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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Personal Growth Category

A Management Insights study (link to study press release) finds that IT professionals with MBAs earn 46% more than those with bachelor degrees and 37% more than those with other master degrees. Anything that increases pay this much is interesting. I'm certainly glad I have mine and believe it was very worthwhile.

I think there are probably 3 reasons for the finding:
1. Those who get MBAs have management aspirations and managers make more.
2. The trend of IT personnel holding H1s without MBAs and without management/higher pay aspirations. IT has grown this way without as many in management layers.
3. IT really is business oriented and to thrive, one needs to be very attuned to the business. MBAs help IT personnel understand that focus better. IT success is certainly very much more about the business than college made it out to be!

Technorati tags: Information Technology, MBA

Posted March 24, 2008 9:56 AM
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Last week, I focused on...
1. Time Management
2. Desire to succeed
3. Goal Setting

I fill out that list out further with these...
4. Brual honesty with oneself
5. Willingness to do the things nobody else wants to do
6. Paranoia

Being brutally honest with yourself means getting past ego talk and ego demands and setting progressive goals towards your bigger goals. As you hit these interim targets (or not), you know exactly where you stand.

Being willing to do the things nobody else wants to do might mean physical demands like traveling or it might mean doing the extras like writing or documenting. This might mean the development of new skills which don't necessarily come naturally, but are valued at your employer or in the market. The first article I ever wrote took me every evening of my week of vacation - in Hawaii. I didn't exactly bang that one out!

Personally, I count paranoia as a quality that sets truly top performers apart. Andrew Grove titled his book "Only the Paranoid Survive". If you're paranoid, you expect the worst and prepare for it. You expect to not get that promotion or for your company to have a setback or for the ETL jobs to fail tonight. In the process of expecting, if you don't automatically create a way to prevent the worst, you will be better prepared to react to it.

Keep striving. Top performers, by definition, are elite. I've tried to put some meat on that definition here in these posts.

Posted June 4, 2006 10:19 AM
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I have been advising companies on data warehousing, business intelligence, information strategy and master data management for several years. I don't have all the answers, but I do believe I can take a client through the correct process to grow and arrive at the best answer for their challenges where I do not immediately possess an answer. Much of that counseling has really been the process of helping capable individuals come to the necessary conclusions themselves. I believe that leaves behind a better client than before I came - always a goal of mine. If I can improve an individual, or team's, performance and success capability, then that is something the client can benefit from for years.

Due to the personal nature of lots of my consulting, I think I've come to understand why some professionals achieve a high degree of success while others do not. I've noted some fundamental characteristics that I believe to be common among top performers and I want to share them with you over the course of several blogs with the title of "Top Performance."

I've blogged about this before because it's been such a dominant observation of mine, but time management bears repeating first here. Top performers set a high standard for what merits their time. They have a clear sense of what will bring them success or failure. Sometimes, these are written performance goals, but more often than not, they are the unwritten, but expected, goals. If the goals are not understood, top performers understand they cannot waste their time. Instead, they will take the time to define their goals, taking only small detours pursuing targets that may or may not be ultimately deemed worthwhile.

They spend their time on those things that attract value to their goals, being proactive and paranoid about making incremental progress towards those goals with every daily task. If an task does not contribute to the goals, it is quickly disbanded and not repeated. Drama and worry about inconsequential things, or things one has no control over, or things from the past which cannot be changed, is not part of the game plan. If goals are unclear, staying late and working extra hard may actually lead to nothing more than frustration.

I believe that stellar performers have an innate desire for success that transcends their current job title and even company. Continually pulling themselves out of the detail to make sure their activities are aligned with their goals. They embrace change and their quest for knowledge and new skills is constant.

I'll go through some more this week.

Posted May 29, 2006 11:47 AM
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According to "Missed ZZZ's, More Disease?" in Science News, skimping on sleep may be bad for your health.

While it's too soon to say moderate sleep deprivation can damage your health, definite hormonal changes occur when people get less than 8 hours of sleep. Business intelligence professionals are probably more guilty of this than most.

Research indicates sleep deprivation can increase risk of obseity, cancer, diabetes and heart trouble.

I think I'll quit blogging and go to bed.

Posted November 30, 2005 11:50 PM
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I found this study interesting since we are getting close to that big family holiday, Thanksgiving.

Want to live a long time? Make some friends.

FRIENDS, not family, are one of the keys to a long life, a study of elderly Australians suggests as reported in New Scientist.

The research suggests that friends offer advice without pressure, which might help people take care of their health without adding stress.

Posted November 18, 2005 9:49 AM
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I know many readers of this blog, along with myself, are addicted to their Blackberry or, in my case, Treo. My peace of mind has gone up tremendously with the adoption of this technology. Now, when I'm away from my laptop, I can still thumb out an email (or two, or three, or ten). I have been wondering if this is just good for my thumb dexterity or if indeed I am doing structural harm and am pioneering a modern version of carpel tunnel, focused on the thumbs.

For what it's worth, I always give my thumbs a full range of motion exercise after thumbing away a long email.

This article on, "Being all thumbs gets painful" talks about "Blackberry Thumb" - a catch-all phrase to describe a repetitive stress injury of the thumb as a result of overusing small gadget keypads.

Be careful out there!

Posted October 28, 2005 8:43 AM
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I do about 10 environment assessments of DW/BI environments per year. I appreciate being able to fine tune or overhaul an environment so it is best able to meet its goals, both short- and long-term. People, process and technology are analyzed as a result.

All too often, I find that some of the optimizations are unrelated to client preconceptions about where they may be. One common optimization comes down to simply time management by the team members.

For example, one interview some time ago was supposed to be at 9:00. It started around 11:00. Read on to learn why...

Pete (name changed) was going to leave his house at 8:30 to get to work by our 9:00 meeting. He got off to a late start since he had misplaced something he needed for the day and had to scour the house (only to discover the file was in his bag all along). He also had to do the dishes that morning. He had forgot his wife was leaving early that day.

Then the gas gauge was empty and he found himself in the morning gas line at the pumps. When he got in, the parking lot was full and he had a "15 minute walk" to the office. He began working on the fires on his desk, trying to quickly accomplish some things before our meeting. He spilled his coffee and when he rose to go get paper towels, he noticed he had some voicemail, which reminded him he promised to call someone at 10:00 (after our meeting).

For some reason, this story came to mind today as I thought about the ripple effect of time mis-management and the importance of corralling the non-reusable asset we all have, time.

Posted October 12, 2005 1:34 PM
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