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Should That Employee Be Fired? Ask These 5 Questions First.

Should That Employee Be Fired? Ask These 5 Questions First. | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Terminating a worker is a big decision that should be done with care, so carefully evaluate these factors before taking any action.
Don Dea's insight:

Making the decision to terminate an employee for poor performance can be gut wrenching. Most business owners want to give their people every chance to succeed, but you can’t continue to invest in poor performers indefinitely. Still, it’s difficult to know exactly when it’s time to call it quits.

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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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What Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat

What Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Snapchat has emerged from its murky roots to become a popular app with 100 million daily active users. So, should marketers now consider having a strategy for this video messaging app?

Check out these stats about Snapchat users from by NewsCred and Column Five.

Some 54% of users are on Snapchat daily; 32% users engage with the app 2-5 times a week.

"Even though Snapchat users are engaging with the app on a daily basis, most users aren't interacting with branded features, such as Snap Live Stories, Snap Discover Stories, or branded filters," states the infographic.
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How High Performers Pursue Digital Innovation

How High Performers Pursue Digital Innovation | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The speed of digital advancements is separating companies into the haves and have nots: High performers are much better at creating a digital-friendly work culture with cutting-edge project opportunities, while establishing strong tech leadership teams, according to a recent survey from McKinsey and Co. The accompanying report, titled "Cracking the Digital Code," indicates that most survey respondents expect innovative initiatives to increase top-line revenues and overall profit margins over the next three years. The improved engagement of customers will drive much of the financial success here. However, many organizations face formidable challenges, including a lack of needed internal leadership and talent, as well as the failure to adapt a required "experimentation" mindset. "Companies must increasingly adjust their approaches to corporate strategy to align with (and get the most out of) their digital agendas," according to the report. "What's more, they must build stronger test-and-learn capabilities to move fast and learn as they go. Greater speed, continuous experimentation and data-based feedback loops will allow businesses to evolve strategies more rapidly, make bigger changes faster, execute and build competitive advantages and stay in tune with external change." Nearly 990 C-level execs took part in the research.
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Falling Into the Digital Divide

Falling Into the Digital Divide | digitalNow | Scoop.it
While 94 percent of the U.S. public is connected and 91 percent of the poor have Internet access, the researchers conclude that there's a growing problem with citizens being "under-connected." In many cases, this translates into a single Internet-connected computer or smartphone in the household or slow service.

All of this makes it more difficult for adults to conduct business or obtain health and medical information. Yet it also impacts children and their ability to learn. Vikki Katz, a Rutgers University scholar and co-author of the study, notes that poor connectivity impacts "the kinds of things that help families get by and the kinds of things that help families get ahead."

Although many initially viewed the Internet as a way to span the so-called digital divide and raise education and income levels, it's increasingly clear that today's broadband is more like a frayed rope bridge straddling a deep canyon. Knowledge and skills shortages are now a chronic problem for U.S. businesses looking to compete in the digital economy -- and IT is often at the center of this troubling equation.
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Strategy, Staffing, Budgets: Your Content Marketing Checklist

Strategy, Staffing, Budgets: Your Content Marketing Checklist | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Developing a Content Strategy
Less than half of B2B and B2C companies have a documented strategy or a clear understanding of successful content outcomes. Unsurprisingly, the top performers across all industries are those who align content strategy and KPIs to business goals.

A useful content strategy outlines goals and objectives, defines success metrics, incorporates buyer personas and buying stages, and assigns responsibility for planning and execution. It acts as your team’s foundation for a strong editorial calendar and helps focus their efforts. Most importantly for new teams, a strategy ensures they start strong with the right content.

Hiring the Right People
How do you know you have the right talent and skills on your content-focused marketing team? Mike Volpe, who served as CMO for a little software company that practically invented inbound marketing, has spoken extensively on what it takes to build and scale a stellar marketing team.
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A productivity expert says there's one huge myth about how to get more stuff done during the day

A productivity expert says there's one huge myth about how to get more stuff done during the day | digitalNow | Scoop.it
You don't necessarily have to wake up early to be more productive.
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Why Distinctive Customer Targeting Is a Smart Strategy

Why Distinctive Customer Targeting Is a Smart Strategy | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The best strategies always include a sharp definition of the target customer. And the more unique it is, the better. For example, if your competitors define their target customers by where they are — say, in certain parts of the world or in particular parts of town — you could instead define them by one or more of the following:

The best strategies always include a sharp definition of the target customer.

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Twitter
LinkedIn
Facebook
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How they buy (perhaps through specific channels)
Who they are (their particular demographics and other innate characteristics)
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How small shifts in leadership can transform your team dynamic

The evidence is pretty clear. Colleagues will behave more like their best selves, more of the time, if leaders take a few modest steps to foster an environment where people’s brain’s aren’t overloaded—more focused on rewards than threats—and have their fundamental social needs met. With a little behavioral science in their toolkit, leaders can build a more productive team—and a happier one at that.
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Does The Role Of The Instructional Designer Change In The mLearning Age?

Does The Role Of The Instructional Designer Change In The mLearning Age? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
how does this explosion of mLearning impact Instructional Design and, indeed, Instructional Designers? What has to change and what factors drive that change?

For starters, Instructional Designers would do well to recognize that the mLearning way is different from the eLearning way in some key ways:

Mobile usage patterns dictate that learning is consumed in several, bite-sized chunks rather than longer, more structured pieces. This will have an impact on the course structure the Instructional Designer puts together and also on interactions, assessments, and the like. They would have to be shorter and appearing at more frequent intervals.
Display sizes are generally much smaller and this means less is more in the context of information provided on each screen. The design would likely have to feature less text, displayed boldly and the same would have to be the case with visuals and images.
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Volunteer engagement

Volunteer engagement
It's possible that there's a woman who walks around your neighborhood every day, generously straightening up, picking up trash and improving things. Possible but unlikely.

Countless hours of volunteer engagement go untapped, because it's genuinely unlikely that people will contribute what they can, unencouraged.

The key elements are:

An agenda
Peer support
A hierarchy of achievement
The agenda is important, because it frees the volunteer up to do what's next, instead of figuring out what's next. The agenda makes it emotionally and socially safe to contribute. And the agenda lays out the road map of how we (however 'we' is defined) get from here to there.

Peer support is critical. "People like us do things like this." It's difficult enough to find the time and energy to contribute, but harder still to do it when one feels like an outsider.

And a hierarchy of achievement kicks in to amplify and encourage the work of the 10% of people who do 90% of the work. By recognizing those people as well as giving them more authority, the hierarchy creates a self-fueling cycle of impact.

Consider the Crisis Text Line. Or the millions of hours donated to editing Wikipedia. Or the application for TFA. Or umbrella organizations like New York Cares.

Volunteering is a spark that makes society work, but it takes organizations to build the support structures that keep it going.

Better structures lead to better work. People who care can magnify their impact by building structures that bring in more people who care.
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How Misinformation Spreads On The Internet

How Misinformation Spreads On The Internet | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The researchers found that the way posts are initially distributed are the same for the science and conspiracy theory posts. Within the first two hours, and again after 20 hours of being posted, a post is shared most frequently, regardless of topic or validity – mostly with those that agree with their views.

However, a difference is noted in the long term. Science news is spread relatively quickly across the web, before sharing and discussion of the post drops off. Conversely, conspiracy theories build momentum more slowly before being shared and discussed increasingly for a longer period of time. This also means that conspiracy theories that gradually gain traction can eventually persist online, regardless of their limited factual basis.

Most significantly, however, is that the long-term online behavior of any type of group user both constructs and strengthens their own echo chambers. Individual people, publications or news organizations whose posts you click on or comment on more frequently will appear in your News Feed more often as a result; those you ignore will fade into near-complete obscurity.

This in itself is an echo chamber, one where the information fed back to you is reinforced by your online interactions. Eventually, therefore, a user’s Facebook space may exclusively include information that they believe in, and people that only agree with them.
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Why Respect is the Cornerstone of Effective Leadership

To get respect, you’ve got to show respect. Without respect, leaders become tyrants. Earning respect is easier than you might think.

Today’s post is by Dean Vella who writes on behalf of the University of Notre Dame and Bisk Education.

Imagine being a minimum-wage employee and working for a boss who consistently sits in his or her office, barking out commands. Whenever something goes wrong, the volume and vitriol from the boss increases.

Imagine having a boss whose sole management plan is to do as little as possible. A boss who makes empty promises of incentive rewards to employees who go the extra mile, promises that never materialize. A boss who refuses to relate to employee issues and needs, such as time off requests.
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How important is a SWOT analysis to strategic planning?

How important is a SWOT analysis in your strategic planning efforts?

– Critical — you can’t have a strategic plan without a SWOT: 22.76%
– Very — a SWOT is an important element of the plan: 34.14%
– Somewhat — a SWOT can help but it’s not required: 20.00%
– Not very — a SWOT has marginal value in planning: 5.86%
– Not at all — a SWOT is a waste of time: 1.38%
– What’s a SWOT analysis?: 15.86%

Understand the Market and Your Position. A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is clearly an important element of any strategic plan. For those who see it as less important, I suspect it’s because the SWOT is done and then disregarded. To use it effectively, think through the implications of the SWOT. The strategic themes you identify in the SWOT should point you in the direction of major initiatives to pursue. The better your SWOT is linked to your ultimate strategy, the more successful you can be. If you need a primer or a brush up on conducting a SWOT, here’s a quick perspective on the topic.
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What to Do When Rewards and Incentives Don’t Work

What to Do When Rewards and Incentives Don’t Work | digitalNow | Scoop.it
When the reason for motivation is suboptimal such as the promise of a reward, the hope of gaining power or status, or acquiescing to pressure, there is no way people can experience the positive energy, sustained vitality and sense of well-being that comes from satisfying ARC.

You can wean your employees off carrots and hang up your stick by adapting motivation best practices that support people’s autonomy, relatedness and competence:

1. Encourage autonomy.
Frame deadlines as useful information critical for achieving important goals rather than sticks for applying pressure.

2. Deepen relatedness.
Reframe metrics that have no emotional meaning. Conduct motivational outlook conversations with employees to help them attribute their own sense of meaning to critical organizational goals and outcomes. You cannot impose your values or feelings on others, but you can guide their exploration of values and sense of purpose they find compelling.

3. Develop people's competence.
Focus on setting learning goals, not just output goals. Shift your focus from accomplishment to building competence. Instead of just asking, “What did you get done today?” try asking, "What did you learn today?"
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Why Formal Performance Reviews Won’t Disappear

Why Formal Performance Reviews Won’t Disappear | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Be honest with us: Are there times when you'd rather go to the dentist than give another performance review? It's never easy, after all, to come up with a comprehensive summary of an employee's valued contributions, outstanding work qualities and "improvement areas." And then there are review sessions that can get emotionally charged—especially when the staffer in question strongly disagrees with your assessment. Given these and other factors, some organizations are moving toward dispensing with this tradition. But a recent survey from Eagle Hill Consulting sends a "not-so-fast" message to managers who are considering such a step. The report, titled "The Annual Performance Review: Old-School or Timeless Tool?" reveals that—while they're collectively on the fence about chucking annual reviews—most professionals say their last one was a pleasing experience that accurately appraised their contributions. They say these sessions are helpful in benchmarking accomplishments for the past year, while setting expectations for the year ahead. The upshot: CIOs and other managers should seek feedback from their teams as to whether to replace the annual review—or simply give it a slight tweaking. "You must have an established system that gives your people an opportunity to discuss their areas of achievement as well as those in which they need improvement or seek growth," according to the report. An estimated 1,600 professionals took part in the research.
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If the Customer Really was King

In many organizations, the current customer is so disrespected that support is outsourced. You outsource the things that matter least to you. You outsource to save money. You outsource because you don’t care. You outsource because you don’t think something is a core competence.

For many organizations, looking after their current customers is not seen as a core competence. Some way to treat a king!

That’s all going to change, at least for those organizations that want to remain relevant in the digital economy. The customer isn’t just king in a digital economy; the customer is dictator. Those organizations that deliver an excellent experience to current customers will thrive. Those that don’t will wither. It’s as simple as that.

This will require a radical strategic and cultural shift for most organizations. This is what digital transformation is about: transforming from organization-centric to customer-centric.
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Collaborative Tech Boosts Flexibility & Efficiency

Collaborative Tech Boosts Flexibility & Efficiency | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Communication and collaboration are at the center of today's enterprise, but building an effective strategy and putting the right technology and solutions in place can be challenging.

 One company that recently addressed this challenge is Mimeo, a privately held firm that handles online managed content distribution and printing for upward of 6,000 companies in 140 countries. "We offer a way for companies to distribute content digitally or through print with a lot of controls over the way they go about it," Doug Bohaboy, vice president of marketing

During the last couple of years, the New York City-based company has expanded through growth and acquisitions. It now operates offices in New Jersey, Tennessee and Washington state, as well as in the United Kingdom, Germany and India.

"We have expanded greatly," Bohaboy reports, "and, as our size and scale have increased, the challenges around how we communicate have grown. We have a growing number of remote employees and teams that need to collaborate on projects."
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The price of poor listening

The price of poor listening | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The problem is that everyone wants to be heard first. Think about it: When people are striving to be heard and understood first, it's pretty hard for listening to occur.

Poor listening leads to assumptions and misunderstandings. These lead to errors, ineffective decisions, and/or costly mistakes. On a personal level, poor listening leads to hurt feelings and a loss of team cohesion. This deteriorates trust and weakens communication even further.

By connecting the dots, you can see that poor listening leads to lower profits.

The definition of listening
Hearing is one thing, listening is another. Before we continue, let's look at some definitions:

Hearing: The act of perceiving a sound by ear
Listening: Truly trying to understand another person's point of view
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Leadership in context

Leadership in context | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Even the best scripts can ring hollow in the wrong settings. Our research suggests that the most effective leadership behavior reflects the state of a company’s organizational health. Top-management teams that are serious about developing vibrant businesses and effective leaders must be prepared to look inward, assess the organization’s health objectively, and ask themselves frankly whether their leadership behavior is strong enough in the ways that matter most at the time. This question has implications not just for developing but also for assessing a company’s leaders. However much an executive may seem to have a leadership “it” factor, the organization’s health, not the claims of individuals, should come first when companies determine which kinds of behavior will be most effective for them. In short, they should spotlight different sets of actions in different situations. Fortunately for aspiring leaders, they don’t have to do everything at once.
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Avoiding Brain Drain Is Harder Than It Sounds

Avoiding Brain Drain Is Harder Than It Sounds | digitalNow | Scoop.it
So what factors affect experts, how can knowledge workers connect with them more efficiently, and where can companies invest to grow and retain their experts?

3 Factors Creating Demand
Global social and economic factors are driving the growing importance of finding and collaborating with company experts. One is the number of globally connected smart devices. IDC Research estimates that by 2020, global spending on smart devices will grow to $1.7 trillion, almost triple the amount spent in 2014. Software embedded in these devices will significantly grow the need for experts who understand how they work and how they’re connected.

Second, with the near-ubiquitous access to high-speed Internet and smart phones lowering geographic boundaries, more companies will hire employees who only have a virtual presence, or who are employed on a contract or part-time basis. This can lower costs and demands for office space, and can confer advantages in global coverage. But it also raises the amount of virtual communications required — instant messaging, text, email, web conferencing, etc. 
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Deconstructing urgent vs. important

Deconstructing urgent vs. important
A six-year-old who throws a tantrum and refuses to go to school is escalating into the urgent.

Going to school every day is important.

Mollifying an angry customer is urgent, building systems and promises that keep customers from getting angry is important.

Killing the bugs in the kitchen is urgent, putting in weatherstripping to keep them out for the long haul is important (as is avoiding carcinogens).

Fifteen years ago, Elian Gonzales was at the center of a perfect media storm. It was an urgent issue, one that involved heads of state. But it wasn't nearly as important as eventually normalizing relations and the well-being of millions of people.

In fact, breaking news of any kind is rarely important. 

Important means: long-term, foundational, coherent, in the interest of many, strategic, efficient, positive...

If you take care of important things, the urgent things don't show up as often. The opposite is never true.

Let's start with this: The purpose of CNN's BREAKING NEWS posture (caps intentional) isn't to create a better-informed citizenry. It's to make money.

The reason that tech sites, stock sites, scandal rags and others attract attention is because it's fun. It's emotionally engaging to be involved in a story when we don't know how it's going to turn out. When the story is unfolding, when it's breaking, we become emotionally connected to it.

And so the BBC devotes plenty of air time talking to someone at the location of a plane crash, even though he doesn't have a clue about what just happened. Because he might. Because we are there.

Unless you're a day trader, though, this drama of seeing the news unfold right now (italics intentional) is not going to help you make better decisions--in fact, it's going to make your decisions worse. It's also unlikely to make you happier. Or smarter. We're more likely to be afraid of terrorism than long-term atmosphere change, even though it's clear that the latter kills and injures far more people than the former.

The news we consume changes us. Not just the news manufactured by CNN, but the news manufactured by our boss, our investors, our customers.
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Are you an elevator or an escalator?

In short, elevation requires work on your part.  Without the legwork, its just escalating and not only doesn't do much to solve the issue, it doesn't do much for your reputation as a leader
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Five Strategies for Spotting Trends First

Here’s the good news: with a bit of focused attention, you can build skills in this area such that they become a strength rather than a vulnerability. Not only will it lead to better responsive moves, but at times, your improved capability will enable and empower you to pounce on emerging opportunities. Here are five strategies to guide you in this important arena:

Audit your information diet. Start by doing a simple assessment of the various information sources – periodicals, books, reports, newspapers, email newsletters, etc. that you’re accessing. Think of this as your “information diet.” Just as when we diet, we carefully monitor our caloric intake, become more aware of your “information intake.” For the next week, monitor how much time are you spending on trivial items like Donald Trump’s latest outburst, versus how much you’re taking in that’s substantive, deeply researched and well written. Ask other leaders in your network what they’re reading, and share articles of interest. Suggestion: Make it a point to subscribe to publications rather than only grazing the web. Let them build up– the important analysis and survey results that keep you abreast.
Develop new antenna. It’s been said that “leaders are readers” and I’m continually amazed at how well informed the innovative leaders I meet each year are on a broad range of topics. I first noticed this trait when interviewing 50 leading innovators back in the mid-80s. I’d go out to interview them and they’d start interviewing me! They are, as I noted in Winning the Innovation Game, like vacuum cleaners sucking in the latest trends. They avail themselves to opposing points of view and alternate perspectives. They ingest a wide-ranging number of surveys and reports. But they also get out there to see for themselves, to experience, to press the flesh. They travel extensively and actively question customers, suppliers, industry luminaries, and experts. They are alert to change at all times and notice small details that might easily be overlooked. Suggestion: Do more aggressive “front line observational” research, and ask questions wherever you go.
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Libraries matter

Libraries matter | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Many people still perceive libraries as awesome-looking magical places, full of a scent of old paper. We associate libraries with the past and with the analog world – the world that doesn’t fit into broadband internet connection.

It’s not true (and I think it never was). More and more libraries lend electronic books, become information hubs, but most importantly, media creation centers.

These infographics change the perspective. They show the beautiful book temples are filled not only with the past, but also with the future.
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How much professional reading do you do each month?

How much professional reading do you do each month?

– A ton — more than 5 books per month: 3.82%
– A lot — 2-3 books per month: 13.25%
– Some — 1 book per month: 24.5%
– Little — a book every few months: 42.57%
– None — I don’t have time for it or interest in it: 15.86%

Reading is Fundamental. It’s a bit surprising and somewhat distressing that leaders are reading so little with almost 60% of you stating you do “little” to “none” in terms of professional reading. Time sounds like a convenient excuse but I’ll challenge that assertion. If you add up the time you spend watching TV, cat videos, and being on social media, I’m sure you can carve out a portion of it for reading.

If you want to continuously grow as a leader, you have to invest in expanding your knowledge base, perspectives, and skills. Reading a book is a great way to do so (and for some great suggestions on where to get started, check out these titles). Letting your knowledge base stagnate directly correlates with the stagnation of your skills. Go hit your local library or bookstore.
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