Respect? RSVP…..

Its a new year..and party season is over. And as I reflect on those weeks leading up to the new year…I think of the all the angst I had. Yes. Angst. Not that I was throwing so many parties…but I did arrange two, one was a charity event in early December, the other a retirement party in January. Instead of paper invitations, I went the route of using PaperlessPost, which if you are not familiar with…is the same as Evite..electronic invitations. Easy to send…even easier to respond. You receive the email…you click on it and then you click either yes, no or maybe. It takes less than 15 seconds. Why then is it so hard for people to RSVP? I even sent reminder emails as the date got closer. Still no response from several people, I take that as a no (but its rude). 30 yes responses and about 10 no responses. That means planning food and drinks based on that number. The night arrived  and there were a number of “friends” that replied yes..and never showed. One had even just emailed me the day before for directions. I never heard from her again….is it that hard to let someone know you can not make it? Do people think that its not a problem to commit and then be a no show? or do they just not respect you enough to care. If you can’t make it for whatever reason than say so. Its just not nice…to me …or the other attendees. It shows you just don’t care. People spend time and money to plan food and drink and you are invited for a reason. Have some manners and respond accordingly.

After that date passed, I was stilling waiting for responses for my second event in January. Again, I had to pull teeth to get some responses from a known group that had all agreed to take part in this dinner. Maybe some of them thought they didn’t need to answer the invite, but I attached a note, to please respond so I could have a clear number of attendees to give to the restaurant, and yet still, a few people did not respond. At the final, they did indeed “tell” me they were coming. Last week, we had the dinner, and surprise surprise, two people did not show. No notice, no email to me, nothing. Two empty chairs. Did they not respect me enough? moreover did they not respect the person we were honoring enough to at least let me know at the last minute that they could not make it. One, its just not nice and two, it doesn’t look right to have two empty chairs, a clear sign that two people committed and then did not show up, and did not give notice. Our honoree didn’t know who those two were as this was mostly a surprise. But I knew. It’s not respectful of other peoples time and effort.

There just seems to be a lack of respect maybe due to the fact these invites were sent by email…does that make them not as important…more frivolous…that you don’t “really” need to respond.  Do you not respect the person who invited you enough. Where are your manners if at the last minute you can not make it? I am not perfect, but I do always respond, and if something comes up and I cannot attend, I do send a note, as hard as it may be.

You do need to respond, that’s why there is an RSVP. For those that did not take high school french…that translates to Répondez s’il vous plaît, respond if you please.

Deborah Monosson

President & CEO

 

 

 

I Love My Commute!

Written by Patricia Ayotte, Accounting Manager

Everyone who has a job commutes to work somehow. Be it driving, walking, riding a bike, or like myself, taking public transportation, we all commute. Maybe love is too strong a word, but on the whole I do enjoy my commute. When you take public transportation you can text and it’s legal. When you skip the elevators and the escalators you get lots of exercise running up and down stairs. If you are a people watcher this is the place to do that. You also see some of the same people day after day. Over the years I have made a lot of “commuter friends”. Some of these “commuter friends” have become some of my best friends. But, my all-time favorite thing about commuting on public transportation is that I can sit back, relax, read a book and let someone else do the driving.
I moved from Clifton Park, NY to Revere, MA in 1981. To say things were different is an understatement. There was no form of public transportation in Clifton Park at that time, we did not even have a cab we could call. If you didn’t drive you were completely dependent on other people to take you places.
We got lucky with the apartment we rented in Revere, it was a block from a blue line train station. When I first got here, I never rode the T, I drove everywhere … until I had to come to Kenmore Square for a job interview. The person who called me to set up the interview suggested I take public transportation because I probably would not find parking if I drove in. She asked if I had access to the T and when I said yes, she gave me directions to get from the blue line to the green line, exiting at Kenmore Station. I thanked her, and with great confidence, said I would be there soon even though I had no idea where there was.
I suppose if my first commute was a bad experience I would have been less likely to embrace public transportation, but it was not. That day, every time I was absolutely sure I was lost, and had to ask someone if I was going in the right direction, they were quick to assure me I was and would give me detailed instructions. I made it to Kenmore Square, disembarked the train, left the station and stood on the sidewalk with no idea where Beacon Street was, which was my destination. I stopped a man and he told me exactly how to walk to where I was headed. He even walked with me part way, even though he was originally headed the other way, to bring me to where I could see Beacon Street. That was almost 35 years ago and the rest as they say is history.

Spinning …. Does it really help knee problems?

Written by Vallerie Gamble, Vice President

I have never been a fan of spinning since my younger days. I took my first spin class about 20 years ago and absolutely despised it. The seat was uncomfortable and the music was way too loud. Just not my cup of tea. From this day forward I swore it off for good.
Fast forward to the present. I started having problems with my knee and one day an instructor at the gym I work out at suggested spinning. I looked at this woman like she had five heads. I said to myself “Does this woman know that I have sworn this class off for good?”
Weeks and months had passed and every time this instructor saw me in any of her classes she would say “Vallerie you need to take a spin class for that knee, I guarantee your knee will feel better!” This woman was absolutely insane but she was persistent.
Countless visits to physical therapy, MRI’s and even a suggestion of a cortisone shot. Let’s pause right there …. I am petrified of needles so this was never EVER EVER going to happen. There was also a suggestion of getting the fluid drained off my knee. How is this done … with a big needle. Absolutely not!
Never in my life would contemplate taking spin EVER but at this point anything beats a needle.
It was recommended that I take a beginners class, which I did. It was very low impact and somewhat easy with the exception of that uncomfortable seat. I was ready to give up on spin after the first day because no change in my knee. The instructor says “It’s not an instant fix, you have to continue to come”. “REALLY” was my response. This woman insisted that I was going to love it!
Now for me to do this I must first invest in a seat cover and mentally prepare myself. At the start of the next class I put my seat cover on and adjusted the settings on my bike. I mount the bike reluctantly … on comes the music and class begins. Oh my, this was no longer a beginner’s class! Oh the hatred I felt for my instructor … this was almost as painful as giving birth to a child! But I stuck with it. The lesson I learned this day was that spin is a self paced workout and you do what you can and go at your own pace.
Who would have ever thought that I would love spin? No one not even me. Oh wait, my instructor did. My hatred towards my instructor turned into a new found love for her and her class. Missing a Monday nights class with Marissa Grant EVER was unheard of! Anytime I can make her spin class I am there front and center.
My new found love … Spinning! Oh did I mention … I no longer suffer from knee pain!

My “Dear”

Written by Mark Lange, Business Development Manager

More than five years ago, an equipment vendor introduced me to the CFO of an impressive start up semi-conductor company. During the email exchanges with the CFO, his greeting was always “Dear Mark”. I liked it. Maybe a bit formal but I liked it. Of course, I mirrored the greeting and all of my future emails with this CFO began with “Dear” as the greeting. The sizable deal closed…a nice win-win. I thought it prudent to continue the “Dear” salutation with other prospects. I am not usually superstitious though I did not want to take any chances. The big challenge would be to continue the “Dear” on more than the first email exchange. My “Dear” salutation was not ironclad, I do make exceptions when it seems best to use a more informal approach. For me, the general rule became to use “Dear” as much as possible and not use it when my instincts suggested otherwise.
My biggest takeaway was not business related though. I researched the definitions of the word “dear”; regarded with affection, cherished. Synonyms include; precious, adored, loved. I reflected on the greeting I used for my wife and others close to me and compared it to the emails with this west coast CFO I had never met. I wouldn’t say that I had it backwards, I still believe in a more formal approach in business communications when it’s appropriate. Now however, my emails, texts, and messages on the refrigerator white board to my wife always start with “Dear Adama”.

Between a Cloud and a Hardware place….

written by David Boyajian, CFO

Something seems familiar and reminiscent of 1999. Remember when the year 2000 was approaching and everyone was changing systems for fear that everything would stop working correctly as digital and data storage systems would not be able to interpret the year ending in 00 ? At that time we were running a home brewed general ledger system written by our President & Founder Sonny Monosson ( it served us well for many years) running on a DEC PDP-11 system. Well now as Microsoft’s Window Server 2003 operating system is about to end security updates this summer for good some companies are finding themselves between a cloud and hardware place. As of July 14th, 2015 Microsoft will no longer release security updates for Windows Server 2003 forcing IT decision makers to evaluate application compatibility when migrating to a new OS such as Window Server 2012. Or they also may be considering a cloud solution including changing applications all together.
Starting with moving email and documents to a cloud solution such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and SharePoint, should be a relatively easy decision. Not only is it a cheaper solution than paying a host for email but it allows the flexibility for employees to remotely access email and documents from anywhere. It also allows for unlimited data storage which frees up immense space on the company’s internal server.
Migrating applications to a cloud environment is a more difficult decision and many things should be considered. Application compatibility in a cloud environment, security, accessibility, software licensing, and the cost to cloud verses hosting on an internal server are just a few. For one example applications such as Microsoft’s Great Plains up to version 10.0 will not run on Windows Server 2012 so if you intend to continue to host internally either you have to upgrade your Great Plains version, change applications or run your current version on an old operating system that won’t be getting anymore security updates (not recommended). There are cloud solutions.. but this means still updating your version or changing applications all together. So it’s important to investigate whether or not all of your applications will run on the new operating system and if they can be hosted in a cloud environment.
The cost of clouding can be expensive as some monthly rates are staggered based on how much data you have or how much bandwidth you use while others charge a flat rate. In an example of where the flat rate of $1,000 a month or $12,000 annually for a cloud solution compared to buying a new server for $5,000 + $2,500 for IT migrations costs and depreciating it over 3 years. You begin to see how clouding your system can be much more expensive So in three years of clouding you’ve spent $36K, significantly more than an investment in new hardware. Even with a low cost online backup solution and minimal IT support for updates etc., the in-house server solution is still a more cost effective solution for a small business. For those with existing hardware with life left on it you may want to look at the book value for cost comparison. It’s safe to say, the more complicated the software (constant updates & tweaking etc.) the more expensive to cloud. And many of us just don’t use one application so the more software programs you are running in your organization the more it will cost to cloud them. There is also usually a migration fee as well to set up and move all of your data.
For some the increased cost and ongoing monthly expense of clouding may be worth it if you can quantify better efficiency and technical results. In other words will clouding actually increase profitability? For many until the price point of clouding comes down it make sense to stick with what works.

The Lost Art of Communication

by James Beauregard, Executive Vice President

How many times does this happen to you? You send an email and/or leave a voicemail detailing the items required to complete a task at work. This can be within your own organization or with another organization. The email or voicemail goes unanswered, sometimes for days at a time. Why?

Is it that difficult to hit reply and provide a brief follow up to your email? Can one not find 5 minutes in a day to return a phone call? Communication. It cannot be completed one sided, it needs a ying to my yang. Yet time after time you can be left waiting and waiting for the other side to respond. I get it, it’s not the President of the United States calling or emailing you and people will respond when they are good and ready. I’m not asking people to jump to attention when someone sends an email or leaves a voicemail but am I hoping for too much to get back to me within a day?

Communication in business seems to have lost some of its shine, although no one will argue that communication in social media is slowing down. People will text, tweet and post in a millisecond about the latest happenings in their own life. However, hoping they respond to a business email or phone call in a timely manner, you have a better chance of seeing Bigfoot.

Why can’t we treat business communication in the same way we approach our social media communication. When business people communicate in a timely manner things get done. Deals get done.

Please return that email in your inbox or voicemail on your phone before leaving the office for the day instead of waiting until tomorrow. You’ll be doing your part to improving the lost art of business communication.