Radio Buttons & Check Boxes
The event generated when the user interacts with these controls is not a click event as it is when the user interacts with a button, but a CheckChanged event. This is because when the user clicks on these controls, they intend to change the current status of the control. A problem occurs when a beginning programmer, or one new to VB, assumes that a click means the user is selecting (turning on) that option. It is actually just as likely that the user is deselecting or turning off that option.
Think about the operation of a Check Box compared to a Radio Buttons. Check boxes have to be deselected by the program user whereas Radio Buttons are automatically deselected for the user when they click on a different radio button.
So, does clicking turn the check on or does it turn the check off? Truthfully it can do either one. If the check is currently on then clicking it will turn the check off and vica versa. This is precisely the reason why the procedure is named CheckChanged. It is changing the check from its current state to the opposite state. Radio buttons and Check boxes are controls which alter the state of something in a program. Buttons are controls which activate an event procedure. If a programmer forgets that the Radio button and Check box event is CheckChanged, their coding will generate peculiar and unreliable results. Here is a program you can download which demonstrates this behaviour.
The most important effect of this, is that when we code using these controls, we must not assume that the user event is turning the state of the control on, rather it is changing the state of the control. It might be turning the control off. The easiest way to cope with this ambiguity when coding is to always use a Forced Choice selection structure. Explicitly check the state of the control by testing the Checked property of the control. Then provide one set of commands to be executed if the control is being selected, and another set of cammands to be executed if the control is being deselected. This way we can code the event to respond appropriately whether it is turned on or whether it is turned off. Typical code would look like this:
If EmailOptIn.Checked then
optIn = True
optIn = False
This is better code - more reliable - than using just a conditional and incorrectly assuming that the user is always turning the control on. Making assumptions about the state of controls in programming always causes problems sooner or later.
Management EssentialsTo manage a business a manager must control the outcomes of daily activities so that the goal of the business is achieved now and in the future. To most of you I am sure this probably sounds like a statement affirming the value of motherhood and apple pie. With all that has been written on management why another article? What can one more article add?
It is said that once we understand something, it can be described in just a paragraph or two. If this is true then we certainly do not yet understand management! Rather than paragraphs, we have many tomes written on the subject. The authors of these various books, while agreeing on many things, differ on many others. So the debate continues, but managers need practical answers today. They cannot wait until the topic is fully understood. They are responsible to act now, but while action is necessary, it is not by itself sufficient!
As one who holds both a bachelors and masters degrees in the subject, has practiced it for several years in organizations both large and small, and has taught it for over ten years at the post-secondary level, I can attest to the breadth of the topics encompassed by management. The breadth alone ensures that it would take several volumes just to introduce the subject. It would require a library to adequately cover the entire field of management, so this article can not be a definitive work on management.
So what is it? I will present certain ideas, to lay a foundation for a better understanding of the fundamentals of this subject. One cannot build a large edifice on a poor foundations for it will surely topple if we do. I do believe that we have adequate knowledge to properly manage any of the various organizations in our society today. However, I also believe that the breadth and depth of knowledge available to us today has obscured the issue of what is essential for managers to do. Because of this managers stumble, and they lose focus.
If the activities managers focus on do not move the business closer to their goal, then those activities, no matter how well meaning, are not contributing to the success of the business, rather they are contributing to its demise. If the actions are not contributing then the manager too is unfocussed. It is all about how a manger uses his time.
Mintzberg in his seminal study on How Managers Spend their Time commented as follows.
"A manager's work is characterized by the brevity of individual tasks, the unrelenting pace of activity, and the understanding that their work is never done. In an organizations where time management is paramount, how managers use their time is critical!"
We all know that a manage's job is never done, but how they approach the task can be quite revealing. Most of us are familiar with organizations which demand that their managers spend many hours toiling to make the business successful. Most of us are also aware that some businesses require only an eight or nine hour day from their employees and then want them out of the office. In other words time is also obviously not sufficient for success.
The textbooks say 'to manage is to monitor and control a system so it yields the desired results'. This requires that we first identify and understand the system which is our organization. Second we must understand how to manage that system. That implies we must know how to change the system to produce desired results while preventing undesireable outcomes.
Of necessity we must also be clear as to the goal of the system. This is not a trivial matter as anyone will understand when they read the literature on goals and goal seeking. All too often managers seem to lose focus and even forget what the goal of an economic system must be. This also happens if the activities managers undertake moves us farther from the goal rather than nearer to the goal. Determining whther an action will move us closer to our goal before we take the action is not a trivial matter!
I would argue that many managers do not adequately understand the system they are supposed to control. They do not understand how to change their system so as to create intended outcomes without undesireable outcomes. Many do not even understand what their goal should be. This article will show you how to remedy these devastating yet essential components.
So how do we accomplish these things. It requires the mastery of a set of thinking processes for controlling systems. The three steps of the process are:
- What to change.
- What to change to.
- How to cause the change.