Challenge #1 — Cracking the Big Nut: Unlocking the Power of Your TalentChallenge #2 — Learning to Let Go and to Trust...Trust is highly integrated with interdependence when employees require support from one another. This dynamic where I help you and you help me is rooted in reciprocity and is strengthened or weakened depending on the limitations of skill, time, or control that individuals have. Irrespective, if employees understand that each exchange needs to be a mutually satisfying exchange where respect and open transparent communication is shared, trust will strengthen between organizational ties and networks across the organization. When power behaviors are rewarded in an organizational culture, the implications to creating healthy trusting and collaborative cultures are impacted.Challenge #3 — Ensuring Goal Clarity and Vision Visibility AlignmentChallenge #4 — Having the Courage to Shape ConsequencesChallenge #5 — Harnessing Social Power
Monday, December 5, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
- Subtraction or Reduction: removing one or more elements from the product or process. The natural tendency is to want to increase the features of a product or service. However, this can lead to feature bloat, a product which is confusing to the end consumer and spiraling costs. The element removed may be:
- undesirable, such as the alcohol in beer or the caffeine in coffee, or
- revolutionary, such as the speakers in a Sony Walkman, or
- replaced by something already in the environment, such as removing the legs from a baby's chair and clipping it directly to the table, or
- simply result in a more affordable product, such as the removal of travel agents, tickets, free food and drink, seat reservations and customer care from Ryanair.
- Multiplication: adding one or more copies of an element or attribute of the product or service. For example,
- adding additional blades and changing the angle of the blades in the Gilette razor, or
- adding additional tray to a CD player to produce an automated CD changer.
- Division: Divide the product or process into one or more separately usable, often modular, components. This is common with electronic goods. For example,
- the separation of turntables, speakers and amplifiers into separate components. This modularisation of home entertainment units has meant that new devices, such as MP3 players are more easily integrated into existing equipment.
- Task Unification: assigning new tasks to existing elements of a product, often combining the function of one element into another. For example,
- getting the defrosting wires in a windshield to act as the radio antenna, orusing a iPhone to control other household devices.
- Attribution Dependency Change: creating or removing dependencies between the product/process and its environment. For example,
- splitting unisex razors into masculine and feminine razors.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Some companies gave up on [Second Life] (SL), others learned and revamped, and a select few actually got it right the first time. In the past 5 years, we have learned a great deal about what works and what does not work in SL. Learning insights include the following:Some Tips on How to Successfully get started in Second Life:
- Virtual worlds are about interaction and engagement.
- Events drive traffic.
- In-world staff are better than bots.
- Second Life offers unprecedented room for innovation.
- Community experience is crucial
- Set a clear vision in your organization to embrace new virtual world capabilities:
- Increase your employees’ collaboration, project management skills, and their sense of fun in the workplace.
- It is imperative to develop, early on, clear goals and objectives with effective and relevant performance metrics. Start simple, gain some success, and build momentum.
- Evaluate and experiment with virtual world experiences to learn.
- The best way to optimize learning is to develop a learning lab or a pilot to interact online with external customers or recruits. As the numerous case studies have shown, learning labs and pilots are effective in SL. Having relevant performance metrics and reporting approaches to gain further executive support is also a key success factor.
- Develop a collaboration competency. Collaboration competency is necessary in order to leverage virtual worlds solutions. This is the ability to collaboratively solve problems of mutual interest and work toward win-win outcomes. True collaboration requires the development of leadership behaviors that work in a virtual world. The leadership behaviors include the following:
- The ability to develop rapid trust with people that you may never have physically interacted with.
- Ensure your SL strategy is integrated into your Web 2.0, social mediated, and knowledge management strategies.
- Develop collaborative work spaces to gather knowledge, express ideas, and concerns and share collective know- how. There are a variety of solutions that support collaborative knowledge generation activities:
- Web conferencing solutions (e.g., WebEx, Live Meeting)
- Document creation collaboration solutions (e.g., Atlassian, Confluence Social Text, IBM Lotus Connections, Igloo, Jive, Microsoft SharePoint)
- Start small, yet think big!
- A small and tightly focused project with clearly defined goals and objectives is usually the best way to get started. Suitable application areas for getting started include the following:
- Recruiting islands— such islands offer an effective means of attracting users, particularly web-savvy and technically skilled talent (Gen X and Y).
Source: Pages 152, 154-157
Does your company use virtual worlds? If so, how does your company utilize this newer technology? What kind of benefits does it reap from using VWs?
If not, how can your business benefit from using VWs in the future?
Friday, November 4, 2011
Collaboration in the workplace is as important to free enterprise as competition in the marketplace. The spirit of win-win cannot survive in an environment of stiff competition. For collaboration to flourish, win-win needs to be a mature operating practice, and the systems have to support it. The recruiting system, the on- boarding system, the training and educational systems system, the strategic and operational planning systems, the communication systems, the budgeting system, the information system, the compensation system— all have to be based on the principle of win-win.
So how many organizations have got this deep collaboration systemic organizational DNA tapestry right? Many do not— but increasingly many do.
- Early objectives are key, and success should be measured.
- Speak to, not at, an audience.
- Social media success can be iterative.
MTS Allstream - The Idea Factory
- IT development
- Budget challenges.
- Executive support
- User- friendly design
- Executive leadership and accountability are key.
- Lead with leading practices.
- Drive adoption rapidly.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
One the most spontaneous viral- creating events must be the so- called Crasher Squirrel. In 2009, a vacationing couple were enjoying an amazing vista in a particularly picturesque part of western Canada. The moment was so special that the couple wanted it to last for eternity. They decided to take their own picture with a beautiful background of a lake surrounded with near-perfect mountains. To achieve their snapshot of time, the recent groom carefully balanced his camera on a rock and scurried back to be with his beautiful bride as the self-timer counted down. Three, two, one...say cheese, and the shutter snapped.
Excited to see if they had captured the moment, they looked at the LCD screen to view the photo. To their surprise, there were three faces, not two, in the picture. Th e third face belonged to a gray squirrel that scampered into camera view while the groom was taking his place.
Once the Banff/Lake Louise Tourist Office knew about the picture, they decided to act quickly and decisively. After securing the rights to the picture, they took the bold decision to make Crasher the focus of the very successful media campaign.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Cisco’s marketing collaterals on telepresence, the language was reworked in order to reflect statements on the value of virtualization. These statements form benefits to communicate the value proposition to achieve a competitive advantage:
By further consolidating, these key benefits have core communication messages for leaders to consider in positioning the value of virtualization with their employees. We have filtered these down to these virtual value propositions:
- The new way of working. Today you face greater business demands and a more competitive marketplace. You must continually find new ways to be agile and increase speed to market while reducing costs. Effective communication and collaboration are critical. The ability to engage immediately across geographies with employees, suppliers, and customers is a must to sustain competitive advantage.
- Virtualization for everyone, everywhere.
- Do more with less.
- Transform your organization.
- Drive competitive advantage.
- Be greener and improve quality of life.
- Build a collaboration strategy.
- Powering the new way of working. Virtualization powers the new way of working. Learn how you can empower teams to collaborate like never before, transforming your organization by leveraging collaboration and social approaches; your world will simply get better.
- Create new ways of working. Increase your connections with your coworkers and customers and reduce your time to market, increase your agility, and reduce your costs.
- Accelerate decision making.
- Innovate across the value chain.
- Scale resources.
- Support the environment by going green.
- Create the foundation for the new world of work. By going virtual you can power the new world to attract, develop, and retain your talent.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Law #1: Virtual Worlds Are Not GamesThe first assumption that businesses often make is that VWs are games. This is a wrong assumption. The right answer is that VWs are a new, rich media communication channel. While the market for nongame VWs is still relatively emergent compared to MMOGs, VWs are a rapidly growing new market segment. Based on our research preparing for this book, businesses need to start planning an online presence in VWs in order to create interactive community experiences so that they can learn how to exploit new ways of communicating with customers, suppliers, and employees in rich, virtually immersive environments.Virtual worlds are powerful as they have tremendous online reach and can easily bring together large groups of simultaneous players in a fast- paced online environment; they can provide an interesting capability for the future of organizations. MMORPGs represent a growing business that, according to the Tower Group, will reach 40 million people and generated over $9 billion in revenue by 2010.Virtual worlds present the next frontier for customer and employee interactions. Organizations need to start preparing now for these new methods of communication, or they will lose talent and customer segments who desire this form of customer interaction experience.Law #2: Experience Must Be Relevant to Solve a Business Need and Create ValueLaw #3: Each Avatar Is a Real PersonLaw #4: A Virtual World Experience Is a New Branding Opportunity
Monday, August 8, 2011
- 46% of 18– 24 year olds create and share content
- 32% of 25– 34 year olds create and share content
- 23% of 35– 44 year olds create and share content
- 19% of 45– 54 year olds create and share content
- 12% of those 55 or older create and share content
PART I - THE CONVERGENCE
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
PART I - THE CONVERGENCE
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
PART I - THE CONVERGENCE
Monday, July 25, 2011
The book examines four virtual business strategies that are showing promise. The “any place, any time” strategy provides high quality service 24/7 through bypassing traditional geographic challenges. The “people know best” strategy looks at crowd-sourcing the wisdom of every-day people. The “everyone has a stake” strategy allows organizations to take advantage of their stakeholders’ views. Finally, the “real in the virtual world” strategy enables real businesses to sell their wares in the virtual world.
The book provides case examples and best practices. They look at both successes and failures in this new market and make some bets on the future. They conclude that virtual business is here to stay and firms need to develop a strategy to take advantage of this new market or risk their demise.
One strong example is the transformation from printed books to e-books. I am reading a virtual version of their book now. The authors report that on Christmas Day 2009, consumers purchased more Kindle books than physical books through Amazon, a virtual store itself. Now the iPad is booming with Apple selling more tablets than PCs both in terms of volume and revenue – and the iPad is much cheaper. It takes e-reading to new heights and provides connectivity to so many other possibilities. For example, it becomes that much easier to sharing insights from what you are reading or look up related information from other sources. Publishers who recognize this trend will be in position to ride the new wave and those that do not will be ridden over.
This new world will change many things including jobs. The authors note that many of the top jobs of 2010 did not exist in 2004. We are now faced with preparing our children for jobs that do yet exist and to solve problems that are yet unknown. This uncertainty has always been the case to some extent but it has become a much stronger factor. I saw from another source that in 1986 75% of the knowledge that a worker needed was stored in workers’ heads but by 2006, that number was estimated to be 9%. We need new ways of providing the remaining 81% and the virtual world opens up an opportunity for this also through social software.
It is nice that at least some of the challenges brought forward with the virtual world can also be addressed through it and the new technologies that have enabled it. The authors provide a useful chapter on these new technologies including social networks, blogs, microblogs, and wikis. I was interested to see that Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2010 Report on American bloggers found that 81% have been blogging more than 2 years and 11% say blogging is their primary income source. I am currently one of those in the latter group. Supporting their growth predictions is that fact that most of their usage stats for most tools have now been surpassed.
Of course it is more than technology and they cover the leadership necessary to go forward in the virtual world. They found a variety of leadership styles to work including both transformational and transactional. They provide a series of stories written by a diverse group of successful virtual business leaders.
The book covers much more including the power of sharing, the four strategies mentioned above, and where the future may take us. I recommend it to anyone who wants to make sense of today’s business world and the opportunities and risks it provides.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Virtual Business Defined (Sort of)
...Wikipedia defines the term as follows: “A virtual business employs electronic means to transact business as opposed to a traditional brick and mortar business that relies on face- to- face transactions with physical documents and physical currency or credit.”
Our use of the Wikipedia definition is very deliberate. We are very aware that some readers will cringe as they read the word “Wikipedia” and immediately challenge the validity of the definition. However, we believe that Wikipedia is an excellent source of material, especially given the subject of the book. Throughout Business Goes Virtual, we will use a variety of high- quality online references including blogs, wikis, social media, and corporate web presences as well as more traditional academic sources such as peer- reviewed journal articles, books, and conference proceedings. We will select the sources carefully; however, we will not differentiate based on whether the source is from electronic or paper media....
From our study of businesses in the domain, we define the term as follows: A virtual business provides innovative solutions to new and traditional business challenges by exploiting social technology, leadership, and collaboration in both the real and virtual worlds.
PART I - THE CONVERGENCE
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Gaining access to executive decision makers can mean the difference between winning and losing sales. Here are seven common challenges that sales professionals must overcome to effectively engage those in the executive suite:
1. The salesperson doesn’t connect to the executive’s critical business issues and gets delegated to a lower-level person.
Brilliant ideas and valuable products and services elicit indifference if you can’t immediately establish credibility about and connect to the executive’s most pressing issues. Your credibility comes via the relevancy you establish in your introduction by connecting your solutions or capabilities to the business drivers. If you reference challenges the industry is facing or the company’s objectives in a substantive way, executives will recognize that they couldn’t have this conversation with anyone else.
2. Your strongest contact in the client’s organization no longer holds the power to make the buying decision.
In today’s highly competitive and volatile marketplace, globalization, consolidation, and centralization are some of the reasons that decisions move to higher levels of power and influence. This movement is forcing even the most experienced sales professionals to expand their expertise and compete at new levels in organizations.
Expecting that a single contact in your client’s organization can and will carry your message effectively is hanging on to thin threads of hope. It is critical that we translate the value we can create at the technical, operational, or clinical level to the impact it has on the client’s business. That’s a conversation most executives want to have.
3. Your competition is in the executive suite and you aren’t.
Can the competition get into the executive suite and take your account while you believe your relationship is strong at the operations level? Absolutely! Salespeople typically spend more time preparing for a prospect visit than for a current client visit. Don’t let over-familiarity lull you into understanding less about your client than your competitor does. Gain advantage and pull ahead of competitive threats by establishing a broad base of relationships that will preempt and neutralize competitive moves.
4. You have bought into, “I make the final decision,” when, in fact, you are hung up with someone who barely influences the decision.
Understand how your solution affects each level of responsibility within your client’s organization. It is only natural that you will interact at all levels to understand the full potential of your solution, and after the sale to assure that the full value of your solution is being achieved. Building these relationships as you gather information will ensure you are firmly grounded with those who are both impacted and influenced by the decision.
5. You reach the person who holds the checkbook, but you can’t build the financial case that person needs to make the buying decision.
The financial executive plays an increasingly central role in setting the strategy of the organization and how to fund the implementation of that strategy. Do not place the burden on your clients to translate your technical advantages into the financial impact of your solution. Involve them in your calculations; have them collaborate, and then adjust your assumptions. In the end, the client must “own” the justification. Be an advisor, not a sales rep. Position your solution as a strategic asset.
6. Third-party consultants are forcing you to compete on price when you know that the information on the value you would create for the client is not reaching the executive level in the client’s organization.
Recognize that you and the third-party consultants have the same client. Build the case for mutual gains with them by asking the questions they have not thought of asking. They will recognize the value you add to their position and invite you into the executive suite. Help third-party consultants manage a quality buying process that builds successful outcomes for them, for you, and for your clients.
7. Your convincing proposal wins the first round of approvals, but you find that the executive buy-in never happens. The executive had criteria on the table that you never tapped into, or even knew existed.
Engage executives early in the decision process to establish the criteria that create senior-level ownership. Build winning proposals that connect the business drivers at all levels of influence and decision. Ask the in-depth questions that have not occurred to your client. You should ask the questions that expose the risks inherent in a successful implementation of your solution.
Executives are concerned about working with suppliers who truly understand their business, their customers’ demands, and their competitive landscape, as well as the challenges associated with the implementation. If you cannot speak to these issues, your time in the executive suite will be brief.
To help you get started in gaining access and communicating with credibility, here are three suggestions:
- Understand the executive mindset.
Gain insight into how they think, what they expect, what makes them move forward, and how they drive management support. They are looking for ideas and resources to execute their strategy, and how to reduce risk and increase the probability of success.
- Create compelling relevancy.
Build a value assumption that will connect your capabilities to the executive agenda and ensure you have strong executive-level sponsorship to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
- Establish exceptional credibility.
Expected credibility is what you know about your solution. Exceptional credibility is what you know about your client’s business. Look at your words and your documents. Are they about you and your solution, or are they about your clients and their businesses?
When you understand the mindset of executives, connect to their agenda, and establish exceptional credibility, you will have meaningful conversations that often result in long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.