Management nugget number 5

Nugget 5: Sometimes doing nothing is the fastest and most efficient way of solving a problem

 

Explanation:

Now I know that sounds like a stupid and very Zen thing to say but bear with me.

There is a movie theory that says that in Raiders of the lost ark,  Indiana Jones had absolutely no effect on the movie at the end, The Nazis would have still got the Ark and still died when they opened it, This same theory can be applied to a lot of management work.

let’s take a theoretical problem, Something has gone Bang, There are 5 people who would normally be your go-to people to fix it, An email is sent to them but only two respond, The other three are currently busy and not reading emails, The management all get over excited because their email has not been immediately acted upon, They send chase emails, They have individual meetings with each other, They call multiple meetings with all of the 5 people who can fix the problem and by the time they reach all of these 5 people and get them all into concert, they finally get a solution.

Now step back from this, Let’s say that the management had done nothing after they sent the original email, The five important people are already busy, chasing after them doesn’t actually get them any quicker, When they finish their current work they go and have a look at the email, One of them has a solution to it, Provides the solution and then the problem is solved. This normally happens in just about the same time frame as the management running around and doing all the meetings, They haven’t actually made the problem go away any quicker, All they’ve done is waste their time and the time of the few technical people they could get hold of.

So the moral of the story is don’t do knee jerk reactions when your immediate needs are not pandered to, particularly if it’s something that is not immediately costing the company money or can wait a few hours, better to have control than a panic attack.

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.

 

Mobile Painting Pt 2: Decent Light

As I built my mobile paint station, one of the most pressing issues was a decent light, I think this might be due to my age but without a harsh white light, I have a devil of a trouble picking out details, I have tried a load of lights and by and large found the modelling ones to not work for me, they simply are not bright enough.

My solution was found in the movie industry who not surprisingly have amazing kit, and the one that turned out perfect for me was from Aputure in particular the MX series

This mini beast has 120 LEDs rather than the 8 or so you get on hobby or normal USB lamps

and also has a full set of controls where you can alter the hue and brightness

So good and powerful is it that in combination with a normal desk lamp arm (with a standard camera screw attachment) that it has become my desk lamp.

and for travel I use a “JAWS” flex clamp (you can get these under a number of brands including GOPRO

I hate rambling reviews so lets go with pro’s and cons.

PRO’s

  • Amazing bright
  • Highly portable, on battery power it lasts between 1 and 3.5 hours of painting, and you can just take any USB power bank and recharge it on the go with no outage.
  • Uses a standard camera mount so you can find a wide variety of stands and mounts to suit your personal taste.
  • Looks so Cool.

CONS

  • Far more expensive than a normal hobby light.
  • The front feels very fragile, the LEDS are exposed and the magnetic plastic filters don’t feel like they can take much grief, so a good travel case is essential.
  • The included case feel very cheap, I opted for a small neoprene camera case as an alternative.
  • Buttons are small and not what you would consider “Everyday use”, but this feeling soon wears off and you get used to them.

All in all the perfect hobby and desk lamp, I now use it for everything, but I do have to be careful and sooner or later I just know I’m going to damage the fragile front.

Management nugget number 4

Nugget 4: Late night management emails are not an attack.

Explanation:

For once this one is not aimed at managers, it is aimed at the Techs and Frontline associates, I used to hate receiving management emails late at night or at the end of a Friday or the weekend or something like that. It put me under stress, it was uncomfortable and I thought they were watching me and wanting me to work the hours they were, But it turns out this is not always the case, If you’re stuck in bloody meetings all day or constantly on chat being chased for deliverables email takes a second place, and the only time you can sit down and deal with it (Other than the Odd Crisis Email) is when  everybody else has stopped working and therefore stopped chasing you, The reason that management do emails late at night and at the weekends is because that’s the only time they can try and clear their inbox, it’s not a personal thing, they just know that they won’t have a chance to send it during the week.

Weird.

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 – Necromunda Bases

Painter: Stickfight

Model(s): GW Necromunda Bases (all sizes)

Paint(s): Leadbelcher , Chaos Black , pro acryl: Bold titanium White , Iyanden Yellow , Dirty Down: Rust , Abaddon Black , AK – Streaking Grime , Munitorum Varnish , Scale Colour – Metal n’ Alchemy – Speed Metal

Method(s):

  1. Base coat with Chaos Black, then Leadbelcher
  2. Paint the raised areas you want to hazard stripe with pro acryl: Bold titanium White
  3. Then paint the raised areas you want to “hazard stripe” with Iyanden Yellow till nice and yellow (may take multiple layers)
  4. Cut thin strips of FrogTape masking tape and place over the yellow areas you want to keep yellow.
  5. Paint the remaining exposed yellow areas with Abaddon Black
  6. When dry, CAREFULLY peal the masking tape off to expose your hazard stripes.
  7. (optional) if you want rusty pipe areas, first paint them with Scale Colour – Metal n’ Alchemy – Speed Metal till shiny.
  8. (optional) Then use Dirty Down: Rust to make them all rusty again.
  9. Varnish the bases with Munitorum Varnish as AK – Streaking Grime is oil based and will eat your paint.
  10. Dab AK – Streaking Grime generously all over, particularly in corners.
  11. leave for AT LEAST 30 mins, then rub the areas you want to still see metal through gently with a lint free cloth (the cheap glasses cleaning cloths are my favourite).
  12. when happy with the effect, re varnish with Munitorum Varnish to set everything,

Paint Time: 1 hour end to end (quite a bit of drying time)

 

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