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How IT Professionals Can Embrace the Serendipity Economy

The principles of understanding value have changed.
Don Dea's insight:
  • The process of creation is distinct from value realization. Consider the slide deck. Microsoft provides productivity tools that create presentations quickly and efficiently. But nothing in Microsoft's Office suite ensures that the resulting presentation represents anything of value. Cost and time savings should never be the primary reasons for purchasing or upgrade decisions. IT needs to create models that examine and reflect the potential for enhanced value coming from such systems. For companies with existing productivity suites, the incremental improvements of new productivity features is small; however, the integration of collaboration features may significantly improve the value realization of the underlying productivity suite.
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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
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Is Blockchain the Next Great Hope - or Hype?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Routines​ ​beat​ ​strengths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost two-thirds of American adults feel that the types of experiences that make them loyal to a particular brand or provider have changed to some degree over the past 3 years, research from Accenture Strategy has found. For youth, product and service experiences are becoming more important drivers, as is trust in data privacy.
In fact, a leading 85% of US respondents overall said that an important influence on their loyalty was brands being trustworthy with regards to safeguarding and respecting the privacy of their personal information. This was one of the few important influencers of brand loyalty that was shared across generations, cited by 81% of Millennials (18-34), 83% of Gen Xers (35-54) and 88% of Boomers (55+). The result aligns with previous research indicating that a range of security concerns affect consumers’ trust in digital brands.
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Paid Search Trends in Q4 2016

Q4 was a strong quarter for search advertising spend, according to a MarketingCharts review of several recent reports. In fact, spending was up by double-digits among clients of IgnitionOne [download page], Merkle [download page] and Kenshoo, with each also reporting a double-digit increase in clicks. (The IgnitionOne and Merkle reports cover US activity – with IgnitionOne looking specifically at Google search – while the Kenshoo study covered global client activity.)

Search ad impressions were also on the rise for those reporting this metric. Figures surrounding costs-per-click (CPCs) were more muted, as IgnitionOne and iProspect [download page] reported moderate increases but Merkle and Kenshoo noted no change on a year-over-year basis.
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6 leadership lessons I learned from the Costa Rican jungle

 Do things that scare the living daylights out of you – and do them on a regular basis. Don’t just apply this to yourself – a skilled leader will take their team beyond their comfort zones. This leads to growth, innovation, and a step change – for you and your team. Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Deborah Gruenfeld, says that in order to build self-confidence you need to do things that put you in the red zone. “Try things you don’t think you can do. Failure can be very useful for building confidence.”

Diving into the South American jungle on my own with a bunch of strangers took a bucketload of chutzpah for someone who is usually such a timid traveller. Setting yourself and your team challenges that scare you a little (or a lot) builds confidence and increases your chances of success in the long run.

2. Be as prepared as a Boy Scout or Girl Guide (but then just wing it). Do your preparation. Plan for worst case and best case scenarios. Then plan and prepare a bit more. But don’t be so rigid in your mindset and so hell bent on your approach that you miss the opportunity to take the different (and better) route when it’s staring you square in the face. I packed so much mosquito repellent in my toilet bag, it drew raised eyebrows at customs. But once I arrived in Puntarenas Province, I shed everything that didn’t serve me – both literally and metaphorically. I wore little more than a sundress and no makeup; and as I shed all the unnecessary outer stuff, I shed the shackles of my outdated mindset. I became more open to whatever was in front of me. I had some of the most incredible experiences of my life, many of which would never have happened if I had stuck rigidly to ‘The Plan’.
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Try This Surprisingly Simple Way to Raise the Bar

Try This Surprisingly Simple Way to Raise the Bar | digitalNow | Scoop.it




She looked right at me and yelled across the gym floor with conviction, “You are a dancer!”

Now there are a lot of labels I’m ready to buy:  “You are a leader!” I hope so.

“You are a Mom!” Well, that one could go both ways, couldn’t it? Anything from “Good job, Mom” to “Is this your kid? What was he thinking?”

“You are a keynoter!” I’m working hard every day on my craft, so yes, I’ll take that.

But “You are a dancer?” Seriously? Not me.

But there I was in Barre class at my gym, trying to tone away the Christmas cookies, and the instructor, who clearly IS a dancer, once again looks at me.

“Dancers look at the audience not the floor.” I straightened up. I quickly glanced around the studio, everyone else was standing taller too. Hmmm… maybe she wasn’t just speaking to me.

“Dancers present their legs with a little more attitude in this move. And “YOU are a dancer. A little more attitude please.”

I watched as this entire room of stressed out moms of toddlers, athletes, executives, and folks clearly in it for their January resolution all brought a little more positive “attitude” to the dance.

A SIMPLE WAY TO RAISE THE BAR

Want to raise the bar? Help your team get beyond the just.

“I’m just a keynoter looking to tone and be more graceful on the stage.” True. But how much faster will I get there, if I also embrace my lurking dancer?

“Oh, I’m just a tech guy without an eye for design. Just tell me exactly what you want on your website and I’ll do it, but don’t ask me think to about the way it looks.” Or, “You are a website genius. What do you think is most compelling?”

“Oh I’m just a ticket agent, I don’t make the rules.”  Or, “You are creative travel steward.”

“I’m just _____, ” is a self-limiting cop-out which squashes potential and lowers the bar for all of us. Just because you’re this, doesn’t mean you can’t serve the world more effectively by also being a little of that.

How will you raise the bar for yourself and your team in 2017?

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You're Happy and You Know It - Why You Probably Shouldn't Show It 

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

K
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7 tips for disagreeing without being disagreeable 

Reframe the situation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1
Experience is not only the best teacher, it is often the only teacher. It teaches us many lessons we can’t learn from books, classrooms, and lectures. Wise CEOs know the wisdom others have gained through experience is one of the leader’s most valuable resources and the organization’s most valued assets. If others don’t share those lessons, the new CEO will step on landmines and reap disasters he would have otherwise avoided.
#2
Institutional knowledge are facts, concepts and know-how held by the group. Institutional knowledge is codified in the hearts and minds of those who live it. The knowledge is transmitted through stories, actions and informal conversations, among and between generations of staffers. Without institutional knowledge, employees have to make it up as they go and each employee has to learn anew. Wise CEOs know that chaos, inefficiency and mistakes result from lack of institutional knowledge.
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A Manager’s Guide to Navigating High-Stress Times

A Manager’s Guide to Navigating High-Stress Times | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Providing support during high-stress times is the right thing to do…. for individuals and for the business.
But, how can busy managers add this to their already overflowing platters of priorities—and do it without turning the workplace into a therapy couch? Effective leaders take these small steps that have a big impact on others.
Share your observations. Looking the other way and pretending that something’s not happening doesn’t make it go away; it makes you look clueless. Instead, if you see something, say something… as a way to open the door to dialogue.
 Examples: “I can’t help but notice that there’s been a lot of chatter about this change recently” or “It seems like you might be a little distracted these days.”
Check in with others. Find ways—right within the workflow—to touch base with your team. But don’t expect that simply asking how someone is doing will be enough. Perfunctory, polite conversational norms will likely trigger a reflexive response like, “fine thanks… how about you?” Bring intention, authenticity and genuine curiosity to the question. Concentrate fully on the other person. Make eye contact. And, consider framing the question to provide greater context.
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