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Improving Problem Solving

Don Dea's insight:

problem solving is not a substitute for innovation and improvement as solving a problem solving only returns you to the status quo.

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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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5 ways to create an ownership mentality on your team

5 ways to create an ownership mentality on your team | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1, Stop doing it all

Even if you think you have all the answers, if you want to create a sense of accountability in your team, you have to give team members something to be accountable for. This means that you’re going to have to delegate. If you’re worried about the quality of the outcome, ask for regular check-ins one-on-one, so you can monitor progress and offer guidance and training.
Start with smaller aspects of what you’re working on, and expand from there with the members who deliver timely, quality work. While you’re coaching them to have a sense of ownership, you’ll be coaching yourself to delegate and let go a little on the day-to-day details.
2. Connect with contributors

Just as you would solicit feedback and ideas from your superiors in your organization, be sure to gather ideas from the people regularly sitting around your table. Make it clear to them that you need and value their help. When people contribute, be sure to acknowledge their contributions, both in the moment and later, when describing the group’s accomplishments to others.
If Sam and Dana were instrumental in coming up with the winning strategy, and the whole team helped fine-tune it, be sure to say so. Not only will you connect with your team and make them feel a sense of ownership, you will also build your own reputation as a positive leader.
3. Reward the sharing of ideas

As a leader, it may seem like every idea has to come from you, but that’s not the case. The best leaders create a culture where it is OK to share ideas -- all ideas. Build a relationship with your team where they are rewarded for speaking up and contributing.
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Why Make Managers A Strategic Priority?

Managers influence at least 75 percent of the reasons people give for voluntary job turnover, and they account for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement. The impact managers have on turnover and engagement go straight to the organization’s bottom line. Turnover costs range from 48 to 61 percent of an employee’s annual salary, and disengaged employees cost organizations $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary.

It’s difficult to overstate the impact a great manager can have on organizational performance. However, organizations often under invest in their selection and training. In fact, in many organizations, the best front line employee (e.g. best nurse, best waiter, best carpenter) is promoted as the next manager. Furthermore, in many cases, the new manager receives zero training. One day the person is an hourly employee, and the next day they’re managing their former coworkers. Sound familiar?

Improving the process for identifying and training new managers presents a low-risk, high return, strategic opportunity to improve organizational performance. Here are specific steps you can take to make managers a strategic business priority. 

First, change your selection criteria.
Optimizing the impact of managers starts with changing your selection criteria. Performing with excellence as a manager requires very different talents than performing in an hourly employee role. Therefore, excellent individual performance is not a good basis for promoting someone to a management role. Instead, look for an employee who naturally exhibits these behaviors and attitudes.

1.  Takes Initiative. This particular combination of behavior and attitude is fundamental to everything else and should be a ticket to admission for promotion to manager. Who sees ways to help, to improve things, to add value -- and takes action?
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2018's Top Technology Trends From Gartner

2018's Top Technology Trends From Gartner | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Artificial intelligence (AI), "smart" apps, analytics and the further decentralization of technology architectures will be the biggest IT trends for the next year, according to recent research from Gartner. The accompanying report, "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018," points out that we live in a very intelligent world. In fact, ongoing innovation that essentially amounts to making machines smarter accounts for the majority of trends on this list. As a result, companies should position themselves to better visualize events such as customer experiences and more effectively anticipate business-impacting changes. "Digital business blurs the physical and virtual worlds in a way that transforms business designs, industries, markets and organizations," according to the report. "The continuing digital business evolution exploits emerging and strategic technologies to integrate the physical and digital worlds, and create entirely new business models. The future will be defined by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere. We call this mesh of interconnected people, devices, content and services the 'intelligent digital mesh.' It's enabled by digital business platforms delivering a rich intelligent set of services to support digital business. As a … technology innovation leader seeking to exploit the intelligent digital mesh, you must respond to the disruptive technology trends driving this future."
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Some Animals Don't Actually Sleep for the Winter, and Other Surprises About Hibernation

Some Animals Don't Actually Sleep for the Winter, and Other Surprises About Hibernation | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Why do animals hibernate?

Put simply: “Hibernation is a means of energy conservation,” says Kelly Drew, a neuropharmacologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who studies the brain chemistry of hibernating Arctic ground squirrels. (Read more about how certain animals cope with cold.)

While hibernation is most often seen as a seasonal behavior, it’s not exclusive to cold-weather critters. There are tropical hibernators that may do so to beat the heat.
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The Future of Work: 7 Technologies That Will Unsettle Any Employee

The Future of Work: 7 Technologies That Will Unsettle Any Employee 
Tanvir Zafar | Oct 9, 2017 307 views No Comments


If there’s anything we can say about the future, it’s that none of us can say for certain what it will bring. Times are changing – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. What used to be the norm 20 years ago is no longer the norm today – just like what is the norm today will not be the norm 20 years from now.



And once more, we are currently going through a series of changes – changes that will greatly affect the way in which we will work – or not work. Some technologies may seem like an improvement for the future – but it will surely bring unease into the hearts of every employee.

Writing Software
Artificial intelligence has become more and more common nowadays, literally sounding the death bell for more and more jobs. A software which is slowly but surely catching on is WordSmith, an AI program which will write content for anyone in need.

Now, you could ask the question: “how could an AI write better than an actual human?” Well, from present experience, you probably know that artificial writing software comes with a lot of errors – but it has definitely improved over the past couple of years. That’s because an AI learns as it goes, and in the near future, it will most likely reach perfection. This means that people working for a content writing company and anyone else making a living out of this will be at great risk in the future.

Translation Software
How many of you had fun using Google Translate in the past, simply because it seemed to you that the translations were way off? Granted, when online translators started taking shape, they did not have enough data to go one – which is why every translation came up with so many blunders.

Nowadays, however, translating software got smarter – to the point that even if you are trying to find a mistake, you are not very likely to find any. What does this mean for people that have a degree in translating? Well, the thought of going through a career change will surely cross their mind.

Automatic Insurance Software
Ai strikes again, this time in the insurance industry. In Japan, for instance, they developed a piece of software that can analyze and process all kinds of data very fast – much faster than any human possibly could. What could this mean for employees in the insurance industry? Well, it’s definitely something to lose sleep over.

Scheduling Software
In a world dominated by computers, we will enter a world where computer will make our schedules for us. Backed up by an AI, this technology will arranged our days based on collected data, putting the jobs of people in secretarial offices at risk.

Furthermore, this is also a good way to stalk keep track of your employees. The employee time clock, for instance, is another piece of software that is heaven for employers – but hell for
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Stop Social Loafing: 6 Ways to Get Everyone Working

Social Loafing: Reasons to Coast

Social loafing is the tendency for people to exert less effort when they are part of a group than when they are by themselves.  You’ve probably witnessed this yourself.  Whether it’s those dreaded group projects in school, or watching a construction crew by the side of the road, some people just don’t seem to be giving it their full effort.

Why does this happen?  There are lots of possible reasons.

Group size.  The more people in the group, the easier it is to hide and let others do the work.

Goal Achievability.  Those who believe the group’s goal is impossible to achieve are more likely to slack off; they think effort is futile.

Goal Value.  Even if the goal can be attained, if they don’t believe achieving it will be meaningful, they are more likely to go easy.

Goal Low-balling.  If the goal appears relatively easy to achieve and only requires a minimal amount of work from group members, that’s just what they’ll do.

Skill differential.  Group members who believe they aren’t as skilled as their teammates are more likely to let others do the work.  They think that they don’t have the ability to contribute meaningfully.

The Sucker Effect.  When people begin to feel that others are slacking off, they try not to get stuck “holding the bag” themselves.  In the effort to avoid becoming the “sucker,” overall group output goes down.

Getting Them Off the Couch
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Why Make Managers A Strategic Priority?

First, change your selection criteria.
Optimizing the impact of managers starts with changing your selection criteria. Performing with excellence as a manager requires very different talents than performing in an hourly employee role. Therefore, excellent individual performance is not a good basis for promoting someone to a management role. Instead, look for an employee who naturally exhibits these behaviors and attitudes.

1.  Takes Initiative. This particular combination of behavior and attitude is fundamental to everything else and should be a ticket to admission for promotion to manager. Who sees ways to help, to improve things, to add value -- and takes action?

2.  Improves Morale. This should also be required. Who has a strong positive attitude and positively impacts the attitudes of others? Things feel better in the department when this person is working. He or she encourages others to maintain positivity and optimism in the face of adversity.

 3.  Helps Other Employees. Who notices when another team member could use some help and just spontaneously moves in to help them?  This person might reach out proactively to help you as well.

4.  Teaches Other Employees. Who naturally shares knowledge, expertise and new learning to help other people do their jobs better – and really enjoys that kind of teaching?

5.  Generates Ideas For Improvement.  Who always sees ways to make things function more effectively -- and then speaks up? This might be annoying sometimes, but it’s a sign of management talent.

6.  Demonstrates Leadership. Who sees that something needs to be done, asks others to pitch in and gets results? This goes beyond simply taking initiative. The key is in asking others and getting them to pitch in. Again, it’s natural.
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4 Social Advertising Tactics You Aren't Using

4 Social Advertising Tactics You Aren't Using | digitalNow | Scoop.it
 LinkedIn Account Targeting

This awesome social advertising tactic allows you to serve ads on LinkedIn to specific companies as a means to get your marketing messages in front of their employees. If you layer on Experience Targeting, you can effectively target decision makers at companies that you would like to do business with. While this feature isn’t exactly new, it’s often overlooked.  To take advantage of Account Targeting, simply upload a list of companies that you would like to engage with and LinkedIn will match that list against the 8 million Company Pages in their system. Then apply the targeting when you are setting up your next campaign.  Quick and easy!

2. Facebook Dynamic Creative

Facebook Dynamic Creative is an awesome tool available in Power Editor that allows you to upload different aspects of an ad such as image, video, title, description and Call to Action and the system will automatically deliver the best performing combination of the creative assets to the audience. Think of it as giving Facebook all of your creative elements and letting it optimize the ad for you. This is rather new, so you might not have access to it just yet. However, it should be rolling out very soon!

 3. Twitter Website Tailored Audience

When we discuss social advertising, Facebook usually hogs the conversation. However Twitter offers similar advertising tactic that will allow you to retarget your website visitors. By placing a little snippet of code on your website, you can serve relevant ads on Twitter to people who have already shown intent. Twitter hasn’t proven to be as cost effective as Facebook, however it is another great option!

4. Facebook Engagement Custom Audience

Facebook’s Engagement Custom Audience allows you to target those who have already engages with your content. Statistically speaking, people are more likely to buy from brands they engage with on social, so this would be a great test especially if your page garners solid engagement numbers. This also counts for Instagram too! Since Instagram is notoriously more engaging than any other social channel, you might want to consider leveraging this option!
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Increase Your Influence – Stop Talking!

Increase Your Influence – Stop Talking! | digitalNow | Scoop.it
. Here are two ways you can keep that commitment and more easily reach your goal of listening 80% of the time in every conversation you have:

1. Use Questions Effectively

First, use open-ended questions that have many possible answers. “How did that work out?” “How did you feel when that happened?” Use closed-ended questions to get a precise answer, and then follow up with more open-ended questions.

Second, avoid “Why?” questions. They tend to make people defensive. If the person is describing something from the past, ask them what happened. If they’re suggesting an action, ask what they think will happen. Either way, you usually get the same kind of explanation that a “Why?” question would generate, but without the negative emotional response.

2. Use Silence Effectively

Silence is the source of acknowledgment, the presence of appreciation, and the genesis of connecting one with other human beings.

After you ask a question, wait for silence before forming your next question or comment. Attune to what is being communicated to you. Don’t even think about what you should say next until you have first listened to what is being said and processed what you should say next during silence.

Allowing everyone to think during silence promotes discovery more than just jumping in with whatever question or comment comes to mind. If you wait and concentrate on what you’ve heard, you’re more likely to say something relevant and helpful. Getting comfortable with silence and using it properly will help you build relationships, trust, and influence.

Most Americans get uncomfortable when silence stretches on for more than a few seconds. Your conversation partner may be one of those people who need to jump right in and fill the silence. Allow it. Or, he or she may be much more comfortable with long silence than you are. You should practice being silent for long stretches to handle those situations.

Commit to spending less time drawing out your own insights and more time drawing out and exploring the insights of others.
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Be Very Afraid: How Our Fears Can Work For Us

Be Very Afraid: How Our Fears Can Work For Us | digitalNow | Scoop.it
And we break fear management down into these four steps:

NOTICE THEM
Switch on your fear awareness. Become acutely aware of how you react when scared: do you get aggressive or go quiet? Overcompensate or avoid. How do your body and mind react when scared? Awareness isn’t about making fear go away, it’s reminding ourselves that we have choices in how we react to it. That we can rewire our patterns of behavior to manage our fear more productively.

NAME THEM
Then once you know how you respond to fear, figure out what causes that reaction. Create your own private list of quirky phobias. Forget about fear of spiders and confined spaces: how about fear of checking in with your boss, fear of offering up new ideas, fear of providing critical feedback, fear of reporting your decisions to the team. If you name what triggers and tests you, it might not have as strong a hold on you.

HONOR THEM
Then tell yourself that it’s absolutely fine to feel these fears. That you wouldn’t be alive if you weren’t afraid of something, and you wouldn’t be good at your job if you didn’t worry about whether you were good enough at it. In other words, flip your fear script: fear isn’t your enemy; it’s just an integral part of you. Whoever you are.

CHALLENGE THEM
Now challenge those fears. Notice we’re not urging you to conquer them, because that sets up a fight. And we see this as a game more than a fight. Think of it as Truth or Dare. Being truthful about what scares you and daring yourself to respond to it differently. Small adjustments to your reactions, micro experiments in risk taking. Creating hairline fractures to a lifetime of patterns. That’s all it takes to start neutralizing fear’s threat to your workplace performance and get it to work on your behalf.

Fear in the workplace doesn’t have to distract or impede us. Not at all. If we leverage it rather than merely managing it, it can compel us to be the absolutely best version of ourselves. So if you want to be creative, disruptive, innovative or inspirational, be afraid. Be very afraid.
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Firms Are Hurt by Bad Website & App Performance

Firms Are Hurt by Bad Website & App Performance | digitalNow | Scoop.it
A majority of consumers said poor website or app performance will negatively affect their brand loyalty, according to a recent survey from Apica. The resulting report, "Digital Desertion: The Rise of Consumer Web and App Expectations and the Impact of Negative Experiences," reveals that a notable share of survey respondents said slow-loading pages and apps would cause them to never return to a site for goods or services. So how long is too long to wait? For most survey respondents, 20 seconds represents the cut-off point. What's more, if they get fed up with these issues, there's a high likelihood they'd tell their friends and colleagues about the negative experience, further damaging a brand's reputation. "Digital consumers have limited patience for slow performance or delays," said Carmen Carey, CEO of Apica. "There is clearly a general expectation that sites and apps will perform faster and better, particularly with the advent of 'born digital' organizations. The onus is now on businesses, whether they're a leading financial company or an online retailer, to ensure peak performance at all times." A total of 1,000 users and consumers took part in the research.
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The Problem with Hurry

The Problem with Hurry | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Book some quiet time on your calendar. Once, I told my time I had spent a work day in a silent retreat. They looked at me like I needed psychiatric help. Our culture does not value or respect quiet time. And as such, we don’t spend time in reflection, reading, meditating – and becoming a better version of ourselves. Do this, despite the stigma attached to it. One day a week or one day a month – you decide the frequency. Unplug.
Put unhurried time with your people on your calendar before anything else. Lots of people talk about how much they care about their people. Very few people dedicate any time to it. If you truly believe that people create performance – make them a priority. The best leader I have met suggested you should spend 30% of your week with your direct reports, largely in one-on-one coaching conversations. In my experience, this has an amazing impact on the growth in your team – and the results. And yes, it is a lot of time. On something that matters.
Do less. We are all trying to do too much, instead of doing the vital few things that would advance our organization. Focus is so powerful. Count how many things you are trying to have an impact on. If it’s 20, that’s hopeless. If it’s 12, that is really ambitious. If it’s 3-5, you could have a huge impact on the future. Seriously, you’ve heard this before. What you say “no” to is more important than what you say “yes” to. Cull your list. Do a few big things, and watch the results roll in.
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Will Automation Boost Employee Productivity?

Will Automation Boost Employee Productivity? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Employees spend less than half of their day doing the job they were hired to do, according to a recent survey from Workfront. The fourth annual "State of Enterprise Work" report indicates that attending time-wasting meetings, fielding excessive emails and taking unexpected phone calls account for far too much of the day. But productivity is also restricted because workers are constantly limited to traditional and often outdated office tools, such as old email systems, spreadsheets or even handwritten to-do lists. However, they believe that with automation, at least one-fifth of their tasks could be handed over to a machine. With this, they're convinced they'd have more time to be innovative and to complete primary work functions. "Forward-looking companies must recognize today that tomorrow's enterprise work cannot be executed via yesterday's email and spreadsheets," according to the report. "Tomorrow's solutions must automate the manual work of organizing, communicating and reporting on work and provide the right data at the right time so human knowledge workers can do their best work, faster than ever before." As a somewhat humorous finding, the report includes the most overused office buzz words or phrases, and we've included those here. More than 2,000 employees took part in the research, which was conducted by Regina Corso Consulting.
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5 ways to create an ownership mentality on your team

5 ways to create an ownership mentality on your team | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1, Stop doing it all

Even if you think you have all the answers, if you want to create a sense of accountability in your team, you have to give team members something to be accountable for. This means that you’re going to have to delegate. If you’re worried about the quality of the outcome, ask for regular check-ins one-on-one, so you can monitor progress and offer guidance and training.
Start with smaller aspects of what you’re working on, and expand from there with the members who deliver timely, quality work. While you’re coaching them to have a sense of ownership, you’ll be coaching yourself to delegate and let go a little on the day-to-day details.
2. Connect with contributors

Just as you would solicit feedback and ideas from your superiors in your organization, be sure to gather ideas from the people regularly sitting around your table. Make it clear to them that you need and value their help. When people contribute, be sure to acknowledge their contributions, both in the moment and later, when describing the group’s accomplishments to others.
If Sam and Dana were instrumental in coming up with the winning strategy, and the whole team helped fine-tune it, be sure to say so. Not only will you connect with your team and make them feel a sense of ownership, you will also build your own reputation as a positive leader.
3. Reward the sharing of ideas

As a leader, it may seem like every idea has to come from you, but that’s not the case. The best leaders create a culture where it is OK to share ideas -- all ideas. Build a relationship with your team where they are rewarded for speaking up and contributing.
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Workers Have Problems With Collaboration Tools

Workers Have Problems With Collaboration Tools | digitalNow | Scoop.it
With a significant share of professionals spending a quarter of their work week collaborating, the majority run into frequent, tech-related difficulties in attempting to connect and communicate with co-workers, according to a recent survey from Softchoice. The resulting report, "Collaboration Unleashed: Empowering Individuals to Work Together from Anywhere," indicates that most employees need to collaborate with people in different locations, and they expect their employer to provide the tech tools required to make that happen. These employees want to take advantage of apps that promise the latest in instant messaging, videoconferencing, teleconferencing and other collaborative capabilities. But the tech-related problems, which include quality and connectivity issues, continue to get in the way. "Bringing together individuals with varying disciplines, perspectives and experience generates fresh thinking and innovative results," according to the report. "It benefits the business when employees learn from one another by bringing their collective knowledge to bear on a single goal. Collaboration technology, when applied right, enhances the productivity of the group, and creates better connectivity among collaborators regardless of geography. … Before deciding on a technology solution, organizations must first understand how employees work and interact—and how technology can remove barriers to collaboration and support them in achieving their business goals." The report also includes findings about automation trends, and we've included some of those here. An estimated 1,000 North American office workers who use computers and/or mobile devices for most of their workday took part in the research.
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Innovation and Strong ROI Drive IoT Adoption

Innovation and Strong ROI Drive IoT Adoption | digitalNow | Scoop.it
With the majority of organizations having introduced internet of things (IoT) devices and sensors into the workplace, companies are reporting ROI that impressively extends well into double-digit territory, according to a recent survey from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. The accompanying report, "The Internet of Things: Today and Tomorrow," reveals that IoT adoption is boosting the efficiency of both business and IT teams. It's increasing opportunities for innovation, while expanding organization-wide visibility. And, in terms of financial impact, it's improving profits and creating prospects for new market growth. There are, however, challenges that present obstacles to continued success, including the threat of IoT-related cyber-breaches and an inability to create analytics-driven value from IoT data. "With the business benefits from IoT surpassing expectations, it's no surprise that the industry will move toward mass adoption by 2019," said Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing at Aruba. "But with many executives unsure of how to apply IoT to their business, those who succeed in implementing IoT to transform their organization are well-positioned to gain a competitive advantage. … Scale and complexity, proper security methodologies to protect the network and devices, and, more importantly, the data and insights they extract, must also keep pace." An estimated 3,100 global IT and business decision-makers took part in the research.
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No more excuses

No more excuses | digitalNow | Scoop.it
It is simply easier to blame external factors than ourselves for our lack of achievement or for letting ourselves or others down. The problem is, the more that we make excuses, the likelier we are to build barriers that will impede our chances of attaining meaningful goals in the future.
While excuse-making is common to everyone, it can be particularly problematic for leaders. Leaders are responsible for their own work and those whom they lead. When leaders excuse away failures, they lower the standard at which they operate, which will inevitably reduce their productivity and impact. Worse, such behavior helps to create a culture of excuse-making that quickly trickles down the pipeline.
In no time, people throughout the organization feel vindicated in justifying their miscues or lack of production. And if the boss makes his/her own excuses all the time, who is going to call them on it?
According to the World Economic Forum, executive excuse-making comes in many forms and includes personal excuses (such as being under excessive pressure, not being paid enough to deal with real problems, and being poorly trained) as well as perceived external factors (like an inherited political climate or how others respond to their leadership).
Obviously, for leaders to succeed they can’t be in the business of making excuses. They have to set high (but achievable) standards and then make sure to hold themselves and those around them accountable. The following strategies can help leaders create a more accountable and higher-achieving work environment.
Own the problem

Before leaders can do anything to change their excuse-making behavior, they have to be willing to own the problem. They must take an honest look in the mirror and recognize that they must own their behaviors as well as their reactions. The following anecdote captures this idea well. (While the context focuses on employee excuse-making, its relevance is equally applicable for the guy in charge.)
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How to Build Customer-First Operations 

Align employees around a shared, customer-centric vision.
If customer obsession isn’t already one of your company values, make it one. Zappos’ core values, most of which are focused on surprising and delighting the customer at a higher standard than anyone else, are incorporated into every move it makes, from hiring and onboarding to strategic decision-making.

The brands that are thriving today are creating experiences that consumers can feel, touch and see, anything from temporary graphics and in-store fixtures to flagship stores and influencer kits. They often have very diverse teams; on any given marketing project, they may have a creative veteran sitting at a studio 3000 miles from the manufacturing plant along with an hourly employee who works on the print press floor. Each contributes vitally to delivering a holistic, authentic and valuable customer experience.

Including all levels of employees in decision-making processes empowers them to understand how putting the customer first translates into daily operations and strategy alike. It can be as simple as sharing campaign-level customer feedback – both positive and constructive – with hourly press operators. Sharing context and end-result information with everyone who had hands on a project ensures that each employee has a stake in the end-consumer experience, which gives them the opportunity to learn, grow and better serve the customer.
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How to Think (More on Open Space and Deep Work)

How much time do you need to think? Note that strategic thought isn't necessarily a linear process. A client of mine regularly schedules 4-hour blocks of time for this work, primarily because it takes about 2 hours for him to get into the right state of mind. If he tried to force the process into a 2-hour block, the effort would be wasted, but because he gives himself enough time to "warm up," the second half of that 4-hour block is tremendously productive.

Your specific needs may be different, but you probably require more time to think than you needed in the past. As I wrote earlier this year...

The type of reflective thought that allows us to solve hard problems (and to even understand the nature of these problems in the first place) generally requires some time to allow our minds to wander and to make unexpected associative connections. Creative solutions rarely come when commanded--instead, we spot glimpses of them on the margins of conscious thought, and we invite them to join us.

Frequency

How often do you need to think? This is somewhat contingent on the answer to the question above; if you need more time in an unbroken block, other responsibilities will make it harder to protect that time on your calendar. A solution adopted by many of my clients is to schedule varying lengths of time for this work at varying intervals: For example, two hours on Monday morning, 30 minutes at the end of every day, a half-day once a month, and a full day once a quarter.

There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but the key is what I call defensive calendaring: looking out into the future and putting these events on your calendar first, before other commitments make it impossible to find the time you need. Note that strategic thinking is one of those important-but-not-urgent activities that won't happen unless you make it a priority.
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What is Customer Experience Value Creation?

What is Customer Experience Value Creation? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Customer experience value creation is creating mutual value for your whole customer base in any part of the end-to-end customer experience, across the full customer life cycle, spanning customers’ entire dealings with your organization, products, services, channels and affiliations. It’s value as seen by the customer, relative to their alternatives, relative to all the costs they endure, and relative to the outcomes they’re pursuing.

Value is one of those ambiguous words, yet it’s an extremely important word. Value can mean price, benefits received for the price paid, deep-discount price, benefits relative to alternatives, high importance, rare and precious, earnings per share, wealth-building, and more.



We tend to think of how valuable it is to formally manage customer experience. We like to see studies about the superior value received by leaders versus laggards in customer experience management. We dabble with calculating customer lifetime value (cumulative profitability of a customer). We accept for granted that “businesses exist to create value for shareholders”
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7 Ways Not to Screw Up Your Value Proposition

7 Ways Not to Screw Up Your Value Proposition | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Identify Distinctive Competencies
You may not have had an internal conversation around your business’ distinctive competencies recently—or maybe you’ve never had that conversation.  But simply, they are the foundation of every value proposition.

A distinctive competence is best defined as a strong competency that is maintainable in the face of competition. It is not easily duplicated, at least for a while. It can be thought of as an "unfair advantage."

Distinctive competencies can come from technology, industry position, market relations, cost, business processes, manufacturing processes, people, customer satisfaction, or just being first to market. 

Your value proposition needs to be solidly founded on your distinctive competencies.  Value propositions aren’t aspirational (that’s the role of a Vision Statement).  They translate what is unique about your business into something unique (like design or engineering services offered by manufacturers) and of value to your customers.
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Why Going Viral Doesn't Guarantee Social Media Success: Methods and Metrics You Need to Know

Your marketing team has an incredible campaign ready to publish. The social media posts are scheduled, landing pages are primed with engaging calls to action, and the other marketing collateral is prepared to play important, supporting roles. All these pieces must be in place before you launch the campaign, and the focal point of the campaign — a video, for example — must touch on certain emotions in order for this campaign to have the potential to go viral. When you tap into people’s sense of amazement, for example, you have a greater chance of them engaging with your content and sharing it with others.

Additionally, nearly half of Facebook users share posts in order to entertain others (stat shown below), while other reasons include making others feel a specific emotion or to educate their friends. While it may be hard to believe, it’s likely that the majority of viral content has a positive spin to it. However, as you consider more important facts in the infographic below, remember this key point: In order to have achieved success, you must do more than just go viral. You have to strategically execute your campaign. 

Look at other brands that have run effective social media campaigns for inspiration. The better prepared you are, the more likely you'll achieve the results you desire.
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Be Very Afraid: How Our Fears Can Work For Us | BraveShift

Be Very Afraid: How Our Fears Can Work For Us | BraveShift | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Think about how many times you’ve felt those words: alone at your desk or driving home at night. I’m afraid. Then try to count how many times you’ve said those same words to your team mates or boss: I am afraid. Some can count on one hand, for others it’s never.

Fear is an emotion as universal as happiness, and yet it’s like a ghost in most workplaces, haunting everyone from new hires to CEOs. A universal leveler, fear is an integral part of being alive. And yet in most workplaces, fear has no rightful place. And yet it’s all over the place.

Fear that we can’t meet expectations. That we won’t perform. Fear that we won’t be accepted, supported or promoted. That disabling fear that we’re just not good enough.

The simple reality is that we associate fear with weakness. And nobody wants to be seen as weak at work.

In fact, fear is the number one reason we put on those workplace masks. We tell ourselves that if we hide behind “Seasoned Director” or “Workaholic Associate” the fears might actually go away. But away from the light, our fears grow outsized and scary. Instead of going away they loom larger. And we’re left to wonder why life behind the mask is so miserable.

But what might happen if we acknowledged that fear has a rightful place in the spectrum of human emotion – and particularly at work where we’re challenged, learning, trying to keep up? What if we started to see fear as a strength rather than a weakness? As the essential starting point for real growth and innovation.

Fear in the workplace…can compel us to be the absolute best version of ourselves.
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No more excuses

No more excuses | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Take responsibility

At its core, excuse-making comes from a person’s inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for their behaviors. Leaders need to accept responsibility for their jobs and focus on the things which they can control. Train yourself to always accept responsibility for the things you do and the things you fail to do. Even in cases where events occur that are outside of your control, you should avoid making excuses and identify the things which you can change to get a better result next time. Responsibility and control = power.
Focus on what matters

Often we waste time on things that don’t matter and then find excuses to justify our decisions. Time management and goal setting techniques and tools can help leaders focus better and get more done.
Set high standards

Ironically, though high standards are harder to reach than lower ones, folks who set high standards tend to work harder to achieve them. Moreover, even when they come up short, they are more willing to analyze their “failures” objectively so that they can learn from them and not have a repeat performance the next time.
Strong leaders know that making excuses only delays the end goal. If we take responsibility for inaction or mistakes, we’re able to correct them and get back on track towards the goal
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Does the Internet of Things Create Risks?

Does the Internet of Things Create Risks? | digitalNow | Scoop.it

It's increasingly clear that the internet of things (IoT) presents new and sometimes remarkable opportunities. However, it also represents risks and potential security problems for organizations. "The Internet of Things (IoT): A New Era of Third-Party Risk," a new report from the Ponemon Institute that's sponsored by Shared Assessments, offers insights into the emerging space—particularly third-party factors. The survey of 533 business and IT executives involved with IoT and risk management processes found that while most organizations are aware that they are vulnerable to IoT attacks and breaches—in fact, most believe they will at some point fall victim to an IoT cyber-attack—few are adequately prepared. According to the research, companies rely on technologies and governance practices "that have not evolved to address emergent IoT threat vectors." These risks include the ability of criminals to harness IoT devices (such as botnets), to attack infrastructure and launch points for malware propagation, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and anonymizing malicious activities. Here's a look at some of the key findings.
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