June 2017 - AdvantEdge Training & Consulting

Add the “Current Date” Line or Change the Color

Add the “Current Date” Line or Change the Color Typically, a current date line is part of the Gantt chart, but sometimes it is not obvious, as it might look like a dotted vertical line. If this is the case, you can add or change the line to be more noticeable to anyone looking at the chart. To do this, use the following steps: Ensure you are in Gantt Chart view by clicking the View drop-down menu, located in the View group of the Task tab, and selecting Gantt Chart. Click into the Gantt chart are to activate the Gantt Chart Tools contextual tab. Click the Gridlines drop-down, located in the Format Group, and click the Gridlines option. Select Current Date from the dialog box, and note the various available options to the right. Click the Type drop-down and select the solid line option. Then choose a color that makes the most sense for your charts. Click the OK button, and note the changes in the dated section of the Gantt chart. If you are creating a template, doing this will ensure that the “Current Date” line is a part of every Project file, and that it is a color that stands out easily for others. Some Microsoft Project templates will already have the “Current Date” line activated, but the color can still be changed in those files as well. Get more Project training in Denver or Phoenix with AETC.

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Quickly Identify the Excel File Type

All too often, we believe our Excel files are something they are not. An example of this is when someone instructs us to use an Excel template, but the file is actually a regular notebook. This can lead to disaster, especially if someone treats the file like an actual template and does not save it correctly, causing the workbook to be overwritten. Just as important is knowing how to save the file. If a workbook has macros, it must be saved as a “Macro-Enabled Workbook,” or the macros will no longer be included in future copies of the workbook, once it is overwritten. How do we tell the difference? Luckily, we can look at the file icons to quickly identify the file types. Each icon has a unique identifier to help us ensure we save our files properly or keep our pre-configured workbooks from being overwritten. A regular workbook is easily overwritten, so care must be taken when saving this type of file. The icon looks like this: Note that this icon has a solid green strip at the top of the icon. An Excel template will require a person to do a “save as,” regardless of clicking the save icon or doing an actual “save as” function, which keeps workbooks from being overwritten unless someone is purposely trying to overwrite a template. The icon for a template looks like this: Note that this icon has a solid green strip at the top of the icon. Workbooks with macros require saving the workbook as “macro-enabled,” otherwise macros will no longer exist in the workbook. Ensuring the macro remains in the workbook can be even more important when various objects (buttons, etc.) have embedded VBA (Visual Basic Applications) macros that will cease to work if the file is saved as a regular workbook. The icon for a “macro-enabled workbook” lookslike this: Note that this icon includes a scroll with an exclamation point at the lower right side of the icon. For more ways to make Excel work for you, take a training course from AdvantEdge Training & Consulting!

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Management, Microsoft Office, Professional Development

Your Training Budget: Money can’t buy happiness, except when it does

In today’s corporate environment, companies can struggle to keep morale and productivity high, and to keep a competitive edge.  Retaining talented employees and keeping their performance at peak capabilities can be a challenge for managers. A training program can be a key factor in meeting all of these objectives. However, many companies are hesitant to embrace the expense of properly training employees, and keeping their skills up to date, perhaps thinking their dollars could be better invested elsewhere, such as new technology or software. When one looks at the actual costs of an under-trained work staff, it becomes clear, however, that a good technology training program is vital to a healthy bottom line. An under-trained workstation user can cost up to eight times more to support as a well-trained employee, and those same untrained workers take three to six times longer to complete a task than their properly trained counterparts.  Every hour of training saves five hours of productivity that could be lost if an employee lacks technology skills. Recent studies have shown that cutbacks in training directly affect employee morale, which leads to high employee turnover and lower overall productivity.  Employers can lose about $315,000, per employee turnover, due to open position, hiring, on-boarding, lost productivity, and other costs.  Training is one of the top ways to retain talented and motivated employees. When one considers the fast pace at which a competitive company must update its technology, it can take as little as four months for knowledge and skills to become obsolete. When an employer does invest in new software and IT systems, they will not fully realize the benefits of their investment unless users are fully trained to make use of them.  Software applications often go underused, because staff do not have adequate knowledge and skills to use them effectively. Findings have shown a direct correlation between a staff’s computer ability and corporate productivity. With one third of all formal training in the US devoted to computer training, a company dedicated to peak performance and productivity must have an ongoing IT and software training program. Employers should consider training as a high-return investment, not as an expense.  A company should decide what its training needs are, and aim to keep training relevant to each specific position, and ensure that training is continuous, ongoing, and consistent. Companies engaged in a successful training program only spend about $1500 per employee per year. The AdvantEdge Training & Consulting Difference AdvantEdge Training & Consulting can help a company understand its training needs, using productivity assessments for the company’s systems, and customized knowledge assessments to determine the training each employee requires. Then AETC will develop a training program that delivers. AETC offers customized training programs that can be delivered on-site, as well as a full schedule of public training courses delivered in our virtual training center format. AETC courses are based on the latest research into effective training techniques. Current adult learning theory shows that students retain information based on the way in which they learn: Students retain 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they both see and hear, and 90% of what they see, hear, and perform.  Research also has shown that training techniques consisting of computer skill demonstration followed by hands-on practice are among the most effective methods for achieving positive training outcomes, and ensuring skill utilization. Most importantly, classes that involve a live, in-person instructor who is teaching in the same room as the students, generates the highest level of retention of the materials.  This method is found to be more effective than a lecture-only program or self-study (using books or computer-aided instruction). AETC, therefore, has created an environment for its software application learning that guarantees the highest knowledge retention by its students: Students observe an in-person instructor-led demonstration of software operations, then immediately perform these tasks themselves, with any needed assistance and guidance from the instructor. Each course is based around a workflow topic or project, designed to increase retention and make the subject matter easily translatable to real-world projects. AETC classes are small, limited to a maximum of twelve people, ensuring that each trainee gets the individual attention they need from the on-site instructor.  AETC Corporate Courses are designed to fit an entire level of training into a half-day session, so there is less interruption to work time.  Our instructors are skilled, accredited, and experienced trainers whose strength lies not only in content knowledge, but also in effective training methodology to increase content retention and better address individual trainee needs.  Our trainers also focus on making the classes fun and interesting with lots of instructor and student interaction. Each student receives a training manual, Quick Tip card, and any needed practice files, giving them the reference resources they need to put their skills to use, even long after the training is over. Read more about the AdvantEdge training possibilities, contact one of our sales specialists to begin investing in your staff now.

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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence — Self-Regard

Emotional Intelligence has now become the benchmark for predicting your success in the world.  HR departments place more value on a high EQ than on a high IQ when interviewing job candidates.  Emotional Intelligence is how we react to situations and life in general.  It is how we view things – Have you ever met anyone that is always negative about everything?  Imagine how their life would change if they could learn to view the world through a positive lens.  It is how we react to things – Do you know someone who goes off the handle at the smallest thing?  Imagine how many more people would willingly help them, and how much more they could accomplish, if they could have react more rationally.  It is our own self-reflection – Do you know someone who always places blame on others?  Imagine how they could be more successful if they had more self-confidence, and could identify, own, and improve on their weaknesses without trying to brush them off. All of these things relate to a person’s emotional intelligence.  Controlling our emotions does not just affect ourselves; it affects responses from others.  If you can read and influence other’s emotions, and even anticipate their behaviors, imaging what you can accomplish! So how do you improve your emotional intelligence?  There are 15 EQ components to develop and improve, based on the Bar-On EQ-I model by Reuven Bar-On.  The first one is related to your Self-Perception, and, more specifically, your Self-Regard.  To be successful in Emotional Intelligence, we have to start with how we feel about ourselves, and our ability to accept ourselves.  This includes embracing your faults as well as your strengths.  If you have a strong Self-Regard, you will be self-confident, but will also be open to suggestions and change.  You also will not bristle or blame others when mistakes are made.  People with a good self-regard are willing to take ownership of mistakes because they accept even those parts of themselves. People who do not have a strong self-regard can be either timid, or meek, or can come across as over-confident and arrogant.  Both of these personality traits can be created when someone does not feel good about himself or herself, because they have not accepted and embraced their faults.  They over-compensate for what they subconsciously feel are their inadequacies in hopes of covering them up. However, other people are not stupid.  They see through these things.  One key to EQ – Do not underestimate the perception of others.  Even if someone may not consciously be able to pinpoint what the issues are with an arrogant person, they do know that something is off and not quite right. So how do you work on improving your own self-regard?  Start by taking a critical look at yourself: 1 – Jot down 3 things that you really like about yourself.  There cannot be any “buts” in the statement.  It has to be 100% positive. 2- Then, jot down 3 faults, or warts, that you have.  The power here is in how honest you can be about the warts. 3- Acknowledge your warts and keep an ongoing conscious eye on ways and opportunities to improve them. 4 – If it makes sense in a specific situation, confess one of your faults.  For example, you may say “I’m sorry that I get a bit stressed when something isn’t exactly right.  I am a perfectionist and I know that is what puts me off kilter. So I’ll try to work on that so I don’t overreact.” Oftentimes we are afraid that we will look weak in front of others when we admit these types of things.  But it actually has the opposite effect.  We actually feel more respect toward someone when they confess their own issues.  It makes them more human and makes us feel more of a bond with them.  We feel a bit honored that they felt they could share that with us. There is a lot of power in recognizing and sharing your faults!  If you accept that you are not perfect, it allows you to laugh about your faults, so that they do not generate feelings of shame or inadequacies.  It also gives you more of a sense of certainty of who you are (since you are not trying to hide parts of yourself from yourself).  You will like yourself more.  It makes you more confident but authentic, rather than arrogant.  A strong self-perception is critical to EQ because it allows you to learn, grow, and change, and to take risks and venture out into the world to accept all it has to offer. Improve your EQ with an Emotional Intelligence course.

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Excel Gridlines – Hate them?

The light gray Excel gridlines are a normal part of Excel workbooks when opening a new blank workbook. For some, these gridlines are annoying. Unfortunately, there are no default settings for eliminating gridlines in new workbooks. However, there are a couple of different ways to alter gridlines once you have opened a new workbook or are editing an existing workbook. Using the “Gridlines” command: This is the quickest way to remove gridlines, without having to go into the settings area, to turn off the gridlines for the active worksheet only. Click the Gridlines radio box to remove the check mark, located on the View tab in the Show Setup a Personal Template:If you want a workbook to open with one or more gridline exempt worksheets, then a template needs to be built, ensuring worksheets do not have gridlines, and requires intentional updating to overwrite the template. Open a new blank workbook in Excel. Create the number of worksheets you want created within the workbook when using the template, by clicking the plus icon next to the worksheet tabs at the bottom. Remove the gridlines from each worksheet, using the step earlier in this post. Click the File tab, then Save As. Click Browse, so the Save As dialog box opens, then select Excel Template from the Save as Type:dropdown list. (By default, this will save your template in the Personal section, when creating a new workbook.) Give your new template a name, like Blank with No Gridlines and click Save. Close your new template, so there are no conflicts. Next time you open Excel, click New under the File tab, then select Personal and your new template will appear. For more ways to make Excel work for you, take a training course from AdvantEdge Training & Consulting!

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