Management nugget number 3

Nugget 3: Office working is far more productive than remote working when dealing with human interaction, but its a mistake to assume it can be maintained at that level forever.

Explanation:

Even before the pandemic, there was a debate over office working vs. remote working and the thing is that both of them are productive in their own way, but after 5+ years of hard remote working and learning to deal with it on a large team scale I think I’ve reached an epiphany.

Day to day working is more efficient from home, you can actually get on with working, you  are actually more productive in completing tasks (providing you actually spend the hours working that you would in an office) as there are far less distractions, Plus there is the absence of Lost time from travelling, but that doesn’t mean that home working is always more productive. For example workshops or large meetings particularly those that involve forms of conflict are far far more productive in person, as sales people have known forever.

But one thing that seems to have been forgotten, particularly by older generations of senior managers is that this kind of productivity cannot be sustained day after day after day, so in my opinion the new hybrid working model is the best, I personally go in for one day a week on a Monday to kickstart me into the work mentality.

But also I have seen the one week workshop where everyone comes together to solve a major goal, get tons done and deliver massively finish with a senior manager saying that we should work like this all the time and this is why being in an office is better,

NO! it’s not, everybody is mentally shattered, such work should be consider a sprint, and while its attractive to think such a pace can be kept up, it cant and should be used now as a usefully times tool to resolve issues or reconnect humans with each other

Sorry if this nugget got turned into more of a rant but it’s something I feel quite strongly about at the moment.

Disclaimer: As always these posts are not aimed at anyone client or employer and are just my personal observations over a lifetime of dealing with both management and frontline associates.

 

Painting Guide – Asphalt Bases

Painter: Dultoriminis and Stickfight

Model(s): Ebay Tiny Wolds  “Round Urban Rubble Resin Bases”

Paint(s): Chaos BlackCorvus BlackMechanicus Standard GreyDawnstone

Method(s):

  1. Base coat with Chaos Black
  2. Dry brush only the top with Corvus Black
  3. Without cleaning the brush, dry brush the top with Mechanicus Standard Grey
  4. Again without cleaning the brush, dry brush the top with Dawnstone
  5. Then do your road lines, White with pro acryl: Bold titanium White , or Yellow with pro acryl: Bold titanium White and then a layer or 2 of Iyanden Yellow

Paint Time: 15 mins per base

Notes: This kind of dry brushing is easier to do by starting the brush movement lightly back and forth THEN bring the model up to be in contact with the brush, if you are naff with straight lines like me then I recommend using thin strips of FrogTape to outline your area to paint.

Management nugget number 2

Nugget 2: If everything is urgent then nothing is urgent

Explanation:

I don’t know why I’m even explaining this, it even appears in Disney movies for heavens sake but still it seems to be needed to be said, 

You cannot have everything be high priority. It’s just stops things from being delivered, For every given set of tasks you have a limited set of resource, grow up and assign a set of priorities, Yes we know that you’re getting pressure from above, but the point of being a manager involves managing priorities, Don’t chop and change them, manage expectation, Don’t over promise and you will get better deliverables! (I sure as hell am guilty of this and often have to have a stern word with my self for rolling over and just wanting to please)

Disclaimer: As always these posts are not aimed at anyone client or employer and are just my personal observations over a lifetime of dealing with both management and frontline associates.

 

First ever trip to Warhammer World

It seems to surprise everybody but I’ve never been to Warhammer world the apparent mecha of tabletop gaming in the UK, But I haven’t, it was always a dream when I was a child.

So as a birthday treat my beloved took me their with a hotel stay and everything.

Getting there was easy enough, not easy by London standards for public transport but not bad for most of England, we just got the tram which are nicer than buses and then it was a 10 minute walk to the place, there is car parking spaces and all that kind of stuff

For the Emperor

Once you have paid and got in, its pretty much a free roam, there is an order that people tend to do things in, but you don’t have to, We did the traditional order, which is to do all the galleries, then the main play area, then food, then the shop but you can revisit any part you want as you like.

The galleries were the highlight and the main reason we went

The scenery and dioramas are the bits I love the most as they tell the best tale, but nothing beats Necromunda, I want my Grim Dark with extra Grim Dark, and Grim Dark sprinkles on top.

    

The galleries were everything I could have hoped for, Starting on the real historical stuff, The first miniatures and where game workshop came from, all the way up to absolutely epic sized dioramas that you could look at for days and still not see everything, I can see people coming multiple times and seeing something new each time.

Models from when I was first collecting

A lot of amusement can be had by listening to other people talking to their friends and family as they walk through the galleries, some trying to explain what this all is, some getting a little bit too over excited about the lore, some trying to justify being there and why they are dragging the whole family round, a personal favourite was the comments of some overly zealous geeks at some small kids who were running around screaming excitedly at all the pretty toys and that they “weren’t toys” and getting wound up.

Food turned out to be excellent, A full spread of everything you want from beers to interesting drinks, vegan and non vegan solid food all catered too,  A little bit slow on the delivery service  but they did seem to be working confidently, it was just busy that day, mind you there was plenty to do even while you’re waiting, books and games to play and you know as long as someone held onto your table you could just wander around the shops and visit other parts so there was no dead time.

I know for a lot of people the store is the THING because it is the biggest Warhammer store and it has everything in it, Every Forge world model and miniature available like that but for me it was a passing interest, I already have a storage unit of shame so I didn’t need to buy any more models, though it did reinvigorate me to go back to some of the models that I bought in excitement and had not got round to, so that’s a good thing and it’s nice to see a lot of the forge world models in real life before you actually do anything

I have this beauty sat in its box of shame for too long

It was a shame that the one item I did want to buy which was the coffee table book of Warhammer world itself was missing but it was on backorder

Also there is the great big play area where the serious tournaments are held. This did not have the attraction to me that it does for some people. As I’m mainly interesting in the the painting and not the game but it was nice to see it there.

A Selection of the awesome painting in the galleries

 

Nearly all of these photos are by my beloved, and i was so happy to see she enjoyed it as much as me, even for none Warhammer fans its a good place to see, the lore and amazing painting skills on show may it a fun time for just about everybody, give it between 2 and 5 hours for the full trip.

Painting at Bad Moon Cafe

One of the big problems we hit when my office shut down was finding a location to do painting, we had originally moved to my office when the pandemic hit and GW stopped all painting nights and since they have shown no sign of starting them back up we had to find another venue , homes were not really a solution given that we live in London and space is a premium, plus its nice to get out and make a real day of painting.

The obvious place in central London is the Bad moon cafe (somewhere I had never been) it is the most well known gaming place in London and has been so since before the pandemic, but you would normally go there for a couple of hours of gaming, would they tolerate people turning up and painting for a near full day?

It turns out the answer is yes, I emailed to enquire and they had no problem with me reserving a table for us in the cafe area

Even the smallest cafe table was perfect for our painting case, they provided water for the pots and pallets and even a painting mat so we did not wreck the tables (not that we would have), the light is good and we happily made good progress for the near whole day.

The facilities were excellent with the obvious one being you have paint supplies there in case you need them (and not just GW ones), their excellent miniature and book selection was a constant temptation when ever you go to the back of the cafe, so if you are looking for inspiration its a good place( though I was surprised that corvus belli did not have any models there )

Food and drink were also excellent with something for everybody’s taste, meaning you did not have to leave (always a problem when I used to paint at GWs store)

All in All it was perfect and as long as they put up with us, I intend to go their most weekends.

Now lets address the unsaid part, Bad moon is a business and as such they cant do this for free, when I asked about renting the table, they just said “food and drink” and brushed it off with a smile, but I like to provide guidelines to such things so no one takes advantage of their generosity

In this situation I feel their are 2 “rates” you should be spending at:

“Desk Rate” : this is what I feel you should be spending if they have spare tables and non one is waiting, an office space desk in London in that area would cost you between £25 – £35 for the day so you should be spending this much at least to “rent” your painting space (actually more towards the high end of this range as food and drink has a higher overhead than just desks)

“Coffee Rate” : This is the rate I feel you should be paying if you are actually in the way of normal customers, so lets estimate it, lets make a normal customer turnover guess at “a drink and a sandwich” per 30 mins during the day and “2 drinks” in the evening, in both situations, that is about £7.5, so if you are in the way you should be spending about £15 per person per hour.

Again bad moon staff did not mention any of this, this is just my interpretation of what a business would need to keep running if the cafe was full of painters.

Other things I would note from the trips

1) People are curious, you will get people asking what you are painting, so bring at least one complete mini that you are proud of to show them rather than the half done one you are working on.

2) Don’t block off visibility, first time I set up my case with its back facing the room so no one could see the painting, and frankly it looks boring.

3) Painting after cocktail hour is not a fab plan…. 

 

Fitness Week EOW 2022-05-01

Work done this week

  • 2 x PT sessions (under Sam Bradly)
  • 2 x Spin Sessions (Under Louise)
  • 1 x  Self Driven Session (provided By Sam)

Notes :

On the basis of last weeks goals I did a couple of excellent clean sessions with Sam, then back to the evil set he has come up with

5K on Skierg (10 resistance) at a split of about 2.20

Every 500 Meters, break off and do 20 Kettle Bell snatches (10 each side) with a 24kg Kettlebell (no pause or ‘Faff’) then back to the Skierg

40 mins cut off Time

Tried it again, this weekend is still what I consider a failure, but better this time

No I did not hit the time level and yes I did miss two of the middle snatch sections as I was dying and it was that or stop, BUT it was done cleaner and better, and now I know how to stop the Skierg from timing out while I do the snatches I can use it as a proper stop watch, I WILL get there, one week at a time.

Next came spin, Wednesday was normal progression trying to get back to ftp of 315, but on Friday I asked for a happy playlist and DEAR LORD I have never regretted anything so much

It was one of my favourite old playlist but given a new spin and horror by the fact we are no longer on an ftp of 250 and not in a class where I can die and no one will notice, this was murder, 15 mins in and the first bike dies, the computer gave up the ghost at level 100

We swap bikes and the next thing to die is ME , it was just more than I could do, not not in an unfair way, just in a JUST beyond my current reach, Louise promised we can do the same playlist next week, but just look at that expression, its not often I’m beaten that badly and the satisfaction is real.

Next Weeks Goals

  1. Same as last weeks manage the new set at the same level Just done cleanly and sharply and without missing any parts
  2. Altered from the 2.7 watts per kilo, now I just want to make it through the sodding spin play list without dying at the ftp of 310

Long Term Goals

  1. Continue weight loss in Prep for September

Measurements

now using the posh machine at the gym, and i have lost a bit of weight (though hard to measure till it consistently use it rather than home scales

Pictures

As the kettlebells in the gym are so rubbish, I’ve taken to smuggling my own in, frankly no one cared. so I’m now happy

Management Nugget: Number 1

Recently I rebuilt this blog and noticed many things that I had learnt in the past and had since forgotten and as I am in a new type of role at my new client  I thought I would start writing down all the bits and bobs that I am seeing and dealing with from a senior management point of view while I still retain the twin view points of “doer” / Tech and Manager  

All of these nuggets have been thought of many times by many people and no doubt they exist in a thousand books on the subjects of project and man management but they are new to me and I’m finding them by trial and error as I interact with two worlds

I would like to make massively clear that these are not from any one company or any one industry, it is accumulated stuff I have picked up working with clients big and small, people good and bad over the last three decades of corporate life.

Nugget 1: you can’t run teams at 100% and then ask “surges” of them

Explanation:

If you have a set of teams that you’re constantly pushing to “go go go” “now now now” and running them at full speed you CANNOT then on top of that add things that have to be done TODAY, what you’re doing is giving them impossible goals (which produces a constant feeling of failure in the people under your care), burning them out and damaging their opinion of you as handling or “Managing” these situations IS YOUR JOB.

If you cannot control the surges (say its part of your industry that they happen e.g. retail at xmas) then you have to run at a lower % utilisation for the none crisis times.

Fitness Week EOW 2022-04-24

Work done this week

  • 3 x PT sessions (under Sam Bradly)
  • 2 x Spin Sessions (Under Louise)
  • 1 x  Self Driven Session (provided By Sam)

Notes :

Pulling back from the Corvid Effects, Spin has moved up from 2.,5 Watts per Kilo to 2.6, but still a chuck of work to go to get back to the 2.8 it used to be.

Sam has come up with the most killer Session, one to replace the old Double bill of Spin + WOD I used to do Saturday morning at Gymbox (which in turn was done when i should have been going fencing)

Anyway the Set is:

5K on Skierg (10 resistance) at a split of about 2.20

Every 500 Meters, break off and do 20 Kettle Bell snatches (10 each side) with a 24kg Kettlebell (no pause or ‘Faff’) then back to the Skierg

40 mins cut off Time

Now I made it but the form was ROTTERN, slow and at the end I just sat of the floor and nearly cried, but for me the key part is its an excellent framework set to build on, one I personally find very very challenging, so next week will be a repeat with the goal to do it without making my self sore (which only happens during bad form)

Next Weeks Goals

  1. Manage the new set at the same level Just done cleanly and sharply
  2. Spin at 2.7 Watts per Kilo

Long Term Goals

  1. Continue weight loss in Prep for September

Measurements

Not taken this Week

Pictures

Old but not dead yet

2.6 is OK but not what I can do, struggling a tiny bit with the resistance lever on the bake, its not as controlled as a screw,

I HATE these kettle bells they have a flat ridge under the handle where they were bent and its driving me crazy, will see if I can bring in an old fashioned cast Iron one

 

Mobile Painting : Paint Updates for the Day

We have our solid paint list for mobile painting, but there are hundreds of paints and bits so some days need swap outs and supplemental in the carry case, this is just a log and reasons

Additional

Swap Out

  • Chaos Black Rattle Can ⇒ Munitorum Varnish (everything is base cotted for today already and think we will be doing AK streaky Grime and that needs varnish to protect the paint)