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I find the key factors interesting. I rarely saw them in education where management is more valued than leading.
It may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy. However, it’s difficult to get right and requires top-leadership attention.March 2014 | byAlfonso Pulido, Dorian Stone, and John Strevel“Sustaining an audience is hard,” Bruce Springsteen once said. “It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” He was talking about his route to music stardom, yet his words are just as applicable to the world of customer experience. Consistency may be one of the least inspirational topics for most managers. But it’s exceptionally powerful, especially at a time when retail channels are proliferating and consumer choice and empowerment are increasing.Getting consistency right also requires the attention of top leadership. That’s because by using a variety of channels and triggering more and more interactions with companies as they seek to meet discrete needs, customers create clusters of interactions that make their individual interactions less important than their cumulative experience. This customer journey can span all elements of a company and include everything from buying a product to actually using it, having issues with a product that require resolution, or simply making the decision to use a service or product for the first time.It’s not enough to make customers happy with each individual interaction. Our most recent customer-experience survey of some 27,000 American consumers across 14 different industries found that effective customer journeys are more important: measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30 percent more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction. In addition, maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 percent but also to lift revenue by up to 15 percent while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent. Our research identified three keys to consistency:1. Customer-journey consistencyIt’s well understood that companies must continually work to provide customers with superior service, with each area of the business having clear policies, rules, and supporting mechanisms to ensure consistency during each interaction. However, few companies can deliver consistently across customer journeys, even in meeting basic needs.Simple math illustrates why this is so important in a world of increasingly multichannel, multitouch customer journeys. Assume a customer interacts six times with a pay-TV company, starting when he or she undertakes online research into providers and ending when the first bill is received 30 days after service is installed. Assuming a 95 percent satisfaction rate for each individual interaction—whether measuring responsiveness, the accuracy of information, or other factors—even this level of performance means that up to one in four customers will have a poor experience during the on-boarding journey.The fact is that consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty. Banks, for example, saw an exceptionally strong correlation between consistency on key customer journeys and overall performance in customer experience. And when we sent an undercover-shopping team to visit 50 bank branches and contact 50 bank call centers, the analysis was confirmed: for lower-performing banks, the variability in experience was much higher among a typical bank’s branches than it was among different banks themselves. Large banks typically faced the greatest challenge.2. Emotional consistencyOne of the most illuminating results of our survey was that positive customer-experience emotions—encompassed in a feeling of trust—were the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty in a majority of industries surveyed. We also found that consistency is particularly important to forge a relationship of trust with customers: for example, customers trusted banks that were in the top quartile of delivering consistent customer journeys 30 percent more than banks in the bottom quartile.What is also striking is how valuable the consistency-driven emotional connection is for customer loyalty. For bank customers, “a brand I feel close to” and “a brand that I can trust” were the top drivers for bank differentiation on customer experience. In a world where research suggests that fewer than 30 percent of customers trust most major financial brands, ensuring consistency on customer journeys to build trust is important for long-term growth.3. Communication consistencyA company’s brand is driven by more than the combination of promises made and promises kept. What’s also critical is ensuring customers recognize the delivery of those promises, which requires proactively shaping communications and key messages that consistently highlight delivery as well as themes. Southwest Airlines, for example, has built customer trust over a long period by consistently delivering on its promise as a no-frills, low-cost airline. Similarly, Progressive Insurance created an impression among customers that it offered lower rates than its competitors in the period from 1995 to 2005 and made sure to highlight when it delivered on that promise. Progressive also shaped how customers interpreted cost-reduction actions such as on-site resolution of auto claims by positioning and reinforcing these actions as part of a consistent brand promise that it was a responsive, technology-savvy company. In both cases, customer perceptions of the brands reinforced operational realities. Such brands generate a reservoir of goodwill and remain resilient on the basis of their consistency over time in fulfilling promises and their strong, ongoing marketing communications to reinforce those experiences.Becoming a company that delivers customer-journey excellence requires many things to be done well. But we’ve found that there are three priorities. First, take a journey-based approach. For companies wanting to improve the customer experience as a means of increasing revenue and reducing costs, executing on customer journeys leads to the best outcomes. We found that a company’s performance on journeys is 35 percent more predictive of customer satisfaction and 32 percent more predictive of customer churn than performance on individual touchpoints. Since a customer journey often touches different parts of the organization, companies need to rewire themselves to create teams that are responsible for the end-to-end customer journey across functions. While we know there are an infinite number of journeys, there are generally three to five that matter most to the customer and the business—start your improvements there. To track progress, effectiveness, and predict opportunities, you may need to retool both metrics and analytics to report on journeys, not just touchpoint insights.Second, fix areas where negative experiences are common. Because a single negative experience has four to five times greater relative impact than a positive one, companies should focus on reducing poor customer experiences, especially in those areas in which customers come into contact with the organization most often. For instance, training frontline service representatives to identify and address specific customer issues through role playing and script guidelines will go a long way toward engendering deeper customer trust.Finally, do it now. Our research indicates that since 2009, customers are valuing an “average” experience less and have even less patience for variability in delivery. In addition, companies that experience inconsistency challenges often expend unnecessary resources without actually improving the customer journey. Making additional investments to improve the customer experience without tightening the consistency of experience is just throwing good money after bad.
Looking on the bright side is easier than ever with Bobbi Brown's illuminating finishing powder ($52; bobbibrowncosmetics.com). The faint hints of shimmer give skin a dewy sheen, and we love how the multiple tones instantly light up sallow winter complexions.
InStyle shares some high quality products for the nude makeup look of Spring and Summer. View the slideshow by clicking on the link or pic above. #BeautyTrends
Between her engagement to Ashton Kutcher and her new Jim Beam duties, it's been a HUGE couple of weeks for Mila Kunis. And now we've got more news! The new trailer for Jupiter Ascending just dropped, and the futuristic film (which co-stars Channing Tatum) looks pretty damn awesome. Bonus: Kunis has a British accent and Tatum has bleach-blonde eyebrows. Intrigued? Watch it below. (Collider)Madewell and Superga teamed up on a collab of ultra-luxe leather sneakers. Even better, you can buy them online right now! Get a first look in the gallery. (SheFinds) Here's how you can watch the Oscars online this Sunday. (USA Today)Since seeing her on American Horror Story clearly isn't enough, we're so pumped to hear that Taissa Farmiga has landed yet another thriller. This time, she's costarring alongside Malin Ackerman in the meta-horror flick Final Girls. Dubbed "a cross between Back to the Future and Friday the 13th," the movie starts shooting in April. Can't wait! (Variety) Working on a Wes Anderson movie sounds a lot like going to a (really glamorous) summer camp. According to The Grand Budapest Hotel's Ralph Fiennes, "There are no trailers for individual actors. We all live in the same hotel, eat dinner together every night, get in costume in our rooms and just go downstairs for hair and makeup." (WSJ) What's Zosia Mamet's secret to talking so fast on Girls? "It was something we worked on from the beginning of episode one," the actress explained. "She [Shoshanna] didnâ€™t start out speaking that fast but it just seemed to get faster and faster. You kind of train yourself to do it." (UK Metro)
Looks like a fun movie.
If there was ever a time for Matthew McConaughey to release a commemorative product line, it is now, less than 48 hours after his Academy Award win. As such, the actor has decided to premiere several T-shirts to immortalize his catchphrase, “Alright, alright, alright”—which also happen to have been the first three words the actor ever spoke on film, in Dazed and Confused. (And this awards season, they were also the first words spoken in nearly every acceptance speech he gave.)The T-shirts will appear as part of McConaughey’s line of “journey-gear,” dubbed Just Keep Livin and currently sold in Dillard’s department stores. Last February, when McConaughey debuted the men’s sportswear line, he explained that the clothing items were conceived as the kind that would be appropriate anywhere “from the jungle to the opera.” He further explained, “I like to be able to wear something that is appropriate for wherever the day takes me: to work, on a hike, and then out to dinner. I like to take the formality out of the day’s schedule and be ready for any off-road detour.”Ten percent of proceeds from the clothing line go to McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin nonprofit, which helps kids “transform into healthy adults by teaching the importance of decision-making, health, education, and active livin.” The nonprofit was started as a tribute to McConaughey’s late father, whom the actor paid homage to again during his Oscar speech, saying, “To my father who, I know he’s up there right now with a big pot of gumbo. He’s got a lemon-meringue pie over there. He’s probably in his underwear. And he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite and he’s dancing right now.”The T-shirts will be available in gray and white, and E! has the first photos of them here. It is unclear when they will be available for purchase.-- http://www.eonline.com/news/517357/matthew-mcconaughey-launches-alright-alright-alright-slogan-t-shirts-from-his-own-line-get-them-now
Twerk your fun and goofy product line.
When Ellen took to a captive live TV audience of millions last night, took a “selfie” with 11 of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities, and put out a call to become the most tweeted tweet ever, not surprisingly, the world listened. The tweet, which at time of writing has more than 2.6 million retweets, (more than 3 times the previous record, Barack Obama’s first tweet after being re-elected for his second term)When Ellen took to a captive live TV audience of millions last night, took a “selfie” with 11 of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities, and put out a call to become the most tweeted tweet ever, not surprisingly, the world listened. The tweet, which at time of writing has more than 2.6 million retweets, (more than 3 times the previous record, Barack Obama’s first tweet after being re-elected for his second term)But why did this work? How did it “beat” agency newsrooms filled with thousands of social media professionals, paid millions of dollars to create the next “Oreo cookie” or “Pharrell’s Hat”? And what does it really mean for the future of social media marketing?Far be it from me to take a pedestal spot and claim I know all and see all, and speak for everyone, I did want to offer a few observations in convenient list format. So, here we go.1. The tweet represented the end an era of social media marketing.It represented the end to a lot of thinking about what’s truly possible in social media marketing by setting the bar so high for future content that it is literally impossible for anyone else to catch up. Previous “branded viral tweet” stalwart, “You can dunk in the dark” produced by Oreo and 360i and the arguable inventor of the “real-time marketing” era of social media got about 15,000 retweets, or 1/173rd the total of the Ellen tweet. The problem is that every brand now wants success, because it is indeed “possible”. Few realize the amount of work, timing, and, well, money that went into making this one iconic moment (and I’m sure we’ll read about that exact effort in the trade press in the next few days). It now either requires brands to level set with their strategy to something more realistic, or open up and pour out their pocket books to emulate the same success.2. The tweet was about the photo, and not the brand.While, to the more trained eye, it was pretty obvious that Ellen was taking the selfie on a Samsung, well, thing (I’m still not sure which device it was, and I *own* a Galaxy S4) it wasn’t obvious in the photo that it was a Samsung device. Why does this matter? Because people don’t typically like to share blatant advertising. The creative itself, is the non threatening shot of a group of celebrities that most people like or admire at least one of, in a moment that is at once both unexpected and unique. It’s no less harmless to the average user than any other photo. And this is a big reason why it spread more quickly. No “catch”. No “gotchas”. No public shaming for most who shared this photo. And as Kasey Scala pointed out, most people probably don’t even care that it was Samsung. Samsung’s agency left it to the trade press to figure out their involvement, well, in addition to a little “humblebragging”:3. The tweet was sent to an already huge Twitter audience that just grew bigger as the buzz did.Ellen started the night with more than 25 million Twitter followers already, putting her in the top 15 worldwide anyway. This ensures that anything that plays to her audience would have done decently well, regardless of the circumstances. Amazingly, her account grew 1.5 million followers (hat tip to Eli Langer for that stat) in the day of and after the Oscars telecast giving her an even bigger audience to work with again.4. Ellen has an audience that appeals to a broad demographic.Twitter has had trouble with growing, and reaching a mainstream audience, which has become more obvious since Twitter’s IPO last year. But in terms of audience that Twitter wants to reach and grow to, there’s really no better way to introduce Twitter to than to do it with Ellen DeGeneres, who can be an excellent guide to continually explain the product and how it works during her show. This education, of course, starts with getting people started with a simple example — retweeting and sharing a photo of celebrities that they love.5. The call to action was simple but still required TV to execute the moment.As many folks in digital like to say, TV is over. But it’s not. TV is still remarkably big. The key with execution is recognizing that a live, captive audience really only exists for in two primary cases:The inventory for these moments is now limited, as we live in a DVR and instant streaming society. The Oscars telecast represents as least as much if not more of a general audience than the Super Bowl (and considerably cheaper to buy as well.). But Samsung likely had to buy advertising on the Twitter end as well (imagine launching a server-crippling campaign on national TV without their support? Not likely). This is where the innovation is, and likely a point that will sit in Twitter sales pitches for the rest of time. Twitter makes engagement from live TV truly possible at amazing scale.The key question, of course, is whether or not Samsung’s investment in the greatest “selfie” ever taken results in additional purchases of Samsung products. Or does it even matter? That’s up to them to decide.Either way Samsung’s integration has clearly created a new case study in social media marketing. But, it’s just a matter of time before the next major brands tries to capture lightning in a bottle again.
If you are going to do a stunt make sure there is a payoff. In this case a photo. It is simple and brilliant. It wasn’t about the device. Most people didn't know the pic was taken with a Samsung phone but what does it matter? Because people don’t typically like to share blatant advertising.
The creative aspect of this promo was brilliant. It was a non threatening shot of a group of celebrities that were enjoying the moment and truly relaxed. Ellen knows how to have fun, she's trustworthy and she's real. I didn’t watch the show but I paid attention to the #SamsungSelfie. The old, boring award show was suddenly interesting to me and relevant.
In case you hadn't heard, Samsung's newest phone is coming. At the Oscars, the Galaxy S5 just got a huge shot of publicity, both in a 30-second ad
More details about this interesting sponsorship. #SamsungSelfie
Miami is becoming Wall Street south and there are lot of great reasons why.
Miami is attracting the LeBron James of Wall Street, the Dwyane Wade of Greenwich equity, and the Chris Bosh of Boston — financial titans who are relocating to pay less in taxes and maintain a luxury lifestyle with a glittering social scene. It's already the 2nd most popular financial hub in the country after NYC, and The Miami Downtown Development Authority is doing everything it can to make itself attractive to bankers through an initiative called the DWNTWN campaign.Lloyd Blankfein and Leon Black are rumored to have bought Miami condos recently, and the latest hotshot to move his business there is Mark Spitznagel, founder of hedge fund Universa Investments.“Florida’s business-friendly policies ... offer the perfect environment for us as we expand,” said Spitznagel. “I would expect to see more firms like Universa voting with their feet and relocating to a more hospitable business and tax environment, especially as many local governments are trying to tighten their grip on businesses.”The nightlife and beaches don't hurt either.Miami is a financial gateway to the Americas.While New York remains the undisputed center of the hedge-fund universe, there are approximately 70 hedge and private equity funds now headquartered in Florida.Everest Capital, which manages an estimated $2.3 billion, is headquartered in Miami along with private-equity companies like Trivest and HIG Capital.And with the growing Latino market, setting up shop in Miami means capitalizing on a growing Latin American client base.Lower taxes mean more cash in your pocket for what matters.In Florida, there are no individual income taxes, no estate taxes and no capital gains taxes.So if you think about it, a hedge fund manager reporting $1 million in income can expect to pay only the federal government, whereas his counterparts living in New York City and Connecticut will fork over an extra $104,300 and $67,000 respectively.Like taking advantage of Miami's many luxury shops.Leading the nation in luxury car sales, Miami is an epicenter for extravagent and exotic cars.Almost 14% of all cars sold in Florida are from luxury brands compared to 11% in New York.Even more interesting, the 2013 median household income in Florida is less than New York, at $42,751 and $60,663 respectively . . .
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/miami-is-the-new-manhattan-2014-2?op=1#ixzz2uwgYiQkw
What's not to love? I spent a summer working for a global investment bank in downtown Miami and surrounding areas. No complaints. Gorgeous town! Smart, attractive people. Yummy food. Best coffee ever.
How much is the weather to blame for recent soft U.S. economic data? While the weather is certainly responsible for some, or perhaps even most, of the recent slowdown, it’s not the whole story, writes Russ.
Economist say blaming the weather is poor excuse for poor performance.
The sunny Pharrell Williams, one of the most transformative music figures of the last year, is back with “G I R L,” his second album as a solo performer.
It can probably all be explained by the hat, the indelible success of Pharrell Williams.The hat, of course, is the signature Vivienne Westwood mountain hat that he wore to the Grammys in January. Sitting atop his head as if it were pasted on with adhesive, the hat — part cowboy, part park ranger — added several inches to his height and several months to his cultural relevance. With one small stroke — almost an afterthought, given that he’d bought the hat several years before — Mr. Williams managed to redraw himself completely. That night, he was a performer, a winner several times over, including for producer of the year, and also a very slick, gentle disruption.But that is Mr. Williams in a nutshell: taking an old idea, something that’s been in currency for quite some time, and, with a touch of panache and a willingness to look slightly out of place, make it seem utterly new. He makes the familiar seem idiosyncratic.Now 40, Mr. Williams has been producing and writing songs for over two decades, first a force in hip-hop and R&B, and later in pop. After a brief lull out of the spotlight, he’s been one of the most transformative music figures of the last year, with his hands on two of 2013’s biggest singles, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”And now there’s “G I R L” (Columbia), his second album as a solo performer. It’s intensely catchy and harmlessly empty, and succeeds largely because of Mr. Williams’s bravery at standing firm on territory no one else is trying to claim.The sunny “G I R L” — which Mr. Williams wrote, produced and sung almost in its entirety — reaches back to the utopian black pop of the ’70s and early ’80s, full of soft funk and cushy soul. It’s an overwhelmingly positive album, cheery in mood and instrumentation, as if Mr. Williams knows something the rest of us do not.Take “Happy,” which first appeared on the soundtrack of “Despicable Me 2” and which is nominated for best original song at the Oscars on Sunday, at which Mr. Williams will also perform. The song is unrelentingly bright, like a peek of unfiltered sun between clouds on an overcast day. “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof,” Mr. Williams sings. “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”Were you so inclined — and certainly you are not — you could watch the 24-hour video for the song, with guest appearances from Jamie Foxx, Jimmy Kimmel and the rap collective Odd Future, among others. Again, this is 24 literal hours of happiness, punishment-level glee.And yet “Happy,” which is out of lock step with almost the whole of pop music, reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mr. Williams may be the most prominent pop music figure to have identified a bubbling shift away from cynicism in youth culture, or he may be the first person to make adult-contemporary pop that actually sounds contemporary.Either way, he manages to tap into broad pleasures while coming off like a minimalist or an aesthete. There are moments of musical ostentation on “G I R L,” but they are few. Instead, Mr. Williams delivers a gut check of pared-down R&B and disco with almost military rigor. “Lost Queen” is among the highlights — a virtual lullaby, with nods to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Dance-floor strings pulse vibrantly through “Gust of Wind,” “Gush” and “Marilyn Monroe.” “I Know Who You Are” has the faintest contour of lovers-rock reggae, with Alicia Keys singing dully about empowerment. (In fairness, Ms. Keys’s voice was not built for subtlety.) “Brand New,” with its wanton Jackson 5 horn homage, shows that Mr. Williams hasn’t been too troubled by the lawsuit filed by the heirs of Marvin Gaye, who alleged that “Blurred Lines” was too derivative of Mr. Gaye’s work without proper remuneration. Justin Timberlake sings on this song, and Mr. Williams manages to de-emphasize him, turning an unfair vocal fight into a clear victory for Mr. Williams.None of the ideas on these songs are original, but they are for the most part out of fashion, and therefore Mr. Williams’s boldness and facility with them feels refreshing. The album is a light massage, fingertips gently brushing your back, a reminder of deeper and more nuanced pleasure.Mr. Williams has always been a believer in sketches. Most of the genre-shifting beats he made as half of the Neptunes (alongside Chad Hugo) — Clipse’s “Grindin’,” Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and so many more — were mere outlines, emphatic in their simplicity. Mr. Williams is an expert at pointing a listener in a direction, then stepping out of the way, confident that the rest of the path is clear.In his music and his public presentation, Mr. Williams glows with an incandescent calm that’s part naïve, part smug — where he is is the only place he can be — and exactly where everyone else should be.The most vital comparison point for “G I R L” may be its opposite, the other extreme black pop album of the last year, Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” a stern album through and through. “G I R L” is in many ways the anti-“Yeezus” (though both albums have a dirty streak). Mr. Williams and Mr. West have grown up in parallel, though Mr. Williams’s ability to transform pop predates Mr. West’s.While Mr. Williams helped set the table for Mr. West’s avant-gardeness, he has never craved it for himself. Instead, he’s satisfied with being contemporary pop’s great reconciler. He has worked with Britney Spears, Mystikal and Hans Zimmer. He was a spirit guide for Miley Cyrus during her recent transition from country-inclined post-Disney upstart to salacious pop phenom. Mr. Williams produced a pair of songs on her album “Bangerz” (RCA), and she returns the favor here with guest vocals on “Come Get It Bae.”As a performer, Mr. Williams is a true chameleon, but he has no natural home. He’s a tremendous accent piece, but can you build a room around him? He has a neutral, almost ahistoric voice. He’s not a powerful singer — so many times on this album, his vocals are thickened, bolstered with harmonies, and so on. His tone is unmistakable, but his force is on loan. And there’s nothing gnomic about his lyrics — coming from almost anyone else, they’d be pilloried for excess simplicity. Plenty of times on this album, he sings lines that are vexing: “ ‘Duck Dynasty’ is cool and all/ But they got nothing on the female’s call,” on “Hunter.” On “Marilyn Monroe,” he sings lyrics that sound like Mad Libs: “We cannot help who/We’re attracted to/So let’s all dance and elevate each other.”Instead, where Mr. Williams excels is in pacing and rhythm, and finding pockets of delivery that feel intuitive, or at least lined so deeply with historical memory that they’re instantly familiar and comforting. He sings in a percussive manner, full of vocal stabs, and his voice congeals easily into a sweet coo, precise and seemingly effortless.Mr. Williams has released one other solo album — “In My Mind” (Star Trak/Interscope), in 2006. This was a different Pharrell — mostly a rapper, a wry braggart, bawdy and thrilled to get away with it. He hadn’t yet transcended category.But Mr. Williams has shifted the culture in a fashion similar to “G I R L” once before. As the Neptunes were reaching their commercial peak as pop and hip-hop producers, they chose to spend that clout by effectively reformatting (with the addition of a vocalist) into a rock band, N.E.R.D. The debut N.E.R.D. album, “In SearchOf ...” (Virgin), originally released in 2001, was a brilliant hodgepodge of rock, soul, electro, hip-hop and more, the tablet on which Mr. Williams laid out his polyglot vision. It had no clear precursor, and no clear peers. And though it wasn’t a breakthrough commercial success, it’s been a quiet influence in the years since. Like “G I R L,” and like that hat, that, too, was something dug out from the back of the closet, a backward look that turned out to be the way forward.
Love that "Happy" song!
Ely Kahn has spent more than a decade working in the national security world, including stints at the Transportation Safety Administration, Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office of the President, where he was director of cybersecurity. In 2012, he joined up with a team of former National Security Agency engineers to create Sqrrl, a database company based on open-source Accumulo technology they created within the spy agency. Kahn came on the Structure Show podcast this week to talk about what the technology is really capable of, who’s using it and what’s in store when it comes to national security and technology.Here are some highlights of an insightful interview that covers everything from the importance of baking security into Hadoop-based technologies (like Accumulo) to impending attacks on critical infrastructure. However, anyone interested in the whole story of how Accumulo works and how advanced analytic techniques can improve cybersecurity will want to hear the whole thing. They might also want to attend our Structure Data conference on March 19 and 20, where Booz Allen Hamilton’s Peter Guerra will be discussing the state of the art in using big data to combat cyber threats.PRISM? Yeah, it’s that database“Accumulo is at the centerpiece of NSA’s enterprise architecture. Most of NSA’s major analytical applications run on Accumulo,” Kahn said. “I won’t go in and state specifically each one, because I think that gets me into a slippery slope, but most of the ones that people have been reading about, those have a pretty good shot of having an Accumulo backend.”Not only is it the centerpiece, but Accumulo might be just as capable as NSA critics assume it is. While it’s easy enough technologically to identify questionable behavior and target that, or to examine the networks of known suspects, the NSA has bigger ideas around what Kahn calls “patterns of life analysis”: “This really boils down to anomaly detection, which is a big focus for us. How do you establish a pattern of what’s normal and then detect outliers from that baseline of normalcy? That can cross truly a huge set of use cases…. A lot of what we’re doing is around graph analytics now, and building huge, massive distributed graphs of data sets — building out what a normal graph of data will look like around a particular use case, and then looking for deviations from that normal pattern of behavior over time.”For more on Accumulo and the NSA’s graph-analysis capabilities, check out our coverage from June, when the Edward Snowden story was first developing: Here’s how the NSA analyzes all the call data: http://gigaom.com/2013/06/06/heres-how-the-nsa-analyzes-all-that-call-data/
Under the cover’s of the NSA’s big data effort: http://gigaom.com/2013/06/07/under-the-covers-of-the-nsas-big-data-effort/The whole Defense Department is getting in on the actWhat works for the NSA will work across the entire Department of Defense, it hopes. Accumulo was part of an NSA mission to build a utility cloud computing and data infrastructure that could aggregate its resources agency-wide, and the Defense Department now wants to bring all of its data — from drone footage down to medical data — into a single analyzable system.“There’s a major effort underway called the Joint Information Environment to really develop utility cloud and data cloud architectures across the entire Department of Defense for a truly massive set of use cases, ranging from cybersecurity to battlefield intelligence to even medical use cases,” Kahn explained.Companies might not like the NSA, but they respect its tech“Regardless of what people feel from a political perspective about NSA, I think people recognize that NSA is a leader in these big data technologies and a leader in security. And so in that sense, I’d say it’s a mark of approval having NSA legacy,” Kahn said in a response to a question about whether Sqrrl’s NSA roots have been a blessing or a curse. “Of course, I also go to conferences and I have conversations with folks from Pandora or Facebook or consumer web app-type things, and folks at the ground level may have some questions about our history, but I think the decision makers see it as a good thing.”How much do decision makers like the security aspects Sqrrl is pushing? “We’re installed in three of the Fortune 20 companies, five of the Fortune 50, and then dozens of others,” Kahn said. He later added, in reference to increased Accumulo support by Hadoop vendors Cloudera and Hortonworks, “I think what some of the big Hadoop vendors are seeing is that if they want to play in government, they need to support Accumulo.”The state of cybersecurity: Scary as hell, but getting betterFirst, the good news, which has just come to fruition over the past few weeks: “Via executive order…there has been a major effort by both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute for Standards and Technology to create a cybersecurity framework that can be utilized to raise that bar, at least initially, on a voluntary basis. So really for the first time now, there is a document that people can go to that says ‘here are the minimum standards that everyone should be utilizing in these critical infrastructure sectors.’ It may sound simple, but for an area as complex as cybersecurity, this is a major step forward.”However, Kahn added, a “major step forward” is far from perfection: “[M]inimum adherence to a baseline is not sufficient.”And, he noted, “There have been some pretty scary reports about foreign nations probing our electric grid that have been reported in the New York Times but, yes, nothing disastrous has happened yet. Personally, I think that’s probably a matter of time, but fingers crossed.”
Insightful look at data strategy and tech within the DOD.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Singer Courtney Love hadn't been born and tweeting was reserved for birds when The New York Times won a landmark libel case at the Supreme Court in 1964.But when a California jury decided recently that Love shouldn't have to pay $8 million over a troublesome tweet about her former lawyer, she became just the latest person to lean on New York Times v. Sullivan, a case decided 50 years ago Sunday, and the cases that followed and expanded it.The Sullivan case, as it is known among lawyers, stemmed from Alabama officials' efforts to hamper the newspaper's coverage of civil rights protests in the South. The decision made it hard for public officials to win lawsuits and hefty money awards over published false statements that damaged their reputations.In the decades since, the justices have extended the decision, making it tough for celebrities, politicians and other public figures to win libel suits.Newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations were the primary means of publishing when the Sullivan case was decided. Today, the case applies equally to new media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Because of the ease of publishing online, more people may claim the protections granted by the decision and others that followed."It seems reasonably clear that the protections afforded by Sullivan and the cases that came after it apply to both media and non-media speakers," said Lee Levine, a First Amendment lawyer who co-wrote a recent book on the case."Technology has afforded everyone — and not just people who can afford to buy a printing press or own a broadcast station — the ability to disseminate information to the world. That has increased the opportunities for those people to publish defamatory statements to a very broad audience," Levine said.Levine said it's unclear whether that opportunity will lead to more libel suits, cases brought over the publication of false information that injures someone's reputation. More ways to communicate could mean more suits, or there could be fewer because people may discount what they read online, and it may not be worth suing individuals who don't have corporations' wealth.Or there may be other explanations."Today one of the reasons I think we don't have as many libel cases is not just because the Sullivan rule is so widely accepted by everyone, but in a digital world there's so much greater opportunity for response," said Bruce W. Sanford, a Washington-based First Amendment lawyer.If one person says something untrue online, the person being spoken about has many more avenues to reply, agreed David Ardia, a University of North Carolina law professor and the co-director of the school's Center for Media Law and Policy. In the 1960s, the only way to respond to libel and "reach an audience was to get into the same newspaper, and that's no longer the case," he said, adding that the "megaphone" of the Internet is available to everyone.The Internet was a long way off when the Sullivan case began in 1960. It started when the Times published a civil rights group's full-page ad, with the title "Heed Their Rising Voices," that described the brutal treatment of civil rights demonstrators in the South.Egged on by a local newspaper editorial urging all Alabamians to sue, a Montgomery, Ala., city official named L.B. Sullivan claimed his reputation had been sullied by the ad's errors, though neither he nor any other official was named in it. Under state law preceding the Supreme Court decision, Sullivan won a judgment of $500,000, and the Times faced millions more in other suits.The legal peril prompted the Times to pull all its reporters out of Alabama at a time of keen news interest in the civil rights movement.Sullivan ultimately lost at the Supreme Court. Justice William Brennan, writing for a unanimous court, acknowledged that published errors can harm a person's reputation. But Brennan, himself ambivalent about reporters even as he emerged as a defender of press freedoms, and his colleagues also decided that it should be tough for public officials to win libel suits.False statements are an inevitable part of the free debate that is fundamental to the American system of government and must be protected, Brennan wrote. The only way to win: Show that the false statement was made knowingly or with "reckless disregard for the truth." The decision freed news organizations to write about the civil rights movement without fearing lawsuits.The Sullivan decision and others that followed haven't been without criticism, however, including some from three justices now on the Supreme Court.At her high court confirmation hearing in 2010, Elena Kagan said the principle laid out in the case is vital to free speech, but she noted that it allows for serious harm to a person's reputation without any compensation or remedy.Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 1985 memo as a White House lawyer that he favored making it easier for public figures to win in libel cases, while limiting the financial threat to the losing side.Justice Antonin Scalia has been quoted as saying he would probably vote to reverse the decision if given the chance.Still, scholars including Robert Sack, a federal judge who specialized in media law while in private practice, say the Sullivan decision has become so much part of the law that it's hard to see it being overturned.That means anyone finding themselves in singer Love's situation may turn to the decision. In Love's case, the singer tweeted about a former lawyer, writing that the woman had been "bought off" in a suit involving the estate of Love's late husband, musician Kurt Cobain. The lawyer, Rhonda Holmes, sued for $8 million, claiming the tweet was false and had hurt her reputation.But Holmes ran up against the Sullivan rule. A jury found in January that though Love published a false statement, she didn't know it was false.Holmes' lawyer, Mitchell Langberg, said he knew it would be a difficult case. Still, he advised Twitter users: "Careful what you tweet."___Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman contributed to this report.
Very interesting applications in new media libel cases.
Do the term "beauty sleep" justice by following these skin and hair tips from dermatologists.
You might think you're off the clock when it comes to your beauty routine while you sleep, but your slumber hours play an important role in how you look. "Beauty sleep is essential for repairing the skin," says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York City dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. If you want your skin and hair to look younger and healthier during the day, it's time to adopt these nighttime habits.1. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase.These fibers will keep you from waking up with a bird's nest on top of your head, and their texture softens wrinkles and fine lines because it causes less friction between your skin and the pillowcase. "Silk is easier on hair — it helps avoid tangles and breakage," says Jesleen Ahluwalia, M.D., a physician from Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. "It's also better for the skin because the material glides easily and prevents creasing and wrinkles."2. Sleep on your back.Speaking of wrinkles, sleeping on your back can help nip them in the bud before they even start to form. "Repeated pressure on the skin, causing creasing, can eventually lead to set-in lines," says Ahluwalia. "A person who sleeps on one side may even have more set-in wrinkles on that particular side compared to the other.” If you tend to have puffy eyes in the morning, try sleeping with an extra pillow. "When you lie flat, fluid can gather around your eyes," Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a dermatologist in Washington, D.C., told Good Housekeeping.3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.For a fresh, dewy look in the morning, make sure to use an anti-aging night cream that contains hyaluronic acid. It attracts water into the skin, which helps smooth wrinkles, Francesca Fusco, M.D., a New York City dermatologist, told Good Housekeeping. Dr. Jaliman recommends always applying lip balm before sleep, moisturizing your eyelashes with a lash conditioner, and never skipping your nightly beauty cream or serum. These products work better during the "repair cycle of the skin," which is at night, she says.4. Change your pillowcases often."Wash your pillowcases frequently, so you’re not resting your lovely skin on top of bacteria nests for eight hours a night," advises Chicago makeup artist Alle Connell. Dr. Ahluwalia says you should not only change your pillowcases twice a week, but flip your pillows over on days you're not changing them.5. Sleep with a humidifier on.You probably already know that drinking tons of water is good for your skin — but since you can't do that in your sleep (you'd have to be really talented), try using a humidifier to keep yourself hydrated at night. This is especially helpful during the winter, when your skin tends to be much drier.6. Stay away from super-salty foods and booze around bedtime."When you consume a lot of alcohol, your body becomes dehydrated," says Dr. Fusco. "To compensate, it starts collecting natural fluids around the eyes, among other places." A similar thing happens with salt, leading to that dreaded puffy-eye look. If you indulged in some chips and a glass of Chardonnay anyway, try the above extra-pillow trick to help drain fluids.7. Wear your hair up — but not in a super-tight bun.It's a good idea to keep your hair out of your face while you're sleeping to keep its natural oils from wreaking havoc on your complexion. But avoid pulling it into a really tight bun or ponytail because that can cause hair breakage, especially around the hairline. Connell suggests wrapping it up in a scarf (silk would be ideal), while Dr. Ahluwalia says that high, loose ponytail is a great way to keep your most recent blowout intact.8. Go to bed with a clean face."So many people sleep with their makeup on and wonder why they wake up with funky eye gunk in the morning," Emily Kate Warren, a New York City makeup artist, told Good Housekeeping. "That's why." Aside from funky eye gunk, not taking off your makeup before sleep causes pore-clogging, which can lead to breakouts.Via GoodHousekeeping.com
We’re continuing to learn new details about how the American government is collecting bulk records of citizens’ communications -- from demanding that a telephone company hand over the daily records of “all telephone calls in its systems,” to collecting an unknown number of emails, instant messages and Facebook messages.It’s not clear how much information about ordinary people’s conversations the National Security Agency has gathered. But we do know there’s a thriving public market for data on individual Americans -- especially data about the things we buy and might want to buy.Consumer data companies scoop up large amounts of consumer information about people around the world and sell it, providing marketers details about whether you're pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you drive. But many people still don't know data brokers exist.Regulators and some in Congress have been taking a closer look at this industry, and are beginning to push the companies to give consumers more information and control over what happens to their data. The prominent data broker Acxiom recently launched aboutthedata.com, a site that allows you to review some of the information the company has connected to your name -- and, potentially, edit and update it as well.Here's a look (originally published in March) at what we know about the consumer data industry.How much do these companies know about individual people?They start with the basics, like names, addresses and contact information, and add on demographics, like age, race, occupation and "education level," according to consumer data firm Acxiom's overview of its various categories.But that's just the beginning: The companies collect lists of people experiencing "life-event triggers" like getting married, buying a home, sending a kid to college — or even getting divorced.Credit reporting giant Experian has a separate marketing services division, which sells lists of "names of expectant parents and families with newborns" that are "updated weekly."The companies also collect data about your hobbies and many of the purchases you make. Want to buy a list of people who read romance novels? Epsilon can sell you that, as well as a list of people who donate to international aid charities.A subsidiary of credit reporting company Equifax even collects detailed salary and paystub information for roughly 38 percent of employed Americans, as NBC news reported. As part of handling employee verification requests, the company gets the information directly from employers.Equifax said in a statement that the information is only sold to customers "who have been verified through a detailed credentialing process." It added that if a mortgage company or other lender wants to access information about your salary, they must obtain your permission to do so.Of course, data companies typically don't have all of this information on any one person. As Acxiom notes in its overview, "No individual record ever contains all the possible data." And some of the data these companies sell is really just a guess about your background or preferences, based on the characteristics of your neighborhood, or other people in a similar age or demographic group.Where are they getting all this info?The stores where you shop sell it to them.Datalogix, for instance, which collects information from store loyalty cards, says it has information on more than $1 trillion in consumer spending "across 1400+ leading brands." It doesn't say which ones. (Datalogix did not respond to our requests for comment.)Data companies usually refuse to say exactly what companies sell them information, citing competitive reasons. And retailers also don't make it easy for you to find out whether they're selling your information.But thanks to California's "Shine the Light" law, researchers at U.C. Berkeley were able to get a small glimpse of how companies sell or share your data. The study recruited volunteers to ask more than 80 companies how the volunteers' information was being shared.Only two companies actually responded with details about how volunteers' information had been shared. Upscale furniture store Restoration Hardware said that it had sent "your name, address and what you purchased" to seven other companies, including a data "cooperative" that allows retailers to pool data about customer transactions, and another company that later became part of Datalogix. (Restoration Hardware hasn't responded to our request for comment.)Walt Disney also responded and described sharing even more information: not just a person's name and address and what they purchased, but their age, occupation, and the number, age and gender of their children. It listed companies that received data, among them companies owned by Disney, like ABC and ESPN, as well as others, including Honda, HarperCollins Publishing, Almay cosmetics, and yogurt company Dannon.But Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha said that Disney's letter, sent in 2007, "wasn't clear" about how the data was actually shared with different companies on the list. Outside companies like Honda only received personal information as part of a contest, sweepstakes, or other joint promotion that they had done with Disney, Mucha said. The data was shared "for the fulfillment of that contest prize, not for their own marketing purposes."Where else do data brokers get information about me?Government records and other publicly available information, including some sources that may surprise you. Your state Department of Motor Vehicles, for instance, may sell personal information — like your name, address, and the type of vehicles you own — to data companies, although only for certain permitted purposes, including identify verification.Public voting records, which include information about your party registration and how often you vote, can also be bought and sold for commercial purposes in some states.Are there limits to the kinds of data these companies can buy and sell?Yes, certain kinds of sensitive data are protected — but much of your information can be bought and sold without any input from you.Federal law protects the confidentiality of your medical records and your conversations with your doctor. There are also strict rules regarding the sale of information used to determine your credit-worthiness, or your eligibility for employment, insurance and housing. For instance, consumers have the right to view and correct their own credit reports, and potential employers have to ask for your consent before they buy a credit report about you.Other than certain kinds of protected data — including medical records and data used for credit reports — consumers have no legal right to control or even monitor how information about them is bought and sold. As the FTC notes, "There are no current laws requiring data brokers to maintain the privacy of consumer data unless they use that data for credit, employment, insurance, housing, or other similar purposes."So they don't sell information about my health?Actually, they do.Data companies can capture information about your "interests" in certain health conditions based on what you buy — or what you search for online. Datalogix has lists of people classified as "allergy sufferers" and "dieters." Acxiom sells data on whether an individual has an "online search propensity" for a certain "ailment or prescription."Consumer data is also beginning to be used to evaluate whether you're making healthy choices.One health insurance company recently bought data on more than three million people's consumer purchases in order to flag health-related actions, like purchasing plus-sized clothing, the Wall Street Journal reported. (The company bought purchasing information for current plan members, not as part of screening people for potential coverage.)Spokeswoman Michelle Douglas said that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina would use the data to target free programming offers to their customers.Douglas suggested that it might be more valuable for companies to use consumer data "to determine ways to help me improve my health" rather than "to buy my data to send me pre-paid credit card applications or catalogs full of stuff they want me to buy."Do companies collect information about my social media profiles and what I do online?Yes.As we highlighted last year, some data companies record — and then resell — all kinds of information you post online, including your screen names, website addresses, interests, hometown and professional history, and how many friends or followers you have.Acxiom said it collects information about which social media sites individual people use, and "whether they are a heavy or a light user," but that they do not collect information about "individual postings" or your "lists of friends."More traditional consumer data can also be connected with information about what you do online. Datalogix, the company that collects loyalty card data, has partnered with Facebook to track whether Facebook users who see ads for certain products actually end up buying them at local stores, as the Financial Times reported last year.Is there a way to find out exactly what these data companies know about me? (Updated 9/5/2013)Not really -- although that’s beginning to change.You have the right to review and correct your credit report. But with marketing data, there's often no way to know exactly what information is attached to your name — or whether it's accurate.Most companies offer, at best, a partial picture.In September, Acxiom debuted aboutthedata.com, which allows to you review and edit some of the company’s marketing data on you, by entering your name, address, birth date and the last four digits of your social security number.The Federal Trade Commission’s Julie Brill tweeted that “more data brokers should follow” Acxiom’s example. But the effort received mixed reviews from users, privacy advocates and government regulators, the New York Times reported.Previously, Acxiom only let customers review a smaller slice of the information the company sells about them, including criminal history, as New York Times reporter Natasha Singer described last year. When Singer requested and finally received her report in 2012, all it included was a record of her residential addresses.Other companies also offer some access. A spokeswoman for Epsilon said it allows consumers to review "high level information" about their data — like whether or not you’ve purchased "home furnishings" merchandise. (Requests to review this information cost $5 and can only be made by postal mail.)RapLeaf, a company that advertises that it has "real-time data" on 80 percent of U.S. email addresses, says it gives customers "total control over the data we have on you," and allows them to review and edit the categories it associates with them (like "estimated household income" and "Likely Political Contributor to Republicans").How do I know when someone has purchased data about me?Most of the time, you don't.When you're checking out at a store and a cashier asks you for your Zip code, the store isn't just getting that single piece of information. Acxiom and other data companies offer services that allow stores to use your Zip code and the name on your credit card to pinpoint your home address — without asking you for it directly.Is there any way to stop the companies from collecting and sharing information about me?Yes, but it would require a whole lot of work.Many data brokers offer consumers the chance to "opt out" of being included in their databases, or at least from receiving advertising enabled by that company. Rapleaf, for instance, has a "Permanent opt-out" that "deletes information associated with your email address from the Rapleaf database."But to actually opt-out effectively, you need to know about all the different data brokers and where to find their opt-outs. Most consumers, of course, don't have that information.In their privacy report last year, the FTC suggested that data brokers should create a centralized website that would make it easier for consumers to learn about the existence of these companies and their rights regarding the data they collect.How many people do these companies have information on?Basically everyone in the U.S. and many beyond it. Acxiom, recently profiled by the New York Times, says it has information on 500 million people worldwide, including "nearly every U.S. consumer."After the 9/11 attacks, CNN reported, Acxiom was able to locate 11 of the 19 hijackers in its database.How is all of this data actually used?Mostly to sell you stuff. Companies want to buy lists of people who might be interested in what they're selling — and also want to learn more about their current customers.They also sell their information for other purposes, including identity verification, fraud prevention and background checks.If new privacy laws are passed, will they include the right to see what data these companies have collected about me?Unlikely.In a report on privacy last year, the Federal Trade Commission recommended that Congress pass legislation "that would provide consumers with access to information about them held by a data broker." President Barack Obama has also proposed a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights that would give consumers the right to access and correct certain information about them.But this probably won't include access to marketing data, which the Federal Trade Commission considers less sensitive than data used for credit reports or identity verification.In terms of marketing data, "we think at the very least consumers should have access to the general categories of data the companies have about consumers," said Maneesha Mithal of the FTC's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.Data companies have also pushed back against the idea of opening up marketing profiles for individual consumers' inspection.Even if there were errors in your marketing data profile, "the worst thing that could happen is that you get an advertising offer that isn't relevant to you," said Rachel Thomas, the vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association."The fraud and security risks that you run by opening up those files is higher than any potential harm that could happen to the consumer," Thomas said.
Employee resistance is the most common reason executives cite for the failure of big organizational-change efforts.1 Winning over skeptical employees and convincing them of the need to change just isn’t possible through mass e-mails, PowerPoint presentations, or impassioned CEO mandates. Rather, companies need to develop strong change leaders employees know and respect—in other words, people with informal influence. But there’s one problem: finding them. How can company leaders identify those people beforehand to better harness their energy, creativity, and goodwill—and thereby increase the odds of success?One way we’ve found is “snowball sampling,” a simple survey technique used originally by social scientists to study street gangs, drug users, and sex workers—hidden populations reluctant to participate in formal research. These brief surveys (two to three minutes) ask recipients to identify acquaintances who should also be asked to participate in the research. Thus, one name or group of names quickly snowballs into more, and trust is maintained, since referrals are made anonymously by acquaintances or peers rather than formal identification.2In business settings, the methodology is easily adapted to better understand the patterns and networks of influence that operate below the radar.3 Indeed, informal influencers exist in every organization, across industries, cultures, and geographies. They are, simply put, people other employees look to for input, advice, or ideas about what’s really happening in a company. They therefore have an outsized influence on what employees believe about the future, as well as on morale, how hard people work, and their willingness to support—or resist—change.Finding these employees is relatively easy using snowball sampling. Companies can construct simple, anonymous e-mail surveys to ask, for example: “Who do you go to for information when you have trouble at work?” or “Whose advice do you trust and respect?” In shop-floor and retail-store settings where workers don’t have ready access to e-mail, companies can use anonymous paper surveys. By asking employees to nominate three to five people (or more in very large organizations) who are also surveyed, executives can quickly identify a revealing set of influencers across a company. When the names of nominees start to be repeated—often, after only three to four rounds—the survey can end.The results are often surprising. For example, in our work using the methodology in the aerospace, financial-services, health-care, manufacturing, retailing, and trucking industries (as well as in public-sector settings), we’ve found that influencer patterns almost never follow the organizational chart. Informal influencers exist at all levels of a company and aren’t easily identified or predicted by role or tenure (although relatively few are senior company leaders, as might be expected given their formal influence).Moreover, we find that even when company leaders believe they know who the influencers will be, they are almost always wrong. At one large North American retailer, for instance, we compared a list of influencers that two store managers created before the survey with its actual results. Between them, the managers overlooked almost two-thirds of the influential employees their colleagues named; worse, both managers missed three of the top five influencers in their own stores. The retailer’s inability to recognize its influencers is no anomaly; we’ve observed a similar pattern in every other industry and geography we’ve studied.Armed with a better sense of how influence operates, senior executives can begin applying that knowledge in useful ways. For example, they can encourage influencers to help communicate necessary changes, convince skeptical employees of the need for change, or, best of all, do these things as active architects of the program. Indeed, the most powerful way to use hidden influencers is to bring them into such efforts in the earliest stages and to get their input and guidance on planning and direction—as well as help with execution. Changes made with the support of these influential employees are vastly more likely to succeed in the long run than changes delivered from on high.Consider the experiences of an aerospace company that used snowball sampling to jump-start an operational-change program across its factory network and of a large manufacturer that used this approach to support a major cultural-change initiative. A close look at their experiences suggests four principles useful for other organizations looking to tap into the power of hidden influencers.1. Think broad, not deep. The manufacturer started with a pilot effort to identify about two dozen influencers and later expanded it to include an additional 75 or so. The company sought influencers in a swath of regions, functions, and roles (including frontline ones). The diversity of opinion and experience not only helped provide energy and good ideas but also later proved important in communicating the changes, in role-modeling them across the company, and in combating skepticism.While there is no formula to determine how many influencers a company should include, the sample must be wide enough to pull in a diversity of roles and perspectives. For the aerospace company, this meant identifying 60 or so influencers working on different product lines and in different roles (including middle managers) on the shop floor. The goal is finding enough people with influence in enough roles to get a high degree of connectivity across the company through a relatively small number of connections (out of the total number possible). Some roles may prove to be particularly important: a retailer we studied, for example, found that its cashiers were generally well connected—most likely because they regularly interacted with colleagues in many departments. Cashiers who were influencers had considerable sway in the organization.2. Trust, but verify. To build trust, participants at the manufacturer received letters of invitation explaining the program’s goals, why these employees had been nominated, and how the company wanted them to help. It took pains to make the initiative voluntary—an approach the aerospace company also used. Having influencers opt into change efforts builds trust and encourages high-quality results. Indeed, many influencers will be eager to help and view the experience as an honor worthy of their best efforts.But goodwill dissipates quickly if employees feel coerced. Before extending any invitations, the manufacturing company discreetly vetted all participants with Human Resources and local managers. Vetting the participants helps “screen in” influencers who are well regarded by both peers and superiors,4 while acknowledging the reality that not all influence is positive and not all influencers want change. Although “bad eggs” should be screened out of important program roles, they still merit attention—as valuable sources of insight about how to convert skeptics.3. Don’t dictate—cocreate. Both the aerospace company and the manufacturer engaged their influencers as thought partners in the change effort, not just as mouthpieces for change. That’s an important point because the influencers’ informal authority dwindles if they seem to be doing the bidding of management. The manufacturer, for example, flew the participants out to a central location, where they contributed to a multiday series of workshops. The aerospace company invited influencers from different product lines to meet regularly for a working lunch on the shop floor. In both cases, the participants were organized in teams addressing themes they helped identify (for example, shop-floor safety, incentives for employees to think more innovatively, and actions to make the company more customer focused). Because both efforts required sustained input from the participants, the meetings inspired and motivated them. As the programs gathered steam, many of these employees helped to spread feelings of empowerment in their usual roles as well.4. Connect the dots. To boost the odds of lasting change, the manufacturer created an online forum, supported by videoconferences, aimed at encouraging the influencers to meet and support one another periodically. In an effort to make these interactions as meaningful as possible, the company divided the influencers into smaller, volunteer-led groups focused on common themes. This approach not only helps to produce more tangible actions and outcomes but also makes it easier for the groups to connect with colleagues working on similar projects in other regions or business units. The participants’ sense of community, and of themselves as change leaders, grows as they share best practices, discuss new ideas, and address the inevitable challenges. The company’s early commitment to in-person gatherings has made subsequent interactions by e-mail, telephone, or videoconference far more meaningful. In general, creating opportunities for influencers to meet in person usually pays big dividends.Building on the themes identified by the manufacturer’s pilot group, the company’s full body of influencers is now implementing more than 50 culture-based initiatives. Some improvements are cross-cutting: for example, a new process to put employees’ creative ideas in front of managers for rapid review and, if warranted, deployment. Others are targeted at business-level improvements: for instance, a customer dashboard that’s meant to increase collaboration and has already dramatically improved sales. Thus far, several of the initiatives have led to promising increases in orders, market share, and margins. The aerospace company has implemented initiatives that helped to improve shop-floor safety, increase the number of on-time customer deliveries, and reduce plant inventory costs.While the programs at both companies are works in progress, these early success stories have highlighted specific activities and behavior that drive performance. They are thus helping the companies to further articulate and accelerate the expected changes. Employee-satisfaction scores have also improved sharply at both companies, in large part thanks to increased levels of collaboration and empowerment.
McKinsey on the drivers of organizational change with examples of activities and behaviors that drive performance. Employees enjoy working on initiatives that increase collaboration and empowerment.
Release Date: July 25, 2014 (3D/2D theaters and IMAX 3D) Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski Sc...
Download the new album LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/LLFD Thirty Seconds To Mars performing "Up In The Air" the short film by Bartho...
Most cinematic vids.
Good analysis on trust, which is more fluid than we think. DeSteno considers how to make better decisions and foster trust in ourselves for the betterment of society as a whole.
Very interesting talk. I like the idea of highlighting commonalities instead of looking for differences to heighten our sense of compassion and trust. At the same time, making better decisions to trust wisely.
Trust. It's what it all comes down to.You intuitively know this to be true, don't you? Trust is everything. Whenever I think about trust, I think about something that my dear friend, Jeffrey Gitomer, would often say in his public sales presentations: "All things being equal, people will do business with those that they know, like and trust. All things being unequal, people will do business with those that they know, like and trust." Trust is a topic that isn't approached or appreciated nearly enough in the business world, especially if you consider how important it is. But, what is trust and why is it such an important component of success? Thankfully, there are people like David DeSteno to help us understand and decode it. DeSteno is "a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, where he directs the Social Emotions Group. At the broadest level, his work examines the mechanisms of the mind that shape vice and virtue. Studying hypocrisy and compassion, pride and punishment, cheating and trust, his work continually reveals that human moral behavior is much more variable than most would predict."
Trust is everything. Personal and business relationships are dependent in it. It is often forgotten. No one has to do anything for you, even if it's their job. However, if you show you care and hold people accountable, you can influence and affect change in difficult situations. Those who take the time to develop and nurture relationships taking emotions into consideration, are more likely to inspire trust.
And yes, some have 'Wolf of Wall Street' quotes sewn into the lining.
Wall Street is not known for bold men’s fashion. Bankers can afford nice clothes, but there’s rarely anything especially daring floating in that sea of blue and grey suits. It’s a tricky business for stylish young men. They want to look good, but can’t stand out. That means they focus on small custom details, something that’s now easier to do thanks to changes in the fashion world. How the young men of Wall Street suit up gives a window into Wall Street’s peculiar clothes culture.The key rules of Wall Street fashion are simple: don’t stick out and don’t outdress the boss. Young bankers who dare to wear fancier suits and ties than their supervisors (or clients) will be called out at best, and risk wrecking their careers at worst. The same goes for Wall Street women who wear flashy heels or jewelry too soon. New recruits to finance often don’t realize this when they dress for their first day in the office.“This young guy came into work, the first week of work. He was wearing these suspenders, these loud suspenders. He thought he was Gordon Gekko. He had this belt buckle with the letter F on it. Belt buckles shouldn’t be...you’re not riding a bull,” says Raj Malhotra, a former Bank of America trader who left to do stand-up comedy as Raj Mahal. "You wanna look good but you don’t wanna be over the top."Wall Street’s fashion hierarchy has long stifled stylish young men. But that’s changing a bit. That doesn't mean guys are straying from the norm of blue and grey wool. They can’t. But they can send little coded messages with custom details, subtle touches that the fashion-conscious will notice, but aren’t too flashy as to make a man stick out in a bad way.Some of them turn to the custom tailor shop Alton Lane to do this. The New York showroom has the air of a mini-gentlemen’s club, with a young client in mind. There are big leather chairs, sports on a flat screen, and single malt scotch on offer.Staffers use iPads to walk clients through all the ways they can customize their suits, including touches that most people won’t notice, like adding a colorful lining or changing the thread color of the buttonhole. Some opt to stitch their names or initials above the inside pocket. Finance guys especially love to put other stuff there."We’ve had a couple quotes recently from 'The Wolf of Wall Street', which are great,” says Alton Lane operations director Bill Welch. "'Money never sleeps' is one that’s always been on there."Strokes like these are perfect for Wall Street employees, because they are subtle or even hidden, which means they can be tweaked and customized in the context of an otherwise conservative blue or charcoal suit. The details are barely noticeable, except to the sharp-eyed and style-sensitive. That’s ideal for a young banker who wants to express his style without putting himself at risk of getting ridiculed or sent home for being too flashy."Within the finance world, people tend to be pretty direct. They may use some words that are probably not appropriate for the radio," says Alton Lane CEO Colin Hunter. "You won’t be left guessing whether it’s appropriate or not. You’ll know very quickly."He and a co-founder started the business after careers in private equity and consulting, so they understand the unspoken Wall Street dress code, and its often blunt enforcement.The company is part of a new breed of suit shops. Custom suits traditionally cost thousands of dollars. Guys can spend that here, but Alton Lane also sells custom suits under $600, a price unheard of among old-school tailors.The company keeps costs down by running a lean business. Since clothes are made to order, there’s no need to buy a bunch of suits and risk them going unsold. Tailoring is done abroad, where labor is cheaper and smaller showrooms reduce real estate costs. The lower price puts custom suits in easy reach of a lot more young bankers.Custom clothes are also a draw because of a common problem on Wall Street: exploding elbows. Tailors marvel at how often energetic traders manage to tear holes in their elbows, chalking it up to the high-pressure culture on Wall Street."Guys in finance, I guess, for whatever reason are a little bit more aggressive,” explains Brendan O'Donnell, who works in risk management. “If you make, like, a sudden movement, or you get agitated about something, or you lose your temper, or you get excited, a quick movement could mean you’re gonna blow out an elbow."Frustrated after busting through ten pricey off-the-rack shirts, he started getting clothes made to order at Windsor Custom, another new tailor popular among young Wall Street. He hasn’t shredded an elbow since.He says the investment in custom suits with a bold lining also pays off at the bar after work."If you go in there and there’s ten guys with blue suits on that are off the rack ,and you’re that one guy with a perfectly tailored, funny-lining suit, it’s definitely a talking point with a lot of girls," he says.And that is next level Wall Street style: blending in enough not to the anger the boss, but adding a secret touch of flair where it matters.
Analysis of young Wall Street style.