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The 7 Failures That Will Make You a Better Leader

The 7 Failures That Will Make You a Better Leader | digitalNow | Scoop.it
There are 7 failures that I believe bring the best improvement opportunities:

Failure to Prioritize – Many a bad decision has come from our lack of perspective on the importance of one thing over another. The key learning here is to fully grasp the concept of “opportunity cost” – the cost of NOT doing something in favor of something else.
Failure to Decide – If the buck is going to stop with us, then we need the courage to make timely decisions, regardless of consensus or the lack of 100% of the information needed to make them. We learn that more often than not, it’s better to “do something” then let fear and inertia overtake us.
Failure to Progress – When a target is reached, the bar must be raised. And when that target is hit, it must be raised again. And again. Complacency is a state that HAS to be avoided, at all costs, and the ultimate learning here is that continuous improvement is an essential focus of any enterprise.

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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
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Raising your Digital Quotient 

Our examination of the digital performance of major corporations points to four lessons in which we have increasing confidence:

First, incumbents must think carefully about the strategy available to them. The number of companies that can operate as pure-play disrupters at global scale—such as Spotify, Square, and Uber—are few in number. Rarer still are the ecosystem shapers that set de facto standards and gain command of the universal control points created by hyperscaling digital platforms. Ninety-five to 99 percent of incumbent companies must choose a different path, not by “doing digital” on the margin of their established businesses but by wholeheartedly committing themselves to a clear strategy.
Second, success depends on the ability to invest in relevant digital capabilities that are well aligned with strategy—and to do so at scale. The right capabilities help you keep pace with your customers as digitization transforms the way they research and consider products and services, interact, and make purchases on the digital consumer decision journey.
Third, while technical capabilities—such as big data analytics, digital content management, and search-engine optimization—are crucial, a strong and adaptive culture can help make up for a lack of them.
Fourth, companies need to align their organizational structures, talent development, funding mechanisms, and key performance indicators (KPIs) with the digital strategy they’ve chosen.
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Leadership, Decision-Making and Emotion Management

Leadership, Decision-Making and Emotion Management | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Self-management and the leader’s desire for control

We typically prefer certainty—the more we know about the outcome of a situation in advance, the better we feel—and a consequence of this for leaders is that they can be reluctant to cede decision-making authority. Leaders may also believe that the perspective from their vantage point (or the expertise that helped them get there) allows them to make better decisions than others--and at times this is actually true, although certainly not always. And leaders tend to have a high need for power; this does not mean that they need to display (much less abuse) that power, but they care more about having impact and less about being liked than the typical person.

As a result, leaders often feel some discomfort or resistance when they initially consider alternatives to centralized decision-making. It’s simpler and more comforting to make the decisions themselves and instruct others to carry them out. This arrangement may work well at a small scale or in a venture’s early stages, but it breaks down once the organization begins to grow. The leader may still be the expert, but now they’re also the bottleneck. Or they’re no longer the expert, because they’re at a greater distance from the work, and their need for power is resulting in sub-optimal decisions. Or the leader’s desire for control is clashing with others’ desire for control, and employees feel disempowered and demotivated.
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Why Marketing's Data Skills Gap Isn't as Bad as You Think

Why Marketing's Data Skills Gap Isn't as Bad as You Think | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The Data Scientist Shortage
A dearth in qualified data scientists is intensifying this perceived skills gap. As major corporations prioritize data management, unsurprisingly the demand for qualified data scientists has grown. Even with many proclaiming data science as America’s best job, there is still a significant talent shortage.

McKinsey has predicted that as of this year, the demand for data scientists will be 60 percent larger than the supply. Those lucky few who recruit a data scientist will soon find that they’re expensive and hard to keep on staff for long periods of time. 

The Rise of the Citizen Data Scientist
That’s a pretty dire scenario, right? The good news is that all this talk of data scientist shortages and marketing skills gaps overlooks the improvements made in technology which simplifies data processing and automates many of the data analysis tasks traditionally reserved for fully fledged data experts. 
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You're Happy and You Know It - Why You Probably Shouldn't Show It 

You're Happy and You Know It - Why You Probably Shouldn't Show It  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Happiness is something that we tend to think is always good. There’s a positive psychology field that says we should be positive, upbeat, we should strive for happiness. The pursuit of happiness is deeply embedded in our national thinking. Yet sometimes people who are very happy are exactly the kinds of people who are exploited. That’s what we document in our research, where we look at people who are very happy. If they seem more happy than baseline happiness — people who are very happy, always chipper, always upbeat — they strike us as naive. We found that link consistently. One of the most robust findings in our research is that people see very happy individuals as naive, and in our last couple of studies we found that people are more likely to exploit those individuals.

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7 tips for disagreeing without being disagreeable 

Reframe the situation

While you may not agree on method or action, you will agree on something larger. If possible frame the situation as both of you working to solve a common problem. When you are both on the same side, it’s easier to work things out. You might say, “Hey, John, both of us want to move this project forward. How can we work this out in the best way?”
Recognize critical emotions

We think we make decisions by reason, but often they have emotional components. Our pride might be at stake. Our desire to win or be right might be stronger than reason. Recognize these emotional components even as you share the reasons behind your point of view. Find a way for the other person to save face.
Agree to disagree

At times, you may not be able to resolve the problem. You cannot find middle ground. No one is willing to change. This may be the time to step back and simply agree to disagree. You can show respect for the other person and their idea, even as you show respect for your value and plan.
There is an art to disagreeing without being disagreeable. The workplace runs more smoothly as you add this skill to your talents. And you step above the crowd when you master it.
 
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To Support Digital Transformation, IT Must Evolve

To Support Digital Transformation, IT Must Evolve | digitalNow | Scoop.it

When IT staffs devote most of their time to day-to-day tasks such as managing hardware, software and networks and resolving issues, they have little time to devote to innovation. That's risky, given the growing need to improve customer engagement, adopt the internet of things (IoT), and leverage the use of big data and analytics. The lack of strategic thinking, along with the required investment in people, process, tools and technology, could lead to missed market opportunities. An IDC survey of IT managers in 275 large organizations in 10 countries reveals that enterprises have varying rates of investment in their IT infrastructure and operations, with most adopting automation for monitoring and support only. "Optimization Drives Digital Transformation," a study sponsored by information and communications technology provider Dimension Data, suggests that enterprises need to deliver IT services more efficiently by using new automation technologies and leveraging external partnerships. Though most of the managers surveyed view IT operations and infrastructure as critical to digital transformation, only a minority said their organization is fully automated. "Forward-thinking business leaders are developing their IT to achieve digital transformation now, in anticipation of future market opportunities," said Bill Padfield, Dimension Data's group executive for services. "Flexible, scalable and agile infrastructures are needed to support these new developments, and optimizing infrastructure through automation is key to this effort."
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Making the Customer Experience Digitally Driven

Making the Customer Experience Digitally Driven | digitalNow | Scoop.it

While top marketing executives said their organization is making strides in collecting and processing customer-related data, they admit that they have a long way to go in developing the kind of digitally driven customer experience that's needed today, according to a recent survey from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and IBM. The accompanying report, "Connected Interaction to Power Brand Attraction," indicates that few companies have met or exceeded expectations in engaging digital customers. Nor are they sufficiently integrating physical customer experiences—such as in-store purchase efforts—to digital ones. They also struggle to transform data collection into action, including the creation of brand-building customer personalization interactions. Through collaborative efforts to establish better content marketing, metrics and analytics, data management and digital advertising, IT teams can help marketers take the next big step in these efforts—especially if they come up with the right application programming interface (API) and internet of things (IoT) solutions. "Marketers have come incredibly far over the past five years," according to the report, "advancing the digital agenda from an advertising-focused conversation of banner ads and click-through rates into a dialogue around people, platforms and processes that connect campaigns with the right audience. The new challenge before us all is the next stage of the journey … advancing beyond the campaign and toward more human relationships that are data-driven, compiled in real time and measured for improvement in an instant." Nearly 200 CMOs and other senior global marketing executives took part in the research.
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The 1-on-1 nature of building a high-trust culture

The 1-on-1 nature of building a high-trust culture | digitalNow | Scoop.it
When leaders take the opportunity build relationships with employees in those small moments, it goes a long way to building trust overall in the organization,” notes Jessica Rohman, director of content for Great Place to Work, a global research and consulting firm that studies workplace best practices and their impact on organizational culture.
Leaders who capitalize on the small moments in their organization lay the foundation for a larger purpose -- to create a culture built on trusting relationships.
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Why You Should Speak Less and Listen More

Why You Should Speak Less and Listen More | digitalNow | Scoop.it


…Listening generously in a way that has someone experience being fully heard and supported, so that they walk away believing in themselves and their ability to make a bigger difference than they ever imagined.

…Letting go of the urge to direct or take control, believing others are capable and allowing someone else to step up into the void to take the lead.

…Knowing when not to speak, so others can rise to the occasion and take the lead.
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Too Many Companies Don't Trust Their Data

Despite all of the talk about the potential of data and analytics (D&A), most of the professionals who work closely in these areas are not confident in the integrity and reliability of the resulting insights, according to a recent survey commissioned by KPMG International and conducted by Forrester Consulting. The accompanying report, "Building Trust in Analytics," indicates that very few survey respondents think their company excels in the management of D&A quality. Such shortcomings impact the information needed for customer research, business operations and even risk and security management. It doesn't help that relatively few data professionals sense that their company's C-level executives fully support their efforts, nor do they feel that employees overall are taking advantage of D&A to effectively complete tasks and make decisions. What's needed is a fully integrated, constantly strengthening effort to ensure that D&A initiatives produce accurate results, and that these results directly support intended business areas. "Trust is not a project," according to the report. "Strengthening the anchors of trust is not a one-time exercise or a compliance tick-box. It is a continuous endeavor that should span your entire enterprise. From the sourcing and preparation of data through to the outcomes and measurement of value, building trust in analytics requires executives to look across their D&A lifecycle, from data through to insights and ultimately to generating value." A total of 2,165 global decision-makers responsible for setting strategy and/or managing data-related initiatives took part in the research.
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What leaders can learn from endurance athletes

What leaders can learn from endurance athletes | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Find​ ​the​ ​right​ ​pace

Like​ ​every​ ​athlete​ ​has​ ​their​ ​own​ ​ideal​ ​pace​ ​for​ ​training, ​ every​ ​business​ ​has​ ​its​ ​own​ ​ideal pace​ ​for​ ​growth. ​Growth​ ​leaders​ ​know​ ​sometimes​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​build​ ​up​ ​speed​ ​to​ ​avoid getting​ ​left​ ​in​ ​the​ ​dust,​ ​and​ ​other​ ​times​ ​​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​slow​ ​down, ​​conserve​ ​energy and​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​the​ ​future. Each time I train for a long-distance race -- whether it’s a half ironman or a 100-kilometer run in Mongolia -- I rediscover the importance of pace for the race and for my training. If I train at too slow a pace, I fail to build the speed and strength I need for the race. If I train at too fast a pace, I get injured or burn out.
2. Know​ ​when​ ​you’ve​ ​hit​ ​your​ ​maximum​ ​capacity

A​ ​business​ ​is​ ​like​ ​a​ ​body​ ​with​ ​real​ ​and​ ​imagined​ ​limits. Endurance​ ​athletes​ ​push​ ​their bodies​ ​as​ ​far​ ​and​ ​as​ ​fast​ ​as​ ​they​ ​will​ ​go​ ​without​ ​injury, and sometimes this can be uncomfortable. ​Growth​ ​leaders​ ​push​ ​their business​ ​to​ ​its​ ​maximum​ ​capacity​ ​but​ ​no​ ​further​ ​until​ ​they​ ​have​ ​built​ ​the​ ​capabilities​ ​to sustain​​ ​growth​ ​without​ ​risking​ ​injury​ ​to​ ​the​ ​business​ ​and​ ​its​ ​people.
What does injury look like? In a body, sprinting all the time without building endurance muscles might produce a stress fracture or torn calf. In a business, it might be mistakes, like a safety incident, that damages the brand. Samsung, for example, was "growing" way too fast when it developed the Galaxy Note 7. It tried to cram too much functionality into the device without proper safety measures. The result was batteries catching fire, a global recall and a substantial financial loss.
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4 small things successful people do to see big results

4 small things successful people do to see big results | digitalNow | Scoop.it
They prioritize productivity over busyness 
Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Work Week, is famous for stating that most things in life make no difference. We are so inundated with the idea that being busy is good that we prioritize it over everything else – even productivity. Ferriss labels most busyness as a form of mental laziness and indiscriminate action.

“We know that activity does not equal productivity, and busyness does not equal business,” productivity coach Grace Marshall says. “But there’s still something incredibly seductive about being busy. Because being busy feels productive.”

Successful people know this and pursue productivity over busyness, even if productivity doesn’t feel as “busy” as it should. 
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Improving the Customer Experience Proves The Top Opportunity for 2017 And Beyond

Improving the customer experience will continue to be a top opportunity in the coming years, according to a recent study [download page] from Econsultancy and Adobe. A leading 22% share of company marketers surveyed indicated that optimizing the customer experience would be their most important opportunity this year.
Key Differentiators
Customer experience isn’t only the most important opportunity, but also the top differentiator for company marketers. Some 29% share of respondents indicated that their top strategy in the next five years would be making the experience on their properties easy, fun and valuable to their customers. Second and third place responses revealed that product / service innovation (17%) and customer service and enhancing their reputation (17%) are also of importance.
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The case for digital reinvention

As digitization penetrates more fully, it will dampen revenue and profit growth for some, particularly the bottom quartile of companies, according to our research, while the top quartile captures disproportionate gains. Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions. Fast-followers with operational excellence and superior organizational health won’t be far behind.
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The Unintended Consequences of Hiring Freezes 

The Unintended Consequences of Hiring Freezes  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
For executives looking to avoid a hiring freeze, Duncan of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago advised to first forecast goals and finances, then consider slowing hiring to mitigate costs while keeping up with needs. “Sometimes hiring freezes become a reaction as opposed to being proactive about really thinking about what your goals are going to be,” Duncan said. If business leaders don’t forecast for these goals and instead quickly place a freeze on hiring, they may end up having to pay more in the long run.

If more drastic cost savings measures are needed, and a hiring freeze is the only option, leaders should still consider the hidden costs. “Hiring freezes have long-term consequences for morale, workplace culture and employer brand,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS, a human resources software company in Matawan, New Jersey, “so they can affect your ability to recruit for years down the road.”
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Is Blockchain the Next Great Hope - or Hype?

Is Blockchain the Next Great Hope - or Hype? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin may have captured the public’s fancy – and also engendered a healthy dose of skepticism — but it is their underlying technology that is proving to be of practical benefit to organizations: the blockchain. Many industries are exploring its benefits and testing its limitations, with financial services leading the way as firms eye potential windfalls in the blockchain’s ability to improve efficiency in such things as the trading and settlement of securities. The real estate industry also sees potential in the blockchain to make homes — even portions of homes — and other illiquid assets trade and transfer more easily. The blockchain is seen as disrupting global supply chains as well, by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.
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The benefits of having a team of equals 

The benefits of having a team of equals  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Better decisions because people feel free to contribute in a way that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t believe they were equals or if you thought you were the person with the best ideas. You don’t want people to shut down, you want their ideas so the best decisions can be made for your organization.

Different perspectives which lead to the creativity you’ve craved. It’s very hard to be creative by yourself. It’s much easier to have a team or group of thinking partners who you appreciate and know will add value to your organization. If you really appreciate different (or even weird) perspectives that will spark new ideas, then you’ll treat others as equals.

Trusting relationships that give you and others the kind of information they need. Nobody is hoarding knowledge and everyone feels free to give respectful feedback. Because if you don’t know what others really want to say, that can destroy you and your organization. Ask them what they think, and listen even when you disagree. Your relationships will then be built on trust.

Improved results. I don’t know for a fact that improved results will follow when you treat others as equals, but I’m betting on it. Who wouldn’t want to work for someone who appreciates their thoughts and values their opinions. And when that happens, people work hard to get results because they’re invested.
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The Four Motivators that Drive Innovation

The difference between strategy and innovation is a major reason why innovative teams usually start small. The nature of physical constraints is however not limiting to human ingenuity and imagination—especially when grounded in a multidisciplinary approach.

Curiosity, fear, greed, and significance are the four natural motivators that drive innovation. Incentive competitions are the perfect construct to invite small teams to both embrace defined rules and break the constraints dictated by habit to open the door for breakthroughs.
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Is Cognitive Computing Ready for Prime Time?

Is Cognitive Computing Ready for Prime Time? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Radical advances in artificial intelligence, along with greater processing power, are pushing cognitive computing and deep learning into the mainstream.

Since the dawn of computing, the goal of engineers, designers and developers has been to imbue machines with greater intelligence so they can think more like humans. Today, marked leaps in processing power and incredible advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are pushing the concept from the pages of science fiction novels to our homes and workplaces.

"The growing complexity of computing and information—and the need for more intelligent automation—is leading to the next wave of transformation, including cognitive systems," says Paul Brody, technology sector strategy leader for the Americas at consulting firm EY.
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What leaders can learn from endurance athletes | SmartBrief

Routines​ ​beat​ ​strengths

Ultra-athletes​ ​know​ ​that​ ​focusing​ ​on​ ​their​ ​strengths​ ​alone​ ​limits​ ​their​ ​growth​. They discipline​ ​themselves​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​what’s​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​win. ​not​ ​just​ ​what​ ​they​ ​are​ ​good​ ​at.
Growth​ ​leaders​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​what’s​ ​really​ ​needed​ ​for​ ​the​ ​future​ ​and​ ​create​ ​new​ ​routines​ ​so they​ ​can​ ​respond​ ​to​ ​changing​ ​customer​ ​needs​ ​and​ ​competitors. Routines trigger small behaviour changes that add up to big growth changes. Ttriathletes might create a routine to make sure they sequence swimming, biking and then running. A growth leader might create a routine to spend an hour per week talking to a different customer to build outside-in thinking into the way he or she does business.
4. Exert,​ ​then​ ​recover

Growing​ ​a​ ​business​ ​is​ ​hard​ ​work​ -- ​it’s​ ​a​ ​marathon,​ ​not​ ​a​ ​sprint!​ ​Growth​ ​leaders​ ​conserve their​ ​own​ ​and​ ​their​ ​people’s​ ​energy​ ​to​ ​sustain​ ​long-term​ ​growth​ ​by​ ​taking​ ​time​ ​to balance​ ​the​ ​right​ ​exertion​ ​with​ ​the​ ​right​ ​type​ ​of​ ​recovery.​ ​This​ ​way​ ​they​ ​avoid​ ​boom-splat​ ​cycles​ ​and the potential for burnout. An exhausted sales team can’t be passionate about their work; the team needs to recover after big deals in the same way muscles need rest and nourishment between hard workouts in order to perform at their best.
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How To Create Line of Sight For Your Employees

How To Create Line of Sight For Your Employees | digitalNow | Scoop.it
To get there, employees need to understand how they contribute to the organization’s success. First, they need a fundamental understanding of what’s important to the organization, including:

The organization’s vision and mission
Its strategy
The overall goals of the organization
Most important, the overall goals of their team
I often share the story of two brick layers who were hard at work. When asked what they were doing, the first brick layer said: “I’m building a wall.” When the other was asked, he said: “I’m building a castle.”

Employees need to know both their wall, and their castle:

What they do (this is the wall)
How they contribute (this is their castle)
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CIOs Should Have These Professional Skills

CIOs Should Have These Professional Skills | digitalNow | Scoop.it
CIOs face a great many challenges these days: They're under constant pressure to deliver greater innovation, even if they're not getting more funding to do so. They need to justify tech investments by clearly forecasting their quantifiable and qualitative impact on ROI and problem-solving. They're tasked with recruiting the best and brightest tech talent in what could be the most competitive recruitment landscape ever. And they must be ready for anything, as profound business and technological changes are a given these days—not a rarity. To thrive in such an environment, CIOs have to bring a broad range of qualities to the table, including these 10 must-have skills. They cover everything from personal style to people management to trend forecasting to alliance building. When you put them all together, you not only have the makings of a great CIO, but also that of a great organizational leader. Our skills list was compiled from a number of online resources, including those posted by EY and Caldwell Partners.
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How Strategy Talk Creates Value

Traditionally, CEO strategy presentations are derided as little more than “cheap talk.” After all, it doesn’t cost much to rent out that conference room, set up the video link, and paint a grand vision of the firm for investors and the press. Real strategy is decided behind closed doors, the thinking goes.

What’s more, sometimes these presentations are viewed as a ruse to throw off rivals by laying out an agenda the CEO has no intention of fulfilling. In this sense, strategy presentations have been compared to “vaporware” announcements, in which companies claim to be developing something that they aren’t in order to compel competitors to commit resources to a phony war.

But devising a strategy and selling it to investors is perhaps the key component of a CEO’s job. Some researchers have suggested that failing to follow through on promises, even vague ones, can do serious damage to a CEO’s reputation down the line, which can, in turn, send stock prices tumbling. These high stakes might give companies a reason to take strategy presentations more seriously. So might the trend toward transparency in business — research shows that one in five Fortune Global 500 companies gives strategy presentations in any given year.
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When a leader steps down to save the company 

Iacocca later wrote in his autobiography, “John was sacrificing himself to save the company. He was over his head and he knew it. He blew himself out of the water to bring Chrysler back to life.” Iacocca paid Riccardo the ultimate compliment by calling him “a real hero.”
Two things stand out in Iaccoca’s praise for Riccardo, and both are important to leadership. Let’s take them one at a time.
Self-awareness is a form of self-knowledge that emerges when you know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. A self-aware leader knows when he can succeed as well as when he’s licked. Such a leader has the strength of character to step aside in favor of a better alternative. It’s not quitting; it’s called sacrificing for a better alternative.
Sacrifice is a practice not much talked about in business. The concept of sacrifice when framed as doing the greater good is something we attribute to first-responders and service personnel.
It is not something business people get much credit for. But some like John Riccardo deserve our remembrance.
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What Types of Experiences Influence Millennials Brand Loyalty?

Almost two-thirds of American adults feel that the types of experiences that make them loyal to a particular brand or provider have changed to some degree over the past 3 years, research from Accenture Strategy has found. For youth, product and service experiences are becoming more important drivers, as is trust in data privacy.
In fact, a leading 85% of US respondents overall said that an important influence on their loyalty was brands being trustworthy with regards to safeguarding and respecting the privacy of their personal information. This was one of the few important influencers of brand loyalty that was shared across generations, cited by 81% of Millennials (18-34), 83% of Gen Xers (35-54) and 88% of Boomers (55+). The result aligns with previous research indicating that a range of security concerns affect consumers’ trust in digital brands.
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