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Re: Shel's newsletter

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  • Gill, Kathy
    Also -- belated kudos to Shel for the article in March 1998 _Communications World_ on Getting Along with IT -- highly recommend it if you missed it and you
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 25 9:57 AM
      Also -- belated kudos to Shel for the article in March 1998
      _Communications World_ on "Getting Along with IT" -- highly recommend it
      if you missed it and you have an intranet or an external web presence.

      Shel -- it's making its way through Boeing ....


      Kathy E. Gill
      Business Process Information Visibility, http://process.ca.boeing.com/
      BCAG Process Management, http://bpm.ca.boeing.com/ -- 425.234.2004
      Empty pockets never held a man back. Only empty heads and empty hearts
      can do that. - Norman Vincent Peale

      Microsoft Exchange: the perfect name for its users' greatest desire!

      > ----------
      > From: Jim Rink[SMTP:userg@...]
      > Sent: Sunday, June 14, 1998 10:46 PM
      > To: prbytes@onelist.com
      > Subject: [prbytes] Shel's newsletter
      > From: Jim Rink <userg@...>
      > Hey--Shel has a newsletter offer:
      > One of the difficulties many professional communicators have is coping
      > with
      > the dizzying array of computers, online services, software, and other
      > electronic communications paraphenalia. The difficulty isn't deciding
      > whether or not to use the Internet or the latest software suite, it's
      > trying to figure out how to use it productively.
      > All of which is why I and three colleagues invite you to subscribe to
      > a new
      > monthly electronic newsletter. The four of us, NetGain, are
      > professional
      > communicators. In fact, three of us have earned our professional
      > accreditations from IABC and PRSA. We work day in and day out with
      > public
      > relations, corporate communications, investor relations and other
      > organizational communicators --- people like you --- who want to
      > capitalize
      > on the advances being made in electronic communications.
      > The newsletter is pretty simple. First, it's free. Second, it's
      > written
      > by business communications professionals for business communications
      > professionals. No geek-speak, technobabble or other silly rhetoric
      > about
      > which browser is better or the advantages of PTPTP vs. VPN access
      > capabilities. It's about using online and desktop information
      > technology
      > to increase business, reduce overhead and other issues all of us in
      > business deal with all the time as we wrestle with the constant
      > advances
      > being made in interactive, electronic communications.
      > To subscribe, just visit our web site at www.netgain.org. You'll find
      > a
      > subscription form there. Just fill it out and in a few weeks, the
      > first
      > issue of your newsletter will start arriving by e-mail. If you like
      > it and
      > find it useful -- which we're confident you will -- great! If not,
      > just
      > cancel your subscription with a simple e-mail message to the address
      > included in the newsletter. Pretty simple, huh?
      > By the way, we don't share our subscription list with anyone. Like
      > you, we
      > hate junk e-mail offering to sell us heaven-knows-what. So, the only
      > thing
      > you'll get from your subscription is the newsletter with a lot of
      > information we hope you'll find useful, informative and even
      > challenging.
      > That's it. No more pitching. It's up to you. Enjoy!
      > ================================
      > Shel Holtz, ABC
      > Holtz Communication + Technology
      > E-Mail: shel@...
      > Web: www.holtz.com
      > ================================
      > Regards,
      > Jim Rink
      > =========================
      > pr@...
      > http://www.aaamich.com
      > userg@...
      > http://www.jimrink.com
      > =========================
      > "Not all that is gold does glitter."
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      > Get Your FREE Trial Issue Now!!! http://www.onelist.com/ad.cgi?launch1
    • Jim Rink
      For those who don t subscribe to NetGain: NETGAIN UPDATE August 27, 1998 ============= Here s your issue of the NetGain Update for business communicators.
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 27, 1998
        For those who don't subscribe to NetGain:

        August 27, 1998

        Here's your issue of the NetGain Update for business

        Published by NetGain. Electronic communications
        consulting for professional business communicators.
        Training. Consulting. Speaking. Succeeding!

        What's inside...

        * Apology, Apology
        * Online Employee Surveys
        * There =Is+ Such A Thing As A Free Lunch!
        * It's A Jungle Out There
        * Internet Job Seekers Offer More
        Than Just Professional Skills
        * About This Newsletter
        * About NetGain


        The last issue of Netgain Update was inadvertently
        distributed to every member of the mailing list twice.
        Not because we've been watching way too many of the
        McDonald's commercials featuring Eddie the Echo. Rather,
        it was a glitch in the server software. The glitch
        has been corrected, and you should have received
        only one of this month's newsletter.

        We're sorry for the inconvenience, and appreciate
        your patience with the problem. Many thanks to those
        subscribers who pointed out the problem, which led
        to identifying the problem not only for NetGain, but
        for all other users of the UnityMail service.


        by Tudor Williams, ABC

        Gathering employees' opinions, objectively, has always
        been time consuming, expensive, an administrative
        headache that only occasionally produced visible results.
        A typical employee survey in the past was a major intrusion
        into day to day operations and few organizations have
        been willing to conduct a survey more than once a year.

        Today it doesn't have to be that way. As more and more
        employees are connected to e-mail and intranets, the
        process of gathering employee opinions and ideas
        electronically is becoming a routine part of employee
        communication management.

        In cyberspace, questionnaires are constructed and
        completed by the click of a mouse. Questionnaires can
        be attached to an e-mail message or put on your internal
        web site. Data is gathered, processed and analyzed
        without consuming a drop of ink or a page of paper.

        The information you receive from an electronic employee
        survey is timely, fresh and can be almost immediate.
        Columns of numbers are transformed into visual images
        automatically to convey the story the data is describing.
        Employee satisfaction can be measured quietly, easily and
        inexpensively, as often as the situation demands, month to
        month, week to week or day to day rather than every two or
        three years.

        Employee opinions can be tracked regularly over a period
        of time to assess the effectiveness of corporate and
        communication strategy as it is implemented. Electronic
        employee surveys will become critical change management
        tools providing the data to fine-tune or dramatically
        revise strategies that are not achieving the results
        you need. Data trends measured over a period of time
        create a moving picture of opinions rather than a
        snapshot taken once every two years.

        Software is available today to create your questionnaire,
        randomly sample groups of employees, manage your survey
        administration, collect the data that is returned either
        to your e-mail box or to your web site, and graphically
        depict what the data describes.

        Just last week we helped a client assess the
        effectiveness of a weeklong strategic planning process.
        As the 50 participants were critical change agents in
        the implementation of the plan, my client needed to
        measure, very quickly, how well the planning had
        proceeded, the degree of support that existed for the
        outcomes of the plan and the commitment of the 50 change
        agents to implementing the plan.

        We created the 20-item questionnaire and pre-tested it
        Monday morning and I sent the questionnaire to all 50
        participants, by e-mail, in the early afternoon. By
        Wednesday, we had received responses from over 80% of
        the group. Graphs and analysis were delivered on
        Thursday. Before the end of the week our client was able
        to deal with two key issues that emerged from the

        Earlier this year another client, involved in a major
        reorganization, asked us to track employee opinions
        over a six-month implementation period. The company
        wanted to assess employee satisfaction with the
        communication of changes as they were planned and
        implemented. We surveyed small, randomly selected
        samples of employees every two weeks for twelve weeks.
        Executives and managers in different parts of the company
        and different regions of the country were able to assess,
        on an ongoing basis, the information needs of their
        employees and their concerns and issues related to the
        changes. It was very clear which communication
        initiatives were working and which needed revision within
        days of implementation.

        In both circumstances the use of electronic data
        gathering enabled the organizations to quickly and
        inexpensively assess their situations and respond
        quickly to valuable employee feedback. Employee response
        to the survey formats was very positive. No concerns
        were expressed over confidentiality as the e-mail
        responses came directly to our e-mailbox. The results of
        the surveys were communicated back to employees along
        with information about action arising as a result of
        the employee feedback.

        Contact Tudor at tudor@....


        by Shel Holtz, ABC

        Getting something free via the Internet isn't a new
        idea. Hell, way before the existence of the World Wide
        Web, I was searching the Internet with a utility called
        Archie to find nifty free software I could download via
        FTP. (Okay, so I'm probably nerdier than thou.)

        The Web has taken the "free" concept to new heights.
        Everything from sophisticated Web browsers to multimedia
        players can be had for the price of your connection and
        the time it takes the bits to transfer from their server
        to your hard drive. And, of course, most of the content
        on the Web is also there for the taking.

        So a lot of stuff on the Net is free. Yawn.

        But now comes a joint effort of USWest, the
        telecommunication giant, and Web software developer
        Changepoint to give "free on the Net" a whole new
        meaning. Thanks to the collaboration, anybody with
        access to the Web can set up a team workspace. I'm not
        talking about a private discussion group or an online
        community. These are a dime a dozen. Nearly every Web
        portal vying for market share is scurrying to add a
        community component. No, what I'm talking about is a
        sophisticated project management tool that up to now
        would have cost thousands of dollars to install on a
        private network.

        In fact, Involv Intranet -- the Changepoint software that
        drives the service -- does run in the $5,000 range (plus
        a per-user fee) when installed on an intranet. But visit
        http://www.involv.net, and Involv is available for
        nothing. Bupkis. Zilch.

        Why free? "Because," the Involv site states, "we want
        you to dive in and experience the enjoyment, power and
        efficiency of using the Web to work together. In turn, we
        hope that you findmore and more ways to use it in your
        business life and want to upgrade for customization, more
        space, and more teaming features." In other words, this
        is the "lite" version of the application, and if you like
        it but need more power, you'll want to buy the full version.

        Oh, and because it's free, you'll be subjected to some
        advertising, too.

        So what? I already manage to ignore the vast majority
        of banner ads that cross my monitor; a few more won't
        hurt. And for my purposes, I'm not likely to need more
        power than the Internet version of Involv has to offer.
        You are under no obligation to upgrade, and USWest and
        Changepoint promise the service will be available (for
        all practical purposes) forever. Once you have established
        a team site, it's yours into perpetuity.

        Which is quite a bit. You can post a daily message to team
        members. Projects can be managed, with various team members
        assigned tasks. Ideas can be floated and voted upon, with
        team members able to view the results of the voting to date.

        You can establish project calendars, store files (such as
        word processor documents, graphic images, even Web sites)
        for team use, and start a discussion group or broadcast a
        message to the entire team.

        It took me less than two minutes to set up a NetGain team
        site, and another minute to add the consortium's logo to
        the top-level Team Directory page. I'll report back in a
        future issue of this bulletin about how well it works.
        Or, you may want to report to us, if you take advantage
        of Involv and like it. Or hate it.

        But one thing's for sure. On the Internet, the quality of
        that free lunch continues to improve.

        Contact Shel at shel@....


        by Carol Kinsey Goman

        In the 17th century, scientists began to refer to the
        universe as a large clock, and the metaphor of a machine
        has been used to describe organizations from the
        beginning of the industrial era. Successful enterprises
        were said to "run smoothly," like "well-oiled engines."
        Even today we still talk about the "tools and techniques"
        needed to "reengineer" our companies -- and yet for most
        organizations, the mechanical model has outlived its
        usefulness. Modern organizations need to be intelligent,
        resilient, adaptive and innovative -- all attributes
        found not in machines, but in living systems.

        Living systems are comprised of many independent agents
        interacting with each other in a great many ways. It is
        the very richness of these interactions that allow the
        system as a whole to undergo spontaneous self-
        organization. The realm of computer networks is a created
        world, built on a living-system model. "Chat groups" self-
        organize around their special interests, linking people
        from every conceivable background and demographic segment.
        To model a business after a living system is to give the
        organization the freedom to realize its organic capacity
        to self-organize, to respond creatively to continuous
        change, to build temporary structures and relationships
        as required.

        When you use a living-system metaphor for the
        organization (a reef, a rainforest, a brain, a jungle)
        you create a new perspective for viewing stability and
        instability. Like all living systems, organizations exist
        in a turbulent environment that constantly tests their
        ability to survive. Yet, we know that without turbulence
        living systems stagnate, losing their ability to adapt
        and ultimately to live. Instead of trying to hold onto
        stability, healthy living systems thrive on instability
        -- utilizing turbulence as their life force. In robust
        businesses, information provides the turbulence, the
        disequilibrium, that pushes the system to transform --
        and to utilize this turbulence as a life force,
        information must be everywhere throughout the
        organization, not just at the higher echelons. Only when
        information belongs to everyone can people shift and
        organize rapidly and effectively around changes in
        customers, competitors, or business environments.

        Dissipative change is the name of the process by which
        existing forms of living systems break up and seek
        entirely new forms. When business organizations adopt
        this concept of transformation, they view change
        "organically." Businesses become energized by
        fluctuations which in turn drive the processes of
        change. Organizations flourish in a dynamic state on
        "the edge of chaos" in which they are in flux, but not
        out of control. Information from the internal and
        external environment flows freely through the
        organization, and employees have access to both it
        and to one another. The flow of information drives both
        continuous improvement and transformative innovations.
        In organizations where flux and instability are embraced
        as positive, life-enhancing attributes, a stabilizing
        force is maintained through corporate identity and
        collective focus of purpose. Communicators perpetuate
        this force through a constant reinterpretation of the
        company's history, present activities, its core values,
        its purpose, and its and future aspirations.

        Traditional stability has a shorter life span in this
        model, as processes temporarily manifest themselves in
        structures while they get ready for the next
        transformation. Managers facilitate the disorder.
        Constant experimentation becomes the norm. From a
        corporate mindset of "multiple right answers," local
        solutions are kept at the local level, and not elevated
        to models for the entire organization. A strong sense of
        identity, vision, and purpose keeps the work force
        cohesive and focused on a collective goal. People
        understand that there is no single solution for the
        challenges of the future, regardless of how brilliant
        or appropriate the approach is today in response to the
        current environment. Disequilibrium and uncertainty are
        valued for what they really are -- the creative dynamism
        of the organization. Employees are prepared for the fact
        that discontinuity creates the unexpected, that no leader
        has all the answers, and they know that in any vibrant
        living system, the process of change is never over.

        Contact Carol at carol@....


        By Craig Jolley

        The red-hot U.S. job market and the rise of Internet
        based job hunting services has provided an added
        benefit to savvy researchers-competitive intelligence
        on the inside workings of companies.

        With millions of professionals making frequent job and
        career changes and with companies continually searching
        for new talent, it is becoming commonplace for workers
        to keep resumes continually listed and updated on
        numerous Internet job services, even if they are
        currently employed.

        Using a little Internet detective work these resumes
        offer a unique and often detailed look at the inside
        operations of these worker's employers. Information
        that is free and available to anyone with access to
        these resume databases. Since professional resumes
        highlight important accomplishments of their owners,
        many company's most important and perhaps jealously
        guarded capabilities are only a few mouse clicks and
        keystrokes away from anyone who want's to look at them.

        Considering the range of professional resumes in these
        services, a clever researcher could learn a lot about
        a competitor's marketing programs, advertising or
        communication campaigns, financial or accounting systems,
        investor relations programs, computer network
        installations or even how warehouses or inventories
        are managed and organized.

        Granted, much of this information is probably dated
        and archival in nature, and one has to assume some degree
        of hype considering it is designed to make the resume
        owner look good. However, when added to other
        competitive intelligence sources this information offers
        a potentially valuable look inside a company.

        Ken Fox, founder of Intelligent Algorithms Enterprises,
        learned this firsthand recently on a client assignment.
        As creators of information productivity software Fox's
        company was designing an internet resume mining program
        to help the HR department of an online service provider
        find qualified job candidates more quickly and easily.
        During development and testing Fox ran the program to
        look for resumes belonging to individuals who had
        worked or were currently working for the client's

        "In our test we targeted software engineers as a job
        function. All of a sudden we learned a great deal about
        the new computer system that a major client competitor
        had recently installed, apparently from those who had
        played key roles in the research, acquisition and
        installation of the system itself," Fox explained.

        While such an information source may be valuable as
        a competitive tool it must be remembered that it
        works both ways. Just as it may be easy to gather
        information about your competitors, your competitors
        could be gleaning valuable information on your
        organization in a similar fashion.

        Contact Craig at craig@....


        Was this issue of the NetGain Update useful? Did it give
        you a new idea or two you can use to improve the way you
        use electronic information tools? Maybe even a new service
        you can offer your clients or employer to help them
        succeed. If it did, we've succeeded. If it didn't, just
        wait until the next issue.

        NetGain UPDATE is a monthly newsletter published by
        NetGain, a consortium of independent communications
        technology consultants. Each article in this newsletter
        is copyrighted by its author. Feel free to share the
        NetGain Update with your associates, clients, managers
        or anyone else you think would benefit from it. And
        remember, anyone can sign up for a free subscription at
        our Web site, www.netgain.org.

        * To unsubscribe, send an e-mail message to
        * For more information on the newsletter and your
        subscription options, send an e-mail message to

        This newsletter is managed and distributed using UnityMail,
        a product of Revnet. Get information at www.unitymail.com.


        NetGain is a unique consortium. It is the only consulting
        organization made up of public relations and business
        communications consultants dedicated to helping other
        PR and business communications organizations capitalize
        on the advances being made in electronic communications
        technology. Using desktop computing, organizational
        networks or the Internet, NetGain helps professional
        communications organizations -- agencies, corporations,
        associations and non-profits -- develop and execute
        strategic electronic information programs. We help
        communicators succeed.

        This month, NetGain consultants...

        * Provided executive coaching to the CIO of a major
        utility to become a more effective leader of change
        in her organization.
        * Were asked to help a 50 person task force evaluate
        a planning project they participated in, resulting
        in the development of a short 25 item questionnaire.
        Participants completed the survey on line and returned
        their answers to us by email.
        * Assisted a national nonprofit plan the development
        of its intranet.
        * Prepared a white paper for a major provider of Year
        2000 consulting services
        * Helped an organization set up a plan to audit the
        content and delivery of electronic communication that
        will result in an action plan to develop and implement
        internal communication strategies as part of the corporate
        knowledge management initiative.

        To find out more about NetGain, send an e-mail message to


        Jim Rink





        "Not all that is gold does glitter."
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