n an effort to know your vulnerabilities, to admit mistakes, to always look for ways to improve… it’s so easy to beat yourself up.
“What a stupid decision! I can’t believe I didn’t think through all the potential consequences.” “Oh, I didn’t see that coming. I should have been better prepared.” “If I’d only thought about the contingencies early on I could have saved my team a lot of angst and re-work.” “I should have counted to 10 before I sent that email.” If you’re thinking any of the above or something equally frustrating, I get it. You’re probably right. You made a mistake. You learned something. And you’ll do better next time.
Yes. Own the ugly. Apologize. Get creative and make it right. And then, move on.
Don’t hold a grudge.
Treat yourself with the same level of compassion you would offer your team, your boss, or the people you love.
“Negation Words” – These are those lovely conjunctions that can, in one fell swoop, cancel out whatever you put before it. The poster child word in this instance is “but“. I once wrote a whole post about the problems with that one. In a nutshell, they can be morale killers. (Yes, one little word!) “Half-heart Words“ – The first word to keep in mind here is “hope“. Don’t misunderstand me – hope is a very good word. It’s just not that helpful in the conference room or boardroom. See my Leadership Battles post for the rationale. Here’s another one, when used in this context – “we should do this”. I have found that “should” just doesn’t carry enough urgency if you really want the “this” to get done – so I usually go with “will“, or “must“, or even “need to“. “Run to the Dictionary Words” – See the “dichotomy” story above. Save the verbosity for other occasions. Like blog posts. “Absolute words (or as I like to say, stay away from absolutes, absolutely)”. The subtext here for the leader is really practicing the art of the possible mixed with the realization that there are exceptions to every rule, so, words like “can’t“, “always“, and “never” have to be out of the mix. Especially “can’t”. I hate that word. And I’ve written about how much I hate it quite often –here’s the last time. “Bad Emphasis words” – Early on in my blogging life, I went on a pretty good rant on this. Here is what I mean by this, taken from that post: “a linguistic device that now leaves me squirming every time I hear it – the use of an emphatic word or phrase (or from a usage point of view, an interjection of some kind) in front of a statement that doesn’t really need emphasis”.
Check on Your Online Reputation When it comes to online shopping, the only thing that matters is how well you have managed to satisfy your customers. You can check your reputation online by looking at your social media profiles, comments on your videos and online reviews posted in different forums and blogs. Appreciate and pay thanks to the customers who have appreciated your services or products. Moreover, criticism by customers can be a good way to improve your products/services in the future. Make sure to contact directly with the customers having any issue or complaint against your product. Respond them immediately and address the problem as early as possible so that they can change their mind from being negative to positive one about your brand.
Maintain a Blog on Your Website If you are not good with writing, you need to be prepared because now you have to maintain a blog and update it on regular basis. Put your thoughts concisely on your blog and add some attractive images, address the problem and give solutions. For example, you can talk about online buying guides to help them buy products of your niche without any hassle. Moreover, you can also give some unique gift ideas on holiday seasons that relates to your product. Try to be unique and creative while writing a blog and make sure to offer some value.
The reported failure rate of large-scale change programs has hovered around 70 percent over many years. In 2010, conscious of the special challenges and disappointed expectations of many businesses embarking on transformations, McKinsey set up a group to focus exclusively on this sort of effort. In six years, our Recovery & Transformation Services (RTS) unit has worked with more than 100 companies, covering almost every geography and industry around the world. These cases—both the successes and the efforts that fell short—helped us distill a set of empirical insights about improving the odds of success. Combined with the right strategic choices, a transformation can turn a mediocre (or good) business into a world-class one.
This cutting edge technology can allow a customer to stand still while they virtually “try on” various articles of clothing. Just click a button and the next shirt or dress is superimposed over your body without you ever having to move.
The thought behind this is fine and I guess it’s some cool technology. But I will miss all the fun of carrying hanger after hanger into the dressing room and fighting with that one small clothes hook on the stall wall.
As I mentioned in a previous article entitled “The Shocking Truth About Self Service”, if we are to believe that installing self serve check-out counters are in the customer’s best interest, why not install more and really do away with the live cashier altogether? But that’s already happening.
Here’s an example:
Stop by your local Home Depot on any weekday and see how many self check-out lanes/terminals there are versus those with a living breathing human. What do you see? Two lanes with a person and 2 lanes each with 4 self checkout terminals.
With the rise of e-commerce, consumer preferences have grown increasingly important in the formerly business-oriented parcel-delivery market. Large e-commerce players, as well as various start-ups, have identified last-mile services as a key differentiator. In fact, the variety of delivery options and the perceived quality of the delivery service are major decision-making criteria for online customers and hence directly affect e-commerce players’ success in the marketplace. With this in mind, vendors are working hard to offer the best customer experience possible, especially by improving delivery times. To gain a better understanding of what customers actually prefer, we conducted a survey of more than 4,700 respondents in China, Germany, and the United States. We used conjoint analysis to better understand consumers’ relative preferences for different delivery options, including their willingness to pay (Exhibit 1). Nearly 25 percent of consumers are willing to pay significant premiums for the privilege of same-day or instant delivery. This share is likely to increase, given that younger consumers are more inclined (just over 30 percent) to choose same-day and instant delivery over regular delivery.
Organizations expect to increase their investments in web-based technologies to enhance the efficiency and quality of their app development, according to a recent survey from Sencha. The resulting report, "The State of the Modern Web," indicates that web technology enables developers to support multiple browsers and screen sizes for both desktop and mobile app projects. Findings also report on the emergence of web apps, which enable organizations to avoid building apps separately for every needed platform. Developers anticipate that increased visualization and analytics capabilities will help them better manage the growing complexities of data associated with web apps, as well as the overall volume of data. To make their jobs easier, developers said they'd like new browser versions that are readily supported, as well as easy access to information related to vendors' support, training and professional services. "For more than 20 years, web app development has evolved quickly," according to the report. "From its origins in the early 1990s with simple websites, it quickly grew to a worldwide phenomenon as technology matured and more dynamic browser-based applications were developed. … 'E-business' was born, and then morphed into simply 'business' as all businesses realized the need for a web strategy. Web applications continue to be critical for today's businesses, but now they need to be able to work across all device types and live for a long time to maximize investments." More than 1,130 IT development professionals took part in the research, which was conducted by Dimensional Research.
Your employees know the score, and your credibility (or lack of it) will be front and center in how you answer those tough questions.
Here are the Big 3 Techniques:
1. Bridge: Move to a point you want to make – Use this technique to answer a question and then promptly shift in the direction of what you want to get across—your key messages. Examples of bridging:
“Yes…” (the answer), “and in addition to that” (the bridge) “(Brief answer), “and what I can tell you is…..” (the bridge) “No…” (the answer), “let me explain…” (the bridge) “That’s the way it used to be…” (the answer), “here’s what we do now…” (the bridge) “I don’t know…” (the answer), “but what I do know…” (the bridge) 2. Hook: Increase curiosity about a topic – End your message with a statement that likely will prompt a follow-up question. Hooking can create dialogue focused on what you want to get across.
Examples of hooking:
“That’s just one of the ways we’re innovating to drive growth in the long-term…” (The natural follow-up is, “What’s another way?”) “Here’s one result we’re seeing right now…” (The follow-up is, “What are other results?”) 3. Flag: Emphasize main points – Use flagging to emphasize or prioritize what you consider to be the most important points.
Examples of flagging tools:
“If you only remember one thing today…” “The most important point is…” “It boils down to this…” “The heart of the matter is…” “I can’t underscore enough…” “Fact is…” Bridge. Hook. Flag. Three additional tools for your leadership and communication toolkit, which can help you be your best self, answer questions with ease, and ensure you’re getting across what’s important to you, and to your audience.
In today’s discussion of humble leadership, that’s the missing ingredient—genuine humility.
A spate of recent articles from places like Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Forbes offer some sound, common-sense advice about how to practice humility: admit mistakes, listen to other points of view, confess that you don’t have all the answers, seek feedback, and focus on the needs of others. The research shows that such behavior inspires greater employee loyalty and boosts job performance.
But that’s about how you act, not who you are—behavior, not character. Imagine how much more powerful that behavior can be when it flows from the deepest wellsprings of character, as it does with so many of the leaders I interviewed and have come to know over the years. They don’t need to think about humility consciously; it’s second nature to them. Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, long ago identified what he called “Level 5 leaders”—the highest level in his hierarchy—as those who combine personal humility with fierce professional will.
What about the rest of us? Can you acquire a humble character by changing your behavior—fake it till you make it, as they say in 12-step programs. That’s what much of the leadership literature suggests. But maybe you don’t need to fake it. Perhaps your humility is already there but lying dormant, waiting be roused. An exceptional leadership coach, for example, can help you tap into the really meaningful people, places, and moments in your life buried under the years of forgetfulness.
Or you can try beginning with introspection. Looking inward isn’t easy in the age of social media and self-promotion, when we’re urged to develop our personal “brand” instead of our character. Our lives are too busy, our attention spans too fractured by the pings of mobile devices and the addictive glow of the screen. But it’s worth a try. And you have nothing to lose but a false sense of pride.
'The ceilings are leaking and the floors are cracked' Lampert's plan is for Sears to one day be a tech company, more like Apple or Facebook than a traditional retailer, according to three former executives.
"He's got it all set out in his mind, how he wants things to run, regardless of any type of value proposition," said one former employee. "If Eddie thinks it's 'cool' and it will position us with Amazon or what the young people are buying, then you go marching toward it like a zombie."
Interviews with dozens of store-level and corporate employees over the past year yielded a common refrain: Lampert is out of touch with reality.
"He refuses to put a dime in updating stores," one former vice president said. "You walk in and you are embarrassed as an employee when the ceilings are leaking and the floors are cracked."
"No one believes in Eddie's vision," this person said. "He has just gone rogue."
Business Insider spoke to several store-level employees who said the stores are severely understaffed, with some operating on fewer than half of the employees they need. That has led to widespread complaints among shoppers that they can't find an employee to check them out, so they end up leaving the store empty-handed.
Lampert continues to assert that the retailer is in the midst of a "transformation" into a more "asset-light" organization — rather than the "protracted liquidation" that critics describe it as.
T leaders are grappling with how to cost-effectively transform their organization into a digital enterprise even though they are being limited by traditional enterprise thinking. Many struggle to achieve the transformation while simultaneously delivering measurable operational and business improvements and staying strategically relevant, according to a meta-study of 352 surveys analyzed by research firm ISG Insights. "IT leaders feel the pressure, but they and their organizations are bound by traditional enterprise thinking, structures and processes," wrote authors Alex Baker, Charlie Burns, Ron Exler, Bruce Guptill, Jim Hurley and Stanton Jones. They said IT leaders consider the cloud as the top way to reduce and manage capital and operational costs. They also see the cloud as a way to deliver business-outcome-related ROI. But IT leaders are challenged to quantify ROI, while business leaders call for line-of-business (LOB) improvements. To improve digital transformation, IT organizations are outsourcing more strategic planning and transformation responsibility. While that may speed improvement and deliver more transformation expertise, it could also diminish LOB leaders' perception of the strategic value of internal IT. See key findings here.
Demand for IT skills continues to soar, pushing compensation for technology professionals to new heights. Annual IT salaries averaged $96,370 in 2015, increasing by 7.7 percent over the prior year, according to Dice. The average bonus was $10,194, up 7 percent from 2014. Clearly, there are many opportunities within the industry, but do you know which skills are considered the "hottest of the hot" with respect to job openings? Look no further than the following list of 10 fastest-growing skills for IT jobs, which Dice recently compiled as part of its annual IT salary survey. The list ranks the skills that are getting the highest percentage increases for job postings at Dice.com. At the top of the list is Apache's Spark, which emerged as one of the world's most active open-source frameworks, drawing more than 1,000 contributors last year. Other skills on the list speak to continued demand for advancements in cloud, big data/analytics and project management innovation. At the same time, the Dice ranking reveals that some more traditional skills—particularly those covering electrical engineering and router-based needs—are also highly sought.
Artificial intelligence will become a "first-class citizen in the enterprise, redefining the workplace," predicts Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director of Global Technology Research & Development at Accenture. Emerging AI areas include computer vision, natural-language processing, machine learning, deep learning, knowledge representation, expert systems, biometrics and video analytics.
"Due in large part to rapid advances in digital technology, including the plummeting cost of compute and storage, technology development is revolutionizing business and society," he adds.
Accenture's Technology Vision 2016 survey found that 70 percent of corporate executives are making significantly more investments in artificial intelligence-related technologies than they did two years ago, with 55 percent stating that they plan to use machine learning and embedded artificial intelligence. Accenture also released research that demonstrates AI has the potential to double economic growth rates by 2035, increasing labor productivity by up to 40 percent.
Develop a model for execution.You can adopt Michael Porter’s theory of comparative advantage, William Sharpe’s capital asset pricing model, or some other model. The important point is to have a model that defines the critical variables to support successful implementation of the plan. Choose the right metrics.Without a doubt, sales and market share are going to continue to be the dominant metrics of business, but there are additional metrics that are critical to monitoring performance and success. Marketing is given money to invest on behalf of the organization. The leadership team wants to know how this money is helping the organization achieve more of something, faster, and less expensively then if that money were directed somewhere else. Use these mandates to guide your metrics selection. For example, speed to penetrating new markets as a way of understanding marketing’s impact on achieving something faster. Keep the plan center stage.Once you’ve earned internal and stakeholder buy-in, initiate a formal process that will keep the team engaged and focused. Meetings between the executive team and unit managers should be regular and ongoing and they should foster collaboration, dialogue, and problem resolution in order to maintain momentum. It’s one thing to have a strategic plan, it’s another to have an operational and marketing plan. Make sure each key function within your organization has a plan and that plan is aligned to the business outcomes needed to achieve the strategy. Your marketing plan is more than a list of activities. It is THE essential ingredient for finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers. serves as a blueprint that guides a firm’s course of action. A good marketing plan should include at least a clear set of quantifiable objectives and a set of strategies, tactics, and milestones that support the objectives. Organizations without marketing plans suffer from long sales cycles, weak pipelines, and customer churn. Today, many companies have come to realize that, without a plan, they may be engaged in various activities, but not necessarily moving forward.
Would their action be consistent with the company’s promise?
People – Business success comes from connecting effectively at a human level with people inside (staff) and outside your organization. Outsiders include not only prospects and customers, but people we sometimes overlook, like suppliers, distributors, lenders, investors, media and the public.
Process – As time goes by, some of the processes that got you to where you are stop making sense. To deliver consistently great customer experiences, you have to regularly re-assess how you’ve been doing things. Start by looking at processes from a customer point of view. What do they experience? Then look at how that lines up with what you do internally.
The reality is, marketing leaders can do a great deal to improve their odds of achieving success with content marketing. But it’s equally true that the ability of any company to achieve content marketing success is also affected by competitive forces that are beyond the company’s control. In a post published in January of last year, I argued that content marketing success would be harder to achieve in 2016 for three reasons: The amount of content available to potential buyers has increased dramatically, and the competition for buyer attention has become more intense. The growing use of content marketing best practices tends to make content marketing programs look alike, which makes differentiation more difficult. While companies are still producing a lot of bad content, there’s also a growing volume of good content available in the marketplace, which allows potential buyers to be more choosy about the content they consume. This makes it more challenging to consistently produce content that will win mindshare.
four main trends being seen in digital transformations across industries:
Borderless platforms. Digital transformation really comes down to increasing collaboration. Instead of employees only working with members of their immediate team, we can now take advantage of working and communicating with people from different teams and companies around the world. Collaboration is a top priority for many organizations, and building borderless platforms helps that happen. Data currency. Forward-thinking companies rely on a large amount of current data to make decisions. Being better informed and having more data at your fingertips helps organizations make better and more strategic business decisions. That data largely comes from increased access to global records, but it is partnered with the challenge of sifting through the records to find the most updated and applicable data. Creating the data is easy—the real challenge comes with finding a way to make it accessible to employees and customers. Individual centricity. Everyone today wants to have a unique experience, no matter if it is in store or online. Experience is everything and what keeps customers coming back for more. To build a truly individual experience, organizations need to be digital inside and out and integrate digital functions into all aspects of its business plan. The principle also applies to employees, who each want to have a customized work experience with the freedom and flexibility to make their job into what they want it to be.
Customer marketing still growing in importance When we asked marketers about the importance of customer marketing a couple of years ago, 85% said it was somewhat or very important in generating revenue, with 84% noting it would grow importance over the next year. This year, more than 90% view customer marketing as important in generating revenue, and 93% say it will grow in importance over the next year.
Despite this growth trend, not all marketers are satisfied with their customer marketing efforts. Those who are most satisfied track revenue associated with customer marketing activities, and realize a moderate or significant contribution to revenue due to those activities.
hile organizations around the world are more confident than ever that they can predict and detect cyber-attacks, they're still falling short on investments and plans geared toward recovering from a breach. Such is the double-edged finding of EY's 19th annual Global Information Security Survey, "Path to Cyber-Resilience: Sense, Resist, React." EY surveyed 1,735 IT and IT security executives from organizations around the world to uncover the most compelling cyber-security issues facing business today, and what it discovered was a marketplace still struggling to keep up with a fast-evolving threat landscape. "Organizations have come a long way in preparing for a cyber-breach, but as fast as they improve, cyber-attackers come up with new tricks. Organizations therefore need to sharpen their senses and upgrade their resistance to attacks," said Paul van Kessel, EY's global advisory cyber-security leader. "In the event of an attack they need to have a plan and be prepared to repair the damage quickly and get the organization back on its feet. If not, they put their customers, employees, vendors and ultimately their own future at risk." The message is clear: It's not enough to have great tools and intelligence; companies have to get more strategic about how they track and respond to threats.
Executives must be fully invested in any disaster-preparedness efforts; otherwise, something is destined to fall through the cracks. Executive buy-in allows the company to access the necessary resources to create a proper plan prior to the disaster. Once higher-ups are involved, they then need to set up the whole team for success during an emergency. Here are three strategies: 1. Solidify your contingency plan. Nobody can completely prepare for what's unknown, but you can create a business continuity plan to help you stay one step ahead. What's most important is having systems in place to get your organization back to normal operations as soon after a disaster as possible. This takes time, effort and money. Make the plan a successful one with organizational vision and an investment from members of the executive team. 2. Show employees your playbook. Executives should always help employees understand the risks that could affect the business and how to keep things going when the unexpected occurs. Furthermore, include provisions for secondary and tertiary disaster into your preparations. To increase your company's transparency, give staff remote access to in-office systems. That way, if a disaster descends upon your business, people can remain operational in certain instances, even from afar. 3. Don't be afraid of experts. Base any information on solid reports provided by experts. Having a seasoned mind around will also help answer questions, explain processes and identity unknown variables. For example, third-party experts or consultants in business continuity and preparedness can provide detailed information that's tailored to a specific business and its locations.This would provide quality insight and ensure gaps are filled and nothing is overlooked on the way to preventing injuries, mitigating damage, and keeping the business running. When it comes to a potential disaster, it's always best to overprepare. In the long run, this will save you time and money by get things running again in a reasonable amount of time. And, most importantly, being overprepared protects your business's long-term prospects.
Vying for attention in ads Threats to the status quo, sex, and remembering things we have seen before are good ingredients to have in an ad, says Medina. Steve Hayden, who produced the famous commercial introducing Apple Computer in 1984 included all three of them in the story, setting a new standard for Super Bowl ads.
It opens with a scene showing an auditorium filled with robot-like men all wearing the same attire in a bluish light. The reference is to Nineteen Eighty-Four a dystopian drama film depicting a totalitarian future society written for the screen and directed by Michael Anderson in 1956, loosely based upon George Orwell's novel of the same name.
the men are staring at the screen where a giant male face is spouting off platitude fragments such as “information purification!” and “unification of thought!” The men in the audience are absorbing these messages like zombies.
Then the camera shifts to a young woman in gym clothes, sledgehammer in hand, running full tilt toward the auditorium. She is wearing red shorts, the only bright color in the entire commercial. Sprinting down the center isle, she throws her sledgehammer at the screen containing Big Brother. The screen explodes in a hall of sparks and blinding light.
Because what gets rewarded gets done, you adjust your actions to fit the preferred mold. Pause for a moment and reflect:
Do I make statements rather than ask questions to save time and keep things on track? Do I reward consistency and conformity because they are the expected norms of behavior? Do I label those who ask too many questions as disruptive and difficult? Do I look for facts that support my position and ignore those that challenge my position? Do I want answers given to me fast, clear, and unequivocal? Do I tell the boss what he wants to hear? Do I feel uncomfortable when there’s ambiguity? The curiosity and joy of exploration (the insistent inquiry about why this or why that) that filled your childhood gets squeezed out by the expectations and standardized processes of academia and business.
It seems that organizations are claiming to value curiosity, but still discouraging its expression. They promote innovation, yet punish failure. They cling to legacy structures and systems that emphasize authority over inquiry and routine over resourcefulness. ~ Todd B. Kashdan, scientist and profession, George Mason University
Not all questions are equal. Questions can be probing, provocative or pushy (your intention sets the tone here). Regarding pace, there are two types of questions: close-ended and open-ended. Close-ended question: “Do you enjoy your job?” Open-ended question: “Tell me about your experience doing this job?” In short, a close-ended question requires a yes or no answer, while an open-ended question requires explanation and deeper listening. There is a time and a place for both, and knowing this distinction helps you to direct the conversation. Listening
All types of leaders struggle with listening. The type A, may be impatient and find listening difficult, therefore they multitask, cut people off, interrupt or abruptly end the conversation. Conversely, calm and mild-mannered leaders tend to lose control of the conversation or get distracted into taking on other people’s problems. Learning how to listen from the right intention helps guide the conversation and helps you to get to the desired end result.
While CIOs believe that their IT organizations are doing a good job delivering on business outcomes, line of business (LOB) departments are frequently taking the task of tech investment into their own hands, according to a recent survey from Logicalis. The resulting report, titled "Digital Enablers: The Challenges Facing CIOs in an Age of Digital Transformation," reveals that most LOB units are now employing their own IT staffers, and that CIOs regularly work with these LOB-based tech pros on strategic goals. It's also common for business managers to acquire tech apps and solutions without consulting the IT department. Instead of being alarmed about such developments, however, CIOs should view this as a natural evolution of the ongoing digital transformation—one in which the lines between tech and business get increasingly blurry, and close collaboration proves critical. "As digital innovation accelerates, the winners will create new customer experiences, make faster and better decisions through smarter collaboration, and create new digital business models and revenue streams securely," said Mark Rogers, CEO at Logicalis. "CIOs and IT leaders can play a leading role in enabling that innovation, drawing on skills from insightful partners to help shape their businesses and lead their sectors through the application of digital technologies." The findings cover a broad range of other tech topics—such as the internet of things (IoT), app development, big data, the cloud and cyber-security—and we've included some of those here. More than 700 global CIOs took part in the research.
that people who are preoccupied with success ask the wrong question. They ask, “what is the secret of success” when they should be asking, “what prevents me from learning here and now?” To be overly preoccupied with the future is to be inattentive toward the present where learning and growth take place. To walk around asking, “am I a success or a failure” is a silly question in the sense that the closest you can come to answer is to say, everyone is both a success and a failure.
As usual, Weick sees things another way, and teaches us something. One of the implications of this statement is that the most constructive ways to go through life is to keep focusing on what you learn and how you can get better in the future, rather than fretting or gloating over what you've done in the past (and seeing yourself as serving a life sentence as a winner or loser). Some twists of Weick's simple ideas are explored in Carol Dweck's compelling research in in Mindset.
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