Saqib Shaikh lives is blind, lives in London, and is a core Microsoft developer. He lost the use of his eyes at age 7. Saqib found inspiration in software development and is helping build Seeing AI, a research project helping blind or visually impaired people to better understand who and what is around them. The app is built using intelligence APIs from Microsoft Cognitive Services. Pretty amazing that an app can use a camera to capture an image or a video feed, and using artificial intelligence, to analyze the scene and vocalize to the user what it sees. In this example this is being done for the benefit of a human user, but imagine what could be possible if one computer program is used to serve instead, another computer program as the user of the analysis. What might that make possible? How might you or your organization make use of technology like this?
“A decline in the percentage of unemployed and underemployed Americans may have some influence on the percentage of engaged workers. As the job market for skilled employees becomes more competitive, it is possible that companies are putting more effort into engaging their current workers.” At best, this conclusion feels like a major s-t-r-e-t-c-h of correlation analysis results.
This same organization believes that “Employee engagement is a leading indicator of future business success….”; and, to the degree that engagement level can impact staff turnover and productivity, both key contributors to profitability, this is a fair statement. However, when this organization, and others in the employee engagement research, training and consultation space, makes claims that engagement, in and of itself, contributes to customer value and loyalty behavior, two important questions need to be asked. Those question are: 1) Really? and, 2) Where’s the consistent proof for individual companies?
Whenever encountering white papers that conflate the connection between employee engagement and happy customers, the above questions need to be asked. Further, there is no specific connection to the emotional drivers of employee experience. Emotions, understood on an accepted negative to positive hierarchy (see below), are critical to understanding experience and behavior
“The future of VR for educational purposes is vast, and at the Royal Opera House we are just starting to discover the rich opportunities that the medium offers. The prospect of enabling audiences around the world to experience world-class opera and ballet, in a way never seen before, is an incredibly exciting prospect. VR allows us to transport users to the middle of a Royal Ballet Class, or stand on the Covent Garden Stage alongside globally renown opera singers, hopefully inspiring the next generation of performers, or empowering educators to explore the art forms within the learning environment. Of course, age limitations are currently in place for safety, but as we see the technology open up in a controlled and positive environment the possibilities are endless,” Nelson told me.
Suffice to say, the technology is very much in its infancy, but these early projects showcase the potential for augmented reality to provide a more immersive education than we’ve ever seen before.
What is my vision for the work that needs to be done over the next 1-3 years? (If you’ve already created a vision) Am I on track with that vision? If not, what needs my attention? What kind of leader do I need to be to make the vision happen? How will I communicate and move ahead with that vision? Who can help the forward movement or course correction of the vision? What’s the first step that needs to be taken? When will I take it?
What parts of the business are on track? What parts of the business are off track? What have I been ignoring that I need to pay attention to? What’s first step I need to take to course-correct the parts that are off track or that I’ve ignored? When will I take it? Who can help?
Work-related stress is a common ailment for most employees, according to a recent survey from Deloitte. The resulting report, "The Stress Study: Business Chemistry," reveals that a significant number of professionals said they are stressed out often or all the time. Project and task errors are the leading source of these issues, but long hours, office conflict and urgent deadlines also contribute greatly. Fortunately, the survey also includes the most popular coping mechanisms for dealing with stress on the job. Some employees like to tackle a stress-generating issue head-on, while others like to give it some thought taking any actions. Whatever works, you should come up with your own coping plan—because you may run the risk of career-threatening burnout if you don't. Stress "may be one of the most talked about workplace topics of our time," according to the report. "Enter 'workplace stress' into a search engine, and you'll find thousands and thousands of articles outlining what's stressful, why it's stressful, how to cope, and the consequences if we don't. Increasingly, stress at work is acknowledged as an engagement-sapper, a productivity-stealer and a dangerous health risk." More than 23,000 professionals took part in the research.
Remember that 22% average open rate? If I include anyone who opened at least one of the four emails, which is how many people would define an “Engagement Rate,” that adds up to 38% of our newsletter mailing list. But personally, I would rather draw the line at “opens half the time or more.” That’s the first three groups above or 23% of the list. For lack of a better term, I am calling this group “Our People.” We get each other. You could also call them “Highly Engaged.” What to Do with This Information
So now what? One strategy would be to focus on the Fair-Weather and Bandwagon people to get them more engaged. And we might do a little bit of that. But I am much more of the opinion that you should do even better for those who are close to you. So, for starters, Kristina and I are going to talk about ways to do even better work for those 5,291 of you who are Our People (the Die-Hard Fans, Boosters, and Regulars). That will likely start with some surveying. We’ll let these people, who already have an affinity for who we are and what we do, help us craft the future. If the other 77% like that, great. If not, meh.
Once marketing agencies have listened to the valued advice of their IT colleagues, they can go ahead and start the fun part. There are countless ways to use VR in marketing; you’d be hard-pressed to find an industry where it isn’t applicable. Lowes has started to use VR in an attempt to answer customers’ questions about how certain changes will actually look in their homes. Want to know how cabinets, tile or certain paint colors will look in your home? Lowes Holoroom has you covered. Of course, VR has been used in marketing for the entertainment industry. Who could forget the 2014 Game of Thrones Wall-climbing VR experience? Even the clothing industry has made use of VR, with TOMS giving you a virtual trip to see the children who receive their free shoes.
Needless to say, the opportunities presented through VR are endless when it comes to marketing. Before investing in this technology, though, your agency should consult with IT leaders to find out how viable it is. With IT’s blessing, VR can be used to take your marketing game to the next level.
Want to ensure you don’t forget a critical detail in your communications? Think 5 Ws and an H to ensure you’re not missing an important detail, sharing the all-important context, and making it relevant for your audience.
Adult learners want to know the “what” first and then the “why.” The rest can follow logically. What What’s the decision? What does it mean? What should I know? What’s in it for me?
Why Why is it the right decision? Why now? Why is it important?
Where Where is this decision coming from? Where/what locations will it affect? Where can I get more information?
When When is this happening?
How How was the decision made? How will it be implemented? How will communications flow internally and externally? How does it impact me?
Who Who made the decision? Who’s in charge? Who does it impact?
Age of the Customer or Age of Confusion? Despite the ubiquity of words like "omnichannel" and "seamless customer experience," most companies are still operating in siloes, without a clear strategy to provide personalized experiences to segments of one.
Positive customer experience (CX) — the cornerstone of the so-called Age of the Customer — is more aspirational than actual.
Companies continue to prioritize technology ahead of customer-centricity2 and investing in front- and back-office solutions without a clear understanding of customer expectations, preferences or values, Solis noted.
And while CX remains a top driver of digital transformation, only about half of the companies studied have mapped — or are mapping — the customer journey.
CX is still "more about words than actions3," he concluded, noting one of the top enterprise challenges remains "getting to know our customers."
“Man who catch fly with chopstick, accomplish anything.”
That’s deep, right? But what does it mean?
I really pondered this one – many thoughts circled my brain like a fly buzzing around my living room.
First, it occurred to me that this quote speaks to many of the traits that are so necessary for success in leadership and in life.
Focus. Precision. Determination. Patience.
But the harsh reality of our situation is that catching a fly with a chopstick is just damn near impossible. Despite how focused, precise, determined, or patient you are. What were you thinking, Mr. Miyagi!?
As I pondered further, something else hit me. No, not the fly – an idea!
I felt a surge of energy because in that moment I was sure I had discovered the truth of what Mr. Miyagi was saying.
It isn’t about catching a fly with chopsticks. No! Instead, it is all about the journey on the way to catching the fly.
Think about it.
When we take on a challenge beyond our means, we are almost guaranteed to gain something unexpected along the way. It may never be the exact thing we were after, but could be new skills and insights that weren’t there before.
Marketers need to be focused on customers, whose expectations of service are getting higher because of technology. The technologies Forrester is tracking are expected to have the biggest impact on businesses’ ability to win, serve and retain customers over the next five years.
It’s a data-driven marketing world: Almost all marketers understand the growing influence of high-level ways of handling massive data flow from AI agents like IBM’s Watson and Salesforce's Einstein, and how AI and machine learning can be applied to advanced tactics like predictive analytics.
The marketing challenge with AR/VR is exactly how to make use of the tech in an actual marketing campaign. Pokemon Go offered marketers a number of lessons on how augmented reality can bridge the online and offline worlds via a mobile device, and even provided a blueprint on what that type of interaction can look like. Not to mention the press given to the viral mobile game should make it much easier to get budget approval for an augmented reality marketing effort.
By 2021, Forrester expects a virtual network infrastructure to emerge — one that weaves together wireless technologies such as radio, Wi-Fi and cellular, joining IoT and customer engagement platforms and significantly expanding the number of interlinked devices and methods for marketers to reach consumers through them.
“If you could sit down with your supervisor for an hour and talk, that would be the best way to form an impression, but we don’t always have that opportunity,” the researchers say. “If we can’t get good information, we’ll settle for what we can get.”
Interestingly, in the research environment at least, this positive perception of the schmoozed boss would survive even if the witness to it was told that they really aren’t all that.
Now, it should be said that this kind of halo effect only tended to apply when people had no other information to go on, so if an employee has direct contact with the manager then they tend to use this information to override any information gained from observing the workplace dynamics.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting insight into how first impressions can be both formed and influential in determining how we perceive others, especially if they’re in positions of power.
“This study shows that this behavior can affect our impressions of others. If you’re a newcomer and I want you to like the supervisor, I can manage your impression by ingratiating the supervisor in front of you,” he said. “It’s almost like throwing your voice.”
The arrival of the Internet began major disruption to decades old methods of consumer packaged goods (CPG) distribution. The tried and true method of manufactures selling to a collection of wholesalers, who then sold the product on a range of retailers began to be reexamined. We saw the arrival of online retailers like Amazon who sought to compete with brick and mortar retailers, trying to offer a wider selection while also offering potentially a more convenient (and possibly cheaper) shopping experience for a few (or possibly for many). We saw retailers experiment with selling on Amazon (adding an extra layer of intermediation) and grocery stores experiment with online ordering and local delivery. But at the same, in 2010 we saw manufacturers like P&G start to experiment with selling direct to consumer over the Internet via sites like pgshop.com and then in 2013 P&G started selling their wares on Amazon. Below is a screenshot of a Pampers product listing on Amazon:
Disney isn't just themes park business, but a conglomerate of media entities including ABC and ESPN. If Twitter starts to challenge both those properties earnestly, Disney could potentially scoop it up to help them become interconnected rather than competitors. To be clear, Hyatt has no inside knowledge and there's been no reported interest during this latest round of rumors. But it doesn't mean Disney couldn't be an interested party in Twitter down the line.
"If they're not going to be an independent company, then you have to look at large media companies that are good stewards," Hyatt said. "And I think Disney is the perfect place."
Information workers are expressing frustration with what they view as a lack of tech tools and space to pursue collaboration, according to a June 2016 survey commissioned by Prysm and conducted by Forrester Consulting. The resulting report, "Digital, Disparate, and Disengaged: Bridging the Technology Gap Between In-Office and Remote Workers," reveals that IT and facilities professionals feel that the situation is much better than information workers describe, leading to a glaring perception gap on the issue. Similarly, when it comes to having access to the "latest and greatest" technology, only a minority of information workers said they have what they need. Conferencing solutions, for example, are a frequent source of difficulties due to technology glitches and/or limitations. With better tools, the majority of information workers said they'd be more productive—and more likely to remain with their company. They'd also help their organization improve its efforts related to product development, revenue growth and faster time to market. A total of 200 IT and facilities professionals and 800 information workers in the United States and the United Kingdom took part in the research.
As much time and effort we put into our employer brand, no viewpoint is as important to talent than that of current employees. I could tell you until I’m blue in the face that my company is a great place to work -- which it is. But it’s not going to be as powerful or believable as when an employee talks about how much they love working for Quantum Workplace -- which they do. Give your employees the power to talk and share about their experiences working at your organization. After all, they’re being asked about it already any way. A 2015 LinkedIn report found that when job-seekers decide to look for new opportunities, the first thing they do is ask friends and colleagues about openings they know of. Job-seekers trust their network to be honest with them about whether a position with a certain company is worth their time and energy. Use that fact to your advantage by encouraging your employees to share their love of your company either on social media or through testimonials on your career site. Let them be the voice that attracts and brings in other great talent -- unless you’re scared of what they might say. But then you have a completely different workforce problem to deal with.
f there’s a core message in my book that comes out from my traveling around and talking to CEOs and generals and innovators and people running hedge funds, it is one thing: It is basically, you are what you are connected to. It used to be we were what our résumés said we were; this is what you studied. That was a very industrialist conception of our lives. The reality is if you’re hiring somebody today, what you really want to know is, What are they connected to? What ideas can they bring? What networks can they connect to? How robust are their connections?
We were talking earlier about our mutual friend Joi Ito, who is the head of the MIT Media Lab and doesn’t have a college degree. Fifteen years ago, that would have been unthinkable. But the reality is, there is nobody in the technology world Joi can’t send an email to and get an almost instant response. What matters about Joi is who he’s connected to. I think that’s one issue for education: How you are looking at students and saying what’s really important is what these kids are connected to, and that ability to establish connections, break connections, enrich connections. That turns out to be more important than walking them through the traditional coursework. Now, some of that traditional coursework may be essential for making those connections, but the goal has got to be not that you’ve gone through an education system and you’ve studied all the things that you’re supposed to study, but rather that you’ve got a set of skills that allow you to make these connections.
People want to give to people. Donors were three times more likely to donate when asked by a friend or colleague. Donation dollars from peer to peer giving went up 70% from 2013 to 2014. Don’t wait for volunteers. Identify your most likely fundraisers, get their feedback, and offer a personal invitation to join your cause. By scripting the actions you want them to take, you show them how easy it can be and paint them a picture of the impact they’ll have. Give fundraisers the right tools. Easy setup, ability to embed personal stories, and easy donation check out make the process seamless. Remember that your campaign should evoke emotion and personal connection and tap into the power of social proof. Collect information on donors in order to expand your reach and establish further contact.
Albert Einstein, for example, described his own thinking as partly “visual” and partly “muscular.” In one of his famous thought experiments, Einstein imagined what it would be like to chase a photon moving at the speed of light. But such an exercise doesn’t actually require a mental image. What a sighted person experiences as visual thinking might be characterized as “spatial,” by someone who is blind.
“Math, like everything else in my life, is something I interface with nonvisually,” said Scott Blanks, the senior director of programs for Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “I’m congenitally blind, totally blind from birth, so I have zero visual experience or memory.”
Blanks says that, for him, working out math problems in Braille—which is how he learned many mathematical concepts in school—is a key part of his numeric thinking. “It didn’t matter whether it was an algebraic equation, or a ‘a train traveling at...’ story problem, having the information under my fingers was key to maximum comprehension,” he said. “Real-world math is a different animal altogether. If I’m considering say, the distance between two points, or how many people are in a room, I do those things on the fly ... I might employ previous experiences to contribute to my answer, or weigh associated factors to come up with a number. For example, to the question of distances, I might consider how long it has taken me to walk the route in question, how many blocks are encompassed in that route, and so on.”
Question with curiosity. The best leaders are always asking questions—not only to elicit information but also to help others better understand the issues. Answer earnestly. Most people on your team probably have questions they want to ask, but they may feel too intimidated to ask or they’re concerned about disturbing you. Make it easy for people to find you and speak to you—keep yourself available and accessible. You may want to schedule a listening session or another time when people are specifically encouraged to ask what is on their mind so they can be as productive and effective as possible. Get feedback. Most leaders don’t really want honest feedback, so they don’t ask for it—and as a result they receive it only in rare cases when it’s forced on them. The best leaders know that feedback is the most reliable path to improvement, and it’s an important part of their efforts to be better and lead better. But it’s not all about criticism and improvement—feedback is also the best way to discover your strengths. Give feedback. Leaders need an open channel of communication with their people. Learning to give feedback well opens the dialogue and leads to more candor in both directions, enhancing credibility and competencies on both sides. Show that you care. There is this big misconception that leadership is all about power and influence, and that showing care and compassion is a sign of weak leadership. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best leaders are remembered not for their power but for how they made people feel. Let people know you care, be there for them, and show that you appreciate and value them. It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday responsibilities and accountability, but in the end it’s the small, simple things that end up mattering the most. Lead from within: When was the last time you left your office and engaged with those you value the most?
Being a “Mozart” can be quite lonely. Without leadership they can end up like Wolfgang—a pauper buried in a mass grave without a marker. However, being the leader of a “Mozart” can be downright nerve wracking. As the boss, you are perpetually surprised by events that signal your “Mozart” has “done it again!” Other employees are constantly in your office complaining about their quirky actions, rude business etiquette, and insensitive cross-examinations. What are ways to lead a “Mozart” in a fashion that maximizes their value without losing them to a competitor?
Embrace Their Weirdness
Avoid trying to explain to someone why “Mozarts” are the way they are. You cannot reprogram eccentricity or turn off a compelling vision. Searching for a rational explanation for their idiosyncrasies carries the implication that if they can be understood they can be “cured.” The goal is not to change them but to effectively lead them in a fashion that harnesses their creative energies. “Mozarts” see the world through a completely unique set of lenses and their perspective looks absolutely right to them. Accept their special treasures and steer their talents. Comments like, “George is a bit of a character, but my, what a talent!” can send a different message to others than, “George is just not like the other ‘children’.”
Shame on me because her advice wasn’t wrong, it was flat out brilliant.
In a world that runs on tight time schedules and where there’s a plan for everything, leaving time open for spontaneity is pure genius. Of course, you can’t will the eureka moment to happen. However, making time available to reflect and imagine increases the odds of creativity and innovation occurring.
That’s what the speaker had meant—don’t get tunnel vision from an over-packed schedule; let unpredictability point to possibility. Life is a paradoxical waltz with times of chaos and control, structure and formlessness, spontaneity and deliberation.
How could I have been so unseeing? Psychologist Daniel Kahneman nailed it when he observed it was incredibly difficult for us to see our own biases. Fortunately, a bit of research rescued me from my blindness.
I both love and abhor my personal teachable moments. Love them because new paths are revealed, abhor them because I need them in the first place. Perhaps I’d better start scheduling them into my calendar.
There are 4 styles of dealing with people and they all hinge on the idea of control: Passive people feel they have no control over others. And because they give in to avoid conflict, they also feel they have no control over themselves. Aggressive people are the opposite. They know they have control over themselves and they also believe they should be able to control others. They typically do this through intimidation. In the short term, it often works. In the long term, people do their best to avoid aggressives. Passive-aggressive people have control over themselves. They want to control others… but they don’t want to pay the price of being direct. They don’t want to be seen as aggressive and they don’t want to be indebted to others after asking for things. So they play games. They think there are no downsides to deniable aggression. They’re wrong. Eventually they’re seen as inconsiderate or manipulative. And then there’s the Holy Grail: assertiveness.
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