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It's the Little Things that Really Matter

It's the Little Things that Really Matter | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Features and usability are make or break issues for websites and apps.

Today's focus on digital transformation misses a key point: The seemingly little things matter. How an app works, what features it offers, and how simple or difficult it is to initiate a service or pay for something speaks volumes.

No activity makes usability and functionality more apparent than international travel. Here's a rundown of some winners and losers from a recent vacation abroad.
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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
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Reasons You’re Not Thinking Clearly

You’re in the dark. The first step in changing any habit is recognizing that you have it. This is harder than it seems with clarity since it lies in that middle of what’s being communicated and what’s being received. I might think an idea is perfectly clear but fail to get it across to you. You, in turn, may think you understand something but don’t. Communication and repeating back your understanding is key.

You lack curiosity. “Why?” is the most frequent question children ask and reflects our innate desire to know. But as we grow up, our curiosity is drummed out. This is a shame. Curiosity pushes us to try things people say we can’t accomplish or to differentiate between two options. Fortunately, organizations are filled with people with dormant curiosity waiting to be sparked. With a bit of coaxing and the cultivation of a welcoming culture, they can reinvigorate this curiosity where questions are both encouraged and rewarded.

You think you know it all. Many leaders think they know, but they don’t, and they aren’t going to ask. Their hubris gets in the way and keeps them from seeing the full picture. Fortunately, mindsets are malleable. People can overcome their hubris and adopt a growth mindset with reflection, coaching, and some work on the self. They can choose to let go of their belief that they know everything and start asking more curiosity-driven questions of more people.
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The science behind why people buy 

The science behind why people buy  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Scratching your head over how to improve conversion and product sales? Christie Chew of Adobe outlines how science principles can be applied to improve the online shopping experience.
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8 Steps to Jumpstarting a Truth-telling Workplace Culture

Why? People don’t feel safe telling the truth because they don’t think it is smart or safe to do so. Many leaders believe that to be effective and successful, they need to be smarter than the next guy, fight for their area of the business, and not show vulnerability. This mentality creates a lack of trust, collaboration, and common ownership for a greater goal—and ultimately greatly slows down execution speed.
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Nicky Stephen's curator insight, January 10, 11:05 AM
Really good point well made.
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Blockchain’s weakest links

The reliability of ‘private’ blockchains
The term “blockchain” lacks a common definition. Many confuse blockchain—a decentralized, distributed-ledger technology—with cryptocurrencies or other accounting systems. But Bitcoin is one of some 1,600 digital currencies and tokens. It runs on a blockchain system, and users receive bitcoins as rewards for doing work on the system. This is the most mature application of blockchain, and the one with which many companies and investors are most familiar.
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Lead Innovators, Don’t Manage Innovation 

. Everyone seems to have a different definition of innovation. Be sure you are leading people who have the same understanding and objectives.

2. Managing innovation implies that the core competence of an innovative enterprise is their system or culture. While that is important, successful innovation comes from living, breathing humans who innovate or try to repeatedly despite big obstacles.

3. Managing is about optimizing the efficacy and efficiency or resources. Entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, some of whom are innovators, pursue opportunity with limited resources with the goal of creating user defined value through the deployment of innovation.

4. Leaderpreneurs are different than managers and have a different role. They provide vision, direction and inspiration.

5. Managing is about preserving or building the status quo. Innovating is about making the status quo obsolete.
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Innovation Isn’t About What You Know, But What You Don’t – Innovation Excellence

Innovation Isn’t About What You Know, But What You Don’t – Innovation Excellence | digitalNow | Scoop.it
If you went to an investor and said you wanted to start a business but did not have any idea about the technology, the customer or the competitive environment, you probably wouldn’t get very far. Nevertheless, that’s exactly how every business starts. You have some assumptions, many of which will be proven wrong and you will have to adapt.

One of my favorite stories that I came across while I was researching my book, Mapping Innovation, was that of Elance. It started out as a matchmaker between firms and freelancers. It failed. Then it pivoted to become a pioneer in vendor management software and had some success. It sold that business and went back to the original idea, but incorporated what it had learned about vendor management and hit upon a viable model.
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Impact Blindness

Impact Blindness: “Many organizations lack mechanisms to identify, measure, and manage the demands that initiatives place on the managers and employees who are expected to do the work.”
Multiplier Effects: “Because functions and units often set their priorities and launch initiatives in isolation, they may not understand the impact on neighboring functions and units.”
Political Logrolling: “I will support your initiatives if you support mine.”
Unfunded Mandates: “Executive teams often task their organizations with meeting important goals without giving managers and their teams the necessary resources to accomplish them.”
Band-Aid Initiatives: “When projects are launched to provide limited fixes to significant problems, the result can be a proliferation of initiatives, none of which may adequately deal with root causes.”
Cost Myopia: “Another partial fix that can exacerbate overload is cutting people without cutting the related work.”
Initiative Inertia: “Companies often lack the means (and the will) to stop existing initiatives. Sometimes that’s because they have no ‘sunset’ process for determining when to close things down.”
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Would You Know How To Survive a Cultural Earthquake? 

Team goals must be crystal clear and fully aligned
Everyone on the team must agree on where the team is headed and what everyone is working towards.

2. Team strategies must be consistent
If one part of the organization is pulling left while another part is pulling right, the team won’t get anywhere.
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Strategy

Strategy | digitalNow | Scoop.it
“Strategies fail from within,” according to Porter. The entire notion of traditional strategy, one that rigorously assesses unique choices on both the supply and demand side, collapses in many organizations. No strategy means no direction, a plight that accidentally snowballs the number of initiatives a company takes on. “The essence of strategy is about choices,
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4 Powerful Lines Leaders Navigate To Be Effective 

4 Powerful Lines Leaders Navigate To Be Effective  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Leaders love starting lines, and they love finish lines.
Starting lines provide energy and excitement. They represent the launch of a new project or initiative. They represent take off, lift off and the possibilities of a new leadership adventure.

Leaders love starting lines.

But if you’re a leader, you love finish lines too. Finish lines provide that tremendous sense of accomplishment. They represent a goal being accomplished, a task being completed or a vision being fulfilled.

Leaders love finish lines.

But often overlooked in the excitement of a starting line or the thrill of a finish line, are the important lines in between. Effective leaders know that the battle is often won in the less glamorous “in between” lines.

1. The Vision-drift line
Teams may bolt out of the starting line with crystal clarity as to the purpose and direction. But sometimes they can veer off course.
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Great Leadership: Enduring Uncertainty

Great Leadership: Enduring Uncertainty | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Go on admit it. You’re busy, right? Busier than last year. Busier probably than five years ago. In fact, you’re busier than you can ever remember being. You’re now so busy most people couldn’t even begin to understand how busy you are. And you don’t have time to tell them anyway. 

There was a time when life was slower. It all used to be so certain. You could plan. You could predict. You could be safe. Well, how’s that working out for ya after 9/11, the banking crisis, Brexit, and Trump? It’s a constant crisis.

The characteristic of all leadership in the 21st century is now the speed at which it needs to respond to crises as well as doing their day job. Burnt-out leaders end up with never-ending ‘to-do’ lists, and that’s not really their job. Of course, they need to do something; everyone knows that. Leaders though are more than that. They have to ‘be’ something. They need to represent values because that’s what permits a collective identity. If you don’t have that, you can’t have leaders.

Try this test. Ask someone to describe their parents. Usually, they respond that their parent is loving or caring or patient or dynamic or ambitious. Now ask them to describe themselves.

Usually, they say they go to work or take their kids to school or help them with their homework or put them to bed. What’s the difference? The latter description focuses on what the person does – primarily how they manage things. The former though is quite distinctive.  It focuses on who people are. That’s the essence of leadership – who you are. The values matter.
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Leaders with Humility

Leaders with Humility | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The following are their areas for growth:

I must be timely in responding to calls, emails, and texts
I must learn the art of having the difficult conversations and address problems, conflict, and difficult employees promptly
I tend to check my iPhone in meetings and conversations
I sometimes forget what I have committed to and do not follow through
At times, my tone of voice and or my facial expression will intimidate others
I have not connected with colleagues outside my specific area of responsibility
If I was more organized I would be more efficient
I need to ask for input, then prepare agendas and distribute several days in advance of meetings – and distribute minutes the day after meetings
I tend to be late for meetings
I can be too emotional, can have a short fuse
I need to boost my self-confidence and contribute my ideas
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The Romero Team's comment, November 29, 2018 12:51 AM
This is one good read
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How Leaders Solve the Biggest Problem-Solving Problem 

s this a problem to be solved, or a tension to be managed?
Before you decide to tackle whatever crisis has landed on your desk, first discern if indeed you really can solve it. It could be a tension that must be managed.

At the 2010 Global Leadership Summit, Andy Stanley unpacked this vital distinction. As Stanley pointed out, not every difficult situation that lands on your desk is a problem you will ever be able to solve. Some of these situations are tensions you must learn to manage.

2. Is this my problem?
Once you’ve determined that the latest crisis really is a problem, and not a tension to be managed, next figure out if it really is your problem.

At the 2004 Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels interviewed USC president Steven Sample, and asked him how he responds when a problem is presented to him.

“The first thing I do,” Sample answered, “is to figure out if this is really my problem!”

You might be tackling a problem that really doesn’t belong to you.

3. Just how big is this problem?
As I outlined in an earlier post, one of the first jobs of leadership is to determine the appropriate scale of the problem that has just landed. “Is this a big deal? A little deal? Somewhere in between?”

Always figure out just what the scale and scope of this problem really is. And put the appropriate energy and resources towards it.

Here’s the point. Today, and every day, problems will land on your plate. The cumulative effect can be overwhelming.

But if you’ll apply this three-question clarifying process, you’ll be amazed just how much more effective your problem solving efforts really can be.
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How technology will redefine workplace experiences 

It’s time to change the way work gets done in the enterprise, if we want to stay ahead. The workforce of the future expects organizations to use new technologies that improve communication, workflow and ideation.
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Maximize Your Growth Potential by Supercharging Your Learning Agility

Maximize Your Growth Potential by Supercharging Your Learning Agility | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The first step is to identify the different types of learning you should focus on. The ones that are most beneficial to today’s companies are as follows:

Continuous Improvement: Learning how to avoid making the same mistakes twice
Course Correcting: Figuring out how to get plans back on track as quickly as possible
Capability Building: Developing new company skills and competencies needed for growth 
Employee Development: Tapping into the full potential of your most important resource
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thoughtLEADERS, LLC: Leadership Training for the Real World » How to Figure Out Where You Should Focus

thoughtLEADERS, LLC: Leadership Training for the Real World » How to Figure Out Where You Should Focus | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Spotlight on two key factors

Theories on motivation stress that a great goal should be desirable and feasible – both at the same time. A business opportunity is just the same: it should be highly desirable, i.e., offer a high potential for value creation, yet also highly feasible, i.e., bear limited challenges in capturing this value. So when you assess different opportunities for your company, make sure to evaluate these two key factors. Your aim is to focus on a high potential, low challenge opportunity.
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What CEOs Can Learn from University Presidents

What CEOs Can Learn from University Presidents | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Universities are often a microcosm of the larger societal trends and issues. Handling those tensions and dynamics equips one with a unique understanding of what the future holds. In other words, university presidents are operating in the future — which may seem counterintuitive given the widespread portrayal of university leaders as risk-averse traditionalists. The truth is that they are in touch with and shaping our future workers, leaders, and consumers as well as the environment that all our organizations and companies will be functioning in. The insights of university presidents into the emerging workforce — and the next generation of leaders — are invaluable for the business sector.
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Four Pathways to Innovation

Solve a problem that you already face:
This is the easiest way to innovation. In the course of going through our days, we come across many things that frustrate or anger us. Processes that only add more bureaucracy, tools that don’t work the way they are expected to work and many more. A process or tool that reduces the productivity of our employees, customers or partners. These are all around us if we look at them. We can start from there.

Everyone in an organization should be expected to look and callout these problems and solve them (if it is possible to solve it by themselves). If not, we should maintain a list of such problems that everyone in the organization can access and the same should be continuously monitored by the leaders.

The problem at the top of this list should always be addressed as quickly and decisively as possible. This does two things. It helps in increasing the overall productivity levels within the organization and also sends a message to the entire organization that innovation is an ongoing process and the leaders within the organization take it seriously and so should everyone else.
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Blockchain’s weakest links

Blockchain’s weakest links | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The regulatory outlook for all blockchain systems and cryptocurrencies is highly uncertain. A half dozen regulators in the United States, as well as their counterparts overseas, have issued a series of often contradictory announcements and enforcement actions that touch blockchain companies issuing tokens or operating a cryptocurrency exchange. The regulators don’t agree on whether cryptocurrencies should be legally considered commodities, currencies, or securities, which affects what rules cryptocurrency holders and issuers need to follow. 
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New study: Culture, not technology, determines digital transformation success

CEOs must assume the role of ‘chief evangelist’ of digital transformation to persuasively, persistently and convincingly articulate and communicate the “why” behind each initiative and champion changes, to create positive business impacts.

Digital transformation only succeeds if it’s rooted in behavioral change

The study identified that teams will only embrace change if they understand why transformation is needed and if they have faith in their leaders.

Interestingly, 100% of C-suite level executives agreed that digitalization is the “new normal”, with a universal belief that embracing digital transformation was urgent and critical for the organization to survive and thrive.

Furthermore, 80% of C-Suite interviews highlighted the importance of purposefully focusing on ‘people aspects’ during digital transformation journeys, suggesting an emphasis on the importance of inclusiveness.

“Readiness” was perceived to transcend well beyond technological readiness into the realm of organizational culture, new mindsets and leader behaviors. The “readier” the organization was perceived to be for digital transformation, the greater the need was felt for cultural change and for embracing conducive leadership behaviors.

Open, flexible and agile organizations are better able to innovate

Each transformation journey is unique, but the research suggests common cultural attributes for those who are successful – openness, flexibility and agility. Today’s winners are focused on incremental change, flatter structures and experimentation. 71% of mid-level respondents acknowledged that they needed to adopt new leadership behaviors including agility, risk-taking, accountability, leading change and digital adoption.

The creation of small, agile, nimble-footed teams that are highly empowered to drive digital transformation, as opposed to making large-scale enterprise-wide changes that could be intimidating for employees, is a preferred implementation tactic. However, only 41% of those surveyed believed they had the skills that are necessary for the digital age, suggesting there is a pressing need to increase access to training to plug the ever-present skills gap.


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The Big Lies of Strategy 

The Big Lies of Strategy  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
I have come to the conclusion that strategy is actually about a set of five choices that must be made:

1. What is our winning aspiration?
2. Where will we play?
3. How will we win?
4. What capabilities must be in place?
5. What management systems are required?
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Ten Things Great Leaders Do



Own and live company values
Communicate openly and early
Inspire people to reach higher
Own their mistakes
Recognize big wins, small wins and hard work
Trust people
Make the right decision not the popular decision
Add value to their teams, helping them to succeed
Have the courage to be transparent and visible
Take care of people
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How to handle an antagonistic coworker

Strategic takeaways
There is no single approach to this type of interpersonal conundrum that transcends context. Your employer, your position, your colleagues, and your own personality will affect how you respond to the Tom in your office. But that needn’t stop us from observing a few useful, generalizable lessons from the responses and ratings we received for this exercise:

The responses with the highest average ratings lean toward the conciliatory. Few people, it appears, think that meeting aggression with aggression is an effective solution for this kind of problem.
Each of the top three responses makes a point of flattering Tom, subverting his impression that you (and others) thought he performed poorly.
Taking the opportunity to solicit Tom’s advice, which is itself a flattering gesture, is on average an effective element to include in a response.
Offering advice can also be highly effective, but research tells us it has to be done judiciously.
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It's Okay to Say No at Work

It's Okay to Say No at Work | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Up and running for a few weeks now, Sarah has impressed her peers and senior employees with her insight and work ethic. This morning, she’s got several requests in her inbox:

from her boss, to start digging in on a new research project;
from the sales team, for a piece of copy;
from the communications manager, for ideas for an upcoming email campaign—“if you have time,” the email says.
On top of that, she’s still got new-hire materials to read, the day-to-day minutiae of her role, and some ideas of her own she hopes to flesh out and present to her boss soon.

What does Sarah do?
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Why Managers Don’t Listen (Poor Listener Syndrome): and the Cures!

1. They don’t know they are poor listeners – it’s a blind spot. A behavioral blind spot is the gap between our intentions and our behaviors. We see ourselves as a good listener, but others don’t. Given that candid feedback is such a rare commodity, we are clueless about our flaws until they are pointed out by others. And even when they are, we sometimes still deny they exist (fight or flight).

The cure: Get some feedback. Feedback is a gift, and awareness is the key to self-development.

2. They don’t understand the value of listening. I’ll often have to spend time explaining the impact of poor listening to managers, either in a coaching session or in a training class. Sometimes I’ll demonstrate it. At some point, the light goes on, and for the first time in their lives they get it. These are the same managers who are often having issues in their personal lives, with their friends and family, and poor listening is often the culprit.

The cure: Read the research, discuss the importance of listening with others, and experience the positive effects when you focus on improving your listening skills!
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