Hardly a day goes by without talk of how social business and social technologies are transforming the workplace. Like all areas of business there are obstacles to achieving social business goals and some of them are not that obvious.
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
Madison Square Garden often hosts cultural icons such as Bob Dylan , Bruce Springsteen and Bono, but on Sunday the storied arena offered rock-star treatment to a political personality: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi , who made the case for a resurgent India to nearly 20,000 hugely enthusiastic supporters.
Last night there was an Indian pep rally in NYC. If you have not thought about what a global economy means for you, this may be a good time to reconsider. Are we leading the way or still trying to manage our people and companies? No doubt, we need both qualities.
Spend on tomorrow’s opportunities, not just today’s needs.
Choosing to focus on daily operational fires robs you of creating a vision and finding your way into the future.
Focusing on fires is a choice. It feels heroic. It may increase the likelihood of being a takeover target. It leaves your staff exhausted. You may not have time to recognize it, but it also drives staff to leave.
Some of your staff takes what you taught them and creates their own company or they go to competitors and teach them how to do it better. This just creates more fires. Leave the tail chasing to your dog.
Expending the majority of your resources on putting out fires adds credence to the argument that there is no point creating strategy. You are constantly reacting to change. Somebody else is calling the tune and you are forced to dance. Who has time to innovate?
This culture creates a lot of work. Many people run around looking busy. The entire workplace is a burning platform. Is there a better way?
This article made me think about another Harvard Professor who has made a career of explaining the difference between Managers and Leaders. His conclusion is that there are too many Managers and too few Leaders.
For more, see Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail http://hbr.org/2007/01/leading-change-why-transformation-efforts-fail/ar/1 and Management Is (Still) Not Leadership http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/01/management-is-still-not-leadership/.
I have spent many years working on innovation and maintenance projects for major corporations around the world. Often, whatever is in front of employees’ is what gets attention.
One way employees resist change is to focus harder on fixing what they have always done. There is a time for managing the current systems. This is a time for change. You may be too busy to feel that you can make the difference. You are wrong.
“We can make this work!” It is necessary and courageous work. If that is all we focus on, we expend all our resources to stay where we are today.
There must also be time to dream of a better way to do things. Innovation requires leadership. Create a vision and enact the changes required to bring your company to that new place.
Both Management and Leadership are required, but make resource allocation a conscious choice. Figure out where your money and talent goes. Is there really no better way to spend the day than putting out fires?
The alternative is to spend a career chasing, never leading. It is up to you. Are you going to spend your career leading or managing?
As Smokey says, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires.” http://www.smokeybear.com/
If a bear can lead a campaign to end wildfires, imagine what you can accomplish!
The great promise of social media is that information goes around the gatekeepers and leapfrogs official repression. Thanks to the way social media works, individual users can choose their sources of information. With the push of a button, we can avoid content we don't want to see. We don't need Twitter to push that button for us.
Starting in 2016, Elsa, Ariel, Jasmine and the rest of the Disney princesses are ditching Mattel (MAT) to go hang out with G.I. Joe.
The money is in aftermarket sales. Whoever executes there wins.
Barbie doll maker Mattel has long catered to girls. The switch to Hasbro adds a new set of consumers for them.
Are they prepared to go in a new direction? Marketing GI Joe and Disney princesses will test Hasbro's strategy and execution.
I think it would be a nice twist if Ariel rescued GI Joe for a change.
In these video interviews from ClickZ Live San Francisco, you will glean insights, get tips, and hear about future trends from leading digital marketers at Yahoo, Amazon, Hootsuite, and more.
These interviews outline major changes in how marketers, advertisers and consumers interact on our mobile devices.
Yes, learning about the latest marketing and advertising tips is important and sexy!
Speed matters! Pay attention! This is the usual call to action.
There is an easily missed, but related story.
TELL ME A STORY
CEOs need to examine how an organization's strategy, people and processes must transform to leverage digital channels.
Business strategy and transformation are less sexy, but vital if you want to create and sustain value. Unbelievably, shareholders think return on investment is sexy!
There is a sense of urgency to fulfill consumer needs and expectations. That is why companies rush new services to market. Those services are often tailored using online and offline data to tap into users desires.
The hope is that when consumers feel more connected with your company, they will spend more money. They will feel loyalty. The Finance staffers do not quite get it, but that is another story.
TALK = BUSINESS?
Social media allows consumers to talk back to companies, and with each other. All of those conversations generate customer data in ways that were not available a few short years ago.
Much attention is paid to the technology that provides the user interface. Not enough attention is given to ROI. This is one big reason the CEO needs to stay involved.
In many firms, data is flowing all over the place. So much so, that in fact that nobody knows what you have, how it is used, or where it all is.
Mistakes in handling customer data make the news. These happen in the form of data breaches. No, this is not a rant about data security!
There are less public, but costly mistakes. Data is a business asset. The similarity of data to any asset is increasing every day.
When you choose speed over governance, you lose track of data assets and the benefits they can provide.
Companies also tend to waste a lot of money on compliance because they have to find and fix problems created by choosing speed. Call these losses missed opportunity costs.
In the rush to field new social media systems and interfaces, there are a host of internal procedures, processes, policies, incentives and controls changed on the fly. These cost money too.
YOU BET YOUR ASSET
As an asset, data should generate revenue. In many firms, data is flowing all over the place. So much so, that in fact that nobody knows what you have, how it is used, or where it all is.
Often, companies have a vast amount of resources that are unknown. These resources could create new services, and make money for existing services through new customer insights.
The problem with mismanaged data resources receives attention during an annoying compliance audit. By then, the audit is the focus and few circle back to review that audit data for untapped resources.
Volatility or increased organizational change costs companies money in missed opportunity.
It does not take long before mismanaged changes to peoples' jobs, responsibilities, data flow and digital resource tracking results in missed opportunity and different forms of risk
Do not lose sight of the business of technology. IT staffers are not often business majors. How much money is mismanagement leaving on the table? You probably have no idea.
Data is not managed as carefully as cash or other revenue-streams. Data is not just stored bits and bytes. If it is, dump it. It creates risk without recognition of corresponding opportunity.
IS IT ALL ABOUT THE MONEY
Change your mindset and attitudes. As with any asset, data must generate revenue to offset risk. Think about data like dollars. Waste less. Pay attention to the sexy and the not so sexy bits. Find those missed opportunities.
Every company considering collecting employee data should understand issues surrounding workplace privacy.
In the US, there may be issues related to State laws and union contracts.
If you work with a multinational organization, it is very likely that you will need to design around differences between US, EU and regulations in other countries.
In every jurisdiction, there are issues related to employee trust.
If you have seen the controversies around breaches of customer data, imagine the reputation hit if you breach employee data. You risk losing the trust of the people your company relies on to exist.
Consider using well-known governance frameworks to lend credence to your efforts. Be sure to consider culture change programs (Kotter and Prosci ADKAR), Privacy (AICPA, EU Data Directives, IAPP), Security (ISO 27002, NIST SP-800) and IT Governance (CobiT).
Do your research before talking to your lawyers.
Make sure you get buy-in from your lawyer before launching a pilot program. Also, seriously consider getting Board approval. If something goes wrong, you will need a lot of support.
Here are a few resources on privacy to start you due diligence.
IAPP Books on privacy for certifications
Employee monitoring technologies and data privacy - no one-size-fits-all globally https://privacyassociation.org/news/a/2009-05-employee-monitoring-technologies-differ-globally/
Why Employers Need to Carefully Approach Employee Healthcare Data https://privacyassociation.org/news/a/why-employers-need-to-carefully-approach-employee-healthcare-data/
Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring
PRIVACY IN CYBERSPACE
Privacy in the Workplace (Canada)
Spying on Employees: Should You Do It?
Are we being employed, or stalked?
Literature on innovation tends to frame the relationship between spry innovators and the staid status quo as a David versus Goliath battle, but the challenge for large organizations is to acknowledge that David and Goliath must work together rather than fight each other.
Allowing employees to work in siloes is the way to manage the status quo. Leave siloes to grain. Discover the power of us.
I believe that by being deliberate about what you value, about the atmosphere, about the culture that exists, you can shape the behaviour of people...
Is organizational culture an accident or can it be shaped and directed? What do you think?
The command-and-control approach to management has in recent years become less and less viable. Globalization, new technologies, and changes in how companies create value and interact with customers have sharply reduced the efficacy of a purely directive, top-down model of leadership. What will take the place of that model?
Neither employees nor customers will follow someone they do not trust. Do you want to build trust within your organization?
You may not realize it, but for most of us, the world has changed. People no longer say, “How high” when the boss says, “jump.” It is more likely they will ask “why?”
Try getting out of that old command and control mindset and talk to people.
Better still, do more listening than talking. To learn something, you must listen.
Trust is not given because you are the boss. Do not confuse compliance with trust.
Across industries, organizations can greatly benefit from making tiny changes in their processes to take into account how employees and customers really behave — including not liking being told what to do.
Big change does not have to be a big pain.
You can have highly engaged employees and still go out of business. How can that be?
Complacent employees, and self-congratulatory management, create bad customer experience.
Too much happy talk creates complacency. Complacency drives a lack of urgency.
I have heard many variations on the theme.
“There is no need for us to improve. We are #1!”
“I am a great employee! I have a plaque that says so!”
“We are so great! Customers should feel lucky to be able to buy our widget.”
If your customer is price-sensitive, they may aspire to buy your widget but they are not willing to pay your price.
“Our technology is the best! We have no competition!”
You have more competition today than ever before. Change is the new normal. You may not see them coming. Barriers to entry are lower. Technology and customer expectations are constantly evolving. Today’s #1 is next year’s takeover target.
Customers decide who the best is.
Customers are fickle. They will leave.
If you are busy looking at your own reflection in the mirror you do not realize you are alone. Your other admirers have left the building.
Find a balance between employee engagement and customer experience. Customers are like water. They seek their own level.
They will go places you do not expect to meet their needs and desires.
Xiaolin Zheng is a nanoscientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer whose inventions are on the leading edge of a solar power revolution that could allow people to harness sustainable energy like never before.
The pizza approach to solar cells.
I am absolutely sure that I could be tricked by a well-crafted spear phishing attack, and I am equally sure I could do the same to you.
Hackers may see more value in you than you see in yourself.
When I’m called on to help an organization with a sales transformation, I quickly gauge the culture and begin to address counterproductive beliefs that are holding them back from getting the performance they want. There are three key steps to overcoming a negative sales culture:
It may be an idea, product or service. Even though sales are part of what everyone does, we still hold onto negative stereotypes.
For example, when we hear the word sales many think about the used car salesperson. Another thought may be about the person who sells ice to Eskimos. That is so last century.
This misunderstanding is holding you back. A Salesperson does not have to be slimy. This is not to say that some are not. All I am asking is that you question your assumptions.
Others sell. Without sales skills, you are a victim of other people’s plans. Does that sound like you?
See also:To Sell is Human: The New ABCs of Moving Others : http://sco.lt/91vnKD
A new owner for the NYSE means fewer workers overall but more brokers on a renovated trading floor. What else does Intercontinental Exchange have in mind?
There are reports of disruption at the World's most famous stock exchange. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are the new normal. Who would have guessed such a thing was likely?
This survey of 2,300 employees worldwide reveals a rising social movement ignited by the digital and social media era: employee activism. Employee activists are more than just engaged employees. They make their engagement visible, defend their employers from criticism and act as advocates, both online and off.
According to this study only 42% of employees can explain to others what their company does! (Yikes!!)
How to Activate Your Employees to Help Carry the Message?
Get everyone moving in the same direction. As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The challenge for leaders is that, while we often know where we’re going, it’s easy to get distracted. Two things are helpful to stay on track:
Read this before your next leadership meeting. Follow the big arrow!
You may be familiar with the Apple Watch's predecessor.
I had to laugh at this. It seems that no one remembers the Microsoft Smartwatch from way back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
The Microsoft SPOT Watch smartwatch was revolutionary, smart, and sexy — at least for technophile geeks. It was also a major commercial failure.
- Microsoft Smartwatch Review
The Microsoft product failure even spawned a Harvard Business School case study. Let us hope Apple read it and found the solutions. http://hbr.org/product/Microsoft--Launching-the-/an/504004-PDF-ENG
The year is 2003....
Microsoft is about to launch its Smart technology Watch, which allows specially designed watches for the latest up to date information on sports, business, transportation, news, etc.
After years of effort and millions of dollars spent, the questions now revolve around the launch strategy and likely adoption by the consumer. Is this the next big thing for Microsoft or a waste of money and resources?
Complicating matters that although Microsoft has developed and will operate technologies to provide information on the clock, the clock itself will be sold and marketed by several famous watch partners.
- by John T. Gourville, Christina Darwall Source: Harvard Business School 20 pages. Publication Date: October 30, 2003. Prod. #: 504004-PDF-ENG
This level of workplace stress can engender disengagement and absenteeism, which in turn results in reduced productivity.
The poll gathered responses from over 22,000 employees in 12 countries.
Lack of work/life balance was the second most common cause of stress amongst employees, cited by 40% of respondents.
Just 15% of employers identified lack of staff as a contributing factor. The key concern among employers is the impact of technology enabling professionals to access work out of hours (34%).
Only 8% of employees agreed.
This summer, LEGO launched a minor revolution. It introduced professional women – scientists, no less – into its latest toy line aimed at girls. The new figurines – called “minifigs” by Lego die-hards – feature a female palaeontologist, an astronomer, and a chemist. They sold out on the first day.
According to research, stagnant mindsets and attitudes are a major obstacle to organizational change.
Bringing in new people is one way to introduce new behaviors and ideas that move companies out of their rut.
When the problem is in the C-Suite, the likelihood of change diminishes in a hurry.
Lego may take another near-collapse before it learns the lessons of its own history.
There is another possibility. Opening new markets (girls) may not be their strategy. That is fine too.
It seems to fly in the face of capitalism, but that is their right as a family-owned business.
There are plenty of other toys to play with. If you do not like the LEGO product, buy another.
People who do not want to change do not have to. Do not waste your time trying to teach a pig to whistle. You just waste your time and annoy the pig.
Consumers often change. So do investors. Vote with your wallet. Leave dinosaurs to their own mindsets and attitudes.
Southwest is no longer the low-fare carrier. The competitive market changed around them.
The question now is who are they? What will be their new strategy to differentiate themselves from the other major carriers?
Look for more changes than just the paint job.
Do you sell the same way you did a decade ago? In the classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin tells a group of salesmen that the key to selling is, "A-B-C. Always Be Closing
I have met many people in IT whose bosses ask them to generate sales.
Many are repulsed because their view of Sales is inherently negative. This view is based on an old model.
Do not be the person who would sell ice to Eskimos. Do not be that sleazy salesperson.
You will find that social customers have as much information as vendors, have ample choices in vendors and the means to push back if you try to shine them on.
Learn about a new way to sell that helps customers solve problems. It can help you sell to customers and help you sell your ideas internally.
The sad truth is that when people do not make an effort to reach out and find common ground, your customers and shareholders are the real losers.
Lead change in your little piece of the world. What you find may change your life. It starts with one.
“Everyone wants to be interesting, but the vitalizing thing is to be interested…As the proverb says, ‘It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.’”
Real leaders do not stay in their comfort zone. Always be learning.