Month: October 2009

Microsoft Antivirus may be a Game Changer

Windows 7 was released last week and it looks like Microsoft might be getting its act together.  I wanted to let you know about some free antivirus software that Microsoft has released (not beta) and it is compatible with Windows 7 (unlike some existing antivirus programs).  It looks very good.

It is called Microsoft Security Essentials and can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/resources.aspx.  It only takes a minute to download and install.  I discovered that it is very comprehensive.  When I rebooted my system it detected an automated backup program that I run and asked if I wanted to give it permission to work through the firewall – so I know it is absolutely checking the firewall.

The second thing is that it was tested against 3,200 viruses and detected all of them, including malware, etc.  You can read the review at http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=4785.

 The third feature that is pretty cool, other than being free, is that it works on Windows XP, Vista and the new 7.  So you can dump all of your old antivirus if you want to.  It is true that it might not have features like a browsing toolbar that your current antivirus has – but – if you load Internet Explorer 8, much of that security is already built in.

From a performance perspective I launched programs as soon as the computer loaded Microsoft Security Essentials.  When I did this with Zone Alarm and McAfee, the system would tend to thrash a bit.  With the MS antivirus this did not appear to be a problem.

So, if you didn’t know about it I hope this was helpful. 

P.S. – If you own stock in McAfee, Norton or others you may want to watch it carefully.  When this is widely publicized it could be a game changer.

Developing Goals Should Not be Mysterious or Difficult

I recently told the story of a hospital administrator who just took charge of a troubled hospital. While examining the types of services they provided to their patients (customers) she noticed that a large number were coming into the ER but were not being admitted – many were children with colds, bumps, bruises, etc. Yet this was creating very long wait times and tying up resources for more serious issues. She set the goal of a nurse meeting every patient within 60 seconds of their arrival and planned to achieve it within 18 months.

It took 12 months for her to achieve the goal of seeing every ER patient within 60 seconds of arrival but the results were astounding. Resources were freed. Waiting lines disappeared. And most unexpectedly all the other operations within the hospital had dramatic improvement because they were now focused on providing rapid services to patients. This one simple goal revolutionized the hospital and it became a model for other hospitals.

I told this story to the a state mortgage operation of a national financial company. I then asked them to make a list of all of their customers, since every business usually has more than one type of customer. They listed the borrower, broker, realtor, appraiser, title company, closing agent, etc. I then asked, “What one thing could you do that would result in your being able to satisfy every one of these customers?” (This is the key question for establishing goals). After some discussion they concluded that if they could process a loan from the time of application to closing in 30 days everyone would be thrilled and would set them apart from the competition.

I asked if they could develop a plan to make that happen? They examined it and concluded it was possible to do it in 30 days – but there were some challenges. I said if the plan says you can do it, then you should be able to make it happen. The plan also revealed the problem areas so that they were able to focus on those processes that would prevent them from reaching the goals.

One of the major benefits of having simple, yet dramatic, goals is that everyone in the organization can understand them and get behind them. It unifies your team. I write about this in my book which you can get a free copy of the eBook version at http://www.ftiglobal.com/fti/contact_us.asp.

P.S. – An important point… notice that the team developed the goal. This is important for buy-in. It wasn’t mandated from the ivory tower.