Most people learn Microsoft Excel by hit and trial. As soon as someone explains, or they figure out how to write a simple formula to add two numbers, they think that they know everything about Microsoft Excel.
Nothing could be far from the truth! There is much more to Microsoft Excel than just adding numbers.
And I have even seen people using a Calculator even when a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is open.
Right out of the box, Microsoft Excel, whether Excel 2010, Excel 2013 or Excel 2016 can do wonders! Let’s see some examples of what Microsoft Excel can do.
Basic Things that Microsoft Excel is great to use for are:
Advanced Excel Techniques
Using Range Names
Formulas and Function like Vlookup, Text Functions, Date Functions
Macros to automate routine tasks
Sharing Worksheets and Workbooks
Protecting Worksheet, Workbook, individual Cells
Advanced Analysis Techniques and Data Analysis using Microsoft Excel:
Most businesses are always in a state of crisis, fighting some fire or the other each day. By the time one fire is put off, they find themselves involved in putting off another fire.
This is the nature of all operational work.
Similarly, if you are working on a project, things keep changing, you keep moving from one crisis to another – nothing stays the same…
Only “change is constant”.
Thus, we hardly have time to think, to plan ahead, and to be proactive. Most of our actions each day are pretty “reactive”. This is the worst position to be in. There is a total lack of control, and many a time you will feel totally “overwhelmed”… not sure what to do, where to begin, and what to do to get out of this mess or chaos.
This simply means that you do not wait for things to happen. Rather, prevent them, avoid them, and circumvent them. Have a long term view, plan, so you can see the pitfalls immediately, and you can then plan for any foreseen eventuality, and be prepared. If you are prepared, you know what to do when the event happens, if it happens. This is being proactive. It is totally in your hands.
You can take aside some time each day – ideally in the morning, or the last thing in the day, to plan your day, and actions for the next day or week in advance. Our mind, our brain is a goal seeking device. If you give it a goal, it will find ways to achieve it!
Sharpen The Saw
Covey talks about a wood cutter so busy with the work, that he has no time to sharpen the saw. Thus, he toils to cut the tree, but this task takes ever longer, due to the fact that the saw is in a pretty bad shape. The wood cutter knows that the instrument is blunt, but does not want to spend the time to sharpen the saw.
It is a pretty simple story, and makes perfect sense.
But aren’t you doing the same? You have no time to plan ahead, no time to do the right things, no time to think and then act. You believe in ‘shoot first, and think later’.
An Emerging Economy
We are living in a world of unprecedented change. Things change very fast. Each morning you pick up the newspaper, and find out some new rules imposed by the government. You can not even anticipate what their next step is going to be. You have to react in this situation. Even if our country’s economy is stable, it is impacted by the US economy, China, India and the smaller third world countries. Interest rates, inflation, GDP, economic growth rate, ERP, COE, Housing prices, petrol price, US economy, exports, exchange rates, all are changing all the time.
With so many variables, what are you supposed to do?
You Are The Commander of Your Ship
There are hundreds of things that you can control. Your thoughts, your actions, your plans can be managed and controlled. They are not cast in stone, but you can control, change, and achieve them. All you need is a little persistence, determination, and focus.
Plan for a better future. Take some time to plan, and define your actions. Just be flexible, and be ready to adapt, in case someone throws a spanner in your plans.
Invest in your Future. Now. How?
Make sure you have the right skills to do the job, and a little more. And also make sure that your team, your staff is also equipped the same way. When we have thought of every event that can derail the project, plan what we could do, what we would do if it happens, we are much more in control.
Training is the Key
Training is like sharpening the saw. A trained worker is a happy worker. He or she takes pride in the work, and has a heightened sense of self satisfaction.
Some of the known, proven benefits of training the workers are
Increased Productivity – you get more things done, with a better quality, and improve the productivity of the employees, as well as your products and services. The government is also giving generous grants to improve the productivity of the workforce. Make use of these grants.
Lower Cost – less rework, less repair, and a higher quality reduces cost overall, and improve the product. This produces cost savings for your organization.
Higher Satisfaction – with a better quality product or service, the team is happier, and take pride in the company and its products or services. It raises their self esteem, morale, and generates a feeling of self satisfaction.
Lower Turnover – with a higher self-worth, a higher self satisfaction, the employees want to stay in your organization, and this will reduce the turnover. Thus, you do not need to train the staff frequently, and they add value by giving suggestions to improve the product, processes, services, and directly
Thus, you can see how training sets a chain reaction of improved productivity, lower costs, satisfied employees and customers, and a higher brand recognition.
With so many benefits of training, you must look for every opportunity to “sharpen the saw“, and generate the maximum benefit, maximum productivity, and maximum satisfaction for your company, your employees, and your customers.
To learn more about how you can use training to improve your business, give the Intellisoft Training team a call at +65 6250-3575. I am sure you will benefit from it.
Vinai Prakash Director, Training Services
Vinai Prakash holds a Masters Degree in E-Commerce and is a certified PMI Project Management Professional. He is currently the Director & Principal Trainer at Intellisoft, providing training to commercial and government organizations in Project Management Methodology, and in various other programs to analyze data, manage IT projects, learn soft skills.
It is the time of the year when the haze strikes Singapore. From the weather forecast, it is expected to stay from September to November, due to forest fires in Indonesia & the prolonged El-Nino effect.
The Singapore ministries have urged people to stay indoors, and avoid strenuous exercises or outdoor exposure.
This does not cause much concern for the office goers… but for the people who have to stay outdoors to make a living – the technicians, service engineers, builders, foremen, from the service, oil & gas, marine, offshore kind of industries, it is a major concern.
It is important to take care of the employees, and ensure their safety and health. Simply giving out masks may not be enough. It is best to stay indoors.
One of the things that companies can do is to use this time to boost employee productivity, by sending their staff for training to improve their skills, and boost their productivity.
Steven Covey, in his famous book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”says that the 7th Habit – “Sharpen The Saw” is often the most overlooked habit.
Because we are so busy, in our “busyness”, we tend to forget, or postpone it to “someday”, or simply ignore the most important thing – our skills, our knowledge – the things that provide us with the ability to get things done, earn our daily bread, and provide for our families.
So what can you do now… while waiting for the haze to clear?
Be Proactive: Take some action now that will protect and secure your future.
Use this time wisely. Invest it in your education, skill building, capability building. Not just for your self, but for your employees also.
What kind of Training is available for you and your employees?
Computer Literacy: All people should know how to work on a computer. Basic skills like using the keyboard, using the mouse, and knowing the basics of Windows, Email does help everyone. With the declining cost of computers, there is no dearth of cheap computers. Even construction workers enjoy learning how to send an email back home.
Basic Microsoft Office Skills: People like the office receptionist, admin staff, coordinators should all know the basic computer literacy, and more… they should know how to use Microsoft Excel to create a simple spreadsheet to track employee lists, inventory, pantry lists.They can learn how to create simple checklists, track expenses, and do simple calculations with basic formulas in Microsoft Excel. Learning about fonts, margins, tabs, documents, templates, spell checks, etc. can provide the basic skills for workers to write simple emails, type out letters, documents, and summarize minutes of meetings, all using Microsoft Word.
Word Templates, Form Letters, Mail Merge, Creating Table of Contents, using the Thesaurus, Dictionary, using advanced document management options can benefit the people who do a lot of document management, and type policy and other documents using Microsoft Word training. PowerPoint presentations go much beyond the basic bullet points.
Today, you can build transitions, animation effects, YouTube videos, time and rehearse the presentation, and apply sophisticated themes, and styles, embed Excel charts, or Word Documents, and Present in numerous ways. Advanced Printing options allow you to print handouts, create slide shows, and deliver killer presentations.
Project Management Skills: Most junior, middle level executives, and even managers are working on some project or the other. In fact, most are working on multiple projects. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to pick up some basic and intermediate level Microsoft Project skills, that will enable you to come up with the Gantt Chart, check the feasibility of the project vis-a-vis the available resources, budget, and timeline.
Microsoft Project goes beyond a basic task list. Now you can establish a baseline, check progress against the plans, and take corrective actions intermediately, as the data is gathered directly from the workers, saving time, and prompting better and faster decision making. The newer version of Microsoft Project are getting better in terms of speed, and performance too!
Soft Skills: Hard computer skills are good, but they do not teach you how to communicate, how to interact with people, and how to solve problems creatively. Learning how to communicate, how to get your ideas across, and how to lead, motivate, inspire your team to greater goals is a worthy effort, and is a continuous, life long learning.
Identify the areas of improvement, training for each of your staff, executives, project managers, and the leadership team. Go for it. Quickly put some concrete steps to Get The Edge!… while waiting for the haze to clear.
Once the haze clears, you and your team will have greater clarity to achieve your organization’s vision, and will have the knowledge, skills, tips, tricks to move to the next level!
Use Government Funding for Training your staff. We can advise you on how to apply and claim the available training grants for your organization.
The Intellisoft Training team is here to help you. If you would like to discuss about the training options, need to do a training needs analysis, and help you in choosing the different types of Word or Excel training courses for your team, simply call us at +65-6250-3575 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be glad to assist you in beating the haze, and transforming your organization for tomorrow!
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