The Law Of The Garbage Trucks

October 30, 2007


by David J. Pollay

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, for an instant you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly he/she can get back her focus on what’s important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches!

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us.

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’

Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally.

You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You’ll be happy you did.

So this was it: The ‘Law of the Garbage Truck.’ I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, ‘I’m not going to do it anymore.’ I began to see garbage trucks. I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don’t make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best.

Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Teachers and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

So.. Love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance , TAKE IT! If it changes your life , LET IT! Nobody said it would be easy…

Hope you’ve enjoyed it!


4 Reasons Why Tech Consultants Get Sacked

October 25, 2007

BASELINE October 17, 2007
Laton McCartney
The biggest sins: Promising what can’t be delivered and not closing the loop in client communications. To do either is to invite calamity.

Not long ago I interviewed a representative from a tech consultancy that was involved in a systems upgrade. The project was progressing as planned, the firm’s rep claimed. Everything was on schedule and within budget, or close to. Sure, there had been a few rough patches, but the client was now pleased with the work being done.

Two weeks later the client summarily fired the consulting company. Clearly there was a major disconnect between the client’s expectations and what was being delivered. The consultancy lost a valuable piece of business.

Typically there are several reasons why tech consultants get the axe. Among them:

No. 1: Promising more than you can deliver. Usually, consultants sell these kinds of overly ambitious projects at the boardroom level, meaning they convince senior managers they can provide a silver bullet that will transform a company into a lean, mean, highly competitive machine.

Remember some of the early ERP initiatives in the late 1990s? Viola! All enterprise data and processes would be magically integrated overnight. Of course, some of these initiatives dragged on for several lifetimes and cost a fortune—one company supposedly lost more than $100 million on a failed ERP effort – and for the most part didn’t pan out. In fact, according to some surveys, only 6% of companies consider their ERP systems to be effective. The upshot: a number of ERP vendors were not only canned but were targeted with lawsuits as well.

No. 2: Failure to win hearts and minds. A consultant can implement a system that delivers as promised, but if the users don’t get on board, there’s going to be trouble in River City. According to popular wisdom, what’s needed in these instances is change management. Fine, but too often consultancies underestimate the recalcitrance of the user community and initiate change management after the fact. We’ve given you this wonderful tool, and now you better use it, or else. Better to promote the benefits of the wonderful tool at the outset of the project and let the client do most of the selling.

No. 3: Lack of project management. The ongoing dispute between the FBI and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) is a classic instance of the problems that can arise without adequate project management, ideally by both the client and the contractor. The FBI, you may recall, hired SAIC in 2001 to build a Virtual Case File (VCF) project. Four years and $104 million later it finally became evident to the client that the VCF effort was a disaster. SAIC was ousted and Congress pressed the FBI to get its VCF funding back. Meanwhile, SAIC claimed the VCF could be saved and made specific references as to how to do so. Too late. Why had it taken the FBI four years to figure out it was pouring tax payer money into a black hole? Why had it taken SAIC so long to shift into emergency mode to try to salvage VCF? An effective project management team would have put in place milestones that had to be met along the way. If not, alarms would have sounded. Of course, this isn’t entirely the contractor’s failing but the client’s as well.

Someone was asleep at the wheel.

No. 4: Taking things for granted. The aforementioned IT consultancy believed that all was hunky dory with the client, filing weekly status reports as per the client’s request. Since the client never responded, the consultant assumed all was well. No news is good news, right? Not so. Had the consulting firm solicited feedback from the get-go, it would have learned early on that there were problems and would have at least have the chance to rectify them before the axe fell.

World Human Resource Outsourcing Market to Exceed US$78.8 Billion by 2010

October 25, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007====================================================

With only about 5% of Fortune 2000 companies and 1% mid-market companies involved in the multi-process HR BPO contracts, there lies huge potential for HRO market. Enhanced global delivery capabilities of HRO service providers are driving demand for large multi-purpose HRO contracts. By offering plethora of services, new players entering into HRO middle-market are aptly addressing the HR requirements of companies with about 1,000 to 10,000 employees.

World human resource outsourcing (HRO) market is all set to exceed the US$78.8 billion mark by 2010 at a healthy CAGR of 10.71% over the 2000-2010 analysis period. As stated by the recent report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the United States, with a share estimated at 48.90% in 2006, forms the largest market for Human Resource Outsourcing, while fastest growth is expected to emanate from countries in the Asian region, with a projected CAGR of 15.74% over the aforementioned period.

In terms of service sectors, payroll services market constitutes the largest outsourced service, with a share estimated at 29.34% in 2006. Fastest growth, however, is expected to emanate from the education and training services market that is expected to post a CAGR of 13.08% over the 2000-2010 analysis period. Other services independently analyzed include Benefits Administration Services market, Recruitment and Staffing Services market, Hiring Administration Services market and Other Human Resource Outsourcing Services market.

Outsourcing of administrative functions to third parties is not new, and dates back to the 1940s, when Automated Data Processing instigated service offerings. In the year 1949, ADP (formerly Automatic Payrolls Inc.) was the first company to offer payroll services to its customers. However, most of the services provided in the past were for single-process, transaction-focused HR services such as workers compensation, payroll, payroll taxes, training, or employee benefits. Additionally, client companies generally outsourced a few back-office HR functions, while performing other HR functions in-house. In 1998, Proctor & Gamble signed a 10-year contract worth US$400 million with IBM for outsourcing of its HR functions.

Contract negotiation cycles are getting shorter and buyer confidence being increased with Tier 1 HRO service providers entering into large and complex contracts that require huge capital investment in regional shared service centers with excellent HR expertise. By offering plethora of services, new players entering into HRO middle-market are aptly addressing the HR requirements of companies with about 1,000 to 10,000 employees. Number of contracts received by HRO suppliers is increasing, with the time span ranging from seven to ten years, as compared to earlier five-year term. Increased HR service offerings that include payroll, benefits administration, and employee care are expected to drive prices down. Further, by leveraging offshore resources and refining delivery systems, HR service outsourcing providers can significantly offer cost savings. Surging interest of multi-national organizations to benefit from multi-national contracts is expected to raise multi-country HRO capabilities of HR service providers.

HRO is also driven by offshore outsourcing trend with most of the outsourcing focused on processing services. Philippines, India, South America, and China are some of the major regions with more offshore contracts. There is a shift in vendor focus from payroll, benefits administration, and employee care services to recruitment, absence management, and learning services. Also, there exists a market shift in vendor focus towards business case metrics development. HRO is still a growing market and is rapidly transforming to an industry that supports complete business processes from an earlier model of payrolls service bureau.

HRO industry is likely to witness growth in the business from mid-market companies. It is expected that HRO suppliers would receive more number of outsourcing deals that are of smaller value from mid-market clients in the near future. Though few mid-sized companies can spend substantial amounts of over US$25 million per year on HRO, the number is on the rise.

Organizations are innovating on various tools such as performance indicators and standard HRO performance metrics for critically analyzing HRO processes. They are employing these tools to determine return on investment, and to monitor Service Level Agreements (SLAs) related to HRO functions. Corporate HR leaders are ensuring that services offered by HR providers are actually worth the value paid.

IBM, Hewitt, and Accenture are the major players dominating HRO industry, with considerable market shares. The industry also includes small and large new entrants, including Yurcor and SAP.

The Seed

October 3, 2007


A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different.

He called all the young executives in his company together.

“It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO,” he said. “I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.

He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by – still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened.

Jim felt sick at his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed. A few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO.

“Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.

Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed.

Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Here is your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said?

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed.

I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.

“When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”


  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Make it a great week ahead!!

The Poor Performance of Performance Management

October 1, 2007

Annual Performance Appraisals have always had mixed reviews. Managers do not like it because of the time consuming process and employees do not like it because of its perceived unfairness. The entire exercise loses the original intention of improving employee learning and performance and becomes a dreaded process.

In a survey by New York based On Point Consulting, only slightly over 40% of line managers and HR Managers think there is value in a performance management process. While the tool by itself might be useful, the prevailing culture in an organisation is critical for its success.

One way to improve is not to just do the annual appraisal but schedule quarterly meetings to discuss performance and make the meeting a feedback event. This requires managers to be coached.

A successful performance management system should:

1. Help employees build their skills and competencies
2. Is consistently applied across the organisation
3. Uses a rating scale that enables differentiation of performance
4. Helps to build a performance culture
5. Provides data for succession planning
6. Drives Leadership development initiatives