My Presentation at Empower 2016

One of my last speaking opportunities: Deciding what level of detail to create in your QuickBase tables can make a huge difference in how you create, update, and delete records. You have choices, but many don’t know what those choices are and what are the consequences are.

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Cardinality: The Power of Leverage and how to use it in your business.

LeverComing in May, I’ll be speaking on cardinality. Cardinality is the “lever” of relational databases. It’s what allows one table to “relate” to another table. The classic example is to think of a customer table and a sales order table. One customer may have several orders. However, you don’t want to have to repeat all the information about that customer on every sales order. So you reference the customer on the sales order table and, thanks to cardinality, you can see all the customer information (address, payment terms, contact name, etc…).

In your career, you have this cardinality concept as well. As a manager, you have “many people” working for you. This allows one project or goal to be worked on by many people. Anytime you are talking about one to many, one speaker to many people, or one software tool that many use, you are taking advantage of the “lever” called cardinality.

In my presentation, I’ll be talking about the different forms of cardinality and, from a database perspective, how to build for each type. I’ll also be talking about the level of detail to use in cardinality. But for you, the take away today is, where are you using cardinality today? And where else can you take advantage of this “lever”?

Photo by: Alexander Svensson

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5 Essentials for Every Manager

Manager showing EmployeeHere’s a guest post from my good friend Kimber. She’s been a manager at US Bank, a trainer for Cabelas, and a Human Resource Director of a home health company.  When you want to talk about management, she’s got it in spades.  Her advice is gold, and I’m very glad to have her contribution.

Here’s Kimber…

As a manager one must understand who they are, what they represent, how they fit in with the culture of their community and company, as well as what motivates them. In return we must challenge those who follow us to learn, embrace, and act upon the roads of development that led us to knowing what our purpose is in life personally and professionally.

As a leader and manager there must be a synergy and connection within a team. Being able to guide and develop individuals personally and professionally allows for deep relationships that yield efficiency, dedication, honesty, and growth.  Managers and leaders must acknowledge that the world is ever-changing and that we all have something to learn each and every day. Diversity and inclusion are what make relationships work; however, the foundation of leadership and work relationships stem from the acknowledgement that we are purposeful, that we are worthwhile, and that we value one another.

These foundations are then fostered and grown by the giving and receiving of new skills, abilities, knowledge, and problem solving abilities.  Actionable items that lead to finding out who your employees are and what drive them can be completed in five easy and efficient steps.

  1. Have each team member complete a bucket list. In an open and comfortable environment share to embrace similarities and differences of activities and relations to personality types.
  2. Promote work/life balance by encouraging team members to check items off of the list.
  3. Lead by example and get out in the world, check off some items, and make a difference.
  4. Don’t let the passion die. Revisit the list every few months and add to it. Share with those closest to you to ensure that you are growing both personally and professionally.
  5. Forget the excuses, forget the what-ifs, and forget what doesn’t help us grow. Hindrance is the worst enemy in creating and implementing change.

Photo Credit:innovate360

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Critical Point When Presenting to Managment

When presenting to management, you need to consider these critical keys.

Critical Keys When Presenting to Management

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How to learn a vlookup in Excel in 90 seconds

I find that for Business Intelligence professionals, this is really a gatekeeper formula.? If you know this formula, you are welcomed into the fold.? If you don’t know this formula, we will feel obligated to help you.? So now is the time to buff up your skills and learn this formula.

Learn the vlookup formula in 90 seconds

Also, this might be an easy link to send to those you are tired of training.? Does this help you out?

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A good chart can “land” you the client, separate you from other vendors, or make your message to management extremely persuasive. Some people have an intuitive eye for what looks good, but when we see someone put a bunch of numbers on a slide, we know they need help.

Bar Chart

Watch Chart Challenge Part 1

The videos are loaded in both Windows Media file and QuickTime to ensure maximum compatibility.

What other steps should be included? Please share with the community in the comments.

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How to impress your boss in two steps

The boss has a job to do and work to get done. If he/she solves the biggest problems and moves the organisation on strategically with a great team around him he gets promoted. Your own promotions will depend on how well you help him with his agenda. The most powerful and enduring way to impress is quietly with others shouting your praises. You can get so far by flashing your own lights around what you do and shouting ‘over here look at me’. Eventually you will be held back as this form tends to accrue opposition in your work colleagues and your boss will lose enthusiasm for you. If you can get those around you to enjoy working with you, doing work for you and enjoying the praise you give them you are on to a virtuous circle. Your boss will get to hear and see what you are doing and you have a strong foundation built on rock for your future promotions. The flashing and shouting approach is built on sand and eventually falls apart.

There are two steps to take in this approach to impressing your boss. The first is to make sure you know what it is he is wanting to achieve. Set this out in your own words and then check it out with colleagues around you and your boss himself. Be clear what success looks like for him. Share this with those around you. The next step is to work out who has the best skills to do the work that needs to be done. Working in teams and playing to strengths is always the way to the best results for an organisation. In today’s world knowledge shared is power rather than the old approach to a career where knowledge held was power. Knowledge held builds your career on sand and knowledge shared builds your career on rock. Working hard on what you do well and supporting and making others successful in what they do well is the biggest secret to sustained success for you. The biggest test for you is working well with people you do not naturally like or who you see as some form of threat to you. There is a lot going on when you are experiencing these feelings but if you can work well with these people and be ok about it you will be one of the best performers around. In ‘The Art of War’ one of the key pieces of advice is keep your enemies close.

Impress your boss this way and you will go far. This is how many good businessmen became CEO.

Len Williamson invites you to visit his web site at for more information on how he coaches individuals and teams. If you have a major challenge and see obstacles to progress then Len can help.

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Increase Your New Years Resolutions with One Simple Trick

I love that John Lennon song that says, “so what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.”  Seems every year you have goals that you think about and plan for but quickly forget.  How many times have you come to New Years and realized that you had complete forgotten about last years resolution?

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3 Amazingly Simple Techniques To Accomplish Your Goals

I love that John Lennon song that says, “…so what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.”  Seems every year you have goals that you think about and plan for, but quickly forget.  How many times have you come to New Years and realized that you had complete forgotten about last year’s resolution?

So how do you keep your resolutions?

Here are three amazingly simple, yet unbelievably powerful, techniques that will help you.

1. Add Metrics

This is probably the most beneficial technique.  If you have a goal, then you need to have steps that measure your progress.  Failing gets much easier if it’s “all or nothing.” Instead find measures that are smaller and mark progression.  For example; if you want to lose weight, then rather than measure the scale, count your actions towards the goal.  Like how many glasses of water you drink, or how many 10 minute segments of exercise, how many time you refused a carbohydrate.  It needs to be something that you can mark off frequently.

2. Chop up into time segments

Take your goal and split it up into accomplishments per month, or per week.  If you want to learn SQL, set out to complete a section per week at Make the accomplishments small and spread them out throughout the year.

3. Tell people

You’re way more likely to accomplish your goal if you know someone is going to ask you about it.  That pressure can be the motivator that pushes you to get something done before meeting that friend who you know is going to ask if you’ve written a chapter of your new book.

Without these techniques I would have never gotten this post written.

What other techniques have worked for you?

Photo by: Phil Gradwell

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Reconciliations: From raw to report

It’s 2am and you’re reconciling data.  Something’s off, and it’s hard to tell where.  Regions are slightly off, product amounts are off.  You slice the data another way and sales by salespersons are off.  It’s not isolated to just one sales order or one type of order.  Sound painfully familiar?

I wrote about how to cut data reconciliations by 90% before, but here’s a different spin on reconciliations: look at it from creation to display.  There a series of data manipulations that take the data from raw form (creation) to report (display).  Your data process or ETL may be different, but you get the general idea:

  • Transaction is created
  • Transaction is stored in tables
  • Tables are moved into views or logical joins
  • Data is summarized
  • Data is filtered
  • Date is put into report format.

What you need to do is jump from the end of the problem to the beginning of the problem.  Here’s my suggestion on how to do this:

  1. Confirm the numbers don’t match at the display level (i.e. report, cube, or whatever the end customer is looking at)
  2. Jump down to the most detailed level possible (sales order number, tables, or raw files) and compare there.

If your data is accurate in item number 2, then it’s an issue of filters or criteria (usually is), but if it’s off in the source files, then you have a different type of reconciliation to do.  This can save you hours of time trying to find the “needle in a haystack” by skipping past the display issues.

What other secrets can you share with the community?

Photo by: philandpam

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