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Latest Posts

 
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Do You Want To Feel Like A Cow Being Herded Through A Turnstile?

Do you want to feel like a number–or like a cow being herded through a turnstile? Neither do your customers.

HERD

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The 60% Rule: The Humbling Reason Why It’s Vital that You Encourage Autonomy at Work

Breakthrough products are created out of thin air by a singular product visionary — your Steve Jobsian figure in a black turtleneck and a ponderous look. He yells at people and tells them what to do, until it’s perfect and done.

To Chris Savage, co-founder and CEO of Wistia, one of the biggest video hosting sites on the web for businesses, that’s a widespread misconception that can harm the way you run your business.

Chris has a rule of thumb on making product decisions that’s both incredibly humbling to all you Jobs disciples out there and imperative to grasp. The rule is this: the very best of us only get product decisions right 60% of the time. The rest of the time, we’re wrong.

How the 60% Rule Transformed Amazon

 

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How to Get Smarter

"You're Telling Me I Can Develop My Intelligence?  Like a Muscle?  I Don't Believe It."  

Learning jointI'd have thought by now that most people would understand that you can grow your intelligence.  But no, the notion is still a shock to the system.  As one acquaintance put it succinctly:  "That can't possibly be true." He got riled up about it, but I suspect that's merely a bit stronger than what 99% of the adult population believes.  In fact, check it out (or check yourself out).  Most people still believe that a person is born smart, average or dumb--and stays that way for life.

Research over the past twenty years has shown beyond a doubt that the brain is more like a muscle.  It gets stronger, a lot stronger, when you learn--and keep learning.  Use it or lose it.

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5 Real-Life Examples of Creating Positive Workplace Morale

Think you can’t have fun, throw money at employees (literally!) and grow the company’s revenues by 25% all at the same time? It’s possible and the examples below prove it. Meet Bob Richards, a seasoned manufacturing executive who has tried what skeptics would call “outlandish” tactics to create a workplace environment in which employees are engaged and productive. This interview excerpt is bonus material from when I talked with Bob about workplace morale for an article on SmartBlog on Leadership. As we chatted, Bob shared with me some of his successful ideas for creating positive workplace morale. Bob implemented many of these progressive ideas during his tenure at Herman Miller’s “SQA” manufacturing facility. As a consultant, I used to walk the halls of Herman Miller SQA and experienced firsthand the outcomes of these efforts. The positive energy was palpable; it was an amazing place to work.

Here are five examples of things Bob and his management team did to create positive workplace morale and build employee engagement, in his own words:

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Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Hierarchies

A new model for work is required. Hierarchies, simple branching networks, are obsolete. They work well when information flows mostly in one direction: down. Hierarchies are good for command and control. They are handy to get things done in small groups. But hierarchies are rather useless to create, innovate, or change.

We have known for quite a while that hierarchies are ineffective when things get complex. For example, matrix management was an attempt to address the weakness of organizational silos resulting from simple, branching hierarchies. In matrix management people have more than one reporting line and often work across business units. However, the performance management system and job structure usually remain intact so that it adds more complication, rather than increased effectiveness.

Any hierarchy, even one wrapped in matrices, becomes an immovable beast as soon as it is created. The only way to change a hierarchical organization is to create a new hierarchy. This is why reorganization is so popular; and so ineffective. Most organizations still deal with complexity through reorganization. Just think of the last time a new CEO came in to ...
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Five Essential Videos for Seeing the Big Picture

Today, my guest blogger, Benjamin Grant, is sharing his five essential videos for seeing the big picture. Benjamin is the founder and curator of Daily Overview, a website that publishes a singular image each day with the purpose of changing the way we think about our planet, and our place in it.  As Benjamin points out on Daily Overview, “From our line of sight on the earth’s surface, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we’ve constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we’ve developed, or the devastating impact that we’ve had on our planet. We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our Earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet.”

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Entrepreneurs: the Enigma of Emotion

It’s incredible how much emotion can completely boost or derail absolutely everything at work and in life.  It completely changes the color and tenor of any discussion or experience, though actual reality remains unchanged. In fact, I’m coming to believe that almost everything is emotionally driven in human experience – history, sociology, culture, psychology, biology, health, etc. 

Emotion is that elusive, inexplicable thing that gives or takes away will and energy, determines perception and choice and, to a large extent, outcomes in life. Yet we know almost nothing about it—or at least I don’t. I know how it feels and what it does, but not where it comes from, what causes it and, most importantly, how to optimize it.  

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3 Tips for Recruiting Alumni Employees

Recognize This! – Sometimes, the best employee for the job is “the one that got away.” Who are the top candidates in your recruiting pool? The obvious answer is people who know your industry and business, already have deep experience in the role, and are a culture fit. Some recruiters call these candidates “Purple Squirrels” […]
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Jack be Quick Jack be Nimble

A month ago, many of us were glued to the tube watching the finals of the World Cup from Brazil. It gave us an insight into how in order to win, the players had to be quick and nimble. Every second of the game, the players had to be alert to what was happening on the field. The goalie had to forecast the moves that were required in order to meet the incoming ball to keep out of the net. The player on the field had to judge when was the right moment to kick the ball or to head it. All of these actions require one to be quick and nimble. This applies equally to the business world.

Our managers are faced with the same kind of strategic decisions that the World Cup players are confronted with. We find that as circumstances change we are required to respond quickly and nimbly to the events.  We are required to constantly respond to the demands of our clients. We need to be able to respond on a spin of a dime as the needs arise. So the challenge before management today is how do we become that quick and nimble executive that the global workforce expects and even more important demands. What do we need to do to be that agile executive?

David Steinberg, the CEO of XL Marketing, stated, ...

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Choose Rouge At Your Own Peril

Air Canada Rouge is not a competent airline. Here is a list of reasons every customer should be wary:

Weekly Most Discussed

 
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Understanding The Value Of Charisma In Leadership

Charismatic-leaders-help-those-around-them

Last week, I had the pleasure of giving the keynote speech at the 2014 NAED LEAD Conference held in Chicago. Given how the focus of my speech was examining the role of charisma in leadership and how we can develop this trait to inspire and engage our employees, it would seem almost natural that the locale for this keynote was this elegant, almost regal ballroom located in one of the illustrious hotels found along Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile”.