Nilofer Merchant has been featured in the WSJ, written innovation columns for BusinessWeek and Forbes. Her work as a columnist at Harvard Business Review (HBR) is on social business models. Is the old command & control strategy still viable?
Corporate and Business Strategy and Execution in the Post Industrial, Digital Economy. Want to know more? Visit me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karlwabst/
Curated by Karl Wabst
Some residents in Ferguson, Missouri, are equipping themselves with cameras, and knowledge.
The World looks to America for leadership. Technology and social media were bound to become part of the mix in civil rights.
The Police Chief is supportive. As long as filming is in public places, privacy should not be an issue.
Are we ready for what we will see?
Leadership is the magic ingredient for successful change. The best processes, methods and tools cannot overcome a lack of great leadership. So take the time to understand the changes you intend and the environment you intend to implement them in and then use these techniques to successfully achieve results.
Organizational change is easy. Managers just tell employees to do their jobs differently. Employees jump up and say, "Yes sir!" The whole company changes seamlessly.
If this were true, the failure rate associated with change initiatives would not be 60% and 70%.
It takes a structure to run your company. It takes a structured approach to change how people do their jobs, while continuing to satisfy current demand.
If there was only one thing changing at a time, it might be easier. When was the last time that happened?
The bright green TRUSTe seal of approval is supposed to mean better privacy. In more than 1,000 instances, that seal wasn't deserved.
FTC finds that trust in TRUSTe misplaced. TRUSTe admits it did not fulfill its mission for several years.
Self-regulation means little when the regulator fails to follow through.
The FTC continues to follow up on its promise to protect consumers.
More from the FTC:
TRUSTe Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers Through Its Privacy Seal Program.
Company Failed to Conduct Annual Recertifications, Facilitated Misrepresentation as Non-Profit.
More from the TRUSTe:
TRUSTe’s Agreement with the FTC
People used to believe that you didn’t have to be happy at work to succeed. And you didn’t need to like the people you work with, or even share their values. “Work is not personal,” the thinking went. This is bunk.
Unhappy people are often ineffective employees. They focus on how they feel.
There is a time and place for that. We call it therapy.
In a marketplace with more competition, this is a lose-lose-lose-lose situation.
Life is short. Pursue happiness.
Older workers — those who are at or approaching the traditional retirement age of 65 — are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce and one of the fastest-growing groups in the overall population.
We continue to hear companies are having a hard time finding employees. It is hard to imagine that there is a talent shortage in America.
We have some of the best schools.
Now, we learn that we have a new resource in older or experienced candidates. These folks are battle-tested and ready to work.
For years, I have been trying to figure out why so many leaders tolerate poor execution and do nothing about it. One unfortunate issue I see quite regularly is simply that some “big” …
Strategy Planning + Strategy Execution = Organizational & People-Side Change. Get Your Hands Dirty or Fail
Strategy execution requires organizational change. There are well-established methodologies that you can use.
Here are a few resources.
Read the book “Leading Change” by John Kotter. He offers a view of top-down change leadership method validated through use by many companies. For more in depth coverage than this high-level view, choose from the many other books Kotter has written on change leadership.
Note, I did not say change management. It is essential to remember that you are trying to lead your organization to a new place when changing strategy. The emphasis is on leading, rather than maintaining the status quo, or management.
The next few resources are more of a bottom up approach. Both are necessary.
Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works."
It Starts with One: Changing Individuals Changes Organizations
"ADKAR" - a model for change management
Role of executive sponsors when managing change
Making Strategy Work
Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works
The traders that attempted to manipulate the foreign exchange markets used chatrooms to share information about currency orders and gave themselves macho pseudonyms such as “The players”, “the A team” and “the 3 musketeers
Digital transformation aids in exposure of fraud.
Note to future fraudsters. If you are going to try to manipulate foreign exchange rates, do not use chat rooms to discuss tactics.
You may not want to appear too caviler when creating evidence that can, and will be used against you in a court of law.
Private Chatrooms are not private! When faced with a choice between protecting you and giving up data to the Feds, the ISP will choose the Feds.
Taylor Swift has taken action against the perceived problem. I say, Good for her!
What will the fans do? Will fans change their listening behavior to support her?
Swift sees the value of music in terms of dollars. Fans feel the value of music in their hearts.
Neither is wrong.
The issue may be different than how Swift views it. The problem is how the industry is structured.
While society, technology and customer expectations have changed, the executives and labels stayed too long at the trough.
Taylor has gone out of her way to tell us she likes risky relationships. She may be barking up the wrong tree once again.
A fan denied will either find a way, or find someone else.
One thing is for sure. There will be change. Taylor is likely to come back to us on the rebound.
Learn the specific skills you need to work effectively in a virtual team, from communication and building relationships to coping with isolation, and more.
Virtual teams are far from new. Adoption of virtual teams is not even across the world.
Technology, society and management continue to evolve. Therefore, it is worth revisiting how teams work, succeed and fail regularly.
I helped introduce the technology and trained corporate employees on virtual teams that spanned continents. That started back in the 1990s.
The emphasis is too often on the technology. This was true 20 years ago. It remains true today. Our obsession with technology leads management to forget that people are harder to upgrade.
People make teams successful or a failure. What are the people issues that need attention?
One of the big issues is trust. Without video, communication lacks the visual cues we rely upon. Trust of corporate management in its employees is an old problem.
Virtual work highlights a psychological issue that is well known.
Perceptions that managers hold about their employees influence their management style. Some managers assume employees will take any chance to steal and cheat. Virtual teams make some managers very uncomfortable. For more, follow the links on Theory X and Theory Y below.
Culture is another big stumbling block. For workers who have not been outside of their own country, training is required.
In traditional organizations, training people on management of time, tasks and people are a low priority until workers attain a higher level.
Traditional organizations still cling to norms established during the industrial revolution. Incentives, rewards and management styles popularized in factories are not effective in the modern office.
To make virtual teams work for your company, focus on people, culture and technology. To lead your company to new heights, your people have to evolve. It takes more than cool technology.
Remember, the current economy and changes in human lifespans means that more, older workers than ever are in the workplace. To be effective, solutions must be scalable to the population.
“Older workers — those who are at or approaching the traditional retirement age of 65 — are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce and one of the fastest-growing groups in the overall population. In the U.S. the number of individuals aged 65 or older will increase by about 66% between now and 2035.” (HBR, “Engaging Your Older Workers”)
Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X and Theory Y. Understanding Team Member Motivation
Engaging Your Older Workers
President Barack Obama says Internet providers shouldn't be allowed to cut deals with online services like Netflix, Amazon or YouTube to move their content faster.
Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz), with no industry experience thinks, "Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet," and "The Internet should not operate at the speed of government."
Ted Cruz: Regulating the Internet threatens entrepreneurial freedom
Ted takes a swing, but it is another miss! Ted, if it were not for the government, there would be no Internet. Look it up!
Ted seems to have had an O-Chip placed in his head. If Obama said it was Monday, Ted automatically yells, "No, it is Tuesday!"
I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but this crap is getting old.
If the current crop of politicians decides the future of the Internet, expect nothing but a long fight. In the end, it will not matter much.
Why do I say it will not matter? Other countries have already surpassed the US in Internet speed. Soon, other countries will be the innovators and the US will be the follower.
That is ironic since the US government created the Internet. Even though it took many regulations and agreements the process created a usable platform for the World.
Regulation is not inherently bad. Corporate America is not the ruler of the World. Markets have become global. Before you yell that I am un-American, go outside of your Mom's basement. Times are changing. Competition happens at the speed of light.
We will get less that we bargained for if we let corporations turn it into a battleground. No one wins, except our competitors. If people stop trusting America to lead, they will turn to another party. No, I do not mean the Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians.
Do not forget there are many critical services that run over the Internet. Netflix and Google will seem a lot less important when the controls at the power plant fail.
We have bigger problems than Internet Fast Lanes. Open a browser. Do a search for SCADA Security. Then, come talk to me about how you want less regulation and controls over what companies see fit to attach to the Internet.
Before taking sides, do some reading. Look for opinions not formed in Washington, D.C. The place has turned into a swamp with cows grazing the landscape.
Real Americans get educated. Real Americans participate in the governance of the country. Be one of those.
Read the first few links, just to prove to yourself there are bigger Internet-related issues that our politicians should be spending time on.
Cyber Attack on Nation's Critical Infrastructure
Hackers exploit SCADA holes to take full control of critical infrastructure
Why is SCADA Security an Uphill Battle?
Back to Net Neutrality
Understanding the New Battle Over Net Neutrality
The report ISPs don't want you to watch....
MOYERS ON AMERICA: "The Net at Risk"
Background story about how Net Neutrality affects our lives and future opportunity. America is falling behind. More at risk than you may realize.
THE NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE
Why Comcast and other cable ISPs aren’t selling you gigabit Internet
Top 5 Countries with the fastest internet speeds in the world The US ranks 11th. Last year we were #14.
How Big Telecom Increases Our Digital Divide
Susan Crawford on Why U.S. Internet Access is Slow, Costly and Unfair
The Future Of The Social Web Depends On Standards
Special surge pricing for the car-service Uber is shocking local customers.
Uber surge pricing may be an innovation or a rip off. Let the buyer beware.
Uber's surge pricing earns it an 'F' from Better Business Bureau
Uber defends price surge that charged Durham man $455 on Halloween
This is how Uber’s surge pricing is supposed to work—if the company isn’t lying to you
New waves of Indians and Chinese are taking America’s business-school entrance exam, and that’s causing a big problem for America’s prospective M.B.A.s. Why? The foreign students are much better at the test.
Real Americans do not have to compete with foreigners. We are exceptional!
Every American should be given automatic entry into Business School. Americans get extra points if they can shoot straight, skin a bear, love Jesus, and Mom.
Obviously, Americans are experiencing some sort of reverse discrimination. Congress had best convene a special education committee.
Please do not waste any more of our tax dollars on education. Only 1% of Americans need to get learning above the grade school level. That was good enough for Great Grand Pappy!
OK, count to 10, if you can, and commence to laughing.
Wake up America. Stop wondering if there is a return on investment in a college education. The problem may be that we have not invested enough in our kid’s elementary education.
The rest of the World is changing. We are watching the History Channel and reliving past glory.
The founders of this country were well educated and Worldly. They spoke multiple languages. Some had degrees. Some of them were rich. Then again, they were foreigners.
Almost 50% of Americans fail to graduate college
Some Chinese students are shunning schools abroad in favor of universities at home
Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012
Why M.B.A. Isn’t Good Enough Anymore
Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online
10 talks on education | TED Playlists | TED
TED Talks about US High School Dropout Rate
Nearly 100 workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago Assembly Plant got an automated Friday phone message announcing that they had just been laid off.
This may feel like the equivalent of getting a breakup text message.
What it is not a good example of, is how to use technology to transform an organization.
Every worker got the message loud and clear.
Ford does not care about my family or me.
Most obviously, the Internet of Things has the power to profoundly change operations — that’s where much of the coverage of this burgeoning network has focused. But companies should also be preparing for profound shifts in their competitive strategies as the IoT takes off. It will change the category you compete in, the products and services you sell, and how you market them, and even the talent you acquire.
The Internet of Things or IoT is just another technology fad! We do not have to change how we do business. We do not have to change our strategy.
Repeat 3 times, click your heels and return to 1960, when you were cool!
Three mini case studies from Lowes, Thermo Fisher Scientific and All Traffic Solutions suggests IoT is a business issue that, like most everything else today, has a technology component.
“It will change the category you compete in, the products and services you sell, and how you market them, and even the talent you acquire.”
I have to agree with Brian Solis. Disruptive technology is catalyst for change, not the reason (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/04/09/facebook-twitter-pinterest-iphone-brian-solis/2066955/)
Business, society and people are evolving, as usual. Adapt or die.
Top 14+ key elements in reducing resistance to change - change management. Reducing employee resistance to change - Torben Rick
The idea that fears are a huge problem during organizational change is only half of the story.
Fear is only there to make us aware that we need to pay attention. It does not mean stop!
Good change leaders take psychology and neuroscience into account. Note there are at least two choices.
Fear triggers the fight or flight response.
There may be the impulse to run away or to try to ignore the need to change and to keep doing what you always did.
A good leader knows that there is also opportunity in fear. Employees may be motivated to pay attention and fight to get to a new destination.
Fear of the unknown makes some people run and hide. It makes others into leaders.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to open the pay-TV industry to technology companies. Wheeler [has] proposed expanding the definition of a pay-TV distributor to include companies that transmit TV programming via the Internet. The move should give tech companies access to some of the most popular channels in television.
Consumers, be prepared for more choices on how to buy your TV services. It may not be any cheaper though.
Labor brokers providing Indian high-tech workers to American companies have hijacked a professional visa program, creating an underground system of financial bondage by stealing wages and benefits, even suing workers who quit.
Why does Techsploitation matter to US employers?
If substantiated, these charges represent a large hidden cost to the productivity at American firms that use outsourced labor.
Workers who are distracted by fighting lawsuits, or working under duress will turn out substandard results.
That increases the odds of cost overrun, unhappy customers and loss of repeat business.
If implicated in visa fraud lawsuits, host companies may lose time and money defending themselves. There can be substantial cost, whether your company is innocent or guilty.
WikiLeaks has taken an interest and uncovered documentation of inflated work experience. Simply, you may not be getting what you are paying for.
The backlash from displaced Americans who lost jobs to outsourcing could hit stakeholders at many levels.
I am sure there are other potential issues attached, but I am not writing a book here.
Whether you do your due diligence and due care is your business. Your company’s exposure depends on multiple factors.
America’s immigration system has been broken for years. Do not assign any political motivations to this post.
Let me be clear. I believe members of every political party have broken the visa system. Our politicians have forgotten for whom they work.
I have nothing against outsourcing or the companies that employ or hire such resources. In fact, I have been an outsourced employee.
This is simply business, risk and opportunity.
Techsploitation: a true story of labor trafficking in the US
Job brokers with history of violations exploit tech workers on taxpayers’ dime
Every year more than 16 million people in the U.S. fall victim to identity theft.
People have to change with the times or expect to be victims.
I know that sounds harsh. It was true when you moved from the farm into the city. It remains true today.
As business practices evolve, along with technology, older folks are at risk if they do not adapt.
By doing the same thing they have always done they accept risk without realizing it. Some of the results are sad.
An active mind keeps us young. Choose young!
You’re traveling down the highway with the road flashing by beneath your feet and the scenery looming everywhere—fore and aft, left and right, above and below. Gone are the usual blind spots created by your vehicle’s doors, window frames, roof, and floor. You’re as free as a bird and just as aware of your surroundings.
Watch this! New technology is driving transparency to a whole new level.
Instead of grouping all the people-related activities together under HR, businesses should organize them according to types of service provided — and move a couple of them to other functions altogether. Splitting the function into two doesn’t go far enough.
There is too much focus on efficiency or cost cutting in HR. This maintains a support role mindset.
Until HR changes how it behaves it is unlikely top management will see the department as a strategic role.
HR has to become more effective at what the business wants and sees value in.
If your biggest customer fails to see your value, you have a problem. Perception is reality.
“Since streaming sites and rogue torrent sites make it easy for any teenager to access millions of songs for free, it comes as no surprise that young people, who are the music industry’s core consumer, are not paying for physical or digital singles or albums,” says veteran music lawyer Bernie Resnick. “Without the support of the most important segment of the customer base, it becomes extremely difficult to sell enough units to qualify for gold or platinum sales awards.”
The music industry once disrupted society. Music still does. It always has supported and disrupted.
Seeking to limit music is like trying to control the flow of water. For a time you may be successful but water always finds a way. Music is a feeling as much as a product.
Executives sought to control the means of production and distribution. A lot of money spent on copy protections only tried to make fans feel like criminals. These attempts to outsmart tech savvy teenagers failed.
One result that seems to have surprised these executives is that their tired, old strategy has been voted off the island. No one saw that coming!
Times change and society changes. Sales certainly have changed.
Mourning metrics, that focus on physical sales only highlights how out of touch these executives are.
Guaranteed the people lowest on their own organization charts could have told the C-Suite how easy it was to get past their controls. As in any business, bad controls are bad business.
The music and print publishing industries need to disrupt their old behaviors.
Put those considerable resources into developing a new direction for your industry.
If your neighbour owns no guns, he’s seeing a different ad IN 1984 Ronald Reagan’s campaign aired a syrupy ad declaring: “It’s Morning Again in America”....
New technology may mean that we all live in our own bubble.
Is there such a thing as too much personalization?
I am not against targeted ads. They can be useful and effective.
If people do not recognize what is going on, it may divide people too far.
What do YOU think?
The day of the session in France, my actions were guided by the lessons I had learned from many successful years of training in the U.S. I started by getting right to the point, introducing strategies, practical examples, and next steps. But the group did not seem to be responding as usual.
Not everyone thinks like Americans. Do your research. Know your audience. Get there early. Listen. Adapt yourself. Do not expect the audience will change how they think to accommodate you. Do not forget to have fun.
Management Skills for International Business
Managing Global Virtual Teams
The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
Strategy has shrunk. For many firms and even for some prominent strategy consultants, the concept is now nothing more than “just-in-time decision making” or “a few critical initiatives” or other variations on “adaptability.”
Abandoning strategy is a fool’s errand.
Volatility, or an increased level and rate of change does not negate the need for strategy.
Investors, customers and employees will not trust an organization that changes direction based on the latest whim or new marketing study.
Yes, there are many changes going on in our personal lives, society and organizations. There are many factors driving change, including technology. None of those factors is new.
No, change is not unique to our generation.
Granted, the speed of communication is far greater than ever before. There is also an uptick in global commerce. Still, these are not new. The ability to deal with these changes has also evolved.
Go talk to your grandparents. Listen to their stories.
There are still people alive today who were born before World War II or the Depression. Some were born into families that farmed the land, with horse and plow not huge tractors and combines. Some were born in houses without internal plumbing or electricity.
Try to grasp the transformations that the World has seen in their lifetime. Huge change, affecting the World and ordinary lives will be part of their story.
A short time ago, Americans were striving just to feed themselves and their families. There was a global financial crisis. There was also a drought. It forced families to leave their land, watch their investments in livestock wither and die. We struggled with immigration and religion. Some people were convinced the World was ending. Now, tell me again about how there is so much change today.
Organizations and people have always done better when they have something to strive for.
Strategy has shrunk to a set of annual plans and budgets at many companies. That does not make it right.
Read the annual reports from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or Facebook. All of these hugely successful corporations have strategies. Despite the snippets reported in the tabloids and blogs, they all have corporate and business strategies.
I know. You are not one of those monolithic corporations. Without knowing, and being able to communicate or sell others on following where you want to go, it is likely that you never will be.
Every couple of years marketers seem to adopt a word and then beat it to death, talking about it to clients and prospects at every opportunity ... I bring this up because it seems to me that the current term-of-the-moment is 'Digital Transformation'.
This article makes some good points about the obsession of Marketers and IT with shiny new objects. Sometimes it is like watching a cat chase after a laser pointer.
The cat is getting exercise and sharpening its hunting skills. The cat is not running a for-profit business. The cat is not bound legally nor morally to improve return on investment. Cats just want to have fun.
Marketing and IT are obsessed with trying to maintain or expand power in their own separate domains. The connection to business and corporate strategy is usually secondary at best.
Being able to answer shareholders and customers, who want to know what is in it for me, is not secondary. That is a symptom of an internally focused corporation.
Customers and shareholders are the reason for, and fuel of business. Internal politics cannot take precedence at a time when shareholders and customers have increasing power and voice through social media.
Now, let us get back to the article. In the end, the idea that we replace one misunderstood, over-hyped term with another falls flat.
I think one idea bears repeating, in case you do not read the article. “Real digital transformation is as important to HR, finance, sales and operations as it is to marketing. It is too important to be siloed in the marketing or IT departments.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
I also agree with Dr. John Kotter on a related point.
Today, we have too much management and not enough leadership. Without leadership, terms like digital transformation of disruption are hollow.
Managers focus on maintaining status quo or, getting the job at hand done. That is a necessary task. It keeps money coming in. Leadership means bringing people, companies, products and shareholders to a new destination or goal.
Managers can be leaders too. Without focus on leading, buy-in from senior management and organizational change, the manager is likely to fail.
Disruption is different than deploying some new software. The same is true of digital transformation.
For more about the differences between leaders and managers, I have provided a few resources below.
Disruption touches HR, finance, marketing, sales operations and investors. It is too important to be siloed in the marketing or IT departments.
What Leaders Really Do
Management Is (Still) Not Leadership