day, Winner The Next - While Todd Jamison exercised in the gym, his parked car was getting a work out too. The only difference: Todd chose to lift weights. His car had no choice.
    • Productivity and Disability - If there's no one in your personal life who experiences a form of disability, you may not be aware of the incredible array of resources available to help people work more effectively. But "assistive technology" can help almost anyone, not just the disabled.
    • The Antidote To Long Meetings? - Office meetings aren't always the highlight in our day—particularly when the outcome proves to be only the illusion of productivity. So, is there an antidote to this dreaded, wasteful time?
    • Snow Day Policy - Winter weather is closing thousands of schools and businesses across the United States this week. This has inspired a local HR firm to ask a rather curious question.
    • Doing More with Less - Joblessness is still high, labor costs are down, and unemployment claims are up. When times are tough, businesses must do more with less.
    • Increase Productivity: Do Nothing - Over at the website Blogussion, a writer named "Alex" suggests we can increase productivity by doing nothing. How can working less result in more?
    • You're Doing it Wrong - People who learn that Slaughter Development offers productivity and workflow consulting often think we make people better at their jobs. That's not only incorrect, it's a dangerous way to think.
    • Goodbye, January - The first month of the new decade is over. Did you accomplish your goals? Is measuring success based on the calendar a good approach for success?

    January 2010

    • Productive Networking - As part of the ongoing More Than a Few Words podcast, Indianapolis small business leader Lorraine Ball sat down with our own Robby Slaughter to talk about productivity and business networking.
    • The Three Dollar Bargain - The Methodology Blog has covered the topic of disrupted travel due to faulty processes on several occasions; however, nothing so far can compare to the bungle made just last week by China Eastern Airlines.
    • Process Improvement Failure - Millions of companies have pursued major business process improvement projects. Some new evidence reported in the Wall Street Journal, however, shows that most of these endeavors fail.
    • Favoritism and Borders - It's never easy avoiding favoritism; particularly when it involves a large amount of business with large sums of money. Yet, as Borders bookstore now knows, ignoring or delaying others can lead to more than just annoyed clients.
    • Productivity Techniques for Real Estate - As part of Real Estate Bar Camp Indiana (RE BarCamp), Slaughter Development presented a session on time management for real estate professionals.
    • 18 Cool Tools - The folks at Mashable, the "world's largest social media company," have a new list of productivity tools. You probably didn't know that the web has radical new ways to conduct old fashioned tasks like managing your to-do list, taking notes or gathering information.
    • Arrested For Tweeting - Twitter, as we very well know, is one of the fastest growing avenues of social media today. And although it only allows up to 140 characters, it's still large enough for trouble—regardless of the intentions.
    • I Can't, I'm Cooking - At Slaughter Development, we're always fascinated by the way people organize their work and prioritize tasks. Recently, we learned that one non-profit had assigned culinary duties.
    • Self-Control is Contagious! - Trying to stay focused at work? Want to avoid eating that extra piece of cake? Science now says: try thinking about people with better self-control than you.
    • Electronic Emotions: The Sarcasm Button - Nowadays, email exchange is a dominant form of both personal and business communication. In fact, it's so commonplace that now there is a special feature that helps avoid one of it's biggest blunders: the misinterpretation of words. 
    • Efficiency In Real Estate - Last week, BarCamp Indiana featured a blog post from Slaughter Development's founder Robby Slaughter. The post discusses the correlation between real estate productivity and the telephone.
    • 36 Minutes of Bliss - There's nothing quite like the satirical news magazine The Onion to help us recognize ironies in our advanced society. A recent headline simply reads: "Man Gets Life In Order For 36 Minutes."
    • From Threat to Request - In yesterday's edition of The Methodology Blog, we reviewed a poorly-worded email message from management. Today, we will show how to rewrite that same text so that it fosters satisfaction and productivity.
    • A Forwarded Threat - Companies use email to communicate on just about every imaginable topic, from party announcements to corporate decisions. But it's still surprising to see an email that contains an underlying use of threatening language.
    • The Five Box System - As part of the ongoing More Than a Few Words podcast, Indianapolis small business leader Lorraine Ball sat down with our own Robby Slaughter to talk about productivity. A key topic from the conversation is the "Five Box System."
    • Resolutions for a New Year -

      On Wednesday, Slaughter Development presented the first session in the 2010 Productivity Series. The program for this month was "How NOT to Make New Years Resolutions at Work" and the slides are now available here on The Methodology Blog.

    • Social Media Productivity - Slaughter Development's founder has another article in the electronic edition of the Hamilton County Business Magazine. This piece is about productivity and social media.
    • Picture Impressions - Controversy over a recent photograph displaying a conversation between President Obama and Vice President Biden has become the newest battle of interpretation. Turns out, a picture may not be worth a thousand words but instead a thousand different points of view.
    • The Y2K+10 Bug - Billions of people worldwide recently celebrated the dawn of a new year by counting down the seconds until January 1, 2010. However, a retail shopping network in Australia decided to leap forward to January 2016.
    • Happiness Breeds Success - As we enter a new year, it's a good time to reassess how we think about work. That's why a startling revelation about what makes us happy is a powerful place to begin 2010.

    December 2009

    • Resolve To Succeed in 2010 - Believe it or not, it's time yet again for fresh goals and new beginnings. The question is, how will you manage to keep momentum accomplishing them in 2010? 
    • IBJ: World Without Deadlines - Slaughter Development founder Robby Slaughter has another article in the Indianapolis Business Journal this week. The piece is titled "Imagine a World Without Deadlines."
    • Improvements Without Technology - A recent project with a major institution created tremendous workflow improvements. Ulysses Leaning helped Harris Bank improve business processes without technical changes.
    • The Christmas Deadline - Millions of people all over the world are rushing to complete final purchases before the stroke of midnight. It's the biggest retail deadline of the year, which raises the question: do deadlines make us more productive?
    • Fueling Efficiency Or Impatience? - If waiting longer than 60 seconds for a refill on your soda is unacceptable, then perhaps you should head to the Sunshine State for dinner. After all, if Floridians are enjoying the newest service technology from their local Applebee's, why shouldn't you?
    • Facebook vs. Productivity - A survey of 4,000 office workers in India revealed something everybody already knew: employees spend about an hour a day on social networking websites like Facebook.
    • The 2010 Productivity Series - Mark your calendar for Wednesday, January 6 at 2PM: the first event of the 2010 Productivity Series. This session is entitled How NOT To Make New Year’s Resolutions at Work.
    • IBM Buys Lombardi - Technology giant IBM has made another acquisition. This time it's Lombardi, an Austin, Texas-based software company whose fantastic product is totally unknown to the people who need it most.
    • Faulty Accounting = Bloated Bonus - Many people dream of the day their bank account doubles or triples in size. For Stephen Foster, a supermarket warehouse employee, having it increase by an astounding $1.3 million is a tale for the history books.
    • 22 Million Interruptions - The big political news this week is from the previous administration. Computer technicians have found 22 million lost emails from the Bush White House.
    • Public Relations Goes Scientific - The PR business requires creative people who can explain complicated ideas and situations to the public. One consultancy, however, is moving away from traditional communications in favor of the scientific method.
    • A Weight Lifted - Last night, America watched as Biggest Loser contestant Danny Cahill stepped on the show's infamous scale for his final weigh in. The dramatic outcome in weight-loss proved only to be one of his many successes from the show.
    • The High Cost of Conservation - The administration at Central Michigan University has managed to reduce water consumption by nearly 10%. But to make up for lost revenue, the city of Mount Pleasant may need to raise water fees for everyone.
    • Reynolds on ROWE - Over at the More Than a Few Words podcast, two Indianapolis small business owners recently discussed the benefits of a Results-Only Work Environment. That's more than a buzzword—ROWE is a radically different perspective on running a business.
    • Stately Crashers - In recent White House news, the Obama's first state house dinner was a success. That is, of course, except for one minor detail: insufficient guest security.
    • Is Electronic Medicine Worthless? - As Congress debates the future of the American healthcare system, a common point of discussion is the benefit of computerized medical records. But a new study suggests that the cost savings will be "nonexistent."

    November 2009

    • Featured Article: Training Wheels - Slaughter Development has published a new case study about a company that decided to adopt a temporary policy to help train new staff members. Increased employee awareness, however, led to a permanent adoption of the change.
    • Logic of Loss Leaders - Countless Americans lined up outside of retailers today in hopes of taking advantage of record low prices. But is "Black Friday" really worth it?
    • Black Wednesday? - Today, the eve of Thanksgiving, carries the same chaotic, stressful reputation as it has for decades passed: the busiest travel day of the year. Yet, no matter how many years go by, no matter what precautions are taken or how much media attention it gets, there are still doubts as to whether people will make it home to their loved ones in time for turkey.  
    • Tweetsgiving Indianapolis - Slaughter Development and The Methodology Blog are joining other central Indiana bloggers to offer a word of thanks during this holiday season. We're calling it: "Tweetsgiving Indianapolis."
    • Drawing is Thinking - A video of the famed graphic designer Milton Glaser is floating around the web lately. The title and the topic is powerful: "Drawing is Thinking."
    • Unintentional Vegetarians - When conference organizers provide dinner for attendees, they usually plan a regular meal and a vegetarian option. Most people choose the former, but not because they prefer meat. Instead, it's how the options are presented that makes guests into omnivores or vegetarians.
    • The Colts Comeback - For Indianapolis Colts fans, this past Sunday's game against the New England Patriots was a sweet victory.  So why are many game-attending patrons experiencing post-game regret?
    • Rejected For An Off-Hand Comment - Yesterday, an Indianapolis-based firm announced they had rejected a candidate for an internship. They even explained the mistake: he left a message on Twitter that made it seem like he was goofing off at his current employer.
    • Seven Weeks, Seven Productivity Tips - Go look at the calendar. It's mid-November, which means there are a mere seven weeks left in 2009. Now is the time to look forward and prepare to make 2010 your best year yet.
    • Fired For Customer Service - Customer service, or lack thereof, is an enormous part of thriving in business today. Yet, as one airline employee discovered, people must be cautious with how they respond to frustrated consumers. Otherwise, they may get fired.
    • Advice on Time Management - The Indianapolis Workshops on Software Testing recently held a panel discussion on Time Management. Five presenters, including Slaughter Development's own founder, took part in the conversation.
    • Cold War Workaround - Over at the Lean Blog, Mark Graban reports on a Wired story about former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Apparently when he ordered secure numeric codes to be placed on the weapons nuclear arsenal, the Strategic Air Command set the passwords to all zeros.
    • Kingdoms in the Company - Over at the Creo Quality Blog, Jon Speer writes about the frustration of companies that are divided into silos. "Stop building walls", Speer advises, and instead "figure out how to tear them down."
    • "Upping" Your Competitive Edge - According to Barbara Findlay Schenck, contributor to MSN's Business on Main, the three elements that all customers desire are price, quality and speed. Her advice for companies: "deliver on all three fronts to win and keep customers."
    • Making Social Media Productive - Last Friday, Slaughter Development presented "Making Social Media Productive" to Rainmaker University. Highlights and the slides are now available here on The Methodology Blog.

    October 2009

    • Hierarchy in Flu Shots? - As the swine flu continues to creep up in many homes, schools, workplaces and public areas throughout our nation, people are starting to fret about securing an H1N1 shot before they run out. To make matters worse, there is a new controversy on who qualifies as "high risk."
    • Graffiti and Good Behavior - The walls in some public bathrooms seem to attract scribbles and markings. But one researcher found a completely effective method to stop graffiti for practically no cost whatsoever.
    • Accentuate the Negative - At Slaughter Development, we're big fans of the little word "no." That's why we love a new article that advises when not to do business.
    • Life Equals Risk - Do you have one minute and seventeen seconds? If so, check out a new video making the rounds on the web.
    • Productivity In A Can - Sick of the jittery aftermath that coffee causes, but still in need of a boost? According to one study, there's a new product on the market that provides more than just a pathway to alertness.
    • A Stopwatch for Bathroom Breaks - Heading to the restroom? If you're a call center employee in one government office, you had better be back in three minutes.
    • Murder Writer Methodology - There's a process for everything. An organized methodology can make almost anything more effective, including writing a murder mystery novel.
    • Dear Micromanaged Employee - A noted writer and speaker has a message to the micromanagers of the world. That message is: "stop it."
    • Dilbert on Worfklow - The concept of workflow and its impact on productivity is often highlighted on The Methodology Blog. Earlier this week, the classic workplace comic strip, Dilbert, had an interesting take on the subject.
    • Joy from Tedium - "Fun" is a hot topic on the web this week. But how can we enjoy work when our assigned tasks are boring?
    • The Fun Theory - Our daily routines consist of normal activities like climbing the stairs and throwing away trash. What happens if we try to make these boring tasks more fun?
    • Collaboration Software Failure - Computers are supposed to make our lives easier, but can often seem frustrating. A new software product  inadvertently demonstrates the challenge of collaborating with others through a PC.
    • Baggage and Jet Fuel - To keep passengers in the skies, airlines will do just about anything. That's why United Airlines is now offering a new "deal" for checked bags.
    • Employees with Autism - Most employers are looking for candidates with "excellent communication skills." One firm, however, hires only people with autism.
    • Facebook and Workplace Frustration - Social networking websites like Facebook enable people to communicate easily with friends, family and colleagues. They can also document feelings of anger and resentment with work.
    • Combating Reactionary Workflow - Over at the American Express OPEN Forum, writer Scott Belsky feels that we spend too much time reacting. Instead of working intently, we simply "battle the unyielding flow of incoming information."
    • Lawsuit of the Century - In today's society, ambition has many definitions. To a man named Dalton Chiscolm, it's defined as $1.78 septillion dollars.

    September 2009

    • Faxing Private Data - Each month, Indiana business owner Bill Keith receives over 150 faxes. Each one contains confidental patient records, but Keith is not even in the medical business!
    • Principal Workflow - Greg Carroll is a elementary school principal in New Zealand. Despite this position of authority and respect in his community, he still spends much of his day focused on effectiveness and efficiency.
    • Saying No at Work - Slaughter Development's founder has a column in the Indianapolis Business Journal this week.
    • Caught Goofing Off - Yesterday, a woman named Amanda Hite made a routine visit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. While waiting in line, she noticed an employee playing computer solitaire—and managed to snap a picture with her cellphone camera.
    • Policy and Going Paperless - When the City of Langford realized they had too much paper, they did not choose to buy more file cabinets. Instead, they established a new, all-digital workflow.
    • Impacts of Cost Cutting - In an anonymous opinion piece, one former employee explains how a reduction in expenses destroyed productivity and morale. Mark down another incident for the law of unintended consequences.
    • Four Workflow Revelations - A blogger named Adrian Try has documented four lessons that helped optimize his workflow. All his ideas come from one source: thinking carefully about the process of work.
    • The Tape-Free TV Station - Visit any television station and you are likely to see racks filled with videotapes. Finding, loading, playing, rewinding and re-shelving this media is a workflow that is no longer required.
    • Caps Lock Termination - You might lose your job for any number of reasons, but being fired is usually connected to a major mistake. One New Zealand woman, however, was terminated because of her use of the caps lock key.

    August 2009

    • Saving Ink, Maintaining Workflow - Every day, over 600,000 copies of the Washington Post hit newsstands and front porches. Printing now requires 30% less ink yet no additional frustration.
    • Productive Event Planning - Many people have worked long hours on event planning. If you've struggled to process registrations and track down attendees, take four minutes and five seconds to watch a video from Cannonball Communications.
    • Greener Interiors, Better Workflow - The new corporate headquarters of Summertown Interiors is, not surprisingly, quite beautiful. It's also in an energy-efficient building with architecture designed to improve workflow.
    • The Business of Losing Clients - Local brand experience design firm Kristian Andersen + Associates just got fired. It was an amicable divorce, but getting dumped is part of the consulting business, right?
    • Slaves to Methodology - Businesses love to implement a new, comprehensive solution to address a wide range of challenges. However, an analyst named Duncan Haughey argues that blindly adhering to methodology is ineffective and all too common.
    • Anecdotes, Evidence, Process Improvement - One of the most inspirational sources of workflow improvement is medicine. Yet, what makes doctors effective are not good outcomes, but understanding why good outcomes actually occur.
    • The 26-Pixel Tragedy - Brody PR, a 20-year old public relations firm, recently made a small mistake. In a few seconds, someone clicked the wrong box and may have destroyed the reputation of the entire company.
    • The blogINDIANA Bombshell - A great way to measure the success of a conference is the number of times you have an "aha" moment. At blogINDIANA 2009, one comment in one presentation surpassed all the rest.
    • Productivity and Blogging - At the blogINDIANA 2009 conference, Slaughter Development gave a talk on Productivity and Blogging. The take home lesson: yes, you can blog quickly and efficiently!
    • Making Bosses Meet Deadlines - One of the biggest challenges to blogging productively is a partner who doesn't meet deadlines. It's even worse when that blogging partner is your boss.
    • Preparing to Conference - Tomorrow is the first day of blogINDIANA 2009. This begs the question: what's the most productive way to attend a conference?
    • Balance From Workflow - Accountants are known for working ridiculously long hours. A CPA named Marty McCutchen, however, has found that improving workflow actually improves work/life balance.
    • Sensational Headline Only - A recent press release carries the title: "Bosses Beware: Employees Watching Videos Online on the Company's Dime." The contents of the document, however, have nothing to do with supervisors, employees and productivity.
    • Netflix, Tyranny and Culture - Scott Booher of CIOpedia recently posted a thoughtful critique about the obsession with procedure at many companies. His surprising inspiration was an internal document leaked from Netflix.
    • Starbucks and Going Lean - Local service industry consultant Tripp Babbitt recently commented on the use of Lean Manufacturing in the coffeeshop business. His key insight is that there is more to improving organizations than reducing waste.
    • How and Why to Meet - As part of The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin has put together a list of tips for running good meetings. But are these simple suggestions enough to positively influence workplace productivity?
    • 98% Unpaid for Overtime - In many companies, working extra hours means receiving extra compensation. But in one industry, 98% of employees report that they do not receive paid overtime, not even during "crunch" periods.
    • Fire Protection Workflow - Every week, Muncie, Indiana firefighters dutifully submit maintenance reports to headquarters. Until last month, this was done by hand—by actually driving fire trucks across town to deliver the paperwork!

    July 2009

    • Ladd on Gladwell - Local Indianapolis blogger Parke Ladd recently cited popular author Malcolm Gladwell. Their joint insights on work are right on target.
    • Job Description Prison - Local HR firm C&S Consulting recently published a blog post about job descriptions. Unfortunately, these documents tend to cause problems rather than establish useful parameters for work.
    • Making Groups Smarter - The term priming refers to the tendency of a stimulus to influence the response to a later stimulus. That's a fancy way of saying that just being aware of something can totally change our thinking.
    • Taking on Lean Six Sigma - People often ask us if we use popular change management techniques like Lean Manufacturing or Six Sigma. The answer is definitely no, but not for the reasons you might think.
    • Touch It, Want It - Many retail stores warn customers that "if you break it, you buy it." But it turns out there's an even better reason to keep products out in the open—handling something makes you feel like you own it.
    • Peter Principle: Scientific Fact? - An old business joke insists that people in an organization are "promoted to the level of their own incompetence." A new study says that this principle may actually be true.
    • Productivity + Satisfaction = Results - Slaughter Development's belief in methodology engineering is based around a simple formula: productivity + satisfaction = results. Review the slides from a recent presentation on this topic at the Indiana Business Fair.
    • Workday Advice, Not Tips - Usually, productivity advice appears in the form of direct suggestions that seem impossible to implement. An article by Deborah Hildebrand of Office Arrow, however, contains some profound ideas.
    • The Failed Methodology of Bonuses - Often, the best source for new ideas in an organization are the employees themselves. But according to author Matthew May, management should never give rewards for innovation.
    • Productivity at blogINDIANA - Attention Hoosiers! Writing a blog and spending your time judiciously can be compatible. Learn more about it at blogINDIANA, August 13th-15th.
    • The Ultimate Casual Friday - Tess Vigeland, host of the National Public Radio show Marketplace Money, interviewed the managing director of a UK design firm. He invited all of his employees to come to work not without negative thoughts, but without any clothing.
    • Dangers of Measurement - An old business adage warns: "You can't manage what you can't measure." However, obsessing over metrics often does more harm than good.
    • Remote Work Week: Opportunity - For our final post in Remote Work Week, we wrap up the discussion with advice on advocating telecommuting at your organization.
    • Remote Work Week: Qualifications - Today's issue of Remote Work Week discusses who in your organization is best suited for telecommuting.
    • Remote Work Week: Technology - Yesterday's edition of The Methodology Blog discussed major research on telecommuting, dating back to 1976. Today we demo modern technology as part of the Talking Tech Series.
    • Remote Work Week: Research - As part of Remote Work Week, yesterday's edition of The Methodology Blog introduced the relationship between telecommuting and happiness. Today we will discuss the major research into telework.
    • Remote Work Week: Happiness - Last week, networking giant Cisco Systems released a study touting the benefits of telecommuting. They also mentioned a headline product, Cisco Virtual Office.
    • Remote Work Week - This week, The Methodology Blog at Slaughter Development will be covering the latest perspectives on  working remotely.

    June 2009

    • Self-Confidence: Genetic and Crucial - Researchers have determined that intellectual confidence is part of our DNA, proving again that what you know is overshadowed by what you believe.
    • Process Automation and Morale - The local Indianapolis telephone services company, Interactive Intelligence, has announced “communications-based process automation." The offering sounds great for management, but what about for employees?
    • Study Finds Study Too Costly - When a British bridge authority raised tolls by 7%, many people complained. So, the board conducted an inquiry—which cost tens of thousands of pounds and must be paid by the future tolls!
    • Cutting the Right Waste - Local Indianapolis sales coach Jeff Bowe points out that sales requires being "vigilant in using limited time." But how should sales professionals manage their time effectively?
    • No Sitting on the Job - Imagine a workplace where chairs are banned and alarms go off when you walk too slowly. This is not science fiction, but the Canon Electronics Company.

    May 2009

    • Over-investing in BPM Technology - In an eWeek article, Laura Mooney advocates “investing” in business process management software.  Unfortunately, making yet another technology purchase will only contribute to the methodological problems in an organization.
    • Dilbert on Case Studies - In yesterday’s episode of Dilbert, an overconfident business consultant has a sudden realization.
    • Featured Article: A Privilege of Membership - New clients and members are often introduced to an organization at an event. However, a frustration-free registration is often a privilege of membership.
    • Process Management Is Wrong For You - Continuous improvement programs like Six Sigma insist that processes must be managed. Although this might seem reasonable, it is stakeholders— not managers—who should design and maintain regular routines.
    • Hunting for Energy Treasure - How did GE save $110 million in recurring costs? They sent employees hunting for energy treasure.
    • Outcome vs. Process Thinking - A new study reinforces the challenge and importance of process thinking. A key result: focusing on outcomes saves time, but reduces mindfulness.
    • Interview on TCW - Slaughter Development’s founder was interviewed by The Content Wrangler, a popular website dedicated to information architecture and content management.
    • Fixing it Yourself - After his roommate moved out, Douglas Mezzer continued to receive and pay the monthly DSL bill from iiNet. Then, Mezzer foolishly decided to officially transfer the account to his own name.
    • Complexity: Bad or Interesting - The recent death of electronics retailer Circuit City provides many somber lessons for business. One key idea is that simplicity may be overrated.
    • Source Not Verified - The passing of world-famous composer Maurice Jarre made headlines last month. Many articles included a quote from the songwriter, which unfortunately, was a simple hoax.
    • Mapping and Medicine - The world wants to know if the H1N1 or “swine flu” virus will become a pandemic. Perhaps the most important tool in understanding disease was invented in 1854.
    • Manjoo's Method - Tech writer Farhad Manjoo is supposed to be obsessed with the latest online gadgets. But instead, he has designed a straightforward system for surfing the web.
    • End-of-Month Mania - Sharon, a sales associate for a high-end consumer products store, recently spent an entire day stressed and overworked. According to the store's corporate sales cycle, having everything completed before the first of the month is highly encouraged and frankly, expected.

    April 2009

    • Excel Not Recommended - The work of microbiologists, who use the latest in high-tech equipment, consumes billions of dollars annually. Yet, their use of a common software application—a major component of many gene sequencing procedures—is introducing errors into their results.
    • Duplication Without Reason - Successful companies experiencing record growth are not immune to bad process. One amazing story comes from W.E. Peterson, a co-founder of a multimillion dollar operation.
    • Putting Theory into Practice - Over at TechRepublic, writer Chip Camden reminds us that “no methodology or theory is a silver bullet.” Project success depends on the quality of execution, not blind adherence to broad principles.
    • Frantic Cashier - This morning at the auto repair shop, the cashier struggled to process a routine customer payment. She keyed in obscure codes to her computer, poured over handwritten notes, and checked the math with a hand held calculator.
    • Process and Outsourcing - Late last month, news surfaced of an IBM patent application for a “method and system for strategic global resource sourcing.” Is shuffling jobs between countries something which requires workflow analysis?
    • Friction Versus Frustration - Kristian Andersen of the Indianapolis-based experience design firm Kristian Andersen + Associates is ruminating on the latest business buzzwords. He thinks the notion that processes should be “frictionless” is “flat wrong.”
    • The Dying Process - The local marketing scene has been discussing the fate of printed handouts.  Last month, mediasauce predicted the death of the brochure. Firebelly Digital insists (strong language warning) that the brochure will never die. Advertising pro Matt Gonzales sees both sides.
    • Salt Beside Pepper - On virtually every restaurant table in the world lies a salt and pepper shaker. A moment of contemplation reveals that this design makes for highly efficient workflow.
    • Process Follows People - No industry should be more focused on the well-being of people than healthcare. According to a new study however, organizations are over-emphasizing process and technology to the detriment of workers.
    • From Trainee to Trainer - “I need to run, I am training a new employee today,” said Nancy. “You may not want to do that,” came the reply from a networking contact. “Perhaps it is she who should be training you.”
    • Accepted to College by Accident - Forty-six thousand hopeful applicants recently received congratulatory messages from the prestigious University of California-San Diego. Unfortunately, 29,000 of those emails were sent to people the admissions department had actually rejected.
    • Great Workers Surf On The Job - We all know that employees at work should be working. But according to a new study, those who spend a bit of time at the office goofing around online are actually more productive than their colleagues.
    • Summit: Continuous Improvement Primer - The final session at the Indianapolis Productivity Summit last Monday was an overview of popular approaches for “continuous improvement.”
    • Summit: Workplace Productivity Tools - Last Monday, attendees of the Indianapolis Productivity Summit spent the first afternoon session talking specifically about Workplace Productivity Tools.
    • Summit: Power Modeling - Self Training - The second session at the Indianapolis Productivity Summit was dedicated to Power Modeling, a series of techniques for self training on technology tools.
    • Summit: Managing Email Productivity - The first event at the Indianapolis Productivity Summit on Monday was Managing Email Productivity. For ninety minutes, the group reviewed the challenges of email: the biggest threat to getting any work done.
    • Summit Retrospective - On Monday, March 30, Slaughter Development hosted the Indianapolis Productivity Summit. Each of the four 90 minute session drew more than 30 attendees for an interactive discussion on ways to work smarter.

    March 2009

    • Innovation Through Pizza - With the immense amount of emerging technology, the idea that “anything is possible” never seems too far out of reach. One such recent achievement, an Italian pizza vending machine, brings another fascinating twist to innovation.
    • Rotten Attitudes In The Workplace - To many of us, the saying “one bad apple ruins a bunch” conjures up memories of overbearing lectures we received as children. But how true is this statement in the adult world of work?  According to one source, “bad apples” an the office can slow down productivity, diminish creativity and prevent successful completion of projects.
    • A Summit is Coming - On Monday, March 30, Slaughter Development hosts the Indianapolis Productivity Summit, a full day of courses on working smarter.
    • Shortcuts to Productivity? - As Americans diligently strive for personal and occupational success, productivity improvement schemes continue to gain momentum and support. Yet, between old-fashioned “know-how” and fancy technological solutions, what is the best strategy in the race for ultimate efficiency?
    • Innovation Deterred At NASA - A recent Youtube video depicts innovation and workflow problems at NASA. Watch the clip to see how employees trapped through compartmentalization hinder the development of bright ideas.
    • Satisfied Customers, Satisfied Employees - Lorraine Ball of Indianapolis marketing firm RoundPeg placed a brief quip on her company blog. She believes “when employees love your company your customers will too!”
    • The Office's "Sweet" Mistake - The hit NBC comedy The Office features a neurotic, naive and often unruly character in “boss man” Michael Scott. The show is famous for uncomfortable workplace moments and many of the scenes feel as if they are based in reality. Yet behind the entertainment, the premise begs the question: how do leaders emerge and how could incompetent fools become the boss? 
    • Obsession with Done - Media darling Bre Pettis has circling the web this week thanks to 20 minutes of work. Done, he asserts, is what matters, and all productivity arises from an obsession with done.
    • The Ultimate Library Fine - The new Central Library in downtown Indianapolis ran two years and $50 million dollars over budget. Now, the courts will decide who is at fault and who has to pay.
    • Corrections To Usability Brings Profit - Every business dreams of making millions. For one company in particular, hitting the jackpot didn't come from selecting winning numbers in the Super 7 Lotto. Instead, all it took was changing a simple icon.
    • Indiana Social Security Numbers Publicized - One downfall to the endless possibilities of the Internet is the existence of identity theft. Recently, nearly 9,000 current and former Indiana state employees had their social security numbers posted to a public website leaving many vulnerable. Though the breach was quickly corrected, one has to wonder how such a mistake could have occurred in the first place.
    • Businesses Pained By Lead Tests - Everybody knows lead is dangerous. A heightened awareness and avoidance of products like lead paint is vital to public safety. Unfortunately for smaller companies, expensive new regulations for independent testing may force many to go out of business.

    February 2009

    • A Stellar Engagement - Recently, Slaughter Development met with Barbara Jones of Stellar Training. She asked one of the most difficult questions about methodology engineering: what happens when people are afraid that increases in productivity will cost them their jobs?
    • The Non-Language of Offices - A recent article from the BBC lists fifty different phrases that permeate the modern workplace. But does this type of language actually help businesses be more productive?
    • Leadership Competence: An Oxymoron? - The boss is supposed to be the person with the answers, who is decisive, well-informed and supermely confident. Why then does it seem like so many managers are clueless?
    • Brute Force Positive Thinking - Gretchen Rubin is running The Happiness Project at, a new blog focused on upbeat thinking. This week, she offers nine tips for dealing with a “happiness emergency.”
    • One Gadget, One Decade - Last month, BusinessWeek tech writer Roger Kay brought a sleek‚ portable computer to the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. But unlike the rest of the cutting edge gadgets, his trusty notebook is over ten years old.
    • Berkun on Change - According to noted author Scott Berkun, change has nothing to do with the latest technology. Rather, innovation comes from taking risks and embracing new ideas.
    • Process Abandonment, Wrongful Detention - Legal immigrants in Australia are supposed to receive letters from the government letting them know the status of their visa. For one unfortunate man however, the mail was never sent, leaving him wrongfully imprisoned for five years.
    • For Sale: Service Which is Not Available - The words “we’ll take care of it” from any company should be music to a consumer’s ears. After all, one less responsibility is great when the weekly to-do list is already overflowing. But what happens when a promise is left unfulfilled?
    • 30 Days Without Email - Like almost every office worker, Katie Goodman was drowning in email. She decided to fight back by abandoning her inbox entirely for a single month.
    • Super Signs You Need a New Job - Superbowl Sunday is the epitome of American football and the pinnacle of American advertising. Commercials during the big game can cover any topic—even the disatisfaction many will face when they return to work on Monday morning.
    • Termination by "Mr. Nice Guy" - In the humor publication The Onion a spoof editorial relays an annoying workplace conversation where the question, “Hey you got a second?”, is followed by the worst possible news. Although satire, this piece offers a vivid picture of workplace communication gone bad.
    • The Exhausted, Fantastic Candidate - Last last week, an incoming response to a startup company’s job posting looked especially promising—except for a glaring typo in the subject line. But instead of hitting “delete”, the manager sent a quick reply back to the candidate.

    January 2009

    • Failure: The Secret to Success - Making a decision at work sometimes feels like sliding a quarter down a slot machine. Every chance taken is a gamble between success and failure. But without placing bets or playing cards, can we find success and make our dreams reality?
    • Waste Not, Get Sued - Eddie House got so good at recycling, composting and reducing his waste that he decided to cancel his garbage service. The official response to his earth-friendly efforts? Sued by local government.
    • Plan to Survive - Henry Efroymson, partner at local Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller, offers nine advisories for companies in the current economic whirlwind.
    • University to State: Consolidate! - A Ball State University study explains how local government reform could save Indiana taxpayers $620 billion each year. The evidence is forty years of data on consolidation.
    • Less than Due Process - Police in Queensland, Australia, are releasing some criminals on bail rather than holding them in custody. The new computer records system is so slow and convoluted, officers are even reluctant to make arrests for fear of having to use the application.
    • Cube Farms Are Unhealthy - An open-plan office might save on construction costs, but another study has demonstrated that cubicles lead to reduced productivity and increased stress.
    • Reply-All for Gridlock - State Department employees have been warned not to use the “reply-all” feature on their email programs, as a recent message storm nearly took down a major internal communication systems. According to the Associated Press, an accidental press of the shift key will invoke unspecified “disciplinary actions.”
    • Outsmarting the Carjackers - When Alan Heuss of Columbus, OH had his car stolen at gunpoint, he assumed the vehicle was lost forever. Then, he realized his cellphone could be used to trap the thieves. A deceptive text message tricked the criminals into revealing their location to the police.
    • Excel Macro, You're Hired - The social media website Reddit, which encourages discussion on a variety of topics, recently hosted a message board conversation between programmers. The topic: “How many of you are working with at least 1 person who you could replace with an Excel macro?”
    • Investing in the Competition - When the Sony Corporation partnered with IBM and Toshiba to design a new processor for the next generation PlayStation 3, everyone understood that IBM might someday sell the chips to another customer. However, no one thought to structure the tri-lateral agreement to prevent such a competitor like Microsoft from buying the processors before they were even finished.
    • Efficiency the Japanese Way - Thanks to some recent reforms, Maine is a great place to die. The average time required to issue death certificates is down from over three months to just five days. These dramatic improvements in local governments come from a methodology engineering approach called “kaizen”, which originated in Japan.
    • Counting is Fundamental - Babies who are brand new to the world are not only adorable, but brilliant. According to The Economist, they can differentiate between two and three objects.

    December 2008

    • The Extremely Scenic Route - An Amtrak train filled with 450 passengers was scheduled to leave at 2:15PM on Monday, but was stuck in Chicago’s Union Station until 1:22PM on Tuesday. Those on board had no access to food, water or reliable restrooms.
    • Additional Streams of Bribery - Middle class Americans might hope to generate some extra income by running a home-based business, taking a second job or managing some rental property, but the struggling Russian economy provides less options. The only way for many to get by is krutimsya,  meaning “we hustle [for bribes].”
    • Bad Economy Brings Longer Weekends - There's good news for professionals on the cusp of unemployment: Accept three day weekends and you get to keep your job. Instead of having employees work overtime to compensate for financial distress, employers are handing out, believe it or not, vacation time. 
    • Passion for Plates - In 1985, Dr. Roy Koltz, Jr discovered a vintage 1913 Mississippi license plate. With only two in existence this scrap of metal is worth more than $35,000. Other plates are worth nearly twice that, including what Forbes contributor Zach O’Malley Greenburg calls the “holy grail of license plates”: the 1921 Alaska, priced at $60,000.
    • Under the Influence of Texting - The Indianapolis Star reports that state senator Tom Wyss is proposing a ban aimed at teenagers prohibiting text messaging while driving. Enforcement is one way to react to dangerous behavior, but the legislature should consider controlling opportunities as well as punishing mistakes.
    • LOL, You're Fired - Private counselor Ruth Luban has devoted her career to assisting the recently unemployed. A short video interview from The Big Money reports that more companies are using e-mail to communicate layoffs and dismissals.
    • Loving a Dirty Job - Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, doesn’t just adore his own work. He notes that stars of his program—with their unusual, disgusting jobs—are surprisingly ecstatic about their own careers. Who could love a dirty job?
    • All You Can Eat Or Else - A New York City all-you-can-eat restaurant is playing the role of your mother. Leave uneaten food on your plate, and you will be subject to a hefty surcharge.

    November 2008

    • Search Results: Influenza - Google usually answers your questions, but now it can predict the future. Flu Trends aggregates historical search data to foretell where the flu will strike next. Is there anything Google doesn't know?
    • You Can't Patent Process - A federal appeals court has issued a powerful ruling for methodology engineering: business processes cannot be patented.

    October 2008

    • Death to Performance Reviews - Dr. Samuel Culbert, a leading business professor from UCLA, hates performance reviews. “To my way of thinking,” he asserts, “a one-side-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense [to preserve authority].”

    August 2008

    • Flights Cancelled, Answers Deferred - A computer failure in New York's JFK airport led to huge luggage delays, five cancelled flights and two days of headaches. Airline foul-ups aren’t news, but the words from a company official quoted by Ireland Online are downright frustrating: “She could not estimate when the system will be working again or how many passengers have been affected.”

    July 2008

    • Mayor's Delayed Action Center - The Mayor’s Action Center in Indianapolis receives over 200,000 calls each year, mostly to inform local government about issues like broken traffic signals, stray animals, illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles and graffiti. MAC’s work is a massive endeavor and great public service, but according to StarWatch, “they print out Web forms and send them in interoffice mail to the appropriate department.”

    June 2008

    • More Choices, More Waste - As much as 10% of all supermarket food is dumped because it spoils before it can be sold. This amounts to $20 billion in annual waste in America alone. The cause may be from too many choices for consumers.

    February 2008

    • A Golden Handshake - We have all exchanged a friendly handshake with a stranger when introduced by a mutual friend. For Mark Gurrieri, this experience saved him from a rare and deadly form of brain cancer.

    January 2008

    • Europe Leads in IT Efficiency - The US is falling behind counterparts in Europe in providing beneficial technology services, according to a study by Computer Associates. The issues are not with product knowledge, expertise or system availability, but the quality of processes.
    • Winning by Failing - Paul Brown of the New York Times recently tackled why failure may be better than success. “If everything goes right all the time,” he explains, “you are less likely to try something new.”
    • Disorganization Causes Disappearances - Is it unreasonable to say that black holes exist only in outer space? To the disorganized employee, peeved by their own mess, perhaps not. The notion of an ominous vacuum that sucks up everything from emails to files to bagged lunches is not only a plausible argument, but a fantastic scapegoat.
    • Paying by the Hour - These days, dropping $4 for a cappuccino or two grand for a fancy flatscreen television is a considered a typical purchase, not a wasteful extravagance. Tipping waitstaff 20% or slipping a few extra bucks to a skycap is standard practice. Popular opinion on billable hourly rates for professional services, however, varies from begrudging acceptance to outright mockery. Should we open our wallets or raise our fists?
    • From Russia, With Frustration - If you are concerned about productivity in your workplace, you are not alone. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the principal issue with his nation’s economy is “extreme inefficiency.”

    November 2007

    • Drastic Measures, Drastic Results - Washington state lawmakers decided to curb property tax growth in 2001 with a fixed 1% cap. The extreme measure has forced towns to reduce police protection, decommission fire trucks, close municipal pools and abandon public safety projects. Many wonder if the cap is helping.
    • Printing Errors Violate Trust - When renewal forms were sent out in the mail to the members of the Australian Football League, they naturally contained personal information including the name, address, phone number and birth date of the recipient. Unfortunately, an error resulted in printing the same data for a different member appearing on the reverse.

    October 2007

    • "La Dolce Vita" of Waiting - In Prato, Italy, it sometimes takes so long for the government to process residence renewal permits that by the time they are ready to be picked up, they have already expired.

    August 2007

    • Infrastructure Means Commitment - An opinion piece from the famous Brookings Institution discusses the reaction to the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Many are asking for a instant response to inspect other bridges and emergency appropriations, but the problem may be systemic.
    • Friendly but Bloated Skies - Of all of the Star Alliance partners, South Africa Airlines (SAA) may be at the bottom of the heap. A recent study indicates that SAA has five times as many employees per plane as some of their competitors.

    July 2007

    June 2007

    • Paid for Failure? - In dire need of a new payroll system, the Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) engaged Deloitte Consulting to the tune of $55 million. Yet the problems and overruns during implementation have caused an uproar in the ranks of teachers and employees, who demand remedy. LAUSD has agreed to another $9.6 million to fix the issues, spending that money (once again) to pay Deloitte.
    • Inefficiency Far from Home - The names might sound unfamiliar, but a recent story in a Pakistan's newspaper reports on inefficiencies in local community boards that might well be in your own hometown.

    May 2007

    • Unsolved Due to Workflow Error - The British government maintains an ambitious registry of over four million DNA samples used in crime fighting. However, some major data entry problems have left nearly 200 crimes undetected.

    April 2007

    • Justice in Jamaica - When Horace Harding pled guilty to a serious traffic offense, he accepted his fate and served a 30-day sentence in prison. Unfortunately, the system designed to record his compliance with the sentence took several weeks to catch up. Harding was then picked up by the police, and because of the processing delay, could not prove he had already cleared the warrant. The slow pace of bureacracy sent Horace Harding to jail twice for only one crime.

    February 2007

    • The Costs of Network Traffic - Network connections between computers, servers and other devices might seem insigificant compared to the energy required to run the equipment itself. However, according to The Register, the world's packet-switched networks are wasting a billion dollars in power costs.

    December 2006

    • America's Complicated Pastime - If a baseball team in the United States wants to hire an impressive player from Japan, they are not allowed to make an offer directly. Instead, the league organizes a silent auction and any interested party can place a bid.  Some commentators believe this secrecy is inflating the market, making foreign players unreasonably expensive.
    • Measuring Grocery Visits - Business researchers at the Wharton School are focusing on the way we shop, according to Forbes. Some paths through the supermarket are more efficient than others, and understanding this variation is chaning grocery store layout from intuition to science.

    September 2006

    • To Save Cars, Drive More - In Fairfax County, Virginia, a government auditor noticed that many of the vehicles in the official government fleet were barely used. In response, the county agreed to reassign cars which were driven less than 4,500 miles annually. The change inspired some bureacrats to come up with excuses to travel, just so they would not lose their coveted government vehicles.

    March 2006

    February 2006

    • Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Process - When the Enron scandal unfolded, the Securites and Exchange Commission rejoiced in the public interest for finding corruption on Wall Street. To address the concerns, Mr. Harvey L. Pitt, SEC Chairman, formed the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Unfortunately he opted for a poor process for choosing members of the board.

    January 2006

    • When Hearings Mean Speeches - The Senate confirmation hearings for potential Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito are part of a time-honored American tradition. Every committee member has thirty minutes to ask questions, but most of this time is not used for either questions or answers. Instead, senators spend most of their time promoting themselves.
    • Kafka's Traffic Ticket - Last year, Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing learned firsthand that if an outstanding traffic ticket was not recorded in the computer system, payment could not be accepted. His wife (the guilty party) might face tremendous late penalties because the database at the LA Superior Court—and their employees—could not handle a tiny exception.

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