Things To Do On A Slow Day At Work

“Vision without execution is just hallucination.”

—  Henry Ford

When the phone rings and I am asked to do a project, it is so rewarding and prosperous. What do you do when the phone doesn’t ring?

In business there is so much work that must be done that while it doesn’t look like it is productive, actually if neglected can make things even worse.

Office staff working on the books the old fashioned way at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. [NIKON D2X, 18.0-50.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 400, 1/160, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 31)]

There is always paper work to do, especially if you are like me an entrepreneur who is a one-man operation.

One of the first things I do on most slow days is working on my books. This is to be sure all the ledgers are up to date. Often this means sending out reminders to slow payers.

Take the time to learn something new. Over the years I have invested in numerous books, magazines and lots of online videos to stay up to date on my industry.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

—  George Bernard Shaw

Be proactive. Plan your life rather than just reacting to things.

One of the best ways to plan ahead is to network. This means you have to gather those names of people and organizations you want to do work with in the future.

Work on creating a database of new prospects. Also, create a plan on how you will connect with these people.

These are ways that I connect with my audience:

  • Monthly Newsletter
  • Blog – tips for my audience
  • Postcards – small taste of my portfolio
  • Phone calls
  • E-mail
[NIKON D4, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 200)]

For the self-employed it is much easier to also take some of this time for personal time. Many business owners are so busy running their business that home chores and projects just don’t get done.

This past year so many of my friends have discovered they can work from anywhere. Many college students also realized that if their classes are all online then they could be anywhere. I know some friends of mine went to Colorado and snow skiing during their breaks.

Another friend of mine is planning to work from Hawaii for a month.

The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.

 Theodore Roosevelt

For those who work the gig economy, having a phone and computer with you means you can work your down time from anywhere. Visit your family and if a call comes that you need to respond to, then just adjust.

Cluster Team from the Corporate Office volunteers at Hosea Feed the Hungry [NIKON D4, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/60, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 16)]

Volunteer in your community. Find something that you can do to give back. It helps others and let others know your heart for community.

One of the best things to do during a slow time is marketing. You maybe someone who needs to promote your products or services to drum up new business. Having authentic images of your product, your business or your staff can really put you ahead of your competitors and I can help you with it.

Work on telling your story of your business and how it intersects with your customer’s story. Hire me to help get on video client testimonials on how you made their lives better.

Do you need employees? How about letting me help you record the testimonials of your employees and why they like working for you?

There is much to do today in this down time. What action will you take today?

Why Organizational Change Often Fails

There are many reasons your organization will fail in the next generation. Most all of the reasons have to do with the present leadership not planning for the change.

In this post I want to talk about realistic planning for budgeting. Most of the time organizations plan to maintain the same roles as they have now and this is one of the biggest mistakes. As you grow and mature your organization is developing just like you did go through school.

Preschool, elementary, middle school, high school, college and advanced degrees are what many of us have gone through. Your organization also develops similarly.

The Citadel: The seniors just walked the Long Gray Line across the parade field. Now they are just celebrating. [NIKON D3, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 360, 1/80, ƒ/13, (35mm = 14)]

You started with one teacher and then when you progress upward, you need more teachers in specialties to help you maximize your talents.

If you retire and the organization is still in the elementary years of the organization, they may fail because they were not planning for the need for more staff, more supplies and space to operate in the future.

Let me tell you the story of how one man [Zack] hurt a nonprofit because they were focused so much on the present he was not really helping the organization plan for tomorrow.

The largest need of a nonprofit is to tell their story to their donors. Zack was one of the best marketing guys in business. He was working for a fortune 50 size company. He knew how to tell stories to build a brand.

He had a huge heart for this nonprofits mission. They were an educational nonprofit that was changing communities all over Asia. Zack knew that the organization couldn’t afford him so he donated all of his time.

The problem came when Zack could no longer help the organization. He had retired and his health kept him from being able to contribute any more.

He never helped the organization understand how they needed to budget for someone like him in the future. He didn’t groom the next marketing/communications person. He loved to travel and the organization was thriving. He loved also to do a lot of the work himself. He took photos, videos and wrote as well. He found his friends to help as well.

This is the changing of the guard ceremony as part of the annual Corps Day/Recognition Day weekend ceremonies. This is when the Summerall Guards performed their last precision drills as a unit and then passed their rifles to the new platoon. [NIKON D3, 122.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/800, ƒ/4, (35mm = 390)]

Don’t be just like Zack for your organization. Teach and mentor those who will replace you. Most of all help setup the organization to later afford to pay someone with your skills. Help them understand how to budget for the organization with the next generation of leaders.

Great leaders prepare the next generation and work themselves out of their job.

You see Zack had succumb to pride and his ego. He loved doing the work and getting the recognition for it as well. Zack was on an ego trip.

If you were no longer around and the rest of the staff as well all left, what would the organization need to not just survive, but thrive? Take the time away from the present work to plan for the future work. Create teams to help budget for the needs of the future.

You will discover that the time for the new leadership to start taking ownership is long before you are ready to give it up.

The Citadel: Commencement 2011 [NIKON D3S, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 12800, 1/1600, ƒ/3.8, (35mm = 35)]

Before & After Examples

Chase Bank, 4241 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342 Six Strobes were used in addition to the natural lighting. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Manual, ISO 400, 1/4, ƒ/8, (35mm = 24)]

What does it mean to see someone in a better light?

This is an expression of seeing something in a different perspective. For example, you always thought someone was a bad person, but after talking with them, you now see them in a different light. (Now you see them differently, and actually think they are very nice) 

It is an Idiom

The two words of Better & Light together give us a new meaning in language.

Chase Bank 4241 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342

Without the extra light on the building you are missing the “WOW FACTOR”.

Chase Bank 4241 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342

Even waiting for the dramatic sky and lights on the building were not giving the same results that I do with my “Dusk” or “Dawn” architecture photography. If you notice the street lights in the photo I had to fix the one on the left that wasn’t on in the final image. Again another thing I do to help my client’s work to be seen in the “Best Light”.

Chase Bank 4241 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342

The key to Dusk and Dawn photos is that everything isn’t getting equal amounts of light like you get during daytime. If you want your photos to be more dramatic, be sure the light is where you want it and not just everywhere evenly.

Chase Bank 4241 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342 Three strobes are helping with the lighting. [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 400, 1/8, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 19)]

Now the differences between these photos is much more than just lights. More than 30 photos were taken of each angle. Different exposures and capturing different light. Then after some minor editing I am selecting 3 to 5 photos that are blended in PhotoShop to give the results you are seeing.

Lidl Building – 670 Whitlock Ave – Marietta – GA 30064 5 strobes used in this photo [NIKON Z 6, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 400, 1/15, ƒ/8, (35mm = 14)]

So when I arrived just before Dusk I got this photo below.

Lidl Building – 670 Whitlock Ave – Marietta – GA 30064

I asked the manager if they could move those pallets. Again I took 30+ photos and after minor editing picked 5 photos that I blended to get the final image.

Is Good Enough going to make you Competitive?

Today, so many people use their cameras on their phones and tend to say it is good enough. That lets you get these before photos I am showing here.

Can you continue to get jobs and projects with “Good Enough”? Can you pay your people good salaries with “Good Enough”? Can you pay yourself enough for a comfortable lifestyle?

Hire a professional photographer whose portfolio shows they can put your products in the best light. Doesn’t your work deserve it?

One Reason You Hire A Professional Photographer

Tony Messano who is a creative director and designed my logo said to me one day that what he hires photographers for is to take his vision and make it better.

With today’s phone cameras they are good enough to get some great photos. The question is what does the pro bring that you cannot get with your phone?

George C. Griffin [NIKON Z 6, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/5000, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 14)]

One of the biggest things that a professional photographer brings is their ability to “Write With Light”. That is what the word photography is about–Writing With Light.

The coining of the word “photography” is usually attributed to Sir John Herschel in 1839. It is based on the Greek φῶς (phots), (genitive: photo’s) meaning “light”, and γραφή (graphê), meaning “drawing, writing”, together meaning “drawing with light”.

By adding light to help enhance the light on the statue of Dean Griffin at Georgia Tech I was able to to make the statue look different.

Different

My friend Dave Black, Nikon Ambassador and professional photographer, says, “Look for something ‘Different’ not necessarily ‘Better’”. Dave had discovered through his career that when something is “Different” the audience will stop and look.

Dean Griffin Statue. [NIKON Z 6, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/2000, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 200)]

One more thing other than light is composition that a trained eye brings. Notice in this photo how Dean Griffin looks like he is looking down and even has depressing look to the photo.

Dean Griffin Statue [NIKON Z 6, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/2500, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

By just changing the camera angle and perspective I make him look more authoritative and a leader.

By the way, the client called me needing help with their cover of their annual report. They wanted a photo to be “Iconic” about their foundation. They raise funds to help students get an education. I knew that Dean Griffin established and managed an emergency loan fund to assist students with financial difficulties, and he started, with his own funds, Georgia Tech’s Central Placement Office. After his retirement, he operated a job placement service for alumni over forty.

I proposed the Statue of Dean George C. Griffin for their cover. I mentioned I had done something similar of S. Truett Cathy for Chick-fil-A. I sent them this photo of the statue of Cathy in front of the Original Dwarf House in Hapeville, Georgia.

Truett Cathy Statue at the Original Dwarf House [NIKON D750, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/4000, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

They were originally looking at real people. The advantage of going with a statue of someone who is no longer here, but embodies that core values of the institution is it then becomes “Iconic”.