communication

communication

 

Shelli Baltman shares a post from an intern at her company that gives all team leaders, bosses, and managers insight into introverted employees and how to help them integrate. 

As someone who’s always been the quiet person in the room, I never could have imagined that I would end up in an organization like The Idea Suite. An unconventional innovation agency teeming with energy, enthusiasm, and passion, we unlock the creative potential of people and businesses through innovation – which in a digital environment can be challenging, since that energy and enthusiasm needs to be transmitted through video calls rather than in person. For an introvert like me, joining this team has been a wild, challenging and ultimately extremely fulfilling ride.

So how have I managed to fit into a group of mostly extroverted, passionate, and energetic individuals you might ask? I’ve adopted a few tactics and made small changes that make it easier to leverage my introverted tendencies as strengths.

So here are 5 tools that helped me navigate a virtual environment as an introvert:

  1.     1 on 1 coffee chats. 

I can sometimes disappear in large groups. I tend to stay quiet and even if I have something to add to the conversation, I always seem to miss the right moment to say it! To someone who identifies as an introvert, it always feels as though extroverted folks are just better at making conversation. But there’s a way around it! I’ve found that arranging 1 on 1 meetings with my colleagues and supervisors is incredibly helpful. Not only is it less intimidating to have a conversation when there is only one other person there, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to express any interesting ideas or opinions that I may not have had the chance or the courage to say in larger meetings or to ask questions that I might otherwise feel uncomfortable raising.

 

Key points include:

  • Team player technique
  • Quality communication
  • Progressive growth

 

Read the full article,  Navigating My Way through a Virtual Internship, on theideasuite.com. 

 

Kaihan Krippendorff shares a post that draws attention to current societal shifts and the role that today’s technological innovations play in this post-modern world.

In two of our previous trend pieces, The Future of Work and Future Organizational Models, we reviewed how traditional systems of hierarchy are being dismantled in the workplace. But this trend extends far outside the office. It’s touching all aspects of how we form communities within society and how and why we gather in groups.

Stay-at-home policies enforced by COVID-19 have made us exponentially more digital and connected than ever before. Platforms that gather communities and foster connections, in-person or virtually and increasingly without an official “leader”, are uprooting outdated traditions and creating necessary cultural reform.

REVISITING GAMESTOP: THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE 

This week, GameStop released its fourth-quarter earnings report that was, compared with all the hype surrounding the company this year, quite anti-climactic. However, in spite of lackluster results, what happened in January 2021 continues to shake Wall Street to its core. A slew of day traders, left hanging out at home in their slippers, fueled by new trading platforms with low barriers to entry, were able to unite via Reddit to “stick it to the man”, rocking the establishment and upsetting hedge funds’ best-laid plans.

My earlier examination of why the GameStop situation occurred explores what can happen when communities, connected by technology, band together to take on unjust systems. The Atlantic sums up the series of events in a sentence: “The GameStop saga is a ludicrous stock mania born of pandemic boredom and FOMO, piggybacking off of a clever Reddit revenge plot, which targeted hedge funds, who made a reckless bet on a struggling retailer — and it’s going to end with lots of people losing incredible amounts of money.”

But was it only boredom that fueled the uprising? Investor and former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci called GME a “French Revolution of finance” challenging the established order and rattling the bars of tradition.

Across categories, we are seeing companies harness this power of technology to “coordinate the uncoordinated”. Like Turo allows car rentals between individuals and Airbnb enables the same for home rentals, consumers, tired of getting the short end of the stick, are losing faith in the “middle men” and restructuring industries to counter disenfranchisement and take back their power.”

Key points include:

  • Mass mistrust: insurrection at the capitol
  • Looking ahead: gen z’s affinity for gathering
  • Lemonade: how companies can leverage community coordination 

Read the full article, Community Coordination: How Digital Connectivity Will Power Revolutions Of The Future, on Kaihan.net.

 

In this article, Amanda Setili explains why it’s necessary to dig below the surface of agreement to avoid the issue of last-minute naysayers.

Imagine a high-level team whose members represent different stakeholders. It might include representatives from a wide range of disciplines, divisions, companies or even communities. At first, they are all enthusiastically working together to define a common path forward.

As “consensus” nears, some members quietly begin to lose their enthusiasm. They start to wonder whether the direction in which the team is headed is even close to their original expectations. Will the path ahead be worth the time and effort? Is this still a good idea?

Such doubts often linger in the background. They may surface occasionally as polite, perhaps understated questions. But if you are leading the team and the “consensus” view is close to your own, it’s easy to miss entirely growing undercurrents of doubt.

This is a pivotal moment. If you push ahead without searching for silent naysayers, you may greatly misjudge your team’s potential. Instead of having a fully committed team that can draw on the resources of numerous groups, what you actually have is a small number of backers and a lot of doubters.

 

Key points include:

  • Avoiding dissolution
  • Consensus testing
  • Setting an initial trial

 

Read the full post, How the Top Secret Concerns of Its Members Can Sink a Team, on LinkedIn. 

 

 

Amy Giddon takes a look back at the past year to provide friendly insight and advice on how to make life better in five easy ways. 

2020 has been a year like no other. As we’ve grown weary, depleted, and drained, the power of kindness to transform a moment, a day, a life has only grown. When people are asked to recall a kindness they received, they often recall a time when they were at their most fragile and a small generous act had an outsized and memorable impact. We’re all a bit fragile now. It’s been turbulent. The amazing thing is – an act of kindness leaves a lasting impression on both the giver and the receiver of a kind act, healing both.

Short on time? Short on funds? Quarantined? No worries. There are many ways to spread kindness right where you are. And you already have the most valuable kindness resource of all – the warm beam of your attention.

Here are some kind acts that are tailor-made for this year that’s been anything but kind:

1) See others, really see them. Smile at strangers (with your eyes if masked). Make contact with people you usually don’t acknowledge. Give a chance to someone that you might dismiss. Slow down and pay attention to people. Tell someone you’re thinking of them. Listen intently. Follow up. Smile some more. And just watch how people soften, straighten, blossom under your gaze.

 

Key points include:

  • Providing relief
  • Self-care
  • The power of appreciation

 

Read the full article, 5 Ways to Be Kind In a Year That Hasn’t Been, on LinkedIn. 

 

 

Aneta Key shares a fun, and fast, survey that reveals the things people do while in a virtual meeting. Fill in the survey to access the results. 

We have all been guilty. Multitasking. Oversharing. Faux pas. See a list of 25 things people do while on virtual meetings. (Secretly) confess your virtual meeting sins and instantly compare your transgressions.

 

Access the survey, Virtual Meeting Confessions, on the Aedea Partners’ website. 

 

 

In this article, Amy Giddon reveals what her team discovered when they asked the public about courage.

What we learned when we asked 250 people about their fears.

‘Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.’ — Brené Brown

We’re having trouble seeing each other these days. It’s always been hard to show up in our full complexity and contradictions, and now we have social media further tempting us to filter and edit our stories. We fear the judgment in the comments section and hang on every “like,” only sharing what fits our narrative. Even those close to us may remain partial mysteries, while those unlike us can seem downright confounding, and even scary at times. We fill in the blanks with assumptions and judgments of our own, maintaining our distance. So how do we get past this to see and be seen more clearly?

Become curious. Thoughtful questions are an invitation to deeper connection.

We’re building a mobile app, Daily Haloha, to challenge ourselves to share beyond our social profile. Daily Haloha asks people around the world one thought-provoking fill-in-the-blank question every day. And since people remain anonymous — and we leave out judgments and “likes” — they can be comfortable answering the questions honestly, and even vulnerably.

 

Key areas covered in this article include:

  • Physical risks
  • Emotional risks
  • Financial risks

 

Read the full article, The Surprising Connection Between Curiosity and Courage, on LinkedIn.

 

 

David A. Fields offers timely advice on how to reconnect with decision makers after a long period of no contact. 

Every decision maker who’s regularly in conversation with your consulting firm is a high-potential source of projects and revenue. But if you’ve been out of touch with a prospect, restarting the relationship can feel awkward. The script below will help.

An “A1” in your contact list is a decision-maker who has a strong relationship with someone in your consulting firm.

Three hundred A1s can power a consulting firm as high as $50 million in annual revenue.

You could build your consulting firm into 9-figures (over $100 million) with a handful of service areas, each of which has three hundred A1 relationships.

A quick rule of thumb no matter what size your consulting firm is, even if you’re below $1 million:

Maintain at least a hundred A1 relationships to keep your practice healthy and thriving.

Groovybeans. But what if you need more A1s in your consulting firm’s network?

Remember Joyce Jamnuckles? She’s the Big Cheese at Solidoleo Corp whom you met at a conference a few years back. You struck up a great conversation over a handful of post-conference conversations, but no business materialized and you stopped following up.

Joyce is a B1—a decision maker who definitely knows you, but not well and doesn’t think of you as a go-to resource. You’ve let the relationship wither, with minimal (or no) contact for years.

Every B1 is an A1 in waiting. All you need to do is rekindle and nurture the relationship.

 

Key points covered include:

  • Staying right-side-up
  • Brevity
  • Stepping up to the plate

 

Read the full article, How To Rekindle Relationships With Your Consulting Firm’s Buyers, on David’s website. 

 

 

Robyn M. Bolton explains why it’s important to cultivate emotional intelligence and move out of a ‘bad neighborhood.’

‘If you spend a lot of time in your own head, you’re spending time in a bad neighborhood.’

I was deep in a bit of worry and self-doubt when my friend uttered that sentence. Immediately, my mind conjured an image of falling down building, boarded up doors and windows, overgrown yards, and empty streets (basically downtown Cleveland in the 1980s).

‘Man, I do not want to be here’ I said, probably a bit too loudly.

Everyone I know spends a lot of time in their bad neighborhoods. It’s a consequence of the world we live in — more demands, responsibilities, and expectations running into greater uncertainty, fewer options, and weaker safety nets.

There are lots of ways to spruce up our neighborhoods, cultivating a Growth Mindset is one. In his book, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours, author and executive coach Shirzad Chamine, lays out a powerful framework and action plan to build your Positive Intelligence by increasing your PQ (Positive Intelligence Quotient).’

 

Points of note include:

  • Why Should I Care about Positive Intelligence?
  • What is Positive Intelligence and PQ?
  • How you can increase your PQ

 

Read the full article, Is Your Brain Friend or Foe? Make It Your Friend with Positive Intelligence, on Medium.

 

 

Nils Boeffel explains what can go wrong with a digital strategy and shares tips on how to develop a successful digital strategy. 

Everyone is talking about digitalization, but many people and organizations get it wrong. To them it means throwing technology at things, hoping that they will get better. What is it really, what does it mean, and how do you think about it and implement it?

Last year I led a digitalization workshop at a company where they were looking to increase their digitization efforts. They recognized the need to move ahead (mainly due to changing market demands and the competitive situation), had several topics already under way, and wanted to “speed things up.” During the workshop it turned out that many things were already being done in different parts of the organization, that there was no central digital strategy, that the digitization was not integrated with their overall corporate strategy, and that the initiatives were taking longer than planned, and not providing the expected benefits.

How could they do it better, and what would it take to successfully define a digital strategy and implement digitalization?

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Three key roles in digitalization
  • Phases of digital strategy 
  • Questions to ask

 

Read the full article, Digital Strategy or Digital Disaster – how to develop a successful digital strategy, on his company website.

 

 

Amy Giddon shares insight gained on social media through an App developed by her company that was designed to improve the social media experience by cultivating a better connection. 

We created Daily Haloha to be a positive collective experience of reflection and connection. At a time when connections are frayed and our spirits dampened, we were struck by how participatory art and story sharing projects could uplift and unite us in a moment of shared humanity. We were inspired by how the ability to express oneself authentically and in the absence of judgment, validation, or debate was liberating, even empowering — whether it was through writing on a chalkboard, putting up a sticky note, or sharing a secret on a postcard. No social network or followers needed. Everything contributed in a public space, anonymously. Everyone’s voice is recognized equally.

The idea behind our app was to make it as simple as possible for more and more people to participate in these magic moments. Daily Haloha invites self-reflection and collective discovery by inviting the world to answer one single thought-provoking question each day. In our simple 3-step experience, participants:

  • Reflect and respond to the daily question
  • Connect to another by swapping responses in a chain reaction of anonymous sharing
  • Feel uplifted by perusing reflections from all over the world on the Haloha Wall

 

Areas discussed include:

 

  • Drawing hard lines
  • Creating something different
  • Testing product and principles

 

Read the full article, We Broke Down Social Media to Try and Build Up Humanity, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Belinda Li shares an article that explores the meaning of ‘social’ in social enterprise.

When I tell people our consulting firm has a passion for helping social enterprises, I’m sometimes met with the question, ‘what do you mean by social enterprise?’

Or I might get a knowing look, yet the response is, ‘oh, so you do social media!’ or ‘oh, so it’s about social networking!’ Hmm…

I suppose that’s not totally unexpected. After all, not many people know about ‘social enterprise.’ And today, the word ‘social’ is frequently associated with ‘social media / social networking.’ At a recent event hosted by a social media firm, they said things like: ‘today we are all things social’ or ‘everything is social now!’ When substituting ‘social’ for ‘social media,’ everyone understood what they meant. The confusion is further exacerbated by articles such as this one. You’ll see it has ‘creating a social enterprise’ in its title… and yet the article is all about social media!”

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • What a social enterprise is
  • How social enterprises differ from most businesses
  • Examples of social enterprise

 

Read the full article, When “Social” Means More, on LinkedIn.

 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Stefan Faust with < F A U S T >.  Stefan spent 2,5 years at McKinsey, as a generalist consultant, then became a partner at a leading communications consultancy. Followed by 15 years of experience in the banking / wealth management sector, focusing on strategy, programme management & coordination, transformation & change and marketing & communications.

He lives in Zurich / Switzerland and practices and teaches yoga and meditation. He is a certified coach and loves to work with people.

Currently he is taking an advanced training in “Business Sustainability Management” from University of Cambridge in order to move into this seminal area, increasingly relevant to all businesses.

Stefan is open to any project request which may fit his field of experience and also willing to travel.

 

Eric Hiller recently published the first article in a series for Industry Week. This week, the article  focuses on how an executive (and other people who are not cost experts) can understand what the cost management team is communicating.

We have all been in a meeting where miscommunication happens. One of the biggest challenges when dealing with analytics in business is that the more powerful the analytics, the harder it is to explain to other people not involved directly in the analyzing. Exactly how the analytics works and why the results should be trusted by our colleagues and leadership is a challenge. The same is true with product (or service) cost management—specifically, when using what are commonly called “should-cost models”, (models for estimating the cost of a product or service).

A big part of the communication problem is that there is not just one type of cost model. Cost management is a broad field with a variety of methodologies to address the almost infinite world of situations for which one wants to know the cost of manufacture or service delivery. Even if an executive has some understanding of one particular cost-modeling technique, it can often be confusing when the analytics team uses different technique.

 

Questions answered in this article include:

  • At what level of the BoM (bill and material) or WBS (work breakdown structure) is the object or service being costed?
  • Does the cost model focus on the object or service, or does it focus on the process?
  • What analytical approach is used in the cost model? 

 

Read the full article, 5 Questions for Better Cost Management Discussions, on the Industry Week website. 

 

 

Jared Simmons shares three quick tips that can improve relationships and move your career forward.

When you’re trying to build strong working relationships, sharing what you are hoping to achieve and get out of the work can be extremely helpful. What you get out of work is different from the project or meeting objectives. It’s not your departmental or functional mandate. It’s the professional development nugget that comes along with the entire working experience.

Perhaps you’d like to show that you’re ready to lead a global project. Or that you can work well with colleagues outside of your department. Perhaps you’re interested in learning about another part of the business.

Talking about your professional development goals builds strong working relationships in three ways:

 

Tips included in this article:

  • How to establish trust
  • How to make communication more efficient
  • How to uncovers new ways to work together

 

Read the full article, Stronger Working Relationships and a Great Career, on the Outlast website. 

 

 

Robyn Bolton explains why Visual Thinking (VTS) sessions improve creative problem solving and critical thinking skills and provide major benefits to executives.

“It was quite a sight! A dozen senior executives from a big, conservative financial services firm, all sitting on the floor in front of a painting, talking about what it could mean and why they think that.”

On a typical dreary November day, and Suzi and I were sitting in the café inside Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. She had just left her job as Head of Design Thinking at Fidelity Investments and I was taking a sabbatical before deciding what would be next for my career. Introduced by a mutual friend, we decided to swap stories over lunch and a walk through one of the museum’s special exhibitions.:”

 

Included in this article:

  • The benefits of VTS
  • Visual thinking strategies
  • How to do VTS

 

Read the full article, How Looking at Art Can Make You a Better Thinker, Communicator, and Leader, on Medium. 

 

 

On June 17, Barry Horwitz  will be giving a webinar with a colleague, CL Tian who runs a digital marketing firm called PINKOA.  The webinar “Shifting Focus from Surviving to Thriving:  Strategy and Tactics.” The webinar will be hosted by TechNetworks of Boston and includes a free virtual Nonprofit Roundtable session.

Sign up for the webinar, Shifting Focus From Surviving To Thriving: Strategy And Tactics, on the TechNetworks of Boston website.

 

 

 

Aneta Key shares a new video in her series on video conferencing. This week: brevity.

During the recent series of workshops about online meetings, I realized that as we reimagine how we lead meetings online, some fundamentals are unchanged.  So, I give you the second video of what may become a series on the topic with simple ideas that apply for any type of meeting. 

Enjoy and share with colleagues who may benefit from it.

 

Included in this video:

  • Rambling
  • Roaming
  • Respect

 

 

Watch the video, Simple Ideas for Better Meetings, on the Aneta Key website. 

 

 

As more people get used to working remotely, Paul Millerd shares valuable advice and fourteen tips that should not be followed.

I’ve either put these tips into practice in my own life or can confirm that other people have. People rarely talk about these practices in public because there is a certain amount of shame and embarrassment about telling people you work less.

 

Advice on working remotely Paul shares include:

  • The morning routine
  • Asynchronous communication
  • The bi-modal workday
  • Expectations of motivation

 

Read the full article, Don’t Follow this Advice on Working Remotely, on the Boundless website.

 

 

Jared Simmons explains why simplifying assumptions could be the key to unlocking value faster and freeing up your knowledge workers to innovate.

I learned the power of simplifying assumptions early in my career. As an engineering student, I watched my professors fill boards with Greek letters and symbols, exponents and integrals, constants and variables. Then, in the last 10 minutes of class we worked a real problem together. The first step of solving the real problem was always to use the context of the problem to apply simplifying assumptions to the theoretical equation. Things like material composition, physical location, and scale let us whittle that complex equation down to a more manageable size. Essentially, they allowed us to build real, specific things based on universal theories. Because we understood the theory behind it, we could quickly identify the right simplifying assumptions for each new practical application. An hour in understanding, 10 minutes in practical application.

 

The two main points discussed in this article are:

  • Barriers to applying simplifying assumptions at work
  • Why simplification matters

 

Read the full article, The power of simplifying assumptions, on the Outlast website. 

 

 

Recently, there has been much discussion about the value of play for helping creative ideas flourish, but Kaihan Krippendorff shares examples of play at work and provides 10 ways to inject play into your organization. 

In the 1830s, an artist and tinkerer, Samuel Morse, directed his curiosity to a question few had considered before. Numerous scientists and inventors across the globe were working on the problem of how to communicate across long distances more quickly.

At the time, information could travel only as fast as a human could. Ink on paper would be rushed to its recipient by horse, later by canal, later by steam engine. Each innovation accelerated the speed of communication, but none could break the limitations that physics put on the written word.

While scientists and inventors around the world worked on plans that could accelerate the speed of communication (e.g., one team was working on a system of telescopes and flashing lights dotted across land), Morse approached the challenge from an artistic bent. He was more curious about the physical experience humans had in trying to decipher and make sense of blinks, how to paint signals onto paper.

 

Areas of interest in this article include:

  • Revving up the speed of communication
  • A painter inspired by play
  • Play your way to a breakthrough
  • You can’t have success without failure
  • 10 ways to inject play

 

Read the full article, Play: The Source of Innovation, on Kaihan’s website. 

 

 

With so much press about how our technological habits create disconnection, Hugo Bernier explains how technology also gives people the tools and access to build connections.

I work crazy hours. To top it off, I commute a total of 3 hours every day. When I get home from work, I’m usually exhausted. 

One of my guilty pleasures is to play a video game with my kids. When they were younger, we’d play one of the many Lego games on Xbox. Now, we tend to play Halo or Call of Duty. 

Regardless of the age difference between my kids and me, the little buggers are worthy adversaries. They might even be better than me– but don’t tell them I said that.

I love that in the video game world, we’re able to play as equals. We’re sometimes teammates, partners, and sometimes enemies. We celebrate each other’s victories and tease each other’s failures.

In a household with three people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, breaking barriers of communication and making emotional connections can sometimes be hard. Video games are one of the ways that we can connect.

 

The technology discussed in this article:

  • The Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC)
  • The Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit

 

Read the full article, Leveling the Playing Field with Accessibility, on the Tahoe Ninjas website.

 

 

Jesse Jacoby taps into a common pain point in today’s business operations — the vague or misunderstood email — and provides an easy solution to overcome the problem. 

Connecting with coworkers, clients and customers has never been easier. Gone are the days when we had to drive across town to chat with someone in a different office. When we run into a challenge or have a question regarding our work, we have a plethora of communication tools at our fingertips: email, text, instant messaging, and the list goes on.

Yet, how many times have you received an email response or stared at a text feeling more frustrated and confused than when you started. In today’s fast paced world of electronic exchange, messages can easily be misinterpreted, and emotions can escalate quickly as a result. A curt interaction, even when softened with a cheerful emoticon, can really strike a nerve. Now, not only do you still have that lingering challenge to face or question to answer, you also have to manage the mounting frustration and annoyance attached to it.

 

Read the full article, Assume Positive Intent, in the Emergent Journal.

 

 

Pitching all the reasons why your company, service, or product is better is often received with a lack of response. David A. Fields explains where the miscommunication lies and provides a solution to the problem. 

 

You know a rain barrel full of reasons why your consulting firm is better than other firms that do what you do. Among the reasons, of course, is you. Your experience and ideas and unique perspective.

Hence, when Bethany Buttonwerk asked you why her company should work with your consulting firm instead of others she’s talking to, you quickly trotted out all your advantages.

Alas, that lessened your likelihood to win the project!

Oh no. Why’d that happen?

Let’s revisit Bethany’s query. Unfortunately, she unwittingly asked the wrong question. You then proudly tootled your answers to her mistaken question, which left her dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disinterested. (And you disappointed or dyspeptic.)

 

Read the full article, A Superior Response to “What Makes Your Consulting Firm Better” on David’s website.

The subscription business is based on long-term relationships with customers. Robbie Kellman Baxter shares ideas on how to build strong relationships that work for both your personal life and in business.

 

Over the holidays, I started thinking about what my work on The Forever Transaction and The Membership Economy has taught me about building long-term personal relationships, which ultimately are way more important than any subscription.

As dig in on our 2020 to do lists, and focus on our goals and hopes for the year ahead, I wanted to share some ideas on how we can take these principles and apply them in our personal relationships. It’s a little hokey, and a little jargon-y business-school-ish but I decided to try using my 7-step framework as a guide.

 

Points covered in this article include:

 

1: Different tiers of subscriptions

2: Identifying key metrics

3: Onboarding process

4: Using technology

 

Read the full article, Seven Steps to Better Personal Relationships, on LinkedIn.

Susan Drumm provides four steps to ensure you will get honest feedback from your team.

Do you think you can get your team to give you honest feedback? Like no-holds-barred honest?  

Many of my clients tell me they struggle to get real feedback from their direct reports and I’m not surprised.

Does this story sound familiar? One of my senior clients recently received the results of his 360 report and was surprised to learn that his team felt they weren’t being mentored effectively by him.

None too pleased with this, he walked out into the office and proceeded to go desk to desk. “Was this comment from you? Do YOU think I’m a good mentor? Do you have a problem with the way I mentor?”

 

Points covered in the four steps include:

-Create a culture of feedback and honesty from the outset.

-Dig in when asking for feedback.

-Be honest and genuine when asking for feedback

-Once you get the feedback, do something with it.

 

Read the full article, How to Get Honest Feedback from Your Team, on the Meritage Leadership website.

Robyn Bolton shares five techniques that can help you understand your toughest customers in this post recently published on Forbes.

Let’s be honest, we love talking to people who just ‘get’ us. I believe this is because we often must hold a number of conversations with people who don’t ‘get’ us.

In business, the people who don’t understand us are the ones we desperately need: Our customers. Many might not understand why your products or services cost so much, why your offerings are so complicated or why they should choose your service over a competitor’s.

 

Points covered in this article include:

-How to open the conversation

-How to learn from customers

-How to ask the right questions

-How to share your opinions

-Knowing your limits

 

Read the full article, Five Techniques To Help You Understand Even Your Toughest Customers, on Forbes.

This post from Jeremy Greenberg’s company blog identifies five lessons that CEOs can learn from Howard Stern.

Howard Stern has been one of the most controversial entertainers since he hosted his first radio show over 40 years ago. Love him or hate him, he has enjoyed a successful career thus far – building his brand into an empire worth over $600 million as well as transforming the landscape of terrestrial and satellite radio. Stern’s success can teach us a lot about business. The following are five lessons that CEOs can learn from Howard Stern.

The five lessons covered in the post are:

1.Be authentic

2.Build a strong, diverse team

3. Balance work and life

4. Pivot naturally

5. Always be curious

Here is the lesson on building a strong, diverse team:

Howard Stern is not a one-man show. “I’m at my best when I have a bunch of people around me, when I can call on them and collaborate,” he explains. Stern’s core nucleus of co-host Robin Quivers, sound effects wizard Fred Norris, and producer Gary Dell’Abate has been working with him since 1984. Quivers plays the straight woman, Norris rarely speaks, and Dell’Abate runs things behind the scenes. They all differ from Stern in every way, but work together to make a great team. Three different people with different strengths and weaknesses, doing different jobs.
As you build your team, focus on hiring people who are not like you, but make sure they are people that you like. Diverse work and personal experience, philosophies, and talents are essential to building your company.
In fact, studies have found that a work environment that is more diverse causes a decrease in turnover and an increase in productivity. Just remember, you will have to work with these folks, so make sure you can get along with them so that they remain on the team for the long haul.

 

 

Read the full article, Beyond Baba Booey: 5 Business Lessons CEOs Can Learn From Howard Stern, on the website of Avenue Group.