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Beware the Sirens of Management Pseudo-Science

Sail right by fluffy books from well-meaning gurus.
Don Dea's insight:

we know from academic research on such practices that in the long run they usuallydo not create any value, that early adopters are motivated to exaggerate their benefits, that they can stifle long-term innovation and that in the process of popularizing the practice, the original version (which might have worked for the company that developed it) becomes distorted, oversimplified, or just plain ineffectual. Most of them go out of fashion after a while, and some years later get smirkingly referred to as a fad.

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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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Good to Great: Thinking About Employee Development Plans for Your Team...

Good to Great: Thinking About Employee Development Plans for Your Team... | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The biggest lie that HR ever told the world is that it’s important to treat people equally.  That’s important to the people who manage risk, but not to the people who are responsible for organizational results and performance.

You know the reality.  20% of your employees produce 80% of the value/profit.  We’ll call those people the naturals.  You got lucky when you hired them, because your “interview process” couldn’t have possible told you they were going to be that good.  You’re lucky.

On the flip side of that, 20% of your employees aren’t really cutting it.  Sure, maybe your managers gave them a “meets” so they could deliver their 2.8% merit increase, but you know the truth. Below average.  You weren’t so lucky when you hired them.  Same interview process—if you’re going to take credit for the good ones, you’ve got to take the blame for the bad ones.

What about the performance of the 60% in the middle? How do you get max performance out of them?  That’s where it gets interesting…

Let’s talk about Employee Development Plans (EDPs) for the 60% of your employees in the middle.  In my experience, that’s where the money is.  The naturals at the top of the food chain don’t need your help. The people at the bottom aren’t great investments.  The middle?  Yeah, that’s probably where your mind needs to be.

Here are my super-secret cliff notes related to EDPs for the middle of your performance bell curve:

1. If you want to get max performance out of your company, don’t focus EDPs on skills and investments that help employees in the middle give you average performance.  You need to focus on unlocking potential—by making investments and forcing them to target self-directed activities that are designed to unlock high/great/exceeds performance.

2.  Your biggest barrier to making that happen is the set up of your performance management methodology.  You need more than a Tony Robbins video.  You need some elements that set you up for success, which follow below.
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What's good about divisiveness 

What's good about divisiveness  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Divisiveness can be a good thing

Much has been made about people living in bubbles without empathy for people outside the bubble. With thousands of media outlets, living in a bubble has never been easier. People are choosing outlets they affiliate with, that reinforce their current beliefs, and that limit their exposure to a wider array of perspectives.
Media segmentation perpetuates our deeply divided bubbles, but major differences of opinion have always existed. Our bubbles made it easier to ignore them. We stifled conversations based on religion, politics, and personal issues in the workplace -- and even in our personal lives. Our differences never found the light of day, remaining hidden and festering in the darkness. Until now.
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The seven decisions that matter in a digital transformation: A CEO’s guide to reinvention 

The seven decisions that matter in a digital transformation: A CEO’s guide to reinvention  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
What to do when

More than 70 percent of transformation programs fail.14 While the decisions covered in this article go a long way toward improving the odds, loss of momentum can undo even the best transformation efforts. To forestall that possibility, CEOs should carefully decide how to sequence the transformation for quick wins that yield revenue payoffs and reduce costs, gains that can then be reinvested. One e-tailer, for example, unlocked $300 million in just five months by prioritizing initiatives with the fastest payback. That turned into more than $800 million within a year, thanks to momentum from the early windfall.

Effective sequencing requires clear criteria to evaluate the potential payoff of various parts of the transformation initiative. These should include a hard-nosed assessment of projected benefits, the time needed to capture them, dependencies, investments required, and impact on the overall transformation journey. Sequencing with an eye toward cumulative effect is also necessary, so the business builds towards a cohesive digital whole rather than a jumble of loosely affiliated programs, which can undermine the ultimate benefits of scale.
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Why integrity is the foundation of a peak performance leader 

Why integrity is the foundation of a peak performance leader  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Living in integrity and being your word is essential for occurring as trustworthy to others. People are willing to trust those who occur as trustworthy. When we trust people, we are willing to speak honestly with them, which promotes interconnectedness, intimacy, and synchronicity. This leads to a feeling of oneness and unity. People do not trust others who are not true to their word, resulting in guarded communications and relationships.
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Digitizing the consumer decision journey

To keep up with rapid technology cycles and improve their multiplatform marketing efforts, companies need to take a different approach to managing the consumer decision journey—one that embraces the speed that digitization brings and focuses on capabilities in three areas:

Discover. Many of the executives we’ve spoken with admit they are still more facile with data capture than data crunching. Companies must apply advanced analytics to the large amount of structured and unstructured data at their disposal to gain a 360-degree view of their customers. Their engagement strategies should be based on an empirical analysis of customers’ recent behaviors and past experiences with the company, as well as the signals embedded in customers’ mobile or social-media data.
Design. Consumers now have much more control over where they will focus their attention, so companies need to craft a compelling customer experience in which all interactions are expressly tailored to a customer’s stage in his or her decision journey.
Deliver. “Always on” marketing programs, in which companies engage with customers in exactly the right way at any contact point along the journey, require agile teams of experts in analytics and information technologies, marketing, and experience design. These cross-functional teams need strong collaborative and communication skills and a relentless commitment to iterative testing, learning, and scaling—at a pace that many companies may find challenging.
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Raising your Digital Quotient 

Our examination of the digital performance of major corporations points to four lessons in which we have increasing confidence:

First, incumbents must think carefully about the strategy available to them. The number of companies that can operate as pure-play disrupters at global scale—such as Spotify, Square, and Uber—are few in number. Rarer still are the ecosystem shapers that set de facto standards and gain command of the universal control points created by hyperscaling digital platforms. Ninety-five to 99 percent of incumbent companies must choose a different path, not by “doing digital” on the margin of their established businesses but by wholeheartedly committing themselves to a clear strategy.
Second, success depends on the ability to invest in relevant digital capabilities that are well aligned with strategy—and to do so at scale. The right capabilities help you keep pace with your customers as digitization transforms the way they research and consider products and services, interact, and make purchases on the digital consumer decision journey.
Third, while technical capabilities—such as big data analytics, digital content management, and search-engine optimization—are crucial, a strong and adaptive culture can help make up for a lack of them.
Fourth, companies need to align their organizational structures, talent development, funding mechanisms, and key performance indicators (KPIs) with the digital strategy they’ve chosen.
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Leadership, Decision-Making and Emotion Management

Leadership, Decision-Making and Emotion Management | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Self-management and the leader’s desire for control

We typically prefer certainty—the more we know about the outcome of a situation in advance, the better we feel—and a consequence of this for leaders is that they can be reluctant to cede decision-making authority. Leaders may also believe that the perspective from their vantage point (or the expertise that helped them get there) allows them to make better decisions than others--and at times this is actually true, although certainly not always. And leaders tend to have a high need for power; this does not mean that they need to display (much less abuse) that power, but they care more about having impact and less about being liked than the typical person.

As a result, leaders often feel some discomfort or resistance when they initially consider alternatives to centralized decision-making. It’s simpler and more comforting to make the decisions themselves and instruct others to carry them out. This arrangement may work well at a small scale or in a venture’s early stages, but it breaks down once the organization begins to grow. The leader may still be the expert, but now they’re also the bottleneck. Or they’re no longer the expert, because they’re at a greater distance from the work, and their need for power is resulting in sub-optimal decisions. Or the leader’s desire for control is clashing with others’ desire for control, and employees feel disempowered and demotivated.
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Why Marketing's Data Skills Gap Isn't as Bad as You Think

Why Marketing's Data Skills Gap Isn't as Bad as You Think | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The Data Scientist Shortage
A dearth in qualified data scientists is intensifying this perceived skills gap. As major corporations prioritize data management, unsurprisingly the demand for qualified data scientists has grown. Even with many proclaiming data science as America’s best job, there is still a significant talent shortage.

McKinsey has predicted that as of this year, the demand for data scientists will be 60 percent larger than the supply. Those lucky few who recruit a data scientist will soon find that they’re expensive and hard to keep on staff for long periods of time. 

The Rise of the Citizen Data Scientist
That’s a pretty dire scenario, right? The good news is that all this talk of data scientist shortages and marketing skills gaps overlooks the improvements made in technology which simplifies data processing and automates many of the data analysis tasks traditionally reserved for fully fledged data experts. 
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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.

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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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What Is “Thinking Strategically” Anyway? 

What Is “Thinking Strategically” Anyway?  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
So what is thinking strategically anyway? I believe it’s all of the below:

It’s making a plan in pursuit of the broader business objectives at play
Asking why you’re being asked to do what you’re doing and identifying the broader business objective.
Then designing a plan of attack.
Finally, determining how to monitor progress against that overarching business objective so you get early data on what’s going well and where you need to pivot.
It’s making tradeoffs along the way in pursuit of that broader objective
Seeing the world as it is and confronting brutal realities
Being willing to sacrifice where necessary
Balancing the needs of the short-term and long-term in pursuit of the business objective
It’s reevaluating the plan and pivoting in the moment, when necessary
Always thinking two steps ahead of the next issue
Maintaining the flexibility to respond in the moment, even if it means a new plan.
Do those things above, and you’ll be thinking strategically. What other advice do you have about this ambiguous concept that we all discuss so casually?
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Dialogue Bridges the Divide 

Dialogue Bridges the Divide  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Four guidelines to build the bridge for dialogue:
1. One person must reach out first, so it might as well be you. Stop waiting to be invited.
2. Make it clear that you simply seek understanding. You are not trying to change the other person’s views and you don’t want them to try to change yours. You might need to repeat that a few times, for the benefit of the other person as well as yourself.
3. Take the time to listen fully. Seeking understanding demonstrates your openness and establishes trust that you’re not trying to change them. And when you listen, you are likely to learn some important things about the other person, and perhaps even your own views.
4. Don’t jump in with your views. Wait to be asked. If the other person is not receptive to listening to your views, it’s a waste of time anyways. If the other person doesn’t ask for your views. Be patient. If you establish a bridge, there will be opportunity for more conversations in the future.
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The seven decisions that matter in a digital transformation: A CEO’s guide to reinvention

The seven decisions that matter in a digital transformation: A CEO’s guide to reinvention | digitalNow | Scoop.it
These decisions occur in the four phases of a successful digital transformation program:

Discovering the ambition for the business based on where value is migrating
Designing a transformation program that targets profitable customer journeys
Delivering the change through an ecosystem of partners
De-risking the transformation process to maximize the chances of success
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The new battleground for marketing-led growth

Evidence has begun emerging, however, that consumer bonds with many brands is simultaneously slipping, with active engagement in those same loyalty programs falling by 2 percentage points and 58 percent of loyalty members not using use the programs for which they are signed up. We see such data as an important signal that new technologies and greater choice are changing how consumers are thinking and acting across their consumer journeys. As one executive puts it, “In the digital world, your consumers can’t help but shop around.” The past few years have seen exponential growth in tools that have made researching and purchasing products online vastly easier. An explosion of mobile shopping apps that showcase options, simplify pricing, compare product specifications, and facilitate peer reviews is making it possible to size up brands effortlessly. In addition, social media lets consumers know exactly what their friends are buying and what they like and don’t like about those purchases. The sheer weight of all this encourages even your best consumers to shop around and changes paradigms that marketers have counted on for years.
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The Evolving and Vital Role of the Data Scientist

How can a CIO or other enterprise leader determine when, where and how to put data scientists to work? How do executives approach the space? And how is the field evolving? While there are no simple answers and no one-size-fits-all approach, experts say there are ways to tap into the talents of data scientists and citizen data scientists, while also keeping a budget in check.
The growing breed of citizen data scientists often don't have a technology background and usually work in a line-of-business department. However, many work collaboratively with data scientists in the IT organization to create projects that have business value.
Promoting Data Scientists as Value Creators

CIOs should focus on several essential issues, notes Dorman Bazzell, vice president and Americas Practice Lead for Insights & Analytics at Hitachi Consulting. Ideally, these tech executives should provide data scientists with access to a broad range of data; create flexible repositories of pre-managed data; make sure data scientists have access to data with high integrity; ensure that data scientists understand the goals of an initiative; and fully leverage the value of data science by attempting to build an analytics-driven culture within an organization.
The upshot? "Organizations would do well to begin promoting data science and its practitioners as value creators [that] foster a data-driven culture," Bazzell says. This, ultimately leads to "higher-value analytics that impact organizational effectiveness, including revenue optimization, customer satisfaction, product development and risk identification."
Unfortunately, the task is easier said than done. "T
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The case for digital reinvention

As digitization penetrates more fully, it will dampen revenue and profit growth for some, particularly the bottom quartile of companies, according to our research, while the top quartile captures disproportionate gains. Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions. Fast-followers with operational excellence and superior organizational health won’t be far behind.
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The Unintended Consequences of Hiring Freezes 

The Unintended Consequences of Hiring Freezes  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
For executives looking to avoid a hiring freeze, Duncan of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago advised to first forecast goals and finances, then consider slowing hiring to mitigate costs while keeping up with needs. “Sometimes hiring freezes become a reaction as opposed to being proactive about really thinking about what your goals are going to be,” Duncan said. If business leaders don’t forecast for these goals and instead quickly place a freeze on hiring, they may end up having to pay more in the long run.

If more drastic cost savings measures are needed, and a hiring freeze is the only option, leaders should still consider the hidden costs. “Hiring freezes have long-term consequences for morale, workplace culture and employer brand,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS, a human resources software company in Matawan, New Jersey, “so they can affect your ability to recruit for years down the road.”
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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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