If you’re serious about leading well in the coming decade, especially with a Generation X and millennial workforce that research says values opportunities to give input, it’s important to ask yourself these five questions: Am I talking with people, or at them? What’s the quality of the conversation going on within my team? Am I including insights from a diverse array of individuals, even those who may not agree with me? Am I building commitment to our direction within the culture of the organization by relentlessly sharing and soliciting perspectives? Are we creating new knowledge through discussion and debate that can help us expand our ideas and innovate? Communication will always be important, but to tap all that your corporate brain trust has to offer, make sure that your best people aren’t benched during the critical conversations that drive business success.
Managing information efficiently means using the right technology to store and to be able to find it. In our personal lives we read alone or read things that others recommend to us. In the professional sphere we need to develop ways of working that go beyond merely filtering, sharing or commenting on relevant information we find, and also be able to see what other people are reading and sharing: the articles that the experts in their respective fields recommend.
It’s not hard to build social environments that are rich in information. In reality, with a Feedly or similar feed aggregator with advanced options, linked to a Slack or some other flexible and open corporate collaborative communication software, it’s possible to work wonders. But the technology is the least of it: I’d opt for the two above, but there are many more, depending on your needs and current status of technology adoption.
So how can more traditional marketers who get up to speed, and what separates a great marketer from a merely good one? “Get very good at data and analytics,” said Ting without hesitation.
“Without a good handle on [data], you can’t make good decision. You make decisions based on personal preference, on how your team feels that week that day,” he said. “You need data to calibrate, to keep you honest. [Marketers that] grew up from non-data background, they need to do more on data.”
And if it is any consolation, great marketers aren’t exactly a dime a dozen.
“It’s a wide open landscape; it’s really, really challenging to hire good people,” said Ting. “The world has a dearth of great marketers. Anyone considering [joining marketing], we welcome you, we need you.”
Turning on the topic of the perennial topic of collaboration between the CMO and CIO, Ting was clear that CMOs need support from the CIO and IT teams to be able to do what they do. The main issue is when CMOs and CIOs cannot agree on the technologies to deploy, he said
“Evolved CMOs are championing this transformation and taking on the challenges of culture and talent management, process redesign, as well as data and business technology realignment,” she wrote.
“Serving as the nexus of customer, market, and competitive knowledge, evolved CMOs sit in the cat bird’s seat and act as the customer advocate across the enterprise by bringing their knowledge about customers, markets, and competition to bear on defining the experiences that can best win, serve, and retain customers.”
First Mistake: Just Because You Have Data Doesn’t Necessarily Mean That You Should Use It
I’ve lost count of how many executives have said things like “We have all this data. Let’s use it.” The truth is that the data is only as good as it’s ability to answer a question. If there are no specific questions, then analysis may be a waste of time and money. Sending someone to mine data without a purpose is like sending someone for a hike in the forest and asking them to report back on anything they find interesting.
But what’s interesting? Trees? Mosses? Wildlife? There’s a lot to see in the forest and in data, so having a focus is important. In addition, once someone has a focus, you may suddenly find out that the mountain of data you have on hand is useless for answering the questions that you have. Don’t try to use the wrong data to answer the right questions just because it’s convenient.
Second Mistake: Trying To Use As Much Data As Possible.
As I just stated, having a lot of data doesn’t mean that you have the right data and more is not necessarily better. Sometimes we overcomplicate analysis just because we can. Too often I’ve seen data scientists add one additional variable to their model because an executive said, “The data is there, so why not use it?” I understand that it may appear wasteful not to use every bit of information available, but it’s important to make sure that we’re using all the right information and not adding so much into the mix that it becomes muddy. Think about a chef who puts everything into a soup simply because it was available in the kitchen. Lemon, pickles, chocolate, ketchup, whip cream, and tacos may not blend as well as we think. Sure we have a diversity of ingredients, but adding variables to a model can also increase the noise (not to mention indigestion), thus making the results difficult to interpret. It’s not about the quantity or even the diversity of data types: solid business decisions are based on using the right data and interpreting it accurately.
Defining the Five Factors of Value that Motivate Buying
To begin the process of describing how you create Value, it's important to keep the following definitions in mind. It also helps to think of them as expectations that customers have of your company.
A focused dialogue with customers: understanding how you contribute to their success Identifying and meeting customers' changing needs 2. Service
Accessibility: an open and reassuring organization Clear information on products, services, processes, and project status 3. Time
Dependable lead times Consistent delivery format 4. Quality
Consistent products, services, and processes Meets the brief or specifications: achieves the customer's goal 5. Price
Clear Structured Rational Competitive Any B2B product or service can be described in terms of the Big Five. Which means that what you are really selling can be positioned and promoted according to what customers are really buying.
Value in Action. How the Big Five Motivate Buying: My Kingdom for a Horse!
It coats us in an antibacterial protective layer What? A study by an international team of researchers and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a natural antibiotic is produced when we sweat. These natural antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are active against small and large bugs alike, even pathogens such as tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the dastardly Staphylococcus aureus. So while we think sweating is a dirty thing, it’s actually quite the opposite. And with that in mind, bring on the heat!
(On the flip side, of course, remember that sweating depletes the body of hydration; when you're reveling in your newfound glowing glory, don't forget to replenish with water.)
LOVE YOUR HABIT The first lesson? People on streaks like what they do. If you think about it, most of us are on a long-term streak of eating daily. We don’t have to—it is quite possible to fast for 24 hours—but life feels unpleasantly like it’s missing something when we don’t eat. Nikki Mascali has written something for herself daily since January 1, 2013. "As a journalist by day, I found that most of my creativity was going only to my work, and nothing was left for my personal writing goals," she says. "I find that as long as I’m writing something for me, it keeps a cache of creativity I feel I need to survive. I’ve never even thought of stopping at the end of each year because it’s become such a part of me."
Many people flounder with habits because they allow exceptions for things such as travel, or special occasions, that eventually become common enough not to be exceptions. Those with streaks, on the other hand, structure their lives to make their habits possible.
Technology Trigger: “A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.” Peak of Inflated Expectations: “Early publicity produces a number of success stories—often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.” Trough of Disillusionment: “Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.” Slope of Enlightenment: “More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious." Plateau of Productivity: “Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.” Gamification: still stuck in the “trough of disillusionment”?
Create a discipline. Set time aside on your calendar for informal exchanges with others. Busy-ness and efficiency are the enemy of conversation-based leadership. So, prioritize this like you would any other critical activity. Block out even 20 minutes every day. Compress your normal one-hour meetings to 50 minutes and redeploy the remaining 10 minutes for unstructured conversation, whether with those meeting participants or others. Try setting a goal for yourself. Add a to-do to connect with a certain number of employees each day. Create a discipline, and MBTA will ultimately become a habit. Bring value. A lot of communication advice focuses on listening, and that’s obviously critical. But employees also want to hear from you. Part of the cache of conversing with leaders is getting the latest and greatest, being “on the inside” and “in the know.” So consider your audience in advance and be prepared with nuggets of information that will leave them feeling informed and inspired. Take the “question-a-week” challenge. Identify one topic you’d like to explore and select a question that you’ll ask everyone you encounter. It might be focused squarely on the business or on more diffuse, human issues. Do this regularly, and you’ll quickly become a one-(wo)man think tank. You’ll develop a repository of important information about the organization and staff while building employee engagement. Some examples: “What’s the biggest changes you’re seeing in our customers?” “What one organizational change would enable you to do a better job?” “What have you learned this week?” “What do you think is our biggest liability/opportunity?”
Ten Key Behaviors of Good Operators Good operators…
Run lean operations (Lean as in slim or the opposite of bloated.) Manage cash like it is precious. (It is.) Partner with customers to understand their businesses and challenges at a detailed level. (Go figure.) Build strategies around a blend of customer insights and a carefully cultivated view to the future. (They often don’t provide the answers, they enable and hold their teams accountable to finding the answers.) Invest in technologies and offerings that reduce customer burdens and help them move forward in their own businesses. (Go figure, part 2.) Fire unprofitable customers, shed irrelevant operations and put stakes in people’s pet projects with ferocity in order to free up critical resources. (If it is irrelevant it goes.) Engage in a constant dialog with the workforce. (Some telling, but mostly listening and then supporting/enabling.) Put the right people in the right roles to do the right things. (Job 1.) Invest in their people. (Job 2.) Focus on improving in every aspect of the business every single day. (Job 3.) The Bottom-Line for Now: You can label them as leaders or managers. In my mind, they are good operators using all of the tools of leadership and management at their disposal. And they are more critical than ever.
The value of IoT is clear, says Accenture Digital's McNeil. It can drive operational efficiencies that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.
For example, by tagging food or medicine, it's possible to ensure that the item has been kept at the right temperature throughout transport—and pull it from shipments or shelves if there's a problem. It's also possible to better connect with consumers through real-time contextual marketing, as well as to monitor machines and performance far more efficiently.
However, the IoT can also introduce entirely new business models. For example, Uber and Airbnb are both businesses built entirely on IoT functionality. These businesses couldn't have existed in the past.
It's important to look for ways to both improve business and disrupt industry, McNeil says. That's where IoT value peaks.
"The IoT provides a way to improve operational efficiency and cut costs, but it also introduces the possibility of adding revenue streams," he adds. By using computers, devices, sensors and real-time data processing to create digital data points, organizations can move from being a product-based company to a data-driven company.
Capgemini's Smith says that at the center of all this is a very basic concept: "Fueling the disruption with dexterity. You can brace yourself for the change, and you can react to the change, or you can try to fuel it."
Making Connections Count
One company attempting to take the latter tack is Armored Diesel Repair & Services, a San Antonio firm that provides field services for trucking and equipment companies in the oil and energy industry. Armored Diesel places repair trailers onsite at customers' locations scattered across the Eagle Ford oil basin, and many of these facilities are hundreds of miles away from the central office.
Let’s put our heads together. As more workplaces embrace flexible work options like telecommuting and split shifts, this phrase is increasingly irrelevant. You can’t literally “put heads together” to get things done anymore—so whether you mean “let’s brainstorm” or “let’s ideate,” say that instead.
Take it to the next level. You probably mean well, but this phrase won’t empower and motivate your team like you want it to. What, exactly, is the next level? If you don’t define a measurable goal, this vague push to improve doesn’t give your team a specific sight to aim for. When they don’t know where the “next level” lies, it’s hard to understand when they’ve actually achieved it.
Hit the ground running/Get the ball rolling. These are great sports metaphors for getting things started, but they’re so overused that they fall flat in today’s office environment. When you mean to say, “Let’s get started!” you should feel empowered to say just that. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.
The power of patience and persistence is remarkable. Good things happen when you stick with something and keep driving it to forward. The entrepreneur game takes way longer for most companies than people think. In 2013 Dow Jones Venture Sources stated that on average it takes five years to move from starting a company to liquidity. Start-up years are like dog years, where one year feels like seven. That’s a long time to work at the extreme pace and intensity that most of us do. But you have to trust that if you keep with it, good things will happen.
The core to accountability around digital advertising spend is data, noted Ward, the vice president of marketing at Oracle Marketing Cloud in the report. She highlighted that having a data management platform (DPM) that is linked to the marketing executive engine is what makes data more useful.
Marketers get a much better picture to acquire the ideal customer, and can be combined with analytics and predictive modelling and lets marketing be the company’s revenue engine.
“Marketers are finding themselves under more pressure to demonstrate return on investments and so are favoring digital solutions, that can help drive a better customer experience while empowering marketers to measure drive a higher ROI through better targeting, AB testing and attribution measurement across the buyer’s lifecycle,” said Ward.
“For marketers to be successful, they must take ownership of accountability of the customer experience across digital touchpoints, with one eye on innovation and customer experience, and the other on the bottom line,” she said.
Ultimately, Ward advised marketers to take ownership of accountability – by having one eye on innovation and customer experience, and the other on the bottom line.
Social media plays a huge role in driving your organization’s reputation and how potential members, visitors, and donors perceive it. A branding study makes sure that everyone in the organization is on the same page about its values, its competitive positioning, its promise to those it engages, and the tone and content of its messaging. Without this information, the tail wags the dog – and down the road, your organization may have perceived values, priorities, and a personality that was never intended by leadership. And it is difficult to change public perception once it is formed.
A branding study contemplates many critical items relating to your organization, what it stands for, and how it is perceived in the market. These include its brand values, reputational equities, and goals, for instance.
Brand values are those attributes its stakeholders are dedicated to every day…how they “live” the brand. Reputational equities are the strengths your organization is known for and want to protect as they ultimately determine how the brand is perceived in the world. Goals, of course, are the primary objectives your organization is trying to achieve, both operationally and strategically. A social media strategy born from the organization’s brand platform should be aligned with these goals. (Because “having X number of followers” is a meaningless goal no matter how you cut it.)
Companies must find new and innovative ways to give their customers a better experience.
This change will be reflected in the evolution of the customer technology stack in the next few years in broad trends.
CRM will become the system of record. CRM holds data pertaining to the buying process. It is increasingly becoming the repository of financial and support data as well. CRM has become the official system of record, with usage increasing over time.
Customer Success will become the system of engagement every customer-facing employee and will enable Customer Success professionals to deliver the best possible customer experience.
CS will eventually take over the other categories in a consolidation that will be driven by two main forces. First, the engagement model between customers and companies is changing. Over time, the conventional approach to support that is based on tickets (or cases) will be replaced by a more intense engagement. There is a pressing need for a system that can stitch together the data and business events using previously defined processes in real time, so that customers are never left waiting for something to happen.
* * *
We are in the age of the customer, and it will not be long before big players decide to get in on the action.
Trial and error is the best way to find your rhythm. Levitin says to spend a week working for 90 minutes, followed by a 15-minute breaks, with an hour off at lunch. If by the end of the week, your attention is still flagging at the end of the 90 minutes, then reduce your work period by 10 minutes. If you think you can go longer, then add 10 minutes. In a perfectly productive world, we’d all cut out caffeine, sugar, and Facebook, which lead to weaker attention spans. But Levitin says not to worry about such things when first embarking on a productivity program. “If you try to do all those things at once, you don’t know what’s causing the improvement if you see any improvement,” he says. “I’d introduce these things gradually so as not to cause too abrupt a change.” Ultimately, there will always be some people who can work for hours on end without flagging, while others need much longer breaks. But no amount of clean eating or strict routines will allow everyone to work the same way. We all have different brains, so embrace your own unique productivity style.
We all make mistakes, of course, but unusual time pressure can make even the smartest person seem incompetent. Why? As new research suggests, we have a finite capacity for making good decisions, and a state of scarcity may deplete us of the limited capacity we have.1 Consider the Tenerife air disaster of 1977, in which a veteran pilot commenced takeoff without clearance and crashed into another airplane on the runway, killing 583 people. Why would an experienced pilot make such a reckless decision?
"Mystery ads," whose visual complexity require work on the part of the viewer to decode, are viewed less positively than upfront ads in the initial glimpse, but they gain in approval over time, reaching similar levels. One example in the study showed a ninja severing a rope holding a refrigerator, which was about to crush apples to create juice.
A third kind of ad uses a clear image of one thing to sell something different, as when a headshot of a blonde woman is used to sell wheat beer. The authors called that a "false front" ad. Such ads are initially appealing, because they appear comprehensible, but are liked less once viewers reorient themselves to the right interpretation. "We find very little justification for false-front ads," Wedel says. "People don't like to be duped." Sponsored content, ads that take the form of news articles, would fall into this category.
The pleasure derived from ads was closely connected with whether viewers believed they grasped their gist, surveys of test subjects demonstrated. Positive reviews had little connection to visual appeal, visual complexity, or the ratio of text to image.
The authors tested the three types of ads in three experiments, both in labs and online, involving a total of 1,360 test subjects and 50 advertisements. The advertisements were a mixture of real-life ads and ads modified by the researchers to fit into one of the categories. The first experiment looked at reactions at 100 milliseconds, or 2, 5 or 30 seconds. The second looked at 100 milliseconds, 500 milliseconds, 2 seconds and 10 seconds. In the final experiment, test subjects could look at ads as long as they wanted.
Before you can understand others, you need to spend time walking in their shoes. That saying is so common it may be regarded as trite and therefore worthy of ignoring. Too bad! The other day, I was reminded of the power of this statement when talking to a friend of mine, Tim Katanski, who is a teaching golf pro at Ann Arbor Golf & Outing in Michigan. Like the good teacher he is, Tim works with the talents and aspirations -- as well as the limitations -- of amateur golfers. Such a perspective extends beyond the coaching world. Managers need to be in tune with the people they supervise. Smart executives spend a good deal of time working to improve the performance of individual employees.These executives are working individually -- in essence, coaching them for improvement.
1. Your character is more important than your competency. More than anything else, you want to be known as a leader who is ethical, honest and trustworthy. It’s important for leaders to be competent and skilled, but that’s not the source of great leadership. It’s your character as a leader that matters most—not only to your team, organization, or venture but also to the world. Without trust, all the competency in the world is meaningless. 2. Your insistence on excellence will be measured daily. As a leader, your standard of leading and doing and acting will be measured daily. Part of the calling of leadership is a commitment to live your life with the highest standards. Excellence matters. It’s a question you have to ask yourself every day: Did I deliver excellence or did I cut corners? Excellence is ultimate measure of success, especially in leadership. 3. Your communication will be welcomed and scrutinized. The finest expression of respect is not praise or status but the willingness to communicate candidly and honestly. It is important to share information, and it will be welcomed when you do. But you’ll also be scrutinized—on how you speak and how you listen. Make sure you communicate in a way that leaves people feeling valued and understood.
Imagine a customer, colleague, co-worker, an employee, or teammate telling you they are not pleased with something you’ve done. The very next words you say will determine if or how you will collaborate in the future. Beware these damaging defensive replies:
Everybody does it. It’s normal. You’ve misinterpreted the situation. I didn’t mean any harm. No harm done. You’re exaggerating this. Don’t nit pick. It makes you difficult to work with. Grow up. Stop whining. Act like an adult. I’m an adult. You don’t direct my actions. Is this really that important to you? It’s not my fault; don’t blame me. We all make mistakes. I’m sorry if I hurt you. I’m sorry but … It’s been a bad day for us all. This high tech world makes relationships tough. That’s the culture and how we do things here. That’s just the way I am. Everyone else says I’m very nice. I’m over tired, over worked etc… I don’t see why this matters. I guess you are a hyper sensitive person. You seem to lack self-confidence. So many people respect you, why let this bother you? All these defensive reactions paint you as insecure, insensitive, self-absorbed, accusatory, and/or unaccountable. Defensive reactions forecast repeat trouble instead of shared success. People picture future difficulties with you instead of great opportunities.
Ask questions to understand, listen, apologize, and offer a remedy and change in behavior to show appropriate respect for others. This rebuilds and strengthens trust, the bond of all business relationships.
While most C-level executives are confident that their company will outperform its competitors over the next 12 months, many admit that an unwillingness to take risks may result in a marketplace liability, according to a recent survey from Deloitte Consulting. The resulting report, "Deloitte Business Confidence Report 2016: The Bold Organization—Innovate, Lead, Attract," breaks down success drivers into three key areas: innovation, talent and leadership. With regard to the last driver, nearly all survey respondents indicate that bold leadership is essential to deliver breakthrough performances, but most executives said that isn't happening on a regular basis in their company. They also said their organization doesn't offer compensation and promotions to those who take calculated risks. "Being a bold leader is about having the confidence to make decisions that disrupt and therefore transform your business, preparing it for the future," said Janet Foutty, CEO and chairman of Deloitte Consulting. "It's also about taking an integrated approach to decision making. A more united and collaborative approach to change would create greater coherence across the organization. These bold leadership perspectives are not easy to adopt, but without a 360-degree approach, innovation and transformation progress will remain stuck in neutral." An estimated 300 U.S. C-level execs took part in the researc
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