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Get the Most Out of Travel

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Get the Most Out of Travel

For a business, knowledge is the asset of intellectual capital. Professional relationships outside a company but in related firms and fields, is the asset of network capital. Both of these assets are very easily invested in every single day without most firms realizing it, and because they don’t realize it, they don’t capitalize on it.

How so? These gains can be very easily achieved when you have staff out on the road on business travel.

Business travel is a ‘twofer’ sort of thing, where you get two for the price of one. There’s the point of the trip itself, but then there’s way more to be gained from the opportunities which travel provides, and not just for the traveler. The traveler becomes the ticket.

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When I was the boss approving travel budgets I was very liberal with those allocations; I considered them part of my Staff Training and Education budgets. And since I considered them a kind of mobile schooling, my travelers were given homework. No written reports; I wasn’t interested in creating more work like some Scrooge wanting to get the very most out of my money. Further, I wanted people to relish their travel opportunities, and not consider them a necessary evil. The homework was simply that they had to bring back those two assets I mentioned in the beginning, and share them with the rest of us who had been left behind to hold up the fort. Depart a traveler, return a teacher and a connector.

Homework Assignment 1: For Knowledge and Intellectual Capital.
Tell the rest of us what you learned while you were gone. Teach it to us as best you can without our having the same sensory experience.

Homework Assignment 2: For Relationship and Network Capital.
Show off those business cards you collected, and tell us about the people you met. What do they do, and how will you be following up with them to strengthen the connection? Who else in our company can you introduce them to?

My travelers became very creative with this. They got to be fairly competitive about it too, but in a way that was very healthy for the knowledge and network base of the organization. They started taking pictures, so they could ‘show and tell’ in our staff meetings, but their photos weren’t of cityscapes and monuments; they tried to create that ‘sensory experience’ I’d asked about in the learning itself. My retailers took pictures of attractive shop windows and unusual visual merchandising displays. My golf pros took pictures at tournaments to help explain tricks with gallery control to their staff for our next tournament. All those trade magazines and brochures previously thought of as old news once they’d read them, were no longer chucked in hotel room trashcans. Instead, they came home in flat rate shipping boxes so they could be passed out to everyone else in their department, simply to share a greater awareness of the amount of choice in the industries we operated our own business in, or to stimulate more question and dialogue for us about market trends and breaking ideas.

On the networking side, they quickly found out the benefit of being gracious hosts, for they would invite their new connections to visit our company when we were next on their travel itineraries. When trips repeated to the same cities, or my travelers attended annual conventions, we now had a growing professional network with whom we could magnify our previous opportunities and build on them. Through others, we gained new clients or accolades about our aloha spirit, our products and services; highly valuable word-of-mouth advertising we never would have otherwise enjoyed.

This concept of smart homework for travel worked so well for us, that I’ve even applied the same thought process to the travel we do as a family on our personal vacations. It’s less specific, however it amounts to the same thing: We do things a bit out of our comfort zone, with the attitude that we’d never do the same things at home, learning something new along the way. We don’t keep to ourselves as much as before. We talk to, engage with, and meet many more people; we’ve learned to be more gregarious and social.

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You can expand your own thinking about this when you consider travel to be any thing out of the office, but theoretically still ‘on the clock.’ How about all those association luncheons and trade shows you go to right in your own back yard? What is the intellectual capital and network capital you get out of them, and what are you bringing back for those with whom you work? Do they silently resent or envy your mobility, or are they grateful they have you as the company connector? Something to think about.

Thank you for reading, I’ll be back next Thursday. On every other day, you can visit me on Talking Story, or on www.ManagingWithAloha.com. Aloha!

Rosa Say

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Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

Previous Thursday Column: When Does Great Service Happen?

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Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

The easy fundamentals

First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

Here are some examples of strong passwords:
* i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
* ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
* mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

And not so good examples
* sammy1234
* password123
* christopher

You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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Managing your passwords

I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

Upkeep

You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

Alternatives

You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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  1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
  2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
  3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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