Now that we are a 15 years into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) revolution, many of us in Silicon Valley are thinking hard about the next big wave in B2B software. We’re excited about many themes, including mobile enterprise, vertical SaaS and predictive analytics, but one less-obvious trend involves people power as much as computing power.
We call it the Do-It-For-Me Revolution, or “DIFM” for short. DIFM is more than software. DIFM combines technology automation with specialized labor to deliver a complete solution to a business problem. It’s as much about people-powered customer service as it is about code-powered efficiency. DIFM is sweeping the consumer world and will do the same for the business world.
The world is changing, and fast. We’ve come to accept the incredible pace of innovation. But have you thought of how it’s impacting your customer’s expectations?
With the widespread acceptance of apps like Uber and Tinder, customers are demanding more personalized, instantaneous experiences. But many brands aren’t keeping up, leaving the door wide open for competitors to reap the rewards of meeting these demands. (Uber, of course, is the on-demand ride sharing app and Tinder is the dating app allowing users to “swipe” their preference based on a photo.)
Business leaders agree that transformation is critical to meeting the demands of these digital citizens, dubbed the "Information Generation" by EMC. Burton notes they identified five make-or-break business attributes that businesses must gain through this transformation:
The capability to predictively spot new opportunities in markets The capability to demonstrate transparency and trust The capability to innovate in agile ways The capability to deliver unique and personalized experiences The capability to operate in real time
Good managers—even great ones—can make spectacularly bad choices. Some of them result from bad luck or poor timing, but a large body of research suggests that many are caused by cognitive and behavioral biases. While techniques to “debias” decision making do exist, it’s often difficult for executives, whose own biases may be part of the problem, to know when they are worth applying
Don Dea's insight:
Biases in action
In our experience, two particular types of bias weigh heavily on the decisions of large corporations—confirmation bias and overconfidence bias. The former describes our unconscious tendency to attach more weight than we should to information that is consistent with our beliefs, hypotheses, and recent experiences and to discount information that contradicts them. Overconfidence bias frequently makes executives misjudge their own abilities, as well as the competencies of the business. It leads them to take risks they should not take, in the mistaken belief that they will be able to control outcomes.
First of all, remember the big picture. The goal of predictive analytics is to put your organization in a place to win more over time, not win every time. Research has shown over-and-over that good predictive models outperform experts over the long-term. Second, ask why they think the prediction was wrong? What did they see that the model missed? You will usually get a bunch of reasons that the model could never pick up, but sometimes you will get info that can help improve the model. Lastly, rely on the program sponsors to maintain compliance and reinforce the big picture. If the big wigs aren’t on board and supportive, then a few of these anecdotal idiot tests can ruin your program. But when they are bought into the long-term view, then these instances will be of little concern.
Feedback is absolutely essential for improving performance, increasing accountability, establishing responsibility, and achieving the desired results. How we speak and act toward others is essential to creating what we really want. Although I know the example above is extreme, I believe that we could all do a better job of becoming more aware of how we interact with those with whom we live and work. Sometimes we may let our frustrations and emotions get the best of us and sometimes we may be entirely unaware of how we come across. I hope that you will take the opportunity to reflect on how you are viewed by others and make whatever adjustments and improvements are needed to improve your communication with others.
Here are a number of questions you might ask yourself to heighten your awareness, improve your interactions, and achieve more positive results.
With whom and when are you most frustrated and why?
When was the last time you provided feedback to an organisation? Whilst we are able to deliver feedback without any prompting from the companies we interact with, the same companies are constantly trying to get us to tell them what we think via a variety of surveying methods. The same channels we use to conduct our transactions are also used to solicit our thoughts – both in words and numbers. Most of the methodologies used are the same today as they were many years ago – not a great deal seems to have changed. Doing what I do for a living, I often provide feedback when asked – I feel it is critical to allow companies to understand how I feel about my experience with them whilst I am always interested to understand what they want to know.
What’s the most important thing media buyers and planners can take from it?
That same story is of massive relevance.
The increasing ability to really understand the audience is incredibly important — what they’re loving, what they’re turning away from, what content types really work, and which ones don’t. That all becomes increasingly important, and the ability to do that and basically listen to the audience across devices — it’s a necessity to make sense of consumption patterns across devices.
The perception may be that Millennials aren’t as interested in news as previous generations, but the truth is they’re just getting their news in very different ways.
A new report from the Media Insight Project found that 69 percent of Millennials get news on a daily basis, while 85 percent say keeping up with news is at least somewhat important to them.
“Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined,” the report reads.
Indeed, Millennials lean heavily on social media when it comes to consuming news, even if news isn’t a motivator for using social media in the first place.
For example, just 47 percent said that getting news is a main motivation for using Facebook, yet 88 percent said they get news from Facebook regularly.
Also, while a strong majority of Millennials have the ability to be constantly connected, it doesn’t always mean they are. More than 90 percent said they own smartphones, but just 51 percent said they’re online most or all of the day.
Sharing is simple with the LinkedIn Elevate iOS, Android, and desktop apps. Employees can easily share content on LinkedIn and Twitter, and take advantage of LinkedIn Elevate’s intelligent scheduling capabilities to ensure their content gets shared when their networks are most active.
Real success as a leader can mean not listening to what external forces think defines it for you. Instead, listen to that inner voice, with reflection and silence, and follow it. This kind of success can be difficult, lonely, and risky. Yet it’s the beginning of the journey that can impact your ability to lead at your best in ways you can’t imagine now.
Don Dea's insight:
What puts you in flow in the sense of knowing what puts you into a state of clear focus and happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes that flow happens when the challenge and skills required to do a task are high. For many of us, this occurs when we feel as if we’re contributing something to world. The tasks that put you in flow will move your spirit. When have you felt a sense of flow? When this happens you may have an indication of what you need to be doing to be successful. The beginning of the journey!
What’s important to you. As Stephen Covey has wisely said, start with the end in mind. At the end of the journey what can you say about your life? One of the best ways to think about what you’ll leave behind is to consider what you’d want others remember about you when you’re gone. If you articulate that, you can work backwards to define where to begin your excursion of self-defined success. (p.s. It’s no small thing that a side benefit of clarity about what’s important to you is that you become able to set boundaries that point to what you’re willing to do and what you aren’t).
Mobile advertising differs from nearly every other form of advertising in that people are almost always engaging with their devices. Whether they’re getting a text message, checking a basketball score or tweeting about a favorite TV show, they’re constantly using them. And that can actually make advertising to them a challenge. That prompted a recent study by mobile advertising agency Fetch looking at how and when smartphone users interact with ads. It found that their engagement levels vary depending on what time of day they are using the devices. For instance, although people consume a lot of mobile content late at night, they tend to have a low response to advertising. So while you might think late-night ads are a good idea due to the number of users, they actually can be a waste of money because they do not spark conversions. Fetch found that the optimal time for getting people engaged with mobile ads is between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dan Wilson, head of data and operations at Fetch, talks with Media Life about finding the right time to serve up ads, why the ad’s format matters, and what the greatest misconceptions are about mobile advertising.
Time and again, Forrester found a disconnect between a marketer's optimism and reality. For instance, almost two-thirds of marketers claim to have created an effective digital marketing strategy. After pressed, though, more than half admitted that their digital marketing is more tactical than strategic.
This finding in particular mirrors the theme at the MarTech Conference in San Francisco earlier this month. Attendees, mostly techies, lamented a marketer's penchant for making impulsive, tactical decisions. Speakers talked at length about architecting the technology stack and crafting a marketing tech strategy, in order to avoid shadow technology and the dreaded frankenstack.
Embracing Connectedness means taking three inter-related steps;
(1) Build flexibility into the operating model; being able to quickly reorganize the business structure so it can work as fluidly as customers is key. This means reducing silos, removing hierarchies and enabling a much more collaborative way of working. This is often the hardest of the three to achieve since it challenges existing power structures and requires deep changes to existing working practices. It is, however, possible. Valve has been working this way since 1999, Zappos is moving towards this, and there are even distributed authority systems, like Holocracy, that support it. A flexible operating model also means thinking about how you work with third parties differently; less client – service provider, more joint venture / partnership. For example, the novel collaborative approach that John Lewis has taken with JLAB. ￼￼￼(2) Grow your network (lateral connections); a rolling ecosystem of individuals, start-ups, and businesses that work with you will open up new perspectives and uncover new opportunities you weren’t aware of. This isn’t about panels and procurement processes, it’s about looking widely and being open to new connections even if the immediate value of them isn’t immediately obvious.
Don Dea's insight:
(3) Invest in business Connectedness; connecting employees is a key enabler of a more adaptable operating model. This means investments in enterprise social, enterprise mobility, and opening up external social media. For example, enterprise social allows people to easily connect with those outside their business unit, enabling a more fluid way of working and breaking down organizational silos.
Granted, none of these changes are straight-forward and implementing them will cause disruption. It can thus be tempting to retreat to the known, to maintain stability internally and hope that the storm will pass. However, with levels of Connectedness only set to rise, companies that choose to do nothing may find that the change that is to come difficult to survive.
There is no secret trick to becoming more creative, but the good news is creativity is a skill you can build.
That means that you can become more creative with the right time and effort. Whenever you are picking up a new skill, though, it is good to find role models who have the abilities you want and to follow their lead.
Don Dea's insight:
THEY STUDY THE DETAILS.
A number of people I have talked to have worried that their ability to be creative might be hampered by knowing too much. They feel like having too much knowledge will curse them into sticking with their routines.
Creative individuals delve into the details of the problems they are trying to solve. When Fiona Fairhurst and her design team at Speedo were trying to create a swimsuit that would help swimmers shave seconds off their times, they looked at all kinds of ways to reduce the forces of drag. Their final design drew from many different sources including the structure of shark skin and the use of stretch materials that decreased swimmer’s muscle vibrations.
In my work with thousands of leaders I consistently see three delegation mistakes that lead to countless hours of lost time, frazzled nerves, and frustrated leaders. If you make these mistakes, you’re not alone. I have done them all more than once.
The good news is that when you address these mistakes, your people grow, your team gets more done, and you have more time for the work only you can do.
Mistake #1: Delegate Process, Not Outcome.
Don Dea's insight:
Effective leaders delegate the outcome. Here are a few examples:
We need a new product prototype that meets these engineering specifications…
The task is to come up with a solution to the problem where we do both x and y.
Your team needs to be trained on the process so they can complete it accurately within ten minutes each month.
When you delegate, be clear about the outcome. What is it they are responsible to achieve? Don’t delegate the process – that’s micromanaging or training. If they’ve never learned how to do something, it’s training. If it’s training, call it that. Delegate outcomes, not process
Perhaps the new self-tracking and self-improvement technologies will benefit people, but they could just as well create more anxiety. An article published a few days ago in The BMJ, a British medical journal, for instance, described healthy people who use self-tracking apps as “young, asymptomatic, middle-class neurotics continuously monitoring their vital signs while they sleep.”
But whether these gadgets have beneficial outcomes may not be the point. Like vitamin supplements, for which there is very little evidence of benefit in healthy people, just the act of buying these devices makes many people feel they are investing in themselves. Quantrepreneurs at least are banking on it.
Conflict is a part of life. Being a great leader requires you to stop being a mediator of that conflict and instead teach your team members how to resolve the conflict themselves.
More often than not, high performing teams operate in high pressure environments. Many times on a high performing team you have some strong personalities at play. When you combine pressure plus strong personalities, there are plenty of opportunities for conflict between the members of your team.
Don Dea's insight:
Your job as a leader is not to mediate those conflicts and be a referee. Instead you need to teach the members of your team how to resolve those conflicts with one another because it’s going to help them build relationships. Ultimately it will build their interpersonal skills.
Teaching them to work things out on their own keeps you from having to dedicate a significant amount of time and energy every time somebody has a conflict with another member of the team. Your job when there’s conflict is first to recognize it. Identify when you have team members who are butting heads and figure out what the root issue is. Then suggest that they go figure it out and come back to you when they have developed a solution on their own.
Many businesses around the world could wake up on Tuesday to discover their search ranking has been downgraded. After a monthslong warning period, Google will add “mobile friendliness” to the 200 or so factors it uses to list websites on its search engine.
As a result, websites that don’t meet Google’s criteria will tumble in its all-important rankings.
Don Dea's insight:
Google has made several big changes. Companies will be docked for shortcomings like displaying links that are hard to click or forcing users to scroll horizontally on a lopsided site. In addition, the company recently announced that in certain cases it would also use information contained within apps as a ranking factor for mobile searches performed on phones that run its Android software.
“Since mobile search results are about half of what Google handles, anyone might be at risk,” said Danny Sullivan, the founder of Search Engine Land, which closely tracks changes to Google’s search engine.
The shift to mobile devices has been a challenge for all businesses, Google included. In the space of a few years, phones have become the dominant portal through which people use the Internet. The United States had 134 million mobile users last year, about 100 million more than in 2010, according to eMarketer, a research company.
We need to remind ourselves that bureaucracy was an invention, and that whatever replaces it will also be an invention—a cluster of radically new management principles and processes that will help us take advantage of scale without becoming sclerotic, that will maximize efficiency without suffocating innovation, that will boost discipline without extinguishing freedom. We can cure the core incompetencies of the corporation—but only with a bold and concerted effort to pull bureaucracy up by its roots.
By far the No. 1 answer, from 60 percent of respondents, was watching shows at their convenience.
Skipping ads tied for second with seeing missed episodes of shows, at just 37 percent each. (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)
When the DVR first came out, the ability to skip commercials was a big part of the device’s novelty, and media buyers and advertisers worried that Americans would rush out and buy DVRs and begin skipping ads in great numbers.
A median of 64 percent across the surveyed countries said the internet is a good influence on education, versus 18 percent who think it’s a bad influence. Similarly, 53 percent think it’s a good influence on personal relationships, compared to 25 percent who think it’s a bad influence.
The survey also looked at social media use in the 32 countries, with the Philippines coming in with a 93 percent usage rate among adult internet users, No. 1 on the list. China was at the bottom of the list with 58 percent of adults using social media.
Encouragement and life wisdom, blog of Meredith Bell, Your Voice of Encouragement, helping action-oriented people discover how to change the behavior and achieve their goals.
Don Dea's insight:
Phase 1 – The Foundation, where you establish a strong, positive relationship that serves as the basis for coaching.
Phase 2 – Feedback Loop, where you learn how to share behavior-based feedback and engage in a genuine dialogue.
Phase 3 - Forwarding-the-Action, where you create positive momentum and a sustained commitment to change.
One of the things I value most about the way Tom covers each of these phases is the clear picture he paints about HOW to perform the various coaching skills. He emphasizes many that I've come to realize are critical to building trust and establishing a positive coaching relationship, such as:
Listening, giving the person your full attention and demonstrating that you’re actually “getting” the message.
Asking open-ended questions, to avoid telling or giving advice and to learn more about the situation and the person’s current thinking.
Engaging in dialogue, to understand a person’s perspective in an effort to appreciate what’s important to that individual.
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