The GREAT Employee
Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers... they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities.
A few hit the next level. Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.
Here are eight qualities of remarkable employees:
1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.
When a key customer's project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there's a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it's not their job.
2. They’re eccentric... The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.
People who aren't afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.
3. But they know when to dial it back. An unusual personality is a lot of fun... until it isn't. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, the best employees stop expressing their individuality and fit seamlessly into the team.
Remarkable employees know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off. It’s a tough balance to strike, but a rare few can walk that fine line with ease.
4. They publicly praise... Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person.
Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.
5. And they privately complain. We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.
Remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.
6. They speak when others won’t. Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately.
An employee once asked me a question about potential layoffs. After the meeting I said to him, “Why did you ask about that? You already know what's going on.” He said, “I do, but a lot of other people don't, and they're afraid to ask. I thought it would help if they heard the answer from you.”
Remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.
7. They like to prove others wrong. Self-motivation often springs from a desire to show that doubters are wrong. The kid without a college degree or the woman who was told she didn't have leadership potential often possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong.
Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.
8. They’re always fiddling. Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow.
Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can't help it.
Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden
Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk
151 comments, 117 called-out
+ Comment now
Captain James T. Kirk is one of the most famous Captains in the history of Starfleet. There’s a good reason for that. He saved the planet Earth several times, stopped the Doomsday Machine, helped negotiate peace with the Klingon Empire, kept the balance of power between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, and even managed to fight Nazis. On his five-year mission commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as subsequent commands, James T. Kirk was a quintessential leader, who led his crew into the unknown and continued to succeed time and time again.
(Image via Wikipedia)
Kirk’s success was no fluke, either. His style of command demonstrates a keen understanding of leadership and how to maintain a team that succeeds time and time again, regardless of the dangers faced. Here are five of the key leadership lessons that you can take away from Captain Kirk as you pilot your own organization into unknown futures.
1. Never Stop Learning
“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”
Five Leadership Mistakes Of The Galactic Empire
How to Reboot Star Trek for Modern TV
Captain Kirk may have a reputation as a suave ladies man, but don’t let that exterior cool fool you. Kirk’s reputation at the Academy was that of a “walking stack of books,” in the words of his former first officer, Gary Mitchell. And a passion for learning helped him through several missions. Perhaps the best demonstration of this is in the episode “Arena,” where Kirk is forced to fight a Gorn Captain in single combat by advanced beings. Using his own knowledge and materials at hand, Kirk is able to build a rudimentary shotgun, which he uses to defeat the Gorn.
If you think about it, there’s no need for a 23rd Century Starship Captain to know how to mix and prepare gunpowder if the occasion called for it. After all, Starfleet officers fight with phasers and photon torpedoes. To them, gunpowder is obsolete. But the same drive for knowledge that drove Kirk to the stars also caused him to learn that bit of information, and it paid off several years later.
In the same way, no matter what your organization does, it helps to never stop learning. The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be. The more you’re able to do, the more solutions you have for problems at your disposal. Sure, you might never have to face down a reptilian alien on a desert planet, but you never know what the future holds. Knowledge is your best key to overcoming whatever obstacles are in your way.
2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews
“One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”
Kirk’s closest two advisors are Commander Spock, a Vulcan committed to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. Leonard McCoy, a human driven by compassion and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action.
However, the very fact that Kirk has advisors who have a different worldview not only from each other, but also from himself, is a clear demonstration of Kirk’s confidence in himself as a leader. Weak leaders surround themselves with yes men who are afraid to argue with them. That fosters an organizational culture that stifles creativity and innovation, and leaves members of the organization afraid to speak up. That can leave the organization unable to solve problems or change course. Historically, this has led to some serious disasters, such as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Organizations that allow for differences of opinion are better at developing innovation, better at solving problems, and better at avoiding groupthink. We all need a McCoy and a Spock in our lives and organizations.
3. Be Part Of The Away Team
“Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”
Whenever an interesting or challenging mission came up, Kirk was always willing to put himself in harm’s way by joining the Away Team. With his boots on the ground, he was always able to make quick assessments of the situation, leading to superior results. At least, superior for everyone with a name and not wearing a red shirt. Kirk was very much a hands-on leader, leading the vanguard of his crew as they explored interesting and dangerous situations.
When you’re in a leadership role, it’s sometimes easy to let yourself get away from leading Away Team missions. After all, with leadership comes perks, right? You get the nice office on the higher floor. You finally get an assistant to help you with day to day activities, and your days are filled with meetings and decisions to be made, And many of these things are absolutely necessary. But it’s sometimes easy to trap yourself in the corner office and forget what life is like on the front lines. When you lose that perspective, it’s that much harder to understand what your team is doing, and the best way to get out of the problem. What’s more, when you’re not involved with your team, it’s easy to lose their trust and have them gripe about how they don’t understand what the job is like.
This is a lesson that was actually imprinted on me in one of my first jobs, making pizzas for a franchise that doesn’t exist anymore. Our general manager spent a lot of time in his office, focused on the paperwork and making sure that we could stay afloat on the razor-thin margins we were running. But one thing he made sure to do, every day, was to come out during peak times and help make pizza. He didn’t have to do that, but he did. The fact that he did so made me like him a lot more. It also meant that I trusted his decisions a lot more. In much the same way, I’m sure, as Kirk’s crew trusted his decisions, because he knew the risks of command personally.
Five Leadership Mistakes Of The Galactic Empire
How to Reboot Star Trek for Modern TV
4. Play Poker, Not Chess
“Not chess, Mr. Spock. Poker. Do you know the game?”
In one of my all-time favorite Star Trek episodes, Kirk and his crew face down an unknown vessel from a group calling themselves the “First Federation.” Threats from the vessel escalate until it seems that the destruction of the Enterprise is imminent. Kirk asks Spock for options, who replies that the Enterprise has been playing a game of chess, and now there are no winning moves left. Kirk counters that they shouldn’t play chess – they should play poker. He then bluffs the ship by telling them that the Enterprise has a substance in its hull called “corbomite” which will reflect the energy of any weapon back against an attacker. This begins a series of actions that enables the Enterprise crew to establish peaceful relations with the First Federation.
I love chess as much as the next geek, but chess is often taken too seriously as a metaphor for leadership strategy. For all of its intricacies, chess is a game of defined rules that can be mathematically determined. It’s ultimately a game of boxes and limitations. A far better analogy to strategy is poker, not chess. Life is a game of probabilities, not defined rules. And often understanding your opponents is a much greater advantage than the cards you have in your hand. It was knowledge of his opponent that allowed Kirk to defeat Khan in Star Trek II by exploiting Khan’s two-dimensional thinking. Bluffs, tells, and bets are all a big part of real-life strategy. Playing that strategy with an eye to the psychology of our competitors, not just the rules and circumstances of the game can often lead to better outcomes than following the rigid lines of chess.
5. Blow up the Enterprise
“‘All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’ You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sounds of the sea beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water it’s still the same. The ship is yours. You can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones.”
One recurring theme in the original Star Trek series is that Kirk’s first love is the Enterprise. That love kept him from succumbing to the mind-controlling spores in “This Side of Paradise,” and it’s hinted that his love for the ship kept him from forming any real relationships or starting a family. Despite that love, though, there came a point in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, where Captain Kirk made a decision that must have pained him enormously – in order to defeat the Klingons attacking him and save his crew, James Kirk destroyed the Enterprise. The occasion, in the film, was treated with the solemnity of a funeral, which no doubt matched Kirk’s mood. The film ends with the crew returning to Vulcan on a stolen Klingon vessel, rather than the Enterprise. But they returned victorious.
We are often, in our roles as leaders, driven by a passion. It might be a product or service, it might be a way of doing things. But no matter how much that passion burns within us, the reality is that times change. Different products are created. Different ways of doing things are developed. And there will come times in your life when that passion isn’t viable anymore. A time when it no longer makes sense to pursue your passion. When that happens, no matter how painful it is, you need to blow up the Enterprise. That is, change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if that means having to live in a Klingon ship for awhile.
In his many years of service to the Federation, James Kirk embodied several leadership lessons that we can use in our own lives. We need to keep exploring and learning. We need to ensure that we encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions. We need to occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so we understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. We need to understand the psychology of our competitors and also learn to radically change course when circumstances dictate. By following these lessons, we can lead our organizations into places where none have gone before.
Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.
Why NOT use Macs at anycouncil anywhere?
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 1
Why NOT use Macs at Another Council?
Before this document is read I’d like to guide you through its purpose and structure.
Following on from an initial requirement for a business case to show the need for changing thinking in the Corporate Planning Service, a document was drawn up supporting a move to using Apple Macintosh Computers and specialist software. This business case was accepted by ICT in 2009, with subsequent installation and service adoption between Sept and Nov 2009.
A request by ££, AD T& E use a Macintosh as his “corporate” computer was met again by a request by $$, ICT Manager, for a suitable business case. The case was accepted in 2010 and purchase went ahead.
In light of these, and previous requests the business case was adapted to reflect a range of benefits that bringing Macintosh (and other Apple products) into the Council that can be utilised by champions to support any business case requests. To date no requests have been turned down.
In the current pressured climate it is worth looking back again at the financial/cost case for Macs, and I will attempt to collect rigorous data on costs of the current solution in place, but this is not simple. To compare like for like we need to know more about support costs, software licencing over time, the cost of security and protection etc. Initial purchase price, which admittedly with an Apple solution will invariable be slightly higher, we need to understand lifetime and ongoing costs.
Additional considerations that must be added in any business case:
In looking at lifetime costs: Can adopting Macs help us do what we do for less (as in the case of the Architects)?
Are there ways of delivering what we do daily in a better, more effective and more efficient way?
Can Macs help us handle statutory and legislative requirements better? A point in case is security
Are there areas of service delivery that using Macs can offer a mitigation of risk where other solutions might fail or falter in any way?
All business cases must be supported by an AD (minimum) sign off
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 2
The Advantages in brief:
Advantage #1 - Consistency of hardware/OS Integration
ROI – Almost no incompatibilities - gets the best from investment
Advantage #2 - Software Consistency
ROI – Complexity reduced, Learning required less. Lower cost licensing.
Advantage #3 – Security
ROI – No PC viruses, designed to be secure. Less to spend on protection!
Advantage #4 – The Operating System
ROI – Acknowledged as most advanced OS. No costly “modernization” ahead.
Advantage #5 – Its Automatic!
ROI – If it can be automatic, it is. Less complexity. Lower tech support cost.
Advantage #6 – Flexibility
ROI – Want to run Windows, Linux, if need arises? Multi - faceted
Advantage #7 – Superior, Green Design
ROI – PC industry accolades. Do we want industry leading power savings?
Advantage #8 – Great customer satisfaction
ROI – Annually Apple wins user awards. No one votes for “more expensive”
Advantage #9 – Innovative, ahead and usually right
ROI – Apple is sometimes first, but it is usually right – take a lead, get ahead.
Advantage #10 – Family Values
ROI – Apple products just work together, less technical expertise overhead.
Advantage #11 – You’ve got to experience the difference
ROI – There is simply no excuse. Try a Mac and learn. Worth the time?
Advantage #12 – Accessibility
ROI – No other platform provides such a rich inclusive experience inbuilt.
Advantage #13 – Support?
ROI – Less complex, better integrated – less cost to support.
Advantage #14 – Where are the Disadvantages?
ROI – To reduce lifetime cost investment starts with the best.
Advantage #15 – Potential savings?
Conclusion You’ve no excuses. Why Macs are Better reprise.
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 3
Why waste time reading about Macs? We don’t use them!
The aim of this document is to help colleagues understand the differences between Macs and PCs and specifically the advantages that users might find in using a Mac in Another Council.
I was asked to create a “Business Case” to support a Senior Director’s request for a corporate Mac, and the result is what you will read about here. In effect this information can form the basis of a business case for anyone, if used alongside the work demands and requirements of any role in the council. Windows is the defacto standard user operating system across the estate, and specifically Windows XP. There has been a recent introduction of Citrix thin clients, but up to now internal tests have favoured an XP implementation on those thin clients.
Did you know: There are now over 2500 Macs installed across our estates*1
Question: Why can’t a computer be a pleasure to use?
"When we're presented with an object that is complex it can be intimidating... and so clarity and simplicity are I think critically important for us to be able to understand a product and enjoy using it."
Jonathan Ive (from BBC “Genius of Design” 2010)
In considering Mac alongside Windows, we need to bear in mind that XP launched in 2001, and although updated and patched, it is now 11 years old and will cease to be supported by Microsoft as of July 13th 2010. It has been superseded by Windows Vista, and Vista recently by Windows 7. Another Council is not able to implement clients with Windows 7 due to incompatibilities with the server estate and other software. Mac OSX 10 launched in March 2001, and is now up to Mac OSX 10.6.
1 Across Council, Education Authority, Schools and recently welcomed Another 6th Form
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 4
The comparisons and commentary made here is between up-to-date Macs running MacOSX 10.6 and Business computers usually downgraded to Microsoft XP (up to SP2) from more modern versions of Windows.
Clearly any advantage a computer can offer is dependent on what the employee actually needs to do as part of their work. A decision as to whether to bring ICT into a solution for any particular function needs to be understood alongside what the Mac can offer that is different or advantageous to the work.
Across the Council we employ a significant number of older HP PCs, some of which are now being utilised as “Thin Clients”. It is a certainty that these older computers will not be as energy efficient as a newer PC, or indeed as a current Mac.
Don’t know what is possible? So how can you choose?
Sometimes staff are completely unaware that there might be different options available, to enable them do their work, and miss out on potentially better ways of doing things; simplification; speed; more modern ways; greater reliability; more secure (inherently); more flexible and safer online. These things need to be brought to our user’s attention. The advice is: in order to find out more, ask a Mac user. If you think that there may be an advantage then ask to try a Mac, beg borrow or steal one (not steal really, of course), and give it a few days.
A Mac IS a PC
An Apple Macintosh computer (a Mac) is a PC. “PC” is simply an abbreviation for Personal Computer and a Mac is, in its own right, a personal computer. So why do we not refer to Macs as PCs? The simple answer is: Macs are so thoroughly branded and uniquely styled, that people tend to refer to them as Macs. Lets try an analogy to explain some differences. A Mac is like a neat new BMW where everything is highly evolved, well designed and made to match in specification and style. A PC can be like a new car too, but it also allows for more “built from scratch” options – so it’s a smart Kit car where either a manufacturer, a builder of PCs or the customer, can match components as best they might. Macs and PCs then, are different but each appeals to a slightly different customer.
Take apart a Mac computer and a PC, you will find that they use the same sort of parts and components. Both have a motherboard, processor, RAM memory, graphics card, optical drive, hard drive, heatsink, fan, etc... They use the same basic hardware. In the Mac “car” analogy both have an engine, exhaust, intake, wheels, etc...
However, they do not use the same fuel (software) and because it’s created under the control of Apple, quality is always high, design neat ... which brings me to Advantage #1.
Advantage # 1 - Consistency of hardware/OS Operating Systems and Program Types
Mac computers run Macintosh OSX (now 10.6) also called “Snow Leopard”. Don’t worry about the names. Apple has had a series of OSX versions named after big cats. You can run Windows or Linux on a Mac, but OS X is the current default operating system for all Mac computers. Legally, OS X is only supposed to be used on Mac computers and Apple has gone to great
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 5
lengths to make sure of this. Macs OS X uses distinct programs and applications that will not work under Windows, however there are usually versions of that software that will. An example, DMG is an extension used by Mac computers. Back to the analogy of cars, buy a BMW and it is factory tuned to be a performance car, and BMW wheels will only work with a BMW. You get a complete solution – although you can still add certain additional functions (model dependent). PCs are best known for utilising the Windows operating system. Windows however, has nothing to do with a PC being a PC. More and more people are turning to the open source operating system Linux, and a Linux PC is still a PC. You cannot legally install OSX on a PC (but it can be done). PC operating systems, such as Windows, use distinctive programs and applications. For example, EXE is an extension used by Windows based PCs. Operating systems and program types are simple differences between Mac and PC.
Even within a single type of PC, in a hardware vendor’s range of PCs, components may vary.
We know this well in Another because we do all we can to ensure that “builds” remain in place for as long as possible. This however, is not something the purchaser can control and we find that software drivers, and unique system software components, can vary. This can lead to incompatibilities and force rework.
A Mac is a Mac. No matter what the model, it all runs the same software Operating System (OSX is now 9 years old), and can be updated with any incremental changes very easily. You may have a choice of video card on some Macs at the point of build, but even if you decide to purchase the most upgradable MacPro, there will still be a limit to the choice. This is due to the fact that Apple keeps a tight rein on what it uses, or approves for the Mac, to ensure a guarantee of compatibility and trust. Now while this may seem like a disadvantage, it does ensure that Apple has a consistent and trusted configuration, so when you buy one it simply works out of the box. It certainly isn’t that easy with PCs that are built for you, although manufacturers will always make sure that things are, at least initially, compatible.
Advantage #2 - Software Consistency
With Windows, version and update changes can impact other parts of software installations and caution has to be exercised. Incompatibilities have to be catered for. This is something that limits user options within the council. There seems to be a real paranoia among Windows users around making changes, or around the unknown impacts of making changes. Apple may appear to be limited by software choice (it isn’t, but in some areas there’s not the range that is offered for Windows and in some categories, Mac software actually offers a wider choice). The reason is usually explained away by the fact that a Mac generally just works without compatibility issues and gets the best out of the hardware. It also tends to be more
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 6
consistent in how it operates, something that has always been true of Mac Software, but certainly not the case with Windows PC software.
Increasingly these days, major applications are presented with a closely matched look and feel across multiple platforms, but it’s also interesting that software such as MS Office updates tend to released in a Mac, PC, then Mac order so that a Mac version is sometimes ahead of the Windows version in look and feel – plus the Mac version often has additional features.
Advantage #3 - Security
This is an important issue.
Windows PCs currently has to deal with an estimated
300,000 viruses. This means, in simplistic terms that Windows PCs have to be protected from those viruses every day, 365 days a year. As we discovered with the Conficker outbreak of 2009/2010, you simply cannot protect everything, everywhere, all of the time, without placing restrictions on the use of those systems. We are already meeting the scenario in which our choice of Antivirus Software is impacting the performance of PC within the council, and now additional efforts are going into beefing up firewalls and server protection.
Parental Control Icon
How much does it cost Another Council to put all of this protection in place and support and maintain it? How much does it limit what can be done creatively in services?
How much overhead does all this place on our ICT costs? It shouldn’t be a difficult cost to calculate should it?
Macs do not get affected by Windows PC viruses period.
They do have the capacity to hand on MS macro viruses (if handling older
versions of Word 5.0), but this has no impact on the Mac itself.
This fact alone is a major reason why Macs are superior to Windows PCs.
It’s a matter of confidence in a platform and its inherent secure deign.
Currently there are no serious threats in the Mac world. People say this
could change in the future, and much like crossing the road you COULD get
run over, but that’s different from the situation where you couldn’t avoid
being run over when crossing the road. An unprotected PC, it is suggested, placed on an open Internet connection would be expected to be infected within 20 minutes or less, of first switch on2
Every Mac has the facilities for beefing up security as much as the user wants. At System level you can tailor user access, and facilities, for different types or classes of user. Built in Parental controls can be altered to dictate times of use and types of things that can be run. Even the OSX desktop can be tailored to the user while maintaining a “look and feel” that remains consistent.
The MacOS is a true 64-bit system. As such it can run applications that share its ability to use more advanced security techniques in order to fend off malicious code than 32 bit systems cannot cope with. Another Council uses XP in 32 bit only.
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 7
Multilayer system defences are used to defend OSX without you being aware or needing to be interrupted. It restricts the actions programmes might try to perform, what they can access and what else they can launch. Quite uniquely it also uses Library Randomisation to prevent malicious codes reaching targets and protects the memory using Execute Disable.
File Vault icon
Apple’s meticulous attention to detail means the Mac is built from the ground upwards to provide optimised protection from malicious software. Of course, no system can pre-empt every threat, but with updates and constant alert sweeps the Mac is as good as it gets without adding additional antivirus software. We will always advise an antivirus solution, however this is a sensible precaution as opposed to a survival necessity.
If required, data on a Mac can be encrypted. Ranging from a user account to US military standards and this facility is also a built in option called FileVault. At no extra cost!
BREAKING NEWS (01/06/2010) Google’s 10,000 employees move from Windows to MacOS due to security concerns: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d2f3f04e-6ccf-11df-91c8-00144feab49a.html
Mac computers do not offer the same level of hardware customisation options as PCs, as mentioned earlier. There are many external expansion offerings, via both the USB or Firewire connections. You can upgrade RAM and hard disc capacity in a Mac, but not much else, however a Mac comes with many features seen as “additions” which are already built in as standard on many models. Microphones, web cameras, accessibility features, illuminated keyboards, Firewire, WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet etc..... If you want maximum expansion then the Mac Pro series can be an answer. In that model you can customize the RAM, hard drive, graphics card, and add CD/DVD drives, BluRay, additional interfaces, fibre connectivity. It is a computer with an eye to the future, and can be a real business workhorse.
There is very little need for customisation (using the earlier analogy) to a BMW when you buy it, because you expect certain things from an already well-appointed car, straight from the “build to order” factory. That build to order gives you initial build choice (although not always the cheapest) but the Mac Pro allows expansions and additions as often as wanted. The Mac Pro is in effect an M3 – using the car analogy.
With PCs, you can customise just about any hardware component that you want. You can even build a PC from scratch and pick out every single piece of hardware for your own customisation preferences – and your willingness and confidence to understand technical compatibilities. If you buy a branded PC, such as a Dell, you can still customise just about anything, but it’ll be styled accordingly.
Hardware customisation is a simple difference between Mac and PC.
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 8 Understanding Macs – Its NOT Mac vs PC
Advantage #4 – The Operating System
The main difference (apart from the looks, although PC manufacturers are starting to copy that as well) between Macs and PCs is the operating system.
OSX 10.6 the modern, solid core of every new Mac
OSX is widely acknowledge as the most easy to use (indeed it is the one to aspire to), efficient, and it features a very friendly user interface that Windows has been struggling to catch up with since Apple launched the very first modern fully graphical user interface back in 1984. OS X is a completely different OS to Windows or Linux. Windows and Linux are both good operating systems, but neither of them have the simplicity of OS X. Apple took the bold step of migrating its OS platform to a 64 bit kernel nearly 10 years ago now, something Windows has yet to do.
As mentioned under Security, there are far less OS X exploits out there than there are for Windows. If you run a lot of programs that are Mac specific, and very few Windows apps, obviously having a Mac is your best bet.
Microsoft Windows 7 offers a lot of new and more modern features, many of which the ICT Services in the Council have said are not required to do the day-to-day work. The fact is (and it is mentioned later) that updating will eventually be needed, as XP will not be supported in the future. A recent document from www.ressoftware.com points out a warning:
“The upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 is unique. In this particular upgrade, profiles
between these two operating systems are completely incompatible. Thus, any upgrade from
Windows XP to Windows 7 can require an extensive and painful manual migration of settings
from the old instance to the new one.3” This document is not looking to explore XP to Windows 7,
however it is an important note to consider. Already facing a problematic migration, would moving to a Mac be any more difficult?
Advantage #5 – Its Automatic!
Actually, it is as automatic as a user wants it to be. The Mac OS shares many utility and control features with a PC, but they are easier to get to, and configure. What most people don’t realize is that a Mac is built on a UNIX kernel (that means it shares the fundamental core of its operating system with UNIX, but presents the user with an easy to configure user interface).
UNIX shares its self-maintenance routines with the Mac. The bottom line here is that the operating system runs its own routines to keep the systems optimized, tidied, cleared out and tidy. It’s a pretty nifty feature. As long at the Mac is left active overnight periodically this is all done for you, maintaining performance. UNIX systems run scheduled maintenance routines — known as maintenance scripts — to clean up a variety of System logs and temporary files. By
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 9 default, these are executed between 03:15 and 05:30 hours local time, depending on the script.
Advantage #6 - Flexibility Operating System Flexibility
Mac and Windows – and more?
If you should ever need to run Windows, or Linux, for anything you can install them on a Mac computer legally. This is a big advantage of Mac vs PC for many users including those who need to run and test software in different environments. Some computer users like to use different operating systems for different things. With Macs, you have the flexibility of OS X and Windows operating systems on one machine. You also have the option of running Windows via Bootcamp (where you just need a copy of Windows), or via a virtual machine, such as VMWare or Parallels. These even make Windows set up easier on a Mac than it is natively on a Windows PC.
Advantage #7 – Superior, Green Design Design
Apple win accolade after accolade for stunning design and superior engineering. Macs are extremely well designed computers. They are visually appealing with a consistent “built to last” “high-end” feel.
Many PCs are well designed too. Some are visually appealing and have that “high-end” feel but often it comes at the prices you expect to pay for Apple Design anyway. Where did the new Sony Vaios and HP Envys get some design inspiration? - Apple?
When it comes to Green credentials, Apple has made massive strides to completely eradicate environmentally unfriendly components and processes, to the extent that by lowering component numbers, reducing assembly stages and adopting recyclable materials Apple is again at the forefront of the industry.4
Apple also has some of the most energy light products on the market today. Take a device like the Mac Mini. It utilises an efficient power adapter, advanced power management, energy star 5.0 (exceeded), fewer toxins and recyclability, even down to minimal packaging, Apple has credentials to be proud of – something the Council could use in its advantage to reduce our own footprint on the environment. 5
Advantage #8 – Great customer satisfaction
Market research firm Forrester on Friday released a report measuring customers’ overall satisfaction with computer manufacturers. Apple not only topped the list, it blew away the competition.
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 10
Personal Computers: Apple skyrockets:
Customer satisfaction with PCs retreats for a second year, falling 1.3% to 74 to match the level of 2004-2005. Except for Dell (up 1%), the drop is connected with the Windows-based machines - Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, and Compaq are all down by 4%. Not only is Apple bucking the slide, it registers its greatest ACSI increase ever (up 8% to 85) to lead the industry by a wide margin.6
Apple has once again received top honors among computer manufacturers for customer satisfaction, and not by a small margin, either. The recent American Customer Satisfaction
Index survey, Apple beat their closest competitor by 10 points7 Apple Continues to Lead in Customer Satisfaction
PR: Apple continues to lead Dell and HP in customer satisfaction with phone-based technical support, but HP made marked improvements since 2008
You will find numerous similar references on the web stretching back several years. Apple has always been at the top of the polls.
Advantage #9 – Innovative, ahead and usually right Apple’s Innovation
Not everything Apple claims to be innovating actually is innovative. Indeed, sometimes Apple is just good at bringing a series of seemingly disparate elements together in an innovative way and they create a whole new genre of product... They did do things such as: create very simple to use creative software; developed multi-touch; developed iTunes; invented MagSafe; led the way with Digital Music Players; decided to put CDs into their computers; brought out the first Digital Cameras that were affordable; created voice configurable computers and made the Smart Phone actually work etc. Do you get HPl Tunes and a HP App Store with a HP computer?
Apple also gives you the Apple Store - a place where you can take your Mac if anything goes wrong, and there’s a good chance it will get fixed.
The Geek Squad (PC World) is not the best support out there, considering they charge a hefty fee to “optimize” your computer upfront.
Advantage #10 – Family Values Compatibility with Other Mac Products
Apple products work well with each other. Often times, PCs will have compatibility issues with cameras, video cameras, printers, scanners – even iPhones, iPods, etc... Mac computers simply do not suffer from the same issues.
6http://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=183&Itemid=189 7 http://theappleblog.com/2009/05/06/apple-customer-satisfaction-its-the-experience/
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 11
Good Default Software at even better prices
Macs come with iLife, which is iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, iWeb, and iDVD. All of these are useful programs. Council Windows PCs do have Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker, etc... but, we tend not to install these as standard in the Council. License costs for Apple Applications are massively lower than those of Microsoft ones, especially considering that the council pays around £230 per copy for MS Office, and that are for an outdated product!
Advantage #11 – You’ve got to experience the difference. Advantage #12 – Accessibility
Designed to be accessible, the Mac is (to my knowledge) the most accessible platform on the market today. It is designed with support built into the OS that starts with the first switch on of a new computer. This can enable the full setting up and configuration of a Mac by someone with sight disabilities. The Mac is the only computer to support over 40 models of Braille displays out of the box. Add screen magnification, Open and Close Captioning, alerts and audio for hearing challenged, alongside support for physical and motor skills are all thought of. You can even use the inbuilt Automator to perform the sort of tasks used everyday, or that have additional barriers to potential users. This philosophy extends out across OSX and Apple applications, as well as with many mainstream programmes using a feature called “Voiceover”, a speech annotation system that provides a very high level of naturalness and diction. The accessibility also extends to other display features, switch interfaces (for physical disabilities) and a range of third party software support. This level of support for the sight disabled alone costs many £00s on the Windows platform.
Advantage #13 – Support? Internal ICT Support
In February 2010 we initiated Macintosh training for two members of the ICT Helpdesk Team. It will take some time for them to get up to speed. The training was very much introductory, but this now means that we have resource internally to support customers to an initial level. We are advising that all purchases of Apple Hardware have 3 year AppleCare attached, which is an additional cost. This AppleCare (as described elsewhere in this document) provides not only an extension to the base warranty and initial 90 days of support, but a complete support package for the period. Discussions with Another 6th Form College have revealed that they are looking to take on Apple Certified Service status as away of finding additional work for their 3 person Technician Team. If this happens we will have an additional choice in the town. Another 6th Form College are also apply for Apple Certified Training status, which will enable us to locally access further internal training as deemed necessary.
Even the experts say “Macs cost notably less to support than Windows PCs”: http:// arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/03/survey-macs-cost-notably-less-to-support-than-windows- pcs.ars
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 12
Advantage #14 – Where are the Disadvantages?
Why PCs “might” be better (in some ways....maybe)?
You can build a PC from the ground up, picking each individual component. PCs give you maximum customizability. Want to build? Get a PC
PCs are generally cheaper in price. You can get the same processor, amount of RAM, and hard drive capacity but you will have to take responsibility.
A broad market of Branded PCs is available. You have many options when it comes to choosing a PC: Dell, HP, Gateway, etc... There are currently only 6 types of Mac computer, all from Apple: MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. Each is really a top-notch design.
You can find practically any software for PC. Just make sure it is from a legitimate source or you might end up with a virus. Macs offer a more limited selection, but no category is unrepresented in the tens of thousands of applications that there are out there today. Even Games are arriving in some numbers now.
The Council is still locked into an XP model. Moving from XP to Windows 7 is a big step, but benefits could be significant. This is something not considered in this document however. The change in processor has forced Apple to take the radical step of changing its software underpinnings. Macs were always the MOST backward compatible, PCs generally have poorer backwards compatibility but with the launch of Snow Leopard last year the older G5/G4 based Macs (6 – 10 years old) will no longer be supported by software developments. You can, however, still run Leopard 10.6 – in essence Leopard is the cross processor version of OSX on which Snow Leopard is based, and catered for both PowerPC processors as well as Intel manufactured ones.
More people use PCs, although Apple now has approx a 10% stake in the overarching PC marketplace in some sectors. You will note that Apple seems to appear in just about every TV programme and US drama these days. PCs do have a larger support community behind them, but then they need it because they. But boy do they need the support?! Have you seen the queues that form in PC World on a Saturday morning?
Advantage #15 – Potential savings?
So, at the end so a somewhat lengthy exploration, where are potential savings to be made?
It is not easy to specifically tie down Return on Investment figures as each application in each situation tends to require a different approach. We are lucky to have a 100% Mac based campus in Another 6th Form College, which can help, from an educational stand point. I therefore have
compiled this list from a range of locations including our friends at the 6th Form College.
1) One Operating System across the Mac range means that you can in effect have one build instead of having to create one for every variant and every change. This reduces complexity and so reduces potential problems (waste) and variation.
2) Software is consistent, and again variation is therefore reduced. Apple’s own updates are delivered automatically with minimal or no incompatibilities.
3) No PC virus issues reduces the cost of virus protection and also removes the complexity that arises when there are intrusions. The recent Conficker outbreak, as an example
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 13
cost Manchester City Council some £1.5million8. The cost of Conficker to Ealing Council in 2009 was £1.0m. Many other councils and companies has also suffered costs due to virus incidents. The cost to Another Council?
Over the period over 09/10 which includes the 4 month period of resolution, the number of support calls related to viruses increased by 1300% per month.
4) With a cost to upgrade of £25.00 the latest version of the Mac OSX (10.6 Leopard), the additional potential cost is kept minimal. All platforms. At the point of purchasing new computers, will provide an inclusive operating system. In the case of our PCs we actually substitute the supplied “latest” Windows for a version of Windows XP. This means that should we want to move at some point to the latest version of Windows there will be an additional cost.
5) Automation brings advantages for users, allowing them to use the computer more simply with potentially complex configurations hidden. The saving for ICT support can also be assumed.
6) One computer, on which many potential operating systems can run. Our City Learning centre has implemented Mac suites that can be simply utilised as Windows computers when needed. 20 computers can offer 40 systems in a round about sort of way.
7) I’ll use an example. A Mac mini computer uses 110W, 1.39W asleep, 13.5W at idle (according to Apple this is the lowest power consumption of a production PC in the world, http://www.apple.com/macmini/environment.html). This compares with a typical small format modern PC such as the HP 8000 series employed by the Council is 240W max, over twice that of the Mac Mini. The savings here are both energy to power the computer, but also power NOT required for Air Conditioning and cooling. The question about how much power older PC variants consume has still to be taken into account, but efficiencies are only improving.
8) The life expectancy of a PC these days is around 5 years. This is “old” in reality because it would be certain that a modern operating system could not run effectively on it. This is simply deferring issue that eventually have to be rectified. In the council we tend to run our PCs for as long as possible, and that has recently been up to 8 years. The problem with the older machines is ultimately speed and compatibility with modern software. Another 6th Form College run their Macs for up to 7 years.
9) Some facilities that are built into the Mac are actually providing savings. Microsoft charge a license fee for the use of Microsoft Exchange. This cost, £33 per computer, is significant across the estate. Apple’s Mail client links to the Exchange Server at no cost. Considering the cost of Microsoft Office (£236 per computer) is already under scrutiny, it is work pointing out that we can access Apple iWork Suite (Page Layout, Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation) for under £1 per seat. Then there us always Open Office at £0, as Freeware. The huge cost reduction is worth exploring.
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 14
10) Accessibility software can be very expensive. The additional cost of between £300 and £600 is not unusual, and every Mac has advanced facilities actually included as part of the operating system.
11)PDF generation is something a number of departments utilise, and the cost of software to do this can be up to £130 per PC. Again, the Macintosh does this “out of the box”.
12) Multimedia capabilities have always been part of every Mac specification (except the Mac Mini, because it does not include a screen). High quality microphones and cameras play a part for digital communications which usually have to be added on a PC.
13)iLife is a rich application set that covers Image and Photo management and manipulation; Music, video and podcast management in the form of iTunes also provides synchronisation and cloud services; GarageBand offer a studio environment for music creation and Podcast development; iMovie is a powerful video editing suite; iDVD is a DVD writing application with some very professional features; Finally iWeb provides a simple to use web authoring and blogging tool. All this is in effect, free.
14)There are numerous references in this document to the lower cost of managing and maintaining Macs over PCs. I refer here to Another 6th Form College who have built their model for supporting Macs around the knowledge that support is significantly lower. They have a team of three staff to manage around 1500 Mac computers across their campus. They run, install, manage and maintain the estate including servers and infrastructure. The ICT team is a team of 4, with the lead being the Vice Principal, who actually only manages the team. Here in Another we have a team of approx 15 support staff..
Comparing Mac and PC..? Which one is better? It’s all personal preference, and that’s how it should stand. There is no reason why a Mac cannot exist as a full, secure and valid client on the council network. Some people like Macs better, some people like PCs better, and some of that will depend on what people are willing to revisit and learn again.
It’s not all down to opinion, and preference, but in some areas the Mac is clearly a leading choice, indeed a natural business choice if you are a creative or expect to do a number of varied tasks. It is also an issue of security.
You simply need to experience the difference between a Mac and a PC, but in reality if all you do is type text, work out a few figures etc, and then a Windows PC is OK. But don’t connect it to the Internet!
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 15 Apple Pricing (Not for final document)
If you use the typical approach to comparing prices of a Mac to a Windows PC without taking any other specific, individual or lifetime cost issues into consideration you will be wasting your time. Apple has never sold its products on a specification listing, but has more used business or lifestyle issues that can add up to much more realistic user expectations. Apple tends to emphasise what you cannot do with its hardware and software rather than list speeds and specs.
Apple hardware (and software, as Apple bundles FULL COPIES of software with Macs) starts at prices that can be perceived as higher than ranges from PC manufacturers, but you really need to compare like for like. Tier 1 manufacturers (such as HP that we use) are the original manufacturers of their hardware, and they use components often manufactured by or for themselves bringing a level of consistency and better long term compatibility. 2 Tier and below are often simply assemblers of hardware sourced from 3rd Party vendors.
Ecologically a position a manufacturer takes on the make up and assembly of its products can have a profound impact on its “Green” status. Some may read of the issues at Foxconn, one of China’s premier manufacturing plants where workers conditions have been under scrutiny. Apple is helping to make conditions better9
Please see http://www/apple.com/uk or go directly to http://store.apple.com/uk. Prices shown here are Applestore - 4%
The URL shown above provides access to the whole UK AppleStore (i.e. standard pricing for all Apple products without discount). The AppleStore does offer its own promotions that may not be available from other Apple Dealer outlets, but it does provide a sound and regularly updated pricing reference.
Another Council has negotiated a discount of 4% on all of these prices through MCC (Micro Computer Consultants).
Another Council can also access pricing at the Local Authority Discounts Store http:// store.apple.com/uk_epp_5001073
This document has been created by John Rudkin as a response to a request for a “Business Case” for Macs in the Council. While not focused on a particular role requirement, it can be modified to do so quite easily.
Elements of this document were initially taken from a series of web resources including Apple itself, and this is acknowledged.
Apple Own Web sites:
http://www.apple.com. Add” /uk” for UK specific content.
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 16
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArti cleBasic&articleId=9076698&pageNumber=1 (PO)
An Apple skeptics take on Apple – good read: http://url4.eu/5CzSc
Alternative address - http://www.cpatechnologyadvisor.com/print/The-CPA-Technology-Advisor/ The-iPad-Wins-Over-an-Apple-Skeptic/1$2824.
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2003/tc200308 28_3851_tc056.htm (PO)
“Why Windows Update desperately needs an update” http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/0,14179,2914519 ,00.html
“Microsoft warns of critical IE flaws” http://news.com.com/2100-1002- 5066511.html?part=dht&tag=ntop
“Computer worm exploits Windows flaw snarls networks” http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStoryalert.cfm?ArticleID=45 74
"The Mac in the Gray Flannel Suit” http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_19/ b4083036428
“From Wintel to Mactel http://www.franchisetimes.com/content/story.php?article=00047 “Defending the Mac in Three Minutes or Less” http://www.lowendmac.com/lab/03/0305.html “The Problem Exists”
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 17
“Macintosh/Windows: Cost and Productivity Analysis http://www.pfeifferreport.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4 2)
“Mac or PC in Education http://regina-coeli.tld.pvt.k12.oh.us/TCO.html
“Mac vs. PC cost analysis revisited” http://www.macworld.com/article/59565/2007/08/ costanalysis.html
“Once and for all, proof that Macs are cheaper than PCs” : http://machinist.salon.com/feature/2007/11/07/mac_price/index.html
“Mac vs PC Info: The Study of How Macs Compare to PCs Link: http://www.macvspc.info/ PDF version: http://www.macvspc.info/websitePDFs/MACvsPCCombined.pdf http://www.macvspc.info/pages/01b-local_report.html (LS)
“PC Myths Debunked” http://www.macvspc.info/pages/01f-pc_myths_debunked.html (LS)
“Why Use Macs in Your Local School?” http://www.macvspc.info/websitePDFs/ 14WhyUseMacs.pdf
“Dual-Platform Support Costs” http://homepage.mac.com/smkolins/ggstudy/ggstudy.html
Above References from “Total Cost of Ownership, Soft Costs, and Intangibles March, 2009”
See also footnotes 1 to 7 above
Another Council ICT Services CORE ICT SERVICES 18
1 above 2 above 3 above 4 above 5 above 6 above 7 above