Category: news


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A chance to catch up on much-needed reading to refresh and recharge your standards and leadership style scoured this lists of books that helped to look at life and work in a whole new way. While these books are not your typical newest releases, they have timeless value and are best read together to rejuvenate yourself and, by extension, your team.

The review by Rebecca Talbot, Content Marketing & Research Manager & Leadership Story Lab sais:

Feeling comfortable in our workplace can have its downsides. It’s easy to fall into patterns and make assumptions about the people we spend our days with.”

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier offers a way to get beyond our assumptions about our coworkers’ behavior and learn their stories instead. Stanier’s short book explores seven questions managers can use to get people talking, and to train themselves to avoid thinking they “already know” what’s motivating people. His first question is simply:

What’s on your mind?

When we are willing to start our conversations with an open-ended question, the answers might surprise us!And that’s Stanier’s whole point-that we need to approach each other with far more curiosity.

The “what’s on your mind” question resonated with me because it is a question my dad used to ask me often when I was a teenager. The respect and curiosity implied in the question worked well to encourage a teenager to talk.

Likewise, family, friends and colleagues generally need an invitation before they will share what’s been important to them lately. Now that Stanier has reminded of that, I’ll be using this question more frequently.

 


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Latest Financial Topics for Strategy & Business Developments

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By the end of the century, a third of the workforce will be “knowledge workers”, or people whose productivity is marked by adding value to information, whether as market analyst, writers, or computer programmers.

Peter Druker, the eminent business maven who coined the term “knowledge worker“, points out that such workers’ expertise is highly specialized, and that their productivity depends on their efforts being coordinated as part of an organisational team: writers are not publishers; computer programmers are not software distributors. While people have always worked in tandem, Druker notes that with knowledge work,

” Teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself.”

Perhaps the most rudimental form of organisational team-work is the meeting, that inescapable part of an executive’s office in a boardroom, on a conference call, in someone’s office.

Meetings bodies in the same room are but the most obvious, and at the somewhat antiquated, example of the sense in which work is shared.

Electronic networks, email, teleconferences, work teams, informal networks and the like are emerging as new functional entities in organisations. To the degree that explicit hierarchy as mapped on an organisational chart is the skeleton of an organisation, these human touch points are its central nervous system.

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The total the talents and skills involved, whatever people come together to collaborate, whether it be in an executive planning meeting or as a team-working toward a shared product, there are in a very real sense on which they have been included in a group of IQ.

In maximizing the excellence of a group’s product, the degree to which the members were able to create a state of internal harmony, lets them take the advantage of the full talent of their members.


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Exploring Corporate Strategy

1. Human resource management and global business strategy

Challenges position, choices and action that should be seen as closely related. In practise none has priority over another, this sequence is not meant to suggest that the process of strategic management must follow a neat and tidy path. Indeed, the evidence on how strategic management happens in practice suggest that it usually does not occur in tidy ways.
Elements of strategic management in linear sequence is characterised first by understanding the strategic position, than strategic choices and finally putting strategy in action. Indeed, many texts on the subject to just this. However, in practise, the elements of strategic management do not follow this linear sequence, they are interlinked and feed back on each other.

The inter-connected circles of the above exhibit are designed to emphasise this non-linear nature of strategy.

Corporate social responsibility is among the top challenges. Companies face when expanding into new markets, especially in developing regions.

Business practices that are acceptable locally are frequently at odds with the values of the company and the laws of its regulatory agencies. This creates a tug-of-war between social responsibility and the need to be successful in those markets, which can turn into significant risk.
Guiding corporate strategic decision-making challenge incorporating the human capital opportunities and risks from operating abroad into corporate strategic decision-making workforce opportunities that are marked both by steady improvements through the political machinations that open trade across borders and enable cross-border migrations, and by sudden and often unexpected changes such as the relaxation in relations between the United States and Cuba; conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine; and dramatic swings in oil prices.
The challenge for companies is to remain nimble to take advantage of the opportunities while avoiding the risks. HR’s challenge is to gather, assess and understand all the cultural, labor and market complexities of operating in each market so that the company can predict opportunities and risks, know when to enter or exit a market, and integrate successfully into new local markets.
The success of a company’s global growth hinges on HR integrating the workforce. HR-led teams need to assess the complexities of bringing together workforces with often dissimilar societal and corporate cultures. HR can, for example, identify potential roadblocks early and plan interventions before problems arise. The food facilities management company Sodexo identified a need for diversity and inclusion across its 355,000 employees from North American to China. It developed training programs that resulted in significant numbers of women, youths, people with disabilities and indigenous workers productively joining its workforce across the globe.

2.Making the business case for CSR

The challenge for HR is to gain a detailed understanding of local environments and their accepted business practices. It then needs to establish protocols that are customized for each region and communicate these protocols throughout the organization and across its supply chain.
When local labor laws or practices conflict with the organization’s CSR policies, HR needs to be the voice of the individual and ensure that the company maintains its integrity, even when this goes against the potential economic value.

HR faces the additional challenge of demonstrating to the company how good CSR policies strengthen the brand, increase customer loyalty and boost shareholder value.

3.Balancing corporate and societal cultures while promoting diversity

Some cultural attributes, such as a command-and-control management style, can be modified to fit local cultures, while others, such as integrity and human rights policies, cannot be compromised. HR needs to understand and deal with the complexities, deciding which corporate culture elements can change and which are essential to protecting the organization’s values and ethics. The company cannot change anti-bribery policies, but it may choose to change its dress-down-Fridays rule.

Management may also choose to impose cultural elements, such as giving back to the community consistently across the global organization. The challenge becomes even more complex when dealing with new workers, those engaged through means such as crowdsourcing, as well as remote and temporary workers.

HR also needs to develop programs to assist executives to adapt when they move from the head office to regions with different societal and cultural norms.



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The Latest News on Business & Development Strategy Practise

Systems of Record

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Money all spent in systematization, as you all know more than I do, it is not easy with all that data that you have collected. 

Until recently mainly used to expedite manufacturing, robots are increasingly appearing outside factory floors, in hospitals, labs and offices. To meet the requirements of these varying situations, developers have designed new models, such as soft robots and software robots. This creates 

 

“a digital workforce”

 

which represents a whole new operational, highly scalable, reliable and auditable work capability for businesses.

The use of software robots in this context has been called robotic process automation, or RPA.  While many people have fantasized about a day when they can delegate chores to robots and let them take the reins when it comes to innovation, the rise of these new breeds has left some observers wondering about their value to the workforce.

Many have expressed concern that by taking on core processes in factories, labs, hospitals, offices, robots will make people irrelevant and unemployed. But instead what’s resulting with early adoption of these machines is that there’s room for both robots and people – and the combination is enabling an unparalleled level of efficiency, customer service and innovation. Take Telefonica, for instance.

Under the direction of its head of digital service and transformation Wayne Butterfield, the telecom provider turned to software robotics made by my company, Blue Prism, after fully exhausting other methods of reducing costs while increasing efficiency of the back-office transactions it completes for customers. While software robots were an obvious choice in terms of speeding up processes and slashing corporate spending, members of the IT department were skeptical. They doubted whether the software robots were capable of accurately completing complex procedures like transferring customers’ SIM card data from old phones to new devices. But as software robots repeatedly demonstrated their value automating thousands of monthly transactions, the IT department could no longer dispute the advantages of a digital workforce.

 

What’s important to understand is that people are still involved in the process.

 

Not only do managers train robots much like how they do for new employees – teaching them rules and the ins and outs of particular procedures – but processes can be triggered by a customer or an employee. Many of you are doing this for over 30 years but now it’s not about being focused in improving your process, but also being focused in connecting it with your customer and now mobilising that information to be out in the field. It’s a study made by McKinsey that said that digital transformation is very important to us but we are 13% ready. So how do you get ready?

 



 

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The Latest Business Strategy Practise & Contemporary DevelopmentsNews

 

 

Differentiation Strategy

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Executives of young companies are constantly questioning how to build a differentiated identity in a saturated industry. Even pioneers in uncharted territory will, before too long, need to find their voice.”
Intense competition means you’re onto something good. It also means your industry will shape you if you are not tenacious about defining yourself. There are three fundamental strategies that are instrumental in distinguishing a company from its peers:

1. Cultivate a work environment that enables you to hire exceptional people
The prospect of achieving true value-driven business hinges on your ability to recruit the best talent in the industry. “A” players want to work alongside “A” players, so there is nothing more important than building a strong nucleus of talent. Hiring hastily during an inflection point of your growth can be the kiss of death in creating a culture of excellence.
Nothing gets top-tier employees more excited than being challenged to take on outsized responsibility, yet most work environments still adhere to a stripes-earning, teeth-cutting, dues-paying mentality that stifles growth.
One of the ways you’ll be able to succeed in attracting exceptional talent is by showing that you strive to be a perfect meritocracy, unfettered by the requirements around age or experience.

2. Question everything but challenge selectively

Adhering solely to industry standards and best practices is a surefire way to camouflage a company in the market. Businesses strongly positioned for long-term success tend to believe adamantly that their industry’s best practices have yet to be discovered. There is an important distinction between questioning every industry assumption and assuming that every industry practice is flawed – it is a thin line between curiosity and arrogance. In the quest to innovate, leave no stone unturned. If the industry got it right, turn that stone back over.


3. Focus relentlessly on value
Proclaiming the need to focus on value may sound like a truism, but it is remarkably easy to forsake the path of substance. Businessman and author Ben Horowitz aptly said in order for a customer to switch to your product, it needs to be 10 times better than the product they are currently using. The only way to ensure this is by employing a laser focus on value and eliminating all distractions.
This demands not only discernment between value and distraction, but requires the discipline not to pursue the distraction. As a young company, you’ll face this challenge every day, and sometimes the choice is between less engaging tasks to create value or more interesting tasks destroying value. Making the choice to select substance over splash is critical in building a deep, unique product.


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New Happenings

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  • Its all about the survival of the those who can adapt. Its a mass of changes.

When you’re a start-up with few employees and few customers, it’s easy to stay on top of what customers want and what they’re getting. But as you add more customers and employees, you add links to the customer service chain.”

That creates the potential for growth and the potential for poor service along the way. That’s why creating a customer service policy and adhering to it is so important. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your clients receive excellent service every step of the way.

  1. Put your customer service policy in writing.These principles should come from you, but every employee should know what the rules are and be ready to live up to them. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something as simple as “the customer is always right” can lay the necessary groundwork, although you may want to get more detailed by saying, for instance, “any employee is empowered to grant a 10 percent discount to any dissatisfied customer at any time.”
  2. Establish support systems that give employees clear instructions for gaining and maintaining service superiority.These systems will help you outservice any competitor by giving more to customers and anticipating problems before they arise.
  3. Develop a measurement of superb customer service.Don’t forget to reward employees who practice it consistently.
  4. Be certain that your passion for customer service runs rampant throughout your company.Employees should see how good service relates to your profits and to their futures with the company.
  5. Be genuinely committed to providing more customer service excellence than anyone else in your industry.This commitment must be so powerful that every one of your customers can sense it.
  6. Share information with people on the front lines.Meet with your employees regularly to talk about improving service. Solicit ideas from employees-they are the ones who are dealing with customers most often.
  7. Act on the knowledge that what customers value most are attention, dependability, promptness and competence.They love being treated as individuals and being referred to by name.

 

Phrases That’ll Make Your Customers Happy

Principles of customer service are all very well, but you need to put those principles into action with everything you do and say.

 

There are certain “magic words” customers want to hear from you and your staff. Make sure all your employees understand the importance of these key phrases:

 

  • How can I help?”Customers want the opportunity to explain in detail what they want and need. Too often, business owners feel the desire or the obligation to guess what customers need rather than carefully listening first. By asking how you can help, you begin the dialogue on a positive note (you are “helping,” not “selling”). And by using an open-ended question, you invite discussion.
  • “I can solve that problem.”Most customers, especially business-to-business customers, are looking to buy solutions. They appreciate direct answers in a language they can understand.
  • I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”When confronted with a truly difficult question that requires research on your part, admit that you don’t know the answer. Few things ruin your credibility faster than trying to answer a question when you are unsure of all the facts. Savvy buyers may test you with a question they know you can’t answer and then just sit quietly while you struggle to fake an intelligent reply. An honest answer enhances your integrity.
  • “I will take responsibility.”Tell your customer you realize it’s your responsibility to ensure a satisfactory outcome to the transaction. Assure the customer you know what he or she expects and will deliver the product or service at the agreed-upon price. There will be no unexpected changes or expenses required to solve the problem.
  • “I will keep you updated.”Even if your business is a cash-and-carry operation, it probably requires scheduling and coordinating numerous events. Assure your customers they will be advised of the status of these events. The longer your lead time, the more important this is. The vendors customers trust the most are those that keep them apprised of the situation, whether the news is good or bad.
  • I will deliver on time.”A due date that has been agreed upon is a promise that must be kept. “Close” doesn’t count.
  • Monday means Monday.”The first week in July means the first week in July, even though it contains a national holiday. Your clients are waiting to hear you say “I deliver on time.” The supplier who consistently does so is a rarity and will be remembered.
  • It’ll be just what you ordered.”It will not be “similar to,” and it will not be “better than” what was ordered. It will be exactly what was ordered. Even if you believe a substitute would be in the client’s best interests, that’s a topic for discussion, not something you decide on your own. Your customer may not know (or be at liberty to explain) all the ramifications of the purchase.
  • The job will be complete.”Assure the customer there will be no waiting for a final piece or a last document. Never say you are finished “except for….”
  • “I appreciate your business.“This means more than a simple “Thanks for the order.” Genuine appreciation involves follow-up calls, offering to answer questions, making sure everything is performing satisfactorily, and ascertaining that the original problem has been solved.

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Neglecting any of these steps conveys the impression that you were interested in the person only until the sale was made. This leaves the buyer feeling deceived and used, and creates ill will and negative advertising for your company. Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations and repeat sales.

 

Never Let Your Customers Forget You


One important tool for generating repeat business is following up. Effective follow-up begins immediately after the sale when you call the customer to say “thank you” and find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service. Beyond this, there are several effective ways to follow up that ensure your business is always in the customer’s mind.

  • Let customers know what you are doing for them. This can be in the form of a newsletter mailed to existing customers, or it can be more informal, such as a phone call. Whatever method you use, the key is to dramatically point out to customers the excellent service you are giving them. If you never mention all the things you are doing for them, customers may not notice. You aren’t being cocky when you talk to customers about all the work you have done to please them. Just make a phone call and let them know they don’t have to worry because you handled the paperwork, called the attorney or double-checked on the shipment-one less thing they have to do.
  • Write old customers personal, handwritten notes frequently.“I was just sitting at my desk and your name popped into my head. Are you still having a great time flying all over the country? Let me know if you need another set of luggage. I can stop by with our latest models any time.” Or if you run into an old customer at an event, follow up with a note: “It was great seeing you at the CDC Christmas party. I’ll call you early in the New Year to schedule a lunch.”
  • Keep it personal.Voice mail and e-mail make it easy to communicate, but the personal touch is often lost. If you’re having trouble getting through to someone whose problem requires that personal touch, leave a voice-mail message that you want to talk to the person directly or will stop by his or her office at a designated time.
  • Remember special occasions.Send regular customers birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards…you name it. Gifts are excellent follow-up tools, too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care; use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business, the customer’s business or his or her recent purchase.
  • Pass on information.If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization a customer might be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know.
  • Consider follow-up calls as business development calls.When you talk to or visit old clients or customers, you’ll often find they have referrals to give you, which can lead to new business.

With all your existing customers can do for you, there’s simply no reason not to stay in regular contact with them. Use your imagination, and you’ll think of plenty of other ideas that can help you develop a lasting relationship.

 

Dealing With Unsatisfied Customers

Studies show that the vast majority of unsatisfied customers will never come right out and tell you they’re unsatisfied. They simply leave quietly, later telling everyone they know not to do business with you. So when a customer complains, don’t think of it as a nuisance-think of it as a golden opportunity to change that customer’s mind and retain his or her business.

Even the best product or service receives complaints now and then. Here’s how to handle them for positive results:

 

  • Let customers vent their feelings. Encourage them to get their frustrations out in the open.
  • Never argue with a customer.
  • Never tell a customer “You do not have a problem.” Those are fighting words.
  • Share your point of view as politely as you can.
  • Take responsibility for the problem. Don’t make excuses. If an employee was sick or a supplier let you down, that’s not the customer’s concern.
  • Immediately take action to remedy the situation. Promising a solution and then delaying it only makes matters worse.
  • Empower your front-line employees to be flexible in resolving complaints. Give employees some leeway in deciding when to bend the rules. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, make sure they have you or another manager handle the situation.

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Uniquely world

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What we are gonna be seeing is more and more organisations that use technology like sales force, cloud base technologies like social mobile, data science, to bring together their employee, their patients and other partners outside the organisation.

A lot of the software that powers companies is decades old, expensive and not intuitive to operate. If you use Salesforce or SAP, you know how convoluted those systems are.”

From long-time employees who still remember green-screen terminals to 20-somethings who think all of this sounds archaic, a 2-year-old company named Sapho is working to make basic tasks easier for everyone. Sapho aims to bypass all of the gobbledygook and behave more like your favorite social networking apps.

After nearly two decades of founding and selling companies, Peter Yared and Fouad EINaggar met in late 2011 when they began executive roles at CBS Interactive. Yared, brought on as CIO/CTO, had a technical background designing internet infrastructure. EINaggar, on the business operations side, had spent seven years as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

In 2014, they founded Sapho, and today, they are announcing the Sapho Micro App Platform. It allows companies to build applications that serve specific functions, such as prompting a business owner to sign a contract or approve a product discount. Sapho taps into behemoth software systems such as Salesforce, SAP, Omniture, Oracle and Workday and acts as a liaison between the information they contain and the employee who needs that information.

Users don’t have to log in to a hard-to-decipher interface and navigate to the data they need. Sapho anticipates users’ needs and pushes notifications to them when they need to fulfill a particular duty, such as approving an employee’s vacation time, according to the company.

Sapho allows clients to pay based on the number of monthly active users of its software ($2 to $10, depending on company size). Clients include Turner, Google and the founders’ former employer, CBS Interactive, among others, and the company just completed a $9.5 million series A funding round.

Yared and EINaggar have faced skepticism from those who have mastered legacy software or are reluctant to add a third party into the mix. But the reality is, most people in a given company have little concept of what enterprise software is for or how to harness it to their advantage.

In an interview with Entrepreneur, the founders explained how they came up with the idea for Sapho and how they approach legacy tech users – by respecting rather than dismissing those who are set in their ways.

What is your approach to modernizing business software?

Fouad EINaggar, Sapho co-founder and CEO: Workflows on enterprise software haven’t changed in 30 years. Salesforce today looks just Siebel did in 1999, Workday today looks just like PeopleSoft in 1998. You’ve got to think about what you want, you’ve got to remember where it is, you’ve got to log in somewhere and then you’ve got to navigate a piece of software that looks like a tax form.

Things like Google Now, Siri and Facebook, they’re telling us that there’s a new way. Systems are figuring out what’s relevant to you in advance and pushing it to you before you even know that you need it.

Sapho offers a simplified mobile interface that prompts employees to complete essential tasks without logging in to and navigating large enterprise software systems.

 

What is a micro app?

EINaggar: A micro app is a small piece of a bigger app. There are 8 million features in an HR system, but one thing that everyone has to do is approve vacation time. I don’t need to log into a system that has 8 million features to go and do this one thing.

There’s a photocopier in your office right now. It’s got a million buttons on the left. Someone in your office knows how to use that thing like a Ferrari. They can print out 30 double-sided color-copies that are pre-stapled. I do not know how to use any of those buttons. I walk up to a copier and I just want to push a green button, make my copy and move on. And that’s what we do. These micro apps are the green button on the copier.

We’re not necessarily replacing things. We’re making things that people have already spent money on more useful.

 

How did your background experience, founding various companies and working at CBS Interactive, pave the way for Sapho?

Peter Yared, Sapho co-founder and CTO:CBS had bought a series of companies, and the technology was a little long in the tooth. Fouad joined just after me to run the business operations there, and we met each other very early. Our offices were next to each other. We brought in modern software, and we really enjoyed working together and partnered well together, and we were like, we should go solve this problem.

EINaggar: We’re both really strong personalities. Peter is a technical genius who hasn’t really had a great business partner on the other side. And I’m, what would you say, Peter, an above-mediocre business person? (Laughs.) I’ve never really had a great technical partner.

At CBS, Peter and I sat down and were like, “Why aren’t people using this software that we’re spending money on?” We spend $300 billion a year on enterprise software and IT infrastructure, and people aren’t using it. We’re not getting increases in productivity. We’re not extracting values from these investments.

That’s what got us really excited. Changing the way people work going forward, making work different, making work better. That is a really exciting way to wake up every morning, at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and be excited about the day, be ready to tapdance to work. You’re solving something real. We’re not another laundry on-demand delivery service.

In Silicon Valley, I think people forget to respect the investments that people have made. It’s so much easier to call somebody a dinosaur than to actually think about why they’re doing things the way they are. And we were the dinosaurs when we were at CBS. When you are the dinosaur, you start realizing there’s a reason that people have to make decisions the way that they do. And our view has been, let’s respect that, let’s be pragmatic, let’s fit into the infrastructure that people have. Because people aren’t going to just rip out a billion dollars of infrastructure investment because they’re called a dinosaur. That’s just not how the world works.

Sapho’s drag-and-drop micro app builder allows companies to customize how and when employees receive data information from databases, internal web servers and other systems of record.

 

Adding a new third-party mediator into the mix requires trust. How do you mitigate those concerns?

EINaggar: I was a VC in Silicon Valley for seven years. Peter’s been in Silicon Valley for three decades. Everyone there is living in the future. We had lots of friends come to CBS being like, “Can you guys deploy my awesome solution?” and then be like, “We’re gonna punch a hole in your firewall,” or “Don’t worry, we’re gonna download all of your ERP data into our public cloud.” And what we learned really quickly was that, at these big companies, that model just does not work when you’re touching mission-critical data. Security is becoming more and more of a concern.

Yared: That’s why we didn’t build this as a cloud system. Their HR and financial data is on their own database that they control. It’s harder to deploy and sell and build software that way, but it also makes the customers much, much more comfortable.

And then, some companies just don’t like to buy from startups, and others do. We have a good pedigree and a good background, and if people are like, “Hey, you’re a little too young for us,” we don’t take offense to it, we’re just like, “Well, let’s keep this conversation going.”

Adopting Sapho will require people who are set in their ways to make a change.

 

How do you address those challenges, and others, in trying to get organizations to implement Sapho and see that it will be helpful to them?

EINaggar: It’s something that we learned the hard way at CBS, where we were modernizing a lot of the infrastructure in the organization.

You know, you have people who are as legacy as the legacy systems. We’ve got one customer that, the CEO of the company is a wizard on that green-screen terminal. I mean, the guy knows how to do everything he wants on it. In fact, he got them to build an emulator on his iPad of the green-screen terminal so he knows how it works!

And so, when we thought about Sapho, we said, OK, how are we going to get around that? Millennials don’t like using Salesforce, because it’s a piece of crap. They don’t like going onto a green-screen terminal. They can’t even comprehend that things like this still exist, but we find them at Fortune 100 companies all the time.

We remember an era when you had to load software onto your machine with a cassette, or with a floppy disc. You have a new generation of employees whose whole concept of loading software is an app store. Where they just go and they download Instagram, it takes one second, and they take a picture and type a sentence and it magically goes out to their social networks. They didn’t need a training session for half a day. They didn’t need a manual that’s 800 pages. It just works.

People at these organizations start using the micro app, and they go, “oh, God, this is so easy.” And that’s how we start expanding in an organization.

That power user, they’re still going to go in, and they’re still going to use their Salesforce. They’re still going to go into their SAP. And more power to them. We don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s about 15 minutes to success. We want to make it very easy for people to drop this in, connect it to their system and start building these micro apps. And that only happens if you respect the infrastructure that people have spent trillions of dollars on.

This interview has been edited.


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The Latest News Developments in Strategy Practise
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News Section Including Companies and Bank Reviews

Connecting Successes

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In challenge, success is based on others success.

The adage that two brains are better than one may explain why a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners,  create partnerships. However, it’s not just those brains that should work well together. Partners’ personalities need to get along too.

As a serial entrepreneur who’s launched many companies, making a number of partnerships in the long way could bring the learning of some priceless lessons when creating those partnerships.

Among the most helpful tips that I’ve discovered is making sure that you get along with your business partner. It’s important to find someone who complements your skills, but don’t underestimate the importance liking one another.

Communication is another big part of a business relationship

There’s a great article from earlier this year about a long-lasting business partnership and communication is a theme that runs throughout.

You can learn many things about creating and maintaining partnerships during this past two decades. Although there are dozens of tips, here are five key lessons:

  • Partnership agreements: As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been burned by not having the right agreements in place. It’s important for business partners to have clear partnership agreements drafted by attorneys.
  • Clear expectations: I’ve also learned the hard way that people, including business partners, can’t read my mind. I believe business partners should consistently set their expectations with each other.
  • Think about your clients: When evaluating a potential business partnership, I look at my weaknesses and what I need help with. I also think about my clients and what type of partnership would benefit them.
  • Mutually beneficial: It might sound obvious, but still should be noted. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial. In my experience, both sides need to gain something from the relationship for it to be worthwhile.
  • It’s ok to walk away: Like any relationship, a business partnership holds a great deal of promise. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out. That’s alright. Don’t stay in a business partnership if you believe it’s no longer viable. I’ve learned that it’s better to end the partnership and regroup than to force something that’s not working.

“For a better understanding to how to get started in achieving good partnerships, is taking in consideration the history in the early 1700s when workers gave way to machine operations and then the 1800s Henry Ford in mass production changed manufacturing forever, then came robotics, computers, lean manufacturing and the lean sigma. “

Each success is connected to get products out the door and now we got a connected understanding.


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The Latest News On Contemporary Developments in Business Strategy Practise

Accelerated processes

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Every step of complex inquiring

Achieve to order smarter to proactive customers, partner and distributor engagement, to be both together in global collaboration across experts anywhere.A point to the increase of profitability with faster CPO and higher margin for better solutions.

When you’re a start-up with few employees and few customers, it’s easy to stay on top of what customers want and what they’re getting.

But as you add more customers and employees, you add links to the customer service chain. That creates the potential for growth and the potential for poor service along the way. That’s why creating a customer service policy and adhering to it is so important.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your clients receive excellent service every step of the way.

  1. Put your customer service policy in writing. These principles should come from you, but every employee should know what the rules are and be ready to live up to them. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something as simple as “the customer is always right” can lay the necessary groundwork, although you may want to get more detailed by saying, for instance, “any employee is empowered to grant a 10 percent discount to any dissatisfied customer at any time.”
  2. Establish support systems that give employees clear instructions for gaining and maintaining service superiority.These systems will help you outservice any competitor by giving more to customers and anticipating problems before they arise.
  3. Develop a measurement of superb customer service.Don’t forget to reward employees who practice it consistently.
  4. Be certain that your passion for customer service runs rampant throughout your company. Employees should see how good service relates to your profits and to their futures with the company.
  5. Be genuinely committed to providing more customer service excellence than anyone else in your industry.This commitment must be so powerful that every one of your customers can sense it.
  6. Share information with people on the front lines.Meet with your employees regularly to talk about improving service. Solicit ideas from employees-they are the ones who are dealing with customers most often.
  7. Act on the knowledge that what customers value most are attention, dependability, promptness and competence.They love being treated as individuals and being referred to by name.

 

Phrases That’ll Make Your Customers Happy


Principles of customer service are all very well, but you need to put those principles into action with everything you do and say. There are certain “magic words” customers want to hear from you and your staff. Make sure all your employees understand the importance of these key phrases:

  • “How can I help?”Customers want the opportunity to explain in detail what they want and need. Too often, business owners feel the desire or the obligation to guess what customers need rather than carefully listening first. By asking how you can help, you begin the dialogue on a positive note (you are “helping,” not “selling”). And by using an open-ended question, you invite discussion.
  • I can solve that problem.”Most customers, especially business-to-business customers, are looking to buy solutions. They appreciate direct answers in a language they can understand.
  • I don’t know, but I’ll find out.When confronted with a truly difficult question that requires research on your part, admit that you don’t know the answer. Few things ruin your credibility faster than trying to answer a question when you are unsure of all the facts. Savvy buyers may test you with a question they know you can’t answer and then just sit quietly while you struggle to fake an intelligent reply. An honest answer enhances your integrity.
  • I will take responsibility.”Tell your customer you realize it’s your responsibility to ensure a satisfactory outcome to the transaction. Assure the customer you know what he or she expects and will deliver the product or service at the agreed-upon price. There will be no unexpected changes or expenses required to solve the problem.
  • I will keep you updated.”Even if your business is a cash-and-carry operation, it probably requires scheduling and coordinating numerous events. Assure your customers they will be advised of the status of these events. The longer your lead time, the more important this is. The vendors customers trust the most are those that keep them apprised of the situation, whether the news is good or bad.
  • I will deliver on time.”A due date that has been agreed upon is a promise that must be kept. “Close” doesn’t count.
  • Monday means Monday.”The first week in July means the first week in July, even though it contains a national holiday. Your clients are waiting to hear you say “I deliver on time.” The supplier who consistently does so is a rarity and will be remembered.
  • It’ll be just what you ordered.”It will not be “similar to,” and it will not be “better than” what was ordered. It will be exactly what was ordered. Even if you believe a substitute would be in the client’s best interests, that’s a topic for discussion, not something you decide on your own. Your customer may not know (or be at liberty to explain) all the ramifications of the purchase.
  • The job will be complete.”Assure the customer there will be no waiting for a final piece or a last document. Never say you are finished “except for….”
  • “I appreciate your business.”This means more than a simple “Thanks for the order.” Genuine appreciation involves follow-up calls, offering to answer questions, making sure everything is performing satisfactorily, and ascertaining that the original problem has been solved.

Neglecting any of these steps conveys the impression that you were interested in the person only until the sale was made. This leaves the buyer feeling deceived and used, and creates ill will and negative advertising for your company. Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations and repeat sales.

 

Never Let Your Customers Forget You


One important tool for generating repeat business is following up. Effective follow-up begins immediately after the sale when you call the customer to say “thank you” and find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service. Beyond this, there are several effective ways to follow up that ensure your business is always in the customer’s mind.

  • Let customers know what you are doing for them.This can be in the form of a newsletter mailed to existing customers, or it can be more informal, such as a phone call. Whatever method you use, the key is to dramatically point out to customers the excellent service you are giving them. If you never mention all the things you are doing for them, customers may not notice. You aren’t being cocky when you talk to customers about all the work you have done to please them. Just make a phone call and let them know they don’t have to worry because you handled the paperwork, called the attorney or double-checked on the shipment-one less thing they have to do.
  • Write old customers personal, handwritten notes frequently.I was just sitting at my desk and your name popped into my head. Are you still having a great time flying all over the country? Let me know if you need another set of luggage. I can stop by with our latest models any time.” Or if you run into an old customer at an event, follow up with a note: “It was great seeing you at the CDC Christmas party. I’ll call you early in the New Year to schedule a lunch.”
  • Keep it personal.Voice mail and e-mail make it easy to communicate, but the personal touch is often lost. If you’re having trouble getting through to someone whose problem requires that personal touch, leave a voice-mail message that you want to talk to the person directly or will stop by his or her office at a designated time.
  • Remember special occasions.Send regular customers birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards…you name it. Gifts are excellent follow-up tools, too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care; use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business, the customer’s business or his or her recent purchase.
  • Pass on information.If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization a customer might be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know.
  • Consider follow-up calls as business development calls.When you talk to or visit old clients or customers, you’ll often find they have referrals to give you, which can lead to new business.

With all your existing customers can do for you, there’s simply no reason not to stay in regular contact with them. Use your imagination, and you’ll think of plenty of other ideas that can help you develop a lasting relationship.

 

Dealing With Unsatisfied Customers


Studies show that the vast majority of unsatisfied customers will never come right out and tell you they’re unsatisfied. They simply leave quietly, later telling everyone they know not to do business with you. So when a customer complains, don’t think of it as a nuisance-think of it as a golden opportunity to change that customer’s mind and retain his or her business.

Even the best product or service receives complaints now and then. Here’s how to handle them for positive results:

  • Let customers vent their feelings. Encourage them to get their frustrations out in the open.
  • Never argue with a customer.
  • Never tell a customer “You do not have a problem.” Those are fighting words.
  • Share your point of view as politely as you can.
  • Take responsibility for the problem. Don’t make excuses. If an employee was sick or a supplier let you down, that’s not the customer’s concern.
  • Immediately take action to remedy the situation. Promising a solution and then delaying it only makes matters worse.
  • Empower your front-line employees to be flexible in resolving complaints. Give employees some leeway in deciding when to bend the rules. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, make sure they have you or another manager handle the situation.

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Competitive forces

 

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The level at which a business can “engage” its employees is what determines its internal success. Yet, employee engagement has consistently averaged less than 33 percent over the past four years, according to Gallup survey of more than 80,000 adults in the United States.”

Still, the root of the problem isn’t simply a lack of effort. Rather, many leaders are not even making employee engagement a priority – they’re not, well, engaging with engagement.

Here are four ways leaders can improve on that goal:

 

1. Make employee engagement an ongoing effort

Many people in charge get into the habit of analyzing employee engagement as a “one-and-done” process. In fact, 98 percent of CEOs only look at annual employee engagement surveys once a year and don’t discuss the matter with their employees.

An ongoing effort has to begin on day one. Instead of in-person onboarding programs that put new hires to sleep, incorporate technology like CovertHR to build engagement into even the earliest stages of the employee life cycle. CovertHR online activities allow employees to have fun and socialize while they’re completing tasks.

When new team members are introduced to an engaged environment and process, they feel more comfortable amplifying an engaged culture.

 

2. Don’t dump problems on HR.

The lack of employee engagement is as much an employer’s problem as it is HR’s. So, why are a majority leaders relying on HR to fix the problem? The Motivosity survey indicated that 70 percent of CEOs surveyed were delegating culture and engagement problems to HR.

Not surprisingly, it takes an engaged team to be actively involved in fixing employee-engagement issues. Instead of just assigning tasks to HR to fix, involve managers and employees who possess natural engaging characteristics. Present the problem and brainstorm together to come up with solutions that benefit everyone. Instead of delaying the process, or having HR come seeking approval for changes, be involved in the solution yourself.

 

3. Make employee engagement engaging

It’s no secret – leaders acknowledge just how important employee feedback is. In fact, a survey by Waggl Human Capital Pulse found that 97 percent of the business leaders, HR leaders and consultants among the 500,000 interviewed said they believed that listening to employees and incorporating their ideas was critical to an organization’s success.

Additionally, only a minority (38 percent) agreed that hearing from employees once a year through an annual survey is sufficient to give organizations the timely insights they need.

So, the message is that leaders do recognize listening to employees as being important, yet the way they typically do that is inefficient.

Instead of sending out a survey (that no one responds to), start with an open discussion with employees. Let people freely speak their minds, and take notes on the feedback they offer. Hearing what people genuinely have to say will help you kick employee engagement off to a positive start.

At the same time, be mindful of those who are less comfortable in a large group setting. After the forum concludes, send out an anonymous survey giving these employees the chance to elaborate on topics they weren’t comfortable saying in front of a group.

To take employee engagement yet a step further, management and coworkers should engage on a personal level. As the company leader, put yourself in situations that will allow you to engage in activities that work for the company’s culture. Consider small-group lunches that have a “no work talk: rule.

Or do what Namely CEO regularly Matt Straz does: move your desk to be in the middle of the action with the team.

 

4. Encourage risk-taking.

A company is only as good as the employees behind it. That is why employers should promote innovation on a regular basis. Do this at your company by presenting problems to your teams; give them the opportunity to take risks (and don’t reprimand them for failures).

A fun and productive way to do this is to present the same problem to different teams and prompt them to solve it. Each team can then present its solution to the entire group, with the group offering feedback and constructive criticism, and receiving in return exposure to new perspectives and improved-upon ideas.

This key theme of todays message is that you really need to get behind the value chain collaboration and execution and to do that you have to focus on the front engagement for faster results. This engagement will rub off on employees and ultimately create a more productive work environment that allows constant collaboration – making employees feel engaged all-year-round.

What are other ways leaders can improve employee engagement?

 

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Infrastructure spending is often debated as a political issue, but the underlying economic case for investing in new roads shouldn’t be controversial.”

Thanks to traffic, American commuters spend an extra 6.9 billion hours in their cars every year, burning 3.1 billion gallons of gasoline as they idle. More importantly, 40,000 drivers die on highways annually, a toll that could be reduced through safer design. Thus, as investing in infrastructure could make the US safer and more productive, the need for new highways shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

Improving to Meet Growing Demands

The last major infrastructure spending bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was a stimulus measure designed to spur aggregate demand for labor and materials. Now that the economy has nearly recovered from the Great Recession, there isn’t as great a need for legislation to prop up the labor market. Instead, the next infrastructure bill should focus on increasing the supply of labor and goods available to businesses and consumers.

Improving the country’s transportation grid will likely increase the economy’s potential for future growth. When workers can’t commute rapidly from the suburbs into dense city centers, the nation’s most dynamic labor markets begin to stagnate. Similarly, if finished goods can’t be transported quickly to customers, shipping bottlenecks will impose drags on manufacturers.

With more people driving to work than ever before, the carrying capacity of the nation’s roads is increasingly coming under strain. Faster commutes will increase the supply of available labor—the less time people spend stuck in traffic, the more hours they’ll have available to work. The total cost of US highway congestion is estimated to top $160 billion annually, which will rise further as the population grows. Considering that the combined state and federal highway budget totals only $280 billion, there appears to be substantial potential returns on aggressive infrastructure investment.

Politics vs. Economics

While the economics of infrastructure investment are clear, the politics are more complicated. Since the beneficiaries of transportation projects are often far removed from the actual construction, almost all new highway investment is funded at the federal level. For example, relatively few people might visit west Texas, but all American consumers benefit from the goods that flow across the continent on the federally funded Interstate 10. Regional transit improvements provide the same diffuse impact—a Manhattanite may never cross the George Washington Bridge, but will still benefit from living in a labor market that draws talent across state lines.

Using the revenues from federal fuel taxes to fund new construction allows states to share the cost of projects that benefit the entire economy. However, it also makes highway funding vulnerable to the political gridlock that inevitably afflicts all federal spending measures.

The Highway Trust Fund has been depleted, and today’s insufficient outlays for construction already exceed revenues by $10 billion annually. Increased spending will require either raising fuel taxes or adding to the deficit, neither of which will likely be popular on Capitol Hill.

Supply-side economics may have fallen out of favor, but it’s still applicable for infrastructure spending. Borrowing to fund projects today that will increase the economy’s growth rate for decades to come makes sense. Deficit spending on infrastructure should be expected to pay for itself by increasing the tax base over time.

Technology’s Role

Technology promises to improve the efficiency of our existing transportation infrastructure, even if federal funding never materializes. “Smart” technology could improve the carrying capacity of our highways by coordinating signals to keep traffic flowing.

Optimization algorithms for public transit could deploy buses and trains more efficiently during rush hour, and improving communications technology is making telecommuting an option for more workers, reducing the number of commuters on the road. And unlike building physical infrastructure, technological projects will likely be adapted as public-private partnerships, financed by municipal or corporate bonds. As a result, gridlock in Washington may inspire creative solutions on the local level.”

Quality habits

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Voice Power

 

It’s the morning of the big call.

You prepared your material and went to bed early- even if you didn’t get much sleep. Now you hover near the phone, waiting for it to ring, thinking about everything that might prevent you from establishing a great rapport. Maybe he’ll sound like Elmer Fudd. Or, worse, maybe you will.

Either way, an important connection is about to be made, sight unseen. And your voice will play a big role. How can you prevent your voice from sabotaging everything from business calls to presentations? Use these tips for working your voice, instead of letting it work you.

 

1. Rise and try to shine

After getting out of bed, head to the bathroom for some warm-ups. Look at yourself in the mirror and take deep breaths. Are your shoulders rising as you inhale? Don’t let them. Stand straight, relax and let your breath come in down low. It should feel like it’s entering your body around your waist, not being pulled down your throat.

 

2. Keep it up

Not only does slouching look like you couldn’t care less, but it also prevents your lungs from filling up. Full lungs keep your voice from cracking, make you sound more powerful and keep you from running out of air. When you realize you’re hunched over while on the phone, sit back and straighten your spine to allow more energy to come across.

 

3. Support can be beautiful

Some people are blessed with resonant voices like James Earl Jones or Lauren Bacall. Most of us aren’t. But rather than throwing in the towel, try wrapping it around your waist. Breathe in low and gently expand your abs and obliques. Relax, let go and pretend the towel is like the waistline of your sweatpants. You can feel it grow a little wider.

Then open up and say “Ah.” Now repeat. This time, use your abs to expand your waist. You’ll also feel the downward push of your lower abs. Say “Ah” once more, and as you expand, you’ll hear the sound get stronger. Use this technique for more volume and a stronger sound.

 

4.Open up

When you get nervous, your voice gets squeaky and high. Not the confident image you want to project. And the more you try and control it by force, the more you start to lose it altogether. The cure: breathing low, gently using your lower abs to push down and relax. And always let your throat be open and free of tension. An open throat protects your voice and produces a richer sound.

 

5. Variety is key

Want to control your whole audience? Speak in a monotone voice, and you can send a group of 2,000 people off to dreamland. Especially when working by phone, that dead air may not be your client pondering. Try listening for snoring. To prevent this, remember the “four P’s” of vocal variety:

  • Pace: Speak too fast and it sounds like you’re nervous or a used car salesman trying to pull a fast one. If the pace is too slow, you’re going to sound like the village idiot.
  • Pitch: Pit your voice too low and nobody will hear you. Speak too high and you sound nervous.
  • Pauses: Build them into your speech–sparingly. If pauses are too short, it’ll sound like you’re scrambling for words. But a few well-timed pauses create a sense of intrigue and curiosity.
  • Passion: This all-important quality will be the biggest selling point you have. Love your topic.

 

6. Get rid of nasality

There’s a problem if your voice sounds disturbingly like Fran Drescher’s. If you’re a whiner, try this: yawn. Feel your mouth open wide. You won’t feel that kind of space if you’re nasal. The soft palate -a flap of skin on the back of the roof of your mouth-lifts and allows air to float up into every chamber of your head, resulting in a full, resonant sound. It’s like a little trap door that can open and close. Conversely, when the soft palate lowers, the air stream is blocked off from the head, and the air can only pass out of the nose.

For a quick fix, say “Ing- Ah.” Elide the “Ing” right into the “Ah,” and don’t break them into two sounds. Feel what’s happening inside your mouth. On “Ing,” the back of your tongue is pressed up against the soft palate and no air can get into your head. It’s nasal. When you say “Ah,” the tongue peels down from the roof and allows the sound to lift.

 

7. Modify your accent

How boring the world would be if we all sounded the same. But if your native tongue gets in the way of communication, you should correct it. The process used to be called accent “elimination,” but “modification” is a more accurate term. Spend a few sessions with a voice coach who can give you the basic sounds of English, help you pronounce its most confusing words and model them for you, face-to-face.

 

8. Tune your tone

Being able to adjust your tone to any situation is paramount to successful business communication. If you do sound monotonous, ineffectual or annoying, you may lose a client. If your tone is lackluster, they think you’re bored. If you sound angry or bullying, that aggressive style can put them off. But if you’re able to suit your tone to any occasion, you’ll win the day. Learn how to sound passionate even if you’d rather be anywhere else.

 

9. Leave it at the beep

Leaving a great voice-mail message is essential. If you sound positive, polished and professional, people will get a wonderful “first vocal impression.” Leave your name clearly. Spell it if you have to. Leave your phone number, twice. Tell them briefly what you can do for them. Let them know when you can be reached, or ask them the best time for you to call back. Be brief, but not vague.

 

10. It is, actually, about you

The most important tip is to be authentic. Take time to find what’s unique about you- your sense of humor, your newfound confidence, your persona.

Stop trying to sound like a phony announcer.

Mastering these tips for voice power will soon become second nature. And if your potential client does sound like Elmer Fudd, well, know that your newfound vocal skills will make an excellent first impression. Weally.

Douglas Anderson is president of Your Voice Coach, a consultancy whose clients range from startups to Fortune 500 companies. His detailed programs and list of services can be found on his website,www.yourvoicecoach.com.

 

A healthy economy

 How should a sustainable, universally economy look like?



 

“A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow” sais Oxford economist, Kate Raworth.

 

 

 

Europe’s Road to Growth

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(https://on.ft.com/2J9CRe1The Financial Times is looking for 100 European companies, individuals and organisations that are taking advantage of new technologies in groundbreaking ways.

“There are fears that Europe is falling behind in digital transformation, just as the so-called fourth industrial evolution begins to change the business models of traditional industries in noticeable ways”, 

Patrick McGee wrote for the Digital Economy section in the Financial Times June edition. The predicted efficiency gains from the adoption of new technology are so great that, at first glance, they appear to be typos. PwC, for instance, forecasts the shift to contribute as much as 14 per cent to global GDP gains by 2030 — or “about $15tn in today’s value”.

However, digitalisation has so far been patchy. According to PwC, two-thirds of the 1,155 global manufacturing companies they surveyed “have just started or have not yet embarked on their digital transformation”.

Europe, in particular, is lagging behind: just 5 per cent of manufacturers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) are “digital champions,” PwC says, versus 11 per cent in the Americas and 19 per cent in Asia-Pacific. On the other hand, Europe has strong foundations in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptography, says Siraj Khaliq, a partner at Atomico, a technology investment group, which compiles an annual report, The State of European Tech.

Over the past two years, he says, industry has been increasingly tapping into these innovations with small acquisitions happening all the time.

The trajectory is very strong for these areas, especially with government policies of encouraging entrepreneurship with tax breaks and other measures,

Mr Khaliq adds.

More than 30 national and regional initiatives for digitalising industry have been launched across the continent over the past few years.

The FT is compiling a list of Europe’s best examples of digital transformation

Find out how to get involved.

Please see details below for how to nominate a digital transformation champion to be considered for this list on ft.com/2J9CRe1 #FTEuropeGrowth.”

 


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