Unplug-matrix

#Unplug : To Be Productive in Your Work, You Must Take Downtime


The 40-hour work-week is dead — some employees are coming closer to 24/7

Are you disengaged at work? Only 1 in 3 Americans are actively engaged. The irony is that employees are working more hours and powered by more technology than ever.

Unplug eBook#Unplug: How to Work Hard and Still Have a Life (Fast Company 2013), takes on the issue of how work and technology are impacting our overall life. The eBook explores how and why to untether yourself from technology throughout the workday, on weekends, and on vacation without undoing your life or career.

The 40-hour work-week is dead. The culprit is the trifecta of increased post-recession employment competition, close interdependency of global markets and perpetual demands for higher productivity. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

At the same time, our conditioned desire for evermore seems insatiable. A study of 1,000 professional, 9 of 10 said making their personal life a higher priority was important. And yet when asked which they’d take, a $10,000-a-year raise or an hour more each day to spend with their family, 8 of 10 took the cash.

A Word-Wide Phenomenon

Unfortunately, this is global phenomenon. European countries are struggling to keep their work-week standards. In Japan, there were 160 official cases of Karōshi, or “death from overwork,” and another 43 people committed work-related suicide.
Paradoxically, technology was supposed to help us be more productive, yet it has enabled being on call 24/7/365:

  • Unplug-matrix79% of 18 to 44-year-olds have their phone on or near them for 22 hours of the day—IDC
  • 72% of parents use a mobile device during the family meal—NPR
  • 67% routinely check phones even when their phone is not ringing or vibrating—Pew Research

We can’t blame it all on work; it’s a matter of personal accountability.

What is driving our obsessive behavior?

Unplug Feat#Unplug unveils an obscure suspect: Fear. That is, fear of missing out, fear of real-time market or competitor knowledge and the illusive fear of living your life. A psychologist at the National Center for Preventive and Stress Medicine who counseled others on the impacts of stress, was blind to his own. When he was confronted by his young son, he embarked on deep soul searching. Asking himself why he’s so driven that he overworks, he finally realized “I’m afraid of being a father.”

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that if you fit into this category, you will deny it. If you do accept it, you’ll deceptively convince yourself that you’re only hurting yourself. Most of us won’t change until a crisis occurs, but you don’t have to wait for that. #Unplug dares us to take time away from work and technology, in order to live simpler lives—and ultimately be more productive in life and at work.

@RamiroRoman

This article was published in PM360 magazine.  

 

5 Questions to Elevate Your Mid-Year Review


Self Evaluation
How would you rate your performance this year?  It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost mid-year.  Don’t let this milestone get away from you; this is a great time to reflect on what’s working and not in your performance.  But while it’s easy and customary to focus on the year-to-date metrics versus objectives, my challenge to you is to use this milestone as a platform to drive a broader and more strategic conversation with your leadership.  Think about it, the metrics are black and white and there’s little you can do to change them now – but if you focus on the strategy, you can meaningfully impact your and your organization’s performance for the back half.

 Strategy V Tactics MatrixTo help you self-diagnose and prepare for your discussion, here are 5 questions for your mid-year:

 

  1. Why do you believe your strategy is still valid?  Who cares if you knocked out your tactics if the strategy is off!  Reminds me of the strategy matrix which shows that if you’re executing very well on the wrong strategy you’re just killing yourself faster.
  1. How has the market evolved?  Time to reevaluate your macro trends assumptions.  Ideally, these should not dramatically change, but there are always surprises.
  1. How has the competitive landscape changed?  Consider shifts from complementary, replacement or substitute entrants.
  1. How can the relevancy and differentiation of your value proposition with your target audience be improved? Talk to you customers to validate before you answer this one.
  1. What was your biggest opportunity cost?  You’ll never have a scientific answer, but if you think about where you spent most of your time and budget with little result the Pareto Principle will highlight your opportunity.

Mid YearMid-year is a great time to reassess and if need be change direction while still leaving enough time to make a difference in your performance this year.  Answers these questions and you’ll drive better discussions with your teams.  More importantly, the answers should shift your behavior and position you for improved performance this year.

@RamiroRoman

Unleash

Unleash Your Talent’s Limitless Potential


What if you could automate data collection of employee behavioral, qualitative and performance in real time?  Imagine the impact on employee satisfaction, best practice sharing and productivity. This is not the future—you can do this today. The possibilities are limited only by your organization’s willingness to embrace a new competitive paradigm.

The Decoded CompanyThe Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers (February 2014, Penguin Group) masterfully lays out a roadmap towards this vision. Through first-hand experience and case studies, authors Leerom Segal, Aaron Goldstein, Jay Goldman and Rahaf Harfoush, demonstrate how data is currently being leveraged to achieve better outcomes. Think Big Data meets decision support inside your organization.

At the core of the book is the belief that talent is not only our greatest asset but also our greatest competitive advantage. This makes a ton of sense, especially in our dynamic healthcare industry where the market and competitors are unpredictable a few years down the road. Still, growth targets demand we must control what we can and optimize every single resource to reach our objectives. Remarkably, in our search for outcomes and results, we often overlook the most obvious and potentially best investment—our people.

The Decoded Company lays out a framework to structure our approach:

Technology as a Coach: Transform technology to engage, motivate, and train your people. Think hyper-personalization, from the training you really need, to the style of training that you learn best from, to sharing best practices as you’re facing similar issues in real time.

Data as a Sixth Sense: The ability to pair analytics with instincts to gain a perspective that’s grounded in data but tempered by experience. Remove personal bias, blind spots and knowledge gaps by providing contextual analytics in real time, yet at the same time, allowing the person to make the final, now well-informed decision.

Engineered Ecosystems: Provide quantitative feedback about behaviors, beliefs, attitudes and values that currently exist in your company. The opportunity for culture is to supercharge speed: Quantify, evaluate, correct or support, and monitor. Culture is treated as a living organism that can be leveraged for competitiveness.

location_basedI have to admit—at first pass this smelled like “Big Brother.” But as I read on, I was reminded that companies already have most, if not all, of our digital footprint. This data is not limited to digital communications—it’s tied to our credit cards, cameras and provided through our social networks. Clearly, laws protect our identities, but in a corporate environment where you use proprietary assets or leverage proprietary networks, you are creating valuable data that can be used to improve your organization’s competitiveness.

The book simply and smartly notes that these same technologies can be used positively to make our people and organizations better and provide a competitive edge.

This article was published in PM360.

Human Centric

Marketing 3.0 by Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaha and Iwan Setiawan


Looking for big ideas to take your marketing to the next level?  Marketing 3.0 proposes a fundamental evolution to our marketing strategies.  It seeks to move our focus from product and customer models to a human-centric model.  It challenges us to evolve from pushing products to solving real world socio-cultural issues, while concurrently creating relevant value propositions that ultimately lead to higher profits.

To better understand the theory behind Marketing 3.0 it helps to place it in some context.  Marketing 1.0 was developed in the Industrial Age, a “product-centric” era focused on mass selling products through functional value propositions.  Marketing 2.0 was developed during the Information Age and adopted emotional value propositions.  The authors of Marketing 3.0 propose that we are now at the dawn of the “values-driven” era, characterized by consumers who want to satisfy functional, emotional and spiritual needs.  Marketing 3.0 seeks to satisfy the whole person – mind, body and soul.

Human CentricWhy this evolution to human-centric value propositions?  The authors point to three trends that are shaping the future of marketing.

The first trend is mass participation/ collaborative marketing.  Social media has tapped into natural human desires for connectivity and interactivity.  People not only consume media, news and entertainment, but also seek to produce its content (via blogs, FB, twitter, YouTube, etc.).  This move from consumer to “prosumer” is not simply reserved for the individual, but also enables mass to mass collaboration (think Wikipedia, Craigslist, InnoCentive).  As influencers have gained power and status, companies should seek collaborative marketing strategies; co-creation of products and services, with consumers, employees, channel partners and other firms with similar goals and values.

The second trend is global paradox. Ease of travel and technology advances have created truly “global citizens” who still want to be considered individuals.  Marketing that addresses both local and global communities will succeed. For example, marketers should seek to create micro-communities that serve the interest of its members.

The third trend is the rise of a creative society and human spirit marketing. The authors suggest that the influence and status of creative people – who generally tend to innovate, collaborate and express themselves more than others – is on the rise because the creative class pursue self-actualization and place the same demands on the products and services they consume. Marketers wishing to capitalize on this trend should focus on communicating credibility and supplying meaning to its consumers.

So how does a marketer function in Marketing 3.0?  Borrowing from Ries and Trout, the authors suggest that marketing 3.0 should be redefined as a triangle of brand, positioning and differentiation, but then build on this formula by introducing their own “3i” model, which they feel completes the connections in the Ries/Trout model.

In the Marketing 3.0 model, the 3is stand for Identity, Image and Integrity.:

  1. Identity is the relationship between positioning and brand and seeks to address the rational portion of the value proposition. In Marketing 3.0, the key here is how you address the mind, the consumer’s rational thoughts about the brand.
  2. Image lies at the juncture of differentiation and brand, and strives to capture the emotions of the target audience. Here the key here is how you address the consumer’s heart – what they feel about the brand, themselves, the category, etc.
  3. Integrity is the intersection of positioning and differentiation and aims to authentically fulfill the brand promise and foster trust. This is the “newest” of the three “I”s, and speaks to such issues as authenticity and soul – of the consumer and the product.

At first glance Marketing 3.0 appears overly ambitious. The idea of addressing the whole person – and doing so on a global scale –  is difficult to grasp from a segmentation perspective.  However, the book provides strong evidence and references to human-centric marketing currently underway.  And I can personally vouch for the practicality of their thesis as I find myself attempting to solve both human and global concerns via our strategic alignment and collaboration with key constituents.

My only criticism of the book is the 3i model.  The section is underdeveloped and its theory is ambiguous.  Had they made this more of a “how to” chapter, explaining step-by-step how marketers could implement it, their thinking would have been much more useful.

Marketing is evolving and the stakes are higher.  If you want to differentiate, you cannot do so through tactics, you must choose a different strategy.  Marketing 3.0 can raise your thinking to the next level.

Good marketing!

This book review was published in PM360.

Dan Pink

Best Personality Type for Sales


Hire an ‘Ambivert’ or Learn to Become One

Are you in sales?  Yes, you are. Think about it, your title may not say so, but essentially you make a living selling. You may label it To sell is humaninfluencing, persuasion, cajoling, convincing, trading or exchanging—but if you use the general definition of selling: “to hand over something in exchange for money or to persuade someone of the merits of” then hopefully you’ll agree with Dan Pink, author of To Sell is Human (Riverhead Books, 2013) that we’re all in sales.

A seller’s market

In general, sales people have had a traditionally negative stereotype. The typical car salesman comes top of mind. People have associated sales roles with adjectives like pushy, sleazy, and manipulative—you get the point.

Historically, sales people could afford to take on an aggressive stance because it was a seller’s market, where the salesperson had exclusive information. In this context, the customer needed to interact with this gatekeeper. In this traditional model, extroverts— outgoing, gregarious and talkative—were hired and promoted in the sales ranks.

A buyer’s market

Pink details in his book how the sales playing field has been changed and the customer now has the advantage. Much of development has come with the advances of technology, access to information, increased global competition and consumerism.  Today, if a customer knows what they want, they can access most, if not all of the information without involving a sales person.

As the selling dynamics have shifted from seller to buyer, Pink identifies 3 key qualities a sales person must posses in the today’s environment:

1.  Attunement: fully understanding your target’s perspective as the prelude to help them

2.  Buoyancy—resilience through multiple cycles of rejections

3.  Clarity—expertise to make sense of complex situations and providing insights for problem finding

These qualities are not found in the traditionally extroverted salesperson.

The Rise of the Ambivert

A study conducted by Adam Grant, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Management developed and deployed a personality scale from 1-7.  The scores from 1-2 were considered introverts and scores from  6-7 were considered extroverts. In the middle, scores from 3 to 5 were considered ambiverts—a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.

Additionally, the study mapped personality scores to sales productivity. Quantitatively, introverts produced $120/hour, extroverts $125/hour and ambiverts $155/hour.  Surprisingly, the ambivert group that scored the highest productivity of $208/hour scored a 4 in the personality scale, right in the middle of the ambivert range.

Unlike the extremes in the scales, ambiverts know when to talk and when to listen;  when to support and when to push. They are able to manage more selling situations, customers from broader spectrums of personality and leverage both skill sets of the personality spectrum for the benefit of the sale. In short, Pink and the research conclude that ambiverts are the best personality type to sell in today’s environment.

Conclusion

The book and the accompanying study demystify the stereotype that extroverts make the best sales people. To find out where you fall on the scale, take the brief indicator at http://www.danpink.com/assessment/. The good news is that we can all work on balancing our skills and becoming better ambiverts. If you’re looking for a pragmatic how-to book to balance your personality skills, I would recommend this book, it’s a how-to manual packed with exercises in every chapter.

Published in PM360

7 Tips for Moderating a Panel

Seven Tips for Moderating an Audience-centered Panel


Have you ever attended a terribly moderated panel? Unfortunately I have, several times. Panels can be a great way to get diverse points of view on important topics from thought leaders. Yet, while the medium is widely accepted and often used, in my humble opinion it is not done well the majority of the time.

Last month, I was asked to moderate a panel on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Convention in Chicago. After the initial excitement wore off, I began to reflect on the bad panels I’ve participated in over the years. Determined to make a difference, I interviewed several colleagues and researched literature on how to moderate panels; however, the marketer in me urged me to keep my audience in mind as I was preparing.

After I distilled my research and obtained a good understanding of my audience, I put together these seven tips:

1. You’re a moderator, not a panelist. Like the saying, “those who cannot do, teach” remember that if you were selected to moderate you’re not selected because of your opinions on the topic. As tempting as it might be, let the panelists be the content experts. 

2. Define the scope. Agree with your panelists on a tight scope of the topic ahead of time, including what is out of scope. In our case, we agreed on limiting our discussion on the pragmatic activities small business owners should be taking to prepare for the ACA. Given the audience and the topic, this could have easily turned into a long and heated debate, with everyone walking away at best entertained, but with little value post-conference. 

3. Provide different points of view. If you can select your panel, pepper your choices with panelists from different points of view, limiting overlap. In addition, agree on points of view to take on while answering questions. For example, in our panel someone represented the executive, another offered the insurance perspective and yet another was a patient educator. When a question arises ask another panelist for their point of view on the same issue. 

4. Structure the format. Plan, plan, plan. Then enforce, enforce, enforce. Break down the timelines for each section (introduction, Q&A, conclusion) down to the minute. Remind your panelists and the audience of your structure.

5. It’s not about the panel members. Every panel member is a thought leader in their own right. Do not waste valuable air time introducing them at length—let the content of their comments show how educated, experienced or famous they are. Social media should give full visibility to anyone if they truly want to find out more about the panelists and you. 

6. It’s all about the audience. People pay hundreds of dollars to attend a session, let alone the value of time. Open the panel to comments and Q&A from the audience. Out of the 45 minutes we were allotted, we spent 35 minutes in Q&A—hearing directly from our audience what burning questions they had. 

7. Close strong! Allow the panelist to give a final 30-second point of view on the issue, based on the questions from the audience. Wrap up by providing a brief summary of the scope, the themes of the answers and by making the panel and yourself available for a continued dialogue outside of the time allotted. 

Our panel was warmly received by the audience—a large feat given the topic at hand. Surprisingly, the panel members were very complimentary on our approach and discipline. Personally, I felt satisfied that like every good marketer, I was meeting my customer’s needs.

 This post will be published in the November issue of PM360. 

changes

Moving Change Management to the Forefront


Is your organization undergoing a radical transformation? It should be because the U.S. healthcare dynamics are drastically changing our customer’s business model. It is an understatement to say that in five years, we’ll see our healthcare ecosystem significantly change for our patients, customers and businesses. This transformation will be both a challenge and an opportunity.

But what role does change management play in building business strategy? Most of the time, change management is an afterthought to strategy development. Unfortunately, most change initiatives fail. That’s a correlation that’s hard to ignore.

Business Change Management

Leading & Implementing Business Change ManagementDavid J. Jones and Ronald J. Recardo state their case in Leading and Implementing Business Change Management: Making Change Stick in the Contemporary Organization (Routledge, 2013). Change management should be integrated at the origins of strategy planning, throughout the implementation cycle. It should also ensure strategy sustainability.

Jones and Recardo introduce the Business Change Management concept, a new coined term. It is defined as an end-to-end process from assessing the need for change and designing a target solution in alignment with overall strategic business direction through implementation and institutionalization.

Like previous change management work, this approach takes a multi-dimensional perspective:

  • Technology: Info, data, networks.
  • Organization: Culture, roles and responsibilities, org structures.
  • Process: Workflows, rules, performance measurement.

Building on past efforts, Business Change Management seeks to evolve traditional change management through four attributes:

1. Cascades from business strategy: Integrated from inception and critical to the solution.

2. Considers internal and external stakeholders: Collaborates with environment, partners, regulators, etc.

3. Proactively leverages culture, resistance and leadership: Sets roadmap and mitigates risk.

4. Encourages organizations to adapt this DNA: Builds competitive core capability.

The strategic, external, proactive and capability-building aspects of this concept are novel in a change management context.

Business Change Management is an ambitious endeavor. But think through the opening question, then consider the four key attributes. Now ask yourself, “If I was preparing my organization for the upcoming healthcare landscape, would my probability for success be better by applying Business Change Management?” Speaking from personal experience, the answer is a resounding yes.

In parallel to the changing landscape, nearly all of the latest thinking around market strategy has one common theme: We must prepare our organizations to be flexible. Long gone are the days of building differentiated products, capabilities or sustainable advantages for the long-term. The speed of business, technology disruption, customer transparency and global competition call into question the sustainability of any business, let alone singular advantages. Marketing leaders must now be both strategists and change agents.

If you are considering a change management effort, then pick up Leading and Implementing Business Change Management. It will be a great guide and companion in your journey.

Good marketing!

This book review was published in the August issue of PM360

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