Evalusys report

Evalusys report

 

Lin Giralt shares findings from a Evalusys and Lambda study of over 600 small and medium sized enterprises in the U.S., covering ten categories, including results on: human resource management, business exit readiness, innovation processes and capabilities, and quality of business processes.

What Evalusys and Lambda have learned about US Small and Medium Sized Enterprises [SME’s]

Summary of Results from over 600 Business Evaluations indicates that improvements in Sales Management [98%] and Strategic Business Planning [94%] are the Categories that lead top managers’ and owners’ areas of action[1]. In terms of specific points of action, the Innovation Category had the top three most important actions mentioned: “Company does not have the right metrics and incentives to support a culture of innovation,” [72%]; “Management is not satisfied with their ability to leverage open innovation,” [66%]; and “Management is not satisfied with the rate of new product development,” [64%].[2]

On the other hand, most SME’s were content with their Overall Business Processes, Supervisory Practices and Human Resources Management.

 

In addition to metrics, this article includes:

  • Topline conclusions
  • Discussion of results
  • Examination of the data
  • Conclusions and further considerations

 

Read the full article, What Evalusys and Lambda have learned about US Small and Medium Sized Enterprises [SME’s], on LinkedIn.

 

 

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. 

 

 

As we become increasingly aware of the prevalence of the conscious or unconscious racial bias, Tobais Baer provides a timely article that may help address and overcome sneaky biases that affect decisions, opinions, and actions. 

The tragic death of George Floyd has triggered a global push to fight racial discrimination. There are many ways how each of us can contribute to this fight; one important way is to fight our own subconscious biases that can heavily influence our decisions – be it major ones like hiring or evaluating staff or making verdicts as a judge or jury member, or be it minor ones like deciding what we do or say when dealing with a sales clerk or customer.

The typical reader of my blog is intelligent, sophisticated, open-minded, and most likely already very supportive of equality and fighting discrimination. The snag: As Sheryl Sandberg powerfully confessed in a private talk I had the privilege of attending, even she, author of “Lean In” and an ardent fighter of gender discrimination, had caught herself espousing gender bias in evaluating her own female staff members.

 

Points covered in this article:

  • Licensing and outgroup bias
  • Monitoring body reactions
  • Anchoring and signaling

 

Read the full article, How can you fight your own racial bias?, on LinkedIn.

 

 

If you have ever wondered why your messaging is misconstrued or find that you lapse into cliches at meetings, help is at hand. Bernie Heine identifies what not to say, why not, and what to say instead. 

Two Must-Do Guidelines and Five Clichés to Avoid.

Strategic Review or any meeting

Your strategic review is a rare opportunity to take an objective overview perspective on your business. It is a time for questioning assumptions and a space in which to encourage creativity and involvement. It is not a place for rigid thinking or hackneyed business phrases. In the ideal business world, all meetings should accomplish one or more of four things. They should 1) Generate new ideas to add value. 2) Share information. 3) Build a common purpose and buy-in. 4) Plan what to do to solve current problems and roadblocks.

At your strategic timeout, you should focus on things 1 to 3 with these two goals in mind…

  1. Doing better before doing cheaper. 

“Miracle worker” businesses consistently search for ideas to compete on factors other than price. See our newsletter 3 Rules for Exceptional Business Performance or the video below. 

Typical factors, other than price, that take your business to exceptional profit are durability, functionality, brand, style, etc. Your customers don’t see it on the invoice, but they really appreciate getting it.

  1. Revenue before costs.

 Cutting costs and or shedding assets are too often the default paths taken by “average Joe” businesses. At your strategic review, be sure to put revenue first. In the long run, “miracle worker” businesses can charge premium prices while giving greater apparent value to custom.

 

Phrases identified in this article include:

  • Don’t bring me problems. I want solutions!
  • I’ll get back to you on that.
  • In my opinion…
  • Keep doing what you’re doing.
  • We need to think outside the box

 

Read the full post, Five Things NOT to Say at Your Strategic Review (or at any meeting), on the The Professional Business Coaches website.

 

 

Dan Markovitz shares a new video series on the root cause of CEO overwhelm and provides a downloadable PDF on why the best CEOs don’t feel overwhelmed. 

As many of you know, I conducted a study of CEO overwhelm this winter. It wasn’t entirely surprising that CEOs (and other leaders) who embraced lean habits and principles in their work felt less overwhelmed by the demands on their time and attention. 

In the study, I made a few brief suggestions about how to deal with the root cause of overwhelm. But the limits of a PowerPoint format made it difficult to go into much detail. In response to requests for more information, I made a series of short (2-3 minute) videos in my state of the art video studio (i.e., my living room). 

I’ll be posting one video per day over the next week on my YouTube channel. I’ll also be providing links to each video on Twitter and LinkedIn as they’re released. I hope you enjoy them.

 

Dan has recently published his latest book, The Conclusion Trap, which addresses the bane of problem solvers everywhere: jumping to solutions. 

 

Access the video series and download the PDF on the Markovitz Consulting website. And the book is now available for sale on Amazon.

 

 

David A. Fields posts a positive reminder that everyone can promote purposeful change, including consultants.

 

Today’s an excellent day to briefly remind you of the good your consulting firm does, and the importance of understanding the “Why” behind your consulting firm’s engagements.

In all likelihood, your consulting firm doesn’t directly address widespread injustice, relieve oppression, or combat systemic prejudice.

Yet, your everyday actions leading a consulting firm are still a vital, positive contribution to the world.

A Force for Good

Amidst once-in-a-generation societal storms, your consulting firm’s work may sometimes feel inconsequential.

It’s not. You have every right to be proud of your consulting firm’s work, promote your offerings and continue to pursue consulting projects.

 

Read the full article, How Your Consulting Firm Can Be A Force For Good, on David’s website.

 

 

Geoff Wilson provides a reality check and a sage reminder to plant your feet firmly on the ground when looking to the future. 

 

Times of crisis require a change of perspective and a call to action.

So, here we are, weeks into a bizarre world of isolation, uncertainty, and pain.  If one thing is likely, it’s that after weeks of responsiveness, you may now start to see real signs of resignation and capitulation.  But, you may also see signs of opportunity and–dare I say it–optimism.  My sense is that both mindsets are probably “right” and “ok.”  This is no self-help blog.  I fully believe that there is plenty to fear in the environment beyond fear itself.

But.

I also think it’s important to realize that in times of crisis or trial or despair it’s our imperative to reflect and chart a course.  That course may be brand new and different, or it may be a retreat to the tried and true.  In either case…it’s a course.

One of the more influential books in my life is Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and influential thinking on how people find meaning in life regardless of experience.  His experience in the Auschwitz death camp sparked a globally influential view of how individuals find meaning in challenging and even hopeless circumstances.

 

Points addressed in this article include:

  • Reflecting and charting a course
  • Why me vs. what’s next

 

Read the full article, Finding meaning during crisis requires an answer, not a question, on the Wilson Growth Partners’ 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 many of us continue to hold a business together through online meetings, Susan Drumm provides expert advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of the virtual workplace, including tips on planning and running online meetings.

Effective virtual meetings? Ha! If they exist, I’ve certainly never attended one.” If this was your thought process when you read the title of this blog post: I get it.

With the COVID-19 crisis and its implications for remote working, it’s more important than ever for leaders to run effective virtual meetings. Teams need leaders who can facilitate impactful meetings that create community and accountability across time zones.

A virtual meeting is obviously different from an in-person one and there are several specific things you’ll need to pay attention to. Otherwise, you are likely to see a fair bit of multi-tasking, surfing the web, phone-in only, or team members turning off their mics to have outside conversations, leaving the team feeling even more disconnected.

I’m not just talking about team members — leaders do it, too.  According to a Harvard Business Review study, managers who multitask during meetings are 2.2 times more likely to have direct reports who also multitask in meetings.

My own team is virtual and I’ve been facilitating leadership development programs virtually for years. I know what works and what doesn’t. Here are my best virtual meeting tips for executives.

 

Tips include:

  • Creating connection
  • How to handle tangents and derailers
  • Using the DIS framework

 

Read the full article, “Incredibly Effective Virtual meetings: 10 Tips to Plan and Run Them,” on the Meritage Leadership website.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter provides a few words of encouragement and valuable links that will inspire and motivate.

Now is a good time to sharpen the saw.

Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”According to recent data from Zuora, only 11% of subscription businesses using their billing platform have seen a decline in members vs 2019.

We all need a little inspiration right now. Whether our business is going well or not.

I’ve been talking with subscription executives that are worried and pulling back for sure. But many subscription businesses are growing, and practitioners working in those companies, the product managers, marketers, customer success teams and sales organizations, are busier than ever.

Organizations are dealing with new demands, and a new environment, which requires pivoting and fresh ideas. Those of us who are seeing a slowdown in business and in “to do” lists, are thinking about how things will be different in the foreseeable future.

 

Free includes:

  • A Financial Planning Marketing playbook
  • Leading Learning
  • Read to Lead
  • Glambition

 

Access links and read the full article, Sharpening the Saw for Subscription Practitioners & Entrepreneurs–FREE STUFF, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Aneta Key lightens the mood for the day with these tongue-in-cheek video conference tips. 

 

Many of us are so accustomed to videoconferencing, we take it for granted. But with the COVID-19 pandemic shift to remote work, a whole lot of professionals worldwide are just now being introduced to this genre of workplace interactions.  

This blog post will offer something for veterans and newbies alike. In a true iterative fashion, I will add to it over time.

 

 

Tips include:

  • Productive direction
  • How to make it engaging

 

Watch the video, Simple Ideas for Better Meetings, on YouTube, and tune into the series of videos, On Lockdown in San Francisco, on the Aedea Partners’ website.

 

 

Jason George explains with delightful simplicity how the formula used by Dr. Seuss to tell a story is a good example to follow for presentations. The distillation of the core idea to ensure comprehensive understanding that opens the door to deeper exploration.

Author Theodor Geisel was dealing with some tough constraints. The audience for his next book required an instantly captivating story with a clear narrative arc, but there was a catch: they could only process a limited set of words, ideally fewer than 300, most of which would have to be monosyllabic. This was understandable given his target was students in the first grade, who would be around six years old.

Geisel had written children’s books previously, but this was to be his first in a new publishing imprint aimed at the youngest readers. After wrestling with these limitations for almost a year, Geisel worked out a deceptively sophisticated tale that differed markedly from those of the simple reading primers used to increase literacy in 1950s America. It featured a whimsical cat whose unexpected encounter with two children generated amusingly outlandish antics, all told with unusual irreverence.

 

Read the full article, Simplicity rules – Short and sweet,  on JasonGeorge.net.

 

 

Paul Millerd invites your mind on an adventure into utopian thinking and a timely reminder on the circular nature of life.

Millenarianism is defined as “the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed”.

I ran across this concept in a fascinating book by John Gray called “Black Mass” where he explored how humans have consistently been drawn toward millenarianist movements. He goes through the history and characteristics of these movements and also applies it to the then current movement to go to war against Iraq during the GW Bush presidency. He showed how their campaign and the associated propaganda embodied many of the traits of these kind of movements.

If you read the book, you can probably skim the parts about the early 2000s, but the broader perspective on these movements and how they continue to occur throughout history was eye opening. Once you become aware of these tendencies you see them everywhere.

 

He explains the five traits of milleniarism movements:

  • Collective, in that it is enjoyed by the community of the faithful
  • Terrestrial, in that it is realized on earth rather than in heaven or in an after-life
  • Imminent, in that it is bound to come soon and suddenly
  • Total, in that it will not just improve life on earth but transform and perfect it
  • Miraculous, in that its coming is achieved or assisted by divine agency

 

Read the full article, What is your preferred pandemic utopia, on the Boundless website.

 

 

Dan Markovitz explains why using post-it notes may not be the best way to organize your workflow.

One of my clients, a physician in an academic medical center, has been struggling with her personal kanban. She avoided all the common pitfalls—she kept finished tasks in her Done column, limited her WIP, and used Super Sticky Post-It notes to ensure that she didn’t lose any work to evening janitorial services. But she wasn’t making a whole lot of progress, which left her frustrated with the kanban—it wasn’t helping her manage her work.

A closer look at the Post-Its revealed the problem: giant tasks (projects, really) that had no chance of getting finished in anything less than a few months—in her case, “Work on R-01 Grant,” “Write New Oncology Paper,” “New Patient Intake Protocol,” among others. If you were to scale a note to the size of the task written on it, these should have been about the size of a Times Square billboard, not a 3×3 Post-It.

 

Read the full article, Why Ping-Pong Post-It Notes are Bad for You, on the Markovitz Consulting website.

 

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter shares her experience of launching a book during the COVID-19 virus and explains what you can do to rethink plans that have been disrupted. 

This article is based on some of the ideas that came up last week in my LinkedIn Live Session. I’m a beta tester for this new feature, which allows for a more direct, realtime and raw connection with the community. I’ll be LIVE every Friday at Noon Pacific. If you follow me on LinkedIn, you’ll be automatically notified. I’d love it if you join me!

Did you have a launch planned for this spring that went awry. A conference that was canceled, a project put on hold, or a new product that was scaled down? Or maybe, like me, you had written a book that was scheduled for spring of 2020 release?

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Rethinking tactics
  • Taking care of stockholders
  • Reassessing the goal
  • Finding support

 

Read the full article, Launching in a Crisis, on LinkedIn.

 

 

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.

 

 

Paul Millerd explores what it means to achieve your goals and why the simple goals stop working and you either have to keep raising the stakes or change your orientation.

In 2015, Kevin Durant left his team of nine years to join the best basketball team in the world. In the NBA, great players like Durant are judged based on whether or not they win championships. This undoubtedly influenced his decision to join the team with the best chance to achieve that goal.

Except when he ended up winning a title, he didn’t find what he expected. His friend Steve Nash reflected on Durant’s confusing emotions that summer:

‘He didn’t have a great summer,’ Nash told me last year. ‘He was searching for what it all meant. He thought a championship would change everything and found out it doesn’t. He was not fulfilled.’

No alt text provided for this image

The realization that achieving a goal will often not fundamentally improve your overall well-being can be a challenging moment for people.

It is also a moment where people can choose to orient in a new direction or double down on the same path. This seems like an easy decision to make, but over and over again, people continue back down the same path.

 

Points explored in this article are:

  • Reaching a WTF?! Moment
  • A Brief Detour To Grapple With Happiness
  • What About Work?
  • Have A Little Faith

 

Read the full article, The 2nd Chapter Of Success, on the Boundless website. 

 

 

Robyn M. Bolton shares sage thoughts and inspirational photographs that provide a moment of relief during stressful times.

I don’t know about you, but I’m rather tired of the non-stop hysteria that seems to be occurring these days. Between COVID-19, politics, the economy, and the state of Tom Brady’s contract (sorry, I live in Boston), it seems that the world is having a panic attack.

Namaste, people. Namaste.

In an effort to not contribute to the panic, instead of writing something topical and relating it to innovation, I’m simply going to share images of something that makes me extremely happy and peaceful and relate them to innovation.

Books.

Read the full article, 10 Moments of Innovation Zen, and view the photographs on Medium.

 

Jared Simmons provides three meeting strategies to overcome stagnation.

We’ve all been there before. It took you three weeks to find a time on everyone’s calendar. You found the perfect room and showed up early to make sure the previous meeting didn’t run over. You’ve spent countless hours working on your agenda and slides and even reading articles like this on productivity. And then it happens–the conversation gets stuck. Your time is rapidly dwindling and you’re still on agenda item one. You simply cannot afford to have this group disperse to their thousand other priorities without covering these items. So what do you do? Here are a few techniques that can help you get your meeting moving forward again.

 

The strategies explained include:

  • Restating the point
  • Recapping the options
  • Identifying the key factors

 

Read the full article, Three Meeting Strategies to Overcome Stagnation, on the Outlast 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.

 

 

Martin Pergler begins a conversation on corporate culture to identify the pros and cons of working for the corporate world, small business or the public sector.

 

Putting considerations such as the work itself, employer values, career trajectory, benefits, job security, etc. (all covered by others) aside, there is the elephant in the room. Inhabitants of the corporate world, small business (including startups), and the public sector are all fond of rolling their eyes — with a bit of envy mixed in — at the other sectors’ working culture. 

During my time at a major consulting firm, my employer and my clients were mainly in the corporate sector. These days, as an independent consultant, I work with institutions of all 3 kinds. I think there are characteristics, by which I mean frequent but not universal, strengths and weaknesses of each. But I think there’s no clear winner in terms of overall effectiveness (or personal warm-and-fuzziness), however one could define or measure it.

 

Read the full article, Who’s “better”​ to work for? Corporate world, small business, or public sector?”, on LinkedIn.

 

 

Glenton Jelbert tackles the theories behind evolution to dispel the beliefs of the creationists. 

 

Despite what creationists and Intelligent Design people tell you, the theory of evolution makes a remarkable number of predictions that have turned out to be correct. This is true for discoveries that postdate the discovery of evolution, such as plate tectonics, specific fossil finds and DNA. I want to discuss one in particular that is completely amazing, discussed by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth.

You sometimes hear it said that a creator could and would reuse elements of his creation if he or she wanted to do so. You might even expect it. So it should not come as a surprise to us that DNA is so similar across different species. This is just God parsimoniously re-using some of his best bits. Evolution says that the DNA is similar across different species because of their common descent. Don’t both theories explain the data just as well? It turns out not.

 

Read the full article, Evolution’s Most Remarkable Prediction, on Glenton’s website.

 

Kaihan Krippendorff takes a left turn off a straight road to discover the benefits of not planning as a fundamental benefit to innovation.

 

Twenty years ago, long before we had children, my wife and I decided to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in Tuscany. We were living just a two-hour flight away in London at the time, so leaving on a Friday and returning on a Monday would still mean two days and three nights of rolling hills, wineries, and amazing cuisine.

We booked our flights and rented a car, but our search for a hotel revealed nothing really inspiring within our budget. We narrowed our choices down to a property a little larger than a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of Lucca. But we still felt it was a “plan B,” our fallback plan.

We had dreamed of a hotel that would be truly memorable, not necessarily luxurious, but that would give us an authentic and memorable experience of the Italian countryside. So we set out, without confirmed accommodations, in the hopes of stumbling upon our ‘plan A.’

 

 

In this article, Kaihan explains:

 

  • The limitations of data to predict outcomes
  • The benefits of flipping your mindset
  • Engineering luck
  • Discovering Plan A

 

Read the full article, For 2020, Consider  the Wisdom of not Planning, on Kaihan’s blog.

 

With New Year in the rear view mirror, are you driving forward with your resolutions? 

Robyn Bolton provides five ways to improve your resolve.

 

According to research by Strava, the social network for athletes, most people will have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions by Sunday, January 19.

While that’s probably good news for all the dedicated workout enthusiasts who will be glad to get their gyms back, given that the most common New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, it’s a bit discouraging for the rest of us.

But just because you’re about to stop hitting the gym to drop weight and build muscle (or whatever your resolutions are), it doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on improving other muscles. May I suggest, your innovation muscles?

Innovation mindsets, skills and behaviors can be learned, but if you don’t continuously use them, like muscles, they can weaken and atrophy. That’s why it’s important to create opportunities to flex them.

 

 

In this post, Robyn shares what you can do to build and sustain innovation:

 

  • Quarterly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily

 

Read the full article, 5 Resolutions to Make 2020 the Year that Innovation Actually Happens, on Medium.

 

Dan Markovitz explains why time management and a shorter work week is good news for lean.

 

In the space of two weeks, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both ran articles on the productivity benefits of reduced work hours. The WSJ introduced us to the workers at Rheingans Digital Enabler in Germany, who only put in five-hour days, for a workweek of 25 hours. The same is true of employees at Tower Paddle Boards (at least during the summer months) and Collins SBA, a financial advisory firm in Australia. 

Not to be outdone, NPR reported that Microsoft Japan moved to a four-day workweek this summer while increasing productivity by 40%. Of course, software firm 37 Signals has been operating four-day work weeks over the summer since 2008. And New Zealand-based Perpetual Guardian believes in the four-day week so strongly that the founder created a non-profit to promote it. Indeed, a recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management indicates that fifteen percent of companies offer a 32-hour workweek. 

 

Read the full article, It’s Not Time Management, It’s Lean, on his 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.

Thinking about kicking off the New Year with the goal of transitioning from senior to executive leadership? Stephen Redwood provides advice on how to achieve the goal. 

 

When coaching clients I am often asked the question: what do I need to know to make the transition from being an already experienced leader to being effective as an executive leader

It’s an interesting, and sometimes surprising, question given that they will already have years of experience as leaders. I believe the reason they are asking is because of the realization that the most senior executive roles are often differentiated from other leadership roles by the:

  1. Weight of ultimate accountability
  2. Complexity and breadth of oversight responsibilities
  3. Challenge of motivating others to accept accountability for problem solving
  4. Difficulty of learning to ask questions rather than give answers
  5. Degree to which messaging has to be effective at a distance

This is not to say these factors don’t play a role to some degree at all levels of leadership, but at the most senior levels each of these generally carries greater consequences for the organization. So, let’s dig in and look at what I’ve often found helps leaders I work with successfully make this transition.

 

Read the full article How Do I Make the Transition from Senior to Executive Leadership? on LinkedIn.

Jason George explores the relationship between the human need for ritual, community, and purpose, and the organizations or entrepreneurs who see that need as their next opportunity.

 

Come all ye faithful

Some of the devoted choose to meet in the early morning, braving the cold and arriving at their nondescript buildings in the predawn darkness. The name on the sign outside might reference “soul” or “cross,” but there is nothing outwardly grand about these places. The real draw is the service about to start inside.

The congregants’ earlier interactions have acclimated them to social norms like dress codes, so they choose their attire with the fastidiousness of early Puritans. This leads to a generic sameness among the group—deviation would make one stick out, and this experience is not about the individual.

 

Key points include:

-The pursuit of salvation through testing the body

-How brands like SoulCycle and CrossFit fulfill the need

-Religion-as-business

 

Read the full article, The Business of Religion, and the Religion of Business, on Jason’s website.

Jason George takes a look at the mind maps of the London Cabbie to illustrate the difference between storing knowledge in the brain and accessing knowledge stored elsewhere.

Having been built up over hundreds of years into its current dense and meandering tangle, London’s road network shows few signs of the regularity that characterizes its counterparts in younger countries. Prior to the advent of cheap map technology, anyone wanting to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods would need a detailed atlas to find addresses or landmarks. Finding the desired spot was akin to playing Where’s Waldo, given the thicket of alleys and courts and lanes laid out with no obvious organizing principle.

One group was notably unfazed by this challenge. London’s black cab drivers developed a well-deserved reputation for their ability to navigate to any points in the metro area with ease, with no reference to guide them. This was not accidental, as to earn their license each had to pass a legendarily grueling test that came to be known simply as the “Knowledge,” a requirement first instituted in the era of horse-drawn carriages.

 

Topics covered include:

-Mental maps

-Panopticon

-The knowledge economy

 

Read the full article, How learning changes your thinking — Mind what you knowon Jason’s 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.

Paul Millerd shares greetings from Taipei and his thoughts about shorter workweeks, including recent news from Microsoft Japan where they implemented a four-day week and saw productivity jump 40 percent.

Three years ago I was an office worker in New York City, working in a prestigious job making more money than I ever imagined (some of my peers in New York had much different standards!) yet a storm was brewing inside and one that had been totally invisible to many who knew me my entire life

As I got better at my job and better in navigating the corporate world, I struggled to find a deeper reason for why I was there. Early in my career I was learning a lot, but over time it seemed that no one really cared about learning at all. Working on your career narrative, pleasing executives and making money seemed to be the only thing people worked on. Not the kind of learning I was excited by.

This led to a creeping nihilism which I only clearly see now. I’m really just going to make PowerPoint slides and work 48 weeks of every year?

 

Points covered in the article include:

-My weird life and living the dream

-Shorter work week: A real trend in 2020

-The happiness ruse

-A poem by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

 

Read the full article, My Weird Life & Shorter Workweek Zeitgeist, on Paul’s website.

 

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.

 

Jason George uses the examples of the stent and Ernst Haeckel’s biogenetic law to tackle the issue of “why bad practice persists even after it’s been proven incorrect” and how we can overcome common misbeliefs. 

 

Forget the lessons

For high schoolers studying biology the stakes for bad ideas may not be as high as they would be for a patient who unnecessarily undergoes a heart procedure, risking a complication that outweighs any potential benefit. But in both cases bad ideas continue to color one’s view of the world, and the consequences of seeing things wrongly leads down paths that constrain you.

Like skeuomorphs that stubbornly persist as reminders of a feature of the tangible environment that has long since ceased to be relevant, conventional wisdom guides and constrains decision making in a range of disciplines. Sometimes it channels it in directions that are flat wrong. Try three things to help break through this fog…

1. Blow up your mental model

2. Get as close to the source as you can

3. Incentivize a broader focus

 

Read the full article, When what you’ve learned holds you backon Jason’s website.

Paul Millerd shares a comprehensive guide on how to communicate complex information in simple ways, and how to create memorable presentations with 20 secrets from strategy consulting and persuasion science.

 

How do you build a memorable and persuasive presentation?

I spent over ten years working in the consulting industry at places like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group and now as a freelance consultant. Communication is central to everything the consulting industry does and in some ways explains why the industry has been so successful for so long. Yet, across the business world and increasingly in the entrepreneurial community, few understand how to present information in a compelling way. Most default to the behaviors of their colleagues or the templates that their company provides. While these methods may result in a beautiful slide, the content tends to fall short.

I am motivated to help people tell remarkable stories, communicate complex information in simple ways, and to teach people how to be memorable. Over the past several years, both through my work and through my research, I have identified many “secrets” of what it takes to create compelling and impactful presentations.

 

The article covers the following points in detail:

-Make your message memorable

-Structure your message

-Designing slides

 

Read the full article, 20 Secrets From Strategy Consulting & Persuasion Science To Create Memorable Presentations, on the StrategyU website.

Life rarely follows the trajectory of a straight line; the ups, downs, obstacles and curve balls tend to throw us off the pre-planned course. Fallon Ukpe shows you how to shift your focus, handle transitions successfully, and create a life of meaningful achievements. Her book, Squiggly Line, was released on Tuesday, November 12th and is now available on Amazon and online from Barnes & Noble.

 

We have been programmed to believe that the line of life is a perfect, straight trajectory up and to the right, but that’s simply not how life works. And now, we have a problem, because perfect is impossible and life isn’t a straight line—it’s a squiggly line.

Yet we continue to strive for something that is unattainable, unfulfilling, and unnecessary. The pursuit of perfection is leaving us overworked and underwhelmed with the trajectory of our lives. If that’s where you find yourself, there is good news: you have a choice.

 

The book, “Life Is a Squiggly Line: Start Embracing Imperfection and Stop Settling for Safe,” is available for sale on Amazon.