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Improve you work efficiency by staying focused August 29, 2008

Posted by Darth Sidious in Career Management, General.

We live in an information overloaded society. I know you earthlings have your MSN/Live Messenger, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, IRC, Twitter, FaceBook, E-Mail, BlackBerry’s, iPhones, you name it…

In the Empire we have similar technologies such as our E-Mail (short for Empire-Mail), VaderSoft Outlook, etc… It’s good to stay connected, but it makes it challenging to stay focused on large tasks and push them through.

Here’s some things you can do:

  • Put on headphones and listen to music. It communicates to others that you’re focusing on something, and it blocks out the office chatter that subconsciously a part of your brain is dedicating power on.
  • Do other things to indicate that you’re busy… Close the door to your office, shut off the lights in your office, put a message on your desk saying “Coding in Progress”, etc….
  • Block out chunks of time in your calendar so that you have large continuous blocks dedicated towards work and prevent people from slicing up your time into small fragments.
  • Turn off instant messengers, email, IRC, etc… anything that could draw your attention. Send a note to those who may want to contact you that you’re going off the grid for a period of time.

Though I’m curious to know of any other techniques you’ve found useful, considering most of you lack the powers of the force you’re limited to more conventional means.


    Tips to Avoid Living in Your In-box November 11, 2007

    Posted by Tariq Ahmed in General.
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    If you have email, and any decent position in an organization, there’s a high chance that you receive so much email that you could literally live in your in-box all day long. Perhaps managing the communication is your only job, but if you’ve got other things to do, here are some tips for not living in your in-box:

    • Shut your email client off for blocks of time.
    • Ignore new emails until you’ve completed specific tasks (broken up into 30min to 1 hour time periods)
    • Block out periods of time for working on your calendar so others know you’re busy and will not expect an instant reply.
    • Create the expectation in your company/department that if someone needs a reply within 30 min, they should be using the phone or an IM system.
    • Try to manage the amount of email everyone creates. For every CC/group that is included, the employee should ask himself or herself “do they really need to receive this email?”
    • Encourage descriptive subject lines and opening paragraphs so employees spend less time scanning the email looking for the “what’s in it for me?” content when the email doesn’t directly concern them.
    • Terminate an employee that uses “*All Outlook Users”. If anyone responds to that email in the same manner, electrocute him or her.

    Consider the above tips so you can spend more time being productive vs. reading 20 replies about something that doesn’t even concern you.


    Sith Sigma finally recognized by Google October 28, 2007

    Posted by Darth Sidious in General.
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    After months, Google has finally assigned our site a page rank of 6; very respectable indeed. This calms tensions within the Galactic Empire that sharing the secrets to Sith Business practices might be a bad idea.

    Meanwhile, those lowly Jedi scum continue to wallow in their mediocrity with a rank of 2. Pathetic…

    Darth Sidious

    Our Russian Comrades heed our lesson September 6, 2007

    Posted by Darth Sidious in General.
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    It’s pleasing to see that on the Planet Earth the country of Russia has read our article regarding phrases to avoid, and have instituted it as part of their law:

    MOSCOW – The mayor of a Siberian oil town has ordered his bureaucrats to stop using expressions such as “I don’t know” and “I can’t.” Or look for another job…

    Read the full article…

    Darth Sidious

    Say No to SPOK July 29, 2007

    Posted by Tariq Ahmed in General, Managing Employees.
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    No, I’m not referring to the “other universe”. I’m referring to Single Point’s of Knowledge and how they can cripple your company if not actively managed. SPOK’s are individuals in a company who have a certain skill set, knowledge or unique ability that no one else has, and if they left, could seriously harm the company.

    Examples include:

    A technical person who is the only one that knows how a mission critical piece of software/hardware works.

    A sales person who brings in an inordinate amount of sales for the company.

    A CEO, whose personal qualities are key to the businesses success. This could be because of sales relationships, deal-making ability, contacts, vision, public image, charisma or management ability.

    If any of these people were to leave the company, it would have devastating effect to the company, more so than 1 person should be allowed to have.

    How are they created?

    In small to medium sized companies, technical SPOK’s are easily formed by the financial restraints to keep the technical team small. Sales/management SPOK’s can be created for the same reason. In large companies, technical/sales SPOK’s usually aren’t a problem, but management ones can exist. Good examples of CEO SPOK’s are Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison.

    Consequences of a SPOK

    First and foremost, if a SPOK leaves a company, or perishes, the fate of the entire company could be at stake. Secondly, a SPOK could start making extraordinary demands, essentially black-mailing the company to their whims. Additionally, in situations like these, the SPOK could actively work to maintain their SPOK status, blocking the companies attempt to rectify the situation.

    How to manage SPOK’s

    In small to medium sized companies, technical SPOK’s should be controlled by having at least 2 people who understand/work on the software/hardware. If you are completely dependent on 1 person because of budget constraints, consider the risk you are taking. It may be better to have less profit, than no company at all.

    To mitigate the risk of sales SPOK’s, you must grow your company and sales-force so 1 person doesn’t control a majority of your revenue. As a CEO/owner it would be wise to develop personal relationships with your top clients and thus control the SPOK.

    As you may know by now, the Sith operate in teams, with a master and an apprentice, so if one can not continue, the Empire will. Key management SPOK’s should have an apprentice in training, ready to take over when/if the time comes. One of the CEO’s primary responsibilities should be grooming his or her successor, putting the companies’ future ahead of themselves. A sound strategy also includes creating a strong management team, and company policies so that the company can function at 100% regardless of who leaves. No one person’s demise should threaten the future of the company.


    Phrases to Avoid June 24, 2007

    Posted by Tariq Ahmed in General.
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    There are few phrases that I cannot tolerate hearing and if uttered by my underlings usually lead to permanent retirement. These include “I don’t know”, “it’s too difficult” and general excuses.

    Whether your a Sith lord or lowly trooper, when facing a difficult question for the first time, never answer with a negative vibe of “it’s to difficult”. The correct answer is always – “I’ll get back to you”. From impossible project deadlines, to impossible requirements, nothing is impossible. Everything is simply a matter of resources and time. When a difficult project is posed, tell them you’ll get back to them and come back with viable options.

    If management wants a Death Star built in 3 years, get back to them with various levels of resources required and timelines and let them pick the option they prefer. Remember to outline how the sacrifices will impact all other projects.

    It’s also very important to find out what the purpose of the request. Many times the request itself will solve a problem, but there are alternative methods to solving the problem that they may not have thought of.

    Another phrase to avoid is “I don’t know”. Good managers usually have this diplomatic skill mastered and don’t fall victim to it. Usually the lower level employees or technical staff will make this cardinal mistake. Questions could range from “Where is the 3rd quarter report?” to “Why can R2D2 over-ride every security protocol?” When confronted with the unknown, the correct answer is “I’ll find out”.


    Welcome to the site June 20, 2007

    Posted by Tariq Ahmed in General.
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    Often at press conferences and public speaking engagements at business seminars, we’re asked if we would entertain having a site to freely share our insight and experiences in an open forum. We’ve had it on our radar for sometime now, but the concept of ‘free’ isn’t quite inline with sith philosphy.

    However this was one of the major agenda items that the Sith Executive Management team mulled over at our recent corporate retreat on the planet Acilaris. And after much debate we determined that helping line level managers all the way up to executive management in the ways of the Sith School of Business will result in a stronger galactic empire.

    From time to time we’ll have guest Sith Lords such as Darth Nihilus and Darth Malak post articles as their schedule permits (they’re currently overseeing our 5th Death Star, a key feature is having integration ports that are incompatible to R2D2, we’re really tired of him overriding stuff), and from time to time some of our top Knights from the Fist of the Empire (Cronal and Vess Kogo have expressed interest).

    So we hope you’ll enjoy what’s next to come.

    Peace is a lie. There is only passion.