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The One Best Way?

Don Dea's insight:

Throughout society you hear a familiar lament: there doesn't seem to be enough time to do the things you need to do within a given day.  Yet, if you're like most people, despite all that competes for your time and attention, you have to concede that there are many times throughout the day when you unnecessarily waste time.

Some time management gurus suggest that you record how you spend each hour of the day for one week or one month. Then, like doing a budget, you see the number of hours that you've wasted, and like money wasted, will wish you had those hours back. Go ahead and make a time diary if you wish, but it's not necessary.  Human nature being what it is, you're going to continue to hang on to some tasks, even those you know in your heart of hearts ought to be delegated to others or dropped all together.

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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 Nonprofit Planning an Oxymoron?

Why is the lack of planning so prevalent?

The answer I hear most frequently is, “Everyone is just too busy.”

That reasoning is hard to accept.

With all of the challenges nonprofits face, time for planning should be a top priority. Don’t we all want to find ways to reduce pressure, alleviate stress, save money, get more done in less time with fewer people, and find answers to a seemingly never ending list of other problems?

Sure we do. Yet the truth is that nonprofits are wasting time, money, and human resources when they don’t plan.

My translation of the “too busy to plan” excuse is nonprofits are really saying they’re too busy to waste time planning.
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Putting Credibility First

Putting Credibility First | digitalNow | Scoop.it
If executives really want to lead with credibility, aligning their values with the company’s transformation strategy is not enough. No, they must also lead by example and put those values into action.

Because doing so doesn’t always come naturally or intuitively, it’s a good idea to identify and adopt specific behaviors to model how your values will enable transformational success. Creating an individual behavior road map can be an effective means of singling out actions you can take. The road map consists of four basic steps.

First, gather feedback on your behavior and values. Feedback can be collected through a 360-degree survey to peers and direct reports or through face-to-face informal actions. Questions should focus on whether your actions are true to the stated values, whether you are acting in accordance with what you say, and whether these values support the current transformation.

Second, think about discussing behavior change options with a coach or mentor, either internal or external. The primary goal is to interpret the feedback received from the surveys and to identify new behaviors that will enhance your credibility.

Third, go public. I
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The Surprising Truth Behind the Myth of the Lone Entrepreneur

The Surprising Truth Behind the Myth of the Lone Entrepreneur | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Budding entrepreneurs should go out of their way to tap into an existing ecosystem. They should look first for high-impact entrepreneurs who could serve as mentors. First-generation founders speak frequently at colleges and universities, serve as judges at start-up competitions, appear at community events, and act as angel investors to get other founders’ dreams off the ground. These people often are willing, even eager, to help new entrepreneurs build their businesses on a solid foundation, giving them blunt advice that will improve their concept or approach.
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Higher ed digital showcase

Rise of digital badges

Each June, academic advisors at Notre Dame invite all incoming freshmen to create an ePortfolio, with 10 self-reflection questions to get them started, says Ambrose. Similar questions are then posed mid-year and are designed to understand how the student is transitioning to college life, including such queries as, “In what ways have you grown intellectually over the last four months?” and “Which classes have you found most interesting and why?” This academic year marks the first in which all undergraduates have at least one ePortfolio.

Freshmen use portfolios during two semester-long, graded first-year experience courses. Faculty and staff then “use the ePortfolio to assess how students are integrating and making connections across curriculum during their first year.”

While the average lifespan of the typical ePortfolio is one capstone assignment in a single course, “Notre Dame’s goal is to keep the ePortfolio pulse alive by creating and incentivizing multiple touchpoints throughout all four years,” says Ambrose.
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The Content Preferences of Nonprofit Donors

The Content Preferences of Nonprofit Donors | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of donors say poor content affects whether they decide donate to a nonprofit organization, according to a recent report from Abila.

The report was based on data from a survey of 1,136 people in the United States, across all age groups, who made at least one donation to a nonprofit organization in the previous 12 months.

Some 35% of respondents say they would stop donating to an organization if its content is too vague.

And 25% say they would be hesitant if they receive information about programs they're not interested in, while 24% say dull content would affect their decision.
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Wheeling in the Trojan Mice 

Wheeling in the Trojan Mice  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Sometimes at nonprofit organizations, we say we are running experiments, but we already know in advance exactly what we are going to do. The difference with a Trojan Mouse like the Kairos Fellowship, as well as dozens of other network pilots we launched and that failed to gain traction, is that we don’t know in advance where precisely we’re going to end up. That means being ready to pivot quickly. It means letting go of things that aren’t working early in favor of focusing on what is gaining momentum. It sometimes means forgoing large foundation grants for the first phase, in favor of a rich period of trial, error, and learning. But it also provides the opportunity to quickly adapt and shift course in a way that testing one large, fully-architected new program––a Trojan Horse––cannot. 
We were well into the process of launching a “digital diversity fellowship” in 2014, when Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson and the Movement for Black Lives began to gather steam. Suddenly, there was a social movement creating fierce urgency for large-scale change––and that was deeply connected to the work we were already seeking to do. 
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4 things great senior leadership teams do

4 things great senior leadership teams do | digitalNow | Scoop.it
a great description of an effective leadership team.
To authentically embrace their responsibility to truly lead with “one heart, one mind, and one voice,” senior leadership teams need to formalize these four elements:
Servant purpose: The senior leadership team must define it’s present-day “service” reason for being. The purpose statement clarifies why the team exists, who they serve (employees, stakeholders, customers), and “to what end” — what they will accomplish as a team beyond making money (be recognized as a “best company to work for,” etc.).
Team goals: What strategic goals will the senior leadership team accomplish? Team goals might include employee engagement, customer service excellence, financial success, etc.
Values and behaviors: Values, defined in behavioral terms, specify how team members will treat each other in every interaction. Ensuring trust, respect, and dignity builds confidence, cooperation, and contribution by the team.
Accountability: With the team’s purpose, goals, and values formalized, the most important element comes into play: holding team members accountable for these agreements. Accountability is every leadership team member’s responsibility. Accountability conversations are sincere efforts to understand behavior and guide members to embracing their agreements. Team members regularly validate aligned behaviors by other members.
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Apply a Military Mindset to Make Your Business Less Fragile

Apply a Military Mindset to Make Your Business Less Fragile | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Becoming Antifragile

Another way to look at scenario planning is through the lens of antifragility. My colleague, Stuart Farrand, is an analyst who theorizes that although risks are inevitable, organizations can protect themselves by using active feedback loops to mitigate potential losses. By doing so, they shore up their futures as much as possible and become antifragile.

Fragile organizations cannot anticipate risk and are always susceptible to crises. They tend to have highly centralized organizational structures in which one or two departments dominate the decision-making process. This exposes the whole company to risks incurred by just a few stakeholders. Ultimately, these groups collapse under their instability.
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Bad Gamification Won't Fix Bad eLearning: Seven Principles 

So what are we really trying to fix?

Gamification became popular from 2010 onward. I believe it was in response to the ongoing poor state of much eLearning content. Compliance training, in particular, has much to answer for here. Most of it is still “click next,” wall-to-wall text, and race-to-the-finish content. In our practice at Logic Earth, we have adopted seven design principles to address these and other issues:

1. Insights

Staff are busy and need help as quickly as possible with their biggest challenges. Provide an insight into these challenges, pain points, or behaviors, and don’t forget to address areas like motivation and confidence. Find out and address what might hold people back from improving their performance.

2. Visual impact

Vision is our dominant sense. The brain is more efficient at remembering images than reading text. Not all images have an equal impact; they attract our attention like magnets, but the brain eventually ignores repeated “decorating images.” In eLearning, use images to explain concepts, clarify complexity, spark emotions, and give examples that are core to the learning.
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Virtual Reality Is the Real Thing for Marketers

Virtual Reality Is the Real Thing for Marketers | digitalNow | Scoop.it
It’s way too early to say precisely how the promise of VR will be actualized across the entire advertising landscape — particularly when the hardware that produces these virtual experiences is expensive, unwieldy, and has the extra drawback of making its users look downright laughable, almost as though they had strapped a shoebox to their heads. With the exception of a VR player known as the Google Cardboard, they range in price from $100 to $800, and even those high prices are misleading. The reason Facebook gave developers the Samsung Galaxy, which can sell for around $700, is that it’s basically a component of the Gear VR. Users have to put the phone in a special holder at the front of their headset in order to experience virtual reality.
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Common Challenges of Marketing-IT Collaborations 

Common Challenges of Marketing-IT Collaborations  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Today's marketing and IT teams are collaborating on projects more frequently, but working together is challenging. Here's a look at the challenges the teams face and how to overcome them, according to the following infographic by The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology.

The Creative Group surveyed 400 advertising marketing executives; Robert Half Technology surveyed more than 2,400 US chief information officers.

When asked the No. 1 challenge for creative/marketing professionals when collaborating with IT peers, the top responses mentioned communication and working together, and project and execution logistics.

When asked the No. 1 challenge for IT pros when collaborating with creative/marketing peers, the answers were communication and working together, and IT-related challenges.
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U.S. college enrollment is dropping. Bad sign?

U.S. college enrollment is dropping. Bad sign? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
"Historically, as the economy improves and Americans get back to work, college enrollment declines," says U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell.
But here's what these young people are giving up: College graduates make almost double the salary of workers with only a high school diploma. If you care about the rise in inequality in America, declining college enrollment should alarm you.
"A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class," President Obama said last year. Now there are 800,000 fewer Americans on that college path to the middle class.
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An Imperfect Test: The Problem with Job Performance Appraisals

An Imperfect Test: The Problem with Job Performance Appraisals | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The thing about performance appraisals is they are ubiquitous. There’s probably nothing in the field of management that is more common. And there’s also almost no practice in the world of business that people hate more. The evidence on this is pretty overwhelming. It’s also surprising how little we actually know about it. There’s an awful lot that’s been done on psychologists with little slices of the performance-appraisal question. Mainly, what psychologists are interested in is, how did the person [doing the] rating and the person being rated get along? And how do the characteristics of the rater and the ratee affect the results? One of the things that we know from this is one of the best predictors of your score is bias. That is, how you and your appraiser map onto each other. Are you similar? [Then] you get higher scores. The more different you are in terms of ethnicity or age or sex, the less well you’re going to do.
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10 Principles of Organizational Culture

Three dimensions of corporate culture affect its alignment: symbolic reminders (artifacts that are entirely visible), keystone behaviors (recurring acts that trigger other behaviors and that are both visible and invisible), and mind-sets (attitudes and beliefs that are widely shared but exclusively invisible). Of these, behaviors are the most powerful determinant of real change. What people actually do matters more than what they say or believe. And so to obtain more positive influences from your cultural situation, you should start working on changing the most critical behaviors — the mind-sets will follow. Over time, altered behavior patterns and habits can produce better results.

You may be asking: If it is so hard to change culture, why should we even bother to try? Because an organization’s current culture contains several reservoirs of emotional energy and influence. Executives who work with them can greatly accelerate strategic and operating imperatives. When positive culture forces and strategic priorities are in sync, companies can draw energy from the way people feel. This accelerates a company’s movement to gain competitive advantage, or regain advantages that have been lost.
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Q&A: The impact and evolution of the sharing economy

The reason why all the regulatory scrutiny [thus far] has been from city agencies is because the most salient services involved – mobility and accommodation – have historically been governed at the local level. As I discuss in my book, there’s a misfit between regulatory interventions that were necessary in the past and the new models. So the conflict isn’t surprising. Nobody’s in the wrong – it’s just that we need to rethink and reinvent regulation, rather than trying to retrofit. I expect to see far more state and federal involvement, especially in the mobility space. This is especially likely as autonomous vehicles come of age. I also expect to see a lot more regulatory delegation to nongovernmental stakeholders like the platforms, trade associations and provider collectives.
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Fairfield County nonprofits learn tips for improved governance

Good governance is a journey,” Loring said. “It’s not a project, and organizations need to make sure they are moving forward on the journey.”

Eliot Brenner, president and CEO of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut in Stamford, said learning about ways to improve fundraising has become critical to nonprofits in recent years.

“In today’s age, where state funding is drying up, it means more and more a critical role of boards is fundraising,” he said.

Lee Fallet, vice chair of board at the Norwalk-based Keystone House, said her organization relies heavily on state funding. She said she would walk away from Tuesday’s workshop with ideas for how to engage the existing board and recruit new members.

“The agency was founded in 1972 and to the best of my knowledge our board structure and fundraising hasn’t changed much since then,” she said.
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How Business Leaders View Digital Marketing

How Business Leaders View Digital Marketing | digitalNow | Scoop.it
More than three-quarters (78%) of business leaders say their company's digital marketing efforts are somewhat or very successful, according to a recent report from Act-On Software and Ascend2.

The report was based on data from a survey of 73 owners, partners, and C-level executives at companies in the United States (68% B2B-focused, 15% B2C, 16% mixed).

Some 56% of respondents say their company's digital marketing efforts are somewhat successful, 22% say they are very successful, and 22% say they are not successful.
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Due To Fuzzy Rules, Sharing-Economy Workers Often Underpay Or Overpay Their Taxes

Sharing-economy companies, it turns out, have a good reason for not training contractors on tax issues, App Association director Morgan Reed pointed out. When they do, they appear to be treating contractors like full-time employees, and can come under pressure to provide other benefits reserved for full-timers.

"When they start to offer training to contractors, they can open themselves up to all kinds of things, like class actions and new regulations," TaskRabbit marketing VP Rob Willey told Fast Company after the hearing.

At least one committee member didn’t feel it fair to lay the problem at the steps of the federal government. "I don’t buy that people don’t know that they owe taxes," said Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY). "I think anybody who is making money knows they have to pay taxes to somebody."
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Why Your Brand Doesn’t Need Anyone To #Participate In Anything

Why Your Brand Doesn’t Need Anyone To #Participate In Anything | digitalNow | Scoop.it
In a fragmented world of screens, attention is increasingly the one thing that matters more than everything else. We’re now in an era where people spend hours a day scrolling through different kinds of feeds. As a brand, survival in this environment means one thing—can you get someone to stop scrolling and pay attention to what you’re doing? Because if not, your engagement campaign doesn’t mean anything.
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A Picture is Worth A Thousand: Understanding the Importance of the Visual Web

A Picture is Worth A Thousand: Understanding the Importance of the Visual Web | digitalNow | Scoop.it
A few tips for marketers and brand professionals as they consider their strategies for the Visual Web:

Don’t underestimate the growth of the visual web: It is expected to continue overtaking the text-based web, and any marketing strategies should consider that
Understand the science behind the power of images. Researchers have found that the brain understands images much more quickly than text and it has been reported that images are processed 60,000 times faster
Pay attention to new technologies that allow accurate logo identification – new platforms are popping up, and marketing people should get familiar with them to discover which services can meet their needs
Understand how to use the data associated with images, such as where and how consumers use your products or interact with your brand.
Start including the visual web as part of any overall marketing plan or budgeting.
In conclusion, images are so powerful, that it is possible to create a greater emotional resonance through their use, and thus a stronger bond with consumers. At the same time, brands can began leveraging their web presence to learn more about consumers, and understand their brand’s impact. It is clear that the visual web is going to be the leading trend in years to come.
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Finding Value and Concern in the Digital Economy

Dark Side to the On-Demand Economy

Though technology issues and trends dominated the symposium, the second keynote, "How the On-Demand/Gig Economy Is Redefining the Future of Work," focused on the tremendous changes that are affecting the workplace now and will even more in the future.  

The on-demand, or gig, economy is growing rapidly and is having a profound impact on the American workforce. Alternate work arrangements result in more employees becoming independent contractors or freelancers, choosing (if they have a choice) flexibility over security.

"Changes in technology allow lower transaction costs and disintermediation, resulting in company like Uber and Airbnb," said David Author, a professor of Economics at MIT.  He pointed to "the coordinating power of smartphones and GPS technology" in the operation of these types of companies.

The impact on workers is significant, as some companies may decide to pay workers only when they need them. The panel posited that high-value, high-volume, highly skilled employees would be secure, but more peripheral, less skilled employees could be in jeopardy.

"There's a dark side to the on-demand economy," warned Paul Osterman, NTU professor of Human Resources and Management at MIT Sloan. "It's costing workers quite heavily—forcing some employees to become contractors.

"Companies should treat their workforce as assets—human capital, not disposable capital."
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A Strategist’s Guide to Industry 4.0

A Strategist’s Guide to Industry 4.0 | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The term Industry 4.0 refers to the combination of several major innovations in digital technology, all coming to maturity right now, all poised to transform the energy and manufacturing sectors. These technologies include advanced robotics and artificial intelligence; sophisticated sensors; cloud computing; the Internet of Things; data capture and analytics; digital fabrication (including 3D printing); software-as-a-service and other new marketing models; smartphones and other mobile devices; platforms that use algorithms to direct motor vehicles (including navigation tools, ride-sharing apps, delivery and ride services, and autonomous vehicles); and the embedding of all these elements in an interoperable global value chain, shared by many companies from many countries.
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How CMOs Are Gearing Up for a Data Explosion

How CMOs Are Gearing Up for a Data Explosion | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The emergence of big data and other technology disruptions is putting pressure on chief marketing officers (CMOs) to rethink their strategic direction, according to a recent survey from IBM's Institute for Business Value. The accompanying report, "Redefining Markets: Insights from the Global C-Suite Study - The CMO Perspective," indicates that only a minority of CMOs feel prepared to deal with the current data explosion. They also realize that technologies such as the cloud, mobility, social media and the Internet of things (IoT) have just begun to make an impact, and their potential is enormous. In response, CMOs are striving to boost the digital literacy of their team members. In addition, they'll seek tech solutions that help them better map the consumer journey and otherwise enhance interactions with customers. It's the best way, they've concluded, to compete in a rapidly evolving global marketplace. "CMOs know they need to prepare for a future in which disruption is pervasive: a future in which technological advances are increasingly blurring the distinctions between different industries, [as] new competitors are emerging from left field and value resides in the entire arc of customer engagement," according to the report. CMOs must "use data-driven decision making to deliver customer experiences that are personalized, relevant and timely—on a large scale." The report draws comparisons between CMOs who are considered digital "torchbearers" and those who are considered "market followers," and we've included some of those here. More than 720 global CMOs took part in the research.
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Social Media vs. Content: Where Should You Invest?

Social Media vs. Content: Where Should You Invest? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Social media is an umbrella term for a type of marketing channel. Instagram is way different from Facebook, true, but then TV is way different from radio; both are broadcast media—a type of channel. Same with print media: The New Yorker isn't the Watlingsburg Gazette and Mail, or Trout Quarterly—but they're the same type of channel. It's social's social nature, in which every contributor is an equal (more or less—we'll get to the caveats) publisher and consumer, that defines social media as a type of channel. But that's what it is.

Content is what goes out on channels. Take a Shakespeare play—Romeo and Juliet, for example. There's a film version, stage versions, radio plays, TV shows, and probably millions of versions of the play published in print and online as PDF and other text files. That's the same piece of content, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, adapted for different channels. Content is what is published. Channel is how.
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How to pay attention to innovation

How to pay attention to innovation | digitalNow | Scoop.it
To what degree do people across your organization share a vision for innovation and looking ahead? Do they view as a great idea that belongs to someone else? And to what degree is diversity consciously linked to innovation as a resource for new ideas?

Directing attention toward culturally intelligent innovation begins with leadership. Some companies actually appoint someone as the chief innovation officer, but not everyone agrees that’s necessary or helpful. Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg write, “The Chief Innovation Officer position is doomed to fail because it will never have enough power to create a primordial ooze ... The CEO needs to be the CIO.” Aditya Ghosh, CEO of IndiGo, leads the charge on creating a culture of innovation at the fast-growing Indian airline, where employees at all levels are unafraid to make mistakes and think outside the box. The most important way to prime for culturally intelligent innovation is for the leadership to surround themselves with a diversity of perspectives, utilizing that breadth to drive their own innovative approaches. Innovation needs to be built into every person’s role and across all the systems and processes for product development and implementation.
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