Managers that are too smart to learn from their employees

So a Have you ever had a manager that was so experienced they just shut down your ideas?

I was training and managing a very talented sales manager that I planned to promote in 2003. He took initiative and had unique methods that worked well for him. Due to family he had to resign and take a position in another city that we didn’t have any facilities in. He was promised a GM position over sales and had his choice of which location and was supposed to be trained as a district VP.

When he got their and was suggesting marketing and sales practices to increase in his district. His executives repetitively shut him down responding with “We tried that” or “that not the customers we want” and “that’s not efficient”.

Question, what are the effects on employees when executives and managers shut down creative ideas? His suggestions weren’t just ideas but proven methods that were successful for him and his staff previously. I call this putting up an electric fence. The concept is that when you have cattle you turn on the fence for a week or so and the entire hear learns not to touch it. Turn the fence off and that thin wire will keep the entire heard, even their new calves (learning from their parents).   Managers who shut down ideas for employees.

Businesses spend more than $60 billion on training in the US alone, and more than 50% of all dollars go into technology, tools, coaching, and other “non-instructor led” solutions. This is tracked with results of course and almost all of the money misses the mark.

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Re-Engage your employees, it’s your job!

Some employees rest before they’re tired. Others perk up in the parking lot at 5 o’clock. Some quit long ago, but have forgotten to tell you. All these employees show up to work every day and give you the minimum effort to stay afloat. Some eventually leave, taking with them their knowledge, experience and on-the-job training. We call these employees “the disengaged.” A study shows that disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses $11 billion annually. The global situation isn’t much better.

Many business owners and enterprise leaders try to cope with the disengagement by sending employees to accountability training. Accountability training typically focuses on topics such as creating SMART goals, clarifying expectations, empowering employees, establishing regular progress reviews and giving appropriate feedback. But a year later, even though everyone is now well-trained on the accountability cycle, the needle of engagement hasn’t moved. Why is that?

That’s because leaders need to look behind the curtain at the more prevalent causes for disengagement. Gary Hamel, professor at London Business School and one of the world’s top 50 Thinkers, puts it this way: “By far, the greatest untapped source of wealth and potential in any organization is all those people who have chosen on that particular day not to bring their imagination to work, not to bring their passion to work, not to bring their initiative to work … and the capabilities that we need most of our employees, their imagination, initiative … are exactly the capabilities that are most difficult to command. You cannot tell someone to show initiative or to be creative … those are literally gifts that people choose to bring into work every day or they don’t.

As Hamel says, the question a manager needs to ask himself is not “How do I get people to serve my company?” but rather, “How do I create the work environment and a sense of purpose that literally merits the gifts of creativity and passion?” Hamel provides several tips, which include dramatically reducing the level of fear in organizations; depoliticizing decision making (so decisions are the result of good ideas, not political power); democratizing information (so information is not used as a political weapon), and reducing the power of traditional hierarchy.

If you struggle with employee disengagement and a lack of accountability, the following tips can help you turn that around.

Take a good look at all the leaders in your organization. Research shows that one of the most important factors that affect employee engagement is the relationship with one’s immediate manager. Evaluate all your leaders, from the back office supervisors to the vice presidents—everyone who is directly in charge of others. There is no doubt that people flee bad managers. So, what do good managers do? A worldwide study of engagement shows that the managers who fuel engagement exhibit these specific behaviors: they are personally involved, they delegate and utilize their employees’ talents, they don’t withhold recognition, they actively foster a sense of community and belonging, and they provide feedback and coaching. Does every manager in your company do this?

Institute a reverse accountability program. I used this and thought it was brilliant with outstounding success. After writing about it some time ago a college student revealed someone already did it, years before me. This idea came from Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, a global provider of IT services. The company is recognized as the best employer in India. One of its core values is the belief that all managers are equally accountable to their employees. To put this into practice, all 5,000 leaders in the company undergo a reverse 360 assessment. This gives employees a chance to evaluate their managers, for development purposes. All 80,000 employees worldwide can access the results on the Web. You can hear more about the success of this approach in Nayar’s video interview with Karl Moore, associate professor at the University of McGill.

Recognizing only top performers. It is difficult to bring positive attention to your bottom performers. Managers often use a name that name effect when in public and good job when one on one. Stricktly enforce a praise in public and reprimand in private. Top performers are put on a pedestal and other employees are told to “be like this”; this has a drastically ill effect on your employees. The Gallup Organization developed a 12-point gauge of conditions that best predict employee engagement. These are 12 simple but powerful conditions that every manager should consider. They include statements such as “At work, my opinions seem to count” and “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”  Would everyone in your shop be able to answer “yes” to these? The full 12-point list is available in Feedback For Real, a Gallup Business Journal article.

Set them up for success: Development vs Training. Many managers train but the most successful teams have managers who develop. What’s the difference? Training is procedures and policies development is building confidence in your employee’s ability to create a move that is successful to them and respected by the company. Development is typically letting employees think for themselves repeating a question or allowing them to come up with the solution. This building of confidence creates a go get em attitude and can spark your piers to engage more.

Understand what drives people. If you’re an old-school manager, you may be thinking that the carrot and stick approach is the best way to control people and push them to be more accountable. As Daniel H. Pink discovered in Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us, once basic financial needs are met—that is, once people are paid adequately for what they do—what truly motivates people is Autonomy (the need to direct their own lives), Mastery (the urge to continue to get better at something that matters) and Purpose (the desire to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves). Get to know your people on a human level. I have spoke at seminars about this dozens of times as it is the single most immediate change that makes a profound difference that can change your infrastructure in a matter of weeks; with the right leaders in place. Focus not only on knowing their strengths, but also on what their unique drivers are so you can tailor your approach for best results.

Offer a cafeteria of motivators. If tight budgets prevent you from offering the compensation that people require, consider offering other motivators. A recent survey of employees revealed incentives that can work for some people, including a flexible schedule, an opportunity to make a difference in their jobs, telecommuting, more challenging work, academic reimbursement and even having their own private office. All these are low-cost incentives to consider.

Eradicate unfairness. Fairness is treating people equitably without favoritism or bias. A sense of fairness is hardwired in us—nothing demotivates us faster than working in situations where getting ahead is not a function of what you know, but who you know. A recent study shows that the number-one reason people get sick is perceived unfairness at work. The emotional hurt associated with unfairness triggers the same neurophysiologic pathways present in physical pain. I wrote Joining the Wrong Crowd

Does all this mean that accountability training doesn’t count? On the contrary, knowing what constitutes accountability in your workplace is important; however, accountability training on its own is not the panacea for what’s wrong with the engagement scores in an organization. For that, leaders need to step back and build a great place to work. They need to pay attention to a fundamental and often overlooked truth about people: How people feel profoundly affects whether or not they will go the extra mile for you.

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To Many Complicated Words in my Blog!

It’s easy to forget that writers are readers, too, and that writing is a dual act – the act of putting the words down and the act of comprehending them both contemporaneously and after the fact!

I surmise a necessity to contrive a thesaurus so I can  convey more appropriate dialogue to discern extrapolation for a general audience. However such an intention must be clearly manifested by unmistakable and unambiguous language in the attempt to extrapolate obscure bits of intelligence into manifestation.

It is difficult to use 5 words instead of one or to so more people understand the content.

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July 3, 2014 · 8:49 pm

Is there such thing as a company getting you on the front of Google? SEO

Can a company any or individual really offer and deliver when promising to get a website in the top page of search results on Google or Bing.

There is such thing but… SEO in top 10?

Not entirely true.....  but somewhat yes they often can. The question is will it beneficial to your company and what's your ROI?.

As an executive whose job and success is making a company $$$$$ this happens to be one of my expertise.  These questions need to be answered and be very careful in considering your sources, even this one. Are you focusing on growing or stabilizing company growth?

Really good SEO (search engine optimization); Typically Google Partners, can easily get you on the front page and most of the time the top 5 AT LEAST on  Google, initially with “native advertising and content advertising“. After about 90 days you see your campaign in organic results with certain “key phrases” (not keywords).  In fact there is a fortune 500 company that claims it, does it, and employees over 10,000 individuals with 200k+ clients.

It is a very popular trend to attempt to get your company in the top placement of a search engine with organic results. Business marketing has been looking at best practices to get there, giving rise to  a large amount of companies and individuals researching, offering and claiming ,organic placement.

If you have someone who really knows what they are doing you can EXPONENTIALLY increase business from the internet, but there is a but! SEO of an existing web site is very real however building a site around a complete marketing strategy plan  (not just online ) and  having unique content is 100x more important than SEO, especially in high competitive fields.

The issue is how competitive YOUR service,items, area and market is? Lets take roofing, very high competition and place it in a very high market, DFW. To get in the top 10 the search terms have to be specific, very!

Extreme Example of the#1 spot  “Roofing contractor needed for flat metal roof work in north Arlington” 

With the above search term most can guarantee a high result and professionals can get  you #1. How is this profitable for your company? In not even sure it has ever been searched for.

Now professionals  can optimize your site to result in somewhat of a ROI (in highly competitive fields).

Example of what is plausible “Laminated roofing companies in Mansfield TX”

I can easily get you on the top ten, in fact guarantee the #1 spot in 91 days if the search phrase is that specific , almost unique.

What I / they can’t do is guarantee a top 10 spot with general search. “Roofing companies Dallas”.

Adwords will get you there every time, however  in  peak season it’s only $11.90 a click for roofing in dallas.

Real, TRUE, SEO consulting (actually would be called advertising strategy) reviews and creates an entire marketing structure that targets specific profitable customers, not just phone calls or clicks. It also reviews and changes internal processes, such as sales, pricing (increases), etc based on it’s findings. These services (from many and myself) are in the $10,000+ range as you are hiring a CTO / CTE who has proven success, intimately knows business, technology and has the resources to get a huge ROI. Alone SEO and putting your web page link on about 100 pages that RELATE to your industry doesn’t mean organic results and when it does doesn’t necessarily mean profit.

When you have 10,000 organisations trying to organically get  in the top 5, what are the chances that one of the 5000 companies offering the service (even to your competitors) can get you  there? A complete, in depth review and marketing plan must be created that relates directly with  “Profit” not inquires or even customers.

If you are interested in SEO for your site look around for a Google Certified company, one that guarantees a # of calls per month- its around $1,400 a month for 3 months then drops to $100-300 for the “Platinum” (80 inquiries a month for the first 3 then 150 after that,etc) or $700 a month for bronze but you will get calls and clicks, the best offer a 100% money back guarantee. Just make sure the search phrases are targeting PROFITABLE customers not junk. Also they give you a google voice number to track the calls you get.

Google places (if you have a storefront is a must).

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Why so many Executives are getting worse – replicate or cognition?

Why so many Executives are getting worse – replicate or cognition?.

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How to get rapidly promoted Debunking Corporate Myths #1

What is management and how do I get promoted to a Manager?

Most people look at management as a downward relationship. This person is my boss (in control) – this person is my subordinate (in response). This thinking has branded hierarchical relationships that have given rise and fall to infrastructure in organisations. The most successful people view company relationships in a different perspective and benefit from it. They realise that titles are important to the one who has it not the co-workers around them.

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Why so many Executives are getting worse – replicate or cognition?

The decline of the executive of business development.

District management and holding managers accountable for statistics from an executive level is a common way to attempt to “control the result” and enforce the outcome. These ideas are often derived from a generic evaluation of what made another district, manager, employee, team, department or even company successful. .Executives often (and should) have a deep passion for identifying what will make their company successful but often this leads to a conclusion by identifying a “One solution” process that will work in all departments, stores, or people.

Does it work? Absolutely no!

Why do Executives and managers often get worse before they get better?

When their is a deep emotional need or desire people (Executives) often relate to simplistic ideals when in fact the enviroment variables were not the same, controlled properly or the presentation of it’s result was changed. Ever hear of the fact that most facts are made up? Executives typically become less effective before they become more effective during the course of their career. Through my experience part of this reason is from the over analyzing the successful actions (process) and underestimating it’s unique environment. This leads to a generic identification of a “successful scenario” and trying to replicate it by enforcing “THE” solution for all locations, managers or employees. 

We read books, examine case studies, become involved with other executives, attend yearly seminars and groups and some things we identify with more than others.These things we identify with are often the similar issues, or type of challenges that were overcome.

Your managers and staff will chace success naturally and attempt to acquire it’s method from other successful people, either in your organisation or not. Developing your managers to train others in “Thought development” rather than advising about processes and procedures is crucial to the dynamic, fluid growth of your company.  If you don’t you will be chasing the qualities you find in that “one super” manager instead of developing the infrastructure your people need to take less time, money and effort to “hit the number” not to mention developing that 6th “Super Manager”.

Your job and expectations as an executive is well known to you,  your success will be dependent on your vision and cognition not replication. 

Example of a bad environment to attempt replication.  

Store one is a high market traffic. Conclusion = Good location

Store two is low market traffic Conclusion = Bad location 

Store two had 5 managers that couldn’t turn a profit then was appointed a 6th and almost instantly started making money. This manager can turn almost any store around becomes are conclusion (or even if he has turned 10 around) 

Executive investigated the scenario and took the process, procedures and policies of manager 6 and attempts to replicate it in all managers or locations.  

This is a simple example of how an Executive may logically conclude by generic observation to incorporate a standard of evaluating “numbers and process management” of the entire organization.

What makes for a more accurate assessment of success in a manager, location, customer base or process is not the similarities between them but the similar accomplishments given their differences in environment and processes. 

As an executive do you think a fortune 10 (TEN) company can be ran by 11 employees?

Manage the development of people not their numbers when it comes to process. Focus on their vision and expand the thinking of your people by expanding your own. Start writing your own books instead of just reading them. 

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Executive Management Tests and how Fears stagnate growth.

Business Owners FEAR, is it gripping you? How to Identify it,  avoid it and how to remove it from your decision makers.

Small to mid size business owners / VP’s often get stuck in “FEAR based Management” when attempting to expand, grow or stabilize their company. Most of the time the limiter is FEAR and I have seen it stagnate growth, loose valuable employees, create a breading ground for negative thinking and sometimes be the death of companies. Lets ask you a question to assess your current mindset.

“Could someone else OVERALL (in most or every area) run your company better than you?”

Take great care when answering this question. Great care = Time, Humility, evaluation,

If your answer is no, not really, not in ALL areas or even not the same then you could be bound with FEAR chains and limit the success of your corporation. The facts are that there are many, many individuals that could run your company better than you, The failure to identify with this often limits thinking, creativity, humility, eagerness to learn and a limited understanding of the risks your taking. This could be in areas of marketing, employee engagement, hiring, promoting and accountability issues with your staff.

Most business owners who are F.E.A.R. bound follow certain trends.

FEAR based decision makers often…

“do what worked before”

“use a system that is commonly accepted”

“doing what others tell them to do (using the services of other companies to do their job (marketing)”

“micromanaging employees”

“reduce, refine, ridicule approach to patching troubles to profit”

“not giving employees the space to be creative”

“not letting your employees be their best (the talents you may not have)”

To identify FEAR in executives and managers can be difficult, identifying a FEAR in yourself can be near impossible, however it can be done! It requires a reverse approach to self assessment and forcing yourself out of the box you are in. When I talk about fear I do not mean anxiety of current situations, stress from managing associates or basic “fears” about failure in certain areas of your company”.  The FEAR i am talking about is the false positives, the paralyzing fears or the tendency to over / under react to environments and situations. Let’s give it an acronym – F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real!

 

Executive Manager Tests

Scenario – Let’s say you own a house cleaning company, have had it for 6 years and it had been growing steady for about 5 years and now you have plateau’ed. In the last year you have barely made salary because of overhead, new regulations, employee pay etc. You have invested a large majority of the companies assets to marketing that just didn’t pay off (not yet at least). Less than 14% of revenue is bankable and thats to slim in your eyes.  Lets top it off with a new development, your start off employee (house cleaner) services about 30% of your clients and like most house cleaners has a very strong bond with her clients. This particular cleaner has been a good employee, has been prompt, made 95% of appointments, and had a very low complaint rate. She is a bit “autocratic” and you never really saw her as the management type for various reasons. However lately the particular employee has been disgruntled with other “newer” staff (because of their similar pay,  or you hired an office manager that they don’t like, etc). There has been some negative talks to homeowners about your company, other staff and refusal to “stand in” for other co-workers clients or areas when needed to. Also her schedule is full (45+ hours weekly) and she is now the lowest performer when it comes to asking for referrals or giving out 1/2 off gifts for friends (a marketing strategy you developed).   House cleaning is a very personal and intimate relationship based service. It requires trust in an individual, as well as develops trusting relationships that often last a lifetime. Based on your experience you find that about 40-60% of the employees customers drop your company when you terminate an employee or they quit and doing so would put your company in serious jeopardy.  What do you do as the owner? 

 

F.E.A.R. has a tragic effect in companies and over time most executives, through experiences develop habits that limit their growth, both as an individual and over the department or company they lead.

Developing a structured thought based environment, hiring visionaries and boldly not reforming but transforming your approach  is key to growth.

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Your Marketing Costs too Much – Cost Effective Marketing – Partnership Programs 101

    In a perfect world there would be marketing programs that would only cost you if you made money using it. When your company spends money on a marketing initiative it’s always at your company’s liability as you hope that there will be a return of investment. Going back to your business plan you should have a detailed marketing plan that covers your target customers, competition, cost per customer acquisition and 5 year goal for stabilizing your company. Many business objectives are approached with a high cost marketing campaign and often these costs exceed the budgets or the results are greatly diminished from initial expectations from the market analysis.

Does your company offer services and products that would work well for a Corporate Partnership program for other established businesses?

The objective: To establish relationships with other companies who have obtained a client base that would be similar to you client base and make them money.

 

Examples of Services that work well with a Partnership Program – Repair, Consulting, Rental, design, services etc.

Products: Virtually any product that can be marketed to customers that has high relevance to their current customer base.

What would you say if someone entered your storefront location and was going to send customers that you need into your store from their own marketing efforts, you would make money on every customer, was able to increase your profitability per customer and you didn’t have to change anything or hire additional staff? Sounds impossible I know, but it happens and it can be something you offer.

 

Examples of Partnership Programs and how you can deliver it to other companies.

 

GameBox, a leader in small electronic repair offering servicing and modifications on Game Consoles, Phones, and other equipment expanded its customer base to over 70 partners increasing their repair services more that 750% in 1 year. This was accomplished by offering their services to other companies throughout their servicing areas. The following is the partnership program I developed and initiated.

 

What is a GameBox Perfected Partnership?

 

GameBox Preferred Partnerships is a service relationship between GameBox and your company. GameBox performs gaming console and electronic service repairs for your company to help your business grow. GameBox refers people to your location for service based on location and your store hours and days of operation. GameBox typically remains as a service provider directly to you not the customer. There are many benefits to your company and GameBox as will be described in detail below.

 

 

 

How our preferred Partnership Program benefits your company.

 

  • Increased Visibility – Customers are sent to your location from GameBox marketing. Game box advertises by craigslist, internet, search engines direct mail and flyers.
  • Increased Revenue – Our preferred business partners substantially increase their profitability by adding console repairs as a service to their customers.

  • Additional Services – As a partner of GameBox your company will benefit for the additional services you now offer. Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Phone repairs and console Mods

  • Additional Products – As a preferred business partner you have access to our consoles and accessories at highly discounted prices.

     

     

     

    How many repairs can you expect?

     

    The number of repairs we get from our preferred partners varies greatly from store to store. Many things affect the amount of business you will have including location, your marketing (this is very important), and competition you have in your area. Our preferred business partners average 25 consoles per week. With the average repair profit of $28 per unit that is about $3,000 a month income. Our most successful partners average over 75 units per week!

     

    How common is it for gaming consoles to fail.

     

    Very common! The Xbox 360 design has a manufacturer’s defect that has cost Microsoft BILLIONS. There has been over 55 million Xbox 360’s sold in the United States since May of 2005 and most of the units have the defect. Xbox 360 models have a failure rate of 40% in the first 3 years and 55% in 5 years of use. In fact 55% of 360 owners have had multiple hardware failures. Play station 3 failures are also becoming more common. In a combination of board failures, drive issues, laser failures, disk errors and power issues there is a staggering amount of consoles that are in need of a repair.

     

    What percentage of units can be repaired?

     

    About 93% when it comes to the PS3’s and XBOX 360’s. Wii’s, PSP’s and Phones have about a 95% repair rate through GameBox. There is no charge for units that cannot be repaired.

     

    How does the warranty work?

     

    We offer a 90 day warranty on both parts and labor. We also offer an extended warranty on most units for a small price.

     

    What should we charge for the repairs?

     

    We have attached a price list that is suggested retail price. We recommend staying with these prices so we can refer customers to your location at our advertized rate. Some partners choose to charge substantially more for our services. Ultimately it is up to you for the pricing.

     

    What happens if a unit fails in the warranty period?

     

    This is rare however does happen periodically. The customer should return the unit to your store location for a warranty repair. Sometimes the consoles just can’t be fixed. In this case we offer the customer a replacement unit and scrap the old unit. If the customer is not interested in the replacement unit then we offer the customer a full refund. This is most often refunded by you and GameBox pays you back our portion of the repair cost.

     

    How long do the repairs take?

     

    Our preferred partners get expedited service by way of pickup and drop off of the units. Typically we pick up and drop off the units twice a week on designated days. Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday etc. We have all units we pickup repaired by the next pickup / drop off day. Some customers are very anxious to get the systems repaired same day or next day. We do offer special pickup service for an extra fee for some locations.

     

    How Competitive are the prices?

     

    Our rates are highly competitive for sales and repairs. Generally you will be charging about 10-25% of the original unit cost for the repair.

     

    Who is the competition?

     

    There is estimated to be more than 50 individuals and business that offer console repairs in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. Many of these repair services are individuals that work out of their home with makeshift tools. The repairs are very complicated and require very expensive equipment to be properly repaired. GameBox has a group of techs that are certified on the units they work on and all mangers have degrees in electronics.

     

     

     

    What are effective ways to market your new service?

     

    Signs signs signs! Window signs, banners, street signs, etc are very effective. The effectiveness of your marketing depends largely on your type of business. Different marketing methods work better for different business types. For example a movie rental place would benefit from window posters outside signs, takes ones at the front counter and leaflets in the game rental area.

     

    Do the customers know their units can be repaired?

     

    Actually many do not know that the units can even be repaired. A recent investigation suggested that up to 40% of gamers do not even know the consoles can be repaired and an estimated 500,000+ XBOX’s are thrown away every year. Educating your customers on the service you will be offering is a very effective marketing technique.

     

    How do we track the units and what is the procedure when we they are dropped off.

     

    Customers drop off the units at your location. You gather the error type, name, phone number, email, and unit serial number. You and GameBox both keep copies of the repair slips. GameBox keeps and open database of your repairs that you can logon and view the repairs and warranty info along with customer information, initial error, and price and warranty info.

     

    What types of businesses are most successful?

     

    There are many types of very successful companies for repair services. Chances are you were approached by us because you fit into a category that has a lot of success offering this service to your customers. Video Game Retailers, movie /game (video) rentals, pawnshops, bookstores and PC repair companies are a few of the business types that benefit most from this service.

     

    Who supplies the marketing material and forms?

     

    The marketing material (posters, take ones, etc) is supplied by you. We do have effective posters and marketing material we can supply you at the cost of printing. The console forms and waivers are supplied by GameBox.

     

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Door to Door Sale – How to Master cold door knocks – Preparation

Knocking doors and want to know how to increase your turn around? A series of training videos that illustrate techniques and guidelines to successful door knocks. Did you know that 80% of sales are made by 20% of sale personnel? What creates this phenomenon?

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September 17, 2013 · 8:34 pm